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In Times of Peril 1
In Times of Peril
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**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts** **eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971** *****These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!***** Title: In Times of Peril Author: G. A. Henty Release Date: December, 2004 [EBook #7071] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on March 5, 2003] Edition: 10 Language: English CHAPTER I. 2 Character set encoding: Latin-1
*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK IN TIMES OF
IN TIMES OF PERIL A TALE OF INDIA.BY G. A. HENTY CONTENTS.
Life in Cantonments CHAPTER II.
The Outbreak CHAPTER III.
The Flight CHAPTER IV.
Broken Down CHAPTER V. 3 CHAPTER V.
Back Under the Flag CHAPTER VI.
A Dashing Expedition CHAPTER VII.
CHAPTER VIII.A Desperate Defense CHAPTER IX.
Saved by a Tiger CHAPTER X.
Treachery CHAPTER XI.
Retribution Begins CHAPTER XII. 4 CHAPTER XII.
CHAPTER XIIILucknow CHAPTER XIV.
The Besieged Residency CHAPTER XV.
Spiking the Guns CHAPTER XVI.
A Sortie and its Consequences
CHAPTER XVII.Out of Lucknow
CHAPTER XVIII.The Storming of Delhi CHAPTER XIX. 5 CHAPTER XIX.
A Riot at Cawnpore CHAPTER XX.
The Relief of Lucknow CHAPTER XXI.
A Sad Parting
CHAPTER XXII.The Last Capture of Lucknow
CHAPTER XXIII.A Desperate Defense
CHAPTER XXIV.Rest after Labor CHAPTER I.
LIFE IN CANTONMENTS.CHAPTER I. 6 Very bright and pretty, in the early springtime of the year 1857, were the British cantonments of Sandynugghur. As in all other British garrisons in India, they stood quite apart from the town, forming a suburb of their own.
They consisted of the barracks, and of a maidan, or, as in England it would be called, "a common," on which the troops drilled and exercised, and round which stood the bungalows of the military and civil officers of the station, of the chaplain, and of the one or two merchants who completed the white population of the place.
Very pretty were these bungalows, built entirely upon the ground floor, in rustic fashion, wood entering largely into their composition. Some were thatched; others covered with slabs of wood or stone. All had wide verandas running around them, with tatties, or blinds, made of reeds or strips of wood, to let down, and give shade and coolness to the rooms therein. In some of them the visitor walked from the compound, or garden, directly into the dining-room; large, airy, with neither curtains, nor carpeting, nor matting, but with polished boards as flooring. The furniture here was generally plain and almost scanty, for, except at meal- times, the rooms were but little used.
Outside, in the veranda, is the real sitting-room of the bungalow. Here are placed a number of easy-chairs of all shapes, constructed of cane or bamboo--light, cool, and comfortable; these are moved, as the sun advances, to the shady side of the veranda, and in them the ladies read and work, the gentlemen smoke. In all bungalows built for the use of English families, there is, as was the case at Sandynugghur, a drawing- room as well as a dining-room, and this, being the ladies' especial domain, is generally furnished in European style, with a piano, light chintz chair-covers, and muslin curtains.
The bedroom opens out of the sitting-room; and almost every bedroom has its bathroom--that all-important adjunct in the East--attached to it. The windows all open down to the ground, and the servants generally come in and out through the veranda. Each window has its Venetian blind, which answers all purposes of a door, and yet permits the air to pass freely.
CHAPTER I. 7 The veranda, in addition to serving as the general sitting-room to the family, acts as a servants' hall. Here at the side not used by the employers, the servants, when not otherwise engaged, sit on their mats, mend their clothes, talk and sleep; and it is wonderful how much sleep a Hindoo can get through in the twenty-four hours. The veranda is his bedroom as well as sitting-room; here, spreading a mat upon the ground, and rolling themselves up in a thin rug or blanket from the very top of their head to their feet, the servants sleep, looking like a number of mummies ranged against the wall.
Out by the stables they have their quarters, where they cook and eat, and could, if they chose, sleep; but they prefer the coolness and freshness of the veranda, where, too, they are ready at hand whenever called. The gardens were all pretty, and well kept, with broad, shady trees, and great shrubs covered by bright masses of flower; for Sandynugghur had been a station for many years, and with plenty of water and a hot sun, vegetation is very rapid.
In two of the large reclining chairs two lads, of fifteen and sixteen respectively, were lolling idly; they had been reading, for books lay open in their laps, and they were now engaged in eating bananas, and in talking to two young ladies, some three years their senior, who were sitting working beside them.
"You boys will really make yourselves ill if you eat so many bananas."
"It is not that I care for them," said the eldest lad; "they are tasteless things, and a good apple is worth a hundred of them; but one must do something, and I am too lazy to go on with this Hindoo grammar; besides, a fellow can't work when you girls come out here and talk to him."
"That's very good, Ned; it is you that do all the talking; besides, you know that you ought to shut yourselves up in the study, and not sit here where you are sure to be interrupted."
Kate Warrener and her brothers, Ned and Dick, were the children of the major of the One Hundred and Fifty-first Bengal Native Infantry, the regiment stationed at Sandynugghur. Rose Hertford, the other young lady, was their cousin. The three former were born in India, but had each gone to England at the age of nine for their education, and to save them from the effects of the climate which English children are seldom able to endure after that age. Their mother had sailed for England with Dick, the youngest, but had died soon after she reached home. Dick had a passion for the sea, and his father's relations having good interest, had obtained for him a berth as a midshipman in the royal navy, in which rank he had been serving for upward of a year. His ship being now in Indian waters, a month's leave had been granted him that he might go up the country to see his father. The other lad had arrived from England three months before, with his sister and cousin. Major Warrener had sent for his daughter, whose education was finished, to take the head of his house, and, as a companion, had invited Rose Hertford, who was the orphan child of his sister, to accompany her.
Ned, who had been at Westminster till he left England, was intended for the Indian army. His father thought that it would be well for him to come out to India with his sister, as he himself would work with him, and complete his education, to enable him to pass the necessary examination--then not a very severe one--while he could be at the same time learning the native languages, which would be of immense benefit to him after he had entered the army. Coming out as they had done in the cold season, none of the four exhibited any of that pallor and lassitude which, at any rate during the summer heats, are the rule throughout the Anglo-Indian community.
As Ned finished his sentence the sound of the tread of two horses was heard along the road.
"Captains Dunlop and Manners," Dick exclaimed; "a shilling to a penny!
Will either of you bet, girls?"
should they dismount.
"Good-morning, Miss Warrener; good-morning, Miss Hertford: we have brought you some interesting news."
"Indeed!" said the girls, as they shook hands with the newcomers, who were two as good specimens of tall, well-made, sunburnt Anglo-Saxons as one would wish to see. "What is it?" "We have just got the news that a family of wild boars have come down, and are doing a lot of damage near Meanwerrie, four miles off. I suppose they have been disturbed somewhere further away, as we have not heard of any pig here for months; so to-morrow morning there is going to be grand pig- sticking; of course you will come out and see the fun?" "We shall be delighted," said Kate; but Rose put in: "Yes; but oh! how unfortunate! it's Mrs. Briarley's garden party."
"That has been put off till next day. It is not often we get a chance at pig, and we have always got gardens. The two need not have interfered with each other, as we shall start at daylight for Meanwerrie; but we may be out some hours, and so it was thought better to put off the party to a day when there will be nothing else to do."
"Hurrah!" shouted Dick; "I am in luck! I wanted, above all things, to see a wild boar hunt; do you think my father will let me have a spear?" "Hardly, Dick, considering that last time you went out you tumbled off three times at some jumps two feet wide, and that, were you to fall in front of a pig, he would rip you up before you had time to think about it; besides which, you would almost certainly stick somebody with your spear."
"No," said Ned; "I can ride fairly enough along a straight road, but it wants a first-rate rider to go across country at a gallop, looking at the boar instead of where you are going, and carrying a spear in one hand."
"Do you think papa will ride?" Kate asked.
"I don't know, Miss Warrener; the major is a famous spear; but here he is to speak for himself."
Major Warrener was in uniform, having just come up from the orderly-room. He was a tall, soldierly figure, inclining to stoutness. His general expression was that of cheeriness and good temper; but he was looking, as he drove up, grave and serious. His brow cleared, however, as his eye fell upon the group in the veranda.
"Ah! Dunlop, brought the news about the boar, eh?" "You will take us with you?" the girls asked in a breath.
"Oh, yes, you shall go; I will drive you myself. I am getting too heavy for pig-sticking, especially with such responsibilities as you about. There, I will get out of this uniform; it's hot for the time of year. What are you drinking? nothing? Boy, bring some soda and brandy!" Then, producing his cigar-case, he took a cheroot.
"Ag-low!" he shouted, and a native servant ran up with a piece of red-hot charcoal held in a little pair of tongs.
"There, sit down and make yourselves comfortable till I come back."
The lads, finding that their society was not particularly required, strolled off to the stables, where Ned entered into a conversation with the syces as to the distance to Meanwerrie and the direction in which that village lay. Like all Anglo-Indian children brought up in India, the boys had, when they left India, spoken the language fluently. They had almost entirely forgotten it CHAPTER I. 11 during their stay in England, but it speedily came back again, and Ned, at the end of three months' work, found that he could get on very fairly. Dick had lost it altogether.
When they went back to the veranda they found that the girls had gone indoors, and that their father was sitting and smoking with his brother officers. When the lads came up the conversation ceased, and then the
"It is as well the boys should know what is going on."
"What is it, father?" Ned asked, struck with the grave tone in which the major spoke, and at the serious expression in all their faces.
"Well, boys, for some months past there have been all sorts of curious rumors running through the country. Chupatties have been sent round, and that is always considered to portend something serious."