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occupied by the Ranee, opened from the northwestern quarter of the city, and the escort formed line fronting the citadel, whilst the governor-general's representative and his party proceeded on their mission. On arriving at the entrance, the political agent and a few officers proceeded to the interior, and shortly afterwards a salute from the light guns announced that the boy whom we had set up to be a king over the Sikhs had been placed in the hands of his anxious mother, the Ranee, of drunken notoriety.

The interview was not of long duration, much to our relief, as the sombre walls which we were left to contemplate did not present a very cheerful aspect, and the inhabitants of Lahore evinced no interest or curiosity in the transactions.

The ceremonial being ended, we wound about the exterior of the city towards our camp, thus completing the whole circuit of the walls, and returned to our quarters about nightfall, after a tolerably fatiguing day; but we had now become so well used to living in our saddles,

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266

THE SIKH FORCES.

that it was rather a variety to pass the day anywhere else.

As the conclusion of the war now rested in the hands of the political department, we were at length able to lie down at night, with some hopes of not being trumpeted into our saddles before we had well fallen asleep; and there were few soldiers of the British army who did not take full advantage of this immunity, save the unfortunate members of the standard guards and outlying pickets.

The remainder of the Sikh forces still continued encamped between the river and Lahore, but an intimation was sent to them, that such as chose to come into Lahore would receive payment of all arrears due to them, and must then consider themselves as no longer required for military service. The Irregular Cavalry hastened in crowds to take advantage of this offer, but the regular battalions heard at first with feelings of indignation that they were to be disbanded, and professed their resolution to hazard another battle with the remaining thirty-six cannon which had been saved from

THEIR DISPERSION.

267

the wreck at Sobraon, owing to their remaining on the opposite bank. The chiefs, Tej Singh and Lal Singh, seeing the game was up, refused to lead the soldiers to action, and having also assured the Sikh army that a great portion would be re-enlisted for future service, and that those who were most ready to accept the proffered terms would undoubtedly have the first choice in re-enlistment, these arguments produced a salutary effect.

The surrender of all the cannon which had been used against the British was at length reluctantly complied with, for the attachment of native troops to their guns is proverbial throughout the East, and when this point was carried, the complete dispersion of the regular battalions ensued.

The reluctance on the Sikh part to abandon their profession, must appear an inexplicable matter to those who judge of soldiers' attachment to their trade by its unpopularity amongst our countrymen; but throughout the greater portion of Asia military zeal is a prevalent feature, and in the Indian armies, dismissal

268

MILITARY ARDOUR.

from the service has hitherto been deemed one of the gravest punishments which could be inflicted.

The most surprising feature in this campaign was the readiness with which the Sikhs rose after each defeat, fresh for another contest. But with that nation war is one of the principles of religion, and as the wily Mahomet led his daring soldiers to believe that they were fighting their way to Paradise, so the presumptuous Sikh was taught that his greatest moral obligation consisted in being a brave soldier. To further this object, he was trained in early youth to the use of his weapons, and learned to consider them as the most useful part of his costume. Under this hardy regime they rose from a sect into a formidable nation. In this instance they formed no exception to the general rule amongst all nations, where military prowess has always been a necessary condition in the scale of ascendancy.

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The restrictions regarding officers visiting the city of Lahore being removed, we hastened to take advantage of this liberty. The streets and bazaars were so thronged with inhabitants, and the recently disbanded soldiery, that it was exceedingly difficult to force a path on horseback, and an elephant was found to be the most advantageous mode of travelling. A brigade of our native infantry were cantoned in the Badshahee mosque, a large, half-dis

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