"Are there thunders moaning in the distance?
Are there spectres moving in the darkness?
Trust the Hand of Light will lead her people,
Till the thunders pass, the spectres vanish,
And the Light is Victor and the darkness
Dawns into the Jubilee of the Ages."
HE stories of Burma and Afghanistan—the two countries bordering on India—have been told. Let us take a
last look at the India of
On January 1, 1877, a magnificent Durbar, or state reception, was held at Delhi, the old Mogul capital, at which the "Queen beyond the seas" was proclaimed "Empress of India." Nothing could exceed the splendour of native chiefs and rulers who attended: no such gorgeous assembly had ever gathered in India before. And the sun shone down on the brilliantly coloured costumes, till the grounds looked like "an immense Eastern garden in full bloom." Each chief came on his own royal elephant, which was arrayed in gorgeous trappings with a throne of gold on its back. To each was presented a golden banner and a medal bearing the new legend, "Victoria, Empress." Out of compliment to these loyal princes, the English Viceroy, the Queen's representative, came on the state elephant, kept for great occasions. To the strains of the National Anthem, he then took his seat on the throne, twelve heralds sounded a flourish of trumpets, and the Proclamation was read aloud.
"The strong hand of Imperial power is put forth, not to crush but to protect and guide; and the results of British rule are everywhere around us, in rapid advance of the whole country and the increasing prosperity of all its provinces.
"God save the Queen of the United Kingdom and Empress of India."
This was the final scene in the establishment of the British Empire in India. During the rise and growth of
British power, the Mogul Empire had faded away. If fleeting memories of its past splendour flickered in
Oriental imagination, they have long since died out in the hearts of the people. Old feuds were forgotten, new
friendships were formed. Loyalty had been slow in growing, but as time rolls on, it becomes deeper rooted and
wider spread—loyalty to that queen and country which, for
Meanwhile dark clouds were gathering on the
Expeditions were immediately despatched to his relief. The famous race for Chitral, fills one of the most thrilling pages of modern history.
While a large force under Sir Robert Low fought its way over the Malakand Pass, Colonel Kelly, with some 400 men, was making his way from Gilgit on the frontier, over a yet higher pass, covered with four feet of soft snow.
It would take too long to tell how this little band of pioneers climbed the snowy mountain-passes, while snow
fell heavily from the pitiless sky; how man after man was struck with snow-blindness, man after man was
frost-bitten with the stinging cold. Such courage has its reward. After a fortnight's struggle, Kelly reached
Chitral to find that the
Meanwhile trouble was brewing farther south on the Punjab frontier.
"Men," cried their Colonel, "the position must be taken at all costs. The Gordon Highlanders will take it."
With fixed bayonets, the Highlanders made one of their famous charges, mounted the heights and carried all before them. The story of the Highland piper, who, though shot through both his ankles, sat on the ground and continued piping, will not easily be forgotten by those who love to hear of heroic deeds.
Having taken Dargai, the expedition marched on to Tirah, but eventually, after hard fighting, peace was
restored to the
Since these days the frontier has been strengthened against all possible invasion, and a line of forts and fortified posts protect the passes into Indian territory.
There is one more scene to describe before we take leave of India. Magnificent as was the Delhi Durbar of 1877,
yet perhaps more gorgeous still
was the Durbar that met on
"To the majority of these millions," he said, addressing the vast multitude before him, "the king's government
has given freedom from invasion; to others,
it has guaranteed their rights and privileges; to others, it opens
For ever broadening England and her throne
In the vast Orient."