Across India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 323 pages of information about Across India.

“An attempt was made to check the advance of the rebels eight miles from the city; but it was a failure, with the small available force, and two days later the enemy attacked the British at the Residency.  Three times the brave defenders beat back the assaults of the assailants.  These events on the spot you have visited occurred between the last of May and the first of July.  It was not till the twenty-second of September that Havelock and Outram arrived, and captured the Alum-Bagh, which we shall visit this morning.  It was a terrible summer that the beleaguered people and their brave handful of soldiers passed; and Tennyson has commemorated Lucknow in his immortal verse.

“But the coming of Havelock was not the end; for the rebels besieged the place again, and it was near the middle of November before Sir Colin Campbell arrived, with a considerable force.  He captured the Alum-Bagh, and, leaving in it a force of three thousand five hundred men, he escorted the women and children and the civilians to Cawnpore; but returned in March to subdue the rebels.  For a week he fought them, drove them from the intrenchments in which they had fortified themselves, and the mutiny was ended, as I related to you on board of your ship.”

The carriages were at the door as soon as the party had breakfasted.  They were driven to the cemetery, where they saw the grave of Lawrence, whose memorial is that “He tried to do his duty.”  In the Alum-Bagh, which means the Queen’s Garden, was the grave of Havelock.  It was here that Outram had his camp and fortifications for the defence of Lucknow during the absence of Campbell.

The Kaiser Bagh, or Caesar’s Garden, contains some of the principal sights of the city, which the viscount pointed out and described.  It is a forest of domes and cupolas; and the company halted at the pavilion of Lanka, which a French writer called the least ridiculous of the structures in the enclosure, though the professor insisted that it was quite as bad as the worst.  It had an abundance of cupolas with arabesque domes; but the edifice looked like a shell, for the veranda, with lofty columns supporting the roof, appeared to take up the greater portion of the enclosed space.

The most grotesque feature was at the entrance.  A flight of broad stairs led to the principal floor, over which was extended what looked like an imitation of the Rialto bridge in Venice, with a small temple under the middle arch and at the head of the stairs.  The top of the bridge was on a level with the flat roof, and the two side-arches started from the ground.  The building was handsome in some of its details; but the professor said it was an “abomination,” and Dr. Hawkes called it “queer.”  The various edifices are now occupied by the civil and military officials.

“Where does the name of this place come from?” asked Captain Ringgold.  “Kaiser Bagh seems to be half German.”

“But it is not German,” replied Lord Tremlyn.  “These buildings were mostly erected no farther back than 1850, by Wajid Ali Shah, the King of Oude, who was deposed by the British government in 1856.  He called himself Caesar, and Kaiser is simply a corruption of that name, with no German allusion in it.  He was the husband of the Queen of Oude, whose burial-place you saw in Pere-la-Chaise.”

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Across India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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