For several years I myself lived within a stone's throw of the scene of the tragedy of the Black Hole; and though at that time I had no intention of writing a story for boys, I hope that the impressions of Indian life, character and scenery then gained have helped to create an atmosphere and to give reality to my picture. History is more than a mere record of events; and I shall be satisfied if the reader gets from these pages an idea, however imperfect, of the conditions of life under which all empire builders labored in India a hundred and fifty years ago.
eral Clive, an' turn yer young sperits into the lawful way--why, mebbe there be gowd swords an' mints o' money somewheers fur ya too.
"Well now, I bin talkin' long enough, an' to tell ya the truth, I be dry as a whistle, so I'll axe ya all to lift yer glasses, neebors, an' drink the good health o' General Clive. So theer!"
As the worthy bailiff concluded his speech, the company primed their glasses, rose and drank the toast with enthusiasm. Lusty cheers broke from the drier throats outside; caps were waved, rattles whirled, kettles beaten with a vigor that could not have been exceeded if the general loyalty had been stirred by the presence of King George himself.
Only one man in the crowd held his peace. The stranger remained opposite the window, silent, motionless, looking now into the room, now round upon the throng, with the same smile of whimsical amusement. Only once did his manner change; the smile faded, his lips met in a straight line, and he made a slight rearward movement, seemi