"These fellows look as if they could fight," Dick said. "They are an irregular lot, and don't seem to have an idea of keeping line, or marching in step, but they are an active-looking set of fellows, and carry themselves well. As to the Chelahs, I should say they would be no good whatever, even if they could be relied on, which we know they cannot be.
But, of course, they will never be placed in the hill forts, for one would never be safe from treachery. Even if all the lower walls were in the hands of my own men, some of the Chelahs would be sure to manage to desert, and give information as to all the defences."
But, indeed, he can hardly expect men to fight who have been forced into the ranks, and made to accept Mohammedanism against their will. Naturally they regard an invader, not as an enemy, but as a deliverer. "Of course the sultan's idea was, that since the native troops, drilled and led by Englishmen, fought so well; the Chelahs, who were also drilled and led by Englishmen, would do the same.
But the Company's troops are willing soldiers, and it is the English leading, more than the English drill, that makes them fight. If the Chelahs were divided among the hill fortresses they might do good service; and I could, as far as fighting goes, do with a battalion of them here; for, mixed up with my men, they would have to do their duty.
Of these, the missing were vastly the most numerous, for ten thousand Chelahs, young Hindoos whom Tippoo had carried off in his raids, and forced to become soldiers, and, nominally, Mohammedans, had taken advantage of the confusion, and marched away with their arms to the Forest of Coorg.