A Narrative of the Siege of Delhi eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 159 pages of information about A Narrative of the Siege of Delhi.

About a mile to our front, and stretching to right and left as far as the eye could reach, appeared the high walls and the bastions of Delhi.  The intervening space below was covered with a thick forest of trees and gardens, forming a dense mass of verdure, in the midst of which, and peeping out here and there in picturesque confusion, were the white walls and roofs of numerous buildings.  Tall and graceful minarets, Hindoo temples and Mohammedan mosques, symmetrical in shape and gorgeous in colouring, appeared interspersed in endless numbers among the densely-packed houses inside the city, their domes and spires shining with a brilliant radiance, clear-cut against the sky.  Above all, in the far distance towered the Jama Masjid, or Great Mosque, its three huge domes of pure white marble, with two high minarets, dwarfing into insignificance the buildings by which it was surrounded—­surely, the noblest work of art ever built by man for the service of the Creator.

To the left could be seen the lofty castellated walls of the Palace of the Emperors, the former seat of the Great Mogul—­that palace in which at that moment the degenerate descendant of Timour, and last representative of his race, held his court, and in his pride of heart fondly hoped that British rule was at an end.

Beyond rose the ancient fortress of Selimgarh, its walls, as well as those of the palace on the north side, washed by the waters of the Jumna.  A long bridge of boats connected the fort with the opposite bank of the river, here many hundred yards in width:  and over this we could see, with the aid of glasses, bodies of armed men moving.

It was by this bridge that most of the reinforcements and all the supplies for the mutineers crossed over to the city.  On the very day of our arrival the mutinous Bareilly Brigade of infantry and artillery, numbering over 3,000 men, marched across this bridge.  Our advanced picket at the Metcalfe House stables, close to the Jumna, heard distinctly their bands playing “Cheer, boys, cheer!” the very same tune with which we had celebrated our entrance into camp that morning.

Few cities in the world have passed through such vicissitudes as Delhi.  Tradition says it was the capital of an empire ages before the great Macedonian invaded India, and its origin is lost in the mists of antiquity.  Traces there were in every direction, amid the interminable cluster of ruins and mounds outside the present city, of cities still more vast, the builders and inhabitants of which lived before the dawn of history.

Delhi had been taken and sacked times out of number.  Its riches were beyond compare; and for hundreds of years it had been the prey, not only of every conqueror who invaded India from the north-west, but also of every race which, during the perpetual wars in Hindostan, happened for the time to be predominant.  Tartars, Turks, Afghans, Persians, Mahrattas and Rajpoots, each in turn in succeeding ages had been masters of

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A Narrative of the Siege of Delhi from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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