of terror arose
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 ally.
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.
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.
frankly put the question to him.
replied the guide, "I am a Parsee, and this woman is a Parsee. Command
me as you will."
said Mr. Fogg.
resumed the guide, "it is certain, not only that we shall risk our lives,
but horrible tortures, if we are taken."
is foreseen," replied Mr. Fogg. "I think we must wait till night before
so," said the guide.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
whispered the guide.
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
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
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.
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.
only eight now," said the brigadier, "and these guards may also go to sleep."
not impossible," returned the Parsee.
down at the foot of a tree, and waited.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 any emotion.
nothing to do but to go away," whispered Sir Francis.
but to go away," echoed the guide.
said Fogg. "I am only due at Allahabad tomorrow before noon."
can you hope to do?" asked Sir Francis. "In a few hours it will be daylight,
which now seems lost may present itself at the last moment."
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?
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 groups.
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.
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.
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 cries.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
rajah approached Sir Francis and Mr. Fogg, and, in an abrupt tone, said,
"Let us be off!"
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.
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 discovered.
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