In the evening, when the fierce heat of the day was over, and the Viceroy had done his work, it was proposed that the whole party should take advantage of the cool brief tropical twilight to climb to the top of Mount Harriet on Ross Island and get a general view of the Andaman group.
The Viceroy entered heartily into the plan, a boat manned by stout sailors pulled the party swiftly to the foot of Mount Harriet, and just about sunset the Viceroy and his companions reached the top of the hill. There they rested, scarcely heeding the gathering darkness in their enjoyment of the wide rich view and freshened atmosphere.
When at last the party descended the hill, it was growing rapidly dark. The viceroy was as usual closely surrounded by his party, and as they neared the landing stage a few torch-bearers met them, whom Lord MAYO, however, sent to the front, as he disliked the smoke and smell of the torches.
Close to the landing stage the party noticed a line of men drawn up under the care of a prison superintendent. General STEWART explained that they were bearers who were to carry Lord MAYO up Mount Harriet on the following morning. The Viceroy passed on to where the Glasgow boat lay waiting for him on the side of the Pier; he was just about to step into it when, to quote Major BURNE's words, "in an instant a rushing noise was heard, and a man was seen fastened like a tiger on the Viceroy's back. The whole occurrence was momentary, and took place in almost total darkness.
The assassin, who was a tall muscular Khyberee Afreedee, seemed to have the Viceroy in some manner immovably in his grasp, and inflicted the wound so instantaneously as not to give him time to turn round and defend himself. The whole party rushed on the assassin and instantly secured him; alas! not till he had inflicted two mortal wounds.
The Viceroy ran a few paces forward, turned to his left, and fell over the pier into some shallow water. I left the assassin and immediately ran to help as he was struggling in the water." Alas! it was soon found that help of any kind was of no avail. The Viceroy was lifted into the boat, and his companions urged the sailors to make all possible speed for the ship. But before five minutes had passed, those hanging over him knew that all was over. The blow had been neither a chance nor a weak one; it had done it's fatal work only too well.
A few indistinct words had passed the Viceroy's lips immediately after the attack, but he made no sign of consciousness in the boat, and his actual death was so quiet that it was difficult to say at what moment he passed away.
Of feeling of his friends, of the agony of poor Lady MAYO, awaiting her husband's return on board the Glasgow, this is no place to speak. As soon as the news became known in India, the warmth and depth of public sympathy spoke volumes for the general character of Lord MAYO's administration.
-From "Cassell's Illustrated History of England" for October.