train pursued its course, that evening, without interruption, passing
Fort Saunders, crossing Cheyne Pass, and reaching Evans Pass. The road
here attained the highest elevation of the journey, eight thousand and
ninety-two feet above the level of the sea. The travellers had now only
to descend to the Atlantic by limitless plains, levelled by nature. A branch
of the "grand trunk" led off southward to Denver, the capital of Colorado.
The country round about is rich in gold and silver, and more than fifty
thousand inhabitants are already settled there.
hundred and eighty-two miles had been passed over from San Francisco, in
three days and three nights; four days and nights more would probably bring
them to New York. Phileas Fogg was not as yet behind-hand.
the night Camp Walbach was passed on the left; Lodge Pole Creek ran parallel
with the road, marking the boundary between the territories of Wyoming
and Colorado. They entered Nebraska at eleven, passed near Sedgwick, and
touched at Julesburg, on the southern branch of the Platte River.
here that the Union Pacific Railroad was inaugurated on the 23rd of October,
1867, by the chief engineer, General Dodge. Two powerful locomotives, carrying
nine cars of invited guests, amongst whom was Thomas C. Durant, vice-president
of the road, stopped at this point; cheers were given, the Sioux and Pawnees
performed an imitation Indian battle, fireworks were let off, and the first
number of the Railway Pioneer was printed by a press brought on the train.
Thus was celebrated the inauguration of this great railroad, a mighty instrument
of progress and civilisation, thrown across the desert, and destined to
link together cities and towns which do not yet exist. The whistle of the
locomotive, more powerful than Amphion's lyre, was about to bid them rise
from American soil.
was left behind at eight in the morning, and three hundred and fifty-seven
miles had yet to be traversed before reaching Omaha. The road followed
the capricious windings of the southern branch of the Platte River, on
its left bank. At nine the train stopped at the important town of North
Platte, built between the two arms of the river, which rejoin each other
around it and form a single artery, a large tributary, whose waters empty
into the Missouri a little above Omaha.
hundred and first meridian was passed.
and his partners had resumed their game; no one—not even the dummy— complained
of the length of the trip. Fix had begun by winning several guineas, which
he seemed likely to lose; but he showed himself a not less eager whist-player
than Mr. Fogg. During the morning, chance distinctly favoured that gentleman.
Trumps and honours were showered upon his hands.
having resolved on a bold stroke, he was on the point of playing a spade,
when a voice behind him said, "I should play a diamond."
Aouda, and Fix raised their heads, and beheld Colonel Proctor.
Proctor and Phileas Fogg recognised each other at once.
you, is it, Englishman?" cried the colonel; "it's you who are going to
play a spade!"
plays it," replied Phileas Fogg coolly, throwing down the ten of spades.
it pleases me to have it diamonds," replied Colonel Proctor, in an insolent
a movement as if to seize the card which had just been played, adding,
"You don't understand anything about whist."
I do, as well as another," said Phileas Fogg, rising.
only to try, son of John Bull," replied the colonel.
turned pale, and her blood ran cold. She seized Mr. Fogg's arm and gently
pulled him back. Passepartout was ready to pounce upon the American, who
was staring insolently at his opponent. But Fix got up, and, going to Colonel
Proctor said, "You forget that it is I with whom you have to deal, sir;
for it was I whom you not only insulted, but struck!"
said Mr. Fogg, "pardon me, but this affair is mine, and mine only. The
colonel has again insulted me, by insisting that I should not play a spade,
and he shall give me satisfaction for it."
and where you will," replied the American, "and with whatever weapon you
in vain attempted to retain Mr. Fogg; as vainly did the detective endeavour
to make the quarrel his. Passepartout wished to throw the colonel out of
the window, but a sign from his master checked him. Phileas Fogg left the
car, and the American followed him upon the platform. "Sir," said Mr. Fogg
to his adversary, "I am in a great hurry to get back to Europe, and any
delay whatever will be greatly to my disadvantage."
what's that to me?" replied Colonel Proctor.
said Mr. Fogg, very politely, "after our meeting at San Francisco, I determined
to return to America and find you as soon as I had completed the business
which called me to England."
you appoint a meeting for six months hence?"
ten years hence?"
six months," returned Phileas Fogg; "and I shall be at the place of meeting
is an evasion," cried Stamp Proctor. "Now or never!"
good. You are going to New York?"
difference is it to you? Do you know Plum Creek?"
replied Mr. Fogg.
the next station. The train will be there in an hour, and will stop there
ten minutes. In ten minutes several revolver-shots could be exchanged."
well," said Mr. Fogg. "I will stop at Plum Creek."
guess you'll stay there too," added the American insolently.
replied Mr. Fogg, returning to the car as coolly as usual. He began to
reassure Aouda, telling her that blusterers were never to be feared, and
begged Fix to be his second at the approaching duel, a request which the
detective could not refuse. Mr. Fogg resumed the interrupted game with
o'clock the locomotive's whistle announced that they were approaching Plum
Creek station. Mr. Fogg rose, and, followed by Fix, went out upon the platform.
Passepartout accompanied him, carrying a pair of revolvers. Aouda remained
in the car, as pale as death.
of the next car opened, and Colonel Proctor appeared on the platform, attended
by a Yankee of his own stamp as his second. But just as the combatants
were about to step from the train, the conductor hurried up, and shouted,
"You can't get off, gentlemen!"
asked the colonel.
twenty minutes late, and we shall not stop."
am going to fight a duel with this gentleman."
sorry," said the conductor; "but we shall be off at once. There's the bell
very sorry, gentlemen," said the conductor. "Under any other circumstances
I should have been happy to oblige you. But, after all, as you have not
had time to fight here, why not fight as we go along?
wouldn't be convenient, perhaps, for this gentleman," said the colonel,
in a jeering tone.
be perfectly so," replied Phileas Fogg.
we are really in America," thought Passepartout, "and the conductor is
a gentleman of the first order!"
he followed his master.
combatants, their seconds, and the conductor passed through the cars to
the rear of the train. The last car was only occupied by a dozen passengers,
whom the conductor politely asked if they would not be so kind as to leave
it vacant for a few moments, as two gentlemen had an affair of honour to
settle. The passengers granted the request with alacrity, and straightway
disappeared on the platform.
which was some fifty feet long, was very convenient for their purpose.
The adversaries might march on each other in the aisle, and fire at their
ease. Never was duel more easily arranged. Mr. Fogg and Colonel Proctor,
each provided with two six-barrelled revolvers, entered the car. The seconds,
remaining outside, shut them in. They were to begin firing at the first
whistle of the locomotive. After an interval of two minutes, what remained
of the two gentlemen would be taken from the car.
could be more simple. Indeed, it was all so simple that Fix and Passepartout
felt their hearts beating as if they would crack. They were listening for
the whistle agreed upon, when suddenly savage cries resounded in the air,
accompanied by reports which certainly did not issue from the car where
the duellists were. The reports continued in front and the whole length
of the train. Cries of terror proceeded from the interior of the cars.
Proctor and Mr. Fogg, revolvers in hand, hastily quitted their prison,
and rushed forward where the noise was most clamorous. They then perceived
that the train was attacked by a band of Sioux.
not the first attempt of these daring Indians, for more than once they
had waylaid trains on the road. A hundred of them had, according to their
habit, jumped upon the steps without stopping the train, with the ease
of a clown mounting a horse at full gallop.
were armed with guns, from which came the reports, to which the passengers,
who were almost all armed, responded by revolver-shots.
had first mounted the engine, and half stunned the engineer and stoker
with blows from their muskets. A Sioux chief, wishing to stop the train,
but not knowing how to work the regulator, had opened wide instead of closing
the steam-valve, and the locomotive was plunging forward with terrific
had at the same time invaded the cars, skipping like enraged monkeys over
the roofs, thrusting open the doors, and fighting hand to hand with the
the baggage-car, they pillaged it, throwing the trunks out of the train.
The cries and shots were constant. The travellers defended themselves bravely;
some of the cars were barricaded, and sustained a siege, like moving forts,
carried along at a speed of a hundred miles an hour.
behaved courageously from the first. She defended herself like a true heroine
with a revolver, which she shot through the broken windows whenever a savage
made his appearance. Twenty Sioux had fallen mortally wounded to the ground,
and the wheels crushed those who fell upon the rails as if they had been
worms. Several passengers, shot or stunned, lay on the seats.
necessary to put an end to the struggle, which had lasted for ten minutes,
and which would result in the triumph of the Sioux if the train was not
stopped. Fort Kearney station, where there was a garrison, was only two
miles distant; but, that once passed, the Sioux would be masters of the
train between Fort Kearney and the station beyond.
was fighting beside Mr. Fogg, when he was shot and fell. At the same moment
he cried, "Unless the train is stopped in five minutes, we are lost!"
be stopped," said Phileas Fogg, preparing to rush from the car.
monsieur," cried Passepartout; "I will go."
had not time to stop the brave fellow, who, opening a door unperceived
by the Indians, succeeded in slipping under the car; and while the struggle
continued and the balls whizzed across each other over his head, he made
use of his old acrobatic experience, and with amazing agility worked his
way under the cars, holding on to the chains, aiding himself by the brakes
and edges of the sashes, creeping from one car to another with marvellous
skill, and thus gaining the forward end of the train.
suspended by one hand between the baggage-car and the tender, with the
other he loosened the safety chains; but, owing to the traction, he would
never have succeeded in unscrewing the yoking-bar, had not a violent concussion
jolted this bar out. The train, now detached from the engine, remained
a little behind, whilst the locomotive rushed forward with increased speed.
on by the force already acquired, the train still moved for several minutes;
but the brakes were worked and at last they stopped, less than a hundred
feet from Kearney station.
of the fort, attracted by the shots, hurried up; the Sioux had not expected
them, and decamped in a body before the train entirely stopped.
the passengers counted each other on the station platform several were
found missing; among others the courageous Frenchman, whose devotion had
just saved them.