In the Court of the Ranee of Jhansi and Other Travels in India
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And now the Ranee, having invited me to come closer to the purdah, began to pour forth her grievances; and, whenever she paused, the women by whom she was surrounded, set up a sort of chorus [?] ‘Woe is me!’ ‘What oppression!’ It reminded me somewhat of a scene in a Greek tragedy? comical as was the situation. Novelist, intrepid traveller, barrister-at-law, newspaper editor and uninhibited gossip, John Lang lived for a number of years in pre- and post-Mutiny British India, and his writings constitute some of the most vivid records of the time. Lang describes his meeting with the Ranee of Jhansi?soon to become the focal point of the rebellion?as well as his counsel to her; he also chronicles the wondrous and tragic life of ‘Black and Blue’, a boy of mixed British and Indian parentage, and his claims to a peerage in England. And, narrating a march in the Upper Provinces, Lang provides an eyewitness account of eight thousand monkeys, gathered in Deobund for a clan meeting. Written with a historian’s sense of detail, a raconteur’s delight in the unexpected, and a keen sense of the absurd, John Lang’s travel diary is a riveting read.
John Lang (b. 1816), writer, newspaper editor, traveller and barrister, lived in India for a number of years. A prominent lawyer of his time, he most notably counselled the Ranee of Jhansi in her case against the British East India Company. He was also the editor and publisher of the periodical, Mofussilite. Lang's published work includes The Wetherbys (1853), Too Clever by Half (1853), Too Much Alike (1854), The Forger's Wife (1855), Captain Macdonald (1856), Will He Marry Her (1858), The Ex-Wife (1858), My Friend's Wife (1859), The Secret Police (1859) and Botany Bay; or True Stories of the Early Days of Australia (1859). John Lang died in Mussoorie in 1864.