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Bazaar. These roofless intervals are called chouks; and their sides are occupied by a number of small shops, built in an octagonal form, as the path leads round on either side of the reservoirs, from the extremity of one arcade to the entrance of another. At the outward extremities of the first and last of these covered passages, are two open spaces of larger dimensions than the intermediate ones-these being about forty yards square. The arcades are all constructed of brick, and in a perfectly straight line. The interiors are somewhat grotesquely painted; trees, fruit, animals, and the "human form divine" in every possible phase of distortion, daubing, and chaotic grouping, affright the fastidious "connoisseur"-purple, red, green, and yellow, predominating on a white or rather whity brown groundthe clumsy skill of the artist being lamentably conspicuous in a thorough contempt for the accessory contingencies of proportion and perspective. A range of shops occupies the lower portion of each arcade; and the upper story is partitioned into small apartments, the habitations of the vendors of the various articles of merchandize, of which the Shor Bazaar is the grand emporium.
The next prose extract, which we have marked, is descriptive of the night after the taking of Istaliff. We have reason to think, that the horrors, which attended the capture of the place, are here somewhat exaggerated. The passage, however, is on many accounts very interesting, and is by no means badly written :
The night was bitter-intensely cold: it was scarcely possible to sleep, and many of us were unprovided with either cloaks, or pasteens. The wind rose high and cutting about midnight. A sharp frost set in, and continued throughout the whole of the following day and night. During the earlier part of the day, towards the close of the fighting, which had continued for nearly five hours, and when the terrified inhabitants became conscious that their last hope of successfully resisting us was gone, and that the city must inevitably be ours within another hour, they had poured forth in hundreds from the upper part of the town, and began to ascend the heights in its rear, to seek safety in flight and in the fastnesses of the hills beyond. Hundreds of women and children, enveloped in their long white burkas, studded the side of the mountain, as they plied their rapid and dangerous way towards the summit. Every moment their numbers became more dense, until at length the face of the hill appeared almost as if a wide and snow-like sheet had overspread it. The whole of the female population of Caubul, and their families, had been removed for greater safety to Istaliff, on the near approach of General Pollock's force-the impression obtaining that the "maiden city" as it was termed (and which was traditionally known never to have been taken, and hence considered impregnable) could never by any possibility fall into our hands. Fatal mistake! It fell; and throughout that bitter and inclement night, the shrieks and wailings of perishing thousands were borne past by every icy gust, which howled amid the ruins of the old Castle-chaunting, as it were, an unearthly requiem over the stark remains of Evans, who had been shot through the heart on that eventful day. It was subsequently reported, that upwards of 4,000 men, women and children, had perished from cold and hunger among the mountains. A mighty woe had indeed fallen upon the devoted city: its pride was quenched for ever; for, superadded to the thousands, who had succumbed to the extermination of cold and famishment among the hills, the purling and slender rivulets, which
hurried adown her precipitous streets and declivities, were deeply tinged with the blood of numbers of her defenders, whose lifeless and mutilated forms mingled in incongruous heaps with every imaginable description of merchandize, furniture, tents, brocades, velvets, satins, and similar costly articles, choked up every avenue which led to the citadel. The sufferings of those devoted people must have been terrific. On the morning of our departure from the scene of slaughter and devastation, even the fear of being shot down by the rear guard did not deter numbers of famishing wretches from swarming different portions of the encamping ground, which had been but a few minutes before evacuated, and gathering together every rag, or piece of clothing they could find, and every revolting particle of offal, or bone, that was likely to appease their ravenous hunger. This I witnessed with my own eyes, when, as the troops departed, I lingered behind for a few brief and sad moments over the scarce recognizable graves of my poor friend, the youthful, gallant, and ill-fated Evans, and M'Kerricker-the former a brother subaltern with me in the Light Company, and whom I had known as a child-and the latter also a light Bob, one of the bravest and most favourite of my men and yet as I bent a last look upon that spot, which even I could scarcely recognize, so metamorphosed had it become by the heaps of straw, which had been burned upon it, and the quantities of feathers and rubbish strewn over it to prevent its being detected by the enemy after our departure, whose invariable practice, whenever they discover the grave of an infidel, is to disinter the body, mutilate it, and cast it to the four winds of heavenyet, as I say, when I looked a last adieu upon the gory resting place of the boy-soldier thus smitten in the very bud of youth, and hope and glory, but who had nevertheless attained the zenith of affectionate esteem in the hearts of all his comrades, and of the veteran soldier, who slept beside him, it was a matter of somewhat mournful gratulation, that scarce recognized by myself, that mountain grave would remain undesecrated and unpolluted by the hand of the ruthless and vindictive Afghan. I turned from that dreary spot with a pained heart and humbled spirit. I gave them all that I could give, a sigh, a parting tear. I went on my way, breathing a prayer for the peace of their mortal ashes, and yet another for the salvation and bliss of their franchised and etherealized spirits; not unforgetful also, in all the humility of a genuine grief, of our silent, yet soul-felt impulse of homage and thanksgiving to that sole and omniscient Ruler of the Universe, who had so long spared, and might still spare, me amid dangers as imminent, and battle-fields as stormy and blood-dyed, as that in which their noble and gallant bearts had fallen.
With two brief personal notes we shall bring our extracts to a close; the first is in illustration of the dangers, which sometimes befel our officers from wearing the Afghan costume :—
The native costume was not always the most safe, however, as an incident, which occurred at the taking of Istaliff in the Kohistan, had very nearly and fatally exemplified. All the prisoners, after their liberation from the clutches of Akbar Khan in 1842, on their arrival at Caubul, wore the Afghan costume; indeed they were destitute of any other description of clothing. Captain Colin Mackenzie was one of them, and subsequently accompanied the expedition against Istaliff. He still wore the oriental costume, and narrowly escaped being shot dead by one of the Light Company of the 41st Regiment, the soldier having mistaken him for one of the enemy. Strange to say Captain Mackenzie recovered at this very place a portion of his European wardrobe, which had been plundered from him during the insurrection and massacres of the January
previous. A pair of regimental pantaloons in particular were brought to me by one of my own men, who imagined that they must be mine, as they were marked with my initials and name, which are the same as those of my gallant and distinguished kinsman.
The second relates to Sir Alexander Burnes:
I am enabled to state positively, on the authority of a letter from Sir Alexander Burnes himself (one of the last he ever wrote, and addressed to an officer of high rank and one of his most intimate friends), that poor Burnes had long foreseen the crisis which had arrived; for, in the letter alluded to, he states his conviction in the most solemn terms, adding moreover, that he knew that he was a marked man, and would inevitably be the first victim; but, nevertheless, he would never flinch from doing what he conceived to be his duty, although all his warnings had been disregarded. Noble fellow! He was indeed-as his own words and prognostications implied-the first victim, and died at his post.
There is much more interesting and suggestive matter in the notes, culled from the author's "MS. Journal." We wish, indeed, that he had given us more prose and less poetry. Nothing, but the very highest genius, can sustain a man throughout eight thousand lines of verses: cleverness will not do. The poetical temperament must be in the fullest state of perfection to preserve the writer of such a work from failure. It is no discredit to a man to fail in that, in which few have ever succeeded but it is a pity that such a writer as Mr. Mackenzie, who has obviously very considerable talents, should not have achieved more by attempting less.
ART. III.-Report on the Bengal Military Fund, by F. G. P. Neison, Actuary of the Medical, Invalid, and General Life Assurance Society. London. 1849.
It is necessary to explain in a few words the circumstances, under which Mr. Neison has been called on to make the enquiry, of which this report states the satisfactory result. In the year 1843, doubts having arisen among the officers of the Bengal Army, as to the correctness of the calculations forming the basis of their magnificent Fund, it was determined to submit the accounts and rules to an eminent actuary, Mr. Griffith Davies of the Guardian Life Assurance Company, in London. That gentleman devoted much time and attention to the consideration of the subject, and at last pronounced the alarming verdict, that the Fund was insolvent to the extent of upwards of £400,000! On the appearance of this startling piece of intelligence, several authorities pointed out that Mr. Davies had over-estimated some of the liabilities of the Fund; and a few minor inaccuracies in his data and results were subsequently brought to notice. Still, as it was ascertained that he had compiled his law of mortality affecting officers in India from the records at the India House, and other presumed good authorities, on the accuracy of which the whole question hinged, there remained considerable alarm in the minds of all connected with the institution; and it was resolved in 1847, that the whole of the documents, with additional information collected since 1843, should be placed in the hands of another eminent London actuary; and hence the Report, the substance of which we are about to lay before our readers, from Mr. Neison.
It will soon be understood that, besides the mere question of the insolvency, or otherwise, of the Military Fund, so important to its subscribers, there is much information, which will be of value to our general readers. It is from the light now thrown upon the vital statistics of Europeans in the East, that the facts, brought to notice by Mr. Neison, become also so peculiarly of interest to all connected with our Indian possessions.
An institution, like those of the Military Funds in India, where the living subscribe for the benefit of their widows or families, must demand that the Fund shall receive, on a general average, a sufficient sum from the existing contributor, before his death, to meet the claims on its resources, which he leaves behind
at his demise. The simple question then resolves itself, in viewing the opinions of Mr. Davies and Mr. Neison, into this one position. Mr. Davies asserts, that such is the law of mortality for British India, that an officer cannot, as a living member, contribute sufficient, ere he die, to make up the sum necessary to pay the pension of his widow, as prescribed by the rules. Mr. Neison, on the other hand, comes forward, with seemingly unanswerable assertions and figures, to the effect, that the danger to life in India has been over-stated by Mr. Davies, and by every actuary or authority, who has hitherto investigated the subject; -in a word, that Europeans live longer in India, than has been hitherto imagined. To our mind he makes his assertion good; and, having done so, he shews plainly that a subscriber to the Fund lives to contribute to its means far longer than was assumed; that the capital is proportionally improved by the more enduring subscription of the survivor; and in fact that the affairs of the Fund are not in the state of alarming insolvency, predicated by the learned actuary of the Guardian.
The following table will shew the difference in the ratio of percentage of mortality of the officers of the Bengal Army, as exhibited by the two gentlemen we have named :—
In the preparation of the above, Mr. Neison has come upon a few rather interesting facts. He states that, from 1800 to 1847, the total number of cadets arriving in Bengal has been 5,199. Of these, 1,874 have died. The total number, who have disappeared from the ranks of the army, including the deaths in forty-seven years, are 2,665, or more than half; and, as the majority of the cadets, who entered the service, belong to the more recent portion of the forty-seven years, a rather startling picture