Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 2/Ana (February 18, 1860)




Mountstuart Elphinstone.—For no quality was this great man more remarkable than for self-possession in moments of difficulty and danger. One day, when engaged in animated conversation with the Peishwa upon questions affecting the administration of his dominions, the latter advanced a statement which seemed to Mr. Elphinstone at variance with the facts. “That’s a lie,” quietly replied the imperturbable Scotchman, in the simplest and plainest Hindostanee, and without moving a muscle of his face or a nerve of his body, and continuing to pull to pieces a rose which he had in his hand, just as if nothing had happened. The Guards of the Peishwa stood by, fully armed, and ready to fall on Mr. Elphinstone and his secretary, Mr. Russell, at the slightest signal from their master. But they and their master were cowed and fairly quailed by the intrepid bearing and calm indifference of “our great Indian administrator,” and the Peishwa was forced to “pocket the affront” in silence.