In Clive's Command eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 515 pages of information about In Clive's Command.

Desmond breathed freely once more now that Path was passed.  But two-thirds of the journey still remained to be completed, and he dare not hope that at his slow rate of progress he would be able always to keep ahead of information from Cossimbazar.  Seeing that he could not hasten his journey, he wondered whether it was possible to put pursuers off the scent.  After thinking for a while he said to the Babu, out of hearing of the Armenian: 

“I have an idea, Surendra Nath:  tell me what you think of it.  Did you not tell me as we came up that there is a gumashta {agent} of the Company at Santipur?”

“Certainly I did, sir.”

“Well, as we are, I fear, sure to be cut off by water, may we not take to the land?  Could not the gumashta get us a dozen hackeris {bullock carts}?  We could transfer the goods to them and elude our pursuers perhaps long enough for help to arrive from Calcutta.”

“That is good counsel, sir; why should we not do so?”

Accordingly, when they came to the spot where the high road crossed the river by a ford, Desmond ordered his men to row in to the left bank.  Selecting two men who knew the country, he bade them land and make the best speed in carrying out instructions which he proceeded to give them.

“You, Mohun Lal,” he said, “will go to Santipur, quickly, avoiding observation, and request the gumashta in Merriman Sahib’s name to have twelve hackeris, or as many as he can collect, ready to receive loads two or three hours before tomorrow’s dawn.  He must get them from the villages, not from Khulna or Amboa, and he must not tell anyone why he requires the carts.

“You, Ishan, will go on to Calcutta, find Merriman Sahib, and ask him to send a body of armed men along the Barrakpur road towards Santipur.  You will tell him what we have done, and also that Cossimbazar Fort is in the hands of the Nawab, and Watts Sahib a prisoner.  He may know this already.  You both understand?”

The men salaamed and started on their journey.

Chapter 22:  In which is given a full, true, and particular account of the Battle of the Carts.

Desmond expected that Mohun Lal would reach Santipur shortly after nightfall.  He himself might hope to arrive there, if not intercepted at Khulna or Amboa, at any time between midnight and three o’clock, according to the state of the river.

It was approaching dusk when he drew near to Khulna.  The boats having been tied up to the bank, as the custom was, Desmond sent the Babu to find out from the Company’s gumashta there whether news of the capture of Cossimbazar Fort had reached the bazar, and if any runner had come in from the north.  In an hour the Babu returned.  He said that there was great excitement in the bazar:  no official messenger had arrived, but everybody was saying that the Nawab had captured the English factory at Cossimbazar, and was going to drive all the Firangi out of Bengal.

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