In Clive's Command eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 411 pages of information about In Clive's Command.

He did not take long to decide upon a plan.  Calling the native who had attended him in the fort, he sent him out to Surendra Nath with instructions to prepare his peons for instant action.  Bulger was with them; he had been absent from Bowler’s house when the order came to retire to the fort, and only just succeeded in joining Surendra Nath before the investment began.

From Joti Lal Chatterji, the man whom Mr. Watts had employed to make inquiries in Murshidabad, the servant was to get a dress such as would be worn by a khitmatgar {table servant}, and some material for staining the skin.  In the darkness Desmond hoped that he might pass without question for a native so long as disguise was necessary.  Within an hour the man returned, bringing the articles required.

Chapter 21:  In which Coja Solomon finds dishonesty the worse policy; and a journey down the Hugli little to his liking.

The short twilight was thickening into darkness when Desmond, with face, legs, and arms stained brown, slipped out of the fort in native dress and walked slowly towards the houses of the native merchants.  In his hand he carried a small bundle.  Reaching the house where his party was staying, kept by one Abdul Kader, he almost betrayed himself by forgetting to slip off his sandals as he entered.  But he bethought himself in time and was admitted without question.

He found that he was not a moment too soon.  Bulger had taken up his quarters there with a very bad grace, the arrival of the Nawab’s army having aroused in him the fighting spirit of the sturdy British tar.  But when the news ran through the settlement that the fort was to be given up his feelings overcame him, and it was only with the greatest difficulty that Surendra Nath had persuaded him to wait patiently for orders from Desmond.  Then the Babu himself had quitted the house, and Bulger was left without the restraint of anyone who could speak English.  He was on the point of casting off all prudence and stalking out, like Achilles from his tent, when Desmond arrived.

“By thunder, sir!” he said, when he had recovered from his astonishment at seeing Desmond in native dress, “I en’t a-goin’ to surrender to no Moors, sure as my name’s Bulger.  ’Tis a downright scandalous shame; that’s what I call it.”

“Well, you can tell Mr. Watts so if ever you see him.  At present we have no time to waste in talk.  Where is Surendra Nath?”

“Gone to keep his weather eye on the codger’s godown, sir.”

“Which shows he’s a man of sense.  Are all the men here?”

“So far as I know, sir.  I may be wrong.”

“Well, they’ll make their way in small parties down to the river.  ’Tis dark enough now; they will not be noticed, and they can steal along the bank under the trees until they come near Coja Solomon’s ghat.  You must come with me.”

“Very good, sir,” replied Bulger, hitching up his breeches and drawing his hanger.

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In Clive's Command from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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