DO YOU WANT TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOUR ANCESTRY.
This started many years ago when i received a letter from my father Nicholas Devere, I still have it now.
Here he told me all about our bloodline which he had just discovered whilst he had met a lady called Margret O'Sheil, who had asked dad to do her ancestry. He had found out that she was related to The High Kings Of Ireland, Im sure with dads already previous interest in Ireland, This must of set him off- lol
And like dad, we are like a dog with a bone when we find something interesting that we can apply passion to.
So the letter sent to then a young 12 year old was full of the promises of Royal lineage, Titles and all sorts. Now there was a time, we can all remember even my smother ( Step mum) has told me many stories about the times dad used to, erm sway in circles you or I would not have the social etiquette .
Many stories hahaha about the time he had my younger brother knighted and made him ride off on a horse, god knows where to but....
Dad did lunch with many friends of aristocracy.
I didn't believe any of it, Mum knew more than she let on and really was more concerned about us going to school than us getting involved in any funny business. There were times I spoke of this at school and was shunned down, told I was talking bollocks, lol...so I kind of hid away from it for many years.
So fast forward to 2009, I started doing ancestry and found a cousin Kaaron who was working on our tree, After crazy stalking her online I found she was actually in contact with my Dad, Nicholas Devere Von Drakenberg, lol I thought, that's a new one on me, WE ARE WEIRS .
So I found more family, all bearing some title,s and similar names attached onto theirs, I assumed to show they were all part of the same family, I wondered where it came from and started discussing this with dad, Who had many many ideas, he wanted me to write for him, i guess this is why i am here now.
A few things didnt add up, i remember chats when i was a teen, and honestly i still didnt believe him, i said to him many years ago...I WILL PROVE YOU RIGHT OR PROVE YOU WRONG, After a certain tudor queen tantrum, hahaha.
Funny, SO FROM THAT DAY FORTH, i made it my quest to find out who we actually where, now this took so many years... Dad died in 2013, i had so much to sort out and came back online to find numerous people flocking to me, or some just finding me on coincidence. People also claiming the same descent, The best thing i did was get in touch with the family...... who unfortunately didnt know their ancestry as much as i had hoped, or some work was incorrect, only to match what dad had mastered- and i do say mastered because still i have not found his lines!!!- that's not to say his work was incorrect far from it, more that i have verified it in another way.
Where was this Devere line coming from, How did he find it, So i grabbed the books to look and honestly could only verify certain people from the same information that others had used from dads work, That wasn't good enough- I put the books down and decided not to use them ever- This was my research-
I THINK THIS IS POSSIBLY THE BEST ADVICE-NEVER COPY OTHERS GENEALOGY JUST COZ THEY SAY THEY ARE DOESNT MEAN THEY HAVE DONE THE RESEARCH. YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR SURE.
I started with my nan thinking surely shes has the lines to royalty, knowing that her grand father worked in Windsor Castle and Osbourne House for Queen Victoria, i mean that's a story in itself, which will be told. I couldn't find anything on that side, so i went to the weirs and god i got stuck for years on them, im still at Robert Weir 1826 because if the discrepancies with where his family would of ended up if he had been related to the weirs that dad said, he wouldn't be in the UK. I took a break, Now ancestry can consume you, Like binge watching Sherlock on Netflix for 3 days flat, I got frustrated and annoyed. I decided to look at the Macdonalds more solidly in 2017ish as i remembered my aunt Edna who i was talking to on ancestry back in 2009 who had done some work on the Scottish side. Through her i met my Cousin Wilma and started a great friendship . I was skipping along in ancestry find more and more links until i found then glens, hahahaha, now this was something dad said to me when i was a teen- understand we are in wales in the middle of the VALLEYS ok.....
(Dad was always a cryptic bugger, riddle me this and what am i thinking type of dad hahaha)
Dad said to me "you will find all you need to know in the glens".....so im thinking the Glens of Scotland, like the valleys, but it wasn't, it was the surname, Glen.
The Glens had marriages with the MUIRS, HAMILTONS- which I looked many time and could not find euphemia hamiltion weir married to a james weir, I did find an Elizabeth HAMILTON who was James lord of cadzow Hamiltons daughter- I have found a euphemia graham who married a hamilton but no links to me.
2022 update, The Weir lines -having found these missing links now as cousins rather than grandparents. i have more than 4 weir lines that all re related the the Devere's.
So dad was right in the connection to the hamiltons, from there is expands to James the first and second of Scotland, Mary Tudor, Mary queen of scots, Robert the bruce. My ancestry tree is forever growing, now I have decided to give dads side a break coz there's only so many royals you can be related to- that said, it has been know that a person is not of complete pedigree if the mother is not of nobility aswell.
I went to Inverness last year to Meet my Cousin and see all of the castles, She took me on a grand Macdonald tour, It was amazing and I cant wait to go again and take the kids.
So onto my mother side- NOW MUM WAS ADOPTED- this had always been a hard task, however, a few years ago, when we went to Hedingham castle, one of mums long lost brothers contacted me via ancestry- it helps connect a lot of people.
He had done a lot of work on his tree so I could work through him enduring we had all certificates. I didn't think I would be able to trace my mums side at all but now I have her lines going back to at least the 14-1500's which is remarkable. She was adopted in the army through really harsh circumstances, her family toen apart and this was one of her dreams to find her family. She grew up in Germany, Yorkshire and always said she was from Birmingham, so this was extremely confusing. I remember when Cilla Black did Surprise Surprise, Mum wrote to the show but they replied saying they couldn't find anything, Mum was heartbroken for many years and gave up looking for her brothers, She always hoped that she would see them again. I am very lucky to have met most of her brothers and sister, she has a gorgeous family who she would of absolutely loved, I am grateful to be able to build bonds and continue friendships for our kids, who weirdly, my cousin is the same sage, looks the same as me, has a daughter the same age and with the same name- THATS CRAZY!!!
I am only just started on this project hahaha even though I have been doing it for a decade , there so much information out there to pass on to my family, we all have a legacy and a story to share and mine is just beginning.
I FOUND THE DEVERE LINK ABOUT A MONTH AGO- IT WAS INITIALLY THAT THEY WERE MARRIED INTO VIA A STEP FAMILY OR SOMETHING, BUT WITH ALL THE INTER MARRIAGES I DONT KNOW HOW- I FOUND THAT AUBREY DEVERE WAS MY 20TH GRANDFATHER- JUST LIKE DAD SAID- Im still totally confused to how he found it- maybe it was the DNA test he did all those years ago.
IT HAS TO BE SAID- AMOUNGST ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO SAID DAD WAS A LIER AND FRAUD, THEY WHERE WRONG AND MAY MY INFORMATION BE HERE TO CORRECT ANY CRAP THAT HAS BEEN WRITTEN, PLAGERISED OR INTENDED HARM TO MY FATHER AND HIS WORK-
MUCH IS DUE TO UNEDUCATED MISCOMPREHENSION- SO WE DO FORGIVE YOU ALL.
Either way dad was right all along
UPDATED TO MY GENEALOGY.
I started with my mums side and found many link to the freemason families of Devon, Sandeford in Crediton, This is a weird one, as said mum was adopted in 1960 to a family who were supposed to be friends and in the army at the time, They moved from Shropshire to Germany and then back to North Yorkshire, By the time she was 6 she has a different name and life. Via ancestry a brother of hers contacted us and he was so into his ancestry, still nothing to be found for then Breeze families, nothing of any royalty, however doing my DNA i have found that mum was also a royal.
Mum was a descendant of the DE CLARE family, her grandmother and dads grandmother elenor and Elizabeth de clare were sisters, this happened again with the two brothers of BRIAN OF BORO, the Ten High Kings of Ireland, another association is through Joan De Courtney and her married to Robert Devere, remarkably they owned a village that I have just bought land in, Haccombe, having researched this further and wow I must say, having lived down here in devon most of my life coming from sussex I always never felt at home, that I should be in Sussex.
How weird my ancestors have bought me back to where I belong. The history of Torquay, Cockington and Haccombe is mainly shared around the de haccombe family who married into other families of mine, The Courtneys were related to my mother, they still reside as the earls of Devon in powderham castle, Through Joan who originally married a Nicholas Carew, Gave her estates of Haccombe to her son Nicholas , Again through this family they married into the CARY family of Torquay and Cockington.
I was the resident face painter at the cockington fair for many years providing smiles for the families.
My history and connection to this town runs so deeply.
THROUGH MY MOTHER I AM RELATED TO MORE ROYALTY THAN MY FATHER, THIS IS AMAZING!!
GEORGE KEER BUTCHER WAS MY 4TH GRANDFATHER FROM MY NANS SIDE.
George Keer Butcher was born at Woodbridge, Suffolk, in 1784, and enlisted into the 11th Light Dragoons on 30 December 1799, aged 15 years. The Muster rolls of 1800 show that he was serving in Captain Sleigh’s Troop. He was already a Sergeant in 1805 and served with the regiment in the Peninsula War,the 11th going to Portugal in May 1811. He was present at the battle of Salamanca in July 1812 and returned with the regiment to England in June 1813. Butcher was appointed to Troop Sergeant Major in September 1814, and to Regimental Sergeant Major in January 1815. Thus, he served in this important rank at Quatre Bras, Waterloo, and the occupation of Paris. On 12 October 1815 he was appointed as a Cornet in the 11th Light Dragoons, and appointed Adjutant the same day. He remained with the Army of Occupation in France until November 1818, when he was promoted to Lieutenant and prepared to move with the regiment to India, arriving there in February 1819. The regimental history reports that he was present at the siege and capture of Bhurtpore in January 1826, but he was in fact on leave in Europe at this time. Butcher returned from India in 1829, was promoted to Captain in November 1834,and retired on 14 March 1837, after over 37 years of service. He died in 1858 in Whippingham, Cowes, Isle of Wight, England.
The Times (12 May 1891) THE MANIPUR DISASTER. - THE FULL DETAILS! The Manipur garrison retreats to Cachar (Silchar) From The Times of April 4 we glean further, details of the disaster which occurred to the Manipur expedition last March. Manipur is a tract of country situated in the heart of the hilly country lying between Chittagong, Burmah, Cachar, and Assam, embracing a territory of 8000 square miles, and with a population roughly estimated at a quarter of a million. It has been a source of trouble for the last quarter of a century. The people are of Tartar origin, but claim to be Hindu. Manipur is chiefly known to the world as the home of the game of polo, where it is said to have been played 120 years ago. It appears that in September last there was a revolution in Manipur, the Maharajah's brothers, one of whom was the Senaputti, or commander-in-chief, conspiring to depose him. There was much blood shed, but the Government of India resolved to interfere, and sent Mr Quinton, Chief Commissioner of Assam, with his assistant secretary. Mr Cossins; two assistant commissioners, Mr Gurdon and Mr Woods; Mr Grimwood, the political agent, and his wife; Mr Melville, the telegraph official; Colonel Skene, Captain Butcher, Lieutenants Lugard and Chatterton, and Dr. Calvert, 42nd Goorkhas ; Captain Boileau and Lieutenant Brackenbnrg, 44th Gurkhas; and Lieutenant Simpson, 43rd Gurkhas. With these were 470 men of the 44th and 42nd Regiments, and each had 70 rounds of ammunition. Mr Quinton ordered a Durbar on the 22nd March, but political negotiations having failed, a force was sent to arrest Jubraj on the 24th, and his palace was attacked at dawn. The Manipuri's offered a stubborn resistance, and the British forces were compelled to discontinue the attack and retire to the residency. Here they were attacked in turn by the enemy, 6000 strong, with several heavy guns, said to have been manned by sepoys formerly in the British service. The guns were then placed within 150 yards of the Residency, which was shelled from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. A. truce was made at 8 p.m. The Chief Commissioner, Colonel Skene, Mr Grimwood, Mr Cossins, Lieut. Simpson and a bugler went to meet Jubraj half way, but were seized and made prisoners. At midnight the Manipuris again opened fire at the Residency, and the compound became untenable. One shell struck the stables and killed all the horses. The garrison exhausted their ammunition. It having been decided by all during the evening that evacuation would be inevitable, it was carried out about 2 am. on the 26th, and the garrison marched across the hills. There was opposition at every Thana. They met Captain Cowley and the 43rd Gurkhas at 10 a.m. on the 26th, who gave every help. The 42nd Regiment's casualties were Colonol Skene, prisoner; Lieutenant Lugard, slightly wounded; 11 sepoys wounded, 97 men missing; Captain Empson, prisoner; 2 native officers, 67 men, including all the Longthobal detachment; and two sepoys, killed. Gurkha's - Lieutenant Brackenblury, killed; one sebedar, two havildars; 10 sepoys, killed, 9 wounded, 2 missing. The officers who escaped were Captain's Butcher"and Chatterton, Lieutenant Lugard, Mr Woods, Dr. Calvert, Mr Gurdon, and Mrs Grimwood. The garrison on their way then fell in with Captain Cowley's party,' and were escorted to a place of safety. The treasury at the Residency was looted by the rebels. Mr Quintons sepoys had only 40 rounds per man, and no commissariat. Later telegraph advises report that the rebels have.been punished, and the British Residency retaken, and that Jubraj, who had retreated with a remnant of his followers to the mountains, was about to surrender.
THE FULL STORY AND BOOK AS FOLLOWS:
MY THREE YEARS IN MANIPUR
Escape from the Recent Mutiny
MRS. ST. CLAIR GRIMWOOD.
FROM A PHOTOGRAPH BY VANDYK.
LONDON: RICHARD BENTLEY & SON, 1891
THREE YEARS IN MANIPUR
Escape from the Recent Mutiny
ETHEL ST. CLAIR GRIMWOOD
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND PLAN
RICHARD BENTLEY AND SON
Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen
[All rights reserved]
PORTRAIT OF MRS. GRIMWOODfrontispieceBEAR FROM NAGA HILLStitle-pageDRAGON IN FRONT OF THE PALACEto face page 1VIEW OF THE RESIDENCY AT MANIPUR" 30TRIBESMEN OF MANIPUR" 68THE GARDENS OF THE RESIDENCE AT MANIPUR" 118NATIVES OF THE MANIPUR HILLS" 186SKETCH MAP OF MANIPUR" 204PORTRAIT OF MR. FRANK GRIMWOOD" 217
CHAPTER I. PAGEMy husband offered the post of Political Agent at Manipur – Arrival there and first impressions – Adventures on the journey – Coolies – Arrive at Cachar1-10
CHAPTER II. Cachar or Silchar – We are fêted there – The hill tribes: Kukis, Tongkhuls, etc. – Their dress and habits – Rest-houses, and difficulties therein – Manipuri Sepoys: camp on the Makru River – Logtak Lake – Colonel Samoo Singh – The Senaputti11-28
CHAPTER III. Favourable impressions of our new home, the Residency – The Maharajah – His brother the Jubraj – Polo with the Princes – The Senaputti a fine sportsman – Visits us on Sunday afternoons – Shell-firing – Prince Zillah Singh – We try to learn the Manipuri language29-43
CHAPTER IV. PAGECollect various animals around us – Habits of our pets – Our beautiful grounds – The Nagas – Amusing incident – The liquor Zu – Roast dog – Villages allotted to us for food, labour, etc. – Women do the work – Children of the Maharajah – A water-party – Every child dances in Manipur – The Manipuri women not shut up44-59
CHAPTER V. Trips to the Logtak Lake – Beautiful scene on the lake – Tent pitched on an island in it – The Pucca Senna accompanies us – Crowds collect to see us – Old women dance – Natives laugh at my riding-habit – Moombi – Steep ascent – Chief of the village threatens us – Unpleasant quarters – Wet condition and hostile reception – My husband teaches the Prince English60-74
CHAPTER VI. Society at Manipur – Band of the Ghoorkas – The bandmaster – His peculiar attire – The regiment ordered away, to our regret – Worse news – We are ordered to leave – Parting views – Mr. Heath appointed – Son of the Tongal general – His good and bad qualities – Magnificent scenery – The Ungamis – Their quarrelsome character75-92
CHAPTER VII. Short stay at Jorehat – My husband appointed to Gauhati – Value of the bearer in India – His notions and mine not always in harmony – Arrive at Gauhati – Illness and death of Mr. Heath – Presentiments – My husband returns to Manipur – I remain at Shillong – Delicious climate93-103
CHAPTER VIII. PAGEA terrible experience – A Thoppa and a journey in one – Its difficulties and dangers – The Lushais – Arrive at Sylhet – Find the coolies have levanted – A pony journey ends disastrously – A night walk – Accident to Mr. A—. – Arrive at a teahouse – Not a shadowy dinner104-117
CHAPTER IX. Return to Manipur – Mr. Heath's grave – Old Moonia – A quarrel and fight between Moonia and the Chupprassie's wife – Dignity of the Chupprassies – The Senaputti gets up sports – Manipuri greetings and sports118-129
CHAPTER X. Bad relations between the Pucca Senna and the Senaputti – Rival lovers – Quarrels in the Royal Family – Prince Angao Senna – Pigeon contests – The Manipuris' fondness for gambling – Departure of the Ghoorkas – Too much alone130-138
CHAPTER XI. The Princes quarrel – Attack on the Maharajah – His retreat – His cowardice and accusations – The Pucca Senna departs also – Conduct of the Jubraj139-148
CHAPTER XII. Vigour of the new reign – A magic-lantern performance – Conduct of the bandmaster – First mention of Mr. Quinton – Visit to Burmah – Beauty of the scenery – House ourselves PAGEin a Pagoda – Burmese love of flowers, and of smoking – Visit Tummu – Burmese love of chess – First meeting with Grant – He helps us to make a cake – Search after orchids – Arrival of visitors – Important telegram from Chief Commissioner – Coming events commence to cast shadows149-169
CHAPTER XIII. Preparations for the Chief Commissioner's visit – Despair over the commissariat – Uncertainty of Mr. Quinton's intentions – Uneasiness of the Manipuris – They crowd into their citadel – Decision of the Government of India and their policy against the Jubraj – Death of our dinner and our goat – Arrival of Mr. Quinton and Colonel Skene – Mr. Grimwood ordered to arrest the Jubraj – The Regent and his brother appear at the Residency – The Manipuris suspect hostility – The old Tongal – Last evening of peace170-187
CHAPTER XIV. Up early on the eventful morning – The Jubraj does not attend the Durbar – Visit of Mr. Grimwood to the Jubraj – Finds him in high fever – Matters assume a serious aspect – Thoroughfares deserted – Terrific thunderstorm – Our servants take French leave – My ayah deserts – Melancholy thoughts – Lovely moonlight night – A Manipuri arrives to spy out our doings – The night before the outbreak – Attack on the Residency – Capture of the Jubraj's house – Anxiety about Lieutenant Brackenbury – Stray bullets find their billet in the Residency – Attack gets hot, and big guns play on the Residency – We have to take to the cellars – The Regent invites Mr. Quinton to an interview188-217
CHAPTER XV. PAGEMr. Brackenbury – Scenes in the little cellar – Destruction of our home – Another moonlight night with a difference – Re-opening of the attack on the Residency – Death of Mr. Brackenbury – Preparations to escape218-230
CHAPTER XVI. Escape of the servants – Mr. Gurdon comes for me – Away from shelter, and one's life in one's hands – Over the hedge and across the river – Lie in the ditch for shelter from shot – Fired on at Burri Bazaar231-238
CHAPTER XVII. Burning of the Residency and of all our effects – Difficulties of retreat – No food, wet clothes, burning sun – Pursued – Exhaustive march – Kindness of a Naga boy – Fired on – Sleep after a march of twenty miles – Have to march again – Capture a Manipuri with rice – Enemy lurks around us – Come upon a stockade – Are attacked – Goorkhas in sight239-261
CHAPTER XVIII. Saved – Captain Cowley pursues the enemy, and we fall on our feet – Have to wear Sepoys' boots – Halt at Semiatak – Transitions of climate – Manipuris attack – Tables turned on them – Shortness of food – The Nagas – Cross the Jhiri and regain the British frontier262-274
CHAPTER XIX. PAGEOur ignorance as to Mr. Quinton's proceedings – News at last reach India and England – Take off my clothes for the first time for ten days – March to Lahkipur – The ladies of Cachar send clothes to me – Write home – Great kindness shown to me – My fears for my husband – The telegram arrives with fatal news – Major Grant's narrative275-315
CHAPTER XX. Her Majesty gives me the Red Cross – I go to Windsor and see her Majesty – The Princess of Wales expresses a wish to see me – Conclusion316-321
DRAGON IN FRONT OF THE PALACE.
My husband offered the post of Political Agent at Manipur – Arrival there and first impressions – Adventures on the journey – Coolies – Arrive at Cachar.
MANIPUR! How well I remember the first time I ever heard the name – a name, too, which was comparatively unknown three short years ago, owing to the fact that it belongs to a remote little tract of country buried amongst hills and difficult of access, far away from civilized India, and, out of the beaten track. This is not a geographical treatise, and therefore there is no necessity to dwell much on the exact whereabouts of a place which has already been described more than once. I will therefore attempt no lengthy description, simply stating that the valley of Manipur lies between Cachar, the Kubo Valley, and Kohima, and is surrounded by six ranges of hills which separate it from the tracts of country named. A pretty place, more beautiful than many of the show-places of the world; beautiful in its habitable parts, but more beautiful in those tracts covered with forest jungle where the foot of man seldom treads, and the stillness of which is only broken by the weird cry of the hooluck 1 or the scream of a night-bird hunting its prey.
We had not been in India many months when my husband was offered the post of political agent at Manipur. We were at the time in a very junior position in Sylhet, a place which had not fascinated either of us in our short stay there; but as a junior officer my husband could not complain. When, therefore, we got a letter one morning offering him Manipur, we were much elated. Visions of the glories heard of, but not seen, floated in front of both our minds. I pictured to myself the dignity of being the mistress of a Residency, of possessing servants in scarlet and gold, with 'V.R.' on their buttons, and a guard-of-honour to walk out with me whenever I chose. I saw visions of a large house and extensive grounds, and I pictured the ensign of Old England dominating over all. Frank, likewise, had dreams of polo ponies that played of their own accord every day of the week, and visions of many tigers only waiting to be shot, and snipe roosting in the veranda!
Perhaps some may wonder why such dreams should be ours, and why we built such castles in the air. Once, many years before this time of which I write, my husband had passed through Manipur on his way to England. He had spent a couple of days there, and had seen the lake in the compound covered with wild-duck, which were almost as tame as the familiar bird associated, as a rule, in our minds with green peas and the spring. He had played a never-to-be-forgotten game of polo with three royal princes on a ground worthy of Hurlingham, and he had taken it out of the snipe one morning. Small wonder that those two days remained in his memory, and made him long for more like them, when it was his fate to be stationed in an uncongenial spot, where polo comes like Christmas once a year, and which even the snipe desert. And small wonder, too, was it that when the letter came, offering him the coveted post, he jumped at it. How glad we were, and how we hastened to pack up our belongings and depart to the land of so much promise!
Nothing bothered us, not even when our kitchen was blown down bodily in a gale of wind one night, and our new cooking-pans were damaged, and, worst of all, our highly-valued and excellent cook gave notice to quit immediately. The latter though, I am glad to say, reconsidered his decision, and on my promising him extra pay and new cooking-pots, he kindly condescended to link his fortunes with ours for a further period. All's well that ends well, and the extreme sunniness of my temper on that occasion merited a little reward. A flying visit to Shillong, the hill station of Assam and headquarters of the Government of that province, and a hasty return to Sylhet to bid good-bye to the few Europeans there and to collect our possessions, occupied our time until the day arrived which was to see us start on our long journey.
Here in England we consider a journey long that lasts perhaps a day and a half, or even one whole day; but to anyone who has ever been in the remote parts of India, and more especially of Assam, a two days' journey would count as very little. Our journey to Manipur took sixteen days, and hard travelling into the bargain. Up every morning and in our saddles soon after six, with a fifteen-mile ride before us – hail, rain, or sunshine. People in England cannot realize what real hard travelling means. The whole of your baggage in Assam is carried by coolies. They are wonderfully strong, and can take very heavy loads – when they please, that is to say. But a disagreeable coolie can be very disagreeable indeed. We encountered many such, and the first day on our travels it happened that we had more than one unruly specimen.
We started in boats late one night after dinner, and slept on the river, while the boatmen rowed us up stream to a place some twenty miles away, where our horses were to meet us. It sounds rather pleasant travelling by boat at night on a broad smooth river, with the moon shining overhead as only an Indian moon can shine. But the situation loses much of its romance when you know the style of boat that we travelled in. They are small, awkwardly-built machines, rather of the Noah's-ark type, with a roofing made of bamboo coarsely woven into matting, and so low that it necessitated crawling in on all fours when you wished to retire for the night. Any idea of standing upright had to be abandoned. Once in, you had to lie down and shuffle off your clothes, and tumble into your blankets, which were spread upon the floor. Every time there was any steering to do, the vibration caused by the movement of the rudder awoke you from your slumbers; and, worst of all, the insects that swarmed in the woodwork were most numerous and officious in their unceasing attentions to the unhappy occupants of the boat.
Two of our crew had the misfortune to disagree upon some trivial matter during the night, and as the space for settling their differences was limited to about four square feet on the prow of the boat, the stronger mariner ejected his weaker comrade into the river with much noise, wordy and otherwise. Having ascertained the cause of the squabble, and insisted on the immediate rescue of the fallen adversary from an untimely end, we were allowed to sleep as peacefully as we could until daylight, when we arrived rather cold and very hungry at our first halting-stage, where chota hazri (early breakfast) and our horses awaited us. Then began a struggle between our domestics and the shivering crowd of coolies collected for the purpose of carrying our luggage. With one voice they exclaimed that the Memsahib's boxes were quite too enormous to be carried at all – in fact, that there never had been boxes like them before or since, and that we must pay for at least three coolies for every box. My husband made a few observations to them in a somewhat peremptory form, and the end of the matter was that two men were told off for each trunk, and eventually, with many heart-rending groans, our luggage moved off. Now, there is one point which I must touch upon before going on, and it is a point which must strike anyone who has ever travelled in India, and that is the extraordinary habit your rattletraps have of looking disreputable as soon as they come to be mounted on the back of a coolie. Whether it is that the undeniable presence of a large and unsightly bundle of bedding has a demoralizing effect upon the whole, which is not lessened by the accompanying basket of fowls and ducks destined to be your breakfasts and dinners until you arrive at your destination, I cannot say. But be your trunks the most respectable, neat, orderly trunks on the face of this earth, they will look plebeian when they come to be carried on the back of a half-clothed native, and you would scarcely recognise them were it not that your own name betrays you, painted in large white letters on them all, and your horses fail to shy at them in consequence, if they are gifted with ordinary intelligence.
We started off about two hours after our things had left, but we had not gone far when I saw a familiar object lying on the side of the road in the shape of my largest bonnet-box. Further on we spied nearly all our luggage, with the wretched cook doing 'sentry go' over it. On inquiring, we found that all our coolies had run away – no one knew where, and it was quite impossible to get them again. Eventually we raised a few more from a police Thana, and had to drive them in front of us the whole way to prevent them bolting too. Consequently we were many hours getting to our destination, and did not get dinner till about nine at night. With few exceptions, our march continued like this every day until we arrived at Cachar, a small station on the Manipur frontier.
Cachar or Silchar – We are fêted there – The hill tribes: Kukis, Tongkhuls, etc. – Their dress and habits – Rest-houses, and difficulties therein – Manipuri Sepoys: camp on the Makru River – Logtak Lake – Colonel Samoo Singh – The Senaputti.
CACHAR, or rather Silchar, deserves a description, as it has been of such importance during the recent troubles at Manipur. The town is about one hundred and thirty miles from the Manipur capital, but only twenty-four miles from the boundary. The state of Manipur is separated from the Cachar district by a river called the Jhiri, where we have outposts garrisoned by troops. Silchar itself is not a very large station, though it boasts of more Europeans than most Assam districts, there being a regiment always quartered there besides the usual civil authorities. The district has a very large planting community, and abounds in tea-gardens; and as the planters are constantly in and out, there is a very fair amount of gaiety, especially in the winter months, when there are always two or three race meets, each lasting for a week, which bring people in from far and near.
Silchar has seen much trouble during the last year. In September, 1890, the Lushai disaster occupied everyone's attention, and troops poured through the place on their way to the hills about Fort Aïjal to avenge the treachery of the tribes inhabiting those regions – treachery which resulted in the loss of two valuable lives. A few weeks later curiosity was rife to see the ex-Maharajah of Manipur, who had been driven from his throne by his brother the Senaputti, and was passing through on his self-imposed pilgrimage to the sacred city of Brindhaban on the Ganges, accompanied by three of his brothers. Christmas brought the usual round of races, dances, and dinners with it; but the sound of the Christmas bells had scarcely ceased when the New Year brought tidings of a disaster which caused men's faces to pale, and almost out-rivalled the horrors of the mutiny. But I am anticipating events, and must return to ourselves and our experiences three years earlier.
We stayed two or three days in Silchar on our first arrival there and made some new friends, and were fêted, as is the custom when new-comers arrive at a station in India. Hospitality is a law, and you have only to be English to be assured of a welcome from your fellow-countrymen, who are ready to put themselves, their houses, and possessions all at your service. There are disadvantages, maybe, to be met with in India which are many and great, and one loses much by having to live out there; but one never meets with such true-hearted kindness anywhere else as in India. The narrow prejudices and questioning doubts as to who you are, and what your station in life is, which assail you at home, vanish entirely when you need hospitality out there. The civil list or the army list will tell your position and income, and for the rest you are English, you come from the old country, and all are glad to see you and be kind to you. I am happy to think of the good friends made when I was out there too – friends who were ready to share their pleasures with me, and who were still more ready to help me when the dark days of trouble came and human sympathy was so needed. Their names will ever live in my heart, and may all good luck be theirs!
Our short stay in Silchar came to an end very soon, and we were on our way to Manipur in real earnest by the end of the third day. The first two marches out to the Jhiri were uneventful, and we then found ourselves on the banks of the river, with a vast expanse of forest jungle before us to be traversed the following day. Unluckily, it rained all that night, and when the morning arrived it was still damp and drizzling. We changed our coolies here, and got Nagas (hillmen) to carry the baggage. They were fine-looking men, belonging to the various hill tribes about Manipur. There were Kukis, Tongkhuls, and Kupoës, and they seemed to my uninitiated eyes very alarming people indeed. They wore very few clothes, and their necks were adorned with many necklaces made of gaudily-coloured glass beads. Their ears were split to a hideous extent, and in the loops thus formed they stuffed all kinds of things – rolls of paper (of which they are particularly fond), and rings of bamboo, which stretched them out and made them look enormous.
Their hair was cut in different ways. The Tongkhuls' heads were shaved with the exception of a ridge along the top, which extended to the nape of the neck, and gave them the appearance of cockatoos.
The Kukis' hair was long, and gathered up into a loose and very untidy knot at the back of their heads, and the Kupoës had theirs cut so that it stuck out all round their heads and made them look as though they had fur hats on. They made no fuss over the Memsahib's trunks, and I was much amused at the way they all rushed for the bath, which had a flat cover to it, and was easy to carry and cool against their backs. It was a muggy kind of day in the middle of April – a day that invariably brings out legions of horse-flies and gnats and things of that species to worry you and your horses. Worry us they most certainly did. They collected in rows under the brims of our hats and stung our faces, and they settled in swarms on our horses, and what with the dreadful state of the so-called road, and the heat and the flies, we were dreadfully tormented. We had a guard of Manipuri Sepoys with us, who marched along in front of us and helped to lead our horses through the sea of deep mud which covered the road. For seven miles we plodded on like this, and then we came to the first range of high hills and got out of the mud. These hills are the backbone of Assam, and the Manipur ranges are a continuation of those known as the Naga Hills. The highest range on the road to Manipur is about 6,000 feet, but they are all steep, and the road over them is very rough, making riding difficult in places. They are covered with bamboo jungle, and here and there you come across villages, but they are not numerous.
At every five miles the Manipuris had Thanas for the purpose of keeping a lookout against enemies, and acting as stages for the dak-runners. These Thanas were not always fortified, but the larger ones were, and they had been attacked more than once by Lushais out on a head-hunting expedition. There was great excitement at our advent at all the Thanas, and the Sepoys on guard at each stage turned out in style and gave us the 'General's salute.' They had a particular fondness for bugling, and they exercised it on every possible occasion; but I'm afraid they were not struck with our appearance that day, as we were very tired and hungry, and covered with mud.
We did not get to the end of our march till late in the evening, and we then found we had to cross a river, as our camping-place was on the left bank, and our horses had to be left on the other side. We crossed by means of a bamboo suspension-bridge – a most alarming-looking erection. These bridges are really curiosities. They are made of wire twisted into thick ropes, and stretched from trees on either side of the river at different heights. Bamboos are hung on to the wires close together to form a kind of railing on each side, and these are fastened with cane to the floor of the bridge, which is made of bamboo also, woven into a kind of coarse matting, and although they look most flimsy and airy erections, they are really very strong, and can carry any number of men on them at once, and animals too, if necessary. They are a great height from the water, which you can see between the chinks of the matting as you walk across, and they have an unpleasant fashion of swinging violently when you are in the middle of them, making it very difficult to keep your footing. I did not like going over it at all, and tumbled down in the most awkward fashion more than once, much to the amusement of the Manipuris, who laughed very heartily.
It began to rain shortly after we had arrived at the rest-house, a large barn-like place built of bamboo also, with one doorway and no windows of any kind, and a mud floor. Not an atom of furniture graced this abode, and there was nothing to be done but to sit down on the ground and wait until our luggage should arrive – very hungry, and generally out of sorts. Nothing came in until nine at night, when the cook arrived with the kitchen paraphernalia, and we had a sort of dinner on the floor, and then had to wait until two in the morning for our heavy baggage and beds, which were travelling on elephants. It was a dreadful four hours, for in the meanwhile swarms of mosquitoes and sandflies came out and attacked us – hands, faces, and, in fact, any part of us that was not covered. The delay was caused by the road being too steep and slippery for the elephants, and their having to be unloaded five or six times – a most tedious operation.
About three in the morning we got our beds put up and turned in, longing for sleep, but I hadn't been there an hour before the rain, which had poured down in torrents ever since dinner, made its appearance through the roof and descended upon my head. So we had to get up and move everything, and then were able to sleep in peace for the remainder of the night. Of course, all idea of going on the next day was out of the question, as servants, coolies, and elephants were all too tired, and, to add to this, the rain never ceased, so I made the best of things and stayed in bed all day, while the coolies busied themselves in making me a dooly out of bamboos, as we found that my horse had got a sore back from his long climb the day before, and my husband decided that it would be better to have me carried the rest of the way. I had time to notice particularly our escort of Manipuri Sepoys during our halt at this place. We were supposed to have thirty men altogether, but I never saw more than twelve. When marching, they had counted themselves over twice by running on ahead directly they had presented arms once, and going through the same performance round the corner, fondly imagining that we should be under the impression that we had double the number with us. Their uniforms were limited. There were about three complete ones amongst them, and the remainder adorned themselves in confections of their own. When halting, we were provided with a sentry to keep guard over us all day, and he was relieved about every three hours, which gave rise to a most amusing scene. A dirty-looking individual came up to the Sepoy on duty, and saluted him with the ordinary native salaam. The sentry then proceeded to divest himself of his uniform coat, belt, etc., and rifle, which he threw down on the ground; whereupon the dirty-looking person picked them up, hastily put them on his own manly form, and, having done so, came up to where we were sitting and saluted in fine style. The other man had meanwhile disappeared. At night we had two sentries, and they frequently asked us whether they might mount guard in the veranda of our hut. This meant that before very long they would both be fast asleep upon the floor, snoring so loud that we were awakened.
When marching, each man went as he pleased and whatever route he pleased. If he were of a lazy turn of mind he slid down all the short cuts, but we generally had one or two walking in front of us, one of whom invariably possessed a bugle, which he made the most of by giving us selections on it from his own imagination. I believe he meant well. Their rifles were carried over their shoulders, and their worldly possessions were done up in a cloth and slung on to the end of them in large bundles. The Manipuri Sepoy was no doubt a very funny animal indeed.
We left our wet camp at the Makru River the next day, very glad to get out of it, and proceeded on our journey towards Manipur. Every day was the same: up and down hill all day and a bamboo hut at night; but our experiences of the first day had taught us wisdom, and we put the things which we wanted most upon coolies, and the elephants carried the rest, as they went so slowly. The Nagas used to swarm out of their villages as we came along to see us, and they were, especially interested in me, as many of them had never seen an English lady before. Seven days in the hills, and the eighth brought us at last to the topmost ridge of the last range, and then I had my first glimpse of the valley of Manipur lying beneath us, looking delightfully calm and peaceful in the afternoon sunshine. It looked so beautiful to us after the hills of the previous seven days, stretching away smooth and even as far as the eye could see, and we stopped on the top of the hill some time for the pleasure of looking at it. We could distinguish far away in the plain the white walls of the Maharajah's palace, and the golden-roofed temple of his favourite god. Just below us stretched the blue waters of the Logtak Lake, studded with islands, each one a small mountain in itself. Villages buried in their own groves of bamboo and plantain-trees dotted the plain, and between each village there were tracts of rice-fields and other cultivation. The whole valley looked rich and well cared for, and we longed for the next day, which was to see us at our journey's end.
We were met at the foot of the hill by ten elephants and a guard of fifty Sepoys, under the command of a high officer of state called Colonel Samoo Singh, who was one of the most hideous old gentlemen I have ever seen. However, he was politeness itself, presenting us with large baskets of fowls and vegetables, and escorting us to the rest-house, to which we all went mounted on elephants gaily rigged out in red cloth. I wanted to go on the same elephant as my husband, but the interpreter said 'his Excellency the Colonel Sahib' would not like it if we did not make use of all the elephants brought out for our glorification, so I proceeded in solemn dignity behind my husband's quadruped. The old colonel came up to the house with us, as also did the guard of honour; and then after a final salute they all departed, and left us to our own devices.
Early next morning we were up and ready for the last seventeen miles into Manipur. We had tried to smarten ourselves up as much as possible, as we were to be met by some of the princes before we reached our journey's end, but, alas! a mischievous rat had busied himself during the night by eating a large hole in my husband's hat and all the fingers off my right-hand glove, and we could not get at our boxes to rummage for others, so we had to go as we were.
The old colonel rode with us, and seven miles from Manipur we were met by four princes. They had had a small hut built, which was nicely matted and arranged with chairs. As we rode up, the four royalties came forward to meet us, amidst much blowing of trumpets and presenting of arms by their several guards of honour. This was my first introduction to the Senaputti of Manipur, and little did we foresee the terrible influence he was destined to bear on our future! He was not a very striking-looking personage. I should think he was about five feet eight inches in height, with a lighter skin than most natives, and rather a pleasing type of countenance. He had nice eyes and a pleasant smile, but his expression was rather spoilt by his front teeth, which were very much broken. We liked what we saw of him on this occasion, and thought him very good-natured-looking. The other brothers did not strike us at all, and there were so many people there, including important officers of state, that I became confused, and ended by shaking hands with a Sepoy, much to that warrior's astonishment.
We were escorted to the reception-barn by the princes. The Senaputti was the only one who could speak Hindostani amongst them, and my husband was able to talk to him; but the others only knew Manipuri, so contented themselves with smiling continuously, and I followed suit by smiling back, and it didn't tire any of us. They presented us with an enormous quantity of things, and I do not know how many baskets of fowls, ducks, and vegetables they didn't give us, for they seemed unending. At last, after more hand-shaking, which entirely ruined my already fingerless glove, some polite speeches from my husband and more amiable smiles from me, we mounted our horses and, accompanied by our four royal friends and their retinue, rode into Manipur. A salute of twelve guns was fired on our arrival, and after we had taken leave of the princes at the entrance to the Palace we turned into the gates of the Residency, and felt that our journey was really at an end.
Favourable impressions of our new home – The Residency – The Maharajah – His brother the Jubraj – Polo with the Princes – The Senaputti a fine sportsman – Visits us on Sunday afternoons – Shell-firing – Prince Zillah Singh – We try to learn the Manipuri language.
I ALWAYS think a great deal depends on one's first impressions of anything, be it place or people. One is struck with a house or a garden if it looks pleasant at first sight, even though a closer acquaintance with it may bring disappointment. My first impressions of our house and surroundings on this occasion were of the most favourable description. A long carriage-drive led up from the entrance-gate to the house. There were trees each side, and a delightful stretch of grassland dotted about with deodars and flowering shrubs, with a tennis-court in the centre on the right. A hedge of cluster roses all in blossom divided the outer grounds from the flower-garden surrounding the house, at the end of which was a small lake with an island in the middle of it, where, late as it was, a few wild-duck were still swimming about. We cantered our horses up the drive to the entrance, a long flight of steps covered by a porch, over which grew a beautiful Bougainvillia, whose gorgeous purple blossoms entirely hid the thatch with which the porch was surmounted.
VIEW OF THE RESIDENCY AT MANIPUR.
The Residency was a long low house with a thatched roof. The walls were painted white, and the wood-work picked out in black. A veranda surrounded it, comfortably matted and strewn about with rugs and skins. In front of the house there was a circular lawn covered with flower-beds blazing with colour, and at the end of the lawn was the flagstaff of my dreams and the ensign of Old England waving proudly in the breeze. To us, fresh from the jungles of the previous nine days, the place seemed beautiful, and even after we had grown accustomed to it, we always returned to it with a fresh sense of pleasure. The inside of the house was equally charming, and after our little hut at Sylhet it seemed a mansion. The red-coated servants were all in attendance, and a couple of Ghoorka orderlies, so that my aspirations in that direction were amply satisfied.
In a very few days we had shaken down most comfortably. We had brought with us everything we possessed, and I soon had as pretty a drawing-room as anyone could wish for. The next thing my husband had to do was to make friends with the Maharajah. For this purpose a durbar was arranged, and it took place about two days after we had been there, at eight in the morning. It was a very imposing function indeed. Red cloth was spread all over the veranda and on the front steps, and our whole escort of sixty Ghoorkas was drawn up on the front lawn. The Maharajah arrived with a grand flourish of trumpets, attended by all his brothers, and accompanied also by a large following of Sepoys, slaves and ministers of state, each of the latter with his own retinue. The Maharajah was a short, fat, ugly little man, with a face something between that of a Burmese and a Chinaman – rather fairer than the Bengal natives, but much scarred with small-pox. He was dressed very simply in white – a white coat with gold buttons, and a very fine white muslin Dhotee.2 He had a large white turban on his head, in which was stuck a spray of yellow orchids. Gray woollen stockings covered his legs, fastened at the knee with blue elastic garters with very fine brass buckles and little bows, and his feet were encased in very large roughly-made laced boots, of which he seemed supremely proud.
His eldest brother, the Jubraj, was a second edition of himself, only stouter and uglier. Next in order rode the Senaputti, whom I have already described, and he was followed by five younger brothers. My husband had to go to the outer gate to meet his highness with his hat off, where he shook hands with all the princes, and then walked with the Maharajah back to the house and into the durbar hall, which was in the centre of the Residency. The whole durbar, being only a complimentary ceremony, did not last more than ten minutes, but before he left the Maharajah expressed a wish to see me; so I appeared and shook hands with them all, and smiled amiably, as I did not know enough of the language then to speak to them. They all stared at me very solemnly, as though I were a curious kind of animal, and shortly afterwards they took their departure.
I shall not attempt a detailed account of our life at Manipur, as it was very monotonous and uneventful. We got to know the princes very well. My husband played polo with them, and I frequently rode with them. The Senaputti in particular was our very good friend. There was something about him that is not generally found in the character of a native. He was manly and generous to a fault, a good friend and a bitter enemy. We liked him because he was much more broad-minded than the rest. If he promised a thing, that thing would be done, and he would take the trouble to see himself that it was done, and not be content with simply giving the order. He was always doing little courteous acts to please us. On one occasion I mentioned to him that I had been very much frightened by a lunatic in the bazaar, who was perfectly harmless, but dreadfully deformed as well as insane. He used to spring out upon you suddenly, making terrible grimaces, which was not pleasant, and he frightened me several times. I noticed after speaking to the Senaputti about him that he had not been in the bazaar for a long time, and afterwards I was told that the prince had ordered him to be kept at home in the evenings, at the time we usually went out for a walk.
Another time I had been very ill, and when I was getting better, kind inquiries came every day from the Senaputti, accompanied by half a dozen small birds which he thought were eatable, as he had often seen my husband bring snipe home. The birds were useless, of course, but I valued the kind thoughts which prompted him to send them. If anything went amiss with my husband's polo-ponies, the Senaputti was quite ready to send him as many as he wanted of his own, and he always mounted any visitor who might be staying with us and wish for a game. He was a keen sportsman and a capital shot. In the cold weather he often organized a week's deer-shooting for my husband, to which I always went, and very good fun it was. The Senaputti would meet us at the place with a number of elephants, and we used to start very early in the morning, and generally returned with a good bag. Bigger game was scarcely known in the valley. Occasionally a stray tiger would wander down and kill a bullock or two, the news of which was immediately conveyed to the Maharajah and a shooting-party organized.
A number of men kept for the purpose would start out to the spot whe
Arthur lead a similar military life to his father and later was given the post as TAPPISSIER at OSBOURNE HOUSE. This is someone who works on the upholstery and tapestries. Most years nan would take us to COWES in the Isle of White, we would wonder what the connections is, hahaha also why she would make us polish her silver so much, apparently we have the service plates here, hahaha how many people can say they eat from the same service plates that were used by Queen Vics...Lol i cant believe one of them swiped them
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