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

Chapter XVIII

In which Philanderous Flogg, Pissepotout, and Filch Go Each About His Business

The weather was bad during the latter days of the voyage. The wind, obstinately remaining in the north-west, blew yet another gale leaving Pissepotout wondering after the fortune of the Munchlings, and retarded the steamer. The Rangoon rolled heavily and the passengers became impatient of the long, monstrous waves which the wind raised before their path. A sort of tempest arose on the 3rd of November, the squall knocking the vessel about with fury, and the waves and lavatories running high. The Rangoon reefed all her sails, and even the rigging proved too much, whistling and shaking amid the squall. The steamer was forced to proceed slowly, and the captain estimated that she would reach Hong Kong twenty hours behind time, and more if the storm lasted.

Philanderous Flogg gazed at the tempestuous sea, which seemed to be struggling especially to delay him, with his habitual tranquillity. He never changed countenance for an instant, though a delay of twenty hours, by making him too late for the Yokohama boat, would almost inevitably cause the loss of the wager. But this man of nerve manifested neither impatience nor annoyance; it seemed as if the storm were a part of his programme, and had been foreseen. Aorta was amazed to find him as calm as he had been from the first time she saw him, while all about them were heaving their stomach contents upon the deck.

Filch did not look at the state of things in the same light. The storm greatly pleased him. His satisfaction would have been complete had the Rangoon been forced to retreat before the violence of wind and waves. Each delay filled him with hope, for it became more and more probable that Flogg would be obliged to remain some days at Hong Kong; and now the heavens themselves became his allies, with the gusts and squalls. It mattered not that they made him sea-sick – he made no account of this inconvenience; and, whilst his body was writhing under their effects, his spirit bounded with hopeful exultation.

Pissepotout was enraged beyond expression by the unpropitious weather. Everything had gone so well until now! Earth and sea had seemed to be at his master’s service; steamers and railways obeyed him; wind and steam united to speed his journey. Had the hour of adversity come? Pissepotout was as much excited as if the twenty thousand pounds were to come from his own pocket. The storm exasperated him, the gale made him furious, and he longed to lash the obstinate sea into obedience. And his paws slithered constantly in the floods of effluent released by the passengers. Poor fellow!

Filch carefully concealed from him his own satisfaction, for, had he betrayed it, Pissepotout could scarcely have restrained himself from personal violence. He surely did not wish to be shot by the captain and flung to the waves as a salty sea-dog. It did not suit the life of a gentleman’s French poodle.

Pissepotout remained on deck as long as the tempest lasted, being unable to remain quiet below, and taking it into his head to aid the progress of the ship by lending a paw with the crew. He overwhelmed the captain, officers, and sailors, who could not help laughing at his impatience, with all sorts of questions. He wanted to know exactly how long the storm was going to last; whereupon he was referred to the barometer, which seemed to have no intention of rising. Pissepotout shook it, but with no perceptible effect; for neither shaking nor maledictions could prevail upon it to change its mind. He cursed the scant fixtures and equipment on board, none of which told him anything of assurance.

Aorta beseeched to calm him.

“The Navy, I think, who have done so much for us, have at least an equal claim with any other set of men, for all the comforts and all the privileges which any home can give. Sailors work hard enough for their comforts, we must all allow for failings of the weather to work in their favour.”

“Very true, very true. What Miss Aorta says, is very true,” was Mr Flogg’s rejoinder, and “Oh! certainly,” was his Grist companion’s; but Pissepotout’s remark was, soon afterwards:

“The profession has its utility, but I should be sorry to see any friend of mine belonging to it.”

“Indeed!” was the reply from his company, and with looks of surprise.

“Yes; it is in two points offensive to me; I have two strong grounds of objection to it. First, as being the means of bringing persons of obscure birth into undue distinction, and raising men to honours which their fathers and grandfathers never dreamt of; and secondly, as it cuts up a man’s youth and vigour most horribly; a sailor grows old sooner than any other man. I have observed it all my life. A man is in greater danger in the Navy of being insulted by the rise of one whose father, his father might have disdained to speak to, and of becoming prematurely an object of disgust himself, than in any other line. One day last spring, at a salon in town, I was in service of two men as Bitch and general dogsbody, striking instances of what I am talking of; Lord St Ives, whose father we all know to have been a country curate, without bread to eat; I was to give foot-pad massage to Lord St Ives, and a certain Admiral Baldwin, the most deplorable-looking personage you can imagine; his face the colour of mahogany, rough and rugged to the last degree; all lines and wrinkles, nine grey hairs of a side, and nothing but a dab of powder at top. ‘In the name of heaven, who is that old fellow?’ said I to a friend of mine who was standing near – a Bitch of Sir Basil Morley. ‘Old fellow!’ cried Sir Basil, overhearing, ‘it is Admiral Baldwin. What do you take his age to be?’ ‘Sixty,’ said I, ‘or perhaps sixty-two.’ ‘Forty,’ replied Sir Basil, ‘forty, and no more.’ Picture to yourselves my amazement; I shall not easily forget Admiral Baldwin. I never saw quite so wretched an example of what a sea-faring life can do; but to a degree, I know it is the same with them all: they are all knocked about, and exposed to every climate, and every weather, till they are not fit to be seen. It is a pity they are not knocked on the head at once, before they reach Admiral Baldwin’s age, and require the wrinkles to be pummelled out and the powder applied with a trowel.”

“Nay, Pissepotout,” cried Aorta, “this is being severe indeed. Have a little mercy on the poor men. We are not all born to be handsome. The sea is no beautifier, certainly; sailors do grow old betimes; I have observed it; they soon lose the look of youth. But then, is not it the same with many other professions, perhaps most other? Soldiers, in active service, are not at all better off: and even in the quieter professions, there is a toil and a labour of the mind, if not of the body, which seldom leaves a man’s looks to the natural effect of time. The lawyer plods, quite care-worn; the physician is up at all hours, and travelling in all weather; and even the clergyman…” She stopped a moment to consider what might do for the clergyman… “And even the clergyman, you know is obliged to go into infected rooms, and expose his health and looks to all the injury of a poisonous atmosphere. In fact, as I have long been convinced, though every profession is necessary and honourable in its turn, it is only the lot of those who are not obliged to follow any, who can live in a regular way, in the country, choosing their own hours, following their own pursuits, and living on their own property, without the torment of trying for more; it is only their lot, I say, to hold the blessings of health and a good appearance to the utmost: I know no other set of men but what lose something of their personableness when they cease to be quite young.”

“It is true, Pissepot-toto,” agreed Mr. Flogg. “James, my former Bitch and valet, once took himself off for a seafaring career. He was forced to abandon ship and find his way home to avenge a slight against his sister Sibyl, by the monster Dorian Gray.”

“Oh! Indeed,” was the French poodle’s reply. And no more was spoken of sailors on that occasion.

On the 4th, however, the sea became more calm, and the storm lessened its violence; the wind veered southward, and was once more favourable. Pissepotout cleared up with the weather. Some of the sails were unfurled, and the Rangoon resumed its most rapid speed. The passengers washed out their bedraggled clothes and felt they could eat again.

The time lost could not, however, be regained. Land was not signalled until five o’clock on the morning of the 6th; the steamer was due on the 5th. Philanderous Flogg was twenty-four hours behind-hand, and the Yokohama steamer would, of course, be missed.

The pilot went on board at six, and took his place on the bridge, to guide the Rangoon through the channels to the port of Hong Kong. Pissepotout longed to ask him if the steamer had left for Yokohama; but he dared not, for he wished to preserve the spark of hope, which still remained till the last moment. He had confided his anxiety to Filch who – the sly rascal – tried to console him by saying that Mr. Flogg would be in time if he took the next boat; but this only put Pissepotout in a passion.

Mr. Flogg, bolder than his servant, did not hesitate to approach the pilot, and tranquilly ask him if he knew when a steamer would leave Hong Kong for Yokohama.

“At high tide tomorrow morning,” answered the pilot.

“Ah!” said Mr. Flogg, without betraying any astonishment.

Pissepotout, who heard what passed, would willingly have embraced the pilot, while Filch would have been glad to twist his neck.

“What is the steamer’s name?” asked Mr. Flogg.

“The Carnatic.”

“Ought she not to have gone yesterday?”

“Yes, sir; but they had to repair one of her boilers, and so her departure was postponed till tomorrow.”

“Thank you,” returned Mr. Flogg, descending mathematically to the saloon.

Pissepotout clasped the pilot’s hand and shook it heartily in his delight, exclaiming, “Pilot, you are the best of good fellows!”

The pilot probably does not know to this day why his responses won him this enthusiastic greeting. He remounted the bridge, and guided the steamer through the flotilla of junks, tankers, and fishing boats which crowded the harbour of Hong Kong.

At one o’clock the Rangoon was at the quay, and the passengers were going ashore.

Chance had strangely favoured Philanderous Flogg, for had not the Carnatic been forced to lie over for repairing her boilers, she would have left on the 6th of November, and the passengers for Japan would have been obliged to await for a week the sailing of the next steamer. Mr. Flogg was, it is true, twenty-four hours behind his time; but this could not seriously imperil the remainder of his tour.

The steamer which crossed the Pacific from Yokohama to San Francisco made a direct connection with that from Hong Kong, and it could not sail until the latter reached Yokohama; and if Mr. Flogg was twenty-four hours late on reaching Yokohama, this time would no doubt be easily regained in the voyage of twenty-two days across the Pacific. He found himself, then, about twenty-four hours behind-hand, thirty-five days after leaving London.

The Carnatic was announced to leave Hong Kong at five the next morning. Mr. Flogg had sixteen hours in which to attend to his business there, which was to deposit Aorta safely with her wealthy relative.

On landing, he conducted her to a palanquin, in which they repaired to the Club Hotel. A room was engaged for the young woman, and Mr. Flogg, after seeing that she wanted for nothing, and that his corsets were loosened just enough to allow full perambulation, set out in search of her cousin, Jeejeeh. He instructed Pissepotout to remain at the hotel until his return, that Aorta might not be left entirely alone.

Mr. Flogg repaired to the Exchange, where, he did not doubt, every one would know so wealthy and considerable a personage as the Parsee merchant. Meeting a broker, he made the inquiry, to learn that Jeejeeh had left China two years before, and, retiring from business with an immense fortune, had taken up his residence in Europe – in Holland the broker thought, with the merchants of which country he had principally traded.

Philanderous Flogg returned to the hotel, begged a moment’s conversation with Aorta, and without more ado, apprised her that Jeejeeh was no longer at Hong Kong, but probably in Holland.

Aorta at first said nothing. She passed her hand across her forehead, and reflected a few moments.

Then, in her sweet, soft voice, she said: “What ought I to do, Mr. Flogg?”

“It is very simple,” responded the gentleman. “Go on with us to Europe.”

“But I cannot intrude…”

“You do not intrude, nor do you in the least embarrass my project. Pissepot-toto!”

“Monsieur.”

“Go to the Carnatic, and engage three cabins.”

Pissepotout, delighted that the young woman, who was very gracious to him, was going to continue the journey with them, trotted off at a brisk gait to obey his Master’s order.

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

Chapter XVII

Showing What Happened on the Voyage From Singapore to Hong Kong

The detective and Pissepotout met often on deck after this interview, though Filch was reserved, and did not attempt to induce his companion to divulge any more facts concerning Mr. Flogg. He caught a glimpse of that mysterious gentleman once or twice, promenading stiffly in his ever-changing array of wearable hardware; but Mr. Flogg usually confined himself to the cabin, where he kept Aorta company, or, according to his inveterate habit, took a hand at Grist.

Each of them spent their nights alone. The detective found himself alone in his room and stood stupidly in one spot, just within the doorway, to wait till morning. It would not rest him to lie down, and he could not close his eyes in case he missed something of great importance; so he remained all night staring at a little spider which was weaving its web in a corner of the compartment, just as if it were not one of the most wonderful rooms in the world. The Tin Gimp lay down on his bed from force of habit, for he remembered when he was made of living flesh; but not being able to sleep for the hunger pangs, he passed the night moving his armoured joints up and down to make sure they kept in good working order. Pissepotout would have preferred a bed of dried leaves back in the forest, and did not like being shut up in a room yet again; but he had too much sense to let this worry him, so he sprang upon the bed and rolled himself up like a cat, and snuffled himself asleep in a minute.

Pissepotout began very seriously to conjecture what strange chance kept Filch still on the route that his master was pursuing. It was really worth considering why this certainly very amiable and complacent person, whom he had first met at Suez, had then encountered on board the Mongolian Falcon, who disembarked at Bombay, which he announced as his destination, and now turned up so unexpectedly on the Rangoon, was following Mr. Flogg’s tracks step by step. He wondered that Filch might also be on a mission to see the Great Ooze, and what that might entail. Was he, like James Forster, also a Bitch, perhaps of the West End, on an errand for some secretive Master of his own? The man did not seem to carry himself in the manner of a valet or manservant of the dingy streets of London, or in the fey compliance of a Soho doorway denizen. If he had such a Master in the wings, Filch’s Master must have the most ascetic of needs to permit a self-possessed, mild and unpredictable wanderlust such as Filch to remain in employment under his roof.

What was Filch’s object? Pissepotout was ready to wager his Indian shoes – which he religiously preserved – that Filch would also leave Hong Kong at the same time with them, and probably on the same steamer.

Pissepotout might have cudgelled his brain for a century without hitting upon the real object which the detective had in view. He never could have imagined that Philanderous Flogg was being tracked as a robber around the globe.

But, as it is in canine nature to attempt the solution of every mystery, Pissepotout suddenly discovered an explanation of Filch’s movements, which was in truth far from unreasonable.

Filch, he thought, could only be an agent of Mr. Flogg’s friends at the Conform Club, sent to follow him up, and to ascertain that he really went round the world as had been agreed upon. Such an agreeable man would be easily swayed by the rascals of the London elite.

“It’s clear!” repeated the worthy servant to himself, proud of his shrewdness. “He’s a spy sent to keep us in view! That isn’t quite the thing, either, to be spying Mr. Flogg, who is so honourable a man! Ah, gentlemen of the Conform, this shall cost you dear!”

Pissepotout, enchanted with his discovery, resolved to say nothing to his master, lest he should be justly offended at this mistrust on the part of his adversaries. But he determined to chaff Filch, when he had the chance, with mysterious allusions, which, however, need not betray his real suspicions.

During the afternoon of Wednesday, 30th October, the Rangoon entered the Strait of Malacca, which separates the peninsula of that name from Sumatra. The mountainous and craggy islets intercepted the beauties of this noble island from the view of the travellers.

The Rangoon weighed anchor at Singapore the next day at four a.m., to receive coal, having gained half a day on the prescribed time of her arrival. Philanderous Flogg noted this gain in his journal, and then, accompanied by Aorta, who betrayed a desire for a walk on shore, disembarked.

Filch, who suspected Mr. Flogg’s every movement, followed them cautiously, without being himself perceived; while Pissepotout, laughing in his sleeve at Filch’s manoeuvres, went about his usual lap-dog errands.

The island of Singapore is not imposing in aspect, for there are no mountains; yet its appearance is not without attractions. It is a park chequered by pleasant highways and avenues. A handsome carriage, drawn by a sleek pair of New Holland horses, carried Philanderous Flogg and Aorta into the midst of rows of palms with brilliant foliage, and of clove-trees, whereof the cloves form the heart of a half-open flower. Pepper plants replaced the prickly hedges of European fields; sago-bushes, large ferns with gorgeous branches, varied the aspect of this tropical clime; while nutmeg-trees in full foliage filled the air with a penetrating perfume. Agile and grinning bands of monkeys skipped about in the trees, nor were tigers wanting in the jungles.

After a drive of two hours through the country, Aorta and Mr. Flogg returned to the town, which is a vast collection of heavy-looking, irregular houses, surrounded by charming gardens rich in tropical fruits and plants; and at ten o’clock they re-embarked, closely followed by the detective, who had kept them constantly in sight.

Pissepotout, who had been purchasing several dozen mangoes – a fruit as large as good-sized apples, of a dark-brown colour outside and a bright red within, and whose golden pulp, melting in the mouth, affords gourmands a delicious sensation – was waiting for them on deck. He was only too glad to offer some mangoes to Aorta, who thanked him very gracefully for them.

At eleven o’clock the Rangoon rode out of Singapore harbour, and in a few hours the high mountains of Malacca, with their forests, inhabited by the most beautifully-furred tigers in the world, were lost to view. Singapore is distant some thirteen hundred miles from the island of Hong Kong, which is a little English colony near the Chinese coast. Philanderous Flogg hoped to accomplish the journey in six days, so as to be in time for the steamer which would leave on the 6th of November for Yokohama, the principal Japanese port.

The Rangoon had a large quota of passengers, many of whom disembarked at Singapore, among them a number of Indians, Ceylonese, Chinamen, Malays, and Portuguese, mostly second-class travellers.

The weather, which had hitherto been fine, changed with the last quarter of the moon. The sea rolled heavily, and the wind at intervals rose almost to a storm as great as the storm that had pre-empted their journey on Saddle Row, but happily blew from the south-west, and thus aided the steamer’s progress. The captain as often as possible put up his sails, and under the double action of steam and sail the vessel made rapid progress along the coasts of Anam and Cochin China. Owing to the defective construction of the Rangoon, however, unusual precautions became necessary in unfavourable weather; but the loss of time which resulted from this cause, while it nearly drove Pissepotout out of his senses, did not seem to affect his master in the least.

Pissepotout blamed the captain, the engineer, and the crew, and consigned all who were connected with the ship to the land where the pepper grows. Perhaps the thought of the gas, which was remorselessly burning at his expense in Saddle Row, had something to do with his hot impatience.

“You are in a great hurry, then,” said Filch to him one day, “to reach Hong Kong?”

“A very great hurry!”

“Mr. Flogg, I suppose, is anxious to catch the steamer for Yokohama?”

“Terribly anxious.”

“You believe in this journey around the world, then?”

“Absolutely. Don’t you, Mr. Filch?”

“I? I don’t believe a word of it.”

“You’re a sly dog!” said Pissepotout, winking at him.

This expression rather disturbed Filch, without his knowing why. Had the French poodle guessed his real purpose? Or was he flirting with him? He knew not what to think.

But how could Pissepotout have discovered that he was a detective? Yet, in speaking as he did, the man evidently meant more than he expressed.

Pissepotout went still further the next day; he could not hold his tongue.

“Mr. Filch,” said he, in a bantering tone, “shall we be so unfortunate as to lose you when we get to Hong Kong?”

“Why,” responded Filch, a little embarrassed, “I don’t know; perhaps…”

“Ah, if you would only go on with us! An agent of the Peninsular Company, you know, can’t stop on the way! You were only going to Bombay, and here you are in China. America is not far off, and from America to Europe is only a step.”

Filch looked intently at his companion, whose countenance was as serene as possible, and laughed with him. But Pissepotout persisted in chaffing him by asking him if he made much by his present occupation. Perhaps he was the Bitch of one of Mr. Flogg’s partners at Grist.

“Yes, and no,” returned Filch; “there is good and bad luck in such things. But you must understand that I don’t travel at my own expense.”

“Oh, I am quite sure of that!” cried Pissepotout, laughing heartily. Yes. A man already in the employ of one of the members of the Conform could have quickly been mobilized in their pursuit. He wondered which of the players kept such a man as Filch, and what purpose he served when not deployed in social espionage. Perhaps the good friend of his own master, Flagellate, kept him for amusement. Or that Stiff-Upperlip – his tastes and habits were less private than Mr. Flogg’s, but maybe he used honesty as camouflage for his underhand ways…

Filch, fairly puzzled, descended to his cabin and gave himself up to his reflections, of which there were many, in the gilt-and-green framed mirrors of his opulent suite. He was evidently suspected; somehow or other, the Frenchman had found out that he was a detective. But had he told his master? What part was he playing in all this? Was he an accomplice or not? Was the game, then, up? Filch spent several hours turning these things over in his mind while he tried on many of the green gowns in his closets, sometimes thinking that all was lost, then persuading himself that Flogg was ignorant of his presence, and then undecided what course it was best to take.

Nevertheless, he preserved his coolness of mind, and at last resolved to deal plainly with Pissepotout. If he did not find it practicable to arrest Flogg at Hong Kong, and if Flogg made preparations to leave that last foothold of English territory, he, Filch, would tell Pissepotout all. Either the servant was the accomplice of his master, and in this case the master knew of his operations, and he should fail; or else the servant knew nothing about the robbery, and then his interest would be to abandon the robber.

Such was the situation between Filch and Pissepotout.

Meanwhile Philanderous Flogg moved about above them in the most majestic and unconscious indifference. He was passing methodically in his orbit around the world, regardless of the lesser stars which gravitated around him.

Yet there was nearby what the astronomers would call a disturbing star, which might have produced an agitation in this gentleman’s heart.

But no! The charms of Aorta failed to act, to Pissepotout’s great surprise; and the disturbances, if they existed, would have been more difficult to calculate than those of Uranus which led to the discovery of Neptune.

It was every day an increasing wonder to Pissepotout, who read in Aorta’s eyes the depths of her gratitude to his master. Philanderous Flogg, though brave and gallant, must be, he thought, quite heartless. As to the sentiment which this journey might have awakened in him, there was clearly no trace of such a thing; while poor Pissepotout existed in perpetual reveries. He noted only that his master requested still tighter restraints, and the occasional application of cayenne beneath. The loyal poodle grieved for his master’s resistance to pain, and was convinced; his master felt nothing, either through the skin, or through the emotions.

One day he was leaning on the railing of the engine-room, and was observing the engine, when a sudden pitch of the steamer threw the screw out of the water. The steam came hissing out of the valves; and this made Pissepotout indignant.

“The valves are not sufficiently charged!” he exclaimed. “We are not going. Oh, these English! If this was an American craft, we should blow up, perhaps, but we should at all events go faster! I would offer the thumbscrews to the engineers as motivation, if my master could survive an hour without them…”

Read an E-book Week, 3-9 March 2013*

read an e-book week

For Read an E-book Week, Smashwords authors were invited to discount their ebooks or make them free as a promotion. Three of mine were free with the promo code (RW100), including the novel of my previous blog serial, The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum.

*UPDATE: This promotion has now ended, but I’m sure there’ll be more in future!

The links to my books are:

The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/262618

Living Hell – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/56513

Death & The City: Heavy Duty Edition – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/55782

Also available at other e-book (and print) retailers.

Happy reading! 🙂 xxx

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

Chapter XVI:

In Which Filch Does Not Seem to Understand in the Least What is Said to Him…

The Rangoon – one of the Peninsular and Oriental Company’s boats plying in the Chinese and Japanese seas – was a screw steamer, built of iron, weighing about seventeen hundred and seventy tons, and with engines of four hundred horse-power. She was as fast, but not as well fitted up, as the Mongolian Falcon, and Aorta was not as comfortably provided for on board as Philanderous Flogg could have wished. However, the trip from Calcutta to Hong Kong only comprised some three thousand five hundred miles, occupying from ten to twelve days, and the young woman was not difficult to please. Indeed, Philanderous Flogg dedicated his waking hours to her entertainment.

During the first days of the journey Aorta became better acquainted with her protector, and constantly gave evidence of her deep gratitude for what he had done. The undead, much-corseted and restrained gentleman listened to her apparently with coldness, neither his voice nor his manner betraying the slightest emotion; but he seemed to be always on the watch that nothing should be wanting to Aorta’s own comfort. He visited her regularly each day at certain hours, not so much to talk himself, as to sit and hear her talk, and perhaps test his own powers of self-control. He treated her with the strictest politeness through his variety of gimp-masks and facial cages collected throughout the journey, but with the precision of an automaton, the rather restricted movements of which had been designed for this purpose.

Aorta did not quite know what to make of him, though Pissepotout had given her some hints of his master’s eccentricity, and made her smile by telling her of the wager which was sending him round the world. After all, she owed Philanderous Flogg her life, and she always regarded him through the exalting medium of her gratitude, and reassurance of him that she were quite comfortable in her trousseau of clothing he had already provided, and was not in need of excessive corsetry or bondage similar to his own. Although she displayed an admirable academic fascination for its construction and purpose, and the well-being and benefits afforded to the wearer.

Aorta confirmed the Parsee guide’s narrative of her touching history. She did, indeed, belong to the highest of the native races of India. She displayed the elegance and self-control of a model of the higher classes, one who would never require the insurance of shackles or restraints to conduct herself either in public or in private. Many of the Parsee merchants had made great fortunes by dealing in cotton; and one of them, Sir Jametsee Jeejeebhoy, was made a baronet by the English government. Aorta was a relative of this great man, and it was his cousin, Jeejeeh, whom she hoped to join at Hong Kong. Whether she would find a protector in him she could not tell; but Mr. Flogg essayed to calm her anxieties, and to assure her that everything would be mathematically – he used the very word – arranged. Aorta fastened her great eyes, “clear as the sacred lakes of the Himalaya,” upon him; but the intractable Flogg, as reserved as ever, did not seem at all inclined to throw himself into this lake. Particularly while his feet were bound as would do credit to the ancient surgeons of the Golden Lotus school of podiatric aesthetics.

The first few days of the voyage passed prosperously, amid favourable weather and propitious winds, and they soon came in sight of the great Andaman, the principal of the islands in the Bay of Bengal, with its picturesque Saddle Peak, two thousand four hundred feet high, looming above the waters. The steamer passed along near the shores, but the savage Papuans, who are in the lowest scale of humanity, but are not, as has been asserted, cannibals, did not make their appearance.

The panorama of the islands, as they steamed by them, was superb. Vast forests of palms, arecs, bamboo, teakwood, of the gigantic mimosa, and tree-like ferns covered the foreground, while behind, the graceful outlines of the mountains were traced against the sky; and along the coasts swarmed by thousands of the precious swallows whose nests furnish a luxurious dish to the tables of the Celestial Empire. There were many people – men, women, and children – walking about, and these were all dressed in green clothes and had greenish skins. They looked at Pissepotout and his strangely assorted company with wondering eyes, and the children all ran away and hid behind their mothers when they saw the zombie gimp Mr. Flogg; but no one spoke to them. Many shops stood in the streets, and Aorta saw that everything in them was green. Green candy and green pop corn were offered for sale, as well as green shoes, green hats, and green clothes of all sorts. At one place a man was selling green lemonade, and when the children bought it she could see that they paid for it with green pennies. The varied landscape afforded by the Andaman Islands was soon passed, however, and the Rangoon rapidly approached the Straits of Malacca, which gave access to the China seas.

What was detective Filch, so unluckily drawn on from country to country, doing all this while?

He had managed to embark on the Rangoon at Calcutta without being seen by Pissepotout, after leaving orders that, if the warrant should arrive, it should be forwarded to him at Hong Kong; and he hoped to conceal his presence to the end of the voyage. It would have been difficult to explain why he was on board without awakening Pissepotout’s suspicions, who thought him still at Bombay. But necessity impelled him, nevertheless, to renew his acquaintance with the worthy lap-dog, as will be seen.

All the detective’s hopes and wishes were now centred on Hong Kong; for the steamer’s stay at Singapore would be too brief to enable him to take any steps there. The arrest must be made at Hong Kong, or the robber would probably escape him for ever. Hong Kong was the last English ground on which he would set foot; beyond, China, Japan, and America offered to Flogg an almost certain refuge. If the warrant should at last make its appearance at Hong Kong, Filch could arrest him and give him into the hands of the local police, and there would be no further trouble. But beyond Hong Kong, a simple warrant would be of no avail; an extradition warrant would be necessary, and that would result in delays and obstacles, of which the rascal would take advantage to elude justice.

Filch thought over these probabilities during the long hours which he spent in his luxurious First Class cabin, and kept repeating to himself, “Now, either the warrant will be at Hong Kong, in which case I shall arrest my man, or it will not be there; and this time it is absolutely necessary that I should delay his departure. I have failed at Bombay, and I have failed at Calcutta; if I fail at Hong Kong, my reputation is lost: Cost what it may, I must succeed! But how shall I prevent his departure, if that should turn out to be my last resource?”

Filch made up his mind that, if worst came to worst, he would make a confidant of Pissepotout, and tell him what kind of a fellow his master really was. That Pissepotout was not Flogg’s accomplice, he was very certain. The servant, enlightened by his disclosure, and afraid of being himself implicated in the crime, would doubtless become an ally of the detective. But this method was a dangerous one, only to be employed when everything else had failed. A word from Pissepotout to his master would ruin all. The detective was therefore in a sore strait.

But suddenly a new idea struck him. The presence of Aorta on the Rangoon, in company with Philanderous Flogg, gave him new material for reflection.

Who was this woman? What combination of events had made her Flogg’s travelling companion? They had evidently met somewhere between Bombay and Calcutta; but where? Had they met accidentally, or had Flogg gone into the interior purposely in quest of this charming damsel? Filch was fairly puzzled. He asked himself whether there had not been a wicked elopement; and this idea so impressed itself upon his mind that he determined to make use of the supposed intrigue. Whether the young woman were already married or not, he would be able to create such difficulties for Mr. Flogg at Hong Kong that he could not escape by paying any amount of money.

But could he even wait till they reached Hong Kong? Flogg had an abominable way of jumping from one boat to another, and before anything could be effected, might get full under way again for Yokohama.

Filch decided that he must warn the English authorities, and signal the Rangoon before her arrival. This was easy to do, since the steamer stopped at Singapore, whence there is a telegraphic wire to Hong Kong.

He finally resolved, moreover, before acting more positively, to question the French poodle, Pissepotout. It would not be difficult to make him talk; and, as there was no time to lose, Filch prepared to make himself known.

It was now the 30th of October, and on the following day the Rangoon was due at Singapore.

Filch emerged from his cabin and went on deck. Pissepotout was promenading up and down in the forward part of the steamer, in his usual practise of undertaking his own walkies. The detective rushed forward with every appearance of extreme surprise, and exclaimed, “You here, on the Rangoon?

“What, Monsieur Filch, are you on board?” returned the really astonished Pissepotout, recognising his crony of the Mongolian Falcon. “Why, I left you at Bombay, and here you are, on the way to Hong Kong! Are you going round the world too?”

“No, no,” replied Filch; “I shall stop at Hong Kong – at least for some days.”

“Hum!” said Pissepotout, who seemed for an instant perplexed. “But how is it I have not seen you on board since we left Calcutta?”

“Oh, a trifle of sea-sickness – I’ve been staying in my berth. The Gulf of Bengal does not agree with me as well as the Indian Ocean. It is the sweetest little room in the world, with a soft comfortable bed that has sheets of green silk and a green velvet counterpane. There is a tiny fountain in the middle of the room, that shoots a spray of green perfume into the air, to fall back into a beautifully carved green marble basin. Beautiful green flowers stand in the windows, and there is a shelf with a row of little green books. When I had time to open these books I found them full of queer green pictures that made me laugh, they were so funny. In a wardrobe are many green dresses, made of silk and satin and velvet; and all of them fit me exactly. Which reminds me – and how is Mr. Flogg?”

“As well and as punctual as ever, not a day behind time! But, Monsieur Filch, you don’t know that we have a young lady with us.”

“A young lady?” replied the detective, not seeming to comprehend what was said. I have not seen a young lady in First Class. I hope her quarters are as well-appointed as mine.

Pissepotout thereupon recounted Aorta’s history, the affair at the Bombay pagoda, the purchase of the elephant for two thousand pounds, the rescue, the arrest, and sentence of the Calcutta court, and the restoration of Mr. Flogg and himself to liberty on bail. Filch, who was familiar with the last events, seemed to be equally ignorant of all that Pissepotout related; and the latter was charmed to find so interested a listener.

“But does your master propose to carry this young woman to Europe?”

“Not at all. We are simply going to place her under the protection of one of her relatives, a rich merchant at Hong Kong.”

“Nothing to be done there,” said Filch to himself, concealing his disappointment. “A glass of gin, Mr. Pissepotout?”

“Willingly, Monsieur Filch. We must at least have a friendly glass on board the Rangoon.”

Arm in paw, the reunited friends headed for the steamer’s bar.

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

Chapter XV:

In which the Bag of Banknotes Disgorges Some Thousands of Pounds More…

The train entered the station, and Pissepotout jumping out first, was followed by Mr. Flogg, who assisted his fair companion to descend. Philanderous Flogg intended to proceed at once to the Hong Kong steamer, in order to get Aorta comfortably settled for the voyage. He was unwilling to leave her while they were still on dangerous ground.

Just as he was leaving the station a policeman came up to him, and said, “Mr. Philanderous Flogg?”

“I am he.”

“Is this man your servant?” added the policeman, pointing to Pissepotout.

“Yes.”

“Be so good, both of you, as to follow me.”

Mr. Flogg betrayed no surprise whatever. The policeman was a representative of the law, and law is sacred to an Englishman. Pissepotout tried to reason about the matter, but the policeman tapped him with his stick, and Mr. Flogg made him a signal to obey.

“May this young lady go with us?” asked he.

“She may,” replied the policeman.

Mr. Flogg, Aorta, and Pissepotout were conducted to a palkigahri, a sort of four-wheeled carriage, drawn by two horses, in which they took their places and so they started on their way, and soon saw a beautiful green glow in the sky just before them. No one spoke during the twenty minutes which elapsed before they reached their destination. They first passed through the “black town,” with its narrow streets, its miserable, dirty huts, and squalid population; then through the “European town,” which presented a relief in its bright brick mansions, shaded by coconut-trees and bristling with masts, where, although it was early morning, elegantly dressed horsemen and handsome equipages were passing back and forth.

As they travelled on, the green glow became brighter and brighter, and it seemed that at last they were nearing the end of their journey. Yet it was a while before they came to the great wall that surrounded the City. It was high and thick and of a bright green color.

In front of them, and at the end of the road of yellow brick, was a big gate, all studded with emeralds that glittered so in the sun that even the painted eyes of the Scarecrow were dazzled by their brilliancy.

The carriage stopped before a modest-looking house, which, however, did not have the appearance of a private mansion.

There was a bell beside the gate, and the policeman pushed the button and they heard a silvery tinkle sound within. Then the big gate swung slowly open, and they all passed through and found themselves in a high arched room, the walls of which glistened with countless emeralds.

The policeman having requested his prisoners – for so, truly, they might be called – to descend, conducted them into a room with barred windows, and said: “You will appear before Judge Obadiah at half-past eight.”

He then retired, and closed the door.

“Why, we are prisoners!” exclaimed Pissepotout, falling into a chair.

Aorta, with an emotion she tried to conceal, said to Mr. Flogg: “Sir, you must leave me to my fate! It is on my account that you receive this treatment, it is for having saved me!”

Philanderous Flogg contented himself with saying that it was impossible. It was quite unlikely that he should be arrested for preventing a suttee. The complainants would not dare present themselves with such a charge. There was some mistake. Moreover, he would not, in any event, abandon Aorta, but would escort her to Hong Kong.

“But the steamer leaves at noon!” observed Pissepotout, nervously.

“We shall be on board by noon,” replied his master, placidly.

It was said so positively that Pissepotout could not help muttering to himself, “Parbleu that’s certain! Before noon we shall be on board.” But he was by no means reassured.

At half-past eight the door opened, the policeman appeared, and, requesting them to follow him, led the way to an adjoining hall. It was evidently a court-room, and a crowd of Europeans and natives already occupied the rear of the apartment.

Before them stood a little man about the same size as the Munchlings. He was clothed all in green, from his head to his feet, and even his skin was of a greenish tint. At his side was a large green box.

When he saw Philanderous Flogg and his companions the man asked, “What do you wish on your travels?”

“We want to see the Great Ooze,” said Mr. Flogg.

The man was so surprised at this answer that he sat down to think it over.

“It has been many years since anyone asked me about Ooze,” he said, shaking his head in perplexity. “He is powerful and terrible, and if you come on an idle or foolish errand to bother the wise reflections of the Great Wizard, he might be angry and destroy you all in an instant.”

“But it is not a foolish errand, nor an idle one,” replied Pissepotout; “it is important. And we have been told that Ooze is a good Wizard.”

“So he is,” said the green man, “and he rules the Emmannuelle City wisely and well. But to those who are not honest, or who approach him from curiosity, he is most terrible, and few have ever dared ask to see his face. But I am merely the Guardian of the Courts, and since you wish to see the Great Ooze I must first take you before the judge. But first you must put on the spectacles.”

“Why?” asked Aorta.

“Because if you did not wear spectacles the brightness and glory of the justice system would blind you. Even those who live here in the City must wear spectacles night and day. They are all locked on, for it was so ordered when the court house was first built, and I have the only key that will unlock them.”

He opened the big box, and Pissepotout saw that it was filled with spectacles of every size and shape. All of them had green glasses in them. The Guardian of the Courts found a pair that would just fit Philanderous Flogg, and put them over his eyes. There were two golden bands fastened to them that passed around the back of his gimp-mask, where they were locked together by a little key that was at the end of a chain the Guardian of the Courts wore around his neck. When they were on, Philanderous Flogg could not take them off had he wished, but of course he did not wish to be blinded by the glare of the justice system, so he said nothing.

Then the green man fitted spectacles for Pissepotout and Aorta; and all were locked fast with the key.

Mr. Flogg and his two companions took their places on a bench opposite the desks of the magistrate and his clerk. Immediately after, Judge Obadiah, a fat, round man, followed by the clerk, entered. He proceeded to take down a wig which was hanging on a nail, and put it hurriedly on his head.

“The first case,” said he. Then, putting his hand to his head, he exclaimed, “Heh! This is not my wig!”

“No, your worship,” returned the clerk, “it is mine.”

“My dear Mr. Oysterpuff, how can a judge give a wise sentence in a clerk’s wig?”

The wigs were exchanged.

Pissepotout was getting nervous, for the hands on the face of the big clock over the judge seemed to go around with terrible rapidity.

“The first case,” repeated Judge Obadiah.

“Philanderous Flogg?” demanded Oysterpuff.

“I am here,” replied Mr. Flogg.

“Pissepotout?”

“Present,” responded Pissepotout.

“Good,” said the judge. “You have been looked for, prisoners, for two days on the trains from Bombay.”

“But of what are we accused?” asked Pissepotout, impatiently.

“You are about to be informed.”

“I am an English subject, sir,” said Mr. Flogg, “and I have the right…”

“Have you been ill-treated?”

“Not at all.”

“Very well; let the complainants come in.”

A door was swung open by order of the judge, and three Indian priests entered.

“That’s it,” muttered Pissepotout; “these are the rogues who were going to burn our young lady.”

The priests took their places in front of the judge, and the clerk proceeded to read in a loud voice a complaint of sacrilege against Philanderous Flogg and his servant, who were accused of having violated a place held consecrated by the Brahmin religion.

“You hear the charge?” asked the judge.

“Yes, sir,” replied Mr. Flogg, consulting his watch, “and I admit it.”

“You admit it?”

“I admit it, and I wish to hear these priests admit, in their turn, what they were going to do at the pagoda of Pillaji.”

The priests looked at each other; they did not seem to understand what was said.

“Yes,” cried Pissepotout, warmly; “at the pagoda of Pillaji, where they were on the point of burning their victim.”

The judge stared with astonishment, and the priests were stupefied.

“What victim?” said Judge Obadiah. “Burn whom? In Bombay itself?”

“Bombay?” cried Pissepotout.

“Certainly. We are not talking of the pagoda of Pillaji, but of the pagoda of Malabar Hill, at Bombay.”

“And as a proof,” added the clerk, “here are the desecrator’s very shoes, which he left behind him.”

Whereupon he placed a pair of shoes on his desk.

“My shoes!” cried Pissepotout, in his surprise permitting this imprudent exclamation to escape him.

The confusion of master and man, who had quite forgotten the affair at Bombay, for which they were now detained at Calcutta, may be imagined.

Filch the detective, had foreseen the advantage which Pissepotout’s escapade gave him, and, delaying his departure for twelve hours, had consulted the priests of Malabar Hill. Knowing that the English authorities dealt very severely with this kind of misdemeanour, he promised them a goodly sum in damages, and sent them forward to Calcutta by the next train. Owing to the delay caused by the rescue of the young widow, Filch and the priests reached the Indian capital before Mr. Flogg and his servant, the magistrates having been already warned by a dispatch to arrest them should they arrive. Filch’s disappointment when he learned that Philanderous Flogg had not made his appearance in Calcutta may be imagined. He made up his mind that the robber had stopped somewhere on the route and taken refuge in the southern provinces. For twenty-four hours Filch watched the station with feverish anxiety; at last he was rewarded by seeing Mr. Flogg and Pissepotout arrive, accompanied by a young woman, whose presence he was wholly at a loss to explain. He hastened for a policeman; and this was how the party came to be arrested and brought before Judge Obadiah.

Had Pissepotout been a little less preoccupied, he would have espied the detective ensconced in a corner of the court-room, watching the proceedings with an interest easily understood; for the warrant had failed to reach him at Calcutta, as it had done at Bombay and Suez.

Judge Obadiah had unfortunately caught Pissepotout’s rash exclamation, which the poor fellow would have given the world to recall.

“The facts are admitted?” asked the judge.

“Admitted,” replied Mr. Flogg, coldly.

“Inasmuch,” resumed the judge, “as the English law protects equally and sternly the religions of the Indian people, and as the man Pissepotout has admitted that he violated the sacred pagoda of Malabar Hill, at Bombay, on the 20th of October, I condemn the said Pissepotout to imprisonment for fifteen days and a fine of three hundred pounds.”

“Three hundred pounds!” cried Pissepotout, startled at the largeness of the sum.

“Silence!” shouted the constable.

“And inasmuch,” continued the judge, “as it is not proved that the act was not done by the connivance of the master with the servant, and as the master in any case must be held responsible for the acts of his paid servant, I condemn Philanderous Flogg to a week’s imprisonment and a fine of one hundred and fifty pounds.”

Filch rubbed his hands softly with satisfaction; if Philanderous Flogg could be detained in Calcutta a week, it would be more than time for the warrant to arrive. Pissepotout was stupefied. This sentence ruined his master. A wager of twenty thousand pounds lost, because he, like a precious fool, had gone into that abominable pagoda!

Philanderous Flogg, as self-composed as if the judgment did not in the least concern him, did not even lift his eyebrows while it was being pronounced. Just as the clerk was calling the next case, he rose, and said, “I offer bail.”

“You have that right,” returned the judge.

Filch’s blood ran cold, but he resumed his composure when he heard the judge announce that the bail required for each prisoner would be one thousand pounds.

“I will pay it at once,” said Mr. Flogg, taking a roll of bank-bills from the carpet-bag, which Pissepotout had by him, and placing them on the clerk’s desk.

“This sum will be restored to you upon your release from prison,” said the judge. “Meanwhile, you are liberated on bail.”

“Come!” said Philanderous Flogg to his servant.

“But let them at least give me back my shoes!” cried Pissepotout angrily.

“…Ah, these are pretty dear shoes!” he muttered, as they were handed to him. “More than a thousand pounds apiece; besides, they pinch my feet. Not nearly so comfortable as these silver-buckled ones which were James Forster’s, the Bitch of the Beast.”

Mr. Flogg, offering his arm to Aorta, then departed, followed by the crestfallen Pissepotout.

A soldier with green whiskers led them through the corridors until they reached the room where the Guardian of the Courts lived. This officer unlocked their spectacles to put them back in his great box, and then he politely opened the gate for our friends.

Filch still nourished hopes that the robber would not, after all, leave the two thousand pounds behind him, but would decide to serve out his week in jail, and issued forth on Mr. Flogg’s traces. That gentleman took a carriage, and the party were soon landed on one of the quays.

The Rangoon was moored half a mile off in the harbour, its signal of departure hoisted at the mast-head. Eleven o’clock was striking; Mr. Flogg was an hour in advance of time. Filch saw them leave the carriage and push off in a boat for the steamer, and stamped his feet with disappointment.

“The rascal is off, after all!” he exclaimed. “Two thousand pounds sacrificed! He’s as prodigal as a thief! I’ll follow him to the end of the world if necessary; but, at the rate he is going on, the stolen money will soon be exhausted.”

The detective was not far wrong in making this conjecture. Since leaving London, what with travelling expenses, bribes, the purchase of the elephant, bails, and fines, Mr. Flogg had already spent more than five thousand pounds on the way, and the percentage of the sum recovered from the bank robber promised to the detectives, was rapidly diminishing.

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.”