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Page:The Lucknow album 1874 by Darogha Ubbas Alli.djvu/37

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Close by is the square called Huzrut Bagh. This contained a tykhana, or underground apartment, from which, a few days before the disastrous expedition to Chinhutt, an immense quantity of jewels, plate and gold and silver ornaments set with precious stones, were secured, by Major Banks, the Commissioner, and conveyed in safety into the Residency : the whole mass afterwards realized nearly a million sterling at a public auction in Calcutta. In respect to these jewels, the action of Major Banks was most praiseworthy and determined : the Major, armed with orders from Sir Henry Lawrence, who had positive information of the existence of the treasure, requested a certain functionary, named Miftah-ood-dowlah, who was the actual custodian, to allow him to see the treasure : the man positively denied all knowledge of the existence of such a treasure ; but on the Major drawing his revolver and threatening to shoot the fellow, he become nervous, and calling for lights, led the way, in a faltering manner, down a flight of steps into the underground room, where the treasure was found packed in a number of antique looking boxes. This apartment also contained a vast quantity of valuable articles, such as silver howdahs, chairs, bedsteads and other rich property which, unfortunately, there was no time to remove. Miftah-ood-dowlah evidently expected assistance from a number of Seedees, Africans, the King's retainers, who were present, but the precaution had been taken to form up a battery of Artillery and a body of Infantry in position, whilst the Major entered the tykhana, accompanied by thirty picked volunteers. When the mutineers entered Lucknow a few days afterwards, greedy for plunder, much to their chagrin, they found the tykhana empty : they, however, seized upon, and occupied, Kaiser Bagh, appropriating the valuable furniture, jewels, dresses and other property of the ex-King and the opulent ladies of the Court, making the most terrible havoc throughout the sumptuously fitted suites of ladies' apartments.