Dick Donovan.

The great white hand = or, The tiger of Cawnpore; a story of the Indian mutiny online

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THE GREAT WHITE HAND

OR

THE TIGER OF CAWNPORE



THE

GREAT WHITE HAND

OR

THE TIGER OF CAWNPORE

a Storg of tbe 5nDlan /iRuting



By
J. E. MUDDOCK



Author of

" Maid Martati and Robifi Hood ;" ^^ The Dead Man's Secret;" " SioHes Weird

and Wcrnder/ul ;" " Stormlight ;" '^ For God and the Czar ;" " Only a

Woman's Heart;" "From the Bosom of the Deep;" " Basiie the

Jester;" " Stripped of tlu Tinsel;" " The Star of Fortune;" <5r»c.



LONDON

Hutchinson & Co.

34 Paternoster Row, E.G.
1896



P/^



/



! / I 7



D^-^^



To the Mernory of

MY FA THE R

A true gentleman, brave, upright, faithful j who after many long

years of devotion to duty in India— and when on the eve of

returnijig to his native latid—sa?ik very sudde?ily to his

eternal rest in March, 1861, a)id sleeps " Till the

day break," in The Circular Road Cemetery,

Calcutta, I dedicate this book



CONTENTS



Chap. Page

PREFACE - - - ix

I. THE RISING OF THE STORM - . - i

II. THE MYSTERY OF THE CHUPATTIES - - 13

III. THE STORM BREAKS - - - - 23

IV. THE PALACE OF THE MOGUL - - - 36
V. THE TREACHERY OF THE KING - - 48

VL HEROIC DEFENCE OF THE MAGAZINE - - 56

VII. HAIDEE AND HER WRONGS - - - 6$

VIII. A PERILOUS MISSION - - - - 74

IX. HOPES AND FEARS - - - - 85

X. A NARROW ESCAPE " " " " 97

XI. STARTLING NEWS - - - - I08

XII. WAKING DREAMS - - - - I20

XIII. FOR LIBERTY AND LIFE - - - - 1 28

XIV. THE TIGER OF CAWNPORE - - "135
XV. AS ARMOUR IMPENETRABLE - - - 1 46

XVI. A DEADLY STRIFE - - - - 1 56

XVII. FOR LIFE AND LOVE - - - - 1 64

XVIII. WITH A LOVE THAT PASSETH UNDERSTANDING 1 72

XIX. FROM CAPTIVITY TO CAPTIVITY - - 185

XX. AS A BIRD IS ENSNARED - - - 1 96

XXL THE VOICE OF THE CHARMER - - - 205

XXIL THE LION HEARTS - - - - 214

XXIII, AS WITH AN ENCHANTER'S WAND - - 224

vii



viii CONTENTS.

Chap. Page

XXIV. " SHIVA THE DESTROYER " - - - 235

XXV. THE LAST GRAND STRUGGLE- - - 24I

XXVI. THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES SWINGS - - 248

XXVII. WITH SWIFT STRIDES NEMESIS MOVES ON - 256

XXVIII. "THE BATTLE OF THE BRIDGE" - - 264

XXIX. RETRIBUTION - - - 274

XXX. NEW HOPES - - - 279

XXXI. A DUEL TO THE DEATH - - - 286

XXXII. DELHI - - - 297

XXXIII. A TERRIBLE VOW - . - - 309

XXXIV. A SURPRISE - - - 318

XXXV. NEW HOPES OF LIBERTY - - - 326

XXXVI, MOGHUL SINGH IS OUTWITTED - - 336

XXXVII. HAIDEE STAR - - - - 342

XXXVIII. THE FALL OF DELHI - - - - 349



PREFACE



In the year 1894, I published in two volumes a romance

of the Indian Mutiny, under the title of "The Star of

Fortune." A short prefatory note intimated that it was

my lot to be in India during the terrible time of the

Sepoy Rebellion. From this it may be inferred that I

not only wrote with feeling, but with some personal

knowledge of my subject. "The Star of Fortune" was

exceedingly well received by the public, and last year a

cheaper edition was called for. That edition has been

extensively circulated throughout India and the Colonies.

The book on the whole was well reviewed, while my

critics were good enough to accord me praise, by no

means stinted, for the portions which dealt with the

Mutiny proper. One London paper said it was "a very

fine picture narrative," another spoke of it as " a spirited

piece of writing," a third declared it was " written with

spirit and vivacity," a fourth as being " really breathless

ix



X PREFACE.

in interest." I could go on multiplying quotations similar
to the foregoing, but those I have given will serve the
purpose I have in view.

On the other hand I was taken somewhat severely to
task because the opening portions of the tale dealt v/ith
Edinburgh, and about one-third of the book was exhausted
before India was reached. Whether or not that was really
a fault is not for me to say ; it was certainly part of my
original plan, but I cannot be indifferent to the fact that a
consensus of opinion condemned it, and declared that the
Mutiny was far too interesting a subject to be mixed up
with any love-making scenes in Edinburgh or elsewhere
other than in India. I was very bluntly told that I ought
to have plunged at once into medias res, and that a
story purporting to be a story of the Mutiny should
deal with the Mutiny only. The advice has not
been lost upon me. I have steadily kept it in view
while writing the " Great White Hand," and I venture
to express a liope that whatever shortcomings may
be found in the work, whatever sins of omission and com-
mission I am guilty of, I shall at least be credited with
keeping strictly to the locale and incidents of the Great
Rebellion, which, in my opinion, affords, and will continue
to afford for generations to come, a fund of the most
romantic material all ready to the novelist's hand. If it



PREFACE. XI

should be urged against me that the dramatic situations in
which my characters become involved are overstrained or
improbable, I shall claim on the authority of history that
the thrilling times of the Revolt were rich in situations so
sensational, so dramatic, so tragic and pathetic, that they
put fiction into the shade. The bare ungarnished story of
the Rising is in itself one of the most sensational records
the world has ever known. Not even the Crusades, not
even the wonderful defence of Malta by the Knights of St.
John of Jerusalem, against the infidel Turk, present us
with a more thrilling, romantic, and stirring panorama of
battle scenes and incidents than the Indian Mutiny. It
was not a struggle of the Cross against the Crescent, but of
the Cross against Vishnu, against Shiva, against Brahma.
The " Phantom " King of Delhi, and the " Tiger of Cawn-
pore," both believed that the doom of Christianity in India
had knelled. But they were undeceived, and all that was
best, bravest, and noble in British men and women was
brought to the surface. Of course, in a work of this kind,
history must necessarily be used simply as a means to an
end ; therefore, while it is not claimed for the story that it
is a piece of reliable history in the guise of fiction, it may
truthfully be said it records certain stirring events and in-
cidents which are known to have taken place. These
incidents and events have been coloured and set with a due



Xll PREFACE.

regard for the brilliant and picturesque Orient, which forms
the stage on which the dramatic action is worked out.
Those who knew India as I knew it in those lurid and ex-
citing days, will probably admit that there is scarcely an
incident introduced into my book but what might have
happened during the enactment of the great tragedy. An
air of vraisemblance represents true art in fiction, and when
it becomes difficult for the reader to tell where fiction
begins and truth ends, it may be said that the story-teller
can go no further. If I should be fortunate in establishing
a claim to this praise, I shall be proud indeed ; but though
I fail in that respect, I humbly venture to believe that
" The Great White Hand " will be found neither dull nor
uninteresting.

THE AUTHOR.

London, 1896.



THE GREAT WHITE HAND,

OR,

THE TIGER OF CAWNPORE.

A STORY OF THE INDIAN MUTINY.



CHAPTER I.

THE RISING OF THE STORM.

It is the ninth of May, in the year one thousand
eight hundred and fifty-seven. The morning breaks
lowering and stormy, a fitting prelude to the great
and tragic drama that is about to startle the world.
It is not yet four o'clock, and the sun is hardly above
the horizon, but in the fair Indian city of Meerut there
is an unusual stir. The slanting rays of the rising sun,
as they fall through the rifts of hurrying storm-clouds,
gild the minarets and domes of the numerous mosques
for which the city is famed. The tall and graceful
palms stand out in bold relief against the sky, and
from the cool greenery of their fan-like leaves there

* The Great White Hand (Bard Safed Hath), a saying
current in India to describe the power of the English.



2 THE GREAT WHITE HAND.

issue the soft, peaceful notes of the ring-doves. Mee-
rut, at this time, is one of the most extensive military
stations in our Indian empire, and covers an area
nearly five miles in circumference. In the centre of
the city is a great wall and esplanade, and along this
runs a deep nullah, which cuts the station into two
separate parallelograms ; the one contains the Euro-
pean, and the other the Native force. The European
lines are in the northern quarter, the Artillery barracks
to the right, the Dragoons to the left, and the Rifles
are in the centre. Between the barracks of the two
last rises, tall and straight, the spire of the station
church. It contrasts strangely with the Oriental archi-
tecture which surrounds it. Farther northward again
stretches an extensive plain, which is used as a parade-
ground. Towards this plain, on the fateful ninth of
May, eighteen hundred and fifty-seven, streams of
human beings are flowing. Crowds of natives, from
the low-caste Coolie to the pompous Baboo, hurry
along, either on foot or horseback.

Presently, far and near, the reveille is heard, and, in
a little while, long lines of troops, mounted and on
foot, march towards the plain. Then the clattering of
horses' hoofs, and the rumbling of guns, add to the
general commotion, and soon the plain is swarming
with armed men. Heavily-shotted field-guns are
placed in position, and the drawn sabres of the Dra-
goons flash in the sun's rays, while on three sides of
the plain are bodies of troops armed with the new
Enfield rifles, that are ready, on the word being given,
to belch forth fire, and send their rotary messengers
of death into the crowds of natives if the necessity
should arise.



THE RISING OF THE STORM. 3

The cause of this great gathering is to see eighty-
five native soldiers converted into felons. On the
24th of April the 3rd Native Cavalry had been drawn
up for parade, and, when the order to load had been
given, these eighty-five had resolutely refused to bite
their cartridges. For this mutinous act they had been
tried by a court-martial, composed of English and
native officers, and sentenced to ten years' imprison-
ment with hard labour ; and on this Saturday morn-
ing, the 9th of May, the first part of the sentence —
that of stripping them of their uniform in the presence
of all the regiments — is to take place.

At a given signal the doomed eighty - five are
brought forward under a strong guard of Rifles and
Carabineers. They still wear their uniform and have
their accoutrements. Colonel Carmichael Smyth, the
Colonel of their Brigade, steps forth, and, in a loud,
clear voice, reads the sentence. That over, their
accoutrements are taken from them, and their uni-
forms are stripped from their backs. Then the
armourers and smiths step forth with their shackles
and their tools, and, in the presence of a great con-
course of their old comrades, the " eighty-five " stand
with the outward symbols of their black disgrace
fastened upon them.

With loud cries they lift up their arms, and implore
the General to have mercy upon them, and save them
from ignominious doom. But the fiat has gone forth,
and they stand there manacled felons. Then, in the
agony of despair, they turn to their comrades and hurl
reproaches at them for quietly permitting such dire
disgrace to fall upon them. There is not a Sepoy or
native civilian present but who gasps for breath as he



4 THE GREAT WHITE HAND,

feels the rising indignation in his throat. But, in the
presence of the stern white soldiers, of the loaded
guns, of the grooved rifles, and the glittering sabres,
they dare not strike. As the prisoners make their
appeal, there moves, swiftly, silently amongst the
crowds of natives, a tall, slim man — a Hindoo. His
movements are snake-like ; his eyes glisten with a
deadly fire. As he goes, he whispers —

" Courage, and wait ! "

The crowds commence to disperse. The felon
"eighty-five" are marched to the gaol, two miles from
the cantonment, with only a native guard over them.

As the day wears on the storm passes away, and
when the shades of evening fall upon Meerut, all is
quiet and peaceful. It is one of those nights that
may be described, but which few persons, who have
never been in hot countries, can realise. The air is
stagnant. The stars seem to quiver in a haze. Not
a branch stirs, not a leaf rustles. Myriads of fire-flies
— Nature's living jewels — dance about in bewildering
confusion. Occasionally the melancholy sounds of a
tom-tom, varied by the screech of a jackal, is heard.
But with this exception, a death-like silence seems to
reign in the city.

Seated on the verandah of a pretty bungalow in the
European quarter, is a young man — a civilian. His
physique is that of a trained athlete. He is hand-
some, too, with a mass of black hair falling over a
prominent forehead. His name is Walter Gordon; he
is the son of a wealthy merchant of Meerut, who had
died very suddenly, and Walter had but recently
come out from England to take charge of his father's
business. He is not alone now. His companion is a



THE RISING OF THE STORM. 5

lady slightly his junior. She is very pretty. A pure
English face, with tender brown eyes, and soft, moist
lips. A wealth of rich brown hair is negligently
held together by two large gold pins of native work-
manship. This young lady is the betrothed of
Walter Gordon. Her father (Mr. Meredith) had held
a Civil Service appointment in Meerut, but had died
some two years before the opening events of this
story, leaving a widow and two daughters, Flora and
Emily. Emily had been recently married to an
officer of one of the regiments stationed in the city.
Lieutenant Harper and Walter Gordon were very old
friends. They had been school-mates together, and
they both laid siege at one time to the hearts of the
Misses Meredith. Harper had been successful, and
carried his prize off to his quarters, but Walter had
delayed his marriage, pending the settlement of some
legal difficulty in connection with property to which
he was entitled. That difficulty was now removed,
and Walter had gone on this evening to Mrs. Mere-
dith's bungalow to arrange for his marriage with
Flora.

" Flo, are you not glad that we are soon to be
united ? " he asks, as he observes that she is silent,
and makes no remark on the news he has brought
her.

" Yes, love. You say that you wish our marriage
to take place in a month's time. Would that it were
to-morrow ; ay, even to-night ! "
He looked at her in astonishment.
" Flo, what do you mean ? "

" I mean that in a month's time you and I may be
separated."



6 THE GREAT WHITE HAND.

" Separated ? " he repeated.

" Yes. Perhaps dead."

" Dead ! " he echoed — his astonishment increasing
at the strangeness of her manner.

" Ah, love," she murmured, as she placed her arms
around his neck, and her head drooped upon his
breast, — " strange as you are yet to the ways of the
country, you surely cannot be blind to signs which
rise on every side, that a storm is approaching."

" A storm. To what do you allude ? "

" To the discontented state of the natives, who are
ripe for revolt. We tremble upon the brink of a
mine that may at any moment be sprung ; and what
the consequences will be I shudder to think."

*' These are but morbid fears, Flo," he answered, as
he caressed her. " Believe me that our power is too
strong, and too much dreaded by the natives to allow
any serious outbreak. The example we made of the
' eighty-five ' on the parade this morning will strike
terror to the hearts of those who might have con-
templated any rashness."

" There you are in error, Walter ; what our troops
did this morning has only increased our danger xnani-
fold. There is not a Sepoy in all Meerut to-night,
but who is nursing in his breast feelings of the most
deadly hatred towards the English. The fire
smoulders, and a breath will fan it into flame. If the
natives should rise, may God in His mercy pity
us."

" Tut, tut, my girl ; you are alarming yourself with
foolish fears, and there is nothing at all to justify
your apprehensions. The soldiers dare not revolt,
and if they did, we have such an overwhelming force



THE RISING OF THE STORM. 7

of British in the cantonment, that all the native
regiments would be speedily cut to pieces."

" The belief in our security is our danger," she
answered. " Remember I know the country and the
natives well. I have been in India from the time I
was a little child. Those who are in authority seem
to me to be wilfully blind to the signs which indicate
coming mischief. For some days past, a man,
ostensibly a Fakeer, has been riding about the city
on an elephant, and visiting all the native quarters.
I do not believe that man to be what he professes to
be. He is an agent moving about from place to
place, and stirring up the rankling hatred for the
British which is in the hearts of all his country-
men."

" This is a strange statement ; and you speak as
though you had authority for what you say."

" I have authority."

" Ah ! what do you mean ? " he cried in an excited
tone.

" Oh, Walter, what I have to tell you I know will
give you pain, but it must be told. I have held it
back until I feel that to keep it from you longer would
be unfair. You have in your service a sicar, a young
man who was brought up in an English school."

"You refer to Jewan Bukht. Well, what of him .-' "

" He has confessed love for me ! "

" Confessed love for you ! " Walter cried angrily, as
he ground his teeth, and tightened his arm around the
waist of his beloved. " By Heaven, I will horsewhip
the scoundrel. But come, Flo, you are joking, and do
not wish me to seriously believe anything so absurd."

" Would that it were a joke ! Jewan has been your



8 THE GREAT WHITE HAND.

trusted and confidential clerk, and whenever you have
had a message to send to me, he has always brought
it. Latterly he has grown unpleasantly familiar, and
on one occasion asked me to kiss him. On my show-
ing anger at the insult, he apologised, and promised
not to offend again. A few days ago he called, and
appeared to me to be under the influence of bang.
He seized my hand, and fell upon his knees at my
feet. He said that in a little while the natives in-
tended to rise in the name of the Prophet ; that
every white person in Meerut would be massacred ;
but, if I would consent to become his wife, he would
save me and those belonging to me. In disgust with
the fellow for his impertinence, I called him a dog,
and threatened to inform you of his conduct. He
became greatly enraged, and said that I should be his
by fair or foul means, and that you should die by his
hand."

" Why did you not tell me this before, Flo ? "

" Because I looked upon it at the time as the freak
of a drunken man, and I had no wish to give you un-
necessary pain. But it was foolish of me. I ought
to have told you."

" When did this scene take place ? " Walter asked,
thoughtfully.

'• Three days ago. That is, last Wednesday."

" This is very strange, Flora. On that day the
rascal asked me for leave of absence till Monday, as
he wished to visit a sick relation."

" Depend upon it, Walter, he will never return to
you."

" Never return ! You are really talking in riddles.
What do you mean ? "



THE RISING OF THE STORM. 9

"I feel sure that there was truth in what the man told
me, and his leaving you on that day was part of the
scheme. You may say I am nervous, foolish, stupid,
what you will, but I understand the natives well. I
know how treacherous they can be ; and it is useless
our trying to cheat ourselves into a belief that they
love us, because they don't do anything of the sort."

Walter laughed, as he pressed a kiss on the lips of
his companion.

" Look here, Flora, you are certainly low-spirited
to-night, and have got some strange fancies in your
head. If you have any more of these morbid imagin-
ings, I shall have to place you under the care of
Dr. Macdonald. I have been very stupid to lend a
serious hearing to your fears for a single moment. I
am sure you are wrong. Our power is too great to
be broken. The natives fear that power too much to
do anything rash. Ah ! good-evening, Harper, old
boy," he exclaimed, springing from his seat, as Lieuten-
ant Harper and his wife entered the verandah. " I am
very glad you have come. Flo is suffering from a fit
of nervousness, and wants cheering up. Look here,
Emily," with a laugh, and turning to Mrs. Harper,
"just give your sister a shaking, and shake her into a
better frame of mind."

" Surely you young people have not been quarrel-
ling," Harper remarked, as he threw himself into a
seat, and offered his friend a cigar.

"Oh dear no; but Flo has got an idea into her little
head that the natives are going to rise eit masse, and
massacre us all."

" By Jove, they will have tough work, then," laughs
the lieutenant. "They had an example this morning of



16 THE GREAT WHITE HAND.

what we can do. If there had been the slightest sign
of insubordination on the parade, we should have
mowed them down with grape and canister."

" Don't talk quite so loud, Master Charlie," his wife
remarked. " There are two of the bearers at the end
of the verandah, and they seem to be listening."

" All the better, my dear. Nothing like impressing
these black wretches with a sense of our superiority.
What say you, Walter ? "

"Well it depends a great deal upon what we con-
sider ourselves superior in."

" Superior in ! " exclaimed his friend. " Surely you
are not going to estimate your countrymen so low as
to suppose for a moment that we could be inferior to
the natives in any one respect."

" I am not quite clear on that point," answered
Gordon, thoughtfully. " I think that the great error
of the English has been in treating the natives as if
they were not possessed of common intelligence.
Depend upon it, it is a mistaken policy, which we
shall some day rue."

" Nonsense, old fellow. You are a greenhorn yet in
the country, and in a very short time these sentimental
ideas will be knocked out of you. There is no doubt
that the canaille of India is bitter against us, but the
upper classes are loyal to the backbone — take Dhoondu
Pdnt as an example."

" You mean the man who is known as Nana Sahib
of Bhitoor?"

" Yes ; he is the adopted son of the Peishwah
Bajee Rao. Now, if any man has cause to be dis-
satisfied with our rule it is the Nana, inasmuch as we
have resolutely refused to recognise his right to sue-



THE RISING OF THE STORM. II

cession. Moreover, he is a Mahratta by race, and a
Brahmin by caste. Now, it is well-known that in the
heart of every Mahratta there is an innate and hered-
itary hatred for the English, while the Brahmin
religion teaches its votaries to look upon the Fering-
hees as dogs and infidels that, in the name of the
Prophet, should be exterminated. And yet his high-
ness — by courtesy — is as loyal to us as a man can
possibly be. Plis balls and dinners given to his
friends, the English, in and about Cawnpore, are
things to be remembered."

" But what proof have you that the Nana is not
playing a well-studied game ; only biding his time to
execute a well-planned coup-cfetat, and strike for his
home and liberty?"

Harper laughed loudly as he looked at his friend's
serious face ; and as he offered him a cheroot,
exclaimed —

" Bosh ! Look here, old fellow, don't get such ideas
as those into your head, or you will never succeed in
India. Here, Khitmudgar, brandy pawnee lao."
Turning to the ladies, he said, " Flo, I think you have
been putting some strange ideas into Walter's head,
and I shall have to take you to task. Why, my dear
fellow, there is no more chance of the natives rising
here, than there is of Her Majesty's Life Guards re-
volting in London at the present moment. Come,
what do you say to a hand at whist ? Em and I have
two hours on our hands before we return to quarters."


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