Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
The Tremendous Adventures of Major Gahagan William Makepeace Thackeray

Chapter IV: The Indian Camp--The Sortie From The Fort

Page 3 of 6

Table Of Contents: The Tremendous Adventures of Major Gahagan

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

"Bismillah, mashallah, barikallah," said I; which means, "My good friend, what I have seen is not worth the trouble of relation, and fills my bosom with the darkest forebodings."

"You could not then see the Gujputi alone, and stab him with your dagger?"

[Here was a pretty conspiracy!] "No, I saw him, but not alone; his people were always with him."

"Hurrumzadeh! it is a pity; we waited but the sound of your jogree (whistle), and straightway would have galloped up and seized upon every man, woman, and child in the fort: however, there are but a dozen men in the garrison, and they have not provision for two days--they must yield; and then hurrah for the moon-faces! Mashallah! I am told the soldiers who first get in are to have their pick. How my old woman, Rotee Muckun, will be surprised when I bring home a couple of Feringhee wives,--ha! ha!"

"Fool!" said I, "be still!--twelve men in the garrison there are twelve hundred! Gahagan himself is as good as a thousand men; and as for food, I saw with my own eyes five hundred bullocks grazing in the courtyard as I entered." This WAS a bouncer, I confess; but my object was to deceive Puneeree Muckun, and give him as high a notion as possible of the capabilities of defence which the besieged had.

"Pooch, pooch," murmured the men; "it is a wonder of a fortress: we shall never be able to take it until our guns come up."

We have hundreds more books for your enjoyment. Read them all!

There was hope then! they had no battering-train. Ere this arrived I trusted that Lord Lake would hear of our plight, and march down to rescue us. Thus occupied in thought and conversation, we rode on until the advanced sentinel challenged us, when old Puneeree gave the word, and we passed on into the centre of Holkar's camp.

It was a strange--a stirring sight! The camp-fires were lighted; and round them--eating, reposing, talking, looking at the merry steps of the dancing-girls, or listening to the stories of some Dhol Baut (or Indian improvisatore)--were thousands of dusky soldiery. The camels and horses were picketed under the banyan-trees, on which the ripe mango fruit was growing, and offered them an excellent food. Towards the spot which the golden fish and royal purdahs, floating in the wind, designated as the tent of Holkar, led an immense avenue--of elephants! the finest street, indeed, I ever saw. Each of the monstrous animals had a castle on its back, armed with Mauritanian archers and the celebrated Persian matchlock-men: it was the feeding time of these royal brutes, and the grooms were observed bringing immense toffungs, or baskets, filled with pine-apples, plantains, bananas, Indian corn, and cocoa-nuts, which grow luxuriantly at all seasons of the year. We passed down this extraordinary avenue--no less than three hundred and eighty-eight tails did I count on each side--each tail appertaining to an elephant twenty-five feet high--each elephant having a two-storied castle on its back--each castle containing sleeping and eating rooms for the twelve men that formed its garrison, and were keeping watch on the roof--each roof bearing a flagstaff twenty feet long on its top, the crescent glittering with a thousand gems, and round it the imperial standard,--each standard of silk velvet and cloth-of-gold, bearing the well-known device of Holkar, argent an or gules, between a sinople of the first, a chevron truncated, wavy. I took nine of these myself in the course of a very short time after, and shall be happy, when I come to England, to show them to any gentleman who has a curiosity that way. Through this gorgeous scene our little cavalcade passed, and at last we arrived at the quarters occupied by Holkar.

Page 3 of 6 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
The Tremendous Adventures of Major Gahagan
William Makepeace Thackeray

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004