blog 372: perhaps my last words

September 14th
3:00 AM

No response from Delhi.

I dress and drink some hot chai and then pack my ammo and water and emergency rations. I embrace my Indian Family. “Brothers! If the Military Police do not contact the persons we promised Bill Sikes to save then I hope and pray that you can and will contact them and save them from carnage. We gave Bill Sikes our word.” They nodded. Then I smiled at everyone as I picked up my tulwar sword and slipped it into the leather sheath. I checked my Adams revolver and then draped the lanyard cord around my neck and placed the revolver in it’s holster. I picked up my pin rifle. Then I smoothed my wild hair down with a sweaty hand and put on my forage cap. Brother # 2 and Khan Son # 1 prepare likewise. Then I saluted my Indian Family. Then Khan Son # 1 picked up the green banner and we left my family’s hill tent. Freddy Roberts is outside with the Commander of Wah! In Exile Plus. My Pathans line up and cry out a savage cry. They salute me. I salute them. I did not know what to say so I tried to make a joke.

“If any of you dare to try to hold a traditional Irish wake outside my tent I will take my pistol and shoot you all!” I try to laugh because the joke falls flat. “I have always been honored to be considered by you, such fine men, to be your Warlord!” At that poor Freddy Roberts bursts into utter tears!

I send a runner to Hobson. “Last night I remembered something Hogg # 2 said. ‘Don’t let Henry’s Boys be stranded in Kashmiri’. I never understand why he said that. He said it was his Hogg Second Sight. Hobson! I know a lot of Henry’s Boys today will be queuing up before Kashmiri and Lahore Gates under Grant to gallop through the gates when they are blown. For God’s sake do not let the cavalry and Henry’s Boys be stranded in the killing zone! One or the other of us must get to the gates and blow them! For Henry’s Sake. Whom we both love.”
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I checked for any last telegraphs. Still, no response from Delhi. I telegraph the Royal Princes of India that Delhi will be destroyed. I scribble this on a notepad in the office. The telegraphic operator watches me. I pause. Then I decide to write one last thing:

“Tell Edwardes that if at this moment a good fairy were to grant me a wish, my wish would be to be sleeping next to my love Edwardes. J Nicholson. PS. If anyone wonders who gave me my umbrella engraved ‘Nicholson From Nicholson’ it was my sister Mary. And I love her very much.”
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