One of his numerous youthful sons was chosen as the representative of the family, but not seated on the gaddi, since all Granthi institutions were in a state of flux for the present, and it was highly probable that the titular Rajah of Agpur would in future lead a secluded and uneventful existence as a pensioner on the Company's bounty.
Outside the air was filled with wars and rumours of wars, with reports that the Granthi army was moving on Ranjitgarh, or that this or the other Sirdar was about to cut the communications with Agpur, and in the society of James Antony and his intimates these were the topics that everybody discussed.
Why, you are the man on the spot, holding a commission from the Granthi Durbar, and obviously the proper person to punish its rebellious vassal. I am merely accompanying the troops of a friendly state as a matter of curiosity." "My dear Hal, it's no end good of you, but I am perfectly content. You have always been top-sawyer, you know."
Is it not on that of Rajah Partab Singh? The English come to punish him, and the whole of Granthistan is in a blaze again. Granthi sides with Granthi against the English, but these dogs of Mohammedans, who shall tell which side they will take? This only I can say, that it will be the side of their own advantage." "Forgive me, Maharaj-ji. I had not thought " "No, my friend.
They'll make a religious business of it, and every Granthi in Granthistan will join Sher Singh unless he is nipped in the bud." "Well, but he is nearer Granthistan than we are. Who is going to nip him in the bud?" "You and I, if you are game." "Oh, I'm game to do anything that's feasible." "Are you game to take a big risk?
Sadiq Ali was proud to reckon himself an old ally of the British, his father having stood fast by them during the Mahratta troubles of the early years of the nineteenth century, and a hostility equally ancient existed between him and his Granthi neighbours across the Bari, more especially those in Agpur.
Charteris' sphere of influence was reached first, a land of prevailing sand-colour with oases of almost painful green, over which the Granthi sovereignty had never been more than merely nominal.
When the Granthi War broke out, Sadiq Ali, equally unexpected and undesired, hastened to join the banners of the Commander-in-Chief with his horde of undisciplined followers, never doubting that he would be received with the delight such an accession of strength would have caused forty years before.
The province of Agpur formed an indisputable part of the Granthi dominions, but it was ruled by a feudatory prince, who was faithful to his obligations during the lifetime of the great conqueror Ajit Singh, under whose banners he had often ridden to victory, but had seen his opportunity in the feeble rule of Ajit Singh's successors.
The men were mounted again, and he was about to give the order to march, when a distant sound became audible the sound of horses' hoofs in the direction from which they had come. "One man or at most two. Surely it is a messenger, sahib," said the Granthi in command of the escort. "We will wait to hear what news he brings.