“I don’t know. I have not seen him since we entered the square.”
“Have any of you seen Mr. Anstruther?” Captain Mallett asked, turning to some soldiers standing near.
“He is lying over there, sir,” one of the men said. “He was just in front of me when the Pandies fired that volley at us as we came out of the streets, and he pitched forward and fell like a stone. I think that he was shot through the head, sir.”
They went across to the spot. The ensign lay there shot through the brain. Four or five soldiers lay round him; one of them was dead, the others more or less seriously wounded.
“Sound the assembly,” Captain Mallett said, as he turned away sadly, to a bugler. “Let us see what our losses are.”
The bugle sounded, and in a short time the infantry fell in. They had been engaged in searching the houses for mutineers. The Punjaubies had lost but five killed and thirteen wounded, while of the whites an officer and eighteen men were killed and sixteen wounded; nine of the former having fallen in the bayonet struggle with the Sepoys. Nine guns were captured, none of which had been fired, the attack having been so sudden that the Sepoys had only had time to fall in before their assailants were upon them.
“It is a creditable victory,” Mallett said, “considering that we had to face more than double the number that we expected. Our casualties are heavy, but they are nothing to those of the mutineers.
“Sergeant, take a file of men and go round and count the number of the enemy who have fallen.
“Ah, here comes a Sowar, and we shall hear what the cavalry have been doing outside.”
The trooper handed him a paper: “Fifty-three of the enemy killed, the rest escaped into the jungle. On our side two wounded; one seriously, one slightly.”
“That is as well as we could expect, Marshall. Of course, most of them got over the wall at the back. You see, all our plans were disarranged by finding them in such unexpected strength. Had we been able to thrash them by ourselves, the Punjaubies would have cut off the retreat in that direction. As it was, that part of the business is a failure.”
The Sergeant presently returned.
“There are 340 in the streets, sir,” he reported; “and I reckon there are another 20 or 30 killed in the houses, but I have not searched them yet.”
“That is sufficiently close; upwards of 400 is good enough.
“Now, Mr. Marshall, set the men to work making stretchers to carry the wounded.
“Mr. Herbert, will you tell off a party of your men to dig a large grave outside the village for the killed, and a small one apart for Mr. Anstruther? Poor fellow, I am sorry indeed at his loss; he would have made a fine officer.
“Sergeant Hugging, take a party and search the village for provisions. We have got bread, but lay hands on any fowls or goats that you can find, and there may be some sheep.”