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vated the family land, which was not inconsiderable in extent. They were, however, continually harassed by their maternal relatives, who turned beasts into their crops when green, or went in and cut them when ripe, in the hope of driving the brothers out of their holding, and forcing them to leave the village, in which case the land would have devolved upon the usurpers as nearest of kin. The two soldier brothers were being constantly obliged to take leave in order to protect their interests. But endless makadmas (lawsuits) brought them no relief, the maternal relatives forming an overwhelmingly strong faction against the brothers, who had no local following.
At length the soldier brothers decided to bring matters to a head; but before doing so they made a final appeal to their persecutors. Attar Singh, one of the two soldiers, laid his turban at the feet of his principal enemies and implored them to desist from further hostility; but in reply he only met with abuse. He then returned to his military station, sent for his brother, obtained four days' leave for both, and collected a revolver and sword and as much ammunition as he could procure.
The brothers arrived at the village, and announced that they had come to fight it out. They then opened fire upon the opposite faction, and in the course of the conflict that ensued, killed seventeen persons and wounded ten, the result being that the entire clique of maternal relatives-women as well as men-were wiped out.
It remained only to complete the work of com
bined murder and self-sacrifice. The four brothers then mounted to their house-top, whence they sent word to the police station that they wanted to die fighting and would not be taken alive; and accordingly that they were waiting for a fauj to come and finish them off. The police having declined the hazardous invitation, the second brother, Attar Singh, saying that his work was done, did public shinan (purification), and then sat down and made his elder brother, Ruttan Singh, shoot him through the head.
The latter then remembered that he had a private enemy in the same native regiment, against whom he had to pay off some old score. He accordingly descended, sought out his enemy, and inflicted upon him a severe sword cut and two bullet wounds. He would have killed him if he could.
Having thus satisfied his honour to the full, he returned to the house-top and resumed his seat with his two surviving brothers, the other villagers continuing to supply them with food and water, though not permitted to come near. After two more days Ruttan Singh then did shinan for himself, and made one of the two surviving brothers shoot him dead.
The latter, who were not soldiers, and perhaps were allowed to have a less sensitive feeling of honour, then came down and disappeared.
The remarkable feature of the story was that though these men had completely annihilated the whole of their maternal relatives, their conduct was in no sense reprobated by their fellow-countrymen. On the contrary, the entire community looked upon
the tragedy as having been conducted in a most seemly manner, coram publico. Justice had in fact been satisfied all round.
Perhaps this little anecdote, which is true, will explain to some of the readers of this book why even in the twentieth century it is not always wise or desirable to apply Western criteria to the behaviour of Eastern peoples.
Psalms and hymns and songs of praise. (Cf. Hymns A. and M. 297).
If I reprehend anything in the world, it is a nice derangement of epitaphs.-R. B. SHERIDAN, The Rivals, Act. III. Sc. 3.
THE choice of hymns for any public service or ceremonial is a task of no small importance. For on the one hand we are all apt to choose our favourite hymns, less perhaps because of the words they contain than of the tune to which they are commonly sung; and secondly, many excellent hymns contain some astonishingly bad or foolish lines. Take, for instance, the well-known line in a popular hymn : Happy birds that sing and fly,
or again, the amazing bathos of the lines:
How the troops of Midian
Prowl and prowl around.
But an even greater snare lurks in the occurrence in a hymn of some allusion that strikes a note of unpremeditated incongruity or innuendo. I remember, for instance, when I was a boy at Eton, and when Dr. Warre, afterwards Headmaster and Provost, was a housemaster, how on Sundays in the College
Chapel, where he would be seated in a stall, we used to revel in the hymn, two lines of which run :
When comes the promised time
That War(re) shall be no more?
Dr. Warre was an exceedingly and deservedly popular master. But no charge either of irrelevance or irreverence could rob the 600 boys of the exquisite delight of allowing the choir to sing in almost inaudible tones the opening words of the above verse, and then shouting themselves hoarse in a full-throated chorus on the second line. This became such a scandal that the hymn had eventually to be barred. On the other hand, it was said that, when the meetings of the Governing Body were going to be held, Mr. E. C. Austen Leigh, who had a caustic vein of humour, used, when Lower Master, deliberately to select for the occasion in Lower School Chapel the well-known hymn :
God moves in a mysterious way
When in India I narrowly escaped a serious catastrophe arising out of the incautious selection of a hymn. The Great Durbar was being held at Delhi in January 1903 to celebrate the Coronation of King Edward VII. For the Sunday morning I had arranged a church service to be celebrated on the open polo ground-which was the only space large enough to hold a congregation that included several thousand British troops. The visitors at the Durbar, among whom were the Duke and