‘Come soon!’ said Father Wolf. ’Oh, wise little frog, come again soon; for we be old, thy mother and I.’
‘Come soon,’ said Mother Wolf, ’little naked son of mine; for, listen, child of man, I loved thee more than ever I loved my cubs.’
‘I will surely come,’ said Mowgli; ’and when I come it will be to lay out Shere Khan’s hide upon the Council Rock. Do not forget me! Tell them in the jungle never to forget me!’
The dawn was beginning to break when Mowgli went down the hillside alone, to meet those mysterious things that are called men.
When the Indian Mutiny broke out, and a little time before the siege of Delhi, a regiment of Native Irregular Horse was stationed at Peshawur on the Frontier of India. That regiment caught what John Lawrence called at the time ‘the prevalent mania,’ and would have thrown in its lot with the mutineers had it been allowed to do so. The chance never came, for, as the regiment swept off down south, it was headed up by a remnant of an English corps into the hills of Afghanistan, and there the newly-conquered tribesmen turned against it as wolves turn against buck. It was hunted for the sake of its arms and accoutrements from hill to hill, from ravine to ravine, up and down the dried beds of rivers and round the shoulders of bluffs, till it disappeared as water sinks in the sand—this officerless, rebel regiment. The only trace left of its existence to-day is a nominal roll drawn up in neat round hand and countersigned by an officer who called himself ‘Adjutant, late —— Irregular Cavalry.’ The paper is yellow with years and dirt, but on the back of it you can still read a pencil note by John Lawrence, to this effect: ’See that the two native officers who remained loyal are not deprived of their estates.—J.L.’ Of six hundred and fifty sabres only two stood strain, and John Lawrence in the midst of all the agony of the first months of the mutiny found time to think about their merits.
That was more than thirty years ago, and the tribesmen across the Afghan border who helped to annihilate the regiment are now old men. Sometimes a graybeard speaks of his share in the massacre. ’They came,’ he will say, ’across the border, very proud, calling upon us to rise and kill the English, and go down to the sack of Delhi. But we who had just been conquered by the same English knew that they were over bold, and that the Government could account easily for those down-country dogs. This Hindu stani regiment, therefore, we treated with fair words, and kept standing in one place till the redcoats came after them very hot and angry. Then this regiment ran forward a little more into our hills to avoid the wrath of the English, and we lay upon their flanks watching from the sides of the hills till we were well assured that their path was lost behind them. Then we came down, for we desired