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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 219 pages of information about Vellenaux.

CHAPTER V.

This adventure fully developed his coolness and courage when aroused to immediate action by any unexpected danger.  This gained for Arthur the favorable opinion of his brother officers.  Although he, on joining, made no mention of the circumstance, until in course of casual conversation the affair leaked out.  Soon after joining he wrote to Sir Jasper informing him of his safe arrival, and to Edith a long and interesting account of his journey from Calcutta to Karricabad, in which he portrayed with faithful accuracy his encounter with a Bheel, and many other incidents which he thought likely would interest or amuse her.  In describing the scenery and general features of the wild districts he had to pass through, he said: 

“After traversing for miles the hot and dusty plains of Hindostan, quite unexpectedly you will come upon a tope or grove of fruit trees, planted in regular rows, with a well or tank of spring water, and a place to bathe in built in the centre, where the weary and way-worn traveller could bathe and wash away the heat and dust of the road, and cool his parched throat with a draught of the pure element, gather as much of the rich fruit as he may wish, to appease his appetite if hungry; then, in the soft mossy grass, beneath the overhanging branches which effectually protect him from the heat and glare of the sun, enjoy a sound sleep, awake refreshed and proceed on his way rejoicing.  In European countries where hotels and places of accomodation are to be met with at every turn, this may appear of little moment, but in the East where there are no such places to obtain food or shelter from the powerful rays of the sun, this is an inestimable boon.  On enquiring how these Topes or groves came to grow in places so far distant from any other cultivation, I was informed that they were planted by rich high caste natives, as a penance that was imposed upon them by the Brahmin priests for sins of omission or commission against their creed.  By the way, I heard the other day a good story concerning these said Topes.  It appears that a certain ensign of the Company’s service, who had been furnished with his commission and outfit by an elderly maiden aunt of a serious and pious turn of mind, whose positive injunctions to him on leaving England were that he was not to attempt to impose upon her with any account of dangers, difficulties, or surprising adventures that were not strictly true, for she hated liars, and would cut him out of her will if she detected him indulging in anything of the sort; but requested that he would write to her a full, true and particular account of his first battle, should he be engaged in one.

“At the commencement of his first campaign he wrote to the old lady a long descriptive letter, but unfortunately he did not pay sufficient attention to his orthography, and so came to grief, for one paragraph of the letter ran thus: 

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