free ebooks

A Popular History of France from the Earliest Time

Suffren informed the nabob that M


Scarcely

was he there, when Hyder Ali expressed a desire to see him, and set out for that purpose without waiting for his answer. On the 26th of July, M. de Suffren landed with certain officers of his squadron; an escort of cavalry was in waiting to conduct him to the camp of the nabob, who came out to meet him. "Heretofore I thought myself a great man and a great general," said Hyder Ali to the admiral; "but now I know that you alone are a great man." Suffren informed the nabob that M. de Bussy- Castelnau, but lately the faithful lieutenant of Dupleix and the continuer of his victories, had just been sent to India with the title of commander-in-chief; he was already at Ile de France, and was bringing some troops. "Provided that you remain with us, all will go well," said the nabob, detaching from his turban an aigrette of diamonds which he placed on M. de Suffren's hat. The nabob's tent was reached; Suffren was fat, he had great difficulty in sitting upon the carpets; Hyder Ali perceived this and ordered cushions to be brought. "Sit as you please," said he to the commander, "etiquette was not made for such as you." Next day, under the nabob's tent, all the courses of the banquet offered to M. de Suffren were prepared in European style. The admiral proposed that Hyder Ali should go to the coast and see all the fleet dressed, but, "I put myself out to see you only," said the nabob, "I will not go any farther." The two great warriors were never to meet again.

justify;">The French vessels were ready; the commander had more than once put his own hand to the work in order to encourage the workmen's zeal. Carpentry-wood was wanted; he had ransacked Gondelour (_Kaddalore_) for it, sometimes pulling down a house to get hold of a beam that suited him. His officers urged him to go to Bourbon or Ile-de-France for the necessary supplies and for a good port to shelter his damaged ships. "Until I have conquered one in India, I will have no port but the sea," answered Suffren. He had re-taken Trincomalee before the English could come to its defence. The battle began. As had already happened more than once, a part of the French force showed weakness in the thick of the action either from cowardice or treason; a cabal had formed against the commander; he was fighting single-handed against five or six assailants: the main-mast and the flag of the _Heros,_ which he was on, fell beneath the enemy's cannon-balls. Suffren, standing on the quarter-deck, shouted beside himself "Flags! Set white flags all round the Heros!" The vessel, all bristling with flags, replied so valiantly to the English attacks, that the rest of the squadron had time to re-form around it; the English went and anchored before Madras.

Bussy had arrived, but aged, a victim to gout, quite a stranger amid those Indian intrigues with which he had but lately been so well acquainted. Hyder Ali had just died on the 7th of December, 1782, leaving to his son Tippoo Sahib affairs embroiled and allies enfeebled. At this news the Mahrattas, in revolt against England, hastened to make peace; and Tippoo Sahib, who had just seized Tanjore, was obliged to abandon his conquest and go to


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us