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About six marches short of Secunderabad we were joined by a new colonel, our former commandant having left us at Chicacole. The "New Broom" held an inspection parade, found that most of the men were carrying nothing in their well-squared and trim-looking knapsacks, but a very light wicker frame, known as a "pootee," and had all these pootees immediately collected in front of the camp and burnt, much to the disgust of the ingenious
When we arrived at Oopul, our last stage, seven miles from Secunderabad, two or three "Soucars," i.e. money-lenders, came from the cantonment with bags of "Hallee rupees" (the name by which the Nizam's currency is known), and were prepared, in the most obliging manner, to lend money upon officer's notes of hand, at from 18 to 24 per cent. annual interest! Notwithstanding the heavy interest demanded, they secured many customers. First of all, it was specified in the notes of hand that repayment of the loan, and its interest also, should be made in Pay Office rupees, otherwise called "Baugchulnee" and "Hallee sicca," these being the best rupees coined in the Hyderabad country; but the Soucars gave the loans in Bazaar rupees, otherwise known as "Muddam sicca," an inferior coinage, worth 2 per cent. less than the Pay Office rupees. By this they therefore secured an additional 2 per cent. upon the whole sum lent and upon its interest. Also, when they gave the loan, they deducted, in advance, one year's interest for the whole amount, thus obtaining additional gain in the usance of the interest money for twelve months, instead of receiving it by instalments. Moreover, the monthly instalments for repayment of the loan, usually
to be liquidated in two years, were to commence with the issue of pay next following the issue of the loan, without any diminution of interest being allowed upon the monthly payments for the first twelve months. Thus it will be apparent that impecunious subalterns were pretty well fleeced by these obliging moneylenders; in fact, to use the expression of the few who took the trouble to apply a little arithmetic to these transactions, they were "done like garden thrushes! though why that respectable bird should be made the subject of this peculiar expression, nobody seems to have known.
At this last stage, a great "brush up" took place, and the next day we entered Secunderabad, amid an admiring (as we fondly thought) crowd of soldiers, British and Native; but the conceit was somewhat taken out of us by one of the former being heard to say, "Why, Tommy, there isn't a good-looking gentleman among them!"
The view of Secunderabad, from the road by which we came, is imposing. The cantonment lay before us, in a long line of buildings stretching for nearly two miles along one side of a perfectly straight road; on the other side of the road, a very long, but rather narrow parade-ground, and beyond it, to the northward, numerous barracks, and also private houses embowered in fine trees. The far distance was, on all sides, closed in with ranges of craggy hills and "rumnahs "-prairies of tall yellow grass, with occasional patches of jungle on the borders of the numerous watercourses. We marched to nearly the end of the long road, and then lodged arms in some barracks which had been temporarily assigned to us, pending the erection of new lines, &c. These new lines,
CHOLERA IN MARCHING REGIMENTS.
together with places of arms and other buildings, were in a rather out-of-the-way locality, near the village of Begumpett. The public buildings were nearly ready, and a space was marked out for the sepoys hutting lines and bazaar, also a good piece of ground for officer's houses.
We thus arrived in safety at the end of our march, and escaped the scourge of cholera; but another native regiment which shortly afterwards followed us along the same road was attacked, and lost a great many men and some officers. It was placed in quarantine at Oopul, and was kept there until reported to be free from the disease. In this unfortunate corps cholera had been so bad, that at one stage it was utterly impossible to get the men to move. There was death in almost every tent, and the camp was one scene of wailing and despair. The warning bugles for the march were blown, but the plague-stricken camp made no response. The officers and native officers even took the colours and went out of camp on the high road, but no one followed; the men were cowering in the little family tents, watching hopelessly their dying comrades and relatives, or preparing the dead for hasty, shallow burial in the sandy plain. It was necessary to give up the march for that day; next day the scourge somewhat abated, and the regiment moved on.
From that time, for many months, cholera was fearfully prevalent along that road. An army surgeon, his wife, and little child, were travelling up from Masulipatam. At Oopul the husband died, and was brought into the station for burial (in later years this would not have been permitted). The wife was taken ill at Oopul, also, and died immediately after
The child was
being brought into Secunderabad. attacked on arrival, and died after a few hours' illness. I was at the funeral; all three, husband, wife, and child, were buried in one grave.
Building Lines.-Great Storm.-Country round Secunderabad. -Custard Apples.-Toddy.-British Soldier's Pic-nic.-Tiger Rock at Ramaram.-Suicide of a Sepoy.-Murder of a Native Officer.-The Mowlally Feast.-Processions of the Nobles.Return of Processions to City.-To the Percall Lake.Fishing. Noisy Tigers.-Spotted Deer.-Shoot a Bear."Tommy Atkins" on a Spree.-Ramdospillay.-Animal in Tent.-Boldness of Panthers.-Homily on Gun Accidents. -Sham Fights.
WAS now appointed Quartermaster of my regiment, and my time was fully occupied all the remainder of this year, and part of the next also, in building upwards of 1,100 huts for the native ranks. The money expenditure was about 14,000 rupees, but all the labour was done by the men, of whom I had a working party of over 200. Many of these men were good carpenters, iron-smiths, and brick and tile makers. Small timber and bamboos were given, free of cost, by the Nizam's Government, in jungles about twenty miles away, and elephants and camels to bring in the wood were lent us by Government.
After we had been a few months at Secunderabad I commenced to build a small house for myself. It was composed of a sitting-room, bed-room, and bath and store rooms, also a separate office for native