Chapter 14

The rash exploit had been accomplished; and for an hour Passepartout laughed gaily at his success. Sir Francis pressed the worthy fellow’s hand, and Fogg said, "Well done!" which, from him, was high commendation; to which Passepartout replied that all the credit of the affair belonged to Mr. Fogg. Meanwhile, the lady reposed in a howdah on the elephant. The elephant was advancing rapidly through the still dark forest, and, an hour after leaving the pagoda had crossed a vast plain. Sir Francis was not worried about the effects of intoxication on Aouda, which he knew would subsequently subside but he was more disturbed at the prospect of her future fate. He told Phileas Fogg that, should Aouda remain in India, she would inevitably fall again into the hands of her executioners and that it would be better to get her out of the country. Phileas Fogg replied that he would reflect upon the matter. 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.

While the young woman waited at the station, Passepartout was charged with purchasing for her various articles of toilet, for which his master gave him unlimited credit. Passepartout made it a point, as he made his purchases, to take a good look at the city. The sacred city of Allahabad is described. By the time Passepartout returns to Aouda, the influence to which the priests of Pillaji had subjected Aouda began gradually to yield, and she became more herself, so that her fine eyes resumed all their soft Indian expression. It is enough to say, without applying poetical rhapsody to Aouda, 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 bringing up.

The train was about to start from Allahabad, and Mr. Fogg proceeded to pay the guide, the price agreed upon for his service. The guide had, indeed, risked his life in the adventure at Pillaji, and, if the Indians should catch him afterwards, he would with difficulty escape their vengeance. Phileas Fogg had already determined the answer to the question of how to dispose off Kiouni, the elephant. He asks the Parsee whether he would like to keep the elephant. Passepartout encourages the giving of the elephant to the worthy guide, who is very happy. Soon after, Phileas Fogg, Sir Francis Cromarty, and Passepartout, installed in a carriage with Aouda, who had the best seat, were whirling at full speed towards Benares. During the journey, the young woman fully recovered her senses. Her companions revived her with a little liquor, and then Sir Francis narrated to her what had passed, dwelling upon the courage with which Phileas Fogg had not hesitated to risk his life to save her, and recounting the happy sequel of the venture, the result of Passepartout’s rash idea. Aouda pathetically thanked her deliverers, her fine eyes interpreted her gratitude better than her lips. Fogg reassures her fears of the natives by offering to take her to Hong Kong where she has a relative too.

At Benares, Sir Francis gets off after bidding a warm farewell to his companions.

The areas that they are passing through are described beautifully by the author. The panorama passed before their eyes like a flash, save when the steam concealed it fitfully from the view. Calcutta was reached at seven in the morning, and they left for Hong Kong at noon; so that Phileas Fogg had five hours before him. According to his journal, he was due at Calcutta on the 25 th 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 in the journey across India. But it is not to be supposed that Phileas Fogg regretted them.

The group looks back at their successful adventure with delight. As for Passepartout, he gives all the credit to his master, he had only been struck with a "queer" idea; and he laughed to think that for a few moments he, Passepartout, the ex-gymnast, ex-sergeant fireman, had been the spouse of a charming woman, a venerable, embalmed rajah! 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.

Passepartout is not only brave and comic, but also large hearted. He is extremely likeable in his magnanimity, and he does not blow his own trumpet. Though the rescue is a success because of him, he gives the credit to Fogg for having urged the group to stay near the pagoda till the suttee ritual.

They make 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 that 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. It is he who points out reality to Fogg and explains how the lady’s life would still be in danger, while she was in India. These fanatics were scattered throughout the country, and would, despite the English police, recover their victim at Madras, Bombay, or Calcutta. She would only be safe by quitting India forever. Fogg tells Sir Francis that he shall work out what needs to be done.

The group reaches Allahabad on the elephant. Passepartout is immediately told by Fogg to get some necessities for the lady. We can see that Fogg, Passepartout as well as Sir Francis take care of the lady and are most gentlemen-like. This is a characteristic of most English. Passepartout is fond of seeing different cities. When he starts off on his errand, and finds himself on the streets of Allahabad, that is, the City of God, he is delighted. Allahabad is one of the most venerated cities 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. Verne’s description of India is full of little nuances on the country that he must have been able to impart only after in depth study and research.

Verne writes more about Allahabad - " It was formerly defended by a noble fort, which has since become a state prison; its commerce has dwindled away, and Passepartout in vain looked about him for 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."

Aouda is painted as the archetypal beautiful and exotic Indian princess. Exotic Indian beauty is a common motif in novels on India by British authors and we see that this is true of Verne too in his little portrait of the Eastern country. Verne writes - " When the poet-king, Usaf 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 passionflower’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 modeled in pure silver by the godlike hand of Vicvarcarma, the immortal sculptor."" Verne goes on to say that one does not require such a description of Aouda to describe her, but it is suffice to say that she is very charming.

When Fogg pays the guide the promised money and not a farthing more; Passepartout is astonished, who remembered all that his master owed to the guide’s devotion. We can see that Passepartout is a man with a sense of fairness and that he expects a great deal of magnanimity from his master to others too. But, he is not disappointed. Fogg says - "Parsee, 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 honor is giving me a fortune!" cried he. "Take him, guide," returned Mr. Fogg, "and I shall still be your debtor." "Good!" exclaimed Passepartout. "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 Passepartout around the waist with his trunk, lifted him as high as his head. Passepartout, not in the least alarmed, caressed the animal, which replaced him gently on the ground.

Aouda finally wakes up in the train. What was her astonishment to find herself in this carriage, on the railway, dressed in European habiliments, and with travelers who were quite strangers to her! Sir Francis relates the tale of her rescue to her. Mr. Fogg said nothing; while Passepartout, abashed, kept repeating that "it wasn’t worth telling." Then, as her thoughts strayed back to the scene of the sacrifice, and recalled the dangers that still menaced her, she shuddered with terror. Phileas Fogg understood what was passing in Aouda’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. Fogg is a compassionate man and is ready to help the needy, as he agrees to help the beautiful Aouda now.

At half-past twelve the train stopped at Benares. Once again, Verne takes up the task of describing the city. He writes - " 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 un-poetically on the solid earth, Passepartout 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 Cromarty’s destination, the troops he was rejoining being encamped some miles northward of the city. He bade adieu to Phileas Fogg, wishing him all success, and expressing the hope that he would come that way again in a less original but more profitable fashion. Mr. Fogg lightly pressed him by the hand. The parting of Aouda, who did not forget what she owed to Sir Francis, betrayed more warmth; and, as for Passepartout, he received a hearty shake of the hand from the gallant general. Women are generally more emotionally demonstrative than men.

The railway, on leaving Benares, passed for a while along the valley of the Ganges. Through the windows of their carriage, the travelers 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 to-day, 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 travelers 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 Passepartout would have been proud to see his country’s flag flying, were hidden from their view in the darkness. They reach Calcutta the next morning. Till now, Fogg is right on time, he is neither late nor early. He plans now to take the ship to Hong Kong.

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