Page:A Journal of Forty-Eight Hours of the Year 1945.djvu/2

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[June 6. 1835

ed dragoons case were approaching the spot where they were assembled. They all jumped up and Bhoobun Mohun whistled shrilly which was answered from some distance by the report of a gun. The little body of soldiery immediately appeared on the skirts of the plain. Two officers dressed in scarlet and gold led or rather hauled a stout looking civilian between them. The man in black, evidently terrified on seeing so vast a concourse before him, could neither walk me speak. Being reminded by the officers to do his duty, he with no little hesitation and change of countenance read the proclamation for dispersion. The bold patriotic youth retorted nearly in the following words. "Worthy Magistrate, I am any we are not able to comply with your proposition; we defy you to do your worst. You see before you men who will neither be terrified by the neihing of a steed, the waving of a sword nor the flashing of a gun. We are determined to assert our liberties, when every other resource has failed, by the strength of our arms. Go tell them that sent thee that we have resolved to hurl Fell Butcher from his seat, we have renounced the allegiance of the feeble and false Harry of England, and that we mean to abide by our own laws and parliaments!" Confounded at this bold declaration, the good magistrate staggered hack a few paces and was supported by a serjeant from sinking to the ground. The officers looked at each other, whispered a few words and the trumpets sounded a charge with bayonets. The youthful hero blew a shrill blast, and about two hundred turbaned figures with guns in their hands, and fifty horsemen with scimitars and lenses, appeared from the side which was covered by bamboos. The unarmed retired to the borders of the plain, while a general engagement took place between the patriots and the royalists, both charged with levelled bayonets alternately retiring and advancing. The clashing of swords, the discharge of guns, the shrieks of the wounded and the groans of the dying made a fearful noise. During this bloody transaction our hero was not a silent spectator of the scene. He ordered his attendant to bring his. proud war horse, and having adjusted his clothes with military ninety, he buckled his pistols round his waist, waved his sword and mounted his charger. Receiving the benediction of the venerable priest who stood trembling a few paces distant, and whispering a prayer to Heaven to strengthen his arm, he darted himself into the midst of the fray. Lieutenant Martin, mad with rage, confronted him and aimed a furious blow at him which he eluded with great dexterity. Escaping the blow, he in his turn gave a smart rap on the head of his antagonist, which made him reel in his saddle for a minute or two. "Curse on the barbarian," said he, and renewed the combat with redoublcd ardour. The contest was long and furious, the coolness and agile movements of the Hindoo being a counterpoise to the great strength of the Briton. They exchanged many smart cuts, their rich and splendid dresses were hacked and hewn in a thousand places, and the nodding plume of the one and the flowing scarf of the other were mangled and torn to atoms in the fray. At length the Briton foaming with ire and exhausted with loss of blood. muttering the direst oaths of vengeance, recoiled from his saddle and fell headlong on the ground. Victory declared in favor of the patriots. About twenty-five royalists lay dead on the plain and as many wounded; while of the patriots six had expired and thirteen were severely bruised. The remaining officers of the royalists, consulting for a minute or two together, ordered the trumpets to sound a retreat. Forming themselves into three bodies they retired one by one, keeping thier front towards the enemy, who continued a brisk fire. The night having advanced pretty far the patriots betook themselves to their houses to dream of their glorious exploits and to rise in the morning to consult new plans for the furtherauce of their object.

We must now conduct the reader to the magnificent apartments of the Government House the residence of the (illegible text) and humane Lord Fell Butcher. The door of the bed chamber being slowly opened by the surdar bearer a damsel apparently of 14 with luxuriant tresses and deep black eyes, having about her a short robe of free white linen with long and white sleeves, was discovered arranging her dress. The skirts of her robe hung down as far as the knee, displaying the calf of her leg and the delicate symmetry of her uncles and feet. Her shoes were of the most curious workmanship and a checquered silk handkerchief carelessly thrown about her neck, vied in splendour with the hue! of the rainbow. An image of some Deity set with diamonds and pearls was suspended round her neck to protect her from evil. As soon as she placed her light foot upon the threshold, the Viceroy waked and jumped out of his bed and asked the bearer whether "Beeby sahib" was stirring. Being answered in the negative, he conducted the damsel along the marble pavements, and placing her in her palanquin, took a hearty farewell. The morning ablutions being over, he entered the Council Hall with the morning gazette in his hand. It was splendidly furnished— chandeliers, mirrors, pictures, arras and carpets made a gorgeous display. In the middle was placed a small table with heaps of folded letters, rolled up parchments and writing materials. After perusing the gazette for a minute or two he. laid it aside and exclaimed who waits? A young oficer, his hat under his arm and his sword dangling by his side, appeared, made a low respectful bow and approached his lordship. "No! What is d'ye call him, here?" "Yes my lord, ensign Valancourt stays without." "Bid him come hither." The officer retired and in a minute or two the ensign entered the hall. His face was patched in five or six different places and his left hand was tied in a sling. "Well sir, I hope the business of yesterday has been gloriously terminated?" The officer hung down his head and the blood gushed into his features. "Ah! ha! is that the case? Did the royalists retreat before a parcel of Bengalees? We must take severe measures now I should think. Well how many wounded and killed?" "Fifty, my lord." "Zounds! that's terrible. How did the riotous mob contrive to send so many to Pluto's gloomy region?"

"There was a body of two or three hundred men in ambush armed at all points, who seeing as attack the rebellious mob with our bayonets, rushed into the conflict and———" "Made you turn your heels?" The ensign again blushed and hung down his head. "I shall see. You may go; but remain within hearing." Making a profound how, the young man retired. After taking two or three turns about the room in, deep meditation, his Lordship resumed his chair and penned the following letter.

To Col. John Blood-Thirsty.
The town and fort Major of the Fort William in Bengal.

My Dear Col—It appears from the information of many confidential persons that great disatisfaction towards Government is prevalent amongst the native population. I authorize you therefore to take such measures as will be requisite for the safety of the Fort in case of a surprise or sudden attack. The publicity attending the transmission of letters through Secretaries and Boards has obliged me to have recourse to, this method. I am, my dear Col.
Your's sincerely,

Govt. House, April, 1945.

Dispatching this letter, he took a turn or two and wrote the following paragraph, which he sent to the press.

The Calcutta Courier Extrodinary

We understand from a military person, that last evening a party consisting of two troopers and sixteen that soldiers were sent by Government to quell the disturbances of two thousand men in the neighbourhood of Calcutta. The Magistrate tried his utmost efforts to persuade the people to return to their houses, but all in vain: they persisted in keeping their ground.