“Or you could go to Benares, our next stopping-place on the river,” suggested the viscount.
But it would take too much time, and Captain Ringgold objected; for he had already marked Allahabad out of the route. Early in the afternoon the tourists were again seated in the conference carriage. The station at Cawnpore excited their attention, for it is five hundred and sixty feet long. A bridge of boats sixteen hundred yards in length was an affair not seen in their own country.
“We are now in the province of Oude, a word of various orthography,” said Lord Tremlyn, after they lost sight of the city from which they started.
“Oude!” exclaimed Miss Blanche. “Where did I see that name?”
“In Paris,” replied Louis. “We saw the tomb of the Queen of Oude in Pere-la-Chaise.”
“I will tell you about her presently,” continued Lord Tremlyn. “There was a great deal of corruption in the government of the kingdom under the native king. The people were robbed of vast sums in the guise of taxes, the police was miserably inefficient, and it was not a safe region for the traveller. The East India Company drew up a treaty with the king, transferring to the corporation the government, but providing liberally for the ruler and his family.”
“The king refused to sign this treaty; the East India Company had been superseded, and the governor-general deposed the king. No compromise could be effected, though many believed the king had been unjustly treated. He removed to Calcutta; but his queen, with her son and brother, went to England, and endeavored to obtain redress for the real or supposed wrongs of the family, but without success. The queen then went to Paris, and died there in 1858.
“The people of Oude never submitted to the new government; and in the Mutiny of 1857, not only the sepoys but the people rebelled. The insurrectionists concentrated at Lucknow, the capital, and captured some of the forts, as has been related to you. This city has now a population of two hundred and seventy-three thousand, which makes it the fifth city in size in India. It is regarded as a very attractive place. The streets are wide, and the buildings are well-constructed, with the wooden balconies you see all over India, and the shops and bazaars may entice the ladies to make purchases. It has a fine park.
“The kings of Oude were ambitious to outshine the glories of Delhi, and, to a considerable extent, they succeeded; but the architecture is fantastic rather than grand and beautiful, and experts are inclined to laugh at it. But our friend Professor Giroud has something to say, and I subside to make room for him.
“I wish to tell the story of a Frenchman, which I think will interest the party,” said the professor. “Claude Martine was a Breton soldier who went with his regiment to Pondicherry, the principal French settlement in India, which has been tossed back and forth between the English, Dutch, and French like a shuttlecock, but has been in possession of my country since 1816. He attained the grade of corporal; but this elevated rank did not satisfy him, and he left for the interior.