Around the World in Eighty Days Yeller Brick Road – Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter XXIII

IN WHICH PISSEPOTOUT’S NOSE BECOMES OUTRAGEOUSLY LONG

The next morning poor, jaded, famished Pissepotout said to himself that he must get something to eat at all hazards, and the sooner he did so the better. He might, indeed, sell his watch or his silver-buckled shoes; but he would have starved first. Now or never he must use the strong, if not melodious voice which nature had bestowed upon him. He knew several French and English songs, and resolved to try them upon the Japanese, who must be lovers of music, since they were for ever beating and pounding on their cymbals, tam-tams, husbands, and tambourines, and could not but appreciate European talent.

It was, perhaps, rather early in the morning to get up a concert, and the audience prematurely aroused from their slumbers might not possibly pay their entertainer with coin bearing the Mikado’s features. Pissepotout therefore decided to wait several hours; and, as he was sauntering along, it occurred to him that he would seem rather too well dressed for a wandering artist. The idea struck him to change his garments for clothes more in harmony with his project; by which he might also get a little money to satisfy the immediate cravings of hunger. The resolution taken, it remained to carry it out.

It was only after a long search that Pissepotout discovered a native dealer in old clothes, to whom he applied for an exchange. The man liked the European costume, and had only one other dress, but that happened to be clean and was hanging on a peg beside his bed. It was gingham, with checks of white and blue; and although the blue was somewhat faded with many washings, it was still a pretty frock. The poodle washed himself carefully, dressed himself in the clean gingham, and ere long Pissepotout issued from the shop also fully accoutred in an old Japanese coat, and a sort of one-sided turban, faded with long use. A few small pieces of silver, moreover, jingled in his pocket.

“Good!” thought he. “I will imagine I am at the Carnival!”

His first care, after being thus ‘Japanesed’ was to fill the void in his belly.

Presently he came to a house rather larger than the rest. On the green terrace before it many men and women were dancing. Five little fiddlers played as loudly as possible, and the people were laughing and singing, while a big table nearby was loaded with delicious fruits and nuts, pies and cakes, and many other good things to eat.

The people greeted Pissepotout kindly, and invited him to breakfast with them; for this was the tea-house of one of the richest men in the city, and his servants were gathered with him to celebrate their freedom from the bondage of yet another wicked bitch, who had been the tyrant of their household. A bonfire was burning merrily in the yard.

Pissepotout entered the tea-house, of modest appearance within, and, upon half a bird and a little rice, to breakfast like a man for whom dinner was as yet a problem to be solved. He ate with a hearty appetite and was waited upon by the rich proprietor himself, whose name was Boku.

“Now,” thought the poodle, when he had eaten to his heart’s content, “I mustn’t lose my head. I can’t sell this costume again for one still more Japanese. I must consider how to leave this country of the Sun, of which I shall not retain the most delightful of memories, as quickly as possible.”

Then he sat upon a settee and watched the people dance.

When Boku saw his silver-buckled shoes, he said: “You must be a great butler.”

“Why?” asked the dogsbody.

“Because you wear silver-buckled shoes and have also killed a Wicked Bitch. Besides, you have white in your frock, and only chefs and butlers wear white.”

“My dress is blue and white checked,” said Pissepotout, smoothing out the wrinkles in it.

“It is kind of you to wear that,” said Boku. “Blue is the colour of the Munchlings, who live in servitude, and white is the hygienic colour. So we know you are a friendly butler. If you were to stay in our city now that my wicked Bitch is dead, we know that you would be a very suitable candidate for our new valet and butler. The staff would accept no less a good person than you.”

Pissepotout did not know what to say to this, for all the people seemed to think him a most highly-qualified manservant, and he knew very well he was only an ordinary little French poodle who had come by the chance of a steamer into a strange land.

When he had tired from watching the dancing, Boku led him into the house, where he gave him a room with a pretty bed in it. The sheets were made of blue cloth, and Pissepotout slept soundly in them until later that morning.

“How far is it to the Emmannuelle City?” the poodle asked.

“I do not know,” answered Boku gravely. “For I have never been there. It is better for people to keep away from Ooze, unless they have business with him. But it is a long way to the Emmannuelle City, and it will take you many days. The country there is rich and pleasant, but you must pass through rough and dangerous places before you reach the end of your journey.”

This worried Pissepotout a little, but he knew that only the Great Ooze could help him get to Cannes again, so he bravely resolved not to turn back.

He bade his new friends good-bye, and again started along the road.

It occurred to him to visit the steamers which were about to leave for America. He would offer himself as a cook or servant, in payment of his passage and meals. Once at San Francisco, he would find some means of going on. The difficulty was, how to traverse the four thousand seven hundred miles of the Pacific which lay between Japan and the New World, where hopefully the Emmannuelle City would be found.

Pissepotout was not the pup to let an idea go begging, and directed his steps towards the docks. But, as he approached them, his project, which at first had seemed so simple, began to grow more and more formidable to his mind. What need would they have of a cook or servant on an American steamer, and what confidence would they put in him, dressed as he was? What references could he give?

As he was reflecting in this wisdom, his eyes fell upon an immense placard, which a sort of clown, although not a clown made of china this time, was carrying through the streets. This placard, which was in English, read as follows:

ACROBATIC JAPANESE TROUPE

HONOURABLE WILLIAM BATULCAR

PROPRIETOR

LAST REPRESENTATIONS

PRIOR TO THEIR DEPARTURE TO THE UNITED STATES,

OF THE LONG NOSES! LONG NOSES

UNDER THE DIRECT PATRONAGE OF THE GOD TINGOU!

GREAT ATTRACTION!

“The United States!” said Pissepotout. “That’s just what I want!”

He followed the clown, and soon found himself once more in the Japanese quarter. A quarter of an hour later he stopped before a large cabin, adorned with several clusters of streamers, the exterior walls of which were designed to represent in violent colours and without perspective, a company of jugglers.

This was the Honourable William Batulcar’s establishment. That gentleman was akin to Barnum, the director of a troupe of mountebanks, jugglers, clowns, acrobats, equilibrists, and gymnasts, who, according to the placard, was giving his last performances before leaving the Empire of the Sun for the States of the Union.

Pissepotout entered, and asked for Mr. Batulcar, who straight away appeared in person. Pissepotout was relieved, and thankfully not on the rug. A live person was just who he was hoping to see.

“What do you want?” said the proprietor to Pissepotout, whom he at first took for a native.

“Would you like a servant, sir?” asked Pissepotout.

“A servant!” cried Mr. Batulcar, caressing the thick grey beard, which hung from his chin, and also elsewhere about his hirsute frame. “I already have two who are obedient and faithful, have never left me, and serve me for their nourishment – and here they are,” added he, holding out his two robust arms for inspection, furrowed with veins as large as the strings of a double bass. “See? You are privileged. Not everyone gets a free pass to the gun show.”

Pissepotout was crestfallen. “So I can be of no use to you?”

“None.”

“The devil! I should so like to cross the Pacific!”

“Aha!” said the Honourable Mr. Batulcar. “An immigrant! You are no more a Japanese than I am a monkey! Although it is certain, I have sometimes been mistaken for a gorilla in a dark alley… Who are you, dressed up in that way?”

“A dogsbody dresses as he can.”

“That is so. You are a French poodle, aren’t you?”

“Yes; a Parisian of Paris.”

“Then you ought to know how to make grimaces?”

“Why,” replied Pissepotout, a little vexed that his nationality should cause this question. “We French know how to make grimaces, of course. Have you not smelled our cheeses? But we are no better at it than the Americans.”

“True. You only have to smell their stockings. Well, I can’t take you on as a servant, but I can as a clown. You see, my friend, in France they exhibit foreign clowns, and in foreign parts, French clowns.”

“Ah!”

“You are pretty strong, eh?”

“Especially after a good meal.”

“And you can sing?”

“Yes,” returned Pissepotout, who had formerly been wont to sing in the streets, usually for his freedom.

“But can you sing standing on your head, with a top spinning on your left foot, and a sabre balanced on your right? While reciting Shakespeare, and playing the harmonica with your buttocks?”

“Humph! I think so,” replied Pissepotout, recalling the exercises of his younger days. And those flatulent arias that served as a warm-up act at the Moulin Rouge would serve him well, it seemed.

“Well, that’s good enough for me,” said the Honourable William Batulcar. “Most Japanese start on the saki at breakfast-time. They are easily entertained, those that stay awake.”

Pissepotout had at last found something to do. He was engaged to act in the celebrated Japanese troupe. It was not a very dignified position, but within a week he would be on his way to San Francisco. And without the embarrassment of having to formulate his apology to Mr. Flogg too soon.

The performance, so noisily announced by the Honourable Mr. Batulcar, was to commence at three o’clock, and soon the deafening instruments of a Japanese orchestra resounded at the door.

Pissepotout, though he had not been able to study or rehearse a part for his extended talents yet, was designated to lend the aid of his sturdy shoulders in the great exhibition of the “human pyramid,” executed by the Long Noses of the God Tingou. This “great attraction” was to close the performance, and was a simple enough task for such a clever poodle that any pup could have taken it on. There was no potential for failure or embarrassment.

Before three o’clock, the large shed was invaded by the spectators, comprising Europeans and natives, Chinese and Japanese, men, women and children, who precipitated themselves upon the narrow benches and into the boxes opposite the stage. The musicians took up a position inside, and were vigorously performing on their gongs, tam-tams, flutes, bones, tambourines, organs, and immense drums.

The performance was much like all acrobatic displays; but it must be confessed that the Japanese are the foremost equilibrists in the world.

One, with a fan and some bits of paper, performed the graceful trick of the butterflies and the flowers; another traced in the air, with the odorous smoke of his pipe, a series of blue words, which composed a compliment to the audience; while a third juggled with some lighted candles, which he extinguished successively as they passed his lips, and relit again without interrupting his trickery for an instant. Another reproduced the most singular combinations with a spinning-top; in his hands the revolving tops seemed to be animated with a life of their own in their interminable whirling; they ran over pipe-stems, the edges of sabres, wires and even hairs stretched across the stage; they turned around on the edges of large glasses, crossed bamboo ladders, dispersed into all the corners, and produced strange musical effects by the combination of their various pitches of tone. The jugglers tossed them in the air, threw them like shuttlecocks with wooden battledores, and yet they kept on spinning; they put them into their pockets, and took them out still whirling as before.

It is useless to describe the astonishing performances of the acrobats and gymnasts. Their turning on ladders, poles, balls, barrels, etc, was executed with wonderful precision (quite unlike the ability of the unworthy author to depict anything so cultured with sufficient justice).

But the principal attraction was the exhibition of the Long Noses, a show to which Europe is as yet a stranger.

The Long Noses form a peculiar company, under the direct patronage of the god Tingou. Attired after the fashion of the Middle Ages, they bore upon their shoulders a splendid pair of wings; but what especially distinguished them was the long noses which were fastened to their faces, and the uses which they made of them. These noses were made of bamboo, and were five, six, and even ten feet long, some straight, others curved, some ribboned, and some having imitation warts upon them. It was upon these appendages, fixed tightly on their real noses, that they performed their gymnastic exercises. A dozen of these sectaries of Tingou lay flat upon their backs, while others, dressed to represent lightning-rods, came and frolicked on their noses, jumping from one to another, and performing the most skilful leaps and somersaults – the meaning of which was a mystery to all but the most theologically enlightened. A small boy, who bounced in his seat among the audience, shouting “Pinocchio, Pinocchio!” had to be quieted with a large ball of cotton-candy.

As a last scene, a “human pyramid” had been announced, in which fifty Long Noses were to represent the Car of Juggernaut. But, instead of forming a pyramid by mounting each other’s shoulders, the artists were to group themselves on top of the noses. It happened that the performer who had hitherto formed the base of the Car had quitted the troupe on maternity leave, and as, to fill this part, only strength and adroitness were necessary, Pissepotout had been chosen to take their place.

The poor fellow really felt sad when – melancholy reminiscence of his youth – he donned his costume, adorned with multi-coloured wings, and fastened to his natural feature a false nose six feet long. But he cheered up when he thought that this nose was winning him something to eat.

He went upon the stage, and took his place beside the rest who were to compose the base of the Car of Juggernaut. They all stretched themselves on the floor, their noses pointing to the ceiling. A second group of artists disposed themselves on these long appendages, then a third above these, then a fourth, until a human monument reaching to the very cornices of the theatre soon arose on top of the noses.

This elicited loud applause, in the midst of which the orchestra was just striking up a deafening air – when suddenly the pyramid tottered, the balance was lost, one of the lower noses vanished from the pyramid, and the human monument was shattered like a castle built of cards!

It was Pissepotout’s fault. A weakness he had not anticipated had entered the equation.

Abandoning his position, clearing the footlights without the aid of his wings, and, clambering up to the right-hand gallery, he fell at the feet of one of the spectators, his tail between his legs, crying: “Ah, my master! My master!”

“You are here?”

“Myself, I am indeed, Master.”

“Very well; then let us go to the steamer, young man! My corsets and bondages are chafing terribly, and I have a new stock of liniment which needs application.”

Mr. Flogg, Aorta, and Pissepotout passed through the lobby of the theatre to the outside, where they encountered the Honourable Mr. Batulcar, furious with rage. He demanded damages for the “breakage” of the pyramid; and Philanderous Flogg appeased him by giving him a handful of banknotes.

At half-past six, the very hour of departure, Mr. Flogg and Aorta, followed by Pissepotout, who in his hurry had retained his wings, and nose six feet long, stepped upon the American steamer.

To Ooze!” Pissepotout cried. “Onward!”

His relief this time was obvious, all over the clean deck.

Around the World in Eighty Days Yeller Brick Road – Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter XXII

IN WHICH PISSEPOTOUT FINDS OUT THAT, EVEN AT THE ANTIPODES,
IT IS CONVENIENT TO HAVE SOME MONEY IN ONE’S POCKET

The Carnatic, setting sail from Hong Kong at half-past six on the 7th of November, directed her course at full steam towards Japan. She carried a large cargo and a well-filled cabin of passengers. Two state-rooms in the rear were, however, unoccupied – those which had been engaged by Philanderous Flogg. The crew, upon discovering the unexplained vacancy, deployed themselves in much recreational rumpus within the larger of the two apartments (involving vast consumption of rum, and hitherto unknown and uncivilised variations on hands of Grist).

The next day a passenger with a half-stupefied eye, staggering gait, and disordered fur, was seen to emerge from the second cabin, and to totter to a seat on deck. One would almost think that the poorly creature had lost sleep along with the crew – but he had not.

It was Pissepotout; and what had happened to him was as follows:

Shortly after Filch left the opium den, two waiters had lifted the unconscious Pissepotout, and had carried him to the bed reserved for the smokers. Three hours later, pursued even in his dreams by an antlered stag wearing gaiters shouting ‘Benton!’ the poor fellow awoke, and struggled against the stupefying influence of the narcotic. The thought of a duty unfulfilled shook off his torpor, and he hurried from the abode of drunkenness.

Staggering and holding himself up by keeping against the walls, falling down and creeping up again, and irresistibly impelled by a kind of instinct, he kept crying out, “The Carnatic! The Carnatic!” especially when an elderly gentlewoman match-seller set about him with her walking-stick in an alleyway, calling him a recurring beast of the worst persuasion.

The steamer lay puffing alongside the quay, on the point of starting. Pissepotout had but a few steps to go; and, rushing upon the plank, he crossed it, and fell unconscious on the deck, just as the Carnatic was moving off. Several sailors, who were evidently accustomed to this sort of scene, carried the poor poodle down into the second vacant cabin, and Pissepotout did not wake until they were one hundred and fifty miles away from China.

Thus, he found himself the next morning on the deck of the Carnatic, and eagerly inhaling the exhilarating sea-breeze. The pure air sobered him. He began to collect his senses, which he found a difficult task, some of them apparently having abandoned him permanently; but at last he recalled the events of the evening before, Filch’s revelation, and the opium-house.

“It is evident,” said he to himself. “I have been abominably drunk! What will Mr. Flogg say? At least I have not missed the steamer, which is the most important thing.”

Then, as Filch occurred to him: “As for that rascal, I hope we are well rid of him, and that he has not dared, as he proposed, to follow us on board the Carnatic. A detective on the track of Mr. Flogg, accused of robbing the Bank of England! Pshaw! Mr. Flogg is no more a robber than I am a murderer.”

Should he divulge Filch’s real errand to his master? Would it do to tell the part the detective was playing? Would it not be better to wait until Mr. Flogg reached London again, and then impart to him that an agent of the Metropolitan Police had been following him round the world, and have a good laugh over it? No doubt; at least, it was worth considering. The first thing to do was to find Mr. Flogg, and apologise for his singular behaviour.

Pissepotout got up and proceeded, as well as he could with the rolling of the steamer, to the after-deck. He saw no-one who resembled either his master or Aorta.

“Good!” muttered he; “Aorta has not arisen yet, and Mr. Flogg has probably found some partners at Grist.”

He descended to the saloon. Mr. Flogg was not there. Pissepotout had only, however, to ask the purser the number of his master’s state-room. The purser replied that he did not know any passenger by the name of Flogg, and that the state-room was closed for necessary cleaning, following a mystery rumpus of the most rowdy proportions.

“I beg your pardon,” said Pissepotout persistently. “He is a tall gentleman, quiet, and not very talkative, and has with him a young lady… not likely to have engaged in any rowdy rumping…”

“There is no young lady on board,” interrupted the purser. “Here is a list of the passengers; you may see for yourself.”

Pissepotout scanned the list, but his master’s name was not upon it. All at once an idea struck him.

“Ah! Am I on the Carnatic?”

“Yes.”

“On the way to Yokohama?”

“Certainly.”

Pissepotout had for an instant feared that he was on the wrong boat; but, though he was really on the Carnatic, his master was not there.

He fell thunderstruck on a seat. He saw it all now. He remembered that the time of sailing had been changed, that he should have informed his master of that fact, and that he had not done so. It was his fault, then, that Mr. Flogg and Aorta had missed the steamer.

Yes, but it was still more the fault of the traitor who, in order to separate him from his master, and detain the latter at Hong Kong, had inveigled him into getting drunk! He now saw the detective’s trick; and at this moment Mr. Flogg was certainly ruined, his bet was lost, and he himself perhaps arrested and imprisoned! At this thought Pissepotout tore his fur and whiskers. Ah, if Filch ever came within his reach, what a settling of accounts there would be!

After his first depression, Pissepotout became calmer, and began to study his situation. It was certainly not an enviable one. He found himself on the way to Japan, and what should he do when he got there? His pocket was empty; he had not a solitary shilling, not so much as a penny. His passage had fortunately been paid for in advance; and he had five or six days in which to decide upon his future course. He fell to at meals with an appetite, and ate for Mr. Flogg, Aorta, and himself. He helped himself as generously as if Japan were a desert, where nothing to eat was to be found.

At dawn on the 13th, the Carnatic entered the port of Yokohama. This is an important port of call in the Pacific, where all the mail-steamers, and those carrying travellers between North America, China, Japan, and the Oriental islands put in. It is situated in the bay of Yeddo, and at but a short distance from that second capital of the Japanese Empire, and the residence of the Tycoon, the civil Emperor, before the Mikado, the spiritual Emperor, absorbed his office in his own. The Carnatic anchored at the quay near the custom-house, in the midst of a crowd of ships bearing the flags of all nations.

Pissepotout went timidly ashore on this so curious territory of the Sons of the Sun. He had nothing better to do than, taking chance for his guide, to wander aimlessly through the streets of Yokohama. He found himself at first in a thoroughly European quarter, the houses having low fronts, and being adorned with verandas, beneath which he caught glimpses of neat peristyles. This quarter occupied, with its streets, squares, docks, and warehouses, all the space between the “promontory of the Treaty” and the river. Here, as at Hong Kong and Calcutta, were mixed crowds of all races, Americans and English, Chinamen and Dutchmen, mostly merchants ready to buy or sell anything. The Frenchie felt himself as much alone among them as if he had dropped down in the midst of the Hottentots.

He had, at least, one resource – to call on the French and English consuls at Yokohama for assistance. But he shrank from telling the story of his adventures, intimately connected as it was with that of his master; and, before doing so, he determined to exhaust all other means of aid. As chance did not favour him in the European quarter, he penetrated that inhabited by the native Japanese, determined, if necessary, to push on to Yeddo.

Most curiously, regarding the foreshadowing of his earlier dream, the Japanese quarter of Yokohama is called Benten, after the goddess of the sea, who is worshipped on the islands nearby. There Pissepotout beheld beautiful fir and cedar groves, sacred gates of a singular architecture, bridges half hid in the midst of bamboos and reeds, temples shaded by immense cedar-trees, holy retreats which sheltered Buddhist priests and sectaries of Confucius, and interminable streets, where a perfect harvest of rose-tinted and red-cheeked children gathered, who looked as if they had been cut out of Japanese screens. The happy children were playing in the midst of short-legged poodles and yellowish cats, none of whom Pissepotout took any instant fancy to. More thankfully, no imperialist stags in gaiters appeared, spoiling for a fisticuffs, as in his nightmare.

The streets were crowded with people. Priests were passing in processions, beating their traditional tambourines; police and custom-house officers with pointed hats encrusted with lac and carrying two sabres hung to their waists; soldiers, clad in blue cotton with white stripes, and bearing guns; the Mikado’s guards, enveloped in silken doublets, hauberks and coats of mail; and numbers of military folk of all ranks – for the military profession is as much respected in Japan as it is despised in China – went hither and thither in groups and pairs.

Pissepotout saw, too, begging friars, long-robed pilgrims, and simple civilians, with their warped and jet-black hair, big heads, long busts, slender legs, short stature, and complexions varying from copper-colour to a dead white, but never yellow, unlike the Chinese, from whom the Japanese widely differ. He did not fail to observe the curious equipages – carriages and palanquins, barrows supplied with sails, and litters made of bamboo; nor the women – whom in his fickle mind he thought not especially handsome – who took little steps with their dainty feet, whereon they wore canvas shoes, straw sandals, and clogs of worked wood, and who displayed tight-looking eyes, flat chests, teeth fashionably blackened, and gowns crossed with silken scarfs, tied in an enormous knot behind an ornamental bustle, which the modern Parisian ladies seem to have borrowed from the dames of Japan.

Pissepotout wandered for several hours in the midst of this motley crowd, looking in at the windows of the rich and curious shops, the jewellery establishments glittering with quaint Japanese ornaments, the restaurants decked with streamers and banners, the tea-houses, where the odorous beverage was being drunk with saki, a liquor concocted from the fermentation of rice, and the comfortable smoking-houses, where they were puffing, not opium, which is almost unknown in Japan, but a very fine, stringy tobacco.

He went on until he found himself in the fields, in the midst of vast rice plantations. There he saw dazzling camellias expanding themselves, with flowers which were giving forth their last colours and perfumes, not on bushes, but on trees, and within bamboo enclosures, cherry, plum, and apple trees, which the Japanese cultivate rather for their blossoms than their fruit, and which queerly-fashioned, grinning scarecrows in blue hats and boots protected from the sparrows, pigeons, ravens, and other voracious birds. On the branches of the cedars were perched large eagles; amid the foliage of the weeping willows were herons, solemnly standing on one leg; and on every hand were crows, ducks, hawks, wild birds, and a multitude of cranes, which the Japanese consider sacred, and which to their minds symbolise long life and prosperity.

While Pissepotout was looking earnestly into the queer, painted face of the nearest Scarecrow, he was surprised to see one of the eyes slowly wink at him. He thought he must have been mistaken at first, for none of the scarecrows in France ever wink; but presently the figure nodded its head in a friendly way. Then he climbed down from the fence and walked up to it.

“Good day,” said the Scarecrow, in a rather husky voice.

“Did you speak?” asked the poodle, in wonder.

“Certainly,” answered the Scarecrow. “How do you do?”

“I’m pretty well, thank you,” replied Pissepotout politely. “How do you do?”

“I’m not feeling well,” said the Scarecrow, with a smile, “for it is very tedious being perched up here night and day to scare away crows.”

“Can’t you get down?” asked Pissepotout.

“No, for this pole is stuck up my back. If you will please take away the pole I shall be greatly obliged to you.”

Pissepotout reached up with both arms and lifted the figure off the pole, for, being stuffed with straw, it was quite light.

“Thank you very much,” said the Scarecrow, when he had been set down on the ground. “I feel like a new man.”

Pissepotout was puzzled at this, for it sounded queer to hear a stuffed man speak, and to see him bow and walk along beside him.

“Who are you?” asked the Scarecrow when he had stretched himself and yawned. “And where are you going?”

“My name is Pissepotout,” said the French poodle, “and I am going to the Emmannuelle City, to ask the Great Ooze to send me back home to Cannes. For I have failed my Master in so many ways, I would not even know where to begin an apology.”

“Where is the Emmannuelle City?” the Scarecrow inquired. “And who is Ooze?”

“Why, don’t you know?” the poodle returned, in surprise.

“No, indeed. I don’t know anything. You see, I am stuffed, so I have no brains at all,” he answered sadly.

“Oh,” said Pissepotout, “I’m awfully sorry for you.”

“Do you think,” the Scarecrow asked, “if I go to the City with you, that Ooze would give me some brains?”

“I cannot tell,” Pissepotout returned, “but you may come with me, if you like. If Ooze will not give you any brains you will be no worse off than you are now.”

“That is true,” said the Scarecrow. “You see,” he continued confidentially, “I don’t mind my legs and arms and body being stuffed, because I cannot get hurt. If anyone treads on my toes it doesn’t matter, for I can’t feel it. But I do not want people to call me a fool, and if my head stays stuffed with straw instead of with brains, as yours is, how am I ever to know anything?”

“I understand how you feel,” said the little dogsbody, who was truly sorry for him. “If you will come with me I’ll ask Ooze to do all he can for you.”

“Thank you,” he answered gratefully.

They walked back to the road. Pissepotout helped him over the fence, and they started along the path again.

Presently, before them was a great stretch of country having a floor as smooth and shining and white as the bottom of a big platter. Scattered around were many houses made entirely of china and painted in the brightest colors. These houses were quite small, the biggest of them reaching only as high as the Scarecrow’s waist. There were also pretty little barns, with china fences around them; and many cows and sheep and horses and pigs and chickens, all made of china, were standing about in groups.

But the strangest of all were the people who lived in this queer country. There were milkmaids and shepherdesses, with brightly colored bodices and golden spots all over their gowns; and princesses with most gorgeous frocks of silver and gold and purple; and shepherds dressed in knee breeches with pink and yellow and blue stripes down them, and golden buckles on their shoes; and princes with jewelled crowns upon their heads, wearing ermine robes and satin doublets; and funny clowns in ruffled gowns, with round red spots upon their cheeks and tall, pointed caps. And, strangest of all, these people were all made of china, even to their clothes, and were so small that the tallest of them was no higher than Pissepotout’s knee.

No one did so much as look at the travellers at first, except one little purple china dog with an extra-large head, which came to the wall and barked at them in a tiny voice, before running away again.

“We must cross this strange place in order to get to the other side,” said Pissepotout, “for it would be unwise for us to go any other way.”

They began walking through the country of the china people, and the first thing they came to was a china milkmaid milking a china cow. As they drew near, the cow suddenly gave a kick and kicked over the stool, the pail, and even the milkmaid herself, and all fell on the china ground with a great clatter.

Pissepotout was shocked to see that the cow had broken her leg off, and that the pail was lying in several small pieces, while the poor milkmaid had a nick in her left elbow.

“There!” cried the milkmaid angrily. “See what you have done! My cow has broken her leg, and I must take her to the mender’s shop and have it glued on again. What do you mean by coming here and frightening my cow?”

“I’m very sorry,” returned Pissepotout. “Please forgive me.”

But the pretty milkmaid was much too vexed to make any answer. She picked up the leg sulkily and led her cow away, the poor animal limping on three legs. As she left the milkmaid cast many reproachful glances over her shoulder at the clumsy French poodle, holding her nicked elbow close to her side. The Scarecrow picked up the broken pieces of pail and followed the milkmaid gallantly, brains and Ooze and French poodle all at once forgotten.

A little farther on Pissepotout met a most beautifully dressed young Princess, who stopped short as she saw the stranger, and started to run away.

Pissepotout wanted to see more of the Princess, so he ran after her. But the china girl cried out:

“Don’t chase me! Don’t chase me!”

She had such a frightened little voice that Pissepotout stopped and said, “Why not? I only wanted to play with you.”

“Because,” answered the Princess, also stopping, a safe distance away, “if I run I may fall down and break myself.”

“But could you not be mended?” asked the dogsbody.

“Oh, yes; but one is never so pretty after being mended, you know,” replied the Princess.

“I suppose not,” said Pissepotout.

“Now there is Mr. Joker, one of our clowns,” continued the china lady, “who is always trying to stand upon his head. He has broken himself so often that he is mended in a hundred places, and doesn’t look at all pretty. Here he comes now, so you can see for yourself.”

Indeed, a jolly little clown came walking toward them, and Pissepotout could see that in spite of his pretty clothes of red and yellow and green, he was completely covered with cracks, running every which way and showing plainly that he had been mended in many places.

The Clown put his hands in his pockets, and after puffing out his cheeks and nodding his head at them saucily, he said:

“My poodle fair, why do you stare at poor old Mr. Joker? You’re quite as stiff and prim as if you’d eaten up a poker!”

“Be quiet, sir!” said the Princess. “Can’t you see this is a visitor, and should be treated with respect?”

“Well, that’s respect, I expect,” declared the Clown, and immediately stood upon his head.

“Don’t mind Mr. Joker,” said the Princess to Pissepotout. “He is considerably cracked in his head, and that makes him foolish.”

“Oh, I don’t mind him a bit,” said Pissepotout, who was recalling his own circus-days with a melancholy fondness. “But you are so beautiful,” he continued, “that I am sure I could love you dearly. Won’t you let me carry you back to Cannes, and stand you on my aunt’s mantel? I could carry you in my pocket.”

“That would make me very unhappy,” answered the china Princess. “You see, here in our country we live contentedly, and can talk and move around as we please. But whenever any of us are taken away our joints at once stiffen, and we can only stand straight and look pretty. Of course that is all that is expected of us when we are on mantels and cabinets and drawing-room tables, but our lives are much pleasanter here in our own country.”

“I would not make you unhappy for all the world!” exclaimed Pissepotout. “So I’ll just say good-bye.”

“Good-bye,” replied the Princess.

Pissepotout walked carefully through the china country. The little animals and all the people scampered out of the way, fearing the stranger would break them, and after an hour or so the traveller reached the other side of the country and came to another china wall, beyond which were the rice paddies again.

As he was strolling along, Pissepotout espied some violets among the shrubs.

“Good!” said he; “I’ll have some supper.”

But, on smelling them, he found that they were odourless.

“No chance there,” thought he.

The worthy fellow had certainly taken good care to eat as hearty a breakfast as possible before leaving the Carnatic; but, as he had been walking about all day, the demands of hunger were becoming importunate. He observed that the butchers’ stalls contained neither mutton, goat, nor pork; and, knowing also that it is a sacrilege to kill cattle, which are preserved solely for farming, he made up his mind that meat was far from plentiful in Yokohama – nor was he mistaken; and, in default of butcher’s meat, he could have wished for a quarter of wild boar or deer, a partridge, or some quails, some game or fish, which, with rice, the Japanese eat almost exclusively. But he found it necessary to keep up a stout heart, and to postpone the meal he craved till the following morning.

Night came, and Pissepotout re-entered the native quarter, where he wandered through the streets, lit by multi-coloured lanterns, looking on at the dancers, who were executing skilful steps and bounds, and the astrologers who stood in the open air with their telescopes. Then he came to the harbour, which was lit up by the resin torches of the fishermen, who were fishing from their boats.

The streets at last became quiet. The patrol, the officers of which, in their splendid costumes and surrounded by their suites, Pissepotout thought seemed like ambassadors, succeeded the bustling crowd.

Each time a company passed, Pissepotout chuckled, and said to himself: “Good! Another Japanese embassy departing for Europe!”

Around the World in Eighty Days Yeller Brick Road – Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter XXI

In Which the Master of the ‘Tankadere’ Runs Great Risk
of Losing a Reward of Two Hundred Pounds

This voyage of eight hundred miles was a perilous venture on a craft of twenty tons, and at that season of the year. The Chinese seas are usually boisterous, subject to terrible gales of wind akin to a chronically legume-intolerant vegetarian, and especially during the equinoxes; and it was now early November. Too late in the season for beans and pulses, fortuitously.

It would clearly have been to the master’s advantage to carry his passengers to Yokohama, since he was paid a certain sum per day; but he would have been rash to attempt such a voyage, and it was imprudent even to attempt to reach Shanghai. But John Bunsby believed in the Tankadere, which rode on the waves like a seagull; and perhaps he was not wrong.

Late in the day they passed through the capricious channels of Hong Kong, and the Tankadere, impelled by favourable winds, conducted herself admirably.

“I do not need to advise you, pilot,” said Philanderous Flogg, when they got into the open sea, “to use all possible speed.”

“Trust me, your honour. We are carrying all the sail the wind will let us. The poles would add nothing, and are only used when we are going into port.”

“It’s your trade, not mine, pilot, and I confide in you.” Mr. Flogg bowed, and moved on.

The detective passed by, and was himself greeted by the pilot.

“If you had been a week later at Lisbon, last spring, Filch, you would have been asked to give a passage to Lady Mary Grierson and her daughters.”

“Should I? I am glad I was not a week later then.”

The pilot abused him for his want of gallantry. Filch defended himself; though professing that he would never willingly admit any ladies on board a ship of his, excepting for a ball, or a visit, which a few hours might comprehend.

“But, if I know myself,” said he, “this is from no want of gallantry towards them. It is rather from feeling how impossible it is, with all one’s efforts, and all one’s sacrifices, to make the accommodations on board such as women ought to have. There can be no want of gallantry, Captain, in rating the claims of women to every personal comfort high, and this is what I do. I hate to hear of women on board, or to see them on board; and no ship under my command shall ever convey a family of ladies anywhere, if I can help it.”

This brought Aorta upon him.

“Oh! Mr. Filch! But I cannot believe it of you. All idle refinement! Women may be as comfortable on board, as in the best house in England. I believe I have lived as much on board as most women, and I know nothing superior to the accommodations of a man-of-war. I declare I have not a comfort or an indulgence about me, even at Kellynch Hall, beyond what I always had in most of the ships I have lived in; and they have been five altogether.”

“Nothing to the purpose,” replied Filch. “You were living with your husband, and were the only woman on board.”

“But you, yourself tell us, brought Mrs Forster, her sister, her cousin, and three children, round from Portsmouth to Plymouth. Where was this superfine, extraordinary sort of gallantry of yours then?”

“All merged in my friendship, Aorta. I would assist any brother officer’s wife that I could, and I would bring anything of Forster’s from the world’s end, if he wanted it. But do not imagine that I did not feel it was an evil in itself.”

“Depend upon it, they were all perfectly comfortable.”

“I might not like them the better for that perhaps. Such a number of women and children have no right to be comfortable on board.”

“My dear Filch, you are talking quite idly. Pray, what would become of those poor sailors’ wives, who often want to be conveyed to one port or another, after their husbands, if everybody had your feelings?”

“My feelings, you see, did not prevent my taking Mrs Forster and all her family to Plymouth.”

“But I hate to hear you talking so like a fine gentleman, and as if women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days.”

Philanderous Flogg, with body erect and legs wide apart, standing like a sailor, gazed without staggering at the swelling waters. The young woman, who was now seated aft, was profoundly affected as she looked out upon the ocean, darkening now with the twilight, on which she had ventured in so frail a vessel. Above her head rustled the white sails, which seemed like great white wings. The boat, carried forward by the wind, seemed to be flying in the air.

Night came. The moon was entering her first quarter, and her insufficient light would soon die out in the mist on the horizon. Clouds were rising from the east, and already overcast a part of the heavens.

The pilot had hung out his lights, which was very necessary in these seas crowded with vessels bound landward; for collisions are not uncommon occurrences, and, at the speed she was going, the least shock would shatter the gallant little craft.

Filch, seated in the bow, gave himself up to meditation. He kept apart from his fellow-travellers, knowing Mr. Flogg’s taciturn tastes; besides, he did not quite like to talk to the man whose favours he had accepted. He was thinking, too, of the future. It seemed certain that Flogg would not stop at Yokohama, but would at once take the boat for San Francisco; and the vast extent of America would ensure him impunity and safety. Flogg’s plan appeared to him the simplest in the world. Instead of sailing directly from England to the United States, like a common villain, he had traversed three quarters of the globe, so as to gain the American continent more surely; and there, after throwing the police off his track, he would quietly enjoy himself with the fortune stolen from the bank. But, once in the United States, what should he, Filch, do? Should he abandon this man? No, a hundred times no! Until he had secured his extradition, he would not lose sight of him for an hour. It was his duty, and he would fulfil it to the end. At all events, there was one thing to be thankful for; Pissepotout was not with his master; and it was above all important, after the confidences Filch had imparted to him, that the servant should never have speech with his master.

Philanderous Flogg was also thinking of Pissepotout, who had so strangely disappeared. Looking at the matter from every point of view, it did not seem to him impossible that, by some mistake, the man might have embarked on the Carnatic at the last moment; and this was also Aorta’s opinion, who regretted very much the loss of the worthy fellow to whom she owed so much. They might then find him at Yokohama; for, if the Carnatic was carrying him thither, it would be easy to ascertain if he had been on board.

A brisk breeze arose about ten o’clock; but, though it might have been prudent to take in a reef, the pilot, after carefully examining the heavens, let the craft remain rigged as before. The Tankadere bore sail admirably, as she drew a great deal of water, and everything was prepared for high speed in case of a gale.

Mr. Flogg and Aorta descended into the cabin at midnight, having been already preceded by Filch, who had lain down on one of the cots. The pilot and crew remained on deck all night, accompanied by the creaking of the rigging, while down below it was the creaking of Mr. Flogg’s whalebone and steel which lulled the passengers to sleep.

At sunrise the next day, which was 8th November, the boat had made more than one hundred miles. The log indicated a mean speed of between eight and nine knots. The Tankadere still carried all sail, and was accomplishing her greatest capacity of speed. If the wind held as it was, the chances would be in her favour. During the day she kept along the coast, where the currents were favourable; the coast, irregular in profile, and visible sometimes across the clearings, was at most five miles distant. The sea was less boisterous, since the wind came off land – a fortunate circumstance for the boat, which would suffer, owing to its small tonnage, by a heavy surge on the sea.

The breeze subsided a little towards noon, and set in from the south-west. The pilot put up his poles, but took them down again within two hours, as the wind freshened up anew.

Mr. Flogg and Aorta, happily unaffected by the roughness of the sea, ate with a good appetite, Filch being invited to share their repast, which he accepted with secret chagrin. To travel at this man’s expense and live upon his provisions was not palatable to him. Still, he was obliged to eat, and so he ate.

When the meal was over, he took Mr. Flogg apart, and said, “Sir…” (this “sir” scorched his lips, and he had to control himself to avoid collaring this “gentleman”) “…Sir, you have been very kind to give me a passage on this boat. But, though my means will not admit of my expending them as freely as you, I must ask to pay my share…”

“Let us not speak of that, sir,” replied Mr. Flogg.

“But, if I insist…”

“No, sir,” repeated Mr. Flogg, in a tone which did not admit of a reply. “This enters into my general expenses.”

Filch, as he bowed, had a stifled feeling, and, going forward, where he ensconced himself, did not open his mouth for the rest of the day. He might as well have worn one of his enemy’s decorative ball-gags and gimp-masks for that duration, so disinclined was he to deliver an utterance.

Meanwhile they were progressing famously, and John Bunsby was in high hope. He several times assured Mr. Flogg that they would reach Shanghai in time; to which that gentleman responded that he counted upon it. The crew set to work in good earnest, inspired by the reward to be gained. There was not a sheet which was not tightened, not a sail which was not vigorously hoisted; not a lurch could be charged to the man at the helm. They worked as desperately as if they were contesting in a Royal yacht regatta.

By evening, the log showed that two hundred and twenty miles had been accomplished from Hong Kong, and Mr. Flogg might hope that he would be able to reach Yokohama without recording any delay in his journal; in which case, the many misadventures which had overtaken him since he left London would not seriously affect his journey.

But the gentleman found himself yearning for a hand of Grist, and was amused that no-one aboard seemed familiar with the game.

Philanderous Flogg left his seat, and walked to the fire-place in the cabin; probably for the sake of walking away from it soon afterwards, and taking a station, with less bare-faced design, by Aorta.

“You would not have not been long enough in Bath,” said he, “to enjoy the evening parties of the place.”

“Oh! No… The usual character of them has nothing for me. I am no card-player.”

“You were not formerly, I know. You did not use to like cards; but time makes many changes.”

“I am not yet so much changed,” cried Aorta, and stopped, fearing she hardly knew what misconstruction awaited her words.

After waiting a few moments he said, and as if it were the result of immediate feeling: “It is a period, indeed! Eight years and a half is a period.”

Leaving her even more darkly wary and bemused, he retired to his cot and lowered the modesty curtain. Whereupon much noisome struggling and scratching within illustrated the absence of Pissepotout, who would normally by this time have loosened his master’s restraints.

The Tankadere entered the Straits of Fo-Kien, which separate the island of Formosa from the Chinese coast, in the small hours of the night, and crossed the Tropic of Cancer. The sea was very rough in the straits, full of eddies formed by the counter-currents, and the chopping waves broke her course, whilst it became very difficult to stand on deck.

At daybreak the wind began to blow hard again, and the heavens seemed to predict a gale. The barometer announced a speedy change, the mercury rising and falling capriciously; the sea also, in the south-east, raised long surges which indicated a tempest. The sun had set the evening before in a red mist, in the midst of the phosphorescent scintillations of the ocean.

John Bunsby long examined the threatening aspect of the heavens, muttering indistinctly between his teeth. At last he said in a low voice to Mr. Flogg, “Shall I speak out to your honour?”

“Of course.”

“Well, we are going to have a squall.”

“Is the wind north or south?” asked Mr. Flogg quietly.

“South. Look! A typhoon is coming up.”

“Glad it’s a typhoon from the south, for it will carry us forward.”

“Oh, if you take it that way,” said John Bunsby, “I’ve nothing more to say.”

John Bunsby’s suspicions were confirmed. At a less advanced season of the year the typhoon, according to a famous meteorologist, would have passed away like a luminous cascade of electric flame; but in the winter equinox it was to be feared that it would burst upon them with great violence.

The pilot took his precautions in advance. He reefed all sail, the pole-masts were dispensed with; all hands went forward to the bows. A single triangular sail, of strong canvas, was hoisted as a storm-jib, so as to hold the wind from behind. Then they waited.

John Bunsby had requested his passengers to go below; but this imprisonment in so narrow a space, with little air, and the boat bouncing in the gale, was far from pleasant. Neither Mr. Flogg, Filch, nor Aorta consented to leave the upper deck.

“There’s a cyclone coming, Aorta,” he called to his passenger. “I’ll go look after the stock.” Then he ran toward the sheds where the cows and horses were kept.

Aorta dropped her needlework and came to the door. One glance told her of the danger close at hand. A whirling vortex in the sky was coming closer, closer.

The storm of rain and wind descended upon them towards eight o’clock. With but its bit of sail, the Tankadere was lifted like a feather by a wind, an idea of whose violence can scarcely be given. To compare her speed to four times that of a locomotive going on full steam would be below the truth.

The boat scudded thus northward during the whole day, borne on by monstrous waves, preserving always, fortunately, a speed equal to theirs. Twenty times she seemed almost to be submerged by these mountains of water which rose behind her; but the adroit management of the pilot saved her. The passengers were often bathed in spray, but they submitted to it philosophically. Filch cursed it, no doubt; but Aorta, with her eyes fastened upon her protector, whose coolness amazed her, showed herself worthy of him, and bravely weathered the storm. As for Philanderous Flogg, it seemed just as if the typhoon were a part of his most precise programme.

Up to this time the Tankadere had always held her course to the north; but towards evening the wind, veering three quarters, bore down from the north-west. The boat, now lying in the trough of the waves, shook and rolled terribly; the sea struck her with fearful violence. At night the tempest increased in violence. John Bunsby saw the approach of darkness and the rising of the storm with dark misgivings. He thought awhile, and then asked his crew if it was not time to slacken speed. After a consultation he approached Mr. Flogg, and said, “I think, your honour, that we should do well to make for one of the ports on the coast.”

“I think so too.”

“Ah!” said the pilot. “But which one?”

“I know of but one,” returned Mr. Flogg tranquilly.

“And that is…”

“Shanghai.”

The pilot, at first, did not seem to comprehend; he could scarcely realise so much determination and tenacity. Then he cried, “Well – yes! Your honour is right. To Shanghai!”

So the Tankadere kept steadily on her northward track.

The night was really terrible; it would be a miracle if the craft did not founder. Twice it could have been all over with her if the crew had not been constantly on the watch. Aorta was exhausted, but did not utter a complaint. More than once Mr. Flogg rushed to protect her from the violence of the waves, as she had refused his kind offer to lash her to the mast for better safety and security.

Day reappeared. The tempest still raged with undiminished fury; but the wind now returned to the south-east. It was a favourable change, and the Tankadere again bounded forward on this mountainous sea, though the waves crossed each other, and imparted shocks and counter-shocks which would have crushed a craft less solidly built. From time to time the coast was visible through the broken mist, but no vessel was in sight. The Tankadere was alone upon the sea.

There were some signs of a calm at noon, and these became more distinct as the sun descended toward the horizon. The tempest had been as brief as terrific. The passengers, thoroughly exhausted, could now eat a little, and take some repose.

The night was comparatively quiet. Some of the sails were again hoisted, and the speed of the boat was very good. The next morning at dawn they espied the coast, and John Bunsby was able to assert that they were not one hundred miles from Shanghai. A hundred miles, and only one day to traverse them! That very evening Mr. Flogg was due at Shanghai, if he did not wish to miss the steamer to Yokohama. Had there been no storm, during which several hours were lost, they would be at this moment within thirty miles of their destination.

The wind grew decidedly calmer, and happily the sea fell with it. All sails were now hoisted, and at noon the Tankadere was within forty-five miles of Shanghai. There remained yet six hours in which to accomplish that distance. All on board feared that it could not be done, and every one – Philanderous Flogg, no doubt, excepted within the rigidity of his corsets – felt his heart beat with impatience. The boat must keep up an average of nine miles an hour, and the wind was becoming calmer every moment! It was a capricious breeze, coming from the coast, and after it passed the sea became smooth. Still, the Tankadere was so light, and her fine sails caught the fickle zephyrs so well, that with the aid of the currents John Bunsby found himself at six o’clock not more than ten miles from the mouth of Shanghai River. Shanghai itself is situated at least twelve miles up the stream. At seven they were still three miles from Shanghai. The pilot swore an angry oath; the reward of two hundred pounds was evidently on the point of escaping him. He looked at Mr. Flogg. Mr. Flogg was perfectly tranquil; and yet his whole fortune was at this moment at stake.

At this moment, also, a long black funnel, crowned with wreaths of smoke, appeared on the edge of the waters.

It was the American steamer, leaving for Yokohama at the appointed time!

“Confound them!” cried John Bunsby, pushing back the rudder with a desperate jerk.

“Signal her!” said Philanderous Flogg quietly.

A small brass cannon stood on the forward deck of the Tankadere, for making signals in the fogs. It was loaded to the muzzle; but just as the pilot was about to apply a red-hot coal to the touch-hole, Mr. Flogg said: “Hoist your flag!”

The flag was run up at half-mast, and, this being the signal of distress, it was hoped that the American steamer, perceiving it, would change her course a little, so as to succour the pilot-boat.

“Fire!” said Mr. Flogg.

And the booming of the little cannon resounded in the air.

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

Chapter XIX

In Which Pissepotout Takes Too Great An Interest in His Master,
and What Comes of It

Hong Kong is an island which came into the possession of the English by the Treaty of Nankin, after the war of 1842; and the colonising genius of the English has created upon it an important city and an excellent port. The island is situated at the mouth of the Canton River, and is separated by about sixty miles from the Portuguese town of Macao, on the opposite coast. Hong Kong has beaten Macao in the struggle for the Chinese trade, and now the greater part of the transportation of Chinese goods finds its depot at the former place. Docks, hospitals, wharves, a Gothic cathedral, a government house, macadamised streets, and a proliferation of gypsies give to Hong Kong the appearance of a town in Kent or Surrey transferred by some strange magic to the antipodes.

Pissepotout wandered, with his paws in his pockets, towards the Victoria port, gazing as he went at the curious palanquins and other modes of conveyance, and the groups of Chinese, Japanese, and Europeans who passed to and fro in the streets. Hong Kong seemed to him not unlike Bombay, Calcutta, and Singapore, since, like them, it betrayed everywhere the evidence of English supremacy. At the Victoria port he found a confused mass of ships of all nations: English, French, American, and Dutch, men-of-war and trading vessels, Japanese and Chinese junks, sempas, tankers, and flower-boats, which formed so many floating parterres. Pissepotout noticed in the crowd a number of the natives who seemed very old and were dressed in yellow. On going into a barber’s to get shaved he learned that these ancient men were all at least eighty years old, at which age they are permitted to wear yellow, which is the Imperial colour. Pissepotout, without exactly knowing why, thought this very funny. He surmised that it would of course disguise the stains of geriatric bladder weakness, if not the smell.

On reaching the quay where they were to embark on the Carnatic, the stench of which would disguise any smell, even that of the Devil’s own sweaty gym-locker, he was not astonished to find Filch walking up and down. The detective seemed very much disturbed and disappointed.

“This is bad,” muttered Pissepotout, “for the gentlemen of the Conform Club!”

He accosted Filch with a merry smile, as if he had not perceived that gentleman’s chagrin. The detective had, indeed, good reasons to inveigh against the bad luck which pursued him. The warrant had not come! It was certainly on the way, but as certainly it could not now reach Hong Kong for several days; and, this being the last English territory on Mr. Flogg’s route, the robber would escape, unless he could manage to detain him.

“Well, Monsieur Filch,” said Pissepotout, “have you decided to go with us so far as America?”

“Yes,” returned Filch, through his set teeth.

“Good!” exclaimed Pissepotout, laughing heartily. “I knew you could not persuade yourself to separate from us. Come and engage your berth.”

They entered the steamer office and secured cabins for four persons. The clerk, as he gave them the tickets, informed them that, the repairs on the Carnatic having been completed, the steamer would leave that very evening, and not next morning, as had been announced.

“That will suit my master all the better,” said Pissepotout. “I will go and let him know.”

Filch now decided to make a bold move; he resolved to tell Pissepotout all. It seemed to be the only possible means of keeping Philanderous Flogg several days longer at Hong Kong. He accordingly invited his companion into a tavern which caught his eye on the quay.

On entering, they found themselves in a large room handsomely decorated, at the end of which was a large camp-bed furnished with cushions. Several persons lay upon this bed in a deep sleep. At the small tables, which were arranged about the room, some thirty customers were drinking English beer, porter, gin, and brandy; smoking all the while on long red clay pipes stuffed with little balls of opium mingled with essence of rose. From time to time one of the smokers, overcome with the narcotic, would slip under the table, whereupon the waiters, taking him by the head and feet, carried and laid him upon the bed. The bed already supported twenty of these stupefied sots.

Filch and Pissepotout saw that they were in a smoking-house haunted by those wretched, cadaverous, idiotic creatures to whom the English merchants sell every year the miserable drug called opium, to the amount of one million four hundred thousand pounds – thousands devoted to one of the most despicable vices which afflict humanity! The Chinese government has in vain attempted to deal with the evil, by stringent laws. It passed gradually from the rich, to whom it was at first exclusively reserved, to the lower classes, and then its ravages could not be arrested. Opium is smoked everywhere, at all times, by men and women, in the Celestial Empire; and, once accustomed to it, the victims cannot dispense with it, except by suffering horrible bodily contortions and agonies. A great smoker can smoke as many as eight pipes a day; but he dies in five years. It was in one of these dens that Filch and Pissepotout, in search of a friendly glass, found themselves. Pissepotout had no money, but willingly accepted Filch’s invitation in the hope of returning the obligation at some future time.

They ordered two bottles of port, to which the poodle did ample justice, whilst Filch observed him with close attention. They chatted about the journey, and Pissepotout was especially merry at the idea that Filch was going to continue it with them. When the bottles were empty, however, he rose to go and tell his master of the change in the time of the sailing of the Carnatic.

Filch caught him by the arm, and said, “Wait a moment.”

“What for, Mr. Filch?”

“I want to have a serious talk with you.”

“A serious talk!” cried Pissepotout, drinking up the little fortified wine that was left in the bottom of his glass. “Well, we’ll talk about it tomorrow; I haven’t time now.”

“Stay! What I have to say concerns your master.”

Pissepotout, at this, looked attentively at his companion. Filch’s face seemed to have a singular expression. He resumed his seat.

“What is it that you have to say?”

“Well, I tell you so…” continued the detective. “I have been learning something of young Flogg.”

The large handsome face of Pissepotout grew pale to the very lips, and there came a blackness about his eyes. “I do not care to hear more,” said he. “This is a matter I thought we had agreed to drop.”

“What I heard was abominable,” said Filch.

“It can make no change. You do not understand my position,” returned the dogsbody, with a certain incoherency of manner. “I am painfully situated, Filch; my position is a very strange – a very strange one. It is one of those affairs that cannot be mended by talking.”

“Pissepotout,” said Filch, “You know me: I am a man to be trusted. Make a clean breast of this in confidence; and I make no doubt I can get you out of it.”

“My good Filch,” said the poodle. “This is very good of you, this is downright good of you, and I cannot find words to thank you in. I believe you fully; I would trust you before any man alive, aye, before myself, if I could make the choice; but indeed it isn’t what you fancy; it is not so bad as that; and just to put your good heart at rest, I will tell you one thing: the moment I choose, I can be rid of Monsieur Flogg. I give you my paw upon that; and I thank you again and again; and I will just add one little word, Filch, that I’m sure you’ll take in good part: this is a private matter, and I beg of you to let it sleep.”

Filch reflected a little, looking in the fire.

“I have no doubt you are perfectly right,” he said at last, getting to his feet as if to leave, a ploy which he hoped would extend the discussion.

“Well, but since we have touched upon this business, and for the last time I hope,” continued Pissepotout, “there is one point I should like you to understand. I have really a very great interest in poor Monsieur Flogg. I know you have seen him; he told me so; and I fear he was rude. But, I do sincerely take a great, a very great interest in that young man; and if I am taken away, Filch, I wish you to promise me that you will bear with him and get his rights for him. I think you would, if you knew all; and it would be a weight off my mind if you would promise.”

“I can’t pretend that I shall ever like him,” said the detective, mystified.

“I don’t ask that,” pleaded Pissepotout, laying his paw upon the other’s arm; “I only ask for justice; I only ask you to help him for my sake, when I am no longer here.”

The detective heaved an irrepressible sigh, and seated himself again, his effort having been rewarded. “Well,” said he, “I promise.”

Pissepotout seemed relieved, and the detective was careful to keep his feet from the damp patch beneath their table.

Filch placed his hand upon Pissepotout’s arm in turn, and, lowering his voice, said, “You have guessed who I am?”

Parbleu!” said Pissepotout, smiling.

“Then I’m going to tell you everything…”

“Now that I know everything, my friend! Ah! that’s very good. But go on, go on. First, though, let me tell you that those gentlemen have put themselves to a useless expense.”

“Useless!” said Filch. “You speak confidently. It’s clear that you don’t know how large the sum is.”

“Of course I do,” returned Pissepotout. “Twenty thousand pounds.”

“Fifty-five thousand!” answered Filch, pressing his companion’s hand.

“What!” cried the French poodle. “Has Monsieur Flogg dared – fifty-five thousand pounds! Well, there’s all the more reason for not losing an instant,” he continued, getting up hastily.

Filch pushed Pissepotout back in his chair, and resumed: “Fifty-five thousand pounds; and if I succeed, I get two thousand pounds. If you’ll help me, I’ll let you have five hundred of them.”

“Help you?” cried Pissepotout, whose eyes were standing wide open.

“Yes; help me keep Mr. Flogg here for two or three days.”

“Why, what are you saying? Those gentlemen are not satisfied with following my master and suspecting his honour, but they must try to put obstacles in his way! I blush for them!”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that it is a piece of shameful trickery. They might as well waylay Monsieur Flogg and put his money in their pockets!”

“That’s just what we count on doing.”

“It’s a conspiracy, then,” cried Pissepotout, who became more and more excited as the liquor mounted in his head, for he drank without perceiving it. “A real conspiracy! And gentlemen, too. Bah!”

Filch began to be puzzled.

“Members of the Conform Club!” continued Pissepotout. “You must know, Monsieur Filch, that my master is an honest man, and that, when he makes a wager, he tries to win it fairly!”

“But who do you think I am?” asked Filch, looking at him intently.

Parbleu! An agent of the members of the Conform Club, sent out here to interrupt my master’s journey. But, though I found you out some time ago, I’ve taken good care to say nothing about it to Monsieur Flogg.”

“He knows nothing, then?”

“Nothing,” replied Pissepotout, again emptying his glass.

The detective passed his hand across his forehead, hesitating before he spoke again. What should he do? Pissepotout’s mistake seemed sincere, but it made his design more difficult. It was evident that the servant was not the master’s accomplice, as Filch had been inclined to suspect.

“Well,” said the detective to himself, “as he is not an accomplice, he will help me.”

He had no time to lose: Flogg must be detained at Hong Kong, so he resolved to make a clean breast of it.

“Listen to me,” said Filch abruptly. “I am not, as you think, an agent of the members of the Conform Club…”

“Bah!” retorted Pissepotout, with an air of raillery. “I suppose you are about to tell me that you are the Great Ooze, wizard and terror of all Bitches.”

“I am a police detective, sent out here by the London office.”

“You, a detective?” the poodle could not have shown more surprise had Filch indeed admitted to being the legendary and terrible wizard.

“I will prove it. Here is my commission.”

Pissepotout was speechless with astonishment when Filch displayed this document, the genuineness of which could not be doubted.

“Mr. Flogg’s wager,” resumed Filch, “is only a pretext, of which you and the gentlemen of the Conform are dupes. He had a motive for securing your innocent complicity.”

“But why?”

“Listen. On the 28th of last September a robbery of fifty-five thousand pounds was committed at the Bank of England by a person whose description was fortunately secured. Here is his description; it answers exactly to that of Mr. Philanderous Flogg.”

“What nonsense!” cried Pissepotout, striking the table with his fist. “My master is the most honourable of men!”

“How can you tell? You know scarcely anything about him. You went into his service the day he came away; and he came away on a foolish pretext, without trunks, and carrying a large amount in banknotes. And yet you are bold enough to assert that he is an honest man!”

“Yes, yes,” repeated the poor fellow, mechanically.

“Would you like to be arrested as his accomplice?”

Pissepotout, overcome by what he had heard, held his head between his paws, and did not dare to look at the detective. Philanderous Flogg, the saviour of Aorta, that brave and generous man, a robber! And yet how many presumptions there were against him! Pissepotout essayed to reject the suspicions which forced themselves upon his mind; he did not wish to believe that his master was guilty.

“Well, what do you want of me?” said he, at last, with an effort.

“See here,” replied Filch; “I have tracked Mr. Flogg to this place, but as yet I have failed to receive the warrant of arrest for which I sent to London. You must help me to keep him here in Hong Kong…”

“I…! But I…”

“I will share with you the two thousand pounds reward offered by the Bank of England.”

“Never!” replied Pissepotout, who tried to rise, but fell back, exhausted in mind and body. “Mr. Filch,” he stammered. “Even should what you say be true – if my master is really the robber you are seeking – which I deny – I have been, am, in his service; I have seen his generosity and goodness; and I will never betray him – not for all the gold in the world. I come from a village where they don’t eat that kind of bread!”

“You refuse?”

“I refuse.”

“Consider that I’ve said nothing,” said Filch; “and let us drink.”

“Yes – let us drink!”

Pissepotout felt himself yielding more and more to the effects of the liquor.

Filch, seeing that he must, at all hazards, be separated from his master, wished to entirely overcome him.

Some pipes full of opium lay upon the table. Filch slipped one into Pissepotout’s paw. He took it, put it between his lips, lit it, drew several puffs, and his head, becoming heavy under the influence of the narcotic, fell upon the table.

“At last!” said Filch, seeing Pissepotout unconscious. “Mr. Flogg will not be informed of the Carnatic’s departure; and, if he is, he will have to go without this cursed lapdog!”

And, after paying his bill, and turning down a number of young ladies (and some not so young), Filch left the tavern.

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…”

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.

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.”