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to us, who were halted on the side nearest to the field of battle, unable to cross on account of our guns. The General was going to attack a body of the enemy (from their left, I believe), who, when we had passed them, went and spiked our artillery and seized our guns, and recovered some of their own, and turned them all against our rear, which annoyed us a good deal. When the General was returning to the guns there was a heavy fire, and he had his horse killed under him. Soon after he came up to the cavalry, the enemy cannonading them hotly as they were formed to charge. Just as he was leaving them I heard the dragoons huzza and saw them begin to charge; rode a little way after them; but, thinking that I had stayed all day with the General, and that when I left him he was in hot water, I rode to him, but found that the enemy were moving off. We got possession of the guns and halted, and so ended the engagement. I forgot to mention the result of the cavalry charge (which must have terminated just after I quitted them; for I saw them pull up to a trot before I made up my mind to leave them). They were brought up by the fire; first halted, and then walked, and then trotted back. In this last charge Colonel Maxwell was killed. After staying some time with the 78th, I rode with the General to the Joee, and there I lost him. I then went to the place where the 74th lost so many men, where I had not been before. The ground was covered with dead and wounded men and officers of the 74th and of the enemy. After dark I found the General in the village of Assye, close to the place where the 74th suffered so much. There the General passed the night, not in "the pride, "pomp, and circumstance of glorious war," but on the ground, close to an officer whose leg was shot off, and within five yards of a dead officer. I got some curry and bloody water, which did not show at night, and lay down and slept.
'I went yesterday evening to the field of battle. It was a dark, cloudy evening. I rode by myself, and saw plurima mortis imago. Some of the dead are withered, their features still remaining, but their faces blackened to the colour of coal, others still swollen and blistered. The Persian I mentioned was perfect everywhere, and had his great quilted coat on; but his face had fallen, or been eaten off, and his naked skull stared out like the hermit's of the wood of Joppa (in the "Castle of Otranto"). Kites and adjutants, larger than the Calcutta ones, were feeding on the bodies, and dogs were feasting in some places, and in others howling all over the plain. I saw a black dog tearing, in a furious way, great pieces of flesh from a dead man, looking fiercely, and not regarding me. I thought the group horrible and sublime. At last I began to feel a good deal of horror-awful, but not unpleasant-when, by way of adding to the sublimity, the evening gun fired, and to my surprise I heard a ball whistle over my head.'
However philosophic historians may vilipend the mere annalist, the world in general will continue for many a day to regard decisive battles as the most interesting and important events of past times, and will continue to read eagerly
descriptions of them when the whole historical contest is almost forgotten. Elphinstone's rough and yet vivid sketches of Indian warfare, of the English general rallying his troops, of the currents and changes of a heady fight, and of the sight of the field next day, have all the force and life of pictures. Like pictures, they satisfy our desire to understand, and if possible to realise, the scenes of bygone days, and the look and feelings of those who took part in the dramatic action of history. And we may admire the temperament that permits Elphinstone, whose imagination was deeply impressed by all that he saw, to fall back immediately on criticisms of Shakespeare and Spencer, and on his favourite classics. The following extract shows that he even revived General Wellesley's Eton reminiscences:
'I will tell you three things of the General to fill up. He says of . . ., "I do not blame the man; he did what he could; but from "habits of dissipation and idleness he has become incapable of giving "attention to an order to find out its meaning." He said one morning that "so-and-so would have happened if we had been beat, and then I "should just have made a gallows of my ridge-pole and hanged myself." The General, finding your "Selecta Græca " on my table, took them up and read the Greek part for some minutes, while I was doing something for him. He also talked of the construction of the Latin tongue. I wonder if he is a classical scholar.'
And the subjoined passage gives a description of military camp life in India; mingling sport and marching, business and study, in his most characteristic manner; and showing how the men lived and talked who were laying out the foundations of British dominion in India at the beginning of this century:
'Camp at Deotanna, November 15. 'Here is a camp day. General at half-past four. Tent-pins rattle, and I rise and dress while they are striking my tent. Go to the front and to the Quartermaster-General's tent, and drink a cup of tea. Talk with the état-major, who collect there till it grows light. The assembly beats and the General comes out. We go to his breakfast table in front of his tent and breakfast; talk all the time. It is bitter cold, and we have our greatcoats on. At half after six, or earlier, or later, mount and ride, or, when there is no hunt, we do not mind one another. The General generally rides on the dusty flank, and so nobody stays with him. Now we always join Colonel Wallace, and have such coursing a mile or so out on the flank, and when we get to our ground from ten to twelve we all sit, if our chairs have come up, or lie on the ground. The General mostly lies down. When the tent is pitched we move in, and he lies on the carpet, and we all talk, &c., till breakfast is ready. Then we breakfast off fried mutton, mutton chops, curries, &c., and from eleven to two get to our tents, and I arrange my hircarras, write
my journals, read Puffendorf, Lysias, and write you and Adam, and sometimes translate, and sometimes talk politics and other privitie with the General; and then at two or three I eat a loaf and drink two glasses of port and water; and when it grows dark, unless I am writing, as I am now, I get shaved and walk about head-quarters line till it is pitch dark, and then dress, go to dinner, and we all talk about the march, &c., and they about their former wars, and about this war, and Indian courts, and politics, &c. At nine we break up, and the Quartermaster-General and Major of Brigade and I hold a committee and settle whether we march next day, and then I go to palankeen.'
From Assaye Wellesley's force marched across the Berar valley, and came up with Sindia's ally, the Berar Raja, in the middle of a wide plain, where Elphinstone witnessed a cavalry charge.
'The balls knocked up the dust under our horses' feet. I had no narrow escapes this time, and I felt quite unconcerned, never winced, nor cared how near the shot came about the worst time; and all the time I was at pains to see how the people looked, and every gentleman seemed at ease as much as if he were riding a-hunting. The opening of our guns had great effect in encouraging our people. was shot in passing the village of Argaum. In the charge the dragoons used their swords for some time, and then drew their pistols. If one cut at a horseman, he would throw himself from his horse. The next man would cut him down.'
They followed up this success by laying siege to Gawilgurh, a fortress consisting of the circumvallation of a great irregular hill that stands forth out of the main range which bounds the Berar valley on the north. The operations of investing and attacking the place are given at length. Like most of the hill forts of Central India, Gawilgurh has an impregnable appearance from the side where it fronts and frowns over the plains below, but is accessible from a point at its rear, where the outstanding eminence joins the continuous range; and from this point, where our batteries had breached the wall, the fort was taken by storm. Elphinstone, after a breakfast at which they talked about Hafiz, Saadi, Horace, and Anacreon,' went down to the trenches, and asked Colonel Kenny, who was to lead the storming party, to allow him to join them.
'He bowed and agreed. Soon after Colonel Stevenson asked Colonel Kenny if he was ready. Colonel Kenny said "Yes." He was ordered to advance. We drew our swords, stuck pistols in our belts or handkerchiefs tied round our middle, and, passing in rear of the batteries, marched on to the breach. Colonel Kenny led the whole; with him went Winfield, Johnson (who had got an unfortunate Potail to go with him), and myself, and perhaps Lutwidge and an officer of the 94th.
Then followed the 94th Regiment. Our advance was silent, deliberate, and even solemn. Everybody expected the place to be well defended. As we got near we saw a number of people running on the rampart, near the breach. Colonel Kenny said they were manning the works. I asked him if they were not flying. He said, "No! no! they won't "fly yet awhile." We went and got close to the works, to a wide hedge, where Johnson had been during the night. I was amazed that they did not fire; our cannon fired over our heads. We got to the breach, where we halted, and let the forlorn hope, a sergeant's party, run up; then we followed, ran along, and dashed up the second breach and huzzaed. Perhaps the enemy fired a little from some huts by the second breach. I did not see them do so. I saw some of them bayonetted there. We kept to the right after entering the second breach, and soon after the troops poured in, so that there was no distinguishing forlorn hope or anything. Colonel Kenny knocked up, and Johnson and I lost him. I had been frequently told, particularly in the trenches just before advancing, that I should be taken for a European of the enemy's, from my not having regimentals. I thought little of this after leaving the trenches; but in this confusion, losing Johnson, I told Winfield what I apprehended, and stuck to him. I after did the same to Lutwidge. Going on to the right, we came to a valley leading to the Cool Derwazeh (back gate, postern), down which the enemy were crowding in their flight.
'When we went on to the breach I thought I was going to a great danger; but my mind was so made up to it, that I did not care for anything. The party going to the storm put me in mind of the eighth and ninth verses of the third book of Homer::
οἱ δ ̓ ἄρ ̓ ἴσαν σιγῇ μένεα πνείοντες Αχαιοί,
By these operations the Bhunla Raja was almost entirely ejected from Berar; but he retired to his capital at Nagpore, where Elphinstone was appointed, as British Resident, to look after him. In those days an officer at a native court was cut off from English society. Elphinstone expresses, in a letter to Strachey, his dread of the solitary life, and of a society where people speak what they don't think in 'Moorish' (Hindusthani). However, he stayed at Nagpore some years, and very soon became absorbed in the diplomatic complications of that shifty and unsettled period, when we were still fighting Holkar, and when the great Maratha chiefs, whom our campaigns had maimed, but had not finally crippled, were watching their opportunity to strike in again. All Central India was still in confusion; the Pindaree plundering bands were abroad in every direction; the Maratha troops were as bad as the Pindarees; Sindia had imprisoned the British Resident at his court; and the evident anxiety of
the British Government for peace, after Lord Wellesley's recall, had given fresh encouragement to the sullen hostilities of the Marathas. The following remarks of Elphinstone upon the attempts of the English to conciliate the Maratha powers whom they had stripped of half their acquisitions, apply invariably, now as then, to any such overtures :
'I cannot partake your joy at Lord Cornwallis's being sent out. I do not think Lord Wellesley deserves to be superseded, and I tremble at the thoughts of change of measures which must bring all the Mahrattas on us. Lord Wellesley's evident desire for peace has already had the most pernicious effects. If you want to conciliate the people, give them back their country. No other plan will succeed. If you keep it, you must fight for it. It appears to me that most mistakes in politics arise from an ignorance of the plain maxim and its corollaries, viz. it is impossible for the same thing to be and not to be. Hang the subject! it makes me sick.'
All experience shows that only long lapse of time will heal the wounds caused to a state or a people by territorial amputation; they may appear to close up, but an accident will reopen them, and they keep the whole body politic in a feverish condition. Nor indeed did the discontented intrigues and threatening symptoms disappear until the war of 1817 finally settled down the warlike Maratha principalities of Holkar and Sindia within the territorial limits which, with a few changes, they retain at this day.
Elphinstone's journal during the years 1803-7, that he spent at Nagpore, are full of notes of classic reading, of sport, and of local politics, now uninteresting to all but a stray Anglo-Indian, who may appreciate the local colouring. He took to sport, as many another in similar cases has done, to pass away the time and to combat depression; he fancied himself lost in the wilderness and cut off from the main line of enterprise and promotion; he fell into dreamy literary moods, and when some raid of Pindarees close at hand wakened him up, he was divided between pleasure at finding himself again in trepidis rebus and fear of losing his beloved books. All this will be read with sympathy by those who have known life far off amid the melancholy Indian plains, and who may perchance recollect how even the Mutiny was welcomed as a distinct break in the monotony of ordinary existence. In his journal of this time memoranda on the Mutiny at Vellore and a military conspiracy at Hyderabad are jumbled up with notes on the disaster of Nicias before Syracuse and on the perfidious seizing of