Part 5 out of 9
Of all these missiles, though a pistol and carbine had gone off as
the ferocious Indian flung them at my head, and the naked scimitar
fiercely but unadroitly thrown, had lopped off the limbs of one or
two of the musnuds as they sat trembling on their omrahs, yet,
strange to say, not a single weapon had hurt me. When the hubbub
ceased, and the unlucky wretches who had been the victims of this
fit of rage had been removed, Holkar's good humor somewhat
returned, and he allowed me to continue my account of the fort;
which I did, not taking the slightest notice of his burst of
impatience: as indeed it would have been the height of impoliteness
to have done for such accidents happened many times in the day.
"It is well that the Bobbachy has returned," snuffled out the poor
Grand Vizier, after I had explained to the Council the extraordinary
means of defence possessed by the garrison. "Your star is bright,
O Bahawder! for this very night we had resolved upon an escalade of
the fort, and we had sworn to put every one of the infidel garrison
to the edge of the sword."
"But you have no battering train," said I.
"Bah! we have a couple of ninety-six pounders, quite sufficient to
blow the gates open; and then, hey for a charge!" said Loll
Mahommed, a general of cavalry, who was a rival of Bobbachy's, and
contradicted, therefore, every word I said. "In the name of
Juggernaut, why wait for the heavy artillery? Have we not swords?
Have we not hearts? Mashallah! Let cravens stay with Bobbachy,
all true men will follow Loll Mahommed! Allahhumdillah, Bismillah,
Barikallah?"* and drawing his scimitar, he waved it over his head,
and shouted out his cry of battle. It was repeated by many of the
other omrahs; the sound of their cheers was carried into the camp,
and caught up by the men; the camels began to cry, the horses to
prance and neigh, the eight hundred elephants set up a scream, the
trumpeters and drummers clanged away at their instruments. I never
heard such a din before or after. How I trembled for my little
garrison when I heard the enthusiastic cries of this innumerable
* The Major has put the most approved language into the mouths of
his Indian characters. Bismillah, Barikallah, and so on, according
to the novelists, form the very essence of Eastern conversation.
There was but one way for it. "Sir," said I, addressing Holkar,
"go out to-night and you go to certain death. Loll Mahommed has
not seen the fort as I have. Pass the gate if you please, and for
what? to fall before the fire of a hundred pieces of artillery; to
storm another gate, and then another, and then to be blown up, with
Gahagan's garrison in the citadel. Who talks of courage? Were I
not in your august presence, O star of the faithful, I would crop
Loll Mahommed's nose from his face, and wear his ears as an
ornament in my own pugree! Who is there here that knows not the
difference between yonder yellow-skinned coward and Gahagan Khan
Guj--I mean Bobbachy Bahawder? I am ready to fight one, two,
three, or twenty of them, at broad-sword, small-sword, single-
stick, with fists if you please. By the holy piper, fighting is
like mate and dthrink to Ga--to Bobbachy, I mane--whoop! come on,
you divvle, and I'll bate the skin off your ugly bones."
This speech had very nearly proved fatal to me, for when I am
agitated, I involuntarily adopt some of the phraseology peculiar to
my own country; which is so un-eastern, that, had there been any
suspicion as to my real character, detection must indubitably have
ensued. As it was, Holkar perceived nothing, but instantaneously
stopped the dispute. Loll Mahommed, however, evidently suspected
something, for, as Holkar, with a voice of thunder, shouted out,
"Tomasha (silence)," Loll sprang forward and gasped out--
"My lord! my lord I this is not Bob--"
But he could say no more. "Gag the slave!" screamed out Holkar,
stamping with fury: and a turban was instantly twisted round the
poor devil's jaws. "Ho, furoshes! carry out Loll Mahommed Khan,
give him a hundred dozen on the soles of his feet, set him upon a
white donkey, and carry him round the camp, with an inscription
before him: 'This is the way that Holkar rewards the talkative.'"
I breathed again; and ever as I heard each whack of the bamboo
falling on Loll Mahommed's feet, I felt peace returning to my mind,
and thanked my stars that I was delivered of this danger.
"Vizier," said Holkar, who enjoyed Loll's roars amazingly, "I owe
you a reparation for your nose: kiss the hand of your prince,
O Saadut Alee Beg Bimbukchee! be from this day forth Zoheir
The good old man's eyes filled with tears. "I can bear thy
severity, O Prince," said he; "I cannot bear thy love. Was it not
an honor that your Highness did me just now when you condescended
to pass over the bridge of your slave's nose?"
The phrase was by all voices pronounced to be very poetical. The
Vizier retired, crowned with his new honors, to bed. Holkar was in
high good humor.
"Bobbachy," said he, thou, too, must pardon me. A propos, I have
news for thee. Your wife, the incomparable Puttee Rooge," (white
and red rose,) has arrived in camp."
"My WIFE, my lord!" said I, aghast.
"Our daughter, the light of thine eyes! Go, my son; I see thou art
wild with joy. The Princess's tents are set up close by mine, and
I know thou longest to join her."
My wife? Here was a complication truly!
THE ISSUE OF MY INTERVIEW WITH MY WIFE.
I found Puneeree Muckun, with the rest of my attendants, waiting at
the gate, and they immediately conducted me to my own tents in the
neighborhood. I have been in many dangerous predicaments before
that time and since, but I don't care to deny that I felt in the
present instance such a throbbing of the heart as I never have
experienced when leading a forlorn hope, or marching up to a
As soon as I entered the tents a host of menials sprang forward,
some to ease me of my armor, some to offer me refreshments, some
with hookahs, attar of roses (in great quart-bottles), and the
thousand delicacies of Eastern life. I motioned them away. "I
will wear my armor," said I; I shall go forth to-night; carry my
duty to the princess, and say I grieve that to-night I have not the
time to see her. Spread me a couch here, and bring me supper here:
a jar of Persian wine well cooled, a lamb stuffed with pistachio-
nuts, a pillaw of a couple of turkeys, a curried kid--anything.
Begone! Give me a pipe; leave me alone, and tell me when the meal
I thought by these means to put off the fair Puttee Rooge, and
hoped to be able to escape without subjecting myself to the
examination of her curious eyes. After smoking for a while, an
attendant came to tell me that my supper was prepared in the inner
apartment of the tent (I suppose that the reader, if he be
possessed of the commonest intelligence, knows that the tents of
the Indian grandees are made of the finest Cashmere shawls, and
contain a dozen rooms at least, with carpets, chimneys, and sash-
windows complete). I entered, I say, into an inner chamber, and
there began with my fingers to devour my meal in the Oriental
fashion, taking, every now and then, a pull from the wine-jar,
which was cooling deliciously in another jar of snow.
I was just in the act of despatching the last morsel of a most
savory stewed lamb and rice, which had formed my meal, when I heard
a scuffle of feet, a shrill clatter of female voices, and, the
curtain being flung open, in marched a lady accompanied by twelve
slaves, with moon faces and slim waists, lovely as the houris in
The lady herself, to do her justice, was as great a contrast to her
attendants as could possibly be: she was crooked, old, of the
complexion of molasses, and rendered a thousand times more ugly by
the tawdry dress and the blazing jewels with which she was covered.
A line of yellow chalk drawn from her forehead to the tip of her
nose (which was further ornamented by an immense glittering nose-
ring), her eyelids painted bright red, and a large dab of the same
color on her chin, showed she was not of the Mussulman, but the
Brahmin faith--and of a very high caste; you could see that by her
eyes. My mind was instantaneously made up as to my line of action.
The male attendants had of course quitted the apartment, as they
heard the well-known sound of her voice. It would have been death
to them to have remained and looked in her face. The females
ranged themselves round their mistress, as she squatted down
opposite to me.
"And is this," said she, "a welcome, O Khan! after six months'
absence, for the most unfortunate and loving wife in all the world?
Is this lamb, O glutton! half so tender as thy spouse? Is this
wine, O sot! half so sweet as her looks?"
I saw the storm was brewing--her slaves, to whom she turned, kept
up a kind of chorus:--
"Oh, the faithless one!" cried they. "Oh, the rascal, the false
one, who has no eye for beauty, and no heart for love, like the
"A lamb is not so sweet as love," said I gravely: "but a lamb has a
good temper; a wine-cup is not so intoxicating as a woman--but a
wine-cup) has NO TONGUE, O Khanum Gee!" and again I dipped my nose
in the soul-refreshing jar.
The sweet Puttee Rooge was not, however, to be put off by my
repartees; she and her maidens recommenced their chorus, and
chattered and stormed until I lost all patience.
"Retire, friends," said I, "and leave me in peace."
"Stir, on your peril!" cried the Khanum.
So, seeing there was no help for it but violence, I drew out my
pistols, cocked them, and said, "O houris! these pistols contain
each two balls: the daughter of Holkar bears a sacred life for me--
but for you!--by all the saints of Hindustan, four of ye shall die
if ye stay a moment longer in my presence! This was enough; the
ladies gave a shriek, and skurried out of the apartment like a
covey of partridges on the wing.
Now, then, was the time for action. My wife, or rather Bobbachy's
wife, sat still, a little flurried by the unusual ferocity which
her lord had displayed in her presence. I seized her hand and,
gripping it close, whispered in her ear, to which I put the other
pistol:--"O Khanum, listen and scream not; the moment you scream,
you die!" She was completely beaten: she turned as pale as a woman
could in her situation, and said, "Speak, Bobbachy Bahawder, I am
"Woman," said I, taking off my helmet, and removing the chain cape
which had covered almost the whole of my face--I AM NOT THY
HUSBAND--I am the slaver of elephants, the world renowned GAHAGAN!"
As I said this, and as the long ringlets of red hair fell over my
shoulders (contrasting strangely with my dyed face and beard), I
formed one of the finest pictures that can possibly be conceived,
and I recommend it as a subject to Mr. Heath, for the next "Book of
"Wretch!" said she, "what wouldst thou?"
"You black-faced fiend," said I, "raise but your voice, and you are
"And afterwards," said she, "do you suppose that YOU can escape?
The torments of hell are not so terrible as the tortures that
Holkar will invent for thee."
"Tortures, madam?" answered I, coolly. "Fiddlesticks! You will
neither betray me, nor will I be put to the torture: on the
contrary, you will give me your best jewels and facilitate my
escape to the fort. Don't grind your teeth and swear at me.
Listen, madam : you know this dress and these arms;--they are the
arms of your husband, Bobbachy Bahawder--MY PRISONER. He now lies
in yonder fort, and if I do not return before daylight, at SUNRISE
HE DIES: and then, when they send his corpse back to Holkar, what
will you, HIS WIDOW, do?"
"Oh!" said she, shuddering, "spare me, spare me!"
"I'll tell you what you will do. You will have the pleasure of
dying along with him--of BEING ROASTED, madam: an agonizing death,
from which your father cannot save you, to which he will be the
first man to condemn and conduct you. Ha! I see we understand each
other, and you will give me over the cash-box and jewels." And so
saying I threw myself back with the calmest air imaginable,
flinging the pistols over to her. "Light me a pipe, my love," said
I, "and then go and hand me over the dollars; do you hear?" You
see I had her in my power--up a tree, as the Americans say, and she
very humbly lighted my pipe for me, and then departed for the goods
I spoke about.
What a thing is luck! If Loll Mahommed had not been made to take
that ride round the camp, I should infallibly have been lost.
My supper, my quarrel with the princess, and my pipe afterwards,
had occupied a couple of hours of my time. The princess returned
from her quest, and brought with her the box, containing valuables
to the amount of about three millions sterling. (I was cheated of
them afterwards, but have the box still, a plain deal one.) I was
just about to take my departure, when a tremendous knocking,
shouting, and screaming was heard at the entrance of the tent. It
was Holkar himself, accompanied by that cursed Loll Mahommed, who,
after his punishment, found his master restored to good humor, and
had communicated to him his firm conviction that I was an impostor.
"Ho, Begum," shouted he, in the ante-room (for he and his people
could not enter the women's apartments), "speak, O my daughter! is
your husband returned?"
"Speak, madam," said I, "or REMEMBER THE ROASTING."
"He is, papa," said the Begum.
"Are you sure? Ho! ho! ho!" (the old ruffian was laughing
outside)--"are you sure it is?--Ha! aha!--HE-E-E!"
"Indeed it is he, and no other. I pray you, father, to go, and to
pass no more such shameless jests on your daughter. Have I ever
seen the face of any other man?" And hereat she began to weep as
if her heart would break--the deceitful minx!
Holkar's laugh was instantly turned to fury. "Oh, you liar and
eternal thief!" said he, turning round (as I presume, for I could
only hear) to Loll Mahommed, "to make your prince eat such
monstrous dirt as this! Furoshes, seize this man. I dismiss him
from my service, I degrade him from his rank, I appropriate to
myself all his property: and hark ye, furoshes, GIVE HIM A HUNDRED
Again I heard the whacks of the bamboos, and peace flowed into my
. . . . . .
Just as morn began to break, two figures were seen to approach the
little fortress of Futtyghur: one was a woman wrapped closely in a
veil, the other a warrior, remarkable for the size and manly beauty
of his form, who carried in his hand a deal box of considerable
size. The warrior at the gate gave the word and was admitted, the
woman returned slowly to the Indian camp. Her name was Puttee
Rooge; his was--
G. O'G. G., M. H. E. I. C. S., C. I. H. A.
FAMINE IN THE GARRISON.
Thus my dangers for the night being overcome, I hastened with my
precious box into my own apartment, which communicated with
another, where I had left my prisoner, with a guard to report if he
should recover, and to prevent his escape. My servant, Ghorumsaug,
was one of the guard. I called him, and the fellow came, looking
very much confused and frightened, as it seemed, at my appearance.
"Why, Ghorumsaug," said I, "what makes thee look so pale, fellow?"
(he was as white as a sheet.) "It is thy master, dost thou not
remember him?" The man had seen me dress myself in the Pitan's
clothes, but was not present when I had blacked my face and beard
in the manner I have described.
"O Bramah, Vishnu, and Mahomet!" cried the faithful fellow, "and do
I see my dear master disguised in this way? For heaven's sake let
me rid you of this odious black paint; for what will the ladies say
in the ball-room, if the beautiful Feringhee should appear amongst
them with his roses turned into coal?"
I am still one of the finest men in Europe, and at the time of
which I write, when only two-and-twenty, I confess I WAS a little
vain of my personal appearance, and not very willing to appear
before my dear Belinda disguised like a blackamoor. I allowed
Ghorumsaug to divest me of the heathenish armor and habiliments
which I wore; and having, with a world of scrubbing and trouble,
divested my face and beard of their black tinge, I put on my own
becoming uniform, and hastened to wait on the ladies; hastened, I
say,--although delayed would have been the better word, for the
operation of bleaching lasted at least two hours.
"How is the prisoner, Ghorumsaug?" said I, before leaving my
"He has recovered from the blow which the Lion dealt him; two men
and myself watch over him; and Macgillicuddy Sahib (the second in
command) has just been the rounds, and has seen that all was
I bade Ghorumsaug help me to put away my chest of treasure (my
exultation in taking it was so great that I could not help informing
him of its contents); and this done, I despatched him to his post
near the prisoner, while I prepared to sally forth and pay my
respects to the fair creatures under my protection. "What good
after all have I done," thought I to myself, "in this expedition
which I had so rashly undertaken?" I had seen the renowned Holkar,
I had been in the heart of his camp; I knew the disposition of his
troops, that there were eleven thousand of them, and that he only
waited for his guns to make a regular attack on the fort. I had
seen Puttee Rooge; I had robbed her (I say ROBBED her, and I don't
care what the reader or any other man may think of the act) of a
deal box, containing jewels to the amount of three millions
sterling, the property of herself and husband.
Three millions in money and jewels! And what the deuce were money
and jewels to me or to my poor garrison? Could my adorable Miss
Bulcher eat a fricassee of diamonds, or, Cleopatra-like, melt down
pearls to her tea? Could I, careless as I am about food, with a
stomach that would digest anything--(once, in Spain, I ate the leg
of a horse during a famine, and was so eager to swallow this morsel
that I bolted the shoe, as well as the hoof, and never felt the
slightest inconvenience from either,)--could I, I say, expect to
live long and well upon a ragout of rupees, or a dish of stewed
emeralds and rubies? With all the wealth of Croesus before me I
felt melancholy; and would have paid cheerfully its weight in
carats for a good honest round of boiled beef. Wealth, wealth,
what art thou? What is gold?--Soft metal. What are diamonds?--
Shining tinsel. The great wealth-winners, the only fame-achievers,
the sole objects worthy of a soldier's consideration, are
beefsteaks, gunpowder, and cold iron.
The two latter means of competency we possessed; I had in my own
apartments a small store of gunpowder (keeping it under my own bed,
with a candle burning for fear of accidents); I had 14 pieces of
artillery (4 long 48's and 4 carronades, 5 howitzers, and a long
brass mortar, for grape, which I had taken myself at the battle of
Assaye), and muskets for ten times my force. My garrison, as I
have told the reader in a previous number, consisted of 40 men, two
chaplains, and a surgeon; add to these my guests, 83 in number, of
whom nine only were gentlemen (in tights, powder, pigtails, and
silk stockings, who had come out merely for a dance, and found
themselves in for a siege). Such were our numbers:--
Troops and artillerymen 40
Other non-combatants 11
MAJOR-GEN. O'G. GAHAGAN 1000
I count myself good for a thousand, for so I was regularly rated in
the army: with this great benefit to it, that I only consumed as
much as an ordinary mortal. We were then, as far as the victuals
went, 126 mouths; as combatants we numbered 1,040 gallant men, with
12 guns and a fort, against Holkar and his 12,000. No such
alarming odds, if--
IF!--ay, there was the rub--IF we had SHOT, as well as powder for
our guns; IF we had not only MEN but MEAT. Of the former commodity
we had only three rounds for each piece. Of the latter, upon my
sacred honor, to feed 126 souls, we had but
Two drumsticks of fowls, and a bone of ham.
Fourteen bottles of ginger-beer.
Of soda-water, four ditto.
Two bottles of fine Spanish olives.
Raspberry cream--the remainder of two dishes.
Seven macaroons, lying in the puddle of a demolished trifle.
Half a drum of best Turkey figs.
Some bits of broken bread; two Dutch cheeses (whole); the crust
of an old Stilton; and about an ounce of almonds and raisins.
Three ham-sandwiches, and a pot of currant-jelly, and 197 bottles
of brandy, rum, madeira, pale ale (my private stock); a couple
of hard eggs for a salad, and a flask of Florence oil.
This was the provision for the whole garrison! The men after
supper had seized upon the relics of the repast, as they were
carried off from the table; and these were the miserable remnants I
found and counted on my return, taking good care to lock the door
of the supper-room, and treasure what little sustenance still
remained in it.
When I appeared in the saloon, now lighted up by the morning sun, I
not only caused a sensation myself, but felt one in my own bosom,
which was of the most painful description. Oh, my reader! may you
never behold such a sight as that which presented itself: eighty-
three men and women in ball-dresses; the former with their lank
powdered locks streaming over their faces; the latter with faded
flowers, uncurled wigs, smudged rouge, blear eyes, draggling
feathers, rumpled satins--each more desperately melancholy and
hideous than the other--each, except my beloved Belinda Bulcher,
whose raven ringlets never having been in curl, could of course
never go OUT of curl; whose cheek, pale as the lily, could, as it
may naturally be supposed, grow no paler; whose neck and beauteous
arms, dazzling as alabaster, needed no pearl-powder, and therefore,
as I need not state, did not suffer because the pearl-powder had
come off. Joy (deft link-boy!) lit his lamps in each of her eyes
as I entered. As if I had been her sun, her spring, lo! blushing
roses mantled in her cheek! Seventy-three ladies, as I entered,
opened their fire upon me, and stunned me with cross-questions,
regarding my adventures in the camp--SHE, as she saw me, gave a
faint scream, (the sweetest, sure, that ever gurgled through the
throat of a woman!) then started up--then made as if she would sit
down--then moved backwards--then tottered forwards--then tumbled
into my--Psha! why recall, why attempt to describe that delicious--
that passionate greeting of two young hearts? What was the
surrounding crowd to US? What cared we for the sneers of the men,
the titters of the jealous women, the shrill "Upon my word!" of the
elder Miss Bulcher, and the loud expostulations of Belinda's mamma?
The brave girl loved me, and wept in my arms. "Goliah! my Goliah!"
said she, "my brave, my beautiful, THOU art returned, and hope
comes back with thee. Oh! who can tell the anguish of my soul,
during this dreadful, dreadful night!" Other similar ejaculations
of love and joy she uttered; and if I HAD perilled life in her
service, if I DID believe that hope of escape there was none, so
exquisite was the moment of our meeting, that I forgot all else in
this overwhelming joy!
. . . . . .
[The Major's description of this meeting, which lasted at the very
most not ten seconds, occupies thirteen pages of writing. We have
been compelled to dock off twelve and a half; for the whole
passage, though highly creditable to his feelings, might possibly
be tedious to the reader.]
. . . . . .
As I said, the ladies and gentlemen were inclined to sneer, and
were giggling audibly. I led the dear girl to a chair, and,
scowling round with a tremendous fierceness, which those who know
me know I can sometimes put on, I shouted out, "Hark ye men and
women--I am this lady's truest knight--her husband I hope one day
to be. I am commander, too, in this fort--the enemy is without it;
another word of mockery--another glance of scorn--and, by heaven, I
will hurl every man and woman from the battlements, a prey to the
ruffianly Holkar!" This quieted them. I am a man of my word, and
none of them stirred or looked disrespectfully from that moment.
It was now MY turn to make THEM look foolish. Mrs. Vandegobbleschroy
(whose unfailing appetite is pretty well known to every person who
has been in India) cried, "Well, Captain Gahagan, your ball has been
so pleasant, and the supper was despatched so long ago, that myself
and the ladies would be very glad of a little breakfast." And Mrs.
Van giggled as if she had made a very witty and reasonable speech.
"Oh! breakfast, breakfast by all means," said the rest; "we really
are dying for a warm cup of tea."
"Is it bohay tay or souchong tay that you'd like, ladies?" says I.
"Nonsense, you silly man; any tea you like," said fat Mrs. Van.
"What do you say, then, to some prime GUNPOWDER?" Of course they
said it was the very thing.
"And do you like hot rowls or cowld--muffins or crumpets--fresh
butter or salt? And you, gentlemen, what do you say to some
ilegant divvled-kidneys for yourselves, and just a trifle of
grilled turkeys, and a couple of hundthred new-laid eggs for the
"Pooh, pooh! be it as you will, my dear fellow," answered they all.
"But stop," says I. "O ladies, O ladies: O gentlemen, gentlemen,
that you should ever have come to the quarters of Goliah Gahagan,
and he been without--"
"What?" said they, in a breath.
"Alas I alas! I have not got a single stick of chocolate in the
"Well, well, we can do without it."
"Or a single pound of coffee."
"Never mind; let that pass too." (Mrs. Van and the rest were
beginning to look alarmed.)
"And about the kidneys--now I remember, the black divvles outside
the fort have seized upon all the sheep; and how are we to have
kidneys without them?" (Here there was a slight o--o--o!)
"And with regard to the milk and crame, it may be remarked that the
cows are likewise in pawn, and not a single drop can be had for
money or love: but we can beat up eggs, you know, in the tay, which
will be just as good."
"Oh! just as good."
"Only the divvle's in the luck, there's not a fresh egg to be had--
no, nor a fresh chicken," continued I, "nor a stale one either; nor
a tayspoonful of souchong, nor a thimbleful of bohay; nor the laste
taste in life of butther, salt or fresh; nor hot rowls or cowld!"
"In the name of heaven!" said Mrs. Van, growing very pale, "what is
"Ladies and gentlemen, I'll tell you what there is now," shouted I.
"Two drumsticks of fowls, and a bone of ham.
Fourteen bottles of ginger-beer," &c. &c. &c.
And I went through the whole list of eatables as before, ending
with the ham-sandwiches and the pot of jelly.
"Law! Mr. Gahagan," said Mrs. Colonel Vandegobbleschroy, "give me
the ham-sandwiches--I must manage to breakfast off them."
And you should have heard the pretty to-do there was at this modest
proposition! Of course I did not accede to it--why should I? I
was the commander of the fort, and intended to keep these three
very sandwiches for the use of myself and my dear Belinda.
"Ladies," said I, "there are in this fort one hundred and twenty-
six souls, and this is all the food which is to last us during the
siege. Meat there is none--of drink there is a tolerable quantity;
and at one o'clock punctually, a glass of wine and one olive shall
be served out to each woman: the men will receive two glasses, and
an olive and a fig--and this must be your food during the siege.
Lord Lake cannot be absent more than three days; and if he be--why,
still there is a chance--why do I say a chance?--a CERTAINTY of
escaping from the hands of these ruffians."
"Oh, name it, name it, dear Captain Gahagan!" screeched the whole
covey at a breath.
"It lies," answered I, "in the POWDER MAGAZINE. I will blow this
fort, and all it contains, to atoms, ere it becomes the prey of
The women, at this, raised a squeal that might have been heard in
Holkar's camp, and fainted in different directions; but my dear
Belinda whispered in my ear, "Well done, thou noble knight! bravely
said, my heart's Goliah!" I felt I was right: I could have blown
her up twenty times for the luxury of that single moment! "And
now, ladies," said I, "I must leave you. The two chaplains will
remain with you to administer professional consolation--the other
gentlemen will follow me up stairs to the ramparts, where I shall
find plenty of work for them."
Loth as they were, these gentlemen had nothing for it but to obey,
and they accordingly followed me to the ramparts, where I proceeded
to review my men. The fort, in my absence, had been left in
command of Lieutenant Macgillicuddy, a countryman of my own (with
whom, as may be seen in an early chapter of my memoirs, I had an
affair of honor); and the prisoner Bobbachy Bahawder, whom I had
only stunned, never wishing to kill him, had been left in charge of
that officer. Three of the garrison (one of them a man of the
Ahmednuggar Irregulars, my own body-servant, Ghorumsaug above
named,) were appointed to watch the captive by turns, and never
leave him out of their sight. The lieutenant was instructed to
look to them and to their prisoner, and as Bobbachy was severely
injured by the blow which I had given him, and was, moreover, bound
hand and foot, and gagged smartly with cords, I considered myself
sure of his person.
Macgillicuddy did not make his appearance when I reviewed my little
force, and the three havildars were likewise absent: this did not
surprise me, as I had told them not to leave their prisoner; but
desirous to speak with the lieutenant, I despatched a messenger to
him, and ordered him to appear immediately.
The messenger came back; he was looking ghastly pale: he whispered
some information into my ear, which instantly caused me to hasten
to the apartments where I had caused Bobbachy Bahawder to be
The men had fled;--Bobbachy had fled; and in his place, fancy my
astonishment when I found--with a rope cutting his naturally wide
mouth almost into his ears--with a dreadful sabre-cut across his
forehead--with his legs tied over his head, and his arms tied
between his legs--my unhappy, my attached friend--Mortimer
He had been in this position for about three hours--it was the very
position in which I had caused Bobbachy Bahawder to be placed--an
attitude uncomfortable, it is true, but one which renders escape
impossible, unless treason aid the prisoner.
I restored the lieutenant to his natural erect position: I poured
half a bottle of whiskey down the immensely enlarged orifice of his
mouth, and when he had been released, he informed me of the
circumstances that had taken place.
Fool that I was! idiot!--upon my return to the fort, to have been
anxious about my personal appearance, and to have spent a couple of
hours in removing the artificial blackening from my beard and
complexion, instead of going to examine my prisoner--when his
escape would have been prevented. O foppery, foppery!--it was that
cursed love of personal appearance which had led me to forget my
duty to my general, my country, my monarch, and my own honor!
Thus it was that the escape took place:--My own fellow of the
Irregulars, whom I had summoned to dress me, performed the
operation to my satisfaction, invested me with the elegant uniform
of my corps, and removed the Pitan's disguise, which I had taken
from the back of the prostrate Bobbachy Bahawder. What did the
rogue do next?--Why, he carried back the dress to the Bobbachy--he
put it, once more, on its right owner; he and his infernal black
companions (who had been won over by the Bobbachy with promises of
enormous reward), gagged Macgillicuddy, who was going the rounds,
and then marched with the Indian coolly up to the outer gate, and
gave the word. The sentinel, thinking it was myself, who had first
come in, and was as likely to go out again,--(indeed my rascally
valet said that Gahagan Sahib was about to go out with him and his
two companions to reconnoitre,)--opened the gates, and off they
This accounted for the confusion of my valet when I entered!--and
for the scoundrel's speech, that the lieutenant had JUST BEEN THE
ROUNDS;--he HAD, poor fellow, and had been seized and bound in this
cruel way. The three men, with their liberated prisoner, had just
been on the point of escape, when my arrival disconcerted them: I
had changed the guard at the gate (whom they had won over
likewise); and yet, although they had overcome poor Mac, and
although they were ready for the start, they had positively no
means for effecting their escape, until I was ass enough to put
means in their way. Fool! fool! thrice besotted fool that I was,
to think of my own silly person when I should have been occupied
solely with my public duty.
From Macgillicuddy's incoherent accounts, as he was gasping from
the effects of the gag and the whiskey he had taken to revive him,
and from my own subsequent observations, I learned this sad story.
A sudden and painful thought struck me--my precious box!--I rushed
back, I found that box--I have it still. Opening it, there, where
I had left ingots, sacks of bright tomauns, kopeks and rupees,
strings of diamonds as big as ducks' eggs, rubies as red as the
lips of my Belinda, countless strings of pearls, amethysts,
emeralds, piles upon piles of bank-notes--I found--a piece of
paper! with a few lines in the Sanscrit language, which are thus,
word for word, translated:
"(On disappointing a certain Major.)
"The conquering Lion return'd with his prey,
And safe in his cavern he set it,
The sly little fox stole the booty away;
And, as he escaped, to the lion did say,
'AHA! don't you wish you may get it?'"
Confusion! Oh, how my blood boiled as I read these cutting lines.
I stamped,--I swore,--I don't know to what insane lengths my rage
might have carried me, had not at this moment a soldier rushed in,
screaming, "The enemy, the enemy!"
It was high time, indeed, that I should make my appearance. Waving
my sword with one hand, and seizing my telescope with the other, I
at once frightened and examined the enemy. Well they knew when
they saw that flamingo-plume floating in the breeze--that awful
figure standing in the breach--that waving war-sword sparkling in
the sky--well, I say, they knew the name of the humble individual
who owned the sword, the plume, and the figure. The ruffians were
mustered in front, the cavalry behind. The flags were flying, the
drums, gongs, tambourines, violoncellos, and other instruments of
Eastern music, raised in the air a strange, barbaric melody; the
officers (yatabals), mounted on white dromedaries, were seen
galloping to and fro, carrying to the advancing hosts the orders of
You see that two sides of the fort of Futtyghur (rising as it does
on a rock that is almost perpendicular) are defended by the
Burrumpooter river, two hundred feet deep at this point, and a
thousand yards wide, so that I had no fear about them attacking me
in THAT quarter. My guns, therefore (with their six-and-thirty
miserable charges of shot) were dragged round to the point at which
I conceived Holkar would be most likely to attack me. I was in a
situation that I did not dare to fire, except at such times as I
could kill a hundred men by a single discharge of a cannon; so the
attacking party marched and marched, very strongly, about a mile
and a half off, the elephants marching without receiving the
slightest damage from us, until they had come to within four
hundred yards of our walls (the rogues knew all the secrets of our
weakness, through the betrayal of the dastardly Ghorumsaug, or they
never would have ventured so near). At that distance--it was about
the spot where the Futtyghur hill began gradually to rise--the
invading force stopped; the elephants drew up in a line, at right
angles with our wall (the fools! they thought they should expose
themselves too much by taking a position parallel to it); the
cavalry halted too, and--after the deuce's own flourish of trumpets
and banging of gongs, to be sure,--somebody, in a flame-colored
satin-dress, with an immense jewel blazing in his pugree (that
looked through my telescope like a small but very bright planet),
got up from the back of one of the very biggest elephants, and
began a speech.
The elephants were, as I said, in a line formed with admirable
precision, about three hundred of them. The following little
diagram will explain matters:--
E is the line of elephants. F is the wall of the fort. G a gun in
the fort. NOW the reader will see what I did.
The elephants were standing, their trunks waggling to and fro
gracefully before them; and I, with superhuman skill and activity,
brought the gun G (a devilish long brass gun) to bear upon them. I
pointed it myself; bang! it went, and what was the consequence?
F is the fort, as before. G is the gun, as before. E, the
elephants, as we have previously seen them. What then is X? X IS
THE LINE TAKEN BY THE BALL FIRED FROM G, which took off ONE HUNDRED
AND THIRTY-FOUR elephants' trunks, and only spent itself in the
tusk of a very old animal, that stood the hundred and thirty-fifth.
I say that such a shot was never fired before or since; that a gun
was never pointed in such a way. Suppose I had been a common man,
and contented myself with firing bang at the head of the first
animal? An ass would have done it, prided himself had he hit his
mark, and what would have been the consequence? Why, that the ball
might have killed two elephants and wounded a third; but here,
probably, it would have stopped, and done no further mischief. The
TRUNK was the place at which to aim; there are no bones there; and
away, consequently, went the bullet, shearing, as I have said,
through one hundred and thirty-five probosces. Heavens! what a
howl there was when the shot took effect! What a sudden stoppage
of Holkar's speech! What a hideous snorting of elephants! What a
rush backwards was made by the whole army, as if some demon was
Away they went. No sooner did I see them in full retreat, than,
rushing forward myself, I shouted to my men, "My friends, yonder
lies your dinner!" We flung open the gates--we tore down to the
spot where the elephants had fallen: seven of them were killed; and
of those that escaped to die of their hideous wounds elsewhere,
most had left their trunks behind them. A great quantity of them
we seized; and I myself, cutting up with my scimitar a couple of
the fallen animals, as a butcher would a calf, motioned to the men
to take the pieces back to the fort, where barbacued elephant was
served round for dinner, instead of the miserable allowance of an
olive and a glass of wine, which I had promised to my female
friends, in my speech to them. The animal reserved for the ladies
was a young white one--the fattest and tenderest I ever ate, in my
life: they are very fair eating, but the flesh has an India-rubber
flavor, which, until one is accustomed to it, is unpalatable.
It was well that I had obtained this supply, for, during my absence
on the works, Mrs. Vandegobbleschroy and one or two others had
forced their way into the supper-room, and devoured every morsel of
the garrison larder, with the exception of the cheeses, the olives,
and the wine, which were locked up in my own apartment, before
which stood a sentinel. Disgusting Mrs. Van! When I heard of her
gluttony, I had almost a mind to eat HER. However, we made a very
comfortable dinner off the barbacued steaks, and when everybody had
done, had the comfort of knowing that there was enough for one meal
The next day, as I expected, the enemy attacked us in great force,
attempting to escalade the fort; but by the help of my guns, and my
good sword, by the distinguished bravery of Lieutenant Macgillicuddy
and the rest of the garrison, we beat this attack off completely,
the enemy sustaining a loss of seven hundred men. We were
victorious; but when another attack was made, what were we to do?
We had still a little powder left, but had fired off all the shot,
stones, iron-bars, &c. in the garrison! On this day, too, we
devoured the last morsel of our food: I shall never forget Mrs.
Vandegobbleschroy's despairing look, as I saw her sitting alone,
attempting to make some impression on the little white elephant's
The third day the attack was repeated. The resources of genius are
never at an end. Yesterday I had no ammunition; to-day, I
discovered charges sufficient for two guns, and two swivels, which
were much longer, but had bores of about blunderbuss size.
This time my friend Loll Mahommed, who had received, as the reader
may remember, such a bastinadoing for my sake, headed the attack.
The poor wretch could not walk, but he was carried in an open
palanquin, and came on waving his sword, and cursing horribly in
his Hindustan jargon. Behind him came troops of matchlock-men, who
picked off every one of our men who showed their noses above the
ramparts: and a great host of blackamoors with scaling-ladders,
bundles to fill the ditch, fascines, gabions, culverins, demilunes,
counterscarps, and all the other appurtenances of offensive war.
On they came: my guns and men were ready for them. You will ask
how my pieces were loaded? I answer, that though my garrison were
without food, I knew my duty as an officer, and had put the two
Dutch cheeses into the two guns, and had crammed the contents of a
bottle of olives into each swivel.
They advanced,--whish! went one of the Dutch cheeses,--bang! went
the other. Alas! they did little execution. In their first
contact with an opposing body, they certainly floored it but they
became at once like so much Welsh-rabbit, and did no execution
beyond the man whom they struck down.
"Hogree, pogree, wongree-fum (praise to Allah and the forty-nine
Imaums!)" shouted out the ferocious Loll Mahommed when he saw the
failure of my shot. "Onward, sons of the Prophet! the infidel has
no more ammunition. A hundred thousand lakhs of rupees to the man
who brings me Gahagan's head!"
His men set up a shout, and rushed forward--he, to do him justice,
was at the very head, urging on his own palanquin-bearers, and
poking them with the tip of his scimitar. They came panting up the
hill: I was black with rage, but it was the cold, concentrated rage
of despair. "Macgillicuddy," said I, calling that faithful
officer, "you know where the barrels of powder are?" He did. "You
know the use to make of them?" He did. He grasped my hand.
"Goliah," said he, "farewell! I swear that the fort shall be in
atoms, as soon as yonder unbelievers have carried it. Oh, my poor
mother!" added the gallant youth, as sighing, yet fearless, he
retired to his post.
I gave one thought to my blessed, my beautiful Belinda, and then,
stepping into the front, took down one of the swivels;--a shower of
matchlock balls came whizzing round my head. I did not heed them.
I took the swivel, and aimed coolly. Loll Mahommed, his palanquin,
and his men, were now not above two hundred yards from the fort.
Loll was straight before me, gesticulating and shouting to his men.
I fired--bang! ! !
I aimed so true, that one hundred and seventeen best Spanish olives
were lodged in a lump in the face of the unhappy Loll Mahommed.
The wretch, uttering a yell the most hideous and unearthly I ever
heard, fell back dead; the frightened bearers flung down the
palanquin and ran--the whole host ran as one man: their screams
might be heard for leagues. "Tomasha, tomasha," they cried, "it is
enchantment!" Away they fled, and the victory a third time was
ours. Soon as the fight was done, I flew back to my Belinda. We
had eaten nothing for twenty-four hours, but I forgot hunger in the
thought of once more beholding HER!
The sweet soul turned towards me with a sickly smile as I entered,
and almost fainted in my arms; but alas! it was not love which
caused in her bosom an emotion so strong--it was hunger! "Oh! my
Goliah," whispered she, "for three days I have not tasted food--
I could not eat that horrid elephant yesterday; but now--oh!
heaven! . . . ." She could say no more, but sank almost lifeless
on my shoulder. I administered to her a trifling dram of rum, which
revived her for a moment, and then rushed down stairs, determined
that if it were a piece of my own leg, she should still have
something to satisfy her hunger. Luckily I remembered that three or
four elephants were still lying in the field, having been killed by
us in the first action, two days before. Necessity, thought I, has
no law; my adorable girl must eat elephant, until she can get
I rushed into the court where the men were, for the most part,
assembled. "Men," said I, "our larder is empty; we must fill it as
we did the day before yesterday. Who will follow Gahagan on a
foraging party?" I expected that, as on former occasions, every
man would offer to accompany me.
To my astonishment, not a soul moved--a murmur arose among the
troops; and at last one of the oldest and bravest came forward.
"Captain," he said, "it is of no use; we cannot feed upon elephants
for ever; we have not a grain of powder left, and must give up the
fort when the attack is made to-morrow. We may as well be
prisoners now as then, and we won't go elephant-hunting any more."
"Ruffian!" I said, "he who first talks of surrender, dies!" and I
cut him down. "Is there any one else who wishes to speak?"
No one stirred.
"Cowards! miserable cowards!" shouted I; "what, you dare not move
for fear of death, at the hands of those wretches who even now fled
before your arms--what, do I say YOUR arms?--before MINE!--alone I
did it; and as alone I routed the foe, alone I will victual the
fortress! Ho! open the gate!"
I rushed out; not a single man would follow. The bodies of the
elephants that we had killed still lay on the ground where they had
fallen, about four hundred yards from the fort. I descended calmly
the hill, a very steep one, and coming to the spot, took my pick of
the animals, choosing a tolerably small and plump one, of about
thirteen feet high, which the vultures had respected. I threw this
animal over my shoulders, and made for the fort.
As I marched up the acclivity, whiz--piff--whir! came the balls
over my head; and pitter-patter, pitter-patter! they fell on the
body of the elephant like drops of rain. The enemy were behind me;
I knew it, and quickened my pace. I heard the gallop of their
horse: they came nearer, nearer; I was within a hundred yards of
the fort--seventy--fifty! I strained every nerve; I panted with
the superhuman exertion--I ran--could a man run very fast with such
a tremendous weight on his shoulders?
Up came the enemy; fifty horsemen were shouting and screaming at my
tail. O heaven! five yards more--one moment--and I am saved! It
is done--I strain the last strain--I make the last step--I fling
forward my precious burden into the gate opened wide to receive me
and it, and--I fall! The gate thunders to, and I am left ON THE
OUTSIDE! Fifty knives are gleaming before my bloodshot eyes--fifty
black hands are at my throat, when a voice exclaims, "Stop!--kill
him not, it is Gujputi!" A film came over my eyes--exhausted
nature would bear no more.
SURPRISE OF FUTTYGHUR.
When I awoke from the trance into which I had fallen, I found
myself in a bath, surrounded by innumerable black faces; and a
Hindoo pothukoor (whence our word apothecary) feeling my pulse and
looking at me with an air of sagacity.
"Where am I?" I exclaimed, looking round and examining the strange
faces, and the strange apartment which met my view. "Bekhusm!"
said the apothecary. "Silence! Gahagan Sahib is in the hands of
those who know his valor, and will save his life."
"Know my valor, slave? Of course you do," said I; "but the fort--
the garrison--the elephant--Belinda, my love--my darling--
Macgillicuddy--the scoundrelly mutineers--the deal bo-- . . . ."
I could say no more; the painful recollections pressed so heavily
upon my poor shattered mind and frame, that both failed once more.
I fainted again, and I know not how long I lay insensible.
Again, however, I came to my senses: the pothukoor applied
restoratives, and after a slumber of some hours I awoke, much
refreshed. I had no wound; my repeated swoons had been brought on
(as indeed well they might) by my gigantic efforts in carrying the
elephant up a steep hill a quarter of a mile in length. Walking,
the task is bad enough: but running, it is the deuce; and I would
recommend any of my readers who may be disposed to try and carry a
dead elephant, never, on any account, to go a pace of more than
five miles an hour.
Scarcely was I awake, when I heard the clash of arms at my door
(plainly indicating that sentinels were posted there), and a single
old gentleman, richly habited, entered the room. Did my eyes
deceive me? I had surely seen him before. No--yes--no--yes--it
WAS he: the snowy white beard, the mild eyes, the nose flattened to
a jelly, and level with the rest of the venerable face, proclaimed
him at once to be--Saadut Alee Beg Bimbukchee, Holkar's prime
vizier; whose nose, as the reader may recollect, his Highness had
flattened with his kaleawn during my interview with him in the
Pitan's disguise. I now knew my fate but too well--I was in the
hands of Holkar.
Saadut Alee Beg Bimbukchee slowly advanced towards me, and with a
mild air of benevolence, which distinguished that excellent man (he
was torn to pieces by wild horses the year after, on account of a
difference with Holkar), he came to my bedside, and taking gently
my hand, said, "Life and death, my son, are not ours. Strength is
deceitful, valor is unavailing, fame is only wind--the nightingale
sings of the rose all night--where is the rose in the morning?
Booch, booch! it is withered by a frost. The rose makes remarks
regarding the nightingale, and where is that delightful song-bird?
Penabekhoda, he is netted, plucked, spitted, and roasted! Who
knows how misfortune comes? It has come to Gahagan Gujputi!"
"It is well," said I, stoutly, and in the Malay language. "Gahagan
Gujputi will bear it like a man."
"No doubt--like a wise man and a brave one; but there is no lane so
long to which there is not a turning, no night so black to which
there comes not a morning. Icy winter is followed by merry spring-
time--grief is often succeeded by joy."
"Interpret, O riddler!" said I; "Gahagan Khan is no reader of
puzzles--no prating mollah. Gujputi loves not words, but swords."
"Listen, then, O Gujputi: you are in Holkar's power."
"I know it."
"You will die by the most horrible tortures to-morrow morning."
"I dare say."
"They will tear your teeth from your jaws, your nails from your
fingers, and your eyes from your head."
"They will flay you alive, and then burn you."
"Well; they can't do any more."
"They will seize upon every man and woman in yonder fort,"--it was
not then taken!--"and repeat upon them the same tortures."
"Ha! Belinda! Speak--how can all this be avoided?"
"Listen. Gahagan loves the moon-face called Belinda."
"He does, Vizier, to distraction."
"Of what rank is he in the Koompani's army?"
"A miserable captain--oh shame! Of what creed is he?"
"I am an Irishman, and a Catholic."
"But he has not been very particular about his religious duties?"
"He has not been to his mosque for these twelve years?"
"'Tis too true."
"Hearken now, Gahagan Khan. His Highness Prince Holkar has sent me
to thee. You shall have the moon-face for your wife--your second
wife, that is;--the first shall be the incomparable Puttee Rooge,
who loves you to madness;--with Puttee Rooge, who is the wife, you
shall have the wealth and rank of Bobbachy Bahawder, of whom his
Highness intends to get rid. You shall be second in command of his
Highness's forces. Look, here is his commission signed with the
celestial seal, and attested by the sacred names of the forty-nine
Imaums. You have but to renounce your religion and your service,
and all these rewards are yours."
He produced a parchment, signed as he said, and gave it to me (it
was beautifully written in Indian ink: I had it for fourteen years,
but a rascally valet, seeing it very dirty, WASHED it, forsooth,
and washed off every bit of the writing). I took it calmly, and
said, "This is a tempting offer. O Vizier, how long wilt thou give
me to consider of it?"
After a long parley, he allowed me six hours, when I promised to
give him an answer. My mind, however, was made up--as soon as he
was gone, I threw myself on the sofa and fell asleep.
. . . . . .
At the end of the six hours the Vizier came back: two people were
with him; one, by his martial appearance, I knew to be Holkar, the
other I did not recognize. It was about midnight.
"Have you considered?" said the Vizier as he came to my couch.
"I have," said I, sitting up,--I could not stand, for my legs were
tied, and my arms fixed in a neat pair of steel handcuffs. "I
have," said I, "unbelieving dogs! I have. Do you think to pervert
a Christian gentleman from his faith and honor? Ruffian
blackamoors! do your worst; heap tortures on this body, they cannot
last long. Tear me to pieces: after you have torn me into a
certain number of pieces, I shall not feel it; and if I did, if
each torture could last a life, if each limb were to feel the
agonies of a whole body, what then? I would bear all--all--all--
all--all--ALL!" My breast heaved--my form dilated--my eye flashed
as I spoke these words. "Tyrants!" said I, "dulce et decorum est
pro patria mori." Having thus clinched the argument, I was silent.
The venerable Grand Vizier turned away; I saw a tear trickling down
"What a constancy," said he. "Oh, that such beauty and such
bravery should be doomed so soon to quit the earth!"
His tall companion only sneered and said, "AND BELINDA--?"
"Ha!" said I, "ruffian, be still!--heaven will protect her spotless
innocence. Holkar, I know thee, and thou knowest ME too! Who,
with his single sword, destroyed thy armies? Who, with his pistol,
cleft in twain thy nose-ring? Who slew thy generals? Who slew thy
elephants? Three hundred mighty beasts went forth to battle: of
these I slew one hundred and thirty-five! Dog, coward, ruffian,
tyrant, unbeliever! Gahagan hates thee, spurns thee, spits on
Holkar, as I made these uncomplimentary remarks, gave a scream of
rage, and, drawing his scimitar, rushed on to despatch me at once
(it was the very thing I wished for), when the third person sprang
forward, and seizing his arm, cried--
"Papa! oh, save him!" It was Puttee Rooge! "Remember," continued
she, "his misfortunes--remember, oh, remember my--love!"--and here
she blushed, and putting one finger into her mouth, and banging
down her head, looked the very picture of modest affection.
Holkar sulkily sheathed his scimitar, and muttered, "'Tis better as
it is; had I killed him now, I had spared him the torture. None of
this shameless fooling, Puttee Rooge," continued the tyrant,
dragging her away. "Captain Gahagan dies three hours from hence."
Puttee Rooge gave one scream and fainted--her father and the Vizier
carried her off between them; nor was I loth to part with her, for,
with all her love, she was as ugly as the deuce.
They were gone--my fate was decided. I had but three hours more of
life: so I flung myself again on the sofa, and fell profoundly
asleep. As it may happen to any of my readers to be in the same
situation, and to be hanged themselves, let me earnestly entreat
them to adopt this plan of going to sleep, which I for my part have
repeatedly found to be successful. It saves unnecessary annoyance,
it passes away a great deal of unpleasant time, and it prepares one
to meet like a man the coming catastrophe.
. . . . . .
Three o'clock came: the sun was at this time making his appearance
in the heavens, and with it came the guards, who were appointed to
conduct me to the torture. I woke, rose, was carried out, and was
set on the very white donkey on which Loll Mahommed was conducted
through the camp after he was bastinadoed. Bobbachy Bahawder rode
behind me, restored to his rank and state; troops of cavalry hemmed
us in on all sides; my ass was conducted by the common executioner:
a crier went forward, shouting out, "Make way for the destroyer of
the faithful--he goes to bear the punishment of his crimes." We
came to the fatal plain: it was the very spot whence I had borne
away the elephant, and in full sight of the fort. I looked towards
it. Thank heaven! King George's banner waved on it still--a crowd
were gathered on the walls--the men, the dastards who had deserted
me--and women, too. Among the latter I thought I distinguished ONE
who--O gods! the thought turned me sick--I trembled and looked pale
for the first time.
"He trembles! he turns pale," shouted out Bobbachy Bahawder,
ferociously exulting over his conquered enemy.
"Dog!" shouted I--(I was sitting with my head to the donkey's tail,
and so looked the Bobbachy full in the face)--"not so pale as you
looked when I felled you with this arm--not so pale as your women
looked when I entered your harem!" Completely chop-fallen, the
Indian ruffian was silent: at any rate, I had done for HIM.
We arrived at the place of execution. A stake, a couple of feet
thick and eight high, was driven in the grass: round the stake,
about seven feet from the ground, was an iron ring, to which were
attached two fetters; in these my wrists were placed. Two or three
executioners stood near, with strange-looking instruments: others
were blowing at a fire, over which was a caldron, and in the embers
were stuck other prongs and instruments of iron.
The crier came forward and read my sentence. It was the same in
effect as that which had been hinted to me the day previous by the
Grand Vizier. I confess I was too agitated to catch every word
that was spoken.
Holkar himself, on a tall dromedary, was at a little distance. The
Grand Vizier came up to me--it was his duty to stand by, and see
the punishment performed. "It is yet time!" said he.
I nodded my head, but did not answer.
The Vizier cast up to heaven a look of inexpressible anguish, and
with a voice choking with emotion, said, "EXECUTIONER--DO--YOUR--
The horrid man advanced--he whispered sulkily in the ears of the
Grand Vizier, "Guggly ka ghee, hum khedgeree," said he, "the oil
does not boil yet--wait one minute." The assistants blew, the fire
blazed, the oil was heated. The Vizier drew a few feet aside:
taking a large ladle full of the boiling liquid, he advanced--
. . . . . .
"Whish! bang, bang! pop!" the executioner was dead at my feet, shot
through the head; the ladle of scalding oil had been dashed in the
face of the unhappy Grand Vizier, who lay on the plain, howling.
"Whish! bang! pop! Hurrah!--charge!--forwards!--cut them down!--no
I saw--yes, no, yes, no, yes!--I saw regiment upon regiment of
galloping British horsemen riding over the ranks of the flying
natives. First of the host, I recognized, O heaven! my AHMEDNUGGAR
IRREGULARS! On came the gallant line of black steeds and horsemen,
swift, swift before them rode my officers in yellow--Glogger,
Pappendick, and Stuffle; their sabres gleamed in the sun, their
voices rung in the air. "D--- them!" they cried, "give it them,
boys!" A strength supernatural thrilled through my veins at that
delicious music: by one tremendous effort, I wrested the post from
its foundation, five feet in the ground. I could not release my
hands from the fetters, it is true; but, grasping the beam tightly,
I sprung forward--with one blow I levelled the five executioners in
the midst of the fire, their fall upsetting the scalding oil-can;
with the next, I swept the bearers of Bobbachy's palanquin off
their legs; with the third, I caught that chief himself in the
small of the back, and sent him flying on to the sabres of my
The next minute, Glogger and Stuffle were in my arms, Pappendick
leading on the Irregulars. Friend and foe in that wild chase had
swept far away. We were alone; I was freed from my immense bar;
and ten minutes afterwards, when Lord Lake trotted up with his
staff, he found me sitting on it.
"Look at Gahagan," said his lordship. "Gentlemen, did I not tell
you we should be sure to find him AT HIS POST?"
The gallant old nobleman rode on: and this was the famous BATTLE OF
FURRUCKABAD, OR SURPRISE OF FUTTYGHUR, fought on the 17th of
. . . . . .
About a month afterwards, the following announcement appeared in
the Boggleywollah Hurkaru and other Indian papers:--"Married, on
the 25th of December, at Futtyghur, by the Rev. Dr. Snorter,
Captain Goliah O'Grady Gahagan, Commanding Irregular Horse,
Abmednuggar, to Belinda, second daughter of Major-General Bulcher,
C.B. His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief gave away the bride;
and after a splendid dejeune, the happy pair set off to pass the
Mango season at Hurrygurrybang. Venus must recollect, however,
that Mars must not ALWAYS be at her side. The Irregulars are
nothing without their leader."
Such was the paragraph--such the event--the happiest in the
G. O'G. G., M. H. E. I. C. S., C. I. H. A.
A LEGEND OF THE RHINE.
SIR LUDWIG OF HOMBOURG.
It was in the good old days of chivalry, when every mountain that
bathes its shadow in the Rhine had its castle: not inhabited, as
now, by a few rats and owls, nor covered with moss and wallflowers,
and funguses, and creeping ivy. No, no! where the ivy now clusters
there grew strong portcullis and bars of steel; where the
wallflower now quivers in the rampart there were silken banners
embroidered with wonderful heraldry; men-at-arms marched where now
you shall only see a bank of moss or a hideous black champignon;
and in place of the rats and owlets, I warrant me there were ladies
and knights to revel in the great halls, and to feast, and to
dance, and to make love there. They are passed away:--those old
knights and ladies: their golden hair first changed to silver, and
then the silver dropped off and disappeared for ever; their elegant
legs, so slim and active in the dance, became swollen and gouty,
and then, from being swollen and gouty, dwindled down to bare bone-
shanks; the roses left their cheeks, and then their cheeks
disappeared, and left their skulls, and then their skulls powdered
into dust, and all sign of them was gone. And as it was with them,
so shall it be with us. Ho, seneschal! fill me a cup of liquor!
put sugar in it, good fellow--yea, and a little hot water; a very
little, for my soul is sad, as I think of those days and knights of
They, too, have revelled and feasted, and where are they?--gone?--
nay, not altogether gone; for doth not the eye catch glimpses of
them as they walk yonder in the gray limbo of romance, shining
faintly in their coats of steel, wandering by the side of long-
haired ladies, with long-tailed gowns that little pages carry?
Yes! one sees them: the poet sees them still in the far-off
Cloudland, and hears the ring of their clarions as they hasten to
battle or tourney--and the dim echoes of their lutes chanting of
love and fair ladies! Gracious privilege of poesy! It is as the
Dervish's collyrium to the eyes, and causes them to see treasures
that to the sight of donkeys are invisible. Blessed treasures of
fancy! I would not change ye--no, not for many donkey-loads of
gold. . . . Fill again, jolly seneschal, thou brave wag; chalk me
up the produce on the hostel door--surely the spirits of old are
mixed up in the wondrous liquor, and gentle visions of bygone
princes and princesses look blandly down on us from the cloudy
perfume of the pipe. Do you know in what year the fairies left the
Rhine?--long before Murray's "Guide-Book" was wrote--long before
squat steamboats, with snorting funnels, came paddling down the
stream. Do you not know that once upon a time the appearance of
eleven thousand British virgins was considered at Cologne as a
wonder? Now there come twenty thousand such annually, accompanied
by their ladies'-maids. But of them we will say no more--let us
back to those who went before them.
Many, many hundred thousand years ago, and at the exact period when
chivalry was in full bloom, there occurred a little history upon
the banks of the Rhine, which has been already written in a book,
and hence must be positively true. 'Tis a story of knights and
ladies--of love and battle, and virtue rewarded; a story of princes
and noble lords, moreover: the best of company. Gentles, an ye
will, ye shall hear it. Fair dames and damsels, may your loves be
as happy as those of the heroine of this romaunt.
On the cold and rainy evening of Thursday, the 26th of October, in
the year previously indicated, such travellers as might have
chanced to be abroad in that bitter night, might have remarked a
fellow-wayfarer journeying on the road from Oberwinter to
Godesberg. He was a man not tall in stature, but of the most
athletic proportions, and Time, which had browned and furrowed his
cheek and sprinkled his locks with gray, declared pretty clearly
that He must have been acquainted with the warrior for some fifty
good years. He was armed in mail, and rode a powerful and active
battle-horse, which (though the way the pair had come that day was
long and weary indeed,) yet supported the warrior, his armor and
luggage, with seeming ease. As it was in a friend's country, the
knight did not think fit to wear his heavy destrier, or helmet,
which hung at his saddlebow over his portmanteau. Both were marked
with the coronet of a count; and from the crown which surmounted
the helmet, rose the crest of his knightly race, an arm proper
lifting a naked sword.
At his right hand, and convenient to the warrior's grasp, hung his
mangonel or mace--a terrific weapon which had shattered the brains
of many a turbaned soldan; while over his broad and ample chest
there fell the triangular shield of the period, whereon were
emblazoned his arms--argent, a gules wavy, on a saltire reversed of
the second: the latter device was awarded for a daring exploit
before Ascalon, by the Emperor Maximilian, and a reference to the
German Peerage of that day, or a knowledge of high families which
every gentleman then possessed, would have sufficed to show at once
that the rider we have described was of the noble house of
Hombourg. It was, in fact, the gallant knight Sir Ludwig of
Hombourg: his rank as a count, and chamberlain of the Emperor of
Austria, was marked by the cap of maintenance with the peacock's
feather which he wore (when not armed for battle), and his princely
blood was denoted by the oiled silk umbrella which he carried (a
very meet protection against the pitiless storm), and which, as it
is known, in the middle ages, none but princes were justified in
using. A bag, fastened with a brazen padlock, and made of the
costly produce of the Persian looms (then extremely rare in
Europe), told that he had travelled in Eastern climes. This, too,
was evident from the inscription writ on card or parchment, and
sewed on the bag. It first ran "Count Ludwig de Hombourg,
Jerusalem;" but the name of the Holy City had been dashed out with
the pen, and that of "Godesberg" substituted. So far indeed had
the cavalier travelled!--and it is needless to state that the bag
in question contained such remaining articles of the toilet as the
high-born noble deemed unnecessary to place in his valise.
"By Saint Bugo of Katzenellenbogen!" said the good knight,
shivering, "'tis colder here than at Damascus! Marry, I am so
hungry I could eat one of Saladin's camels. Shall I be at
Godesberg in time for dinner?" And taking out his horologe (which
hung in a small side-pocket of his embroidered surcoat), the
crusader consoled himself by finding that it was but seven of the
night, and that he would reach Godesberg ere the warder had sounded
the second gong.
His opinion was borne out by the result. His good steed, which
could trot at a pinch fourteen leagues in the hour, brought him to
this famous castle, just as the warder was giving the first welcome
signal which told that the princely family of Count Karl, Margrave
of Godesberg, were about to prepare for their usual repast at eight
o'clock. Crowds of pages and horse-keepers were in the court,
when, the portcullis being raised, and amidst the respectful
salutes of the sentinels, the most ancient friend of the house of
Godesberg entered into its castle-yard. The under-butler stepped
forward to take his bridle-rein. "Welcome, Sir Count, from the
Holy Land!" exclaimed the faithful old man. "Welcome, Sir Count,
from the Holy Land!" cried the rest of the servants in the hall. A
stable was speedily found for the Count's horse, Streithengst, and
it was not before the gallant soldier had seen that true animal
well cared for, that he entered the castle itself, and was
conducted to his chamber. Wax-candles burning bright on the
mantel, flowers in china vases, every variety of soap, and a flask
of the precious essence manufactured at the neighboring city of
Cologne, were displayed on his toilet-table; a cheering fire
"crackled on the hearth," and showed that the good knight's coming
had been looked and cared for. The serving-maidens, bringing him
hot water for his ablutions, smiling asked, "Would he have his
couch warmed at eve?" One might have been sure from their blushes
that the tough old soldier made an arch reply. The family tonsor
came to know whether the noble Count had need of his skill. "By
Saint Bugo," said the knight, as seated in an easy settle by the
fire, the tonsor rid his chin of its stubby growth, and lightly
passed the tongs and pomatum through "the sable silver" of his
hair,--"By Saint Bugo, this is better than my dungeon at Grand
Cairo. How is my godson Otto, master barber; and the lady
countess, his mother; and the noble Count Karl, my dear brother-
"They are well," said the tonsor, with a sigh.
"By Saint Bugo, I'm glad on't; but why that sigh?"
"Things are not as they have been with my good lord," answered the
hairdresser, "ever since Count Gottfried's arrival."
"He here!" roared Sir Ludwig. "Good never came where Gottfried
was!" and the while he donned a pair of silken hose, that showed
admirably the proportions of his lower limbs, and exchanged his
coat of mail for the spotless vest and black surcoat collared with
velvet of Genoa, which was the fitting costume for "knight in
ladye's bower," the knight entered into a conversation with the
barber, who explained to him, with the usual garrulousness of his
tribe, what was the present position of the noble family of
This will be narrated in the next chapter.
'Tis needless to state that the gallant warrior Ludwig of Hombourg
found in the bosom of his friend's family a cordial welcome. The
brother-in-arms of the Margrave Karl, he was the esteemed friend of
the Margravine, the exalted and beautiful Theodora of Boppum, and
(albeit no theologian, and although the first princes of
Christendom coveted such an honor,) he was selected to stand as
sponsor for the Margrave's son Otto, the only child of his house.
It was now seventeen years since the Count and Countess had been
united: and although heaven had not blessed their couch with more
than one child, it may be said of that one that it was a prize, and
that surely never lighted on the earth a more delightful vision.
When Count Ludwig, hastening to the holy wars, had quitted his
beloved godchild, he had left him a boy; he now found him, as the
latter rushed into his arms, grown to be one of the finest young
men in Germany: tall and excessively graceful in proportion, with
the blush of health mantling upon his cheek, that was likewise
adorned with the first down of manhood, and with magnificent golden
ringlets, such as a Rowland might envy, curling over his brow and
his shoulders. His eyes alternately beamed with the fire of
daring, or melted with the moist glance of benevolence. Well might
a mother be proud of such a boy. Well might the brave Ludwig
exclaim, as he clasped the youth to his breast, "By St. Bugo of
Katzenellenbogen, Otto, thou art fit to be one of Coeur de Lion's
grenadiers!" and it was the fact: the "Childe" of Godesberg
measured six feet three.
He was habited for the evening meal in the costly, though simple
attire of the nobleman of the period--and his costume a good deal
resembled that of the old knight whose toilet we have just
described; with the difference of color, however. The pourpoint
worn by young Otto of Godesberg was of blue, handsomely decorated
with buttons of carved and embossed gold; his haut-de-chausses, or
leggings, were of the stuff of Nanquin, then brought by the Lombard
argosies at an immense price from China. The neighboring country
of Holland had supplied his wrists and bosom with the most costly
laces; and thus attired, with an opera-hat placed on one side of
his head, ornamented with a single flower, (that brilliant one, the
tulip,) the boy rushed into his godfather's dressing-room, and
warned him that the banquet was ready.
It was indeed: a frown had gathered on the dark brows of the Lady
Theodora, and her bosom heaved with an emotion akin to indignation;
for she feared lest the soups in the refectory and the splendid
fish now smoking there were getting cold: she feared not for
herself, but for her lord's sake. "Godesberg," whispered she to
Count Ludwig, as trembling on his arm they descended from the
drawing-room, "Godesberg is sadly changed of late."
"By St. Bugo!" said the burly knight, starting, "these are the very
words the barber spake."
The lady heaved a sigh, and placed herself before the soup-tureen.
For some time the good Knight Ludwig of Hombourg was too much
occupied in ladling out the forced-meat balls and rich calves' head
of which the delicious pottage was formed (in ladling them out, did
we say? ay, marry, and in eating them, too,) to look at his
brother-in-arms at the bottom of the table, where he sat with his
son on his left hand, and the Baron Gottfried on his right.
The Margrave was INDEED changed. "By St. Bugo," whispered Ludwig
to the Countess, your husband is as surly as a bear that hath been
wounded o' the head." Tears falling into her soup-plate were her
only reply. The soup, the turbot, the haunch of mutton, Count
Ludwig remarked that the Margrave sent all away untasted.
"The boteler will serve ye with wine, Hombourg," said the Margrave
gloomily from the end of the table: not even an invitation to
drink! how different was this from the old times!
But when in compliance with this order the boteler proceeded to
hand round the mantling vintage of the Cape to the assembled party,
and to fill young Otto's goblet, (which the latter held up with the
eagerness of youth,) the Margrave's rage knew no bounds. He rushed
at his son; he dashed the wine-cup over his spotless vest: and
giving him three or four heavy blows which would have knocked down
a bonassus, but only caused the young Childe to blush: "YOU take
wine!" roared out the Margrave; "YOU dare to help yourself! Who
time d-v-l gave YOU leave to help yourself?" and the terrible blows
were reiterated over the delicate ears of the boy.
"Ludwig! Ludwig!" shrieked the Margravine.
"Hold your prate, madam," roared the Prince. "By St. Buffo, mayn't
a father beat his own child?"
"HIS OWN CHILD!" repeated the Margrave with a burst, almost a
shriek of indescribable agony. "Ah, what did I say?"
Sir Ludwig looked about him in amaze; Sir Gottfried (at the
Margrave's right hand) smiled ghastily; the young Otto was too much
agitated by the recent conflict to wear any expression but that of
extreme discomfiture; but the poor Margravine turned her head aside
and blushed, red almost as the lobster which flanked the turbot
In those rude old times, 'tis known such table quarrels were by no
means unusual amongst gallant knights; and Ludwig, who had oft seen
the Margrave cast a leg of mutton at an offending servitor, or
empty a sauce-boat in the direction of the Margravine, thought this
was but one of the usual outbreaks of his worthy though irascible
friend, and wisely determined to change the converse.
"How is my friend," said he, "the good knight, Sir Hildebrandt?"
"By Saint Buffo, this is too much!" screamed the Margrave, and
actually rushed from time room.
"By Saint Bugo," said his friend, "gallant knights, gentle sirs,
what ails my good Lord Margave?"
"Perhaps his nose bleeds," said Gottfried, with a sneer.
"Ah, my kind friend," said the Margravine with uncontrollable
emotion, "I fear some of you have passed from the frying-pan into
the fire." And making the signal of departure to the ladies, they
rose and retired to coffee in the drawing-room.
The Margrave presently came back again, somewhat more collected
than he had been. "Otto," he said sternly, "go join the ladies: it
becomes not a young boy to remain in the company of gallant knights
after dinner." The noble Childe with manifest unwillingness
quitted the room, and the Margrave, taking his lady's place at the
head of the table, whispered to Sir Ludwig, "Hildebrandt will be
here to-night to an evening-party, given in honor of your return
from Palestine. My good friend--my true friend--my old companion
in arms, Sir Gottfried! you had best see that the fiddlers be not
drunk, and that the crumpets be gotten ready." Sir Gottfried,
obsequiously taking his patron's hint, bowed and left the room.
"You shall know all soon, dear Ludwig," said the Margrave, with a
heart-rending look. "You marked Gottfried, who left the room
"You look incredulous concerning his worth; but I tell thee,
Ludwig, that yonder Gottfried is a good fellow, and my fast friend.
Why should he not be! He is my near relation, heir to my property:
should I" (here the Margrave's countenance assumed its former
expression of excruciating agony),--"SHOULD I HAVE NO SON."
"But I never saw the boy in better health," replied Sir Ludwig.
"Nevertheless,--ha! ha!--it may chance that I shall soon have no
The Margrave had crushed many a cup of wine during dinner, and Sir
Ludwig thought naturally that his gallant friend had drunken rather
deeply. He proceeded in this respect to imitate him; for the stern
soldier of those days neither shrunk before the Paynim nor the
punch-bowl: and many a rousing night had our crusader enjoyed in
Syria with lion-hearted Richard; with his coadjutor, Godfrey of
Bouillon; nay, with the dauntless Saladin himself.
"You knew Gottfried in Palestine?" asked the Margrave.
"Why did ye not greet him then, as ancient comrades should, with
the warm grasp of friendship? It is not because Sir Gottfried is
poor? You know well that he is of race as noble as thine own, my
"I care not for his race nor for his poverty," replied the blunt
crusader. "What says the Minnesinger? 'Marry, that the rank is
but the stamp of the guinea; the man is the gold.' And I tell
thee, Karl of Godesberg, that yonder Gottfried is base metal."
"By Saint Buffo, thou beliest him, dear Ludwig."
"By Saint Bugo, dear Karl, I say sooth. The fellow was known i'
the camp of the crusaders--disreputably known. Ere he joined us in
Palestine, he had sojourned in Constantinople, and learned the arts
of the Greek. He is a cogger of dice, I tell thee--a chanter of
horseflesh. He won five thousand marks from bluff Richard of
England the night before the storming of Ascalon, and I caught him
with false trumps in his pocket. He warranted a bay mare to Conrad
of Mont Serrat, and the rogue had fired her."
"Ha! mean ye that Sir Gottfried is a LEG?" cried Sir Karl, knitting
his brows. "Now, by my blessed patron, Saint Buffo of Bonn, had
any other but Ludwig of Hombourg so said, I would have cloven him
from skull to chine."
"By Saint Bugo of Katzenellenbogen, I will prove my words on Sir
Gottfried's body--not on thine, old brother-in-arms. And to do the
knave justice, he is a good lance. Holy Bugo! but he did good
service at Acre! But his character was such that, spite of his
bravery, he was dismissed the army; nor even allowed to sell his
"I have heard of it," said the Margrave; "Gottfried hath told me of
it. 'Twas about some silly quarrel over the wine-cup--a mere silly
jape, believe me. Hugo de Brodenel would have no black bottle on
the board. Gottfried was wroth, and to say sooth, flung the black
bottle at the county's head. Hence his dismission and abrupt
return. But you know not," continued the Margrave, with a heavy
sigh, "of what use that worthy Gottfried has been to me. He has
uncloaked a traitor to me."
"Not YET," answered Hombourg, satirically.
"By Saint Buffo! a deep-dyed dastard! a dangerous, damnable
traitor!--a nest of traitors. Hildebranndt is a traitor--Otto is a
traitor--and Theodora (O heaven!) she--she is ANOTHER." The old
Prince burst into tears at the word, and was almost choked with
"What means this passion, dear friend?" cried Sir Ludwig, seriously
"Mark, Ludwig! mark Hildebrandt and Theodora together: mark
Hildebrandt and OTTO together. Like, like I tell thee as two peas.
O holy saints, that I should be born to suffer this!--to have all
my affections wrenched out of my bosom, and to be left alone in my
old age! But, hark! the guests are arriving. An ye will not empty
another flask of claret, let us join the ladyes i' the withdrawing
chamber. When there, mark HILDEBRANDT AND OTTO!"
The festival was indeed begun. Coming on horseback, or in their
caroches, knights and ladies of the highest rank were assembled in
the grand saloon of Godesberg, which was splendidly illuminated to
receive them. Servitors, in rich liveries, (they were attired in
doublets of the sky-blue broadcloth of Ypres, and hose of the
richest yellow sammit--the colors of the house of Godesberg,) bore
about various refreshments on trays of silver--cakes, baked in the
oven, and swimming in melted butter; manchets of bread, smeared
with the same delicious condiment, and carved so thin that you
might have expected them to take wing and fly to the ceiling;
coffee, introduced by Peter the Hermit, after his excursion into
Arabia, and tea such as only Bohemia could produce, circulated
amidst the festive throng, and were eagerly devoured by the guests.
The Margrave's gloom was unheeded by them--how little indeed is the
smiling crowd aware of the pangs that are lurking in the breasts of
those who bid them to the feast! The Margravine was pale; but
woman knows how to deceive; she was more than ordinarily courteous
to her friends, and laughed, though the laugh was hollow, and
talked, though the talk was loathsome to her.
"The two are together," said the Margrave, clutching his friend's
shoulder. "NOW LOOK!"
Sir Ludwig turned towards a quadrille, and there, sure enough, were
Sir Hildebrandt and young Otto standing side by side in the dance.
Two eggs were not more like! The reason of the Margrave's horrid
suspicion at once flashed across his friend's mind.
"'Tis clear as the staff of a pike," said the poor Margrave,
mournfully. "Come, brother, away from the scene; let us go play a
game at cribbage!" and retiring to the Margravine's boudoir, the
two warriors sat down to the game.
But though 'tis an interesting one, and though the Margrave won,
yet he could not keep his attention on the cards: so agitated was
his mind by the dreadful secret which weighed upon it. In the
midst of their play, the obsequious Gottfried came to whisper a
word in his patron's ear, which threw the latter into such a fury,
that apoplexy was apprehended by the two lookers-on. But the
Margrave mastered his emotion. "AT WHAT TIME, did you say?" said
he to Gottfried.
"At daybreak, at the outer gate."
"I will be there."
"AND SO WILL I TOO," thought Count Ludwig, the good Knight of
How often does man, proud man, make calculations for the future,
and think he can bend stern fate to his will! Alas, we are but
creatures in its hands! How many a slip between the lip and the
lifted wine-cup! How often, though seemingly with a choice of
couches to repose upon, do we find ourselves dashed to earth; and
then we are fain to say the grapes are sour, because we cannot
attain them; or worse, to yield to anger in consequence of our own
fault. Sir Ludwig, the Hombourger, was NOT AT THE OUTER GATE at
He slept until ten of the clock. The previous night's potations
had been heavy, the day's journey had been long and rough. The
knight slept as a soldier would, to whom a featherbed is a rarity,
and who wakes not till he hears the blast of the reveille.
He looked up as he woke. At his bedside sat the Margrave. He had
been there for hours watching his slumbering comrade. Watching?--
no, not watching, but awake by his side, brooding over thoughts
unutterably bitter--over feelings inexpressibly wretched.
"What's o'clock?" was the first natural exclamation of the
"I believe it is five o'clock," said his friend. It was ten. It
might have been twelve, two, half-past four, twenty minutes to six,
the Margrave would still have said, "I BELIEVE IT IS FIVE O'CLOCK."
The wretched take no count of time: it flies with unequal pinions,
indeed, for THEM.
"Is breakfast over?" inquired the crusader.
"Ask the butler," said the Margrave, nodding his head wildly,
rolling his eyes wildly, smiling wildly.
"Gracious Bugo!" said the Knight of Hombourg, "what has ailed thee,
my friend? It is ten o'clock by my horologe. Your regular hour is
nine. You are not--no, by heavens! you are not shaved! You wear
the tights and silken hose of last evening's banquet. Your collar
is all rumpled--'tis that of yesterday. YOU HAVE NOT BEEN TO BED!
What has chanced, brother of mine: what has chanced?"
"A common chance, Louis of Hombourg," said the Margrave: "one that
chances every day. A false woman, a false friend, a broken heart.
THIS has chanced. I have not been to bed."
"What mean ye?" cried Count Ludwig, deeply affected. "A false
friend? I am not a false friend. A false woman? Surely the
lovely Theodora, your wife--"
"I have no wife, Louis, now; I have no wife and no son."
. . . . . .
In accents broken by grief, the Margrave explained what had
occurred. Gottfried's information was but too correct. There was
a CAUSE for the likeness between Otto and Sir Hildebrandt: a fatal
cause! Hildebrandt and Theodora had met at dawn at the outer gate.
The Margrave had seen them. They walked long together; they
embraced. Ah! how the husband's, the father's, feelings were
harrowed at that embrace! They parted; and then the Margrave,
coming forward, coldly signified to his lady that she was to retire
to a convent for life, and gave orders that the boy should be sent
too, to take the vows at a monastery.
Both sentences had been executed. Otto, in a boat, and guarded by
a company of his father's men-at-arms, was on the river going
towards Cologne, to the monastery of Saint Buffo there. The Lady
Theodora, under the guard of Sir Gottfried and an attendant, were
on their way to the convent of Nonnenwerth, which many of our
readers have seen--the beautiful Green Island Convent, laved by the
bright waters of the Rhine!
"What road did Gottfried take?" asked the Knight of Hombourg,
grinding his teeth.
"You cannot overtake him," said the Margrave. "My good Gottfried,
he is my only comfort now: he is my kinsman, and shall be my heir.
He will be back anon."
"Will he so?" thought Sir Ludwig. "I will ask him a few questions
ere he return." And springing from his couch, he began forthwith
to put on his usual morning dress of complete armor; and, after a
hasty ablution, donned, not his cap of maintenance, but his helmet
of battle. He rang the bell violently.
"A cup of coffee, straight," said he, to the servitor who answered
the summons; "bid the cook pack me a sausage and bread in paper,
and the groom saddle Streithengst; we have far to ride."
The various orders were obeyed. The horse was brought; the
refreshments disposed of; the clattering steps of the departing
steed were heard in the court-yard; but the Margrave took no notice
of his friend, and sat, plunged in silent grief, quite motionless
by the empty bedside.
THE TRAITOR'S DOOM.
The Hombourger led his horse down the winding path which conducts
from the hill and castle of Godesberg into the beautiful green
plain below. Who has not seen that lovely plain, and who that has
seen it has not loved it? A thousand sunny vineyards and
cornfields stretch around in peaceful luxuriance; the mighty Rhine
floats by it in silver magnificence, and on the opposite bank rise
the seven mountains robed in majestic purple, the monarchs of the
A pleasing poet, Lord Byron, in describing this very scene, has
mentioned that "peasant girls, with dark blue eyes, and hands that
offer cake and wine," are perpetually crowding round the traveller
in this delicious district, and proffering to him their rustic
presents. This was no doubt the case in former days, when the
noble bard wrote his elegant poems--in the happy ancient days! when
maidens were as yet generous, and men kindly! Now the degenerate
peasantry of the district are much more inclined to ask than to
give, and their blue eyes seem to have disappeared with their
But as it was a long time ago that the events of our story
occurred, 'tis probable that the good Knight Ludwig of Hombourg was
greeted upon his path by this fascinating peasantry; though we know
not how he accepted their welcome. He continued his ride across
the flat green country until he came to Rolandseck, whence he could
command the Island of Nonnenwerth (that lies in the Rhine opposite
that place), and all who went to it or passed from it.
Over the entrance of a little cavern in one of the rocks hanging
above the Rhine-stream at Rolandseck, and covered with odoriferous
cactuses and silvery magnolias, the traveller of the present day
may perceive a rude broken image of a saint: that image represented
the venerable Saint Buffo of Bonn, the patron of the Margrave; and
Sir Ludwig, kneeling on the greensward, and reciting a censer, an
ave, and a couple of acolytes before it, felt encouraged to think
that the deed he meditated was about to be performed under the very
eyes of his friend's sanctified patron. His devotion done (and the
knight of those days was as pious as he was brave), Sir Ludwig, the
gallant Hombourger, exclaimed with a loud voice:--
"Ho! hermit! holy hermit, art thou in thy cell?"
"Who calls the poor servant of heaven and Saint Buffo?" exclaimed a
voice from the cavern; and presently, from beneath the wreaths of
geranium and magnolia, appeared an intensely venerable, ancient,
and majestic head--'twas that, we need not say, of Saint Buffo's
solitary. A silver beard hanging to his knees gave his person an
appearance of great respectability; his body was robed in simple
brown serge, and girt with a knotted cord: his ancient feet were
only defended from the prickles and stones by the rudest sandals,
and his bald and polished head was bare.
"Holy hermit," said the knight, in a grave voice, "make ready thy
ministry, for there is some one about to die."
"Is he here, now?"
"Perhaps," said the stout warrior, crossing himself; "but not so if
right prevail." At this moment he caught sight of a ferry-boat
putting off from Nonnenwerth, with a knight on board. Ludwig knew
at once, by the sinople reversed and the truncated gules on his
surcoat, that it was Sir Gottfried of Godesberg.
"Be ready, father," said the good knight, pointing towards the
advancing boat; and waving his hand by way of respect to the
reverend hermit, without a further word, he vaulted into his
saddle, and rode back for a few score of paces; when he wheeled
round, and remained steady. His great lance and pennon rose in the
air. His armor glistened in the sun; the chest and head of his
battle-horse were similarly covered with steel. As Sir Gottfried,
likewise armed and mounted (for his horse had been left at the
ferry hard by), advanced up the road, he almost started at the
figure before him--a glistening tower of steel.
"Are you the lord of this pass, Sir Knight?" said Sir Gottfried,
haughtily, "or do you hold it against all comers, in honor of your
"I am not the lord of this pass. I do not hold it against all
comers. I hold it but against one, and he is a liar and a
"As the matter concerns me not, I pray you let me pass," said
"The matter DOES concern thee, Gottfried of Godesberg. Liar and
traitor! art thou coward, too?"
"Holy Saint Buffo! 'tis a fight!" exclaimed the old hermit (who,
too, had been a gallant warrior in his day); and like the old war-
horse that hears the trumpet's sound, and spite of his clerical
profession, he prepared to look on at the combat with no ordinary
eagerness, and sat down on the overhanging ledge of the rock,
lighting his pipe, and affecting unconcern, but in reality most
deeply interested in the event which was about to ensue.
As soon as the word "coward" had been pronounced by Sir Ludwig, his
opponent, uttering a curse far too horrible to be inscribed here,
had wheeled back his powerful piebald, and brought his lance to the
"Ha! Beauseant!" cried he. "Allah humdillah!" 'Twas the battle-
cry in Palestine of the irresistible Knights Hospitallers. "Look
to thyself, Sir Knight, and for mercy from heaven! I will give
"A Bugo for Katzenellenbogen!" exclaimed Sir Ludwig, piously: that,
too, was the well-known war-cry of his princely race.
"I will give the signal," said the old hermit, waving his pipe.
"Knights, are you ready? One, two, three. LOS!" (let go.)
At the signal, the two steeds tore up the ground like whirlwinds;
the two knights, two flashing perpendicular masses of steel,
rapidly converged; the two lances met upon the two shields of
either, and shivered, splintered, shattered into ten hundred
thousand pieces, which whirled through the air here and there,
among the rocks, or in the trees, or in the river. The two horses
fell back trembling on their haunches, where they remained for half
a minute or so.
"Holy Buffo! a brave stroke!" said the old hermit. "Marry, but a
splinter wellnigh took off my nose!" The honest hermit waved his
pipe in delight, not perceiving that one of the splinters had
carried off the head of it, and rendered his favorite amusement
impossible. "Ha! they are to it again! O my! how they go to with
their great swords! Well stricken, gray! Well parried, piebald!
Ha, that was a slicer! Go it, piebald! go it, gray!--go it, gray!
go it, pie-- Peccavi! peccavi!" said the old man, here suddenly
closing his eyes, and falling down on his knees. "I forgot I was a
man of peace." And the next moment, muttering a hasty matin, he
sprung down the ledge of rock, and was by the side of the