Read Around the World in Eighty Days Online

Authors: Jules Verne

Tags: #Retail, #Personal

Around the World in Eighty Days (8 page)

THE TRAIN ENTERED THE STATION, AND PASSEPARTOUT, jumping out first, was followed by Mr. Fogg, who assisted his fair companion to descend. Phileas Fogg intended to proceed at once to the Hong Kong steamer, in order to get Aouda 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. Phileas Fogg?”
“I am he.”
“Is this man your servant?” added the policeman, pointing to Passepartout.
“Yes.”
“Be so good, both of you, as to follow me.”
Mr. Fogg betrayed no surprise whatever. The policeman was a representative of the law, and law is sacred to an Englishman. Passepartout tried to reason about the matter, but the policeman tapped him with his stick, and Mr. Fogg made him a signal to obey.
“May this young lady go with us?” asked he.
“She may,” replied the policeman.
Mr. Fogg, Aouda, and Passepartout were conducted to a “palki-gari,” a sort of four-wheeled carriage, drawn by two horses, in which they took their places and were driven away. 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 cocoanut-trees and bristling with masts, where, although it was early morning, elegantly dressed horsemen and handsome equipages were passing back and forth.
The carriage stopped before a modest-looking house, which, however, did not have the appearance of a private mansion. 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 Passepartout, falling into a chair.
Aouda, with an emotion she tried to conceal, said to Mr. Fogg, “Sir, you must leave me to my fate! It is on my account that you receive this treatment; it is for having saved me!”
Phileas Fogg 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 Aouda, but would escort her to Hong Kong.
“But the steamer leaves at noon!” observed Passepartout, nervously.
“We shall be on board by noon,” replied his master, placidly.
It was said so positively, that Passepartout 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.
Mr. Fogg 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.
Passepartout was getting nervous, for the hands on the face of the big clock over the judge seemed to go round with terrible rapidity.
“The first case,” repeated Judge Obadiah.
“Phileas Fogg?” demanded Oysterpuff.
“I am here,” replied Mr. Fogg.
“Passepartout?”
“Present!” responded Passepartout.
“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 Passepartout, impatiently.
“You are about to be informed.”
“I am an English subject, sir,” said Mr. Fogg, “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 Passepartout; “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 Phileas Fogg 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. Fogg, 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 Passepartout, 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 Passepartout.
“Certainly. We are not talking of the pagoda of Pillaji, but of the pagoda of Malebar 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 Passepartout, 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.
Fix, the detective, had foreseen the advantage which Passepartout’s escapade gave him, and, delaying his departure for twelve hours, had consulted the priests of Malebar 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, Fix and the
priests reached the Indian capital before Mr. Fogg and his servant, the magistrates having been already warned by a despatch to arrest them, should they arrive. Fix’s disappointment when he learned that Phileas Fogg 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 Fix watched the station with feverish anxiety; at last he was rewarded by seeing Mr. Fogg and Passepartout 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 Passepartout 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 Passepartout’s rash exclamation, which the poor fellow would have given the world to recall.
“The facts are admitted?” asked the judge.
“Admitted,” replied Mr. Fogg, coldly.
“Inasmuch,” resumed the judge, “as the English law protects equally and sternly the religions of the Indian people, and as the man Passepartout has admitted that he violated the sacred pagoda of Malebar Hill, at Bombay, on the 20th of October, I condemn the said Passepartout to imprisonment for fifteen days and a fine of three hundred pounds.”
“Three hundred pounds!” cried Passepartout, 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 Phileas Fogg to a week’s imprisonment and a fine of one hundred and fifty pounds.”
Fix rubbed his hands softly with satisfaction; if Phileas Fogg could be detained in Calcutta a week, it would be more than time for the warrant to arrive. Passepartout 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!
Phileas Fogg, 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.
Fix’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. Fogg, taking a roll of bank-bills from the carpet-bag, which Passepartout 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 Phileas Fogg to his servant.
“But let them at least give me back my shoes!” cried Passepartout, 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.”
Mr. Fogg, offering his arm to Aouda, then departed, followed by the crestfallen Passepartout. Fix 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. Fogg’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. Fogg was an hour in advance of time. Fix 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. Fogg 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.
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 “Mongolia,” and Aouda was not as comfortably provided for on board of her as Phileas Fogg 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 difficulty to please.
During the first days of the journey Aouda became better acquainted with her protector, and constantly gave evidence of her deep gratitude for what he had done. The phlegmatic gentleman listened to her, apparently at least, 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 Aouda’s comfort. He visited her regularly each day at certain hours, not so much to talk himself as to sit and hear her talk. He treated her with the strictest politeness, but with the precision of an automaton, the movements of which had been arranged for this purpose. Aouda did not quite know what to make of him, though Passepartout 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 Phileas Fogg her life, and she always regarded him through the exalting medium of her gratitude.
Aouda confirmed the Parsee guide’s narrative of her touching history. She did, indeed, belong to the highest of the native races of India. Many of the Parsee merchants have made great fortunes there by dealing in cotton; and one of them, Sir Jametsee Jeejeebhoy, was made a baronet by the English government. Aouda was a relative of this great man, and it was his cousin, Jejeeh, whom she hoped to join at Hong Kong. Whether she would find a protector in him she could not tell; but Mr. Fogg essayed to calm her anxieties, and to assure her that everything would be mathematically—he used the very word—arranged. Aouda fastened her great eyes, “clear as the sacred lakes of the Himalaya,” upon him; but the intractable Fogg, as reserved as ever, did not seem at all inclined to throw himself into this lake.
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 the precious swallows whose nests furnish a luxurious dish to the tables of the Celestial Empire. The varied landscape afforded by the Andaman Islands was soon passed, however, and the “Rangoon” rapidly approached the Straits of Malacca, which give access to the China seas.
What was detective Fix, 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 Passepartout, 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 awaking Passepartout’s suspicions, who thought him still at Bombay. But necessity impelled him, nevertheless, to renew his acquaintance with the worthy servant, as will be seen.
All the detective’s hopes and wishes were now centered 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, America offered to Fogg an almost certain refuge. If the warrant should at last make its appearance at Hong Kong, Fix 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.
Fix thought over these probabilities during the long hours which he spent in his 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?”
Fix made up his mind that, if worst came to worst, he would make a confidant of Passepartout, and tell him what kind of a fellow his master really was. That Passepartout was not Fogg’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 Passepartout to his master would ruin all. The detective was therefore in a sore strait. But suddenly a new idea struck him. The presence of Aouda on the “Rangoon,” in company with Phileas Fogg, gave him new material for reflection.
Who was this woman? What combination of events had made her Fogg’s travelling companion? They had evidently met somewhere between Bombay and Calcutta; but where? Had they met accidentally, or had Fogg gone into the interior purposely in quest of this charming damsel? Fix 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 married or not, he would be able to create such difficulties for Mr. Fogg at Hong Kong, that he could not escape by paying any amount of money.
But could he even wait till they reached Hong Kong? Fogg had an abominable way of jumping from one boat to another, and, before anything could be effected, might get full under weigh again for Yokohama.
Fix 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 Passepartout. It would not be difficult to make him talk; and, as there was no time to lose, Fix prepared to make himself known.
It was now the 30th of October, and on the following day the “Rangoon” was due at Singapore.
Fix emerged from his cabin and went on deck. Passepartout was promenading up and down in the forward part of the steamer. The detective rushed forward with every appearance of extreme surprise, and exclaimed, “You here, on the ‘Rangoon’?”
“What, Monsieur Fix, are you on board?” returned the really astonished Passepartout, recognizing his crony of the “Mongolia.” “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 Fix; “I shall stop at Hong Kong—at least for some days.”
“Hum!” said Passepartout, 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 seasickness,—I’ve been staying in my berth. The Gulf of Bengal does not agree with me as well as the Indian Ocean. And how is Mr. Fogg?”
“As well and as punctual as ever, not a day behind
time! But, Monsieur Fix, 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.
Passepartout thereupon recounted Aouda’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. Fogg and himself to liberty on bail. Fix, who was familiar with the last events, seemed to be equally ignorant of all that Passepartout 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 Fix to himself, concealing his disappointment. “A glass of gin, Mr. Passepartout?”
“Willingly, Monsieur Fix. We must at least have a friendly glass on board the ‘Rangoon.’”

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