IN WHICH PHILEAS FOGG
AND HIS COMPANIONS VENTURE THROUGH THE FORESTS OF
The guide, in order to shorten the distance to be gone over, left to his right the line of the road, the construction of which was still in process. This line, very crooked, owing to the capricious ramifications of the Vindhia mountains, did not follow the shortest route, which it was Phileas Fogg’s interest to take. The Parsee, very familiar with the roads and paths of the country, thought to gain twenty miles by cutting through the forest, and they submitted to him.
Phileas Fogg and Sir Francis Cromarty, plunged to their necks in their howdahs, were much shaken up by the rough trot of the elephant, whom his mahout urged into a rapid gait. But they bore it with the peculiar British apathy, talking very little, and scarcely seeing each other.
As for Passepartout, perched upon the animal’s back, and directly subjected to the swaying from side to side, he took care, upon his master’s recommendation, not to keep his tongue between his teeth, as it would have been cut short off. The good fellow, at one time thrown forward on the elephant’s neck, at another thrown back upon his rump, was making leaps like a clown on a spring-board. But he joked and laughed in the midst of his somersets, and from time to time he would take from his bag a lump of sugar, which the intelligent Kiouni took with the end of his trunk, without interrupting for an instant his regular trot.
After two hours’ march the guide stopped the elephant, and gave him an hour’s rest. The animal devoured branches of trees and shrubs, first having quenched his thirst at a neighboring pond. Sir Francis Cromarty did not complain of this halt. He was worn out. Mr. Fogg appeared as if he had just got out of bed.
“But he is made of iron!” said the Brigadier-General, looking at him with admiration.
“Of wrought iron,” replied Passepartout, who was busy preparing a hasty breakfast.
At noon, the guide gave the signal for starting. The country soon assumed a very wild aspect. To the large forests there succeeded copses of tamarinds and dwarf palms, then vast, arid plains, bristling with scanty shrubs, and strewn with large blocks of syenites. All this part of upper Bundelcund, very little visited by travellers, is inhabited by a fanatical population, hardened in the most terrible practices of the Hindoo religion. The government of the English could not have been regularly established over a territory subject to the influence of the rajahs, whom it would have been difficult to reach in their inaccessible retreats in the Vindhias.
Several times they saw fierce bands of Indians, who made angry gestures when they saw the swift quadruped pass. The Parsee avoided them as much as possible, believing them to be unpleasant people to meet. Few animals were seen this day, scarcely a few monkeys even, who fled with a thousand contortions and grimaces, with which Passepartout was much amused.
One thought among many others troubled this young man. What would Mr. Fogg do with the elephant when he reached the Allahabad station? Would he take him with him? Impossible! The cost of transportation added to the price of purchase would make him a ruinous animal. Would he be sold, would he be set at liberty? This fine animal deserved to have some thought taken for him. If, perchance, Mr. Fogg should present the elephant to him, he would be very much embarrassed. It did not cease to occupy his mind.
At eight o'clock in the evening, the principal chain of the Vindhias had been crossed, and the travellers stopped at the foot of the northern slope in a ruined bungalow.
The distance travelled during this day was about twenty-five miles, and there remained about as much more to reach the station of Allahabad.
The night was cold. The Parsee kindled a fire of dry branches in the interior of the bungalow, whose warmth was much appreciated. The supper was made from the provisions purchased at Kholby. The travellers eat like stiff, tired people. The conversation commencing by a few disconnected phrases, soon ended in loud snoring. The guide watched near Kiouni, who slept standing, supported by the trunk of a large tree.
No incident marked this night. The howlings of panthers disturbed the silence sometimes, together with the sharp chattering of monkeys. But the carnivorous animals did not go further than utter their cries and made no hostile demonstration against the occupants of the bungalow. Sir Francis Cromarty slept heavily like a brave soldier worn out with fatigue. Passepartout dreamed in this disturbed sleep of the shaking-up of the day before. As for Mr. Fogg he slept as peacefully as if he had been in his quiet mansion in Saville Row.
At six o'clock in the morning they resumed their march. The guide hoped to arrive at Allahabad the same evening. In this way, Mr. Fogg would lose only a part of the forty-eight hours saved since the commencement of the journey.
descending the last declivities of the Vindhias. Kiouni had resumed his rapid
gait. Towards noon, the guide went round the
At two o’clock, the guide entered the shelter of a thick forest, which he had to traverse for a space of several miles. He preferred to travel thus under cover of the woods. At all events, up to this moment there had been no unpleasant meeting, and it seemed as if the journey would be accomplished without accident, when the elephant, showing some signs of uneasiness, suddenly stopped.
It was then four o’clock.
“What is the matter?” asked Sir Francis Cromarty, raising his head above his howdah.
“I do not know, officer,” replied the Parsee, listening to a confused murmur which came through the thick branches.
A few moments after, this murmur became more defined. It might have been called a concert still very distant, of human voices and brass instruments.
Passepartout was all eyes, all ears. Mr. Fogg waited patiently, without uttering a word.
The Parsee jumped down, fastened the elephant to a tree, and plunged into the thickest of the undergrowth, A few minutes later he returned saying:—
“A Brahmin procession coming this way. If it is possible let us avoid being seen.”
The guide unfastened the elephant, and led him into a thicket, recommending the travelers not to descend. He held himself ready to mount the elephant quickly, should flight be come necessary. But he thought that the troop of the faithful would pass without noticing him, for the thickness of the foliage entirely concealed him.
The discordant noise of voices and instruments approached. Monotonous chants were mingled with the sound of the drums and cymbals. Soon the head of the procession appeared from under the trees, at fifty paces from the spot occupied by Mr. Fogg and his companions. Through the branches they readily distinguished the curious personnel of this religious ceremony.
In the first line were the priests, with mitres upon their heads and attired in long robes adorned with gold and silver lace. They were surrounded by men, women, and children, who were singing a sort of funereal psalmody, interrupted at regular intervals by the beating of tam-tams and cymbals. Behind them on a car with large wheels, whose spokes and felloes represented serpents intertwined, appeared a hideous statue, drawn by two pairs of richly caparisoned zebus. This statue had four arms, its body colored with dark red, its eyes haggard, its hair tangled, its tongue hanging out, its lips colored with henna and betel. Its neck was encircled by a collar of skulls, around its waist a girdle of human hands. It was erect upon a prostrate giant, whose head was missing.
Sir Francis Cromarty recognized this statue.
“The goddess Kali,” he murmured; “the goddess of love and death.”
“Of death, I grant, but of love, never!” said Passepartout. “The ugly old woman!”
The Parsee made him a sign to keep quiet.
Around the statue there was a group of old fakirs jumping and tossing themselves about convulsively. Smeared with bands of ochre, covered with cross-like cuts, whence their blood escaped drop by drop—stupid fanatics, who, in the great Hindoo ceremonies, precipitated themselves under the wheels of the car of Juggernaut.
Behind them, some brahmins in all the magnificence of their Oriental costume, were dragging a woman who could hardly hold herself erect.
This woman was young, and as fair as a European. Her head, her neck, her shoulders, her ears, her arms, her hands, and her toes were loaded down with jewels, necklaces, bracelets, ear-rings, and finger-rings. A tunic, embroidered with gold, covered with a light muslin, displayed the outlines of her form.
Behind this young woman—a violent contrast for the eyes—were guards, armed with naked sabres fastened to their girdles and long damaskeened pistols, carrying a corpse upon a palanquin.
It was the body of an old man, dressed in the rich garments of a rajah, having, as in life, his turban embroidered with pearls, his robe woven of silk and gold, his sash of cashmere ornamented with diamonds, and his magnificent arms as an Indian prince.
Then, musicians and a rearguard of fanatics, whose cries sometimes drowned the deafening noise of the instruments, closed up the cortege.
Sir Francis Cromarty looked at all this pomp with a singularly sad air, and turning to the guide, he said:—
The Parsee made an affirmative sign and put his fingers on his lips. The long procession slowly came out from the trees, and soon the last of it disappeared in the depths of the forest.
Little by little the chanting died out. There were still the sounds of distant cries, and finally a profound silence succeeded all this tumult.
Phileas Fogg had heard the word uttered by Sir Francis Cromarty, and as soon as the procession had disappeared he asked:
“What is a suttee?”
“A suttee, Mr. Fogg,” replied the Brigadier-General, “is a human sacrifice, but a voluntary sacrifice. The woman that you have just seen will be burned to-morrow in the early part of the day.”
“Oh the villains!” cried Passepartout, who could not prevent this cry of indignation.
“And this corpse?” asked Mr. Fogg.
“It is that of the prince, her husband,” replied the guide “an independent Rajah of Bundelcund.”
replied Phileas Fogg, without his voice betraying the least emotion, “do these
barbarous customs still exist in
largest part of
“The unfortunate woman,” murmured Passepartout, “burned alive!”
replied the General, “burned, and if she was not you would not believe to what
a miserable condition she would be reduced by her near relatives. They would
shave her hair; they would scarcely feed her with a few handsful of rice; they
would repulse her; she would be considered as an unclean creature, and would
die in some corner like a sick dog. So that the prospect of this frightful
existence frequently drives these unfortunates to the sacrifice much more than
love or religious fanaticism. Sometimes, however, the sacrifice is really
voluntary and the energetic intervention of the government is necessary to
prevent it. Some years ago, I was living at
During the narrative of the General, the guide shook his head, and when he was through, said:—
“The sacrifice which takes place to-morrow is not voluntary.”
“How do you know?”
“It is a story which everybody in Bundelcund knows,” replied the guide.
“But this unfortunate did not seem to make any resistance,” remarked Sir Francis Cromarty.
“Because she was intoxicated with the fumes of hemp and opium.”
“But where are they taking her?”
“To the pagoda of Pillaji, two miles from here. There she will pass the night in waiting for the sacrifice.”
“And this sacrifice will take place?”
“At the first appearance of day.”
After this answer, the guide brought the elephant out of the dense thicket, and jumped on his neck. But at the moment that he was going to start him off by a peculiar whistle, Mr. Fogg stopped him and addressing Sir Francis Cromarty, said: “If we could save this woman!”
“Save this woman Mr. Fogg!” cried the Brigadier-General.
“I have still twelve hours to spare. I can devote them to her.”
“Why, you are a man of heart!” said Sir Francis Cromarty.
“Sometimes,” replied Phileas Fogg simply, “when I have time.”
IN WHICH PASSEPARTOUT PROVES AGAIN THAT FORTUNE SMILES UPON THE BOLD.
The design was bold, full of difficulties, perhaps impracticable. Mr. Fogg was going to risk his life, or at least his liberty, and consequently the success of his plans, but he did not hesitate. He found, besides, a decided ally in Sir Francis Cromarty.
As to Passepartout, he was ready and could be depended upon. His master’s idea excited him. He felt that there was a heart and soul under this icy covering. He almost loved Phileas Fogg.
Then there was the guide. What part would he take in the matter? Would he not be with the Indians? In default of his aid, it was at least necessary to be sure of his neutrality.
Sir Francis Cromarty put the question to him frankly.
“Officer,” replied the guide, “I am a Parsee, and that woman is a Parsee. Make use of me.”
“Very well, guide,” replied Mr. Fogg.
“However, do you know,” replied the Parsee, “that we not only risk our lives, but horrible punishments if we are taken? So see.”
“That is seen,” replied Mr. Fogg. “I think that we shall have to wait for the night to act?”
so, too,” replied the guide. The brave Hindoo then gave some details as to the
victim. She was an Indian of celebrated beauty, of the Parsee race, the
daughter of a rich merchant of
An orphan, she was married against her will to this old rajah, of Bundelcund. Three months after she was a widow. Knowing the fate that awaited her, she fled, was retaken immediately, and the relatives of the rajah, who had an interest in her death, devoted her to this sacrifice from which it seemed she could not escape.
This narrative could only strengthen Mr. Fogg and his companions in their generous resolution. It was decided that the guide should turn the elephant towards the pagoda of Pillaji, which he should approach as near as possible.
A half hour afterwards a halt was made under a thick clump of trees, five hundred paces from the pagoda, which they could not see, but they heard distinctly the yellings of the fanatics.
The means of reaching the victim was then discussed. The guide was acquainted with the pagoda, in which he asserted that the young woman was imprisoned. Could they enter by one of the doors, when the whole band was plunged in the sleep of drunkenness, or would they have to make a hole through the wall? This could be decided only at the moment and the place. But there could be no doubt that the abduction must be accomplished this very night, and not when, daylight arrived, the victim would be led to the sacrifice. Then no human intervention could save her.
Mr. Fogg and his companions waited for night. As soon as the shadows fell, towards six o’clock in the evening, they determined to make a reconnoissance around the pagoda. The last cries of the fakirs had died out. According to their customs, these Indians were plunged in the heavy intoxication of “hang”, liquid opium mixed with an infusion of hemp, and it would perhaps be possible to slip in between them to the temple.
The Parsee guiding, Mr. Fogg, Sir Francis Cromarty, and Passepartout advanced noiselessly through the forest. After ten minutes’ creeping under the branches, they arrived on the edge of a small river, and there by the light of iron torches at the end of which was burning pitch, they saw a pile of wood. It was the funeral pile, made of costly sandal wood, and already saturated with perfumed oil. On its upper part the embalmed body of the rajah was resting, which was to be burned at the same time as his widow. At one hundred paces from this pile rose the pagoda whose minarets in the darkness pierced the tops of the trees.
“Come!” said the guide in a low voice.
And redoubling his precaution, followed by his companions, he slipped quietly through the tall grass.
The silence was disturbed only by the murmuring of the wind in the branches.
Soon the guide stopped at the end of a clearing, lit up by a few torches. The ground was covered with groups of sleepers, heavy with drunkenness. It might have been thought a field of battle covered with the dead. Men, women, and children all in a confused mass. Some few drunken men were tottering hither and thither.
background, among the trees, the
The Parsee did not advance any further. He had recognized the impossibility of forcing the entrance of the temple, and he led his companions to the rear.
Phileas Fogg and Sir Francis Cromarty understood as well as himself that they could attempt nothing on this side. They stopped and talked in a low tone.
“Let us wait,” said the Brigadier-General, “it is not eight o’clock yet, and it is possible that these guards may succumb to sleep.”
“That is possible, indeed,” replied the Parsee.
Phileas Fogg and his companions stretched themselves out at the foot of a tree and waited.
The time appeared long to them! The guide left them sometimes and went to look at the edge of the wood. The guards of the rajah were still watching by the light of the torches, and a faint light came through the windows of the pagoda.
They waited thus until midnight. The situation did not change. The same watching outside. It was evident that they could not count on the drowsiness of the guards. The intoxication of the "hang" had probably been kept from them. It was necessary then to act differently, and get in by an opening made in the wall of the pagoda. There was still the question whether the priests were watching by their victim with as much care as the soldiers at the temple gate.
After a final conversation, the guide said he was ready to start. Mr. Fogg, Sir Francis, and Passepartout followed him. They made a pretty long detour, so as to reach the pagoda by the rear.
About a half hour past midnight they arrived at the foot of the walls, without having met any one. No watch had been established on this side, but windows and doors were entirely wanting.
The night was dark. The moon, then in her last quarter, was scarcely above the horizon, and was covered in heavy clouds. The height of the trees further increased the darkness.
But it was not sufficient to reach the foot of the walls, it was necessary to make an opening there. For this operation Phileas Fogg and his companions had nothing at all but their pocket-knives. Fortunately, the temple walls were composed of a mixture of bricks and wood, which could not be difficult to make a hole through. The first brick once taken out, the others would easily follow.
They went at it, making as little noise as possible. The Parsee, from one side, and Passepartout, from the other, worked to unfasten the bricks, so as to get an opening two feet wide.
The work was progressing, when a cry was heard from the interior of the temple, and nearly at the same time other cries answered from the outside.
Passepartout and the guide stopped their work. Had they been surprised? Had the alarm been given? The most ordinary prudence would order them to go away, which Phileas Fogg and Sir Francis Cromarty did at the same time. They lay down again under the cover of the wood, waiting until the alarm, if there had been one, had ceased, and ready, in this case, to resume their work.
But—unfortunate mischance—some guards showed themselves at the rear of the pagoda, and established themselves there so as to hinder any approach.
It would be difficult to describe the disappointment of these four men, stopped in their work. Now that they could not reach the victim, how could they save her? Sir Francis Cromarty clenched his fists, Passepartout was beside himself, and the guide had some difficulty to restrain him. The impassible Fogg waited without showing his feelings.
“What can we do but leave?” asked the General in a low voice.
“We can only leave,” replied the guide.
said Fogg. “It will do if I reach
“But what hope have you?” replied Sir Francis Cromarty, “It will soon be daylight, and—”
“The chance which escapes us now may return at the last moment.”
The General would have liked to read Phileas Fogg’s eyes.
What was this cold-blooded Englishman counting on? Would he, at the moment of the sacrifice, rush towards the young woman, and openly tear her from her murderers?
That would have been madness, and how could it be admitted that this man was mad to this degree? Nevertheless, Sir Francis Cromarty consented to wait until the denouement of this terrible scene. However, the guide did not leave his companions at the spot where they had hid, and he took them back to the foreground of the clearing. There, sheltered by a clump of trees, they could watch the sleeping groups.
In the meantime Passepartout, perched upon the lower branches of a tree, was meditating an idea which had first crossed his mind like a flash, and which finally imbedded itself in his brain.
He had commenced by saying to himself, “What madness!” and now he repeated, “Why not, after all? It is a chance, perhaps the only one, and with such brutes—”
At all events, Passepartout did not put his thought into any other shape, but he was not slow in sliding down, with the ease of a snake, on the lower branches of the tree, the end of which bent toward the ground.
The hours were passing, and soon a few less sombre shades announced the approach of day. But the darkness was still great.
It was the time fixed. It was like a resurrection in this slumbering crowd. The groups wakened up. The beating of tam-tams sounded, songs and cries burst out anew. The hour had come in which the unfortunate was to die.
The doors of the pagoda were now opened. A more intense light came from the interior. Mr. Fogg and Sir Francis could see the victim, all lighted up, whom two priests were dragging to the out-side. It seemed to them that, shaking off the drowsiness of intoxication by the highest instincts of self-preservation, the unfortunate woman, was trying to escape from her executioners. Sir Francis’ heart throbbed violently, and with a convulsive movement seizing Phileas Fogg’s hand, he felt that it held an open knife.
At this moment, the crowd was agitated. The young woman had fallen again into the stupor produced by the fumes of the hemp. She passed between the fakirs, who escorted her with their religious cries.
Phileas Fogg and his companions followed her, mingling with the rear ranks of the crowd.
Two minutes after, they arrived at the edge of the river, and stopped less than fifty paces from the funeral pile, upon which was lying the rajah’s body. In the semi-obscurity, they saw the victim, motionless, stretched near her husband’s corpse.
Then a torch was brought, and the wood, impregnated with oil, soon took fire.
At this moment, Sir Francis Cromarty and the guide held back Phileas Fogg, who in an impulse of generous madness, was going to rush towards the pile.
But Phileas Fogg had already pushed them back, when the scene changed suddenly. A cry of terror arose. The whole crowd, frightened, cast themselves upon the ground.
The old rajah was not dead, then; he was seen suddenly rising upright, like a phantom, raising the young woman in his arms, descending from the pile in the midst of the clouds of smoke which gave him a spectral appearance.
The fakirs, the priests, overwhelmed with a sudden fear, were prostrate, their faces to the ground, not daring to raise their eyes, and look at such a miracle! The inanimate victim was held by the vigorous arms carrying her, without seeming to be much of a weight. Mr. Fogg and Sir Francis had remained standing. The Parsee had bowed his head, and Passepartout, without doubt was not less stupefied.
The resuscitated man came near the spot where Mr. Fogg and Sir Francis Cromarty were, and said shortly:—
“Let us be off!”
It was Passepartout himself who had slipped to the pile in the midst of the thick smoke! It was Passepartout who, profiting by the great darkness still prevailing, had rescued the young woman from death! It was Passepartout who, playing his part with the boldest good-luck, passed out in the midst of the general fright!
An instant after the four disappeared in the woods, and the elephant took them onwards with a rapid trot. But cries, shouts, and even a ball, piercing Phileas Fogg’s hat, apprised them that the stratagem had been discovered.
Indeed, on the burning pile still lay the body of the old rajah. The priests, recovered from their fright, learned that the abduction had taken place.
They immediately rushed into the forest. The guards followed them. Shots were fired; but the abductors fled rapidly, and, in a few moments, they were out of range of balls or arrows.
IN WHICH PHILEAS FOGG DESCENDS THE ENTIRE
The Periere, of the French Transportation Company,—whose splendid vessels equal in speed and surpass all others without exception—would not start until the 14th of December. And besides, like those of the Hamburg Company, she would not go directly to Liverpool or London, but to Havre, and this additional trip from Havre to Southampton, delaying Phileas Fogg, would have rendered his last efforts to no avail.
There was no use of thinking of the Inman steamers, one of which, the City of Paris, would put out to sea the next day. These ships are specially devoted to the transportation of emigrants, their engines are weak, they navigate by sail as much as by steam, and their speed is only medium. They would use on the voyage from New York to England more time than remained for Fogg to win his bet.
End of corrections. August 6, 2010
 Reflect, take time to consider (let me see) COED