+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

in the Bengal Horse Artillery; the other
was an ensign in a Royal Regiment of the
Line. There was a ball; and by some
accident that beautiful lady of our regiment had
engaged herself to both of them for the same
dance. When the time came, both went up
and claimed her hand. Neither of them would
give way; and the lady not wishing to offend
either, by showing a preference, and finding
herself in a dilemma, declined to dance with
either. Not satisfied with this, they retired
to the verandah, where they had some high
words, and the next morning they met
behind the church thereand fought a duel,
in which both of them fell, mortally wounded.
They had scarcely time to shake hands with
one another, when they died. In those days
matters of the kind were very easily hushed
up; and it was given outthough everybody
knew to the contrarythat one had died of
fever, and the other of cholera; and they
were both buried side by side in one grave;
and this tomb was erected over them at the
joint expense of the two regiments to which
they belonged. I get ten rupees a year for
keeping this grave in order."

"Who pays you?"

"A gentleman in Calcutta, a relation of
one of them. I'll tell you what it is, sir.
This foolish affair, which ended so fatally,
sowed the seeds of the fever that carried off
that beautiful and good woman, yonder. She
was maddened by the thought of being the
cause of the quarrel in which they lost
their lives. I knew them both, sir, from
seeing them so often on the parade-ground,
and at the band-stand; very fine young
men they were, sir. Yes; here they sleep in

"Whose tombs are those?" I asked,
pointing to some two or three hundred,
which were all exactly alike, and in three
straight lines: in other words, three deep.

"Those are the tombs of the men of the
Cameronians, sir. These graves are all
uniform, as you observe. Fever made sad
havoc with that regiment. They lost some
three companies in all. Behind them are the
tombs of the men of the Buffs, and behind
them the tombs of the men of other Royal
Regiments of Infantryall uniform, you
see, sir; but those of each regiment, rather
differently shaped. To the right, flanking the
infantry tombs, are the tombs of the men of
the Cavalry, Eighth and Eleventh Dragoons,
and Sixteenth Lancers. In the rear of the
Cavalry are the tombs of the Horse and Foot
Artillery men,—all uniform, you see, sir.
Egad! if they could rise just now, what a
pretty little army they would formof all
rankssome thousands of 'em, and well
officered, too, they would be; and here a man
to lead them. This is the tomb of Major-
General Considine, one of the most
distinguished men in the British army. He was
the officer that the Duke of Wellington fixed
upon to bring the Fifty-third Foot into good
order, when they ran riot in Gibraltar, some
years ago. This is the tomb of General
Considine, rotting and going rapidly to decay,
though it was only built in the year eighteen
hundred and forty-five. A great deal of
money is squandered in the churchyards in
India. Tombs are erected, and at a great
expense frequently. After they are once put
up it is very seldom that they are visited or
heeded. Tens of thousands of pounds have
been thrown away on the vast pile of bricks
and mortar and stone that you now see
within this enclosure; and, with the exception
of a few, all are crumbling away. A Hindoo
a sweepersaid to me the other day, in
this graveyard, ' Why don't you English,
burn your dead, as we do, instead of leaving
their graves here, to tell us how much you
can neglect them, and how little you
care for them? What is the use of
whitening a few sepulchres amidst this mass
of black ruin? ' I had no answer to give the
fellow, sir. Indeed, the same thought had
often occurred to me, while at work in this
wilderness. Do you not think, sir, that the
government, through its own executive
officers, ought to expend a few hundred
pounds every year on these yards, in order
to avert such a scandal and disgrace? I
do not speak interestedly. I have as much
already on my hands as I can perform, if not
more; but I do often think that there is
really some reason in the remarks of that
sweeper. All these graves that you see here
so blackened and left to go to ruin, are the
graves of men who have served their country
and died in its service. Very little money
would keep the yard free from this grass and
these rank weeds, and very little more would
make all these tombs fit to be seen; for
neither labour nor whitewash is expensive in
this part of the world. One would hardly
suppose, on looking about him just now,
that the sons and daughters of some of the
best families in England are buried here, and
that in a very short time no one will be able
to distinguish the spot where each is lying:
so defaced and so much alike will all the
ruins become. What, sir, I repeat, is the
use of throwing away money in building
tombs, if they are not kept in repair?
Instead of laying out fifty or a hundred
pounds on a thing like this, why not lay
out only five pounds on a single head-stone,
and put the rest out at interest to keep
it up?"

"Or a small slab with an iron railing round it?"

"Ah, sir; but then you owuld require an
European ro tremain here, and a couple of
native watchmen to see that the railings were
not carried off by the villagers. As it is,
they never allow an iron railing to remain
longer than a week, or so long as that,
They watch for an opportunity, jump over
this low wall, and tear them down, or wrench
them off and away with them."