« ElőzőTovább »
BRITAIN'S EARNEST-MONEY FOR THE PROVINCES WHICH
SAVED HER INDIAN EMPIRE IN THE MUTINY.
A STORY OF MOOLTAN.
It is little more than twelve years since would not obliterate the debt of gratithe British officers then acting for the tude due to their devotion—that their young Maharaja Dulleep Sing, of Lahore, friends and family at home would hear sent envoys to Mooltan to effect the of them from their countrymen, and the transfer of its proconsulata from the guerdon of honour be scrupulously paid Dewan Moolraj to a more trustworthy by Government to those who, in the ruler.
performance of their glorious duty, sucThose envoys were Patrick Vans ceeded in all but saving their own lives. Agnew, of the Bengal Civil Service, and This account was written soon after Lieutenant Anderson, of the 1st Bom- Agnew and Anderson died, and in bay Fusileers.
Britain little or nothing is now known The momentous events which have or heard of them ; but the exile in India, crowded our history since that time at the scene of their deaths, may find make the episode of their murders
appear the following inscription on an obelisk like some incident long passed away, over their graves :while the high-souled endurance which, in their case, elicited the involuntary
“BENEATH THIS MONUMENT
lie the remains of admiration of men of another colour,
PATRICK ALEXANDER VANS AGNEW, and other sympathies, has been repeated
Of the Bengal Civil Service, in infinite phases during the late great Indian mutiny, telling a nobler tale of
Lieutenant, ist Bombay Fusileer Regiment, devotion and duty than had ever yet
Assistants to the Resident at Lahore, been heard in any nation's history, and Who, being deputed by the Government to relieve, at
his own request, illustrating at least one argument of
Dewan Moolraj, Viceroy of Mooltan, the following attempt to recall and re
Of the Fortress and authority which he held, present their services—that there is a were attacked and wounded by the Garrison
on the 19th April, 1843, purer heroism in the calm and enduring
And, being treacherously deserted by the Sikh Escort, valour of English men and women, like
were on the following day, those of Cawnpore and Lucknow, of In flagrant breach of National Faith and Hospitality, Bandah and Hissar, of Jhansi and
In the Eedgah, under the Walls of Mooltan. Shajehanpore, of many unrecorded sta
Thus fell these two young public servants, tions, than any ancient or modern feat
At the ages of 25 and 28 years, of fighting performed in the intoxication
Full of high hopes, rare talents, and promise of future
usefulness; of action.
Even in their deaths doing their country honor, But Britain, unfortunately, cares Wounded and forsaken, they could offer no resistance, little for dead heroes. Her monuments,
but hand in hand calmly awaited the onset
of their assailants. even on the field of Waterloo (till last
Nobly they refused to yield, year only), were to persons who survived Foretelling the day when thousands of Englishmen the battle ; while the Germans, both
Should come to avenge their death
And destroy Moolraj, his army and fortress. there and in the capitals, built their
History records how the prediction was fulfilled. monuments to those who died.
Borne to their grave by their victorious brother soldiers It would surely be an encouragement
and countrymen, they were buried with
military honours to men so perilously placed by their duty
Here, on the summit of the captured citadel, to their country as those whose fate we
On the 26th January, 1849. have attempted to represent, if they
The annexation of the Punjab to the British Empire,
was the result of the War could feel confident that their deaths
Of which their assassination was the commencement."
All honour to Herbert Edwardes, and his companions, who paid such a tribute to their memory! They sing the deeds of olden days,
When first the silken fold
Its blazoning of gold ;
A great and glorious name From iron-belted sires of yore,
Who founded England's fame; And we hear of deeds of daring,
Seeming more than mortal might, Done with boiling blood of battle
Midst the fever of the fight,
The gloomy storm of war;
From Ava to Lahore.
Are our hearts not as bold ?
Our fathers held of old ?
Now, brothers, learn of bearing bold
As ever yet was shown,
Since our blazoned flag has flown.
So that endless years to come It would stir our hero spirit
Like the reveille of the drum! Ah, would 'twere mine to tell it,
So that every hamlet, town, Every fertile glade of England,
Should hear of its renown! And would that I could tell it
As its history should be told, So 'twould fire the young for honour,
So 'lwould renovate the old !
On a quiet summer's day,
The waters of the bay-
All danger far away?
Of some dark and spreading cloud ? Then breezy gusts come rippling by ;
Then a wind that moans aloud ; Soon the sullen roll of thunder,
Levin lights across the sky, And whitening sheets of driving foam
As the tempest wind sweeps by. Near the Chenaub's silent river
See an eastern city rise, And its citadel lies basking
’Neath the burning eastern skies; With embrasures sternly frowning
As a fortress-strength should be ; But yon city resting tranquilly
As sleeps the summer sea.
Comes a gallant cavalcade
And silks of every shade.
These warriors of Ind,
Free fluttering in the wind;
Are gleaming in the sun,
All ringing as they run.
All travel-worn appear,
O'er their motley Indian gear, While Sikhs and Moslems swell the
crowd, From camp and temple near. Now," by the hope of our Christian
Than shows before us there :
Amidst that swarthy throng,
Pass fearlessly alongAll fearless and all proudly,
Yet with fixed and thoughtful eye; We meet no shifting glance in youths
Schooled in responsibility.
Their swart companions show,
Which follows where they go.
In a name the world wide known,
Nigh armless and alone.
A band of conquered foes,
Of Moodkee and Feroz ; As though they'd seized a grisly boar,
First tamed his rage, and then Had led him forth to be their guard,
And face the lion's den.
All slowly and all solemnly,
Like some sad funeral train, Pass those who bear our envoys
Back to their tents again. With bodies weak and bleeding,
But with souls yet undismayed, Pass the youths we saw so lately
’Midst that joyous cavalcade. Yet the pageant of the morning
Scarce had lived beyond the noon; It had risen like the rainbow cloud
And passed away as soon ;
All Christendom may own
In India's annals known !
Full fiercely does the Indian vaunt;
Full hardy does he seem
No British bayonets gleam.
Should louder accents find ?
The sadly-moaning wind.
Or ripple on the tide,
gaze the crowd Throngs round on every side. Some sudden and untoward chance
Seems fallen on them there ;
Come borne along the air.
Is tossing to and fro,
storm Does sterner, wilder grow. Then shining blades and coward knives
On every side are bared,
weapons were prepared. Oh, highly swells the courage
Of the braggart Indian then,
As the weary beat of billows,
Sounding ever drear and dull; As the sighing winds of ocean,
When the storm begins to lull ; So a ceaseless hum of voices,
From the crowds within the town, Yield a sorrow-sounding cadence
Till at last the sun goes down. Then again the tumult rises,
As the wild winds again With fiercer might in reckless flight
To sweep across the main.
Were five to one the odds they meet,
And they, too, sword in hand,
With laurel-wreaths their brand.
Which flows in Agnew's veins ? What worth the Anglo-Saxon nerve
Which English calm sustains ?
Their wild assailants throng,
Are driven fast along,
Drive th' Indus' swollen flood,
With Europe's knightly blood.
Now where are they whose funeral knell
Is rung by the tumult there?
Which its crested breakers bear ?
should For the fate they meet that day ; And they speak together in kindly tones
Of those that are far away ; And they kneel for the hope of their
Christian faith As they knelt by a mother's knee'Tis the selfsame prayer they whisper
there Where they kneel 'neath the tama
rind tree. They seek for no help of the souls to be
shriven, Save the grace that from Calvary
smiled; Nor need they for shrift of a hero's
Ah! gaily day dawns on a far-off scene But we die not unremembered, Where their memory carries them And not unrevenged we die, now;
For our brothers here in thousands That sun which is setting for their last Will seek us where we lie. day,
The storm of Britain's iron hail And shedding its lurid glow
Will sweep your city round, On dusty plain and heated town, And soon her dread artillery And bathes in gold as 'tis sinking Will raze it with the ground."
down Each minaret tower and dome,
What wonder an they trembled Is rising in streams of joyous light
At the stern reply he gave, O'er misty wold and moorland bright,
Or deem'd the light of prophecy O'er the meadow fields of home.
Shone on him from the grave ? That force which can scatter the shades For many a father thought, I ween, of time
When that proud speech was done, Clears the mists from years gone by ;
“I would yon Kaffir's lion heart And the scenes of a life crowd round Was placed within my son!”
Which opens to us now;
Veil his calm and fearless brow !
But all sickening sounds of horror
Still echo through the air ;
A craven mob that cries for blood,
And none to reason there! And a darkening circle henis them round; Oh, the leaden sound of murderous No help or hope of freedom shows,
blows; Sa one clear path above them,
The proudly stifled cry! Which no earthly power can close.
Oh, the fearful sweep of sabres ; Britain's envoys hold high audience
The shudder and the sigh ! Of a strange and solemn kind,
Then the spirit all unconquered Looking dauntlessly for severance
Has no partner left to die. Of the body and the mind.
Lying wounded and forsaken, Then fearless spoke Vans Agnew,
Lying “ face to face with death,” While before his flashing eye
Yet upholding Britain's honour A moment quail'd the rabble rout
Till life's last ebbing breath, That came to see him die.
Far from sympathy or succour, “'Tis well,” he said; “I hail the sign With no fond friends standing by,
That ye, with your own hand, But all frowning eyes around them, Should use the stain of Saxon blood Did our martyred heroes die.
To redden this fair land;
What aching hearts may bleed for them Will cover India o'er,
Let other annals say ; That India's chart shall need to trace What happy British hearths may turn Its native States no more.
As hapless from to-day. And we, the least of England's sons,
Do mothers live to mourn their sons May gladly die to claim
As only mothers may ? Fresh conquests for our country
Will gentle sisters weep for them Fresh honour for our name.
In their homes far, far away?
R. H. W. D.
THE ASHEN FAGGOT.
A TALE FOR CHRISTMAS.
BY THOMAS HUGHES, AUTHOR OF “TOM BROWN AT OXFORD," &c.
“ There, you see, Herbert, I wasn't
far wrong," said the younger. At about four o'clock on Christmas Eve, “A mile out, Johnny-never mind. a year or two back, two men trudged Now what do you say I shall we push briskly up the little village-street of on at once, or stop and feed ?” Lilburne, in the county of Wilts. They “What should you like ?” were both dressed in rough shooting “That has nothing to say to it. suits, and one carried a common game You're in command, you know, since bag, and the other a knapsack. Each this morning." of them had a stout stick in his hand. “ Well, I shouldn't like to be there The elder, who might be six or seven very early. I'm sure you would feel and twenty, wore
a strong reddish yourself—" brown beard. The rest of his rather “ Then we call a halt,” interrupted broad face was well tanned by exposure the elder, leading the way into the to weather; he had a clear, merry grey
house; “this cold air of yours has given eye, and an air of very British self me a deuce of an appetite. Now, landreliance about him. The younger, in his lord, what can we have to eat, directly? twentieth year, or thereabouts, wore also Some cold meat, or whatever you can as much beard as nature had yet be give us at once. Mind, sharp's the stowed on him, and was tanned a ruddy word ! Or, never mind, no, you go and brown. He was darker than his com draw us some of your best tap. You'll panion, and his complexion would have help us, ma'am, I can see, about the been sallow, but for the work of sun eatables, and I'm sure we couldn't be and air on it. There was the possibility in better hands." of great nervous irritability and excita This speech, begun in the street, , bleness in the look of him ; but this ended in the tiny bar of “The Wagnatural tendency of his constitution and goner's Rest,” in which the hostess stood, temperament seemed, at least for the
a tidy well-looking woman, in Sunday present, to be counteracted by robust cap and ribbons, donne in honour of health.
the season, and of the rush of guests The two stopped at the door of “The whom she was expecting as the day Waggoner's Rest," the only public-house of Lilburne village.
She was flattered by the compliment "Well, here we are then, at the last of her off-hand guest, who clearly was stage. How much further do you say it not in the habit of letting the grass grow is ?”
on his own heels, or on those of any one “ Just six miles."
else with whom he had to do. He had “I'm never quite at ease about your sent her bustling off in a minute or two arithmetic, Johnny. Hullo here. House! to cook rashers of bacon on toast, and to landlord ! who's at home here ?” and run round to the yard in the forlorn hope he gave a thump or two on the door that one of the hens might have so forpost, which brought mine host out with gotten herself as to lay in such weather,
in that cold, dark little stable of “The “How far do you call it to Avenly, Waggoner's Rest." Meanwhile, he had landlord ?”
taken possession of the bar, heaped up “A matter o seven miles, sir.” the fire, seated his companion opposite