Previous Index Next
Page 28
(previous) (Page 000028) (next)
 
22 LORD CLIVE.

The intelligence of these events was soon carried to pllunda
Sahib, who, with his French allies, was besieging T richmopoly.
He immediately detached four thousand men from his Cami’:
and sent them to Arcot. They were speedily joined by the
remains of the force which Clive had lately scattered. They
were further strengthened by two thousand men from V6110“:
a.nd by a still more important reinforcement of it hundred and
fifty French soldiers whom Dupleix despatched from Pondi-
cherry. The whole of this army, amounting to about ten
thousand men. was under the command of Rajah Sahib, son of
Chunda Sahib.

Rajah Sahib proceeded to invest the fort of Arcot, which
seemed quite incapable of sustaining a siege. The walls were
ruinous, the ditches dry, the ramparts too narrow to admit the
guns, the battlements too low to protect the soldiers. The little
garrison had been greatly reduced by casualties. It now con-
sisted of a hundred and twenty Europeans and two hundred
sepoys. Only four oflicers were left; the stock of provisions
was scanty; and the commander, who had to conduct the
defence under circumstances so discouraging, was a young man
of five and twenty, who had been bred a book-keeper.

During fifty days the siege went on. During fifty days the
young captain maintained the defence, with a firmness, vigi-
lance, and ability, which would have done honour to the oldest
marshal in Europe. The breach, however, increased day by
day. The garrison began to feel the pressure of‘ hunger.
Under such circumstances, any troops so scantily provided
with officers might have been expected to show signs of in-
subordination; and the danger was peculiarly great in a force
composed of men differing widely from each other in ex-
traction, colour, language, manners, and religion. But the
devotion of the little band to its chief surpassed anything that

is -related of the Tenth Legion of Caesar, or of the Old Guard
of Napoleon. The sepoys came to Clive, not to complain of

Previous Index Next