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it was with great difficulty that the chiefs prevailed on him to accept the proffered offerings; nor did he wholly relent until they offered to return with an army to Lodhana, and put him in possession of the country of the unfortunate Roy Elias ; to this he not only yielded a ready assent, but added a falsehood to his former deceit, by informing the chiefs that the late invasion of the Shah had been solely owing to the intrigues of the Rannee, aided by the machinations of her neighbour the Patan chief of Malhere, who had invited the Abdalli Prince to take possession of the Punjab.
The Seik army daily increasing in numbers by accessions of the peasantry, who joined them from all quarters, now directed their march to Malhere, and resolved to begin their operations with the siege of that place. .
The Patans who were in Malhere came out of the city to encounter the Seiks on the plain, but the presence of their pretended prophet inspiring them with more than usual confidence, the Patans were repulsed, and driven
from the field with great slaughter ; and the Seiks entering the town along with the fugitives, the place was quickly taken, while the few who remained, having quitted the city, fought refuge in the fort of Kotelah.
· The Seiks prepared to follow up their victory by laying fiege to that place; and so great was the consternation of the Patans, that though it was defended by a very high wall, a ditch, and contained a garrison of 600 men, they were utterly unable to resist ; and had it not been for the assistance of their ally, the rajah of Pattialah, who sent a body of his own troops for their protection, they must have furrendered at discretion.
This addition of force however rendered abortive all attempts of the Seiks to reduce Kotelah; they therefore feparated, though a con. fiderable body, who to all appearance still adhered to the impostor, dispersed themselves: over the Rannee's country, of which, after much predatory warfare, they got possession,
Reduced to a situation truly deplorable, that
princess had now recourse to negotiation ; and through the mediation of the chief of the Pattialah concluded a treaty with the Seiks, by which she agreed to pay the sum of two lacs of rupees, a part of which was deposited in cash, and the remainder in jewels, horses, and warlike stores.
The impostor however, who still had a large force, would agree to no terms but the actual surrender of the whole of the country; and though the young rajah, with a view to mollify the severity of his demand, waited in perfon upon him, threw himself at his feet, and in terms most submissive implored an abatement of his former resolve, he continued inexorable.
In this state of affairs the impostor, who had now got possession of the person of the young rajah, refused to let him return to his mother, and declared he should remain a prisoner until he complied with the terms proposed.
But Kurrum Sing, one of the chiefs who had hitherto been in the service of the impof
tor, now repented of his credulity, and resolved to protect the person of the rajah, and conduct him in safety to his own residence. This he resolutely effected, in spite of every effort to the contrary, he conducted the youth to Malhere, and there left him in quiet poffeffion of his capital
This conduct excited much indignation in the impostor, who now took upon him to censure the behaviour of Kurrum Sing on all occasions, and to threaten him with the vengeance of heaven for thus opposing the views of an inspired person. Kurrum Sing however only waited for an opportunity to detect his hypocrisy, and expose him to the world, which fortunately foon happened.
To preserve the reputation he had thus acquired for fanctity, the impostor, among other tricks, used frequently, at night and by stealth, to deposit a vessel filled with sweetmeats under ground. This in the morning was produced to his followers as a present from the divinity, declaring at the same time that
none should partake of the contents but such as vowed, to the utmost of their abilities, to join in the extermination of the Mooflulman race, as enemies to their own prophet and his religion.
This farce was for a long time continued, and had served to impress the minds of his followers with the highest respect and veneration for his character, but the time was now arrived for his detection. Kurrum Sing, who was well versed in the arts and deceits practised by fakeers * upon the vulgar, directed some of his own people to repair privately to the place where the vessel was deposited; and after having throwu away the contents, to give a more effectual air of ridicule to the discovery, to replace them by a quantity of horse dung. In the morning, when as usual the vessel was brought out, the company assembled Thewed marks of the utmost horror and astonishment.
But the pretended prophet, not dismayed by the accident, replied to their enquiries with a
* Itinerant mendicants.