Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

ment. This, we agreed, was not to be thought of, so there was nothing for it but to face the disagreeable necessity as cheerfully as we could. We made a dash over to Ireland, said good-bye to our relations, and started for India on the 27th June.

The heat in the Red Sea proved even worse than I had anticipated. Our captain pronounced it the hottest trip he had ever made. Twice was the ship turned round to steam against the wind for a short time in order to revive some of the passengers, who were almost suffocated. We passed the wreck of the Alma, a P. and O. vessel which had struck on a coral reef not far from Mocha. The wreck had happened in the dead of night, and there had been only time to get the passengers into the boats, in which they were rowed to another reef near at hand; there they had remained for eighty hours in their scanty night garments, and without the smallest shelter, until rescued by a friendly steamer. The officers and crew were still on the rock when we passed, endeavouring to get up the mails and the passengers' property. We supplied them with provisions and water, of which they were badly in need, and then had to leave them in their extremely uncomfortable position. We could not complain of lack of air after we passed Aden, for we forthwith encountered the south-west monsoon, then at its height, and on entering the Bay of Bengal we experienced something very nearly akin to a cyclone. We broke our rudder; the lightships, on which a certain number of pilots were always to be found, had all been blown out to sea; and as we had only just sufficient coal to take us up the Hugli when the pilot should appear, we did not dare to keep up steam. Thus we had to remain at the mercy of the winds and waves for some days, until at length a brig with a pilot on board was sent to look for us, and eventually we arrived in Calcutta, in rather a dilapidated condition, on the 30th July.

We were not cheered by the orders I found awaiting me, which were to proceed to Morar and join Brigadier-General Sir Robert Napier, then in command of the Gwalior district. Morar in the month of August is one of the hottest places in India, and my wife was considerably the worse for our experiences at sea. However, a Calcutta hotel never has many attractions, and at that time of year was depressing and uncomfortable to the last degree; in addition, I had rather a severe attack of my old enemy, Peshawar fever, so we started on our journey' up country' with as little delay as possible.

The railway at that time was not open further than Raniganj; thence we proceeded for a hundred miles in a 'dâk - ghari,' when, changing into doolies, we continued our journey to Hazaribagh, a little cantonment about twenty miles off the main road, where some relations of mine were living; but a day or two after our arrival at their hospitable house, I was ordered back to Calcutta.

I left my wife with our kind friends, and retraced my steps in con

[graphic]
[graphic]

vas even then might possibly reaching CalO organize and mphal progress he North-West the principal specially loyal in store in the

yat Cawnpore ive, and a day cknow. nounced to the ment of their Majesty by the publicly proand breadth time it was as henceforth t was with the

g the Native uthority, that

1 the Revenue ried man the citement and and I had no I therefore

pats over the -boats-dâkling, for the me difficulty ayed with a camp equipere had not deteriorates mildew and tirely before of the first

a busy time nous camp;

› appointed r Lord and

255 Lady Canning arrived, and expressed themselves so pleased with all the arrangements, and were so kindly appreciative of the exertions I had made to be ready for them by the appointed time, that I felt myself fully rewarded for all my trouble.

The next day I took my wife to call upon Lady Canning, whose unaffected and simple, yet perfectly dignified manner completely charmed her, and from that day she was devoted, in common with everyone who was at all intimately associated with Lady Canning, to the gentle, gracious lady, who was always kindness itself to her.

On the 18th the Viceroy made his first march towards Lucknow. The camp equipage was in duplicate, so that everyone on arriving at the new halting-place found things exactly the same as in the tents they had left.

The camp occupied a considerable space, for, in addition to the Viceroy's large entourage, ground had to be provided for the Commander-in-Chief and the officers of Army Head-Quarters, who were marching with us; then there were the post-office, telegraph, workshops, toshikhana,* commissariat, and a host of other offices to be accommodated, beside the escort, which consisted of a battery of Horse Artillery, a squadron of British Cavalry, a regiment of British Infantry, a regiment of Native Cavalry, a regiment of Native Infantry, and the Viceroy's Bodyguard. For the Viceroy, his staff, guests, and secretaries alone, 150 large tents were pitched in the main street, and when we came to a station the duplicate tents were also pitched. For the transport of this portion of the camp equipage 80 elephants and 500 camels were required.†

It is very difficult to give any idea of the extraordinary spectacle a big camp like this presents on the line of march. The followers, as a rule, are accompanied by their wives and families, who are piled upon the summits of laden carts, or perched on the loads borne by the baggage animals. In the two camps marching together (Lord Canning's and Lord Clyde's) there could not have been less than 20,000 men women, and children-a motley crowd streaming along about four-andtwenty miles of road, for the day's march was usually about twelve miles, and before every one had cleared out of the camp occupied the night before, the advance guard had begun to arrive on the ground to *The depository for jewels and other valuables kept for presentation to Native Chiefs at durbars.

The following details will give some idea of the magnitude of the arrangements required for the Viceroy's camp alone. Besides those above mentioned there were 500 camels, 500 bullocks and 100 bullock carts for transport of camp equipage, 40 sowari (riding) elephants, 527 coolies to carry the glass windows belonging to the larger tents, 100 bhisties, and 40 sweepers for watering and keeping the centre street clean. These were in addition to the private baggage animals, servants, and numberless riding and driving horses, for all of which space and shelter had to be provided.

[graphic]
[graphic]

to be maintained, calamity to the mselves over the y could lay their hib-Ke-Naukar,*

h to resist. The tured to remontheir sugar-cane, produce for half ling at the comving complaints on the offenders and made the ahib's wish that ants, order was

[blocks in formation]

STATE ENTRY INTO LUCKNOW

257 we passed were crowded with Natives, who-cowed, but not tamedlooked on in sullen defiance, very few showing any sign of respect for the Viceroy.

Sir William and Lady Mansfield, and several other people from our camp were also staying with Sir Hope Grant, and that evening the whole Dilkusha party went to a state dinner given by Lord and Lady Canning. The latter was a delightful hostess; the shyest person was set at ease by her kindly, sympathetic manner, and she had the happy knack of making her guests feel that her entertainments were pleasure to herself-the surest way of rendering them enjoyable to those she entertained.

a

I made use of the next week, which was for me a comparatively idle time, to take my wife over the ground by which we had advanced two years before, and explain to her the different positions held by the enemy. She was intensely interested in visiting the Sikandarbagh, the Shah Najaf, the mess-house, and, above all, that glorious memorial of almost superhuman courage and endurance, the Residency, ruined, roofless, and riddled by round shot and bullets. Very little had then been done towards opening out the city, and the surroundings of the Residency were much as they had been during the defence-a labyrinth of streets and lanes; it was therefore easier for the stranger to realize exactly what had taken place than it is now that the landmarks have been cleared away, and well-laid-out gardens and broad roads have taken the place of jungle and narrow alleys.

On the 26th the Viceroy held a grand durbar for the reception of the Talukdars. It was the first function of the sort I had witnessed, and was an amusing novelty to my wife, who, with Lady Canning and some of the other ladies in camp, viewed the proceedings from behind a semitransparent screen, it not being considered at that time the thing for ladies to appear at ceremonials when Natives were present. The whole scene was very impressive, though not as brilliant in colouring as it would have been in any other part of India, owing to the Chiefs of Oudh being clad in simple white, as is the custom amongst Rajputs.

The Talukdars, to the number of one hundred and sixty, were ushered to their places in strict order of seniority, the highest in rank being the last to arrive. They were arranged in a half semicircle on the right of the Viceroy's chair of state, while on the left the Europeans were seated according to their official rank. When all was ready, the words' Attention! Royal salute! Present arms!' were heard without, warning those within of the Viceroy's approach, and, as the bugles sounded and the guns thundered forth their welcome, Lord Canning, accompanied by the Commander-in-Chief, and preceded by their staffs, entered the tent.

Everyone rose, and remained standing until the great man took his

17

« PreviousContinue »