As the guard was a good two hundred paces away, however,
and as the space between was cut up into a labyrinth of passages and corridors,
I had great doubts as to whether they could arrive in time to be of any use in case of an actual attack.
Well, I was pretty proud at having this small command given me, since I was a raw recruit, and a game-legged one at that.
For two nights I kept the watch with my Punjabees.
They were tall, fierce-looking chaps, Mahomet Singh and Abdullah Khan by name,
both old fighting men, who had borne arms against us at Chilian Wallah.
They could talk English pretty well, but I could get little out of them.
They preferred to stand together, and jabber all night in their queer Sikh lingo.
For myself, I used to stand outside the gateway,
looking down on the broad, winding river and on the twinkling lights of the great city.
The beating of drums, the rattle of tomtoms, and the yells and howls of the rebels, drunk with opium and with bang,
were enough to remind us all night of our dangerous neighbours across the stream.
Every two hours the officer of the night used to come round to all the posts to make sure that all was well.
The third night of my watch was dark and dirty, with a small driving rain.
It was dreary work standing in the gateway hour after hour in such weather.
I tried again and again to make my Sikhs talk, but without much success.