Around the World in Eighty Days Yeller Brick Road: Chapter Fourteen

Chapter XIV:

In which Philanderous Flogg Descends the Whole Length of the Beautiful Valley of the Ganges Without Ever Thinking of Seeing It…

The rash exploit had been accomplished; and for an hour Pissepotout laughed gaily at his success. Sir Francis pressed the worthy fellow’s hand, and his master said, “Well done!” which, from him, was high commendation; to which Pissepotout replied that all the credit of the affair belonged to Mr. Flogg. As for him, he had only been struck with a “queer” idea; and he laughed to think that for a few moments he, Pissepotout, the ex-gymnast, ex-sergeant firedog, had been the spouse of a charming woman, a venerable, embalmed rajah! He now quite recognised her, from the theatre of his fancies in London – precisely as he had related to Filch aboard the Mongolian Falcon – but too aware of his new status and hers, did not dare to impress upon her their previous acquaintance.

As for the young Indian woman, she had been unconscious throughout of what was passing, and now, wrapped up in a travelling-blanket, was reposing in one of the howdahs.

The elephant, thanks to the skilful guidance of the Parsee, was advancing rapidly through the still darksome forest, and, an hour after leaving the pagoda, had crossed a vast plain.

The road was smooth and well paved, now, and the country about was beautiful, so that the travellers rejoiced in leaving the forest far behind, and with it the many dangers they had met in its gloomy shades. Once more they could see fences built beside the road; but these were painted green, and when they came to a small house, in which a farmer evidently lived, that also was painted green. They passed by several of these houses during the afternoon, and sometimes people came to the doors and looked at them as if they would like to ask questions; but no-one came near them nor spoke to them because of the great elephant, of which they were very much afraid. The people were all dressed in clothing of a lovely emerald-green colour, and wore peaked hats like those of the Munchlings.

They made a halt at seven o’clock, the young woman being still in a state of complete prostration. The guide made her drink a little brandy and water, but the drowsiness which stupefied her could not yet be shaken off. Sir Francis, who was familiar with the effects of the intoxication produced by the fumes of hemp, reassured his companions on her account. But he was more disturbed at the prospect of her future fate. He told Philanderous Flogg that, should Aorta remain in India, she would inevitably fall again into the hands of her executioners. These fanatics were scattered throughout the county, and would, despite the English police, recover their victim at Madras, Bombay, or Calcutta. She would only be safe by quitting India for ever.

Philanderous Flogg replied that he would reflect upon the matter.

“I should like something to eat besides fruit,” said the gentleman, “and I’m sure Piss-pot-oto is nearly starved. Let us stop at the next house and talk to the people.”

So, when they came to a good-sized farmhouse, the Parsee walked boldly up to the door and knocked.

A woman opened it just far enough to look out, and said, “What do you want, child, and why is that great elephant with you?”

“We wish to pass a meal with you, if you will allow us,” answered Sir Francis; “and the elephant is my friend and comrade, and would not hurt you for the world.”

“Is he tame?” asked the woman, opening the door a little wider.

“Oh, yes,” said the general. “He will be more afraid of you than you are of him.”

“Well,” said the woman, after thinking it over and taking another peep at the elephant, “if that is the case you may come in, and I will give you some supper and a place to rest.”

So they all entered the house, where there were, besides the woman, two children and a man. The man had hurt his leg, and was lying on the couch in a corner. They seemed greatly surprised to see so strange a company, and while the woman was busy laying the table, the man asked:

“Where are you all going?”

“To the Emmannuelle City,” said Pissepotout, “to see the Great Ooze.”

“Oh, indeed!” exclaimed the man. “Are you sure that Ooze will see you?”

“Why not?” he replied.

“Why, it is said that he never lets anyone come into his presence. I have been to the Emmannuelle City many times, and it is a beautiful and wonderful place; but I have never been permitted to see the Great Ooze, nor do I know of any living person who has seen him.”

“Does he never go out?” asked the general.

“Never. He sits day after day in the great Throne Room of his Palace, and even those who wait upon him do not see him face to face.”

“What is he like?” asked the French poodle.

“That is hard to tell,” said the man thoughtfully. “You see, Ooze is a Great Wizard, and can take on any form he wishes. So that some say he looks like a bird; and some say he looks like an elephant; and some say he looks like a cat. To others he appears as a beautiful fairy, or a brownie, or in any other form that pleases him. But who the real Ooze is, when he is in his own form, no-one can tell.”

“That is very strange,” said Philanderous Flogg, “but we must try, in some way, to see him, or we shall have made our journey for nothing.”

“Why do you wish to see the terrible Ooze?” asked the man.

“I want him to give me some brains,” said the zombie.

“Oh, Ooze could do that easily enough,” declared the man. “He has more than he needs.”

“And I want him to give me a heart,” said the general.

“That will not trouble him,” continued the man. “For Ooze has a large collection of hearts, of all sizes and shapes.”

“And I want him to give me courage,” said the Parsee.

“Ooze keeps a great pot of courage in his Throne Room,” said the man, “which he has covered with a golden plate, to keep it from running over. He will be glad to give you some.”

“And I want him to send me back to Cannes,” said Pissepotout.

“Where is Cannes?” asked the man, with surprise.

“I don’t know,” replied Pissepotout sorrowfully, “but it is my home, and I’m sure it’s somewhere.”

“Very likely. Well, Ooze can do anything; so I suppose he will find Cannes for you. But first you must get to see him, and that will be a hard task; for the Great Wizard does not like to see anyone, and he usually has his own way.”

The woman now called to them that supper was ready, so they gathered around the table and Pissepotout ate some delicious porridge and a dish of scrambled eggs and a plate of nice white bread, and enjoyed his meal. The elephant ate some of the porridge, but did not care for it, saying it was made from oats and oats were food for horses, not for elephants. Philanderous Flogg ate a little of everything, and was glad to get a good supper again.

The station at Allahabad was reached about ten o’clock, and, the interrupted line of railway being resumed, would enable them to reach Calcutta in less than twenty-four hours. Philanderous Flogg would thus be able to arrive in time to take the steamer which left Calcutta the next day, October 25th, at noon, for Hong Kong.

The young woman was placed in one of the waiting-rooms of the station, whilst Pissepotout was charged with purchasing for her various articles of toilet, a dress, shawl, and some furs; for which his master gave him unlimited credit. Pissepotout started off forthwith, and found himself in the streets of Allahabad, that is, the City of God, one of the most venerated in India, being built at the junction of the two sacred rivers, Ganges and Jumna, the waters of which attract pilgrims from every part of the peninsula. The Ganges, according to the legends of the Ramayana, rises in heaven, whence, owing to Brahma’s agency, it descends to the earth.

Pissepotout made it a point, as he made his purchases, to take a good look at the city. It was formerly defended by a noble fort, which had since become a state prison; its commerce had dwindled away, and Pissepotout in vain looked about him for such a bazaar as he used to frequent in Regent Street. At last he came upon an elderly, crusty Jew, who sold second-hand articles, and from whom he purchased a dress of Scotch stuff, a large mantle, and a fine otter-skin pelisse, for which he did not hesitate to pay seventy-five pounds. He then returned triumphantly to the station.

The influence to which the priests of Pillaji had subjected Aorta began gradually to yield, and she became more herself, so that her fine eyes resumed all their soft Indian expression.

When the poet-king, Ucaf Uddaul, celebrates the charms of the queen of Ahmehnagara, he speaks thus:

“Her shining tresses, divided in two parts, encircle the harmonious contour of her white and delicate cheeks, brilliant in their glow and freshness. Her ebony brows have the form and charm of the bow of Kama, the god of love, and beneath her long silken lashes the purest reflections and a celestial light swim, as in the sacred lakes of Himalaya, in the black pupils of her great clear eyes. Her teeth, fine, equal, and white, glitter between her smiling lips like dewdrops in a passion-flower’s half-enveloped breast. Her delicately formed ears, her vermilion hands, her little feet, curved and tender as the lotus-bud, glitter with the brilliancy of the loveliest pearls of Ceylon, the most dazzling diamonds of Golconda. Her narrow and supple waist, which a hand may clasp around, sets forth the outline of her rounded figure and the beauty of her bosom, where youth in its flower displays the wealth of its treasures; and beneath the silken folds of her tunic she seems to have been modelled in pure silver by the godlike hand of Vicvarcarma, the immortal sculptor.”

It is enough to say, without applying this poetical rhapsody to Aorta, that she was a charming woman, in all the European acceptation of the phrase. She spoke English with great purity, and the guide had not exaggerated in saying that the young Parsee had been transformed by her upbringing.

The train was about to start from Allahabad, and Mr. Flogg proceeded to pay the guide the price agreed upon for his service, and not a farthing more; which astonished Pissepotout, who remembered all that his master owed to the guide’s devotion. He had, indeed, risked his life in the adventure at Pillaji, and, if he should be caught afterwards by the Indians, he would with difficulty escape their vengeance.

Kiouni, also, must be disposed of. What should be done with the elephant, which had been so dearly purchased?

Philanderous Flogg had already determined this question.

“Parsee,” said he to the guide, “you have been serviceable and devoted. I have paid for your service, but not for your devotion. Would you like to have this elephant? He is yours.”

The guide’s eyes glistened.

“Your honour is giving me a fortune!” cried he.

“Take him, guide,” returned Mr. Flogg, “and I shall still be your debtor.”

“Good!” exclaimed Pissepotout. “Take him, friend. Kiouni is a brave and faithful beast.” And, going up to the elephant, he gave him several lumps of sugar, saying, “Here, Kiouni, here, here.”

The elephant grunted out his satisfaction, and, clasping Pissepotout around the waist with his trunk, lifted him as high as his head. Pissepotout, not in the least alarmed, caressed the animal, who replaced him gently on the ground.

Soon after, Philanderous Flogg, Sir Francis Crapperty, and Pissepotout, installed in a carriage with Aorta, who had the best seat, were whirling at full speed towards Benares. It was a run of eighty miles, and was accomplished in two hours. During the journey, the young woman fully recovered her senses. What was her astonishment to find herself in this carriage, on the railway, dressed in European habiliments, and with travellers who were quite strangers to her! Her companions first set about fully reviving her with a little liquor, and then Sir Francis narrated to her what had passed, dwelling upon the courage with which Philanderous Flogg had not hesitated to risk his life to save her, and recounting the happy sequel of the venture, the result of Pissepotout’s rash idea. Mr. Flogg said nothing; while Pissepotout, abashed, kept repeating that “it wasn’t worth telling.”

Aorta pathetically thanked her deliverers, rather with tears than words; her fine eyes interpreted her gratitude better than her lips. Then, as her thoughts strayed back to the scene of the sacrifice, and recalled the dangers which still menaced her, she shuddered with terror.

Philanderous Flogg understood what was passing in Aorta’s mind, and offered, in order to reassure her, to escort her to Hong Kong, where she might remain safely until the affair was hushed up – an offer which she eagerly and gratefully accepted. She had, it seems, a Parsee relation, who was one of the principal merchants of Hong Kong, which is wholly an English city, though on an island on the Chinese coast.

At half-past twelve the train stopped at Benares. The Brahmin legends assert that this city is built on the site of the ancient Casi, which, like Mahomet’s tomb, was once suspended between heaven and earth; though the Benares of to-day, which the Orientalists call the Athens of India, stands quite unpoetically on the solid earth. Pissepotout caught glimpses of its brick houses and clay huts, giving an aspect of desolation to the place, as the train entered it.

Benares was Sir Francis Crapperty’s destination, the troops he was rejoining being encamped some miles northward of the city. He bade adieu to Philanderous Flogg, wishing him all success, and expressing the hope that they would coincide at the Emmannuelle City, and that he would come that way again in a less original but more profitable fashion. Mr. Flogg lightly pressed him by the hand. The parting of Aorta, who did not forget what she owed to Sir Francis, betrayed more warmth; and, as for Pissepotout, he received a hearty shake of the hand from the gallant general.

The railway, on leaving Benares, passed for a while along the valley of the Ganges. Through the windows of their carriage the travellers had glimpses of the diversified landscape of Behar, with its mountains clothed in verdure, its fields of barley, wheat, and corn, its jungles peopled with green alligators, its neat villages, and its still thickly-leaved forests. Elephants were bathing in the waters of the sacred river, and groups of Indians, despite the advanced season and chilly air, were performing solemnly their pious ablutions. These were fervent Brahmins, the bitterest foes of Buddhism, their deities being Vishnu, the solar god, Shiva, the divine impersonation of natural forces, and Brahma, the supreme ruler of priests and legislators. What would these divinities think of India, anglicised as it is today, with steamers whistling and scudding along the Ganges, frightening the gulls which float upon its surface, the turtles swarming along its banks, and the faithful dwelling upon its borders?

The panorama passed before their eyes like a flash, save when the steam concealed it fitfully from the view; the travellers could scarcely discern the fort of Chupenie, twenty miles south-westward from Benares, the ancient stronghold of the rajahs of Behar; or Ghazipur and its famous rose-water factories; or the tomb of Lord Cornwallis, rising on the left bank of the Ganges; the fortified town of Buxar, or Patna, a large manufacturing and trading-place, where is held the principal opium market of India; or Monghir, a more than European town, for it is as English as Manchester or Birmingham, with its iron foundries, edgetool factories, and high chimneys puffing clouds of black smoke heavenward.

Night came on; the train passed on at full speed, in the midst of the roaring of the tigers, bears, and wolves which fled before the locomotive; and the marvels of Bengal, Golconda ruined Gour, Murshedabad, the ancient capital, Burdwan, Hugly, and the French town of Chandernagor, where Pissepotout would have been proud to see his country’s flag flying, were hidden from their view in the darkness.

“Extra tight tonight, Piss-pot-oto,” ordered the gentleman, as the French poodle unpacked the nocturnal accoutrements. “And perhaps some additional flogging. There is a young lady in the next-door compartment. I would not wish upon her the Beast.”

“If the Great Ooze gives you brains,” Pissepotout began, “will your appetite be satisfied forever, monsieur?”

“One can hope,” Philanderous Flogg replied, succumbing to the straps buckled around his chest, attached to the bunk. “There is also the risk that it will be sharpened instead. But we must not give our fellow travellers cause for alarm. Very good…” He tested the restraints, and the mattress creaked beneath him. “A little tighter – and then, I think, the cat o’nine tails, and a quick going-over with the birch twigs should suffice…”

Pissepotout set about his master obediently, shutting his ears to the wincing and moaning that emerged. And as Philanderous Flogg lay in a stupor afterwards, while cleaning and re-packing the equipment the faithful poodle heard him murmuring, reminiscing.

“…The most racking pangs succeeded: A grinding in the bones, deadly nausea, and a horror of the spirit that cannot be exceeded at the hour of birth or death. Then these agonies began swiftly to subside, and I came to myself as if out of a great sickness. There was something strange in my sensations, something indescribably new and, from its very novelty, incredibly sweet. I felt younger, lighter, happier in body; within I was conscious of a heady recklessness, a current of disordered sensual images running like a mill-race in my fancy, a solution of the bonds of obligation, an unknown but not an innocent freedom of the soul. I knew myself, at the first breath of this new life, to be more wicked, tenfold more wicked, sold a slave to my original evil; and the thought, in that moment, braced and delighted me like wine. I stretched out my hands, exulting in the freshness of these sensations; and in the act, I was suddenly aware that I had lost in stature. There was no mirror, at that date, in my room. The night, however, was far gone into the morning – the morning, black as it was, was nearly ripe for the conception of the day – the inmates of my house, James Forster and the Munchlings, were locked in the most rigorous hours of slumber; and I determined, flushed as I was with hope and triumph, to venture in my new shape as far as to my bedroom. I crossed the yard, wherein the constellations looked down upon me, I could have thought, with wonder, the first creature of that sort that their unsleeping vigilance had yet disclosed to them; I stole through the corridors, a stranger in my own house; and coming to my room, I saw for the first time the appearance of the undead.”

Quietly, Pissepotout wiped a tear from his eye, and silently closed the compartment door behind him.

Momentarily he paused outside the young Parsee woman’s sleeper, wondering whether to knock and check her welfare. At the back of his mind, a brief fancy of dropping to one knee and re-iterating his undying love as he had done so in London; but the elevation between their statuses was now insurmountable, even to his gymnastic abilities. What had passed in London had been an infatuation of youth – now, she almost a Princess, and he a whipping-dog. The fantasy of their reunion would forever be impossible to realise.

“There are worse things than honour,” he told himself sternly, and turned to his own small cubicle to pass the night.

If Aorta was disturbed by the physical infractions occurring in her neighbouring compartments, she gave no sign, and apparently passed a peaceful night.

Calcutta was reached at seven in the morning, and the packet left for Hong Kong at noon; so that Philanderous Flogg had five hours before him.

According to his journal, he was due at Calcutta on the 25th of October, and that was the exact date of his actual arrival. He was therefore neither behind-hand nor ahead of time. The two days gained between London and Bombay had been lost, as has been seen, in the journey across India. But it is not to be supposed that Philanderous Flogg regretted them.

Around the World in Eighty Days Yeller Brick Road – Chapter Thirteen

Chapter XIII:

In which Pissepotout Receives a New Proof that Fortune Favours the Brave…

The project was a bold one, full of difficulty, perhaps impracticable. Mr. Flogg was going to risk life, or at least liberty, and therefore the success of his tour. But he did not hesitate, and he found in Sir Francis Crapperty an enthusiastic ally.

As for Pissepotout, he was ready for anything that might be proposed. His master’s idea charmed him; he perceived a heart, a soul, under that icy exterior. He began to love Philanderous Flogg. The illusion was satisfied by his new perception that the feeling would be mutual.

There remained the guide: What course would he adopt? Would he not take part with the Indians? In default of his assistance, it was necessary to be assured of his neutrality.

Sir Francis frankly put the question to him.

“Officers,” replied the guide, “I am a Parsee, and this woman is a Parsee. Command me as you will.”

“Excellent!” said Mr. Flogg.

“However,” resumed the guide, “it is certain, not only that we shall risk our lives, but horrible tortures, if we are taken.”

“That is foreseen,” replied Mr. Flogg. “I think we must wait till night before acting.”

“I think so,” said the guide.

They walked along listening to the singing of the brightly-coloured birds and looking at the lovely flowers which now became so thick that the ground was carpeted with them. There were big yellow and white and blue and purple blossoms, besides great clusters of scarlet poppies, which were so brilliant in colour they almost dazzled Pissepotout’s eyes.

“Aren’t they beautiful?” the French poodle asked, as he breathed in the spicy scent of the bright flowers.

“I suppose so,” answered Philanderous Flogg. “If I had tasted brains, which would accentuate my senses, I should probably like them better.”

“If I only had the heart, I should love them,” added Sir Francis.

“I always did like flowers,” said the elephant. “They all seem so helpless and frail. But there are none in the forest so bright as these.”

They now came upon more and more of the big scarlet poppies, and fewer and fewer of the other flowers; and soon they found themselves in the midst of a great meadow of poppies. Now it is well known that when there are many of these flowers together their opium odour is so powerful that anyone who breathes it falls asleep, and if the sleeper is not carried away from the scent of the flowers, he sleeps on and on forever. But Pissepotout did not know this, nor could he get away from the bright red flowers that were everywhere about; so presently his eyes grew heavy and he felt he must sit down to rest and to sleep.

But the Parsee would not let him do this.

“We must hurry and get back to the road of yellow brick before dark,” he said; and the general agreed with him. So they kept walking until Pissepotout could stand no longer. His eyes closed in spite of himself, and he forgot where he was and fell among the poppies, fast asleep.

“What shall we do?” asked the general.

“If we leave him here he will die,” said Philanderous Flogg. “The smell of the flowers is killing us all. I myself can scarcely keep my eyes open, and the dog is asleep already.”

It was true; Pissepotout had fallen down beside his gray master. But the Parsee and the elephant, not being made of foreign flesh, were not so troubled by the scent of the flowers.

“Run fast,” said the general to the elephant, “and get out of this deadly flower bed as soon as you can. We will bring the little dog with us, but if you should fall asleep you are too big to be carried.”

So the elephant aroused himself and bounded forward as fast as he could go. In a moment he was out of sight.

“Let us make a chair with our hands and carry him,” said the general. So they picked up Pissepotout, and they made a chair with their hands for the seat and their arms for the arms and carried the sleeping poodle between them through the flowers.

On and on they walked, and it seemed that the great carpet of deadly flowers that surrounded them would never end. They followed the bend of the river, and at last came upon their friend the elephant, lying fast asleep among the poppies. The flowers had been too strong for the huge beast and he had given up at last, and fallen only a short distance from the end of the poppy bed, where the sweet grass spread in beautiful green fields before them.

“We can do nothing for him,” said Philanderous Flogg to the Parsee, sadly; “for he is much too heavy to lift. We must leave him here to sleep on forever, and perhaps he will dream that he has found doughnuts at last.”

“I’m sorry,” said the general. “The elephant was a very good comrade.”

They carried the sleeping dog to a pretty spot beside the river, far enough from the poppy field to prevent him breathing any more of the poison of the flowers, and here they laid him gently on the soft grass and waited for the fresh breeze to waken him.

The worthy Indian then gave some account of the Bundelcund victim, who, he said, was a celebrated beauty of the Parsee race, and the daughter of a wealthy Bombay merchant. She had received a thoroughly English education in that gray city of London, and, from her manners and intelligence, would be thought a European.

Her name was Aorta

Later left an orphan, she was married against her will to the old rajah of Bundelcund; and, knowing the fate that awaited her, she escaped, was retaken, and devoted by the rajah’s relatives, who had an interest in her death, to the sacrifice from which it seemed she could not escape.

“We cannot be far from the road of yellow brick, now,” remarked Sir Francis, as he stood beside the French poodle, “for we have come nearly as far as the river carried us away.”

Philanderous Flogg was about to reply when he heard a low growl, and turning his head, he saw a strange beast come bounding over the grass toward them. It was, indeed, a great yellow Wildcat, and the zombie thought it must be chasing something, for its ears were lying close to its head and its mouth was wide open, showing two rows of ugly teeth, while its red eyes glowed like balls of fire. As it came nearer, Philanderous Flogg saw that running before the beast was a little gray field mouse, and although he had no beating heart he knew it was wrong for the Wildcat to try to kill such a pretty, harmless creature.

So the zombie raised his axe, and as the Wildcat ran by he gave it a quick blow that cut the beast’s head clean off from its body, and it rolled over at his feet in two pieces.

The field mouse, now that it was freed from its enemy, stopped short; and coming slowly up to their party it said, in a squeaky little voice:

“Oh, thank you! Thank you ever so much for saving my life.”

“Don’t speak of it, I beg of you,” replied Philanderous Flogg. “I have no living heart, you know, so I am careful to help all those who may need a friend, even if it happens to be only a mouse.”

“Only a mouse!” cried the little animal, indignantly. “Why, I am a Queen – the Queen of all the Field Mice!”

“Oh, indeed,” said Philanderous Flogg, making a bow.

“Therefore you have done a great deed, as well as a brave one, in saving my life,” added the Queen.

At that moment several mice were seen running up as fast as their little legs could carry them, and when they saw their Queen they exclaimed:

“Oh, your Majesty, we thought you would be killed! How did you manage to escape the great Wildcat?” They all bowed so low to the little Queen that they almost stood upon their heads.

“This funny tin man,” she answered, “killed the Wildcat and saved my life. So hereafter you must all serve him, and obey his slightest wish.”

“We will!” cried all the mice, in a shrill chorus. And then they scampered in all directions, for Pissepotout had awakened from his sleep, and seeing all these mice around him he gave one bark of delight and jumped right into the middle of the group. He had always loved to chase mice when he lived in Cannes, and he saw no harm in it.

But Philanderous Flogg caught the dog in his arms and held him tight, while he called to the mice, “Come back! Come back! Piss-pot-oto shall not hurt you.”

At this the Queen of the Mice stuck her head out from underneath a clump of grass and asked, in a timid voice, “Are you sure he will not bite us?”

“I will not let him,” said the tin-corseted zombie; “so do not be afraid.”

One by one the mice came creeping back, and Pissepotout did not bark again, although he tried to get out of his master’s arms, and would have bitten him had he not known very well he was already a zombie. Finally one of the biggest mice spoke.

“Is there anything we can do,” it asked, “to repay you for saving the life of our Queen?”

“Nothing that I know of,” answered the general; but Philanderous Flogg said quickly: “Oh, yes; you can save our friend, the elephant Kiouni, who is asleep in the poppy bed.”

“An elephant!” cried the little Queen. “Why, he would eat us all up.”

“Oh, no,” declared Philanderous Flogg; “this elephant is a vegetarian.”

“Really?” asked the Mouse.

“He says so himself,” answered the general, “and he would never hurt anyone who is our friend. If you will help us to save him I promise that he shall treat you all with kindness.”

“Very well,” said the Queen, “we trust you. But what shall we do?”

“Are there many of these mice which call you Queen and are willing to obey you?”

“Oh, yes; there are thousands,” she replied.

“Then send for them all to come here as soon as possible, and let each one bring a long piece of string.”

The Queen turned to the mice that attended her and told them to go at once and get all her people. As soon as they heard her orders they ran away in every direction as fast as possible.

“Now,” said Philanderous Flogg to the French poodle, “you must go to those trees by the riverside and make a truck that will carry the elephant.”

So Pissepotout went at once to the trees, and began to work; and he soon made a truck out of the limbs of trees, from which he chopped away all the leaves and branches. He fastened it together with wooden pegs and made the four wheels out of short pieces of a big tree trunk. So fast and so well did he work that by the time the mice began to arrive the truck was all ready for them.

They came from all directions, and there were thousands of them: big mice and little mice and middle-sized mice; and each one brought a piece of string in his mouth.

The general Sir Francis and the Parsee now began to fasten the mice to the truck, using the strings they had brought. One end of a string was tied around the neck of each mouse and the other end to the truck. Of course the truck was a thousand times bigger than any of the mice who were to draw it; but when all the mice had been harnessed, they were able to pull it quite easily. Even Philanderous Flogg and the General could sit on it, and were drawn swiftly by their queer little horses to the place where the elephant lay asleep.

After a great deal of hard work, for the elephant was heavy, they managed to get him up on the truck. Then the Queen hurriedly gave her people the order to start, for she feared if the mice stayed among the poppies too long they also would fall asleep.

At first the little creatures, many though they were, could hardly stir the heavily loaded truck; but the Parsee and Pissepotout both pushed from behind, and they got along better. Soon they rolled the elephant out of the poppy bed to the green fields, where he could breathe the sweet, fresh air again, instead of the poisonous scent of the flowers.

Pissepotout thanked the little mice warmly for saving his companion from death. He had grown so fond of the big elephant, he was glad he had been rescued.

Then the mice were unharnessed from the truck and scampered away through the grass to their homes. The Queen of the Mice was the last to leave. She solemnly presented Philanderous Flogg with a pretty silver whistle.

“If ever you need us again,” she said, “come out into the field and call, and we shall hear you and come to your assistance. Good-bye!”

“Good-bye!” they all answered, and away the Queen ran, while Philanderous Flogg held Pissepotout tightly lest he should run after her and frighten her.

After this they sat down beside the elephant until he should awaken; and the Parsee brought some fruit from a tree nearby, which they ate for dinner.

The Parsee’s narrative only confirmed Mr. Flogg and his companions in their generous design. It was decided that the guide should direct the elephant towards the pagoda of Pillaji, which he accordingly approached as quickly as possible. They halted, half an hour afterwards, in a copse, some five hundred feet from the pagoda, where they were well concealed; but they could hear the groans and cries of the fakirs distinctly.

They then discussed the means of getting at the victim. The guide was familiar with the pagoda of Pillaji, in which, as he declared, the young woman was imprisoned. Could they enter any of its doors while the whole party of Indians was plunged in a drunken sleep, or was it safer to attempt to make a hole in the walls? This could only be determined at the moment and the place themselves; but it was certain that the abduction must be made that night, and not when, at break of day, the victim was led to her funeral pyre. Then no human intervention could save her.

As soon as night fell, about six o’clock, they decided to make a reconnaissance around the pagoda. The cries of the fakirs were just ceasing; the Indians were in the act of plunging themselves into the drunkenness caused by liquid opium mingled with hemp, and it might be possible to slip between them to the temple itself.

The Parsee, leading the others, noiselessly crept through the wood, and in ten minutes they found themselves on the banks of a small stream, whence, by the light of the rosin torches, they perceived a pyre of wood, on the top of which lay the embalmed body of the rajah, which was to be burned with his wife. The pagoda, whose minarets loomed above the trees in the deepening dusk, stood a hundred steps away.

“Come!” whispered the guide.

He slipped more cautiously than ever through the brush, followed by his companions; the silence around was only broken by the low murmuring of the wind among the branches.

Soon the Parsee stopped on the borders of the glade, which was lit up by the torches. The ground was covered by groups of the Indians, motionless in their drunken sleep; it seemed a battlefield strewn with the dead. Men, women, and children lay together.

In the background, among the trees, the pagoda of Pillaji loomed distinctly. Much to the guide’s disappointment, the guards of the rajah, lighted by torches, were watching at the doors and marching to and fro with naked sabres; probably the priests, too, were watching within.

The Parsee, now convinced that it was impossible to force an entrance to the temple, advanced no farther, but led his companions back again. Philanderous Flogg and Sir Francis Crapperty also saw that nothing could be attempted in that direction. They stopped, and engaged in a whispered colloquy.

“It is only eight now,” said the brigadier, “and these guards may also go to sleep.”

“It is not impossible,” returned the Parsee.

They lay down at the foot of a tree, and waited.

The time seemed long; the guide ever and anon left them to take an observation on the edge of the wood, but the guards watched steadily by the glare of the torches, and a dim light crept through the windows of the pagoda.

They waited till midnight; but no change took place among the guards, and it became apparent that their yielding to sleep could not be counted on. The other plan must be carried out; an opening in the walls of the pagoda must be made. It remained to ascertain whether the priests were watching by the side of their victim as assiduously as were the soldiers at the door.

After a last consultation, the guide announced that he was ready for the attempt, and advanced, followed by the others. They took a roundabout way, so as to get at the pagoda on the rear. They reached the walls about half-past twelve, without having met anyone; here there was no guard, nor were there either windows or doors.

The night was dark. The moon, on the wane, scarcely left the horizon, and was covered with heavy clouds; the height of the trees deepened the darkness.

It was not enough to reach the walls; an opening in them must be accomplished, and to attain this purpose the party only had their pocket-knives. Happily the temple walls were built of brick and wood, which could be penetrated with little difficulty; after one brick had been taken out, the rest would yield easily.

They set noiselessly to work, and the Parsee on one side and Pissepotout on the other began to loosen the bricks so as to make an aperture two feet wide. They were getting on rapidly, when suddenly a cry was heard in the interior of the temple, followed almost instantly by other cries replying from the outside. Pissepotout and the guide stopped. Had they been heard? Was the alarm being given? Common prudence urged them to retire, and they did so, followed by Philanderous Flogg and Sir Francis. They again hid themselves in the wood, and waited till the disturbance, whatever it might be, ceased, holding themselves ready to resume their attempt without delay. But, awkwardly enough, the guards now appeared at the rear of the temple, and there installed themselves, in readiness to prevent a surprise.

It would be difficult to describe the disappointment of the party, thus interrupted in their work. They could not now reach the victim; how, then, could they save her? Sir Francis shook his fists, Pissepotout was beside himself, and the guide gnashed his teeth with rage. The tranquil Flogg waited, without betraying any emotion.

“We have nothing to do but to go away,” whispered Sir Francis.

“Nothing but to go away,” echoed the guide.

“Stop,” said Flogg. “I am only due at Allahabad tomorrow before noon.”

“But what can you hope to do?” asked Sir Francis. “In a few hours it will be daylight, and…”

“The chance which now seems lost may present itself at the last moment.”

Sir Francis would have liked to read Philanderous Flogg’s eyes. What was this cool Englishman thinking of? Was he planning to make a rush for the young woman at the very moment of the sacrifice, and boldly snatch her from her executioners?

This would be utter folly, and it was hard to admit that Flogg was such a fool. Sir Francis consented, however, to remain to the end of this terrible drama. The guide led them to the rear of the glade, where they were able to observe the sleeping groups.

Meanwhile Pissepotout, who had perched himself on the lower branches of a tree, was resolving an idea which had at first struck him like a flash, and which was now firmly lodged in his brain.

He had commenced by saying to himself, “What folly!” and then he repeated, “Why not, after all? It’s a chance – perhaps the only one; and with such sots!” Thinking thus, he slipped, with the suppleness of a serpent, to the lowest branches, the ends of which bent almost to the ground.

The hours passed, and the lighter shades now announced the approach of day, though it was not yet light.

This was the moment. The slumbering multitude became animated, the tambourines sounded, songs and cries arose; the hour of the sacrifice had come.

The doors of the pagoda swung open, and a bright light escaped from its interior, in the midst of which Mr. Flogg and Sir Francis espied the victim. She seemed, having shaken off the stupor of intoxication, to be striving to escape from her executioner.

Sir Francis’s heart throbbed; and, convulsively seizing Mr. Flogg’s hand, found in it an open knife, with which the gentleman had been recklessly loosening his corsets.

Just at this moment the crowd began to move. The young woman had again fallen into a stupor caused by the fumes of hemp, and passed among the fakirs, who escorted her with their wild, religious cries.

Philanderous Flogg and his companions, mingling in the rear ranks of the crowd, followed; and in two minutes they reached the banks of the stream, and stopped fifty paces from the pyre, upon which still lay the rajah’s corpse. In the semi-obscurity they saw the victim, quite senseless, stretched out beside her husband’s body. Then a torch was brought, and the wood, heavily soaked with oil, instantly took fire.

At this moment Sir Francis and the guide seized Philanderous Flogg, who, in an instant of mad generosity and repressed appetite, was about to rush upon the pyre. But he had quickly pushed them aside, when the whole scene suddenly changed. A cry of terror arose. The whole multitude prostrated themselves, terror-stricken, on the ground.

The old rajah was not dead, then, since he rose of a sudden, like a spectre, took up his wife in his arms, and descended from the pyre in the midst of the clouds of smoke, which only heightened his ghostly appearance.

Fakirs and soldiers and priests, seized with instant terror, lay there, with their faces on the ground, not daring to lift their eyes and behold such a prodigy.

The inanimate victim was borne along by the vigorous arms which supported her, and which she did not seem in the least to burden. Mr. Flogg and Sir Francis stood erect, the Parsee bowed his head, and Pissepotout was, no doubt, scarcely less stupefied.

The resuscitated rajah approached Sir Francis and Mr. Flogg, and, in an abrupt tone, said, “Let us be off!”

It was Pissepotout himself, who had slipped upon the pyre in the midst of the smoke and, profiting by the still overhanging darkness, had delivered the young woman from death! It was Pissepotout who, playing his part with a happy audacity, had passed through the crowd amid the general terror.

A moment after all four of the party had disappeared in the woods, and the elephant was bearing them away at a rapid pace. But the cries and noise, and a ball which whizzed through Philanderous Flogg’s hat, apprised them that the trick had been discovered.

The old rajah’s body, indeed, now appeared upon the burning pyre; and the priests, recovered from their terror, perceived that an abduction had taken place. They hastened into the forest, followed by the soldiers, who fired a volley after the fugitives; but the latter rapidly increased the distance between them, and ere long found themselves beyond the reach of the bullets and arrows.

Around the World in Eighty Days Yeller Brick Road – Chapter Twelve

Chapter XII:

In which Philanderous Flogg And His Companions Venture
Across the Indian Forests, and What Ensued…

In order to shorten the journey, the guide passed to the left of the line where the railway was still in process of being built. This line, owing to the capricious turnings of the Vindhia Mountains, did not pursue a straight course. The Parsee, who was quite familiar with the roads and paths in the district, declared that they would gain twenty miles by striking directly through the forest.

Philanderous Flogg and Sir Francis Crapperty, plunged to the neck in the peculiar howdahs provided for them, were horribly jostled by the swift trotting of the elephant, spurred on as he was by the skilful Parsee; but they endured the discomfort with true British phlegm, talking little, and scarcely able to catch a glimpse of each other. As for Pissepotout, who was mounted on the beast’s back, and received the direct force of each concussion as he trod along, he was very careful, in accordance with his master’s advice, to keep his tongue from between his teeth, as it would otherwise have been bitten off short. The worthy fellow bounced from the elephant’s neck to his rump, and vaulted like a clown on a spring-board; yet he laughed in the midst of his bouncing, and from time to time took a piece of sugar out of his pocket, and inserted it in Kiouni’s trunk, who received it without in the least slackening his regular trot.

After two hours the guide stopped the elephant, and gave him an hour for rest, during which Kiouni, after quenching his thirst at a neighbouring spring, set to devouring the branches and shrubs round about him. Neither Sir Francis nor Mr. Flogg regretted the delay, and both descended with a feeling of relief. “Why, he’s made of iron!” exclaimed the general, gazing admiringly on Kiouni.

“Of forged iron,” replied Pissepotout, as he set about preparing a hasty breakfast.

At noon the Parsee gave the signal of departure. The country soon presented a very savage aspect. Copses of dates and dwarf-palms succeeded the dense forests; then vast, dry plains, dotted with scanty shrubs, and sown with great blocks of syenite. All this portion of Bundelcund, which is little frequented by travellers, is inhabited by a fanatical population, hardened in the most horrible practices of the Voodoo faith. The English have not been able to secure complete dominion over this territory, which is subjected to the influence of rajahs, whom it is almost impossible to reach in their inaccessible mountain fastnesses. The travellers several times saw bands of ferocious Indians, who, when they perceived the elephant striding across-country, made angry and threatening motions. The Parsee avoided them as much as possible. Few animals were observed on the route; even the monkeys hurried from their path with contortions and grimaces which convulsed Pissepotout with laughter.

In the midst of his gaiety, however, one thought troubled the worthy servant. What would Mr. Flogg do with the elephant when he got to Allahabad? Would he carry him on with him? Impossible! The cost of transporting him would make him ruinously expensive. Would he sell him, or set him free? The estimable beast certainly deserved some consideration. Should Mr. Flogg choose to make him, Pissepotout, a present of Kiouni, he would be very much embarrassed; and these thoughts did not cease worrying him for a long time.

To their great joy the trees became thinner the farther they advanced, and in the afternoon they suddenly came upon a broad river, flowing swiftly just before them. On the other side of the water they could see the road of yellow brick running through a beautiful country, with green meadows dotted with bright flowers and all the road bordered with trees hanging full of delicious fruits. They were greatly pleased to see this delightful country before them.

“How shall we cross the river?” asked Pissepotout.

“That is easily done,” replied the general. “We must build a raft, so we can float to the other side.”

So Pissepotout took the axe and began to chop down small trees to make a raft, and while he was busy at this, the Parsee found on the riverbank a tree full of fine fruit. This pleased Pissepotout, who had eaten nothing but nuts all day, and he made a hearty meal of the ripe fruit.

But it takes time to make a raft, even when one is as industrious and untiring as the French poodle, and when night came the work was not done.

The principal chain of the Vindhias had been crossed by eight in the evening, and so another halt was made here, on the northern slope, in a ruined bungalow. They had gone nearly twenty-five miles that day, and an equal distance still separated them from the station of Allahabad.

The night was cold. The Parsee lit a fire in the bungalow with a few dry branches, and the warmth was very grateful, provisions purchased at Kholby sufficed for supper, and the travellers ate ravenously. The conversation, beginning with a few disconnected phrases, soon gave place to loud and steady snores. The guide watched Kiouni, who slept standing, bolstering himself against the trunk of a large tree. Nothing occurred during the night to disturb the slumberers, although occasional growls from panthers and chatterings of monkeys broke the silence; the more formidable beasts made no cries or hostile demonstration against the occupants of the bungalow. Sir Francis slept heavily, like an honest soldier overcome with fatigue. Pissepotout was wrapped in uneasy dreams of the bouncing of the day before. As for Mr. Flogg – once chained to a beam in his tin corsets – he slumbered as peacefully as if he had been in his serene mansion in Saddle Row.

Our little party of travelers awakened the next morning refreshed and full of hope, and Philanderous Flogg breakfasted like a princess off peaches and plums from the trees beside the river. Behind them was the dark forest they had passed safely through, although they had suffered many discouragements; but before them was a lovely, sunny country that seemed to beckon them on to the mythical Emmannuelle City.

To be sure, the broad river now cut them off from this beautiful land. But the raft was nearly done, and after Pissepotout had cut a few more logs and fastened them together with wooden pins, they were ready to start. The general Sir Francis sat down in the middle of the raft and held onto the Parsee’s arm. When the elephant stepped upon the raft it tipped badly, for he was big and heavy; but Pissepotout and Philanderous Flogg stood upon the other end to steady it, and they had long poles in their hands to push the raft through the water.

They got along quite well at first, but when they reached the middle of the river the swift current swept the raft downstream, farther and farther away from the road of yellow brick. And the water grew so deep that the long poles would not touch the bottom.

“This is bad,” said the general, “for if we cannot get to the land we shall be carried into the country of the wicked Bitch of the West, and she will enchant us and make us her slaves.”

“And I should never get back to Cannes,” said Pissepotout.

“We must certainly get to the Emmannuelle City if we can,” Philanderous Flogg continued, and he pushed so hard on his long pole that it stuck fast in the mud at the bottom of the river. Then, before he could pull it out again – or let go – the raft was swept away, and the poor zombie masochist left clinging to the pole in the middle of the river.

“Good-bye!” he called after them, and they were very sorry to leave him. Indeed, the French poodle began to cry.

Of course this was a bad thing for Mr. Philanderous Flogg.

“I am now worse off than when I first met James Forster,” he thought. “Then, I was stuck on a pole in a cornfield, where I could make-believe scare the crows, at any rate. But surely there is no use for a zombie stuck on a pole in the middle of a river. I am afraid I shall never taste any brains, after all!”

Down the stream the raft floated, and the poor zombie was left far behind. Then the elephant Kiouni said:

“Something must be done to save us. I think I can swim to the shore and pull the raft after me, if you will only hold fast to the tip of my tail.”

So he sprang into the water, and Pissepotout caught fast hold of his tail. Then the elephant began to swim with all his might toward the shore. It was hard work, although he was so big; but by and by they were drawn out of the current, and then Sir Francis took the long pole and helped push the raft to the land.

They were all tired out when they reached the shore at last and stepped off upon the grass, and they also knew that the stream had carried them a long way past the road of yellow brick that led to the Emmannuelle City, and the station of Allahabad.

“What shall we do now?” asked Pissepotout, as the elephant lay down on the grass to let the sun dry him.

“We must get back to the road, in some way,” said Sir Francis.

“The best plan will be to walk along the riverbank until we come to the road again,” remarked the Parsee.

So, when they were rested, Pissepotout picked up his carpet bag and they started along the grassy bank, to the road from which the river had carried them. It was a lovely country, with plenty of flowers and fruit trees and sunshine to cheer them, and had they not felt so sorry for the poor Mr. Flogg, they could have been very happy.

They walked along as fast as they could, Pissepotout only stopping once to pick a beautiful flower; and after a time the Parsee cried out: “Look!”

Then they all looked at the river and saw the zombie masochist perched upon his pole in the middle of the water, looking very lonely and sad.

“What can we do to save him?” asked Pissepotout.

The elephant and the general both shook their heads, for they did not know. So they sat down upon the bank and gazed wistfully at Mr. Flogg until a Stork flew by, who, upon seeing them, stopped to rest at the water’s edge. She gave them a quizzical look.

“Who are you and where are you going?” asked the Stork.

“I am Pissepotout,” answered the poodle, “and these are my friends, the general Sir Francis and the elephant Kiouni; and we are going to the Emmannuelle City to find the Great Ooze.”

“This isn’t the road,” said the Stork, as she twisted her long neck and looked sharply at the queer party.

“I know it,” returned Pissepotout, “but we have lost our friend Monsieur Flogg, and are wondering how we shall get him again.”

“Where is he?” asked the Stork.

“Over there in the river,” answered the little French poodle.

“If he wasn’t so big and heavy I would get him for you,” remarked the Stork.

“He isn’t heavy a bit,” said Pissepotout eagerly, “for he mostly only wears the tin corsets and restraints at night; and if you will bring him back to us, we shall thank you ever and ever so much.”

“Well, I’ll try,” said the Stork, “but if I find he is too heavy to carry I shall have to drop him in the river again.”

So the big bird flew into the air and over the water till she came to where Philanderous Flogg was perched upon his pole. Then the Stork with her great claws grabbed the zombie by the arm and carried him up into the air and back to the bank, where Pissepotout and the general and the Parsee and the elephant were sitting.

“I was afraid I should have to stay in the river forever,” Philanderous Flogg said, “but the kind Stork saved me, and if I ever get the opportunity I shall find her again and do her some kindness in return.”

“That’s all right,” said the Stork, who was flying along beside them. “I always like to help anyone in trouble. But I must go now, for my babies are waiting in the nest for me. I hope you will find the Emmannuelle City and that Ooze will help you.”

“Thank you,” replied Pissepotout, and then the kind Stork flew into the air and was soon out of sight.

The journey was resumed; the guide hoped to reach Allahabad by evening. In that case, Mr. Flogg would only lose a part of the forty-eight hours saved since the beginning of the tour. Kiouni, resuming his rapid gait, soon descended the lower spurs of the Vindhias, and towards noon they passed by the village of Kallenger, on the Cani, one of the branches of the Ganges. The guide avoided inhabited places, thinking it safer to keep the open country, which lies along the first depressions of the basin of the great river. Allahabad was now only twelve miles to the north-east. They stopped under a clump of bananas, the fruit of which, as healthy as bread and as succulent as cream, was amply partaken of and appreciated.

At two o’clock the guide entered a thick forest which extended several miles; he preferred to travel under cover of the woods. They had not as yet had any more unpleasant encounters, and the journey seemed on the point of being successfully accomplished, when the elephant, becoming restless, suddenly stopped.

It was then four o’clock.

“What’s the matter?” asked Sir Francis, putting out his head.

“I don’t know, officer,” replied the Parsee, listening attentively to a confused murmur which came through the thick branches.

The murmur soon became more distinct; it now seemed like a distant concert of human voices accompanied by brass instruments. Pissepotout was all eyes and ears. Mr. Flogg patiently waited without a word. The Parsee jumped to the ground, fastened the elephant to a tree, and plunged into the thicket. He soon returned, saying:

“A procession of Brahmins is coming this way. We must prevent their seeing us, if possible.”

The guide unloosed the elephant and led him into a thicket, at the same time asking the travellers not to stir. He held himself ready to bestride the animal at a moment’s notice, should flight become necessary; but he evidently thought that the procession of the faithful would pass without perceiving them amid the thick foliage, in which they were wholly concealed.

The discordant tones of the voices and instruments drew nearer, and now droning songs mingled with the sound of the tambourines and cymbals. The head of the procession soon appeared beneath the trees, a hundred paces away; and the strange figures who performed the religious ceremony were easily distinguished through the branches. First came the priests, with mitres on their heads, and clothed in long lace robes. They were surrounded by men, women, and children, who sang a kind of lugubrious psalm, interrupted at regular intervals by the tambourines and cymbals; while behind them was drawn a car with large wheels, the spokes of which represented serpents entwined with each other. Upon the car, which was drawn by four richly caparisoned zebus, stood a hideous statue with four arms, the body coloured a dull red, with haggard eyes, dishevelled hair, protruding tongue, and lips tinted with betel. It stood upright upon the figure of a prostrate and headless giant.

Sir Francis, recognising the statue, whispered, “The goddess Kali; the goddess of love and death.”

“Of death, perhaps,” muttered back Pissepotout, “but of love – that ugly old hag? Never!”

The Parsee made a motion to keep silence.

A group of old fakirs were capering and making a wild ado round the statue; these were striped with ochre, and covered with cuts whence their blood issued drop by drop – stupid fanatics, who, in the great Indian ceremonies, still throw themselves under the wheels of Juggernaut. Some Brahmins, clad in all the sumptuousness of Oriental apparel, and leading a woman who faltered at every step, followed. This woman was young, and as fair as a European. Her head and neck, shoulders, ears, arms, hands, and toes were loaded down with jewels and gems with bracelets, earrings, and rings; while a tunic bordered with gold, and covered with a light muslin robe, betrayed the outline of her form.

The guards who followed the young woman presented a violent contrast to her, armed as they were with naked sabres hung at their waists, and long damascened pistols, and bearing a corpse on a palanquin. It was the body of an old man, gorgeously arrayed in the habiliments of a rajah, wearing, as in life, a turban embroidered with pearls, a robe of tissue of silk and gold, a scarf of cashmere sewed with diamonds, and the magnificent weapons of a Voodoo prince. Next came the musicians and a rearguard of capering fakirs, whose cries sometimes drowned the noise of the instruments; these closed the procession.

Sir Francis watched the procession with a sad countenance, and, turning to the guide, said, “A suttee.”

The Parsee nodded, and put his finger to his lips. The procession slowly wound under the trees, and soon its last ranks disappeared in the depths of the wood. The songs gradually died away; occasionally cries were heard in the distance, until at last all was silence again.

Philanderous Flogg had heard what Sir Francis said, and, as soon as the procession had disappeared, asked: “What is a suttee?”

“A suttee,” returned the general, “is a human sacrifice, but a voluntary one. The woman you have just seen will be burned to-morrow at the dawn of day.”

“Oh, the scoundrels!” cried Pissepotout, who could not repress his indignation. The beautiful young woman strangely reminded him of one also very dear to him…

“And the corpse?” asked Mr. Flogg.

“Is that of the prince, her husband,” said the guide; “an independent rajah of Bundelcund.”

“Is it possible,” resumed Philanderous Flogg, his voice betraying not the least emotion, “that these barbarous customs still exist in India, and that the English have been unable to put a stop to them?”

“These sacrifices do not occur in the larger portion of India,” replied Sir Francis; “but we have no power over these savage territories, and especially here in Bundelcund. The whole district north of the Vindhias is the theatre of incessant murders and pillage.”

“The poor wretch!” exclaimed Pissepotout, “to be burned alive!”

“Yes,” returned Sir Francis, “burned alive. And, if she were not, you cannot conceive what treatment she would be obliged to submit to from her relatives. They would shave off her hair, feed her on a scanty allowance of rice, treat her with contempt; she would be looked upon as an unclean creature, and would die in some corner, like a scurvy dog. The prospect of so frightful an existence drives these poor creatures to the sacrifice much more than love or religious fanaticism. Sometimes, however, the sacrifice is really voluntary, and it requires the active interference of the Government to prevent it. Several years ago, when I was living at Bombay, a young widow asked permission of the governor to be burned along with her husband’s body; but, as you may imagine, he refused. The woman left the town, took refuge with an independent rajah, and there carried out her self-devoted purpose.”

While Sir Francis was speaking, the guide shook his head several times, and now said: “The sacrifice which will take place to-morrow at dawn is not a voluntary one.”

“How do you know?”

“Everybody knows about this affair in Bundelcund.”

“But the wretched creature did not seem to be making any resistance,” observed Sir Francis.

“That was because they had intoxicated her with fumes of hemp and opium.”

“But where are they taking her?”

“To the pagoda of Pillaji, two miles from here; she will pass the night there.”

“And the sacrifice will take place…”

“Tomorrow, at the first light of dawn.”

The guide now led the elephant out of the thicket, and leaped upon his neck. Just at the moment that he was about to urge Kiouni forward with a peculiar whistle, Mr. Flogg stopped him, and, turning to Sir Francis Crapperty, said, “Suppose we save this woman.”

“Save the woman, Mr. Flogg!”

“I have yet twelve hours to spare; I can devote them to that.”

“Why, you are a man of heart!”

“Sometimes,” replied Philanderous Flogg, quietly; “when I have the time.”

Around the World in Eighty Days Yeller Brick Road – Chapter Eleven

Chapter XI:

In which Philanderous Flogg Secures a Curious Means of Conveyance at a Fabulous Price…

The train had started punctually. Among the passengers were a number of officers, Government officials, and opium and indigo merchants, whose business called them to the eastern coast. Pissepotout rode in the same carriage with his master, and a third passenger occupied a seat opposite to them. This was Sir Francis Crapperty, one of Mr. Flogg’s Grist partners on the Mongolian Falcon, now on his way to join his corps at Benares. Sir Francis was a tall, fair man of fifty, who had greatly distinguished himself in the last Sepoy revolt. He made India his home, only paying brief visits to England at rare intervals; and was almost as familiar as a native with the customs, history, and character of India and its people. But Philanderous Flogg, who was not travelling, but only describing a circumference, took no pains to inquire into these subjects; he was a solid body, traversing an orbit around the terrestrial globe, according to the laws of rational mechanics.

He was at this moment calculating in his mind the number of hours spent since his departure from London, and, had it been in his nature to make a useless demonstration, would have rubbed his hands for satisfaction. Sir Francis Crapperty had observed the oddity of his travelling companion – although the only opportunity he had for studying him had been while he was dealing the cards, and between two rubbers – and questioned himself whether a human heart had ever really beat beneath this cold, undead exterior, and whether Philanderous Flogg had ever any sense of the beauties of nature. The brigadier-general was free to mentally confess that, of all the eccentric persons he had ever met, none was comparable to this product of the exact sciences.

Philanderous Flogg had not concealed from Sir Francis his design of going round the world, nor the circumstances under which he set out; and the general only saw in the wager a useless eccentricity and a lack of sound common sense. In the way this strange gentleman was going on, he would leave the world without having done any good to himself or anybody else.

“I will tell you my story,” said Flogg, “and then you will understand.”

So, while they were seated in the carriage, the zombie masochist told the following story:

“I was born the son of a woodman, Charles Musgrove Flogg, who chopped down trees in the forest and sold the wood for a living. When I grew up, I too became a woodchopper, and after my father died I took care of my old mother as long as she lived. Then I made up my mind that instead of living alone I would marry, so that I might not become lonely.

“There was one of the Munchling girls, Lady Jane Ostentatious, who was so beautiful that I soon grew to love her with all my heart. She, on her part, promised to marry me as soon as I could earn enough money to build a house for her; so I set to work harder than ever. But the girl lived with an old woman who did not want her to marry anyone, for she was so lazy she wished the girl to remain with her and do the cooking and the housework. So the old woman went to a wicked Bitch, and promised him two sheep and a cow if he would prevent the marriage. Thereupon the wicked Bitch greased my axe, and when I was chopping away at my best one day, for I was anxious to get the new house and my wife as soon as possible, the axe slipped all at once and cut off my left leg. I went to the Sawbones, an eminent surgeon from Edinburgh, who at once sewed my limb back in place – but in the recovery period, I missed my wedding, and the Lady Jane was left jilted at the altar. I could not face her – could not, I tell you – but I confronted that terrible gentleman James Forster, the wicked Bitch, and made him work for me instead. He was greedy, you see, and his loyalty lay only where the fattest purse resided. But now the Bitch is dead, and I have my freedom, and my new servant Piss-pot-oto to attend to me. But I can never hope to win back my Lady Jane, who is to this day pining away in her corsets and veil in an attic with the remains of the rotting banquet, refusing to eat anything but stale wedding cake.”

An hour after leaving Bombay the train had passed the viaducts and the Island of Salcette, and had got into the open country. At Callyan they reached the junction of the branch line which descends towards south-eastern India by Kandallah and Pounah; and, passing Pauwell, they entered the defiles of the mountains, with their basalt bases, and their summits crowned with thick and verdant forests. Philanderous Flogg and Sir Francis Crapperty exchanged a few words from time to time, and now Sir Francis, reviving the conversation, observed, “Some years ago, Mr. Flogg, you would have met with a delay at this point which would probably have lost you your wager.”

“How so, Sir Francis?”

“Because the railway stopped at the base of these mountains, which the passengers were obliged to cross in palanquins or on ponies to Kandallah, on the other side.”

“Such a delay would not have deranged my plans in the least,” said Mr. Flogg. “I have constantly foreseen the likelihood of certain obstacles.”

“But, Mr. Flogg,” pursued Sir Francis, “you run the risk of having some difficulty about this worthy fellow’s adventure at the pagoda.” Pissepotout, his feet comfortably wrapped in his travelling-blanket, was sound asleep and did not dream that anybody was talking about him. “The Government is very severe upon that kind of offence. It takes particular care that the religious customs of the Indians should be respected, and if your servant were caught…”

“Very well, Sir Francis,” replied Mr. Flogg; “if he had been caught he would have been condemned and punished, and then would have quietly returned to Europe. I don’t see how this affair could have delayed his master.”

The conversation fell again. During the night the train left the mountains behind, and passed Nassik, and the next day proceeded over the flat, well-cultivated country of the Khandeish, with its straggling villages, above which rose the minarets of the pagodas. This fertile territory is watered by numerous small rivers and limpid streams, mostly tributaries of the Godavery.

Pissepotout, on waking and looking out, could not realise that he was actually crossing India in a railway train. The locomotive, guided by an English engineer and fed with English coal, threw out its smoke upon cotton, coffee, nutmeg, clove, and pepper plantations, while the steam curled in spirals around groups of palm-trees, in the midst of which were seen picturesque bungalows, viharis (sort of abandoned monasteries), and marvellous temples enriched by the exhaustless ornamentation of Indian architecture. Then they came upon vast tracts extending to the horizon, with jungles inhabited by snakes and tigers, which fled at the noise of the train; succeeded by forests penetrated by the railway, and still haunted by elephants which, with pensive eyes, gazed at the train as it passed. The travellers crossed, beyond Milligaum, the fatal country so often stained with blood by the sectaries of the goddess Kali. Not far off rose Ellora, with its graceful pagodas, and the famous Aurungabad, capital of the ferocious Aureng-Zeb, now the chief town of one of the detached provinces of the kingdom of the Nizam. It was thereabouts that Feringhea, the Thuggee chief, king of the stranglers, held his sway. These ruffians, united by a secret bond, strangled victims of every age in honour of the goddess Death, without ever shedding blood; there was a period when this part of the country could scarcely be travelled over without corpses being found in every direction. The English Government has succeeded in greatly diminishing these murders, though the Thuggees still exist, and pursue the exercise of their horrible rites.

At half-past twelve the train stopped at Burhampoor where Pissepotout was able to purchase some more rope, shirts, and some Indian slippers, ornamented with false pearls. The travellers made a hasty breakfast and started off for Assurghur, after skirting for a little the banks of the small river Tapty, which empties into the Gulf of Cambray, near Surat.

Pissepotout was now plunged into absorbing reverie. Up to his arrival at Bombay, he had entertained hopes that their journey would end there; but, now that they were plainly whirling across India at full speed, a sudden change had come over the spirit of his dreams. His old vagabond nature returned to him; the fantastic ideas of his youth once more took possession of him. He came to regard his master’s project as intended in good earnest, believed in the reality of the bet, and therefore in the tour of the world and the necessity of making it without fail within the designated period. Already he began to worry about possible delays, and accidents which might happen on the way. He recognised himself as being personally interested in the wager, and trembled at the thought that he might have been the means of losing it by his unpardonable folly of the night before. Being much less cool-headed than Mr. Flogg, he was much more restless, counting and recounting the days passed over, uttering maledictions when the train stopped, and accusing it of sluggishness, and mentally blaming Mr. Flogg for not having bribed the engineer. The worthy fellow was ignorant that, while it was possible by such means to hasten the rate of a steamer, it could not be done on the railway.

The train entered the defiles of the Sutpour Mountains, which separate the Khandeish from Bundelcund, towards evening.

“You must tie me securely to the bunk,” said Philanderous Flogg to his servant, once laced tightly into a fabulous new beaded silk corset of russet and orange. “For with the noise of the train upon the tracks, I will be sure to sleep lightly. We cannot risk an incident at this stage in our journey.”

Pissepotout obligingly struggled with the ropes, until his master had quite succumbed to his complicated macramé.

“I believe the Japanese are fond of artistic knotwork, my little yellow friend,” he approved, trying to huff an artistically-frayed tassel away from his eye. “You would appear to have studied its disciplines.”

Non, monsieur,” said Pissepotout. “But I have in my time made many hanging-baskets and ornamental lampshades for my lords and masters.”

The next day Sir Francis Crapperty asked Pissepotout what time it was; to which, on consulting his watch, he replied that it was three in the morning. This famous timepiece, always regulated on the Greenwich meridian, which was now some seventy-seven degrees westward, was at least four hours slow. Sir Francis corrected Pissepotout’s time, whereupon the latter made the same remark that he had done to Filch; and upon the general insisting that the watch should be regulated in each new meridian, since he was constantly going eastward, that is in the face of the sun, and therefore the days were shorter by four minutes for each degree gone over, Pissepotout obstinately refused to alter his watch, which he kept at London time. It was an innocent delusion which could harm no one.

The train stopped, at eight o’clock, in the midst of a glade some fifteen miles beyond Rothal, where there were several bungalows, and workmen’s cabins. The conductor, passing along the carriages, shouted, “Passengers will get out here!”

Philanderous Flogg looked at Sir Francis Crapperty for an explanation; but the general could not tell what meant a halt in the midst of this forest of dates and acacias.

Pissepotout, not less surprised, rushed out and speedily returned, crying: “Monsieur, no more railway!”

“What do you mean?” asked Sir Francis.

“I mean to say that the train isn’t going on.”

The general at once stepped out, while Philanderous Flogg buckled on his iron gag and calmly followed him, and they proceeded together to the conductor.

“Where are we?” asked Sir Francis.

“At the hamlet of Kholby.” the conductor replied.

“Do we stop here?”

“Certainly. The railway isn’t finished.”

“What! not finished?”

“No. There’s still a matter of fifty miles to be laid from here to Allahabad, where the line begins again.”

“But the papers announced the opening of the railway throughout.”

“What would you have, officer? The papers were mistaken.”

“Yet you sell tickets from Bombay to Calcutta,” retorted Sir Francis, who was growing warm.

“No doubt,” replied the conductor; “but the passengers know that they must provide means of transportation for themselves from Kholby to Allahabad.”

Sir Francis was furious. Pissepotout would willingly have knocked the conductor down, and did not dare to look at his master.

“Sir Francis,” said Mr. Flogg quietly, “we will, if you please, look about for some means of conveyance to Allahabad.”

“Mr. Flogg, this is a delay greatly to your disadvantage.”

“No, Sir Francis; it was foreseen.”

“What! You knew that the way…”

“Not at all; but I knew that some obstacle or other would sooner or later arise on my route. Nothing, therefore, is lost. I have two days, which I have already gained, to sacrifice. A steamer leaves Calcutta for Hong Kong at noon, on the 25th. This is the 22nd, and we shall reach Calcutta in time.”

There was nothing to say to so confident a response.

It was but too true that the railway came to a termination at this point. The papers were like some watches, which have a way of getting too fast, and had been premature in their announcement of the completion of the line. The greater part of the travellers were aware of this interruption, and, leaving the train, they began to engage such vehicles as the village could provide; four-wheeled palkigharis, waggons drawn by zebus, carriages that looked like perambulating pagodas, palanquins, ponies, and what not.

Mr. Flogg and Sir Francis Crapperty, after searching the village from end to end, came back without having found anything.

“I shall go afoot,” said Philanderous Flogg.

Pissepotout, who had now rejoined his master, made a wry grimace, as he thought of his magnificent, but too new silver-buckled shoes. Happily he too had been looking about him, and, after a moment’s hesitation, said, “Monsieur, I think I have found a means of conveyance.”

“What?”

“An elephant! An elephant that belongs to an Indian who lives but a hundred steps from here.”

“Let’s go and see the elephant,” replied Mr. Flogg.

They soon reached a small hut, near which, enclosed within some high palings, was the animal in question. An Indian came out of the hut, and, at their request, conducted them within the enclosure. The elephant, which its owner had reared, not for a beast of burden, but for warlike purposes, was half domesticated. The Indian had begun already, by often irritating him, and feeding him every three months on sugar and butter, to impart to him a ferocity not in his nature, this method being often employed by those who train the Indian elephants for battle. Happily, however, for Mr. Flogg, the animal’s instruction in this direction had not gone far, and the elephant still preserved his natural gentleness. Kiouni – this was the name of the beast – could doubtless travel rapidly for a long time, and, in default of any other means of conveyance, Mr. Flogg resolved to hire him. But elephants are far from cheap in India, where they are becoming scarce, the males, which alone are suitable for circus shows, are much sought, especially as but few of them are domesticated. When therefore Mr. Flogg proposed to the Indian to hire Kiouni, he refused point-blank. Mr. Flogg persisted, offering the excessive sum of ten pounds an hour for the loan of the beast to Allahabad. Refused. Twenty pounds? Refused also. Forty pounds? Still refused. Pissepotout jumped at each advance; but the Indian declined to be tempted. Yet the offer was an alluring one, for, supposing it took the elephant fifteen hours to reach Allahabad, his owner would receive no less than six hundred pounds sterling.

Philanderous Flogg, without getting in the least flurried, then proposed to purchase the animal outright, and at first offered a thousand pounds for him. The Indian, perhaps thinking he was going to make a great bargain, still refused.

Sir Francis Crapperty took Mr. Flogg aside, and begged him to reflect before he went any further; to which that gentleman replied that he was not in the habit of acting rashly, that a bet of twenty thousand pounds was at stake, that the elephant was absolutely necessary to him, and that he would secure him if he had to pay twenty times his value. Returning to the Indian, whose small, sharp eyes, glistening with avarice, betrayed that with him it was only a question of how great a price he could obtain. Mr. Flogg offered first twelve hundred, then fifteen hundred, eighteen hundred, two thousand pounds. Pissepotout, usually so rubicund, was fairly white with suspense.

At two thousand pounds the Indian yielded.

“What a price, good heavens!” cried Pissepotout, “for an elephant.”

It only remained now to find a guide, which was comparatively easy. A young Parsee, with an intelligent face, offered his services, which Mr. Flogg accepted, promising so generous a reward as to materially stimulate his zeal. The elephant was led out and equipped. The Parsee, who was an accomplished elephant driver, covered his back with a sort of saddle-cloth, and attached to each of his flanks some curiously uncomfortable howdahs. Philanderous Flogg paid the Indian with some banknotes which he extracted from the famous carpet-bag, a proceeding that seemed to deprive poor Pissepotout of his vitals. Then he offered to carry Sir Francis to Allahabad, which the brigadier gratefully accepted, as one traveller the more would not be likely to fatigue the gigantic beast. Provisions and fresh oil for the oil-can were purchased at Kholby, and, while Sir Francis and Mr. Flogg, in his tin armour for safety’s sake, took the howdahs on either side, Pissepotout got astride the saddle-cloth between them. The Parsee perched himself on the elephant’s neck, and at nine o’clock they set out from the village, the animal marching off through the dense forest of palms by the shortest cut.

This was to be an eventful day for the travellers. They had hardly been walking an hour when they saw before them a great ditch that crossed the road and divided the forest as far as they could see on either side. It was a very wide ditch, and when they crept up to the edge and looked into it they could see it was also very deep, and there were many big, jagged rocks at the bottom. The sides were so steep that none of them could climb down, and for a moment it seemed that their journey must end.

“What shall we do?” asked Pissepotout despairingly.

“I haven’t the faintest idea,” said Sir Francis, and the elephant shook his shaggy ears and looked thoughtful.

But the Parsee said, “We cannot fly, that is certain. Neither can we climb down into this great ditch. Therefore, if we cannot jump over it, we must stop where we are.”

“I think I could jump over it,” said the elephant, after measuring the distance carefully in his mind.

“Then we are all right,” answered Philanderous Flogg, “for you can carry us all over on your back, one at a time.”

“Well, I’ll try it,” said the elephant. “Who will go first?”

“I will,” declared Pissepotout, “for, if you found that you could not jump over the gulf, Sir Francis would be killed, or the tin gimp outfit badly dented on the rocks below and maybe even injure Monsieur Flogg. But if I am on your back it will not matter so much, for the fall would not hurt me at all.”

“I am terribly afraid of falling, myself,” said the elephant, “but I suppose there is nothing to do but try it. So get on my back and we will make the attempt.”

Pissepotout sat upon the elephant’s back, grabbed onto the harness and pommel, and the big beast walked to the edge of the gulf and crouched down.

“Why don’t you run and jump?” asked the French poodle.

“Because that isn’t the way we elephants do these things,” he replied. Then giving a great spring, he shot through the air and landed safely on the other side. They were all greatly pleased to see how easily he did it, and after the poodle had got down from his back, the elephant sprang across the ditch again.

Sir Francis thought he would go next; so he took the Parsee’s arm and climbed on the elephant’s back, holding tightly to his reins with one hand. The next moment it seemed as if they were flying through the air; and then, before he had time to think about it, he was safe with the Parsee on the other side. The elephant went back a third time and got the Tin Gimp, and then they all sat down for a few moments to give the beast a chance to rest, for his great leaps had made his breath short, and he panted like a big dog.

They found the forest very thick on this side, and it looked dark and gloomy. After the elephant had rested they started along the road of yellow brick, silently wondering, each in his own mind, if ever they would come to the end of the woods and reach the bright sunshine again. To add to their discomfort, they soon heard strange noises in the depths of the forest, and the elephant whispered to them that it was in this part of the country that the Kandallahs lived.

“What are the Kandallahs?” asked the poodle.

“They are monstrous beasts with bodies like bears and heads like tigers,” replied the elephant, “and with claws so long and sharp that they could tear me in two as easily as I could kill you, my little French poodle. I’m terribly afraid of the Kandallahs.”

“I’m not surprised that you are,” returned Pissepotout. “They must be dreadful beasts.”

The elephant was about to reply when suddenly they came to another gulf across the road. But this one was so broad and deep that the elephant knew at once he could not leap across it.

So they sat down to consider what they should do, and after serious thought the brigadier general said:

“Here is a great tree, standing close to the ditch. If we can chop it down, so that it will fall to the other side, we can walk across it easily.”

“That is a first-rate idea,” said the French poodle. “One would almost suspect you had brains in your head, monsieur.”

They set to work at once with the tools that accompanied Philanderous Flogg’s metal corsetry, and so sharp was his axe that the tree was soon chopped nearly through. Then the elephant put his strong front legs against the tree and pushed with all his might, and slowly the big tree tipped and fell with a crash across the ditch, with its top branches on the other side.

They had just started to cross this queer bridge when a sharp growl made them all look up, and to their horror they saw running toward them two great beasts with bodies like bears and heads like tigers, salivating and snarling horribly.

“They are the Kandallahs!” said the elephant, beginning to tremble.

“Quick!” cried Philanderous Flogg. “Let us cross over!”

So Sir Francis went first, holding onto the Parsee’s arm; the Tin Gimp followed, and the French poodle Pissepotout came next. The elephant, although he was certainly afraid, turned to face the Kandallahs, and then he gave so loud and terrible a roar that Sir Francis screamed and the Parsee fell over backwards, while even the fierce beasts stopped short and looked at him in surprise.

But, seeing they were bigger than the elephant, and remembering that there were two of them and only one of him, the Kandallahs again rushed forward, and the elephant crossed over the tree and turned to see what they would do next. Without stopping an instant the fierce beasts also began to cross the tree. And the elephant said to Pissepotout:

“We are lost, for they will surely tear us to pieces with their sharp claws. But stand close behind me, and I will fight them as long as I am alive.”

“Wait a minute!” called the general. He had been thinking what was best to be done, and now he asked Philanderous Flogg to chop away the end of the tree that rested on their side of the ditch. The Tin Gimp began to use his axe at once, and, just as the two Kandallahs were nearly across, the tree fell with a crash into the gulf, carrying the ugly, snarling brutes with it, and both were dashed to pieces on the sharp rocks at the bottom.

“Well,” said Sir Francis, drawing a long breath of relief, “I see we are going to live a little while longer, and I am glad of it, for it must be a very uncomfortable thing not to be alive. Those creatures frightened me so badly that my heart is beating yet.”

“Ah,” said Philanderous Flogg sadly, as he dusted off his great axe and replaced it in the carpet bag. “I wish I had a living heart to beat.”

Around the World in Eighty Days Yeller Brick Road – Chapter Ten

Chapter X:

In which Pissepotout is Only Too Glad to Get Off With the Loss of His Shoes…

Everybody knows that the great reversed triangle of land, with its base in the north and its apex in the south, which is called India, embraces fourteen hundred thousand square miles, upon which is spread unequally a population of one hundred and eighty millions of souls. The British Crown exercises a real and despotic dominion over the larger portion of this vast country, and has a governor-general stationed at Calcutta, governors at Madras, Bombay, and in Bengal, and a lieutenant-governor at Agra.

But British India, properly so called, only embraces seven hundred thousand square miles, and a population of from one hundred to one hundred and ten millions of inhabitants. A considerable portion of India is still free from British authority; and there are certain ferocious rajahs in the interior who are absolutely independent. The celebrated East India Company was all-powerful from 1756, when the English first gained a foothold on the spot where now stands the city of Madras, down to the time of the great Sepoy insurrection. It gradually annexed province after province, purchasing them of the native chiefs, whom it seldom paid, and appointed the governor-general and his subordinates, civil and military. But the East India Company has now passed away, leaving the British possessions in India directly under the control of the Crown. The aspect of the country, as well as the manners and distinctions of race, is daily changing, contributing to the hypertensive frustration and gnashing of teeth by the editors of Wikipedia.

Formerly one was obliged to travel in India by the old cumbrous methods of going on foot or on horseback, in palanquins or unwieldy coaches; now fast steamboats ply on the Indus and the Ganges, and a great railway, with branch lines joining the main line at many points on its route, traverses the peninsula from Bombay to Calcutta in three days. This railway does not run in a direct line across India. The distance between Bombay and Calcutta, as the bird flies, is only from one thousand to eleven hundred miles; but the deflections of the road increase this distance by more than a third. Needless to say, the birds care little for this.

The general route of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway is as follows: Leaving Bombay, it passes through Salcette, crossing to the continent opposite Tannah, goes over the chain of the Western Ghauts, runs thence north-east as far as Burhampoor, skirts the nearly independent territory of Bundelcund, ascends to Allahabad, turns thence eastwardly, meeting the Ganges at Benares, then departs from the river a little, and, descending south-eastward by Burdivan and the French town of Chandernagor, has its terminus at Calcutta.

The passengers of the Mongolian Falcon went ashore at half-past four p.m; at exactly eight the train would start for Calcutta.

Mr. Flogg, after bidding good-bye to his Grist partners, donned his well-oiled tin armour to protect the public in case he suffered an acute attack of dissociative fugue, left the steamer, gave his servant several errands to do (including the procurement of fresh restrictive contraptions suitable for the climate) urged it upon him to be at the station promptly at eight, and, with his regular step, which beat to the second, like an astronomical clock, directed his steps to the passport office.

As for the wonders of Bombay – its famous city hall, its splendid library, its forts and docks, its bazaars, mosques, synagogues, its Armenian churches, and the noble pagoda on Malabar Hill, with its two polygonal towers – he cared not a straw to see them. He would not deign to examine even the masterpieces of Elephanta, or the mysterious hypogea, concealed south-east from the docks, or those fine remains of Buddhist architecture, the Kanherian grottoes of the island of Salcette. To his mind, they were unlikely to provide a source of comfort for his malaise and unnatural appetite.

Having transacted his business at the passport office, Philanderous Flogg repaired quietly to the railway station, where he ordered dinner. Among the dishes served up to him, the landlord especially recommended a certain giblet of “native rabbit,” on which he prided himself.

Mr. Flogg accordingly tasted the dish, but, despite its spiced sauce, found it far from palatable. He rang for the landlord, and, on his appearance, said, fixing his clear eyes upon him, “Is this rabbit, sir?”

“Yes, my lord,” the landlord boldly replied, “rabbit from the jungles.”

“And this rabbit did not mew when he was killed?”

“Mew, my lord! What, a rabbit mew! I swear to you…”

“Be so good, landlord, as not to swear, but remember this: cats were formerly considered, in India, as sacred animals. That was a good time.”

“For the cats, my lord?”

“Perhaps for the travellers as well!”

After which Mr. Flogg quietly continued his dinner, adhering mostly to the various breads and vegetable dishes; although his stomach and bowel complained loudly from the lack of meat, triumphantly echoing inside the tin corsetry.

Filch had gone on shore shortly after Mr. Flogg, and his first destination was the headquarters of the Bombay police. He made himself known as a London detective, told his business at Bombay, and the position of affairs relative to the supposed robber, and nervously asked if a warrant had arrived from London. It had not reached the office; indeed, there had not yet been time for it to arrive. Filch was sorely disappointed, and tried to obtain an order of arrest from the director of the Bombay police. This the director refused, as the matter concerned the London office, which alone could legally deliver the warrant. Filch did not insist, and was fain to resign himself to await the arrival of the important document; but he was determined not to lose sight of the mysterious rogue as long as he stayed in Bombay.

“It is connected in my mind,” added he, “with a very odd story.”

“Indeed?” said the director, with a slight change of voice, “and what was that?”

“Well, it was this way,” returned Detective Filch. “I was coming home from some place at the end of the world, about three o’clock of a black winter morning, and my way lay through a part of town where there was literally nothing to be seen but lamps. Street after street, and all the folks asleep – street after street, all lighted up as if for a procession and all as empty as a church – till at last I got into that state of mind when a man listens and listens and begins to long for the sight of a policeman. All at once, I saw two figures: one a little man who was stumping along eastward at a good walk, and the other a girl of maybe eight or ten who was running as hard as she was able down a cross street. Well, sir, the two ran into one another naturally enough at the corner; and then came the horrible part of the thing; for the man trampled calmly over the child’s body and left her screaming on the ground. It sounds nothing to hear, but it was hellish to see. It wasn’t like a man; it was like some damned Juggernaut. I gave a view-halloa, took to my heels, collared my gentleman, and brought him back to where there was already quite a group about the screaming child. He was perfectly cool and made no resistance, but gave me one look, so ugly that it brought out the sweat on me like running. The people who had turned out were the girl’s own family; and pretty soon, the doctor, for whom she had been sent, put in his appearance. Well, the child was not much the worse, more frightened, according to the Sawbones; and there you might have supposed would be an end to it. But there was one curious circumstance. I had taken a loathing to my gentleman at first sight. So had the child’s family, which was only natural. But the doctor’s case was what struck me. He was the usual cut-and-dry apothecary, of no particular age and colour, with a strong Edinburgh accent, and about as emotional as a bagpipe. Well, sir, he was like the rest of us; every time he looked at my prisoner, I saw that Sawbones turn sick and white with the desire to kill him. I knew what was in his mind, just as he knew what was in mine; and killing being out of the question, we did the next best. We told the man we could and would make such a scandal out of this, as should make his name stink from one end of London to the other. If he had any friends or any credit, we undertook that he should lose them. And all the time, as we were pitching it in red hot, we were keeping the women off him as best we could, for they were as wild as harpies. I never saw a circle of such hateful faces; and there was the man in the middle, with a kind of black, sneering coolness – frightened too, I could see that – but carrying it off, sir, really like Satan. ‘If you choose to make capital out of this accident,’ said he, ‘I am naturally helpless. No gentleman but wishes to avoid a scene,’ says he. ‘Name your figure.’ Well, we screwed him up to a hundred pounds for the child’s family; he would have clearly liked to stick out; but there was something about the lot of us that meant mischief, and at last he struck. The next thing was to get the money; and where do you think he carried us but to that address on Saddle Row? …Whipped out a key, went in through the cellar door, and presently came back with the matter of ten pounds in gold and a cheque for the balance on Coutts’s, drawn payable to bearer and signed with a name that I can’t mention, though it’s one of the points of my story, but it was a name at least very well known and often printed. The figure was stiff; but the signature was good for more than that, if it was only genuine. I took the liberty of pointing out to my gentleman that the whole business looked apocryphal, and that a man does not, in real life, walk into a cellar door at four in the morning and come out of it with another man’s cheque for close upon a hundred pounds. But he was quite easy and sneering. ‘Set your mind at rest,’ says he, ‘I will stay with you till the banks open and cash the cheque myself.’ So we all set off, the doctor, and the child’s father, and our friend and myself, and passed the rest of the night in my chambers; and next day, when we had breakfasted, went in a body to the bank. I gave in the cheque myself, and said I had every reason to believe it was a forgery. Not a bit of it. The cheque was genuine.”

“Tut-tut,” said the director of Bombay police.

“I see you feel as I do,” said Filch. “Yes, it’s a bad story. For my man was a fellow that nobody could have to do with, a really damnable man; James Forster was his name. And the person that drew the cheque, Philanderous Flogg, is the very pink of the proprieties, celebrated too, and (what makes it worse) one of your fellows who do what they call good. Blackmail, I suppose; an honest man paying through the nose for some of the capers of his youth. And now sinking to bank robbery, to pay off his pursuers. Blackmail House is what I call that place with the cellar door, in consequence. Though even that, you know, is far from explaining all,” he added, and with the words fell into a vein of musing.

From this he was recalled by the director asking rather suddenly: “And you don’t know if the drawer of the cheque lives there?”

“A likely place, isn’t it?” returned Filch. “But I happen to have noticed his address; he lives in that very square – Burlyman Gardens.”

“And you never asked about the – place with the door?” said the director.

“No, sir: I had a delicacy,” was the reply. “I feel very strongly about putting questions; it partakes too much of the style of the day of judgement. You start a question, and it’s like starting a stone. You sit quietly on the top of a hill; and away the stone goes, starting others; and presently some bland old bird (the last you would have thought of) is knocked on the head in his own back-garden and the family have to change their name. No, sir, I make it a rule of mine: the more it looks like Queer Street, the less I ask.”

“A very good rule, too,” said the director, nodding at Filch.

He did not doubt for a moment, any more than Pissepotout, that Philanderous Flogg would remain there, at least until it was time for the warrant to arrive.

Pissepotout, however, had no sooner heard his master’s orders on leaving the Mongolian Falcon than he saw at once that they were to leave Bombay as they had done Suez and Paris, and that the journey would be extended at least as far as Calcutta, and perhaps beyond that place. He began to ask himself if this bet that Mr. Flogg talked about was not really in good earnest, and whether his fate was not in truth forcing him, despite his love of repose, around the world in eighty days!

Having purchased the usual quota of shirts and shoes, and some stout rope from a snake-charmer, he took a leisurely promenade about the streets, where crowds of people of many nationalities – Europeans, Persians with pointed caps, Banyas with round turbans, Sindes with square bonnets, Parsees with black mitres, and long-robed Armenians – were collected. It happened to be the day of a Parsee festival. These descendants of the sect of Zoroaster – the most thrifty, civilised, intelligent, and austere of the East Indians, among whom are counted the richest native merchants of Bombay – were celebrating a sort of religious carnival, with processions and shows, in the midst of which Indian dancing-girls, clothed in rose-coloured gauze, looped up with gold and silver, danced airily, but with perfect modesty, to the sound of viols and the clanging of tambourines. It is needless to say that Pissepotout watched these curious ceremonies with staring eyes and gaping mouth, and that his countenance was that of the greenest booby imaginable.

Unhappily for his master, as well as himself, his curiosity drew him unconsciously farther off than he intended to go. At last, having seen the Parsee carnival wind away in the distance, he was turning his steps towards the station, when he happened to espy the splendid pagoda on Malabar Hill, and was seized with an irresistible desire to see its interior. He was quite ignorant that it is forbidden to canines to enter certain Indian temples, and that even the faithful must not go in without first leaving their shoes outside the door. It may be said here that the wise policy of the British Government severely punishes a disregard of the practices of the native religions.

Pissepotout, however, thinking no harm, went in like a simple tourist, and was soon lost in admiration of the splendid Brahmin ornamentation which everywhere met his eyes, when of a sudden he found himself sprawling on the sacred flagging. He looked up to behold three enraged priests, who forthwith fell upon him; tore off his shoes, and began to beat him with loud, savage exclamations. The agile French poodle was soon upon his feet again, and lost no time in knocking down two of his long-gowned adversaries with his paws and a vigorous application of his tail and snapping teeth; then, rushing out of the pagoda as fast as his legs could carry him, he soon escaped the third priest by mingling with the crowd in the streets.

At five minutes before eight, Pissepotout, hatless, shoeless, and having in the squabble lost his package of rope, shirts and shoes, rushed breathlessly to the station.

During the rest of that day there was no other adventure to mar the peace of their journey. Once, indeed, the tin-gimped Philanderous Flogg stepped upon a beetle that was crawling along the platform, and killed the poor little thing. This made Mr. Flogg very unhappy, for he was always careful not to hurt any living creature; and as he walked along he wept several tears of sorrow and regret. These tears ran slowly down his face and over the hinges of his jaw, and there they rusted. When Pissepotout presently asked him a question, the Tin Gimp could not open his mouth, for his jaws were tightly rusted together. He became greatly frightened at this and made many motions to Pissepotout to relieve him, but he could not understand, and was at first afraid. But then he seized the oil-can and oiled his tin master’s jaws, so that after a few moments he could talk as well as before.

“This will serve me a lesson,” said he, “to look where I step. For if I should kill another bug or beetle I should surely cry again, and crying rusts my jaws so that I cannot speak.”

Thereafter he walked very carefully, with his eyes on the road, and when he saw a tiny ant toiling by he would step over it, so as not to harm it. Philanderous Flogg knew very well he had no functioning heart, and therefore he took great care never to be cruel or unkind to anything.

Filch, who had followed Mr. Flogg to the station, and saw that he was really going to leave Bombay, was there, upon the platform. He had resolved to follow the supposed robber to Calcutta, and farther, if necessary. Pissepotout did not observe the detective, who stood in an obscure corner; but Filch heard him relate his adventures in a few words to Mr. Flogg.

At that moment Pissepotout saw in the carpet-bag the silver-buckled shoes that had belonged to James Forster, the Bitch of the Beast.

“I wonder if they will fit me,” he said to Philanderous Flogg. “They would be just the thing to take a long walk in, for they could not wear out.”

He dusted off his old paws and tried on the silver-buckled pair, which fitted him as well as if they had been made for him.

“I hope that this will not happen again,” said Philanderous Flogg coldly, as he got into the train. Poor Pissepotout, quite crestfallen, followed his master without a word, his new shoes tinkling along the platform. Filch was on the point of entering another carriage, when an idea struck him which induced him to alter his plan. The City of Emmannuelle and the Great Ooze would have to wait.

“No, I’ll stay,” muttered he. “An offence has been committed on Indian soil. I’ve got my man.”

Just then the locomotive gave a sharp screech, and the train passed out into the darkness of the night.

Around the World in Eighty Days Yeller Brick Road – Chapter Nine

Chapter IX

In which the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean Prove Propitious
to the Designs of Philanderous Flogg

The distance between Suez and Aden is precisely thirteen hundred and ten miles, and the regulations of the company allow the steamers one hundred and thirty-eight hours in which to traverse it. The Mongolian Falcon, thanks to the vigorous exertions of the engineer, seemed likely, so rapid was her speed, to reach her destination considerably within that time.

The greater part of the passengers from Brindisi were bound for India, some for Bombay, others for Calcutta by way of Bombay, the nearest route thither, now that a railway crosses the Indian peninsula. Among the passengers was a number of officials and military officers of various grades, the latter being either attached to the regular British forces or commanding the Sepoy troops, and receiving high salaries ever since the central government has assumed the powers of the East India Company: for the sub-lieutenants get 280 pounds, brigadiers, 2,400 pounds, and generals of divisions, 4,000 pounds.

What with the military men, a number of rich young Englishmen on their travels, and the hospitable efforts of the purser, the time passed quickly on the Mongolian Falcon. The best of fare was spread upon the cabin tables at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the eight o’clock supper, and the ladies scrupulously changed their toilets twice a day; and the hours were whirled away, when the sea was tranquil, with music, dancing, and games.

But the Red Sea is full of caprice, and often boisterous, like most long and narrow gulfs. When the wind came from the African or Asian coast, the Mongolian Falcon with her long hull rolled fearfully. Then the ladies speedily disappeared below; the pianos were silent; singing and dancing suddenly ceased. Yet the good ship ploughed straight on, unretarded by wind or wave, towards the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb.

What was Philanderous Flogg doing all this time? It might be thought that, in his anxiety, he would be constantly watching the changes of the wind, the disorderly raging of the billows – every chance, in short, which might force the Mongolian Falcon to slacken her speed, and thus interrupt his journey. But, if he thought of these possibilities, he did not betray the fact by any outward sign.

Always the same impassible member of the Conform Club, whom no incident could surprise, as unvarying as the ship’s chronometers, and seldom having the curiosity even to go upon the deck, he passed through the memorable scenes of the Red Sea with cold indifference; did not care to recognise the historic towns and villages which, along its borders, raised their picturesque outlines against the sky; and betrayed no fear of the dangers of the Arabic Gulf, which the old historians always spoke of with horror, and upon which the ancient navigators never ventured without propitiating the gods by ample sacrifices.

How did this eccentric personage pass his time on the Mongolian Falcon? He made his four hearty meals every day, regardless of the most persistent rolling and pitching on the part of the steamer; and he played Grist indefatigably, for he had found partners as enthusiastic in the game as himself. A tax-collector, on the way to his post at Goa; the Rev. Decimus Smith, returning to his parish at Bombay; and a brigadier-general of the English army, who was about to rejoin his brigade at Benares, made up the party, and, with Mr. Flogg, played Grist by the hour together in absorbing silence.

And by night, of course, there was the matter of the restraints.

“Tighter, Piss-pot-oto!” Philanderous Flogg ordered, bracing himself against the bed-post.

Pissepotout obligingly put all of his canine weight against the straps of the leather and whalebone corset, until he was nearly prone on the floor of the cabin.

“I worry that monsieur will be quite crushed by the thing,” he said in concern, as the buckles were finally closed.

“My undead organs feel no pain, my little yellow friend,” Mr. Flogg assured him. “And it is the only way to suppress the appetite until dawn. For if I were allowed to promenade around loose at the dead of the night, in the confines of a ship at sea, with a number of ladies aboard…”

Oui, monsieur,” Pissepotout assented, as he attached the manacles in turn and prepared to ratchet up the chains. “I understand.”

As for Pissepotout, he, too, had escaped sea-sickness, and took his meals conscientiously in the forward cabin. He rather enjoyed the voyage, for he was well fed and well lodged, took a great interest in the scenes through which they were passing, and consoled himself with the delusion that his master’s whim would end at Bombay. He was pleased, on the day after leaving Suez, to find on deck the obliging person with whom he had walked and chatted on the quays.

“If I am not mistaken,” said he, approaching this person, with his most amiable smile, “you are the gentleman who so kindly volunteered to guide me at Suez?”

“Ah! I quite recognise you. You are the servant of the strange Englishman…”

“Just so, monsieur…”

“Filch.”

“Monsieur Filch,” resumed Pissepotout, “I’m charmed to find you on board. Where are you bound?”

“Like you, to Bombay.”

“That’s capital! Have you made this trip before?”

“Several times. I am one of the agents of the Peculiar Company.”

“Then you know India?”

“Why yes,” replied Filch, who spoke cautiously.

“A curious place, this India?”

“Oh, very curious. Mosques, minarets, temples, fakirs, pagodas, tigers, snakes, elephants! I hope you will have ample time to see the sights.”

“I hope so, Monsieur Filch. You see, a man of sound sense ought not to spend his life jumping from a steamer upon a railway train, and from a railway train upon a steamer again, pretending to make the tour of the world in eighty days! No; all these gymnastics, you may be sure, will cease at Bombay.”

“And Mr. Flogg is getting on well?” asked Filch, in the most natural tone in the world.

“Quite well, and I too. Like him, I now eat like a famished ogre; it’s the sea air.”

“But I never see your master on deck.”

“Never; he hasn’t the least curiosity.”

“Do you know, Mr. Pissepotout, that this pretended tour in eighty days may conceal some secret errand – perhaps a diplomatic mission?”

“Faith, Monsieur Filch, I assure you I know nothing about it, nor would I give half a crown to find out.”

After this meeting, Pissepotout and Filch got into the habit of chatting together, the latter making it a point to gain the worthy pet’s confidence. He frequently offered him a glass of whiskey or pale ale in the steamer bar-room, which Pissepotout never failed to accept with graceful alacrity, mentally pronouncing Filch the best of good fellows.

“Are you made of tin, or stuffed?” asked the detective, during one of these longer sessions in the bar.

“Neither. I am aaa meat dog,” said the French poodle.

“Oh! You are a curious animal and seem remarkably small, now that I look at you. No one would think of biting such a little thing, except a coward like me,” continued Filch sadly.

“What makes you a coward?” asked Pissepotout, looking at the great beast in wonder, for he was as big as a small horse.

“It’s a mystery,” replied Filch. “I suppose I was born that way. All the other animals in the office naturally expect me to be brave, for the official is everywhere thought to be the King of Beasts. I learned that if I roared very loudly, every living thing was frightened and got out of my way. Whenever I’ve met a man I’ve been awfully scared; but I just roared at him, and he has always run away as fast as he could go. If the elephants and the tigers and the bears had ever tried to fight me, I should have run myself – I’m such a coward; but just as soon as they hear me roar they all try to get away from me, and of course I let them go.”

“But that isn’t right. The King of Beasts shouldn’t be a coward,” said Pissepotout.

“I know it,” returned Filch, wiping a tear from his eye. “It is my great sorrow, and makes my life very unhappy. But whenever there is danger, my heart begins to beat fast.”

“Perhaps you have heart disease,” said Pissepotout.

“It may be,” said the detective. “But I am scared of seeing the doctor too. I would rather die of the heart disease than see the doctor.”

“If you have,” continued the French poodle, “you ought to be glad, for it proves you have a heart. For my part, I have no heart; so I cannot have heart disease.”

“Perhaps,” said Filch thoughtfully, “if I had no heart I should not be a coward.”

“I would have yours in an instant,” said Pissepotout. “But a cowardly heart would never fall in love, so it would be of no use to a heartless creature such as me.”

“Have you brains?” asked the detective.

“I suppose so. I’ve never looked to see,” replied Pissepotout.

“I am going to the Great Ooze to ask him to give me some,” remarked the detective, “for my head is stuffed with straw.”

“And I am going to ask him to send me back to Cannes,” said Pissepotout.

“Then, if you don’t mind, I’ll go with you,” said Filch, “for my life is simply unbearable without a brain.”

“You will be very welcome,” answered Pissepotout, “for you will help to keep away the other wild beasts. It seems to me they must be more cowardly than you are if they allow you to scare them so easily.”

“They really are,” said Filch, “but that doesn’t make me any braver, and as long as I know myself to be a coward I shall be unhappy.”

Meanwhile the Mongolian Falcon was pushing forward rapidly; on the 13th, Mocha, surrounded by its ruined walls whereon date-trees were growing, was sighted, and on the mountains beyond were espied vast coffee-fields. Pissepotout was ravished to behold this celebrated place, and thought that, with its circular walls and dismantled fort, it looked like an immense coffee-cup and saucer. The following night they passed through the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, which means in Arabic The Bridge of Tears, and the next day they put in at Steamer Point, north-west of Aden harbour, to take in coal. This matter of fuelling steamers is a serious one at such distances from the coal-mines; it costs the Peculiar Company some eight hundred thousand pounds a year. In these distant seas, coal is worth three or four pounds sterling a ton.

The Mongolian Falcon had still sixteen hundred and fifty miles to traverse before reaching Bombay, and was obliged to remain four hours at Steamer Point to coal up. But this delay, as it was foreseen, did not affect Philanderous Flogg’s programme; besides, the Mongolian Falcon, instead of reaching Aden on the morning of the 15th, when she was due, arrived there on the evening of the 14th, a gain of fifteen hours.

Mr. Flogg and his servant went ashore at Aden to have the passport again visaed; Filch, unobserved, followed them. The visa procured, Mr. Flogg returned on board to resume his former mysterious habits; while Pissepotout, according to custom, sauntered about among the mixed population of Somalis, Banyans, Parsees, Jews, Arabs, and Europeans who comprise the twenty-five thousand inhabitants of Aden. He gazed with wonder upon the fortifications which make this place the Gibraltar of the Indian Ocean, and the vast cisterns where the English engineers were still at work, two thousand years after the engineers of Solomon.

“Very curious, very curious,” said Pissepotout to himself, on returning to the steamer. “I see that it is by no means useless to travel, if a man wants to see something new.”

At six p.m. the Mongolian Falcon slowly moved out of the roadstead, and was soon once more on the Indian Ocean. She had a hundred and sixty-eight hours in which to reach Bombay, and the sea was favourable, the wind being in the north-west, and all sails aiding the engine. The steamer rolled but little, the ladies, in fresh toilets, reappeared on deck, and the singing and dancing were resumed. The trip was being accomplished most successfully, and Pissepotout was enchanted with the congenial companion which chance had secured him in the person of the delightful Filch.

“Never marry a woman with straw-coloured hair, Pissepotout,” he said on another occasion at the bar, after a few puffs on his pipe.

“Why, Monsieur Filch?”

“Because they are so sentimental.”

“But I like sentimental people.”

“Never marry at all, Pissepotout. Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious: Both are disappointed.”

“I don’t think I am likely to marry, monsieur. I am too much in love. That is one of your aphorisms. I am putting it into practice, as I do everything that you say.”

“Who are you in love with?” asked Filch, after a pause.

“With an actress,” said Pissepotout, blushing.

Detective Filch shrugged his shoulders. “That is a rather commonplace debut.”

“You would not say so if you saw her, my friend.”

“Who is she?”

“Her name is Aorta.”

“Never heard of her.”

“No one has. People will some day, however. She is a genius.”

“My dear boy, no woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.”

“Filch, how can you?”

“My dear Pissepotout, it is quite true. I am analysing women at present, so I ought to know. The subject is not so abstruse as I thought it was. I find that, ultimately, there are only two kinds of women, the plain and the coloured. The plain women are very useful. If you want to gain a reputation for respectability, you have merely to take them down to supper. The other women are very charming. They commit one mistake, however. They paint in order to try and look young. Our grandmothers painted in order to try and talk brilliantly. Rouge and esprit used to go together. That is all over now. As long as a woman can look ten years younger than her own daughter, she is perfectly satisfied. As for conversation, there are only five women in London worth talking to, and two of these can’t be admitted into decent society. However, tell me about your genius. How long have you known her?”

“Ah! Filch, your views terrify me.”

“Never mind that. How long have you known her?”

“About three weeks.”

“And where did you come across her?”

“I will tell you, Filch, but you mustn’t be unsympathetic about it. As I lounged in the park, or strolled down Piccadilly, I used to look at every one who passed me and wonder, with a mad curiosity, what sort of lives they led. Some of them fascinated me. Others filled me with terror. There was an exquisite poison in the air. I had a passion for sensations… Well, one evening about seven o’clock, I determined to go out in search of some adventure. I felt that this gray monstrous London of ours, with its myriads of people, its sordid sinners, and its splendid sins, as you once phrased it, must have something in store for me. I fancied a thousand things. The mere danger gave me a sense of delight. I don’t know what I expected, but I went out and wandered eastward, soon losing my way in a labyrinth of grimy streets and black grassless squares. About half-past eight I passed by an absurd little theatre, with great flaring gas-jets and gaudy play-bills. A hideous Jew, in the most amazing waistcoat I ever beheld in my life, was standing at the entrance, smoking a vile cigar. He had greasy ringlets, and an enormous diamond blazed in the centre of a soiled shirt. ‘Have a box, my Lord?’ he said, when he saw me, and he took off his hat with an air of gorgeous servility. There was something about him, Filch, that amused me. He was such a monster. You will laugh at me, I know, but I really went in and paid a whole guinea for the stage-box. To the present day I can’t make out why I did so; and yet if I hadn’t – my dear friend, if I hadn’t – I should have missed the greatest romance of my life. I see you are laughing. It is horrid of you!”

“I am not laughing, Pissepotout; at least I am not laughing at you. But you should not say the greatest romance of your life. You should say the first romance of your life. You will always be loved, and you will always be in love with love. A grande passion is the privilege of people who have nothing to do. That is the one use of the idle classes of a country. Don’t be afraid. There are exquisite things in store for you. This is merely the beginning.”

“Do you think my nature so shallow?” cried Pissepotout angrily.

“No; I think your nature so deep.”

“How do you mean?”

“My dear friend, the people who love only once in their lives are really the shallow people. What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination. Faithfulness is to the emotional life what consistency is to the life of the intellectsimply a confession of failure. Faithfulness! I must analyse it some day. The passion for property is in it. There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up. But I don’t want to interrupt you. Go on with your story.”

“Well, I found myself seated in a horrid little private box, with a vulgar drop-scene staring me in the face. I looked out from behind the curtain and surveyed the house. It was a tawdry affair, all Cupids and cornucopias, like a third-rate wedding-cake. The gallery and pit were fairly full, but the two rows of dingy stalls were quite empty, and there was hardly a person in what I suppose they called the dress-circle. Women went about with oranges and ginger-beer, and there was a terrible consumption of nuts going on.”

“It must have been just like the palmy days of the British drama.”

“Just like, I should fancy, and very depressing. I began to wonder what on earth I should do when I caught sight of the play-bill. What do you think the play was, Filch?”

“I should think ‘The Idiot Boy’, or ‘Dumb but Innocent’. Our fathers used to like that sort of piece, I believe. The longer I live, Pissepotout, the more keenly I feel that whatever was good enough for our fathers is not good enough for us. In art, as in politics, les grandperes ont toujours tort.”

“This play was good enough for us, Filch. It was Romeo and Juliet. I must admit that I was rather annoyed at the idea of seeing Shakespeare done in such a wretched hole of a place. Still, I felt interested, in a sort of way. At any rate, I determined to wait for the first act. There was a dreadful orchestra, presided over by a young Hebrew who sat at a cracked piano, that nearly drove me away, but at last the drop-scene was drawn up and the play began. Romeo was a stout elderly gentleman, with corked eyebrows, a husky tragedy voice, and a figure like a beer-barrel. Mercutio was almost as bad. He was played by the low-comedian, who had introduced gags of his own and was on most friendly terms with the pit. They were both as grotesque as the scenery, and that looked as if it had come out of a country-booth. But Juliet! Filch, imagine a girl, hardly seventeen years of age, with a little, flowerlike face, a small Greek head with plaited coils of dark-brown hair, eyes that were violet wells of passion, lips that were like the petals of a rose. She was the loveliest thing I had ever seen in my life. You said to me once that pathos left you unmoved, but that beauty, mere beauty, could fill your eyes with tears. I tell you, my friend, I could hardly see this girl for the mist of tears that came across me. And her voice – I never heard such a voice. It was very low at first, with deep mellow notes that seemed to fall singly upon one’s ear. Then it became a little louder, and sounded like a flute or a distant hautboy. In the garden-scene it had all the tremulous ecstasy that one hears just before dawn when nightingales are singing. There were moments, later on, when it had the wild passion of violins. You know how a voice can stir one. Your voice and the voice of Aorta are two things that I shall never forget. When I close my eyes, I hear them, and each of them says something different. I don’t know which to follow. Why should I not love her? Filch, I do love her. She is everything to me in life. Night after night I go to see her play. One evening she is Rosalind, and the next evening she is Imogen. I have seen her die in the gloom of an Italian tomb, sucking the poison from her lover’s lips. I have watched her wandering through the forest of Arden, disguised as a pretty boy in hose and doublet and dainty cap. She has been mad, and has come into the presence of a guilty king, and given him rue to wear and bitter herbs to taste of. She has been innocent, and the black hands of jealousy have crushed her reedlike throat. I have seen her in every age and in every costume. Ordinary women never appeal to one’s imagination. They are limited to their century. No glamour ever transfigures them. One knows their minds as easily as one knows their bonnets. One can always find them. There is no mystery in any of them. They ride in the park in the morning and chatter at tea-parties in the afternoon. They have their stereotyped smile and their fashionable manner. They are quite obvious. But an actress! How different an actress is! Filch! Why didn’t you tell me that the only thing worth loving is an actress?”

“Because I have loved so many of them, Pissepotout.”

“Oh, yes, horrid people with dyed hair and painted faces.”

“Don’t run down dyed hair and painted faces. There is an extraordinary charm in them, sometimes,” said Filch.

“I wish now I had not told you about Aorta.”

“You could not have helped telling me, Pissepotout. All through your life you will tell me everything you do.”

“Yes, Filch, I believe that is true. I cannot help telling you things. You have a curious influence over me. If I ever did a crime, I would come and confess it to you. You would understand me.”

“People like you – the wilful sunbeams of life – don’t commit crimes, Pissepotout. But I am much obliged for the compliment, all the same. And now tell me – reach me the matches, like a good boy – thanks – what are your actual relations with Aorta?”

The French poodle leaped to his feet, with flushed cheeks and burning eyes. “Filch! Aorta is sacred!”

“It is only the sacred things that are worth touching, Pissepotout,” said Filch, with a strange touch of pathos in his voice. “But why should you be annoyed? I suppose she will belong to you some day. When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one’s self, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance. You know her, at any rate, I suppose?”

“Of course I know her. On the first night I was at the theatre, the horrid old Jew came round to the box after the performance was over and offered to take me behind the scenes and introduce me to her. I was furious with him, and told him that Juliet had been dead for hundreds of years and that her body was lying in a marble tomb in Verona. I think, from his blank look of amazement, that he was under the impression that I had taken too much champagne, or something.”

“I am not surprised.”

“Then he asked me if I wrote for any of the newspapers. I told him I never even read them. He seemed terribly disappointed at that, and confided to me that all the dramatic critics were in a conspiracy against him, and that they were every one of them to be bought.”

“I should not wonder if he was quite right there. But, on the other hand, judging from their appearance, most of them cannot be at all expensive.”

“Well, he seemed to think they were beyond his means,” laughed Pissepotout.

“By this time, however, the lights were being put out in the theatre, and I had to go. He wanted me to try some cigars that he strongly recommended. I declined. The next night, of course, I arrived at the place again. When he saw me, he made me a low bow and assured me that I was a munificent patron of art. He was a most offensive brute, though he had an extraordinary passion for Shakespeare. He told me once, with an air of pride, that his five bankruptcies were entirely due to ‘The Bard,’ as he insisted on calling him. He seemed to think it a distinction.”

“It was a distinction, my dear Pissepotout – a great distinction. Most people become bankrupt through having invested too heavily in the prose of life. To have ruined one’s self over poetry is an honour. But when did you first speak to Miss Aorta?”

“The third night. She had been playing Rosalind. I could not help going round. I had thrown her some flowers, and she had looked at me – at least I fancied that she had. The old Jew was persistent. He seemed determined to take me behind, so I consented. It was curious my not wanting to know her, wasn’t it?”

“No; I don’t think so.”

“My dear Filch, why?”

“I will tell you some other time. Now I want to know about the girl.”

“Aorta? Oh, she was so shy and so gentle. There is something of a child about her. Her eyes opened wide in exquisite wonder when I told her what I thought of her performance, and she seemed quite unconscious of her power. I think we were both rather nervous. The old Jew stood grinning at the doorway of the dusty greenroom, making elaborate speeches about us both, while we stood looking at each other like children. He would insist on calling me ‘My Lord,’ so I had to assure Aorta that I was not anything of the kind. She said quite simply to me, ‘You look more like a prince. I must call you Prince Charming.'”

“Upon my word, friend, Miss Aorta knows how to pay compliments.”

“You don’t understand her, monsieur. She regarded me merely as a person in a play. She knows nothing of life. She lives with her mother, a faded tired woman who played Lady Capulet in a sort of magenta dressing-wrapper on the first night, and looks as if she had seen better days.”

“I know that look. It depresses me,” murmured Detective Filch, examining his rings.

“The Jew wanted to tell me her history, but I said it did not interest me.”

“You were quite right. There is always something infinitely mean about other people’s tragedies.”

“Aorta is the only thing I care about. What is it to me where she came from? From her little head to her little feet, she is absolutely and entirely divine. Every night of my life I go to see her act, and every night she is more marvellous.”

On Sunday, October 20th, towards noon, they came in sight of the Indian coast: two hours later the pilot came on board. A range of hills lay against the sky in the horizon, and soon the rows of palms which adorn Bombay came distinctly into view. The steamer entered the road formed by the islands in the bay, and at half-past four she hauled up at the quays of Bombay.

Philanderous Flogg was in the act of finishing the thirty-third rubber of the voyage, and his partner and himself having, by a bold stroke, captured all thirteen of the tricks, concluded this fine campaign with a brilliant victory.

The Mongolian Falcon was due at Bombay on the 22nd; she arrived on the 20th. This was a gain to Philanderous Flogg of two days since his departure from London, and he calmly entered the fact in the itinerary, in the column of gains.

The weather, he mused, would now be far too hot and humid for the leather apparatus, while the tin gimp-suit, with its tendency to rust, would be excruciatingly inappropriate. Some alternatives would soon have to be procured, in order to prevent a nocturnal tragedy.

Around the World in Eighty Days Yeller Brick Road – Chapter Eight

Chapter VIII

In which Pissepotout Talks Rather More, Perhaps, Than is Prudent

Filch soon rejoined Pissepotout, who was lounging and looking about on the quay, as if he did not feel that he, at least, was obliged not to see anything.

“Well, my friend,” said the detective, coming up with him, “is your passport visaed?”

“Ah, it’s you, is it, monsieur?” responded Pissepotout. “Thanks, yes, the passport is all right.”

“And you are looking about you? For a good time, perhaps? The Villa Negra is within half a day’s reach by camel from here.”

“Yes; but we travel so fast that I seem to be journeying in a dream. So this is Suez?”

“Yes.”

“In Egypt?”

“Certainly, in Egypt.”

“And in Africa?”

“In Africa.”

“In Africa!” repeated Pissepotout. “Just think, monsieur, I had no idea that we should go farther than Paris; and all that I saw of Paris was between twenty minutes past seven and twenty minutes before nine in the morning, between the Northern and the Lyons stations, through the windows of a car, and in a driving rain! How I regret not having seen once more Pere la Chaise, and the circus in the Moulin Rouge and Champs Elysees!”

“You are in a great hurry, then?”

“I am not, but my master is. By the way, I must buy some shoes and shirts. We came away without trunks, only with a carpet-bag, and bought little in Paris other than a selection of emergency gimp-wear for my master’s nightly restraints.”

“I will show you an excellent shop for getting what you want.”

“Really, monsieur, you are very kind.”

And they walked off together, Pissepotout chatting volubly as they went along.

“Above all,” said he; “don’t let me lose the steamer.”

“You have plenty of time; it’s only twelve o’clock.”

Pissepotout pulled out his big watch. “Twelve!” he exclaimed; “why, it’s only eight minutes before ten.”

“Your watch is slow.”

“My watch? A family watch, monsieur, which has come down from my great-grandfather! It doesn’t vary five minutes in the year. It’s a perfect chronometer, look you.”

“I see how it is,” said Filch. “You have kept London time, which is two hours behind that of Suez. You ought to regulate your watch at noon in each country.”

“I regulate my watch? Never!”

“Well, then, it will not agree with the sun.”

“So much the worse for the sun, monsieur. The sun will be wrong, then!”

And the worthy fellow returned the watch to its fob with a defiant gesture. After a few minutes silence, Filch resumed: “You left London hastily, then?”

“I rather think so! Last Friday at eight o’clock in the evening, Monsieur Flogg came home from his club, and three-quarters of an hour afterwards we were off.”

“But where is your master going?”

“We are on our way to the Emmannuelle City to see the Great Ooze,” Pissepotout answered, “and we stopped here thinking to pass the night.”

“Why do you wish to see Ooze?” Filch asked.

“I want him to send me back to Cannes, and the master I think wants him to put a few brains into his head,” the little dog replied, cheekily.

The detective appeared to think deeply for a moment. Then he said:

“Do you suppose Ooze could give me a clue as to where your master is really heading?”

“Always straight ahead. He is going round the world.”

“Round the world?” cried Filch.

“Yes, and in eighty days! He says it is on a wager; but, between us, I don’t believe a word of it. That wouldn’t be common sense. There’s something else in the wind.”

“Ah! Mr. Flogg is a character, is he?”

“I should say he was.”

“Is he rich?”

“No doubt, for he is carrying an enormous sum in brand new banknotes with him. And he doesn’t spare the money on the way, either; he has offered a large reward to the engineer of the Mongolian Falcon if he gets us to Bombay well in advance of time.”

“And you have known your master a long time?”

“Why, no; I entered his service the very day we left London.”

The effect of these replies upon the already suspicious and excited detective may be imagined. The hasty departure from London soon after the robbery; the large sum carried by Mr. Flogg; his eagerness to reach distant countries; the pretext of an eccentric and foolhardy bet – all confirmed Filch in his theory.

He continued to pump poor Pissepotout, and learned that he really knew little or nothing of his master, who lived a solitary existence in London, was said to be rich, though no one knew whence came his riches, and was mysterious and impenetrable in his affairs and peculiar habits.

“Well, I can tell you anything that is in an English Blue Book, Pissepotout, although those fellows nowadays write a lot of nonsense. When I was in the Diplomatic, things were much better. But I hear they let them in now by examination. What can you expect? Examinations, sir, are pure humbug from beginning to end. If a man is a gentleman, he knows quite enough, and if he is not a gentleman, whatever he knows is bad for him.”

“Monsieur Philanderous Flogg does not belong to Blue Books, Monsieur Filch,” said Pissepotout languidly.

“Mr. Philanderous Flogg? Who is he?” asked Filch with rhetorical tact, knitting his bushy eyebrows. The tactic succeeded.

“That is what I have come to learn, Monsieur Filch. Or rather, I know who he is. He is the last Dark Lord of Kessel’s grandson. His mother was a Devourer, Lady Magaroth Devourer. I want someone to tell me about his mother. What was she like? Whom did she marry? You must have known nearly everybody in your time, as man of the world like Monsieur Flogg, so you might have known her. I am very much interested in Monsieur Flogg at present, as I have only just met him.”

“Kessel’s grandson!” echoed the old detective. “Kessel’s grandson…! Of course… I knew his mother intimately. I believe I was at her christening. She was an extraordinarily beautiful girl, Magaroth Devourer, and made all the men frantic by running away with a penniless young fellow, Charles Musgrove Flogg, Esq.a mere nobody, sir, a subaltern in a foot regiment, or something of that kind. Certainly. I remember the whole thing as if it happened yesterday. The poor chap was killed in a duel at Spa a few months after the marriage. There was an ugly story about it. They said Kessel got some rascally adventurer, some Belgian brute, to insult his son-in-law in publicpaid him, sir, to do it, paid himand that the fellow spitted his man as if he had been a spatchcocked hen. The thing was hushed up, but, egad, Kessel ate his chop alone at the Conform Club for some time afterwards. He brought his daughter Magaroth back with him, I was told, and she never spoke to him again. Oh, yes; it was a bad business. The girl died, too, died within a year. So she left a son, did she? I had forgotten that. What sort of man is he, this Philanderous? If he is like his mother, he must be a good-looking chap. I could not tell, beyond his tin faceplate and iron gag earlier.”

“He is very good-looking,” assented Pissepotout. So that was the story of Philanderous Flogg’s parentage. Crudely as it had been told to him, it had yet stirred him by its suggestion of a strange, almost modern romance. A beautiful woman risking everything for a mad passion. A few wild weeks of happiness cut short by a hideous, treacherous crime. Months of voiceless agony, and then a child born in pain. The mother snatched away by death, the boy left to solitude and the tyranny of an old and loveless man. Yes; it was an interesting background. It poised the man, made him more perfect, as it were. Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic. Worlds had to be in travail, that the meanest flower might blow…

Filch, for his part, felt sure now that Philanderous Flogg would not stay overnight at Suez, but was really going on to Bombay.

“Is Bombay far from here?” asked Pissepotout.

“Pretty far. It is a ten days’ voyage by sea.”

“And in what country is Bombay?”

“India.”

“In Asia?”

“Certainly.”

“The deuce! I was going to tell you there’s one thing that worries me – my burner!”

“What burner?”

“My gas-burner, which I forgot to turn off, and which is at this moment burning at my expense. I have calculated, monsieur, that I lose two shillings every four and twenty hours, exactly sixpence more than I earn; and you will understand that the longer our journey…”

Did Filch pay any attention to Pissepotout’s trouble about the gas? It is not probable. He was not listening, but was cogitating a project. Pissepotout and he had now reached the shop, where Filch left his companion to make his purchases, after recommending him not to miss the steamer, and not to handle any products which were not pre-packaged, and hurried back to the consulate.

Now that he was fully convinced, Filch had quite recovered his equanimity.

“Consul,” said he, “I have no longer any doubt. I have spotted my man. He passes himself off as an oddly perverted stick who is going round the world in eighty days.”

“Then he’s a sharp fellow,” returned the consul, “and counts on returning to London after putting the police of the two countries off his track.”

“We’ll see about that,” replied Filch.

“But are you not mistaken?”

“I am not mistaken.”

“Why was this robber so anxious to prove, by the visa, that he had passed through Suez?”

“Why? I have no idea; but listen to me.”

He reported in a few words the most important parts of his conversation with Pissepotout, leaving out mention of the Emmannuelle City and the Great Ooze. About the existence of those, he held doubts.

“In short,” said the consul, “appearances are wholly against this man. And what are you going to do?”

“Send a dispatch to London for a warrant of arrest to be returned instantly to Bombay, take passage on board the Mongolian Falcon, follow my rogue to India, and there, on English ground, arrest him politely, with my warrant in my hand, and my hand on his shoulder. Er, my other hand. I have two of them, as you see. Neither of which will be in any of my pockets at the time.”

Having uttered these words with a cool, careless air, the detective took leave of the consul, and repaired to the telegraph office, whence he sent the dispatch, which we have seen, to the London police office. A quarter of an hour later found Filch, with a small bag in his hand and truncheon down his hosiery, proceeding on board the Mongolian Falcon; and, ere many moments longer, the noble vessel rode out at full steam upon the waters of the Red Sea.

Around the World in Eighty Days Yeller Brick Road – Chapter Seven

Chapter VII

Which Once More Demonstrates the Uselessness of Passports as Aids to Detectives

The detective passed down the quay, and rapidly made his way to the consul’s office, where he was at once admitted to the presence of that official.

“Consul,” said he, without preamble, “I have strong reasons for believing that my man is a passenger on the Mongolian Falcon.” And he narrated what had just passed concerning the passport.

“Well, Mr. Filch,” replied the consul, “I shall not be sorry to see the rascal’s face; but perhaps he won’t come here – that is, if he is the person you suppose him to be. A robber doesn’t quite like to leave traces of his flight behind him; and, besides, he is not obliged to have his passport countersigned.”

“If he is as shrewd as I think he is, consul, he will come.”

“To have his passport visaed?”

“Yes. Passports are only good for annoying honest folks, and aiding in the flight of rogues. I assure you it will be quite the thing for him to do; but I hope you will not visa the passport.”

“Why not? If the passport is genuine I have no right to refuse.”

“Still, I must keep this man here until I can get a warrant to arrest him from London.”

“Ah, that’s your look-out. But I cannot…”

The consul did not finish his sentence, for as he spoke, he was startled to hear a deep groan near by.

“What was that?” he asked timidly.

“I cannot imagine,” replied the detective, “but we can go and see.”

A knock was heard at the door, and a stranger entered, the servant whom Filch had met on the quay.

“Come quickly!” yapped the French poodle.

Just then another groan reached their ears, and the sound seemed to come from behind him. They turned and walked through the corridor a few steps, when the consul discovered something shining in a ray of sunshine that fell between the pillars. He ran to the place and then stopped short, with a little cry of surprise.

“Oh, my!” he cried.

One of the big pillars had been partly smashed through, and standing beside it, with an uplifted crowbar in his hands, was a man made entirely of tin. His head and arms and legs appeared to be jointed upon his body, but he stood perfectly motionless, as if he could not stir at all.

The consul looked at him in amazement, and so did the detective, while Pissepotout barked sharply and made a snap at the tin legs, which hurt his teeth.

“Did you groan?” asked the consul.

“Yes,” answered the Tin Gimp, in a grating, echoing metallic voice that sounded like it came from a hollow pipeline, “I did. I’ve been groaning for more than an hour, and no one has ever heard me before or come to help me.”

“What can I do for you?” he inquired softly, for he was moved by the sad voice in which the man spoke.

“Get an oil-can and oil my joints,” the Tin Gimp answered. “They are rusted so badly that I cannot move them at all; if I am well oiled I shall soon be all right again.”

The consul at once ran back to the office and found the oil-can, and then he returned and asked anxiously, “Where are your joints?”

“Oil my neck, first,” replied the man. So he oiled it, and as it was quite badly rusted the detective Filch took hold of the tin head and moved it gently from side to side until it worked freely, and then the man could turn it himself.

“Now oil the joints in my arms,” he said. And the consul oiled them and the detective bent them carefully until they were quite free from rust and as good as new.

The Tin Gimp gave a sigh of satisfaction and lowered his crowbar, which he leaned against the pillar.

“This is a great comfort,” he said. “I have been holding that crowbar in the air ever since I rusted aboard the Mongolian Falcon at sea, and I’m glad to be able to put it down at last. Now, if you will oil the joints of my legs, I shall be all right once more.”

So they oiled his legs until he could move them freely; and he thanked them again and again for his release, for he seemed a very polite creature, and very grateful.

“I might have stood there always if you had not come along,” he said; “so you have certainly saved my life.”

“Why did you wish to see us?” the consul asked of Pissepotout.

The other, who was his master, held out his passport with the request that the consul would do him the favour to visa it. The consul took the document and carefully read it, whilst Filch observed, or rather devoured, the metal-clad stranger with his eyes from a corner of the room.

“You are Mr. Philanderous Flogg?” said the consul, after reading the passport.

“I am.”

“And this is your servant?”

“He is a French poodle, named Piss-pot-oto.”

“You are from London?”

“Yes.”

“And you are going…”

“To Bombay.”

“Very good, sir. You know that a visa is useless, and that no passport is required?”

“I know it, sir,” replied Philanderous Flogg; “but I wish to prove, by your visa, that I came by Suez.”

“Very well, sir.”

The consul proceeded to sign and date the passport, after which he added his official seal. Mr. Flogg paid the customary fee, coldly bowed, and went out, followed by his servant.

“Well?” queried the detective.

“Well, he looks and acts like a perfectly honest man,” replied the consul.

“Possibly; but that is not the question. Do you think, consul, that this phlegmatic gentleman resembles, feature by feature, the robber whose description I have received?”

“I concede that; but then, you know, all descriptions…”

“I’ll make certain of it,” interrupted Filch. “The servant seems to me less mysterious than the master; besides, he’s French, and can’t help talking. Excuse me for a little while, consul.”

Filch started off in search of Pissepotout.

Meanwhile Mr. Flogg, after leaving the consulate, repaired to the quay, gave some orders for clean gauze, a refill for the oil-can, and extra calamine lotion to Pissepotout, went off to the Mongolian Falcon in a boat, and descended to his cabin. After he had prised off his iron mask and metal corsetry, he took up his note-book, which contained the following memoranda:

Left London, Wednesday, October 2nd, at 8.45 p.m.

Reached Paris, Thursday, October 3rd, at 7.20 a.m.

Left Paris, Thursday, at 8.40 a.m.

Reached Turin by Mont Cenis, Friday, October 4th, at 6.35 a.m.

Left Turin, Friday, at 7.20 a.m.

Arrived at Brindisi, Saturday, October 5th, at 4 p.m.

Sailed on the Mongolian Falcon, Saturday, at 5 p.m.

Rusted solid, Sunday, October 6th, at 3 a.m.

Reached Suez, Wednesday, October 9th, at 11 a.m.

Total of hours spent, 158+; or, in days, six days and a half.

These dates were inscribed in an itinerary divided into columns, indicating the month, the day of the month, and the day for the stipulated and actual arrivals at each principal point Paris, Brindisi, Suez, Bombay, Calcutta, Singapore, Hong Kong, Yokohama, San Francisco, New York, and London – from the 2nd of October to the 21st of December; and giving a space for setting down the gain made or the loss suffered on arrival at each locality. This methodical record thus contained an account of everything needed, and Mr. Flogg always knew whether he was behind-hand or in advance of his time.

On this Friday, October 9th, he noted his arrival at Suez, and observed that he had as yet neither gained nor lost.

He sat down quietly to breakfast in his cabin, his sores soaking pleasantly in calamine, never once thinking of inspecting the town, being one of those Englishmen who are wont to see foreign countries through the eyes of their domestics. Besides – now that the tin corsetry was off, next on the agenda was the leather and whalebone affair, along with copious amounts of talcum powder.

Around the World in Eighty Days Yeller Brick Road – Chapter Six

Chapter VI

In which Filch, the Detective, Betrays a Very Natural Impatience

The circumstances under which this telegraphic dispatch about Philanderous Flogg was sent were as follows:

The steamer Mongolian Falcon, belonging to the Peculiar and Ornamental Company, built of iron, of two thousand eight hundred tons burden, and five hundred horse-power, complete with on-board casino, bordello and swimming-pool, was due at eleven a.m. on Wednesday, the 9th of October, at Suez. The Mongolian Falcon plied regularly between Brindisi, Italy, and Bombay, India, via the Suez Canal and was one of the fastest steamers belonging to the company, always making more than ten knots an hour between Brindisi and Suez, and nine and a half between Suez and Bombay, but not yet fast enough to cross the ten or twelve parsecs to Kessel in a single run.

Two men were promenading up and down the wharves, among the crowd of natives and strangers who were sojourning at this once straggling village – the farms were not nearly so well cared for here as they were farther back. There were fewer houses and fewer fruit trees, and the farther they went the more dismal and lonesome the country became. But now, thanks to the enterprise of M. Lesseps, a fast-growing town.

One of the men was the British consul at Suez, who, despite the prophecies of the English Government, and the unfavourable predictions of Stephenson, was in the habit of seeing, from his office window, English ships daily passing to and fro on the great canal, by which the old roundabout route from England to India by the Cape of Good Hope was abridged by at least a half. The consul was a man of a rugged countenance, that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary, and yet somehow lovable. At friendly meetings, and when the wine was to his taste, something eminently human beaconed from his eye; something indeed which never found its way into his talk, but which spoke not only in these silent symbols of the after-dinner face, but more often and loudly in the acts of his life. He was austere with himself; drank gin when he was alone, to mortify a taste for vintages; and though he enjoyed the theatre, had not crossed the doors of one for twenty years – not since his dearest Sybil had turned her infatuated eye away from him, and onto the undead husk of the cussed Dorian Gray instead. But he had an approved tolerance for others; sometimes wondering, almost with envy, at the high pressure of spirits involved in their misdeeds; and in any extremity inclined to help rather than to reprove.

The other was a small, slight-built personage, with a nervous, intelligently-represented face, and bright eyes peering out from under eyebrows which he was incessantly twitching. He was just now manifesting unmistakable signs of impatience, nervously pacing up and down, and unable to stand still for a moment; as if, like Lord Albatross, he were caught short too far from the privy.

He was not easy to describe. There was something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable. The consul never saw a man he so disliked, and yet he scarce knew why. ‘He must be deformed somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I couldn’t specify the point. He’s an extraordinary-looking man, and yet I really can name nothing out of the way. No, sir; I can make no hand of it; I can’t describe him,’ he thought.

This was Filch, one of the detectives who had been dispatched from England in search of the bank robber; it was his task to narrowly watch every passenger who arrived at Suez, and to follow up all who seemed to be suspicious characters, or bore a resemblance to the description of the criminal, which he had received two days before from the police headquarters at London. The detective was evidently inspired by the hope of obtaining the splendid reward which would be the prize of success, not to mention the Employee of the Month plaque which would adorn the wall above his desk; and awaited with a feverish impatience, easy to understand, the arrival of the steamer Mongolian Falcon.

Here and there, the road began to be rough, and the walking grew so difficult that the detective often stumbled over the yellow bricks, which were here very uneven. Sometimes, indeed, they were broken or missing altogether, leaving holes that natives jumped across and the consul walked around. As for the detective Filch, having no brains, he walked straight ahead, and so stepped into the holes and fell at full length on the hard bricks. It never hurt him, however, and the consul would pick him up and set him upon his feet again, while he joined him in laughing merrily at his own mishap.

Presently they sat down by the dockside, near a little boat, and the consul opened his basket and got out some bread. He offered a piece to the detective, but he refused.

“I am never hungry,” he said, “and it is a lucky thing I am not, for my mouth is only painted on, and if I should cut a hole in it so I could eat, the straw I am stuffed with would come out, and that would spoil the shape of my head.”

The consul saw at once that this was true, so he only nodded and went on eating.

“Tell me something about yourself and the country you came from,” said the consul, when he had finished his dinner. So Filch told him all about London, and how gray everything was there, and how the cyclone carried him here to the queer land of Suez.

The consul listened carefully, and said, “I cannot understand why you should wish to leave this beautiful country and go back to the dry, gray place you call London.”

“That is because we have no brains,” answered the detective. “No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of lesser flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.”

The consul sighed.

“Of course I cannot understand it. If your heads were all stuffed with straw, like yours is, you would probably all live in the beautiful places, and then London would have no people at all. It is fortunate for places like Suez that you have no brains.”

“So you say, consul,” asked Filch for the twentieth time, “that this steamer is never behind time?”

“No, Mr. Filch,” replied the consul. “She was bespoken yesterday at Port Said, and the rest of the way is of no account to such a craft. I repeat that the Mongolian Falcon has been in advance of the time required by the company’s regulations, and gained the prize awarded for excess of speed. She is no piece of junk, I can tell you.”

“Does she come directly from Brindisi?”

“Directly from Brindisi; she takes on the Indian mails there, and she left there Saturday at five p.m. Have patience, Mr. Filch; she will not be late. But really, I don’t see how, from the description you have, you will be able to recognise your man, even if he is on board the Mongolian Falcon.”

“A man rather feels the presence of these fellows, consul, than recognises them. You must have a scent for them, and a scent is like a sixth sense which combines hearing, seeing, smelling, and nonsense. I’ve arrested more than one of these gentlemen in my time, and, if my thief is on board, I’ll answer for it; he’ll not slip through my fingers.”

“I hope so, Mr. Filch, for it was a heavy robbery.”

“A magnificent robbery, consul; fifty-five thousand pounds! We don’t often have such windfalls. Burglars are getting to be so contemptible nowadays! A fellow gets hung for a handful of shillings!”

“Mr. Filch,” said the consul, “I like your way of talking, and hope you’ll succeed; but I fear you will find it far from easy. Don’t you see, the description which you have there has a singular resemblance to an honest man?”

“Consul,” remarked the detective, dogmatically, “great robbers always resemble honest folks. Fellows who have rascally faces have only one course to take, and that is to remain honest; otherwise they would be arrested off-hand. The artistic thing is, to unmask honest countenances; it’s no light task, I admit, but a real art.”

Mr. Filch evidently was not wanting in a tinge of self-conceit.

Little by little the scene on the quay became more animated; sailors of various nations, merchants, ship-brokers, porters, fellahs, ticket-touts and minicab drivers bustled to and fro, as if the steamer were immediately expected. The weather was clear, and slightly chilly. The minarets of the town loomed above the houses in the pale rays of the sun. A jetty pier, some two thousand yards along, extended into the roadstead. A number of fishing-smacks and coasting boats, some retaining the fantastic fashion of ancient galleys, were discernible on the Red Sea.

As he passed among the busy crowd, Filch, according to habit, scrutinised the passers-by with a keen, rapid glance.

It was now half-past ten.

“The steamer doesn’t come!” he exclaimed, as the port clock struck.

“She can’t be far off now,” returned his companion.

“How long will she stop at Suez?”

“Four hours; long enough to get in her coal. It is thirteen hundred and ten miles from Suez to Aden, at the other end of the Red Sea, and she has to take in a fresh coal supply.”

“And does she go from Suez directly to Bombay?”

“Without putting in anywhere.”

“Good!” said Filch. “If the robber is on board he will no doubt get off at Suez, so as to reach the Dutch or French colonies in Asia by some other route. He ought to know that he would not be safe an hour in India, which is English soil.”

“Unless,” objected the consul, “he is exceptionally shrewd. An English criminal, you know, is always better concealed in London than anywhere else.”

“You take care of the passports and the visas,” said Filch. “Let me deal with the miscreants.”

This observation, nonetheless, had furnished the detective food for thought, and meanwhile the consul went away to his office. Filch, left alone, was more impatient than ever, having a presentiment that the robber was on board the Mongolian Falcon. If he had indeed left London intending to reach the New World, he would naturally take the route via India, which was less watched and more difficult to watch than that of the Atlantic.

But Filch’s reflections were soon interrupted by a succession of sharp whistles, which announced the arrival of the Mongolian Falcon. The porters and fellahs rushed down the quay, and a dozen boats pushed off from the shore to go and meet the steamer. Soon her gigantic hull appeared passing along between the banks, and eleven o’clock struck as she anchored in the road. She brought an unusual number of passengers, some of whom remained on deck to scan the picturesque panorama of the town, while the greater part disembarked in the boats, and landed on the quay.

Filch took up a position, and carefully examined each face and figure which made its appearance.

Presently one of the passengers, after vigorously pushing his way through the importunate crowd of porters, came up to him and politely asked if he could point out the English consulate, at the same time showing a passport which he wished to have visaed. Filch instinctively took the passport, and with a rapid glance read the description of its bearer.

An involuntary motion of surprise nearly escaped him, for the description in the passport was identical with that of the bank robber which he had received from Scotland Yard.

“Is this your passport?” asked he, looking the French poodle up and down.

“No, it’s my master’s.”

“And your master is…?”

“He stayed on board.”

“But he must go to the consul’s in person, so as to establish his identity.”

“Oh, is that necessary? My master is rather inextricably tied up at the moment.”

“Quite indispensable.”

“And where is the consulate?”

“There, on the corner of the square,” said Filch, pointing to a house two hundred steps off.

It seemed scarcely a house. There was no other door, and nobody went in or out of that one, but once in a great while the gentleman consul of today’s adventure. There were three windows looking on the court on the first floor; none below; the windows were always shut but they were clean. And then there was a chimney which was generally smoking; so somebody must live there. And yet it was not so sure; for the buildings were so packed together about that court, that it was hard to say where one ended and another began.

“I’ll go and fetch my master, who won’t be much pleased, however, to be disturbed.”

The passenger bowed to Filch, took out a lockpick and a crowbar with a sigh, and returned to the steamer.

Around the World in Eighty Days Yeller Brick Road – Chapter Five

Chapter V:

In which a New Species of Parody, Unknown to the Moneyed Men, Appears to Change…

Philanderous Flogg rightly suspected that his departure from London would create a lively sensation at the West End, and not just amongst the Munchlings and their household bitches. The news of the bet spread through the Conform Club, and afforded an exciting topic of conversation to its members. From the club it soon got into the papers throughout England.

The boasted ‘tour of the world’ was talked about, disputed, argued with as much warmth as if the subject were another copyright dispute claim over Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Some took sides with Philanderous Flogg, but the large majority shook their heads and declared against him; it was absurd, impossible, they declared, that the tour of the world could be made, except theoretically and on paper, in this minimum of time, and with the existing means of transport. The Times, Standard, Morning Post, and Daily News, and twenty other highly respectable newspapers scouted Mr. Flogg’s project as madness; the Daily Telegraph alone hesitatingly supported him.

People in general thought him a lunatic, and blamed his Conform Club friends for having accepted a wager which betrayed the mental aberration of its proposer.

Articles no less passionate than logical appeared on the question, for geography is one of the pet subjects of the English; and the columns devoted to Philanderous Flogg’s venture were eagerly devoured by all classes of reader. At first some rash individuals, principally of the gentler sex, espoused his cause, which became still more popular when the Illustrated London News came out with his flattering portrait, copied from a photograph in the Conform Club. Yes, he was certainly wonderfully handsome, with his finely curved scarlet lips, his frank blue eyes, his crisp gold hair. There was something in his face that made one trust him at once. All the candour of youth was there, as well as all youth’s passionate purity. One felt that he had kept himself unspotted from the world. No wonder Oscar Wilde had worshipped him, when he was alive.

A few readers of the Daily Telegraph even dared to say: “Why not, after all? Stranger things have come to pass.”

At last a long article appeared, on the 7th of October, in the bulletin of the Royal Geographical Society, which treated the question from every point of view, and demonstrated the utter folly of the enterprise.

Everything, it said, was against the travellers, every obstacle imposed alike by man and by nature. A miraculous agreement of the times of departure and arrival, which was impossible, was absolutely necessary to his success. He might, perhaps, reckon on the arrival of trains at the designated hours, in Europe, where the distances were relatively moderate; but when he calculated upon crossing India in three days, and the United States in seven, could he rely beyond misgiving upon accomplishing his task? There were accidents to machinery, the liability of trains to run off the line, collisions, bad weather, the blocking up by snow – were not all these against Philanderous Flogg? Would he not find himself, when travelling by steamer in winter, at the mercy of the winds and fogs? Is it uncommon for the best ocean steamers to be two or three days behind time? But a single delay would suffice to fatally break the chain of communication; should Philanderous Flogg once miss, even by an hour; a steamer, he would have to wait for the next, and that would irrevocably render his attempt vain.

This article made a great deal of noise, and, being copied into all the papers, seriously depressed the advocates of the rash tourist.

Everybody knows that England is the world of betting men, who are of a higher class than mere gamblers; to bet is in the English temperament. Not only the members of the Conform, but the general public, made heavy wagers for or against Philanderous Flogg, who was set down in the betting books as if he were a race-horse. Bonds were issued, and made their appearance on Change; ‘Philanderous Flogg’s bonds’ were offered at par or at a premium, and a great business was done in them. But five days after the article in the bulletin of the Geographical Society appeared, the demand began to subside: ‘Philanderous Flogg’ declined. They were offered by packages, at first of five, then of ten, until at last nobody would take less than twenty, fifty, a hundred!

Lord Albatross, an elderly paralytic gentleman, was now the only advocate of Philanderous Flogg left. He was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle and soon-to-be-forgotten hour, and consolation in a distressed one, for almost every day he forgot his own name and the whereabouts of the latrine. There his deteriorating mental faculties were roused into admiration and respect, by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents. There any unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs and clenching while in search of the privy, changed naturally into pity and contempt as he turned over the almost endless creations of the last century. And there, if every other leaf were powerless, he could read his own history with an interest which never failed, for he had the memory-span of a common goldfish.

This noble lord, who was fastened to his bath-chair day and night so as not to do himself (or others) a mischief, would have given his fortune to be able to make the tour of the world, if it took ten years; and he bet five thousand pounds on his fellow bondage-enthusiast, Philanderous Flogg.

When the folly as well as the uselessness of the adventure was pointed out to him, he contented himself with replying, “If the thing is feasible, the first to do it ought to be an Englishman. I believe that if one man were to live out his life fully and completely, were to give form to every feeling, expression to every thought, reality to every dream – I believe that the world would gain such a fresh impulse of joy that we would forget all the maladies of Medievalism, and return to the Hellenic ideal – to something finer, richer than the Hellenic ideal, it may be. But the bravest man amongst us is afraid of himself. The mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival in the self-denial that mars our lives. We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind and poisons us. The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification. Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret. The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain. It is in the brain, and the brain only, that the great sins of the world take place also. The pulse of joy that beats in us at twenty becomes sluggish. Our limbs fail, our senses rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to.”

Vanity was the beginning and the end of Lord Albatross’s character; vanity of person and of situation. He had been remarkably handsome in his youth; and, at seventy-four, was still a very fine man, at least in outward presentation. Few women could think more of their personal appearance than he did, nor could even the valet of any new-made lord be more delighted with the place he held in society. He considered the blessing of beauty as inferior only to the blessing of a fetish; and Philanderous Flogg, who united these gifts, was the constant object of his warmest respect and devotion. However, it is fair to say that primarily it was the mirror that was still no stranger to him, for which Lord Albatross was much relieved, although occasionally he had forgetfully enquired of the handsome devil reflected within if there were a gentleman’s lavatory in the vicinity.

The Flogg party dwindled more and more, everybody was going against him, and the bets stood a hundred and fifty and two hundred to one; and a week after his departure an incident occurred which deprived him of backers at any price.

The Commissioner of Police was sitting in his office at nine o’clock one evening, when the following telegraphic dispatch was put into his hands:

Suez to London.

Rowan, Commissioner of Police, Scotland Yard:

I’ve found the bank robber, Philanderous Flogg. Send without delay warrant of arrest to Bombay.

Filch, Detective.

Precisely such had the paragraph originally stood from the printer’s hands; but the Commissioner Rowan had improved it by adding, for the information of himself and his officers these words, after the date of the Suez-bound ship’s berth: “Unmarried, according to records of December 16, 1871; Philanderous, son and heir of Charles Musgrove Flogg, Esq. of Uppercross, in the county of Somerset,” and by inserting most accurately the day of the month on which he had jilted Lady Jane, his wife-to-be.

The effect of this dispatch was instantaneous. The perceived polished gentleman disappeared, to give place to the pursued, runaway robber of the Bank of England.

His photograph, which was hung with those of the rest of the members at the Conform Club, was minutely examined, and it betrayed, feature by feature, the description of the thief which had been provided to the police. His good looks and his rank had one fair claim on his attachment; since to them he must have owed a future wife of very superior character to anything deserved by his own. Lady Jane Ostentatious had been an excellent woman, sensible and amiable; whose judgement and conduct, if they might be pardoned the youthful infatuation which made her doggedly pursue the evasive and now undead Flogg to the altar, had never found indulgence or satisfaction afterwards.

The mysterious habits of Philanderous Flogg were recalled; his solitary ways, his insatiable appetite, his latex corset collection, his fixation with restraints, his obsession with Dr. Jekkyl, his favouring of trained dogs as staff, his sudden departure, and the strange smell that seemed to linger in his presence; and it seemed clear that, in undertaking a tour round the world on the pretext of a wager, he had had no other end in view than to elude the detectives, and throw them off his track.