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at the mercy of the guards, and the guards determined to secure them for the night in the prison of the garrison, a chamber known by the fearful name of the “Black Hole." Even for a single European malefactor,' that dungeon would, in such a climate, have been too close and narrow.
The space was only twenty feet square. The air-holes were small and obstructed. 10
It was the summer solstice, the season when the fierce heat of Bengal can scarcely be borne by natives of England even by lofty halls and the constant waving of fans.
6. The number of the prisoners was one hundred and forty-six. When they were ordered to enter the cell, they imagined that the soldiers were joking; and being in high spirits on account of the promise of the Nabob to spare their lives, they laughed and jested at the absurdity of the notion. They soon discovered their mistake. They expostulated; they entreated; but in vain. threatened to cut down all who hesitated. The captives were driven into the cell at the point of the sword, and the door was instantly shut and locked upon them.
7. Nothing in history or in fiction, not even the story which Ugolino told in the sea of everlasting ice, after he had wiped his bleeding lips on the scalp of his murderer, approaches the horrors which were recounted by the few survivors of that night. They cried for mercy.
The guards They strove to burst the door. Holwell, who, even in that extremity, retained some presence of mind, offered large bribes to the jailers. But the answer was, that nothing could be done without the Nabob's orders; that the Nabob was asleep, and that he would be angry if anybody woke him.
8. Then the prisoners went mad with despair. They trampled each other down, fought for the places at the windows, fought for the pittance of water with which the cruel mercy of the murderers mocked their agonies, raved, prayed, blasphemed, implored the guards to fire among them. The jailers in the meantime held lights to the bars, and shouted with laughter at the fantastic struggles of their victims. At length the tumult died
in low gaspings and moanings.
9. The day broke. The Nabob had slept off his debauch, and permitted the door to be opened. When a passage was made, twentythree ghastly figures, such as their own mothers would not have known, staggered one by one out of the charnel-house. A pit was instantly dug. The dead bodies, a hundred and twentythree in number, were flung into it and covered up.
10. But these things, which, after the lapse of more than eighty years, cannot be told or read without horror, awakened neither remorse nor pity in the bosom of the savage Nabob. He inflicted no punishment on the mur
derers. He showed no tenderness to the survivors.
11. Holwell, unable to walk, was carried before the tyrant, who reproached him, threatened him, and sent him up the country in irons, together with some other gentlemen who were suspected of knowing more than they chose to tell about the treasures of the Company. These persons, still bowed down by the sufferings of that great agony, were lodged in miserable sheds, and fed only with grain and water, till at length the prayer of the female relations of the Nabob procured their release.
1 Surajah Dowlah, the prince or
Nabob of Bengal. 2 Compensate, make up to. 3 Fort William, the citadel of Cal.
cutta. 4 The Company (The East India Com
pany), an English trading com
pany. 5 Dupleix, the French governor in
6 Insolence, rudeness, impudence. 7 Atrocity, fierce cruelty. 8 Retribution, punishment. 9 Malefactor, ill-doer, criminal. 10 Obstructed, almost stopped up. 11 Expostulated, reasoned, remon
strated. 12 Survivors, persons that outlived. 13 Charnel-house, house where dead
bodies are kept
THE DEATH OF DE BOUNE.
THE Monarch ? rode along the van,
But, till more near the shock of fight,
He ranged his soldiers for the fight
And bristled o'er with bills and spears,
Rode England's King and Peers :