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magazines had not been made bomb-proof, and a variety of other equally necessary works had either not been commenced, or were still unfinished. Worst of all, it had been ascertained that the supply of provisions was very inadequate, and that of what there was much was bad. If the siege should be protracted we might die of hunger, or be forced to surrender. A more immediate danger lay in the absence of all sanitary arrangements; within the circuit of the fort walls were congregated more than seven thousand human beings, besides horses, bullocks, and other animals; for the preservation of cleanliness among this multitude no steps whatever had been taken. The accumulation of filth was something appalling. The rubbish heap at our archway had reached the dimensions of a small haycock, and another dead sheep had made its appearance; it lay putrefying in the sun by the side of its companion. All over the fort the smells were sickening; it was difficult to walk without stepping in some impurity.

Two cases of cholera had already occurred, and ended fatally. It was felt that if something were not done we might find among us an enemy more dangerous than any outside, in the shape of an outbreak of that fearful pestilence. That anything at present would be done there appeared, however, but small prospect. The authorities seemed paralysed, the gates were kept closed, the sentries mounted guard, and the other ordinary routine duties were performed. Beyond this things were left to themselves; the works for defence were not pushed on, nor was the filth removed, nor any attempt made to ascertain the real position of the mutineer army that was besieging us.

For the first two days all was bewilderment; on the third, as the condition of things began to be realised,

murmurs arose against the authorities. The discontent was increased by rumours, at first whispered, soon openly spoken, that in real fact authorities there were none. Mr. Colvin's mind, it was said, had given way, and the General become imbecile. The first of these statements was an exaggeration, the other altogether untrue; but at the time they both obtained general credence.

Things were in this state when some natives presented themselves at the fort gate. They said that they were servants to some of the English gentlemen, and had come to join their masters. After some inquiry they were admitted; questioned as to the enemy they asserted that there was none-the entire rebel army they declared had marched away after the battle. Their statement was not believed. They were thought to be spies; but more servants arrived and repeated the same story, and they were followed by persons of higher rank, of whose veracity there could be no suspicion, and who gave similar information. Its truth could hardly be doubted, but as a precaution against treachery it was determined to send out a column to reconnoitre. The column consisted of a party of English soldiers, some guns, and the mounted militia; it traversed the city and a good part of the cantonments, and returned, reporting that it could find no trace of the enemy. For three days we had been guarding against an imaginary foe, and had remained within the fort for fear of an army that existed only in our own imaginations.

This discovery did not raise the credit of the authorities, least of all that of the General. The gates were now thrown open, our servants joined us, and provisions flocked in; henceforth we suffered no inconveniences but such as resulted from the heat, our confined quarters, and the difficulty of procuring almost all articles of

ordinary English use. With these last we should have been better supplied but for an excess of patriotism on the part of the volunteers who accompanied the column. They smashed to pieces the contents of the shop of a Mohammedan tradesman, who dealt in European goods, but who had joined the rebels. It was felt afterwards that it would have equally punished the tradesman, and been of more benefit to us, if the articles, instead of being destroyed, had been brought into the fort, and either sold or distributed.

Having concluded my description of our first few days in the fort, I will now give the reader a brief account of the events that had obliged us to take refuge within it.

CHAPTER XIX.

BATTLE OF SHAHGUNGE.-PRIOR EVENTS.

MR. COLVIN was a man of great ability-for ordinary times a most excellent governor; but he was constitutionally unfitted for a crisis such as the mutiny. He lost alike his judgment and self-reliance, and threw himself for advice and guidance on those around him.

The head officials then at Agra were men but illqualified to guide him. Like himself men of ability, they were also men of routine, and were besides ignorant of the native feeling; many of them had never, and none of them for some years had held situations that brought them into direct intercourse with the natives, beyond their own servants and subordinates. Finding these still obedient and deferential, they imagined the rest of the population to be the same.

They regarded the mutiny as a mere military revolt; the rural disturbances as the work of the mobs. The mass of the people they considered as thoroughly loyal, attached to our rule as well from gratitude as selfinterest, being thoroughly conscious of the benefits it had conferred upon them. Holding these opinions, they did not comprehend either the nature or the magnitude of the crisis. To their inability to do so, many lives and much treasure were needlessly sacrificed.

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Events then moved rapidly; within a few weeks of the breaking out of the mutiny our empire in Upper India had all but disappeared, and a rebel army was approaching Agra.

The arrangements for the defence of the station chiefly fell on the magistrate Mr. Drummond. Properly, the magistrate of Agra was not entitled to direct official intercourse with the Lieutenant-Governor. But in the exigency of the times the rules of routine were a good deal set aside. Mr. Colvin sent for Mr. Drummond, consulted him, and before long fell completely under his influence. In many respects Mr. Colvin could not have selected a better adviser, for Mr. Drummond possessed great energy and resolution, and was very little trammelled by routine. Unfortunately his judgment was not equal to his other qualities, and having formed an opinion he did not easily relinquish it.

Mr. Drummond laid down a plan of defence which was simple and bold, and which, had it been successful, would have been regarded as a stroke of genius. He considered that if the English remained as usual, exhibiting no signs of fear, the moral effect would be sufficient to overawe the native population. As for the mutineers, he did not believe they would approach Agra, having nothing to gain by doing so. Should they do so, however, he considered that our force was sufficient to repel them. Beyond increasing the police, Mr. Drummond was opposed to the adoption of any precautionary

measure.

From these opinions the chief military authorities entirely dissented. They regarded it as certain that one or other of the rebel armies would threaten Agra. Our force they considered to be quite inadequate for the defence of such an immense station. They therefore

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