At last the British army reached a strong fort built on the top of a hill; Guznee was its name. Its walls and gates were so strong that it seemed impossible to get into the city; yet the British knew that if they did not, they must die either by the Affghan sword, or by hunger and thirst among the rocks. For some time they were much perplexed and distressed. At last a thought came into the mind of a British captain, “Let us blow up the gates with gunpowder.” The plan was good; but how to perform it,—there was the difficulty. Soon all was arranged. In the night some sacks of gunpowder were laid very softly against the gates; but as no one could set fire to the sacks when close to them, a long pipe of cloth was filled with gunpowder, and stretched like a serpent upon the ground; one end of the pipe touched the sack, and the other end was to be set on fire. But before the match was applied, a British officer peeped through a chink in the gates to see what the Affghans were doing within. Behold! they were quietly smoking, and eating their supper, not suspecting any danger! The match was applied—the gunpowder exploded, and the strong gates were shattered into a thousand pieces; the army rushed in sword in hand, and the Affghans fled in wild confusion.
Where was our young soldier? He was running into the fort between two friendly soldiers, who kindly helped him on; each of them was holding one of his arms, and assisting him to keep up with the troops, as they rushed through the gates. As he ran, he heard horrible cries, but the darkness hindered him from seeing the dying Affghans rolling in the dust, only he felt their soft bodies as he hastily passed over them. He heard his fellow-soldiers shouting and firing on every side. Some fell close beside him, and others were wounded, and carried off on the shoulders of their comrades, screaming with agony.
Half an hour after the gates were fired, the city was taken. The news of the victory spread among the Affghans on the mountains, and the plains, and the whole country submitted to the British.
The army soon marched to Cabool, that proud city. No one opposed their entrance, and the bazaar, and the king’s garden, and the royal citadel were visited by our soldiers.
After spending two months in beautiful Cabool, resting their weary limbs and feasting on fine fruits, the army was ordered to return home. They began to march again towards the coast, a distance of fifteen hundred miles, over cragged rocks, and scorching plains.
In the course of this terrible journey, the father of the young soldier again fell ill, and was forced to stop by the way. His affectionate son nursed him night and day; closed his eyes in death, and saw him laid in a lowly grave in the desert. With a bleeding heart the youth embarked to return to Bombay.
During the voyage, a furious storm arose, and all on board despaired of life. Then it was the youth remembered the prayers he had offered up by his dying father’s bed; then it was he felt he had not turned to God with all his heart, and then it was he vowed, that if the Lord would spare him this once, he would seek his face in truth. God heard and spared.