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and public of every country in Europe, as
absurd, unjust, and shameful. Nevertheless,
Jooteepersâd cannot have harboured any
revenge for the wrongs (involving disgrace
and dishonour) which were heaped upon him;
for it is he who has fed, since July last, the
five thousand Christians during their
incarceration in the fortress of Agra; and, amongst
the number of civilians there shut up, is the
gentleman who conducted the prosecution on
the behalf of the Government, and who, in
the execution of his duty, strove very hard
indeed for a verdict of guilty. Without
Jooteepersâd we could not have held Agra.

When the sun had gone down, and it was
cool enough to walk abroad, Lall Singh led
me into the extensive gardens which
surrounded his temporary abode. The Lallah
had left us, and I was now alone with the
ex-Commander of the Seik Cavalry and the
ex-Prime Minister of Lahore. I felt much
more pleasure in his society than I should
have felt had he been in the plenitude of his
power; for he bore his altered condition
with great dignity and cheerfulness, and
discoursed upon all sorts of topics without any
restraint or reserve. He even talked about
the Ranee of Lahorewith whom his name
had been so frequently coupledand with a
chivalrous spirit (whether his assertions were
true or not is another matter) assured me that
his intrigues with her had been confined
exclusively to politics. I asked him where this
helpless woman had fled to, after her
miraculous escape from Benares, in the garb of a
man? He replied that he knew not. He was
sure she was not in Nepalwhere the
authorities supposed her to bebut
somewhere in our own provinces.

"Was she a beautiful woman?" I asked.

"Noand never had been," was his reply.
"But she had eyes which could charm like
those of a snake, and a voice sweeter than
that of a bird."

"They say she was the Messalina of the
East," and I explained to him what the allusion

"It is not true," he exclaimed vehemently.
"She was a vain and clever woman; but the
very opposite of the character that she has
been described. She was proud of the influence
she possessed over men in making them
subservient to her will and her caprices."

"Had she great power over Runjeet

"None. She was his doll, his plaything,
and the only being who could calm him when
he had the horrors. Nothing more."

"How the horrors?"

"Runjeet Singh began life as a petty chieftain,
with a few hundred followers. He
acquired a vast kingdom, and had the most
powerful army that the East ever saw, or will
see. Whilst he went on conquering, shedding
blood, and plundering, he was easy in his
mind; but, when he found that he had got as
much as he could manage, he stopped; and
then came his disquiet. His great fear then
was that he could not retain what he had become
possessed ofand his chief horror was that
the Koh-i-noor would be carried offthat
diamond which Runjeet Singh stole, and
which the Ranee has worn a thousand times
as a bracelet. That diamond which is now
in the crown of England."

"Where did it come from originally?"

"No one can say that. The history of the
Koh-i-noor has yet to be written. Did you
ever see a likeness of Runjeet Singh?"


"Then I will show you a very faithful one;
a miniature taken by a famous painter who
came from Delhi, and spent his life in Lahore.
The Maharajah was a diminutive, shrivelled
man, frightfully pitted with the small-pox,
which had destroyed one of his eyes; but
with the other he could gaze for an hour
without ever winking. He had a shrill and
squeaking voice; but it terrified those who
heard it, especially when he was angry.
He did not talk much; but he was a great
listener. Then, shrivelled and emaciated,
as he was, in his later years, he was
possessed of immense physical strength, when
roused; and, upon horseback, where skill
could be exercised, few men in his kingdom
could have disarmed him."


"He inspired all those who approached
himwhether European or nativewith
respect mingled with intense fear."

Our conversation was here interrupted by
a gardener, who presented the Rajah and
myself, respectively, with a nosegay; and
who volunteered the information, that some
workmen, in digging the foundation for a
vine trellis had come upon an old house
under the earth, and in it had been found
several gold and silver coins.

"Where?" asked the Rajah.

"There!" said the gardener, pointing in
the direction.

We hurried to the spot, and found that the
workmen had gone; but sure enough, there
were the walls of an apartment, formed of
red stone and white marble.

"This quarter of Agra," said the Rajah to
me, "was formerly inhabited by persons of
the highest rank. Where we are now standing
was, no doubt, once the site of a palace;
and these walls are those of the ty-khana
a vault beneath the dwelling from which
the light is excluded. In these dark places
are usually perpetrated what you, English,
call 'dark deeds.'"

I expressed a desire to explore this newly
discovered apartment of former days; but
the Rajah told me it was then too late, as the
workmen had gone; but he promised me that
if I would come to him at daylight, on the
following morning he would have great
pleasure in gratifying my curiosity.

On the following morning, having spent a
very dreamy night, I was carried in my

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