Our Island Story - H. E. Marshall




Victoria—The Pipes at Lucknow

Lucknow, too, was besieged, and terrible things were happening there. The chief officer at Lucknow was Sir Henry Lawrence, who had so sadly to refuse to send help to Cawnpore. He was a brave and wise man. But he was killed almost at the very beginning of the siege.

One day while he was talking with some of his officers a shell burst into the room. When the smoke cleared away a little, some one said, 'Are you hurt, Sir Henry?'

There was a moment's silence. Then Sir Henry said quietly, 'I am killed.' He died two days later. 'Never yield,' he said, 'let every man die at his post rather than yield.'

For nearly three months the siege went on. The white people were shut into a strong place called the Residency, and although they were better off than the poor people at Cawnpore, many died of wounds and sickness. It was three months of horror beneath a blazing sky, amid the shriek and roar of cannon. Men grew hard-eyed and gaunt, women drooped and faded. Would help never come?

At last General Havelock, having defeated the Nana Sahib, marched towards Lucknow, but he had lost so many of his men that he dared not attack. He was obliged to wait for more soldiers, and the waiting was hard for men with the memories of Cawnpore in their hearts.

But at last Sir James Outram joined Havelock, and together they marched to Lucknow.

As week after week passed, and no help came, the brave defenders of Lucknow grew sick with longing and despair. One evening a sergeant's wife called Jessie, who had been ill, was lying asleep while her mistress, who had been nursing her, sat by her side. Jessie stirred and muttered in her sleep, then, suddenly springing up and turning her startled eyes on her mistress, she cried, 'Dinna ye hear them? Dinna ye hear them?'

Women  at Lucknow
"DINNA YE HEAR THEM! DINNA YE HEAR THEM!"


The lady thought that Jessie had gone mad. 'Jessie dear, lie down,' she said, 'you are not well.'

'No, no,' cried Jessie, 'I'm well, I'm well, it's the Campbells I'm hearin'. Dinna ye hear them? Dinna ye hear them?'

It was indeed the sound of the pipes.

Soon not only Jessie, but all that weary band heard the glad sound. The terrible agony of waiting was over. General Havelock and his Highlanders were at the gates. Lucknow was relieved.

'Pipes of the misty moorlands, voice of the glens and hills;

The droning of the torrents, the treble of the rills—

Not the braes of broom and heather nor the mountains dark with rain,

Nor maiden bower, nor border tower, have heard your sweetest strain.


'Dear to the Lowland reaper, and plaided mountaineer,

To the cottage and the castle the Scottish pipers are dear—

Sweet sounds the ancient pibroch o'er mountain, loch, and glade;

But the sweetest of all music the pipes at Lucknow played.


'Day by day the Indian tiger louder yelled, and nearer crept;

Round and round the jungle serpent near and nearer circles swept.

Pray for rescue, wives and mothers,—pray to-day," the soldier said;

"To-morrow death's between us, and the wrong and shame we dread."


'Oh, they listened, looked and waited, till their hope became despair;

And the sobs of low bewailing filled the pauses of their prayer.

Then upspake a Scottish maiden, with her ear unto the ground:

"Dinna ye hear it?—dinna ye hear it? the pipes of Havelock sound."


'Hushed the wounded man his groaning; hushed the wife her little ones;

Alone they heard the drum-roll and the roar of sepoy guns.

But to sounds of home and childhood the Highland ear was true;—

As the mother's cradle crooning the mountain pipes she knew.


'Like the march of soundless music through the vision of the seer,

More of feeling than of hearing, of the heart than of the ear,

She knew the droning pibroch, she knew the Campbells' call:

"Hark, hear ye no MacGregors'?—the grandest o' them all."


'Oh, they listened, dumb and breathless, and they caught the sound at last,

Faint and far beyond the Goomtee, rose and fell, the pipers' blast.

Then a burst of wild thanksgiving mingled woman's voice and man's.

"God be praised—the march of Havelock! the piping of the clans.'"


'Louder, nearer, fierce as vengeance, sharp and shrill as swords at strife

Came the wild MacGregors' clan call, stinging all the air to life.

But when the far-off dust-cloud to plaided legions grew,

Full tenderly and blithsomely the pipes of rescue blew.


'Round the silver domes of Lucknow, Moslem mosque and Pagan shrine,

Breathed the air to Britons dearest, the air of Auld Lang Syne.

O'er the cruel roll of war-drums rose that sweet and homelike strain;

And the tartan clove the turban as the Goomtee cleaves the plain.'

But although the coming of Havelock and his men saved Lucknow for a time, they were not strong enough quite to defeat the sepoys, and take all the women and children to a safe place. So the siege began again and lasted for about two months more. But at last Sir Colin Campbell landed in India, and, a few days later, marched to Lucknow. This time it really was relieved.

Little more than a week later General Havelock, who had fought so bravely for his countrymen, who had endured so much to bring them help, died. India is very far from Britain, and in those days news travelled very slowly, so the Queen, not knowing that Havelock had died, made him a baronet, that is, she gave him the title of 'Sir,' in reward for his brave deeds. But three days before the Queen did this, the brave general was lying still and quiet, resting after his great labours.

General Havelock was a good as well as a great man. Like Cromwell he taught his soldiers to fight and to pray, and 'Havelock's saints,' as they were called, were well known in India. But Havelock's saints, like Cromwell's Ironsides, showed that they could fight as well as pray.

After the relief of Lucknow the Mutiny was nearly at an end. Lord Canning made a proclamation offering pardon to all except those who had actually murdered the British, and gradually the country became peaceful again.

The East India Company, which until now had practically ruled India, was done away with, and the Queen took the government into her own hands. As Victoria could not herself live in India, she appointed a viceroy. Viceroy means one in place or a king. Lord Canning, who, through all the terrible days of the Mutiny, had proved himself to be a good governor, was made the first Viceroy.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

Albion and Brutus
The Coming of the Romans
The Romans Come Again
Caligula Conquers Britain
The Story of Boadicea
The Last of the Romans
The Story of St. Alban
Vortigern and King Constans
Hengist and Horsa
Hengist's Treachery
The Giant's Dance
The Coming of Arthur
Founding of the Round Table
Gregory and the Children
King Alfred Learns to Read
Alfred and the Cowherd
More About Alfred the Great
Ethelred the Unready
Edmund Ironside
Canute and the Waves
Edward the Confessor
Harold Godwin
The Battle of Stamford Bridge
The Battle of Hastings
Hereward the Wake
Death of the King
The Story of William the Red
The Story of the "White Ship"
The Story of King Stephen
Henry II—Gilbert and Rohesia
Thomas a Becket
The Conquest of Ireland
Richard Coeur de Lion
How Blondel Found the King
The Story of Prince Arthur
The Great Charter
Henry III and Hubert de Burgh
Simon de Montfort
The Poisoned Dagger
The War of Chalons
The Lawgiver
The Hammer of the Scots
King Robert the Bruce
The Battle of Bannockburn
The Battle of Sluys
The Battle of Crecy
The Siege of Calais
The Battle of Poitiers
Wat Tyler's Rebellion
How Richard Lost His Throne
The Battle of Shrewsbury
Prince Hal Sent to Prison
The Battle of Agincourt
The Maid of Orleans
Red Rose and White
Margaret and the Robbers
The Story of the Kingmaker
A King Who Wasn't Crowned
Two Princes in the Tower
The Make-Believe Prince
Another Make-Believe Prince
The Field of the Cloth of Gold
Defender of the Faith
The Six Wives of Henry VIII
The Story of a Boy King
The Story of Lady Jane Grey
Elizabeth a Prisoner
A Candle Lit in England
Elizabeth Becomes Queen
A Most Unhappy Queen
Saved from the Spaniards
Sir Walter Raleigh
The Queen's Favourite
The Story of Guy Fawkes
The Story of the Mayflower
A Blow for Freedom
King and Parliament Quarrel
The King Brought to Death
The Adventures of a Prince
The Lord Protector
How Death Plagued London
How London was Burned
The Fiery Cross
The Story of King Monmouth
The Story of the Seven Bishops
William the Deliverer
William III and Mary II
A Sad Day in a Highland Glen
How the Union Jack was Made
Earl of Mar's Hunting Party
Bonnie Prince Charlie
Flora MacDonald
The Black Hole of Calcutta
How Canada Was Won
How America Was Lost
A Story of a Spinning Wheel
Every Man Will Do His Duty
The Battle of Waterloo
The First Gentleman in Europe
Two Peaceful Victories
The Girl Queen
When Bread was Dear
Victorian Age: Peace
Victorian Age: War
The Land of Snow
The Siege of Delhi
The Pipes at Lucknow
Under the Southern Cross
From Cannibal to Christian
Boer and Briton
List of Kings