In which Passepartout receives
a new proof that fortune favors
The project was a bold one,
full of difficulty, perhaps impracticable.
Mr. Fogg 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 Cromarty an enthusiastic
As for Passepartout, 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 Phileas Fogg.
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."
"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. Fogg. "I think we must wait
till night before acting."
"I think so," said
The worthy Indian then gave
some account of the 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 city,
and, from her manners and intelligence,
would be thought an European.
Her name was Aouda. 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.
The Parsee's narrative only
confirmed Mr. Fogg 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
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.
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
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. Phileas Fogg and
Sir Francis Cromarty 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
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
They set noiselessly to work,
and the Parsee on one side and
Passepartout 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. Passepartout 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 Phileas Fogg 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, Passepartout was beside
himself, and the guide gnashed
his teeth with rage. The tranquil
Fogg waited, without betraying
"We have nothing to do but
to go away," whispered Sir Francis.
"Nothing but to go away," echoed
"Stop," said Fogg. "I
am only due at Allahabad tomorrow
"But what can you hope to do?" asked
Sir Francis. "In a few hours
it will be daylight, and--"
which now seems lost may present
itself at the
Sir Francis would have liked
to read Phileas Fogg'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
Fogg 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
Meanwhile Passepartout, 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. Fogg 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. Fogg's hand, found
in it an open knife. 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
Phileas Fogg 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 Phileas
Fogg, who, in an instant of mad
generosity, 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. Fogg and Sir Francis
stood erect, the Parsee bowed
his head, and Passepartout was,
no doubt, scarcely less stupefied.
rajah approached Sir Francis
and Mr. Fogg, and,
in an abrupt tone, said, "Let
us be off!"
It was Passepartout 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 Passepartout
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
Phileas Fogg's hat, apprised
them that the trick had been
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