passengers including Passepartout had disappeared. Had they been killed
in the struggle? Were they taken prisoners by the Sioux? It was impossible
were many wounded, but none mortally. Colonel Proctor was one of the most
seriously hurt; he had fought bravely, and a ball had entered his groin.
He was carried into the station with the other wounded passengers, to receive
such attention as could be of avail.
was safe; and Phileas Fogg, who had been in the thickest of the fight,
had not received a scratch. Fix was slightly wounded in the arm. But Passepartout
was not to be found, and tears coursed down Aouda's cheeks.
passengers had got out of the train, the wheels of which were stained with
blood. From the tyres and spokes hung ragged pieces of flesh. As far as
the eye could reach on the white plain behind, red trails were visible.
The last Sioux were disappearing in the south, along the banks of Republican
with folded arms, remained motionless. He had a serious decision to make.
Aouda, standing near him, looked at him without speaking, and he understood
her look. If his servant was a prisoner, ought he not to risk everything
to rescue him from the Indians? "I will find him, living or dead," said
he quietly to Aouda.
Fogg!" cried she, clasping his hands and covering them with tears.
added Mr. Fogg, "if we do not lose a moment."
Fogg, by this resolution, inevitably sacrificed himself; he pronounced
his own doom. The delay of a single day would make him lose the steamer
at New York, and his bet would be certainly lost. But as he thought, "It
is my duty," he did not hesitate.
officer of Fort Kearney was there. A hundred of his soldiers had placed
themselves in a position to defend the station, should the Sioux attack
said Mr. Fogg to the captain, "three passengers have disappeared."
asked the captain.
or prisoners; that is the uncertainty which must be solved. Do you propose
to pursue the Sioux?"
a serious thing to do, sir," returned the captain. "These Indians may retreat
beyond the Arkansas, and I cannot leave the fort unprotected."
of three men are in question, sir," said Phileas Fogg.
but can I risk the lives of fifty men to save three?"
know whether you can, sir; but you ought to do so."
here," returned the other, "has a right to teach me my duty."
well," said Mr. Fogg, coldly. "I will go alone."
sir!" cried Fix, coming up; "you go alone in pursuit of the Indians?"
you have me leave this poor fellow to perish— him to whom every one present
owes his life? I shall go."
you shall not go alone," cried the captain, touched in spite of himself.
"No! you are a brave man. Thirty volunteers!" he added, turning to the
company started forward at once. The captain had only to pick his men.
Thirty were chosen, and an old sergeant placed at their head.
captain," said Mr. Fogg.
you let me go with you?" asked Fix.
you please, sir. But if you wish to do me a favour, you will remain with
Aouda. In case anything should happen to me—"
pallor overspread the detective's face. Separate himself from the man whom
he had so persistently followed step by step! Leave him to wander about
in this desert! Fix gazed attentively at Mr. Fogg, and, despite his suspicions
and of the struggle which was going on within him, he lowered his eyes
before that calm and frank look.
stay," said he.
moments after, Mr. Fogg pressed the young woman's hand, and, having confided
to her his precious carpet-bag, went off with the sergeant and his little
squad. But, before going, he had said to the soldiers, "My friends, I will
divide five thousand dollars among you, if we save the prisoners."
then a little past noon.
retired to a waiting-room, and there she waited alone, thinking of the
simple and noble generosity, the tranquil courage of Phileas Fogg. He had
sacrificed his fortune, and was now risking his life, all without hesitation,
from duty, in silence.
not have the same thoughts, and could scarcely conceal his agitation. He
walked feverishly up and down the platform, but soon resumed his outward
composure. He now saw the folly of which he had been guilty in letting
Fogg go alone. What! This man, whom he had just followed around the world,
was permitted now to separate himself from him! He began to accuse and
abuse himself, and, as if he were director of police, administered to himself
a sound lecture for his greenness.
been an idiot!" he thought, "and this man will see it. He has gone, and
won't come back! But how is it that I, Fix, who have in my pocket a warrant
for his arrest, have been so fascinated by him? Decidedly, I am nothing
but an ass!"
the detective, while the hours crept by all too slowly. He did not know
what to do. Sometimes he was tempted to tell Aouda all; but he could not
doubt how the young woman would receive his confidences. What course should
he take? He thought of pursuing Fogg across the vast white plains; it did
not seem impossible that he might overtake him. Footsteps were easily printed
on the snow! But soon, under a new sheet, every imprint would be effaced.
discouraged. He felt a sort of insurmountable longing to abandon the game
altogether. He could now leave Fort Kearney station, and pursue his journey
homeward in peace.
two o'clock in the afternoon, while it was snowing hard, long whistles
were heard approaching from the east. A great shadow, preceded by a wild
light, slowly advanced, appearing still larger through the mist, which
gave it a fantastic aspect. No train was expected from the east, neither
had there been time for the succour asked for by telegraph to arrive; the
train from Omaha to San Francisco was not due till the next day. The mystery
was soon explained.
which was slowly approaching with deafening whistles, was that which, having
been detached from the train, had continued its route with such terrific
rapidity, carrying off the unconscious engineer and stoker. It had run
several miles, when, the fire becoming low for want of fuel, the steam
had slackened; and it had finally stopped an hour after, some twenty miles
beyond Fort Kearney. Neither the engineer nor the stoker was dead, and,
after remaining for some time in their swoon, had come to themselves. The
train had then stopped. The engineer, when he found himself in the desert,
and the locomotive without cars, understood what had happened. He could
not imagine how the locomotive had become separated from the train; but
he did not doubt that the train left behind was in distress.
not hesitate what to do. It would be prudent to continue on to Omaha, for
it would be dangerous to return to the train, which the Indians might still
be engaged in pillaging. Nevertheless, he began to rebuild the fire in
the furnace; the pressure again mounted, and the locomotive returned, running
backwards to Fort Kearney. This it was which was whistling in the mist.
were glad to see the locomotive resume its place at the head of the train.
They could now continue the journey so terribly interrupted.
on seeing the locomotive come up, hurried out of the station, and asked
the conductor, "Are you going to start?"
prisoners, our unfortunate fellow-travellers—"
interrupt the trip," replied the conductor. "We are already three hours
will another train pass here from San Francisco?"
evening! But then it will be too late! We must wait—"
impossible," responded the conductor. "If you wish to go, please get in."
not go," said Aouda.
heard this conversation. A little while before, when there was no prospect
of proceeding on the journey, he had made up his mind to leave Fort Kearney;
but now that the train was there, ready to start, and he had only to take
his seat in the car, an irresistible influence held him back. The station
platform burned his feet, and he could not stir. The conflict in his mind
again began; anger and failure stifled him. He wished to struggle on to
the passengers and some of the wounded, among them Colonel Proctor, whose
injuries were serious, had taken their places in the train. The buzzing
of the over-heated boiler was heard, and the steam was escaping from the
valves. The engineer whistled, the train started, and soon disappeared,
mingling its white smoke with the eddies of the densely falling snow.
had remained behind.
hours passed. The weather was dismal, and it was very cold. Fix sat motionless
on a bench in the station; he might have been thought asleep. Aouda, despite
the storm, kept coming out of the waiting-room, going to the end of the
platform, and peering through the tempest of snow, as if to pierce the
mist which narrowed the horizon around her, and to hear, if possible, some
welcome sound. She heard and saw nothing. Then she would return, chilled
through, to issue out again after the lapse of a few moments, but always
came, and the little band had not returned. Where could they be? Had they
found the Indians, and were they having a conflict with them, or were they
still wandering amid the mist? The commander of the fort was anxious, though
he tried to conceal his apprehensions. As night approached, the snow fell
less plentifully, but it became intensely cold. Absolute silence rested
on the plains. Neither flight of bird nor passing of beast troubled the
the night Aouda, full of sad forebodings, her heart stifled with anguish,
wandered about on the verge of the plains. Her imagination carried her
far off, and showed her innumerable dangers. What she suffered through
the long hours it would be impossible to describe.
stationary in the same place, but did not sleep. Once a man approached
and spoke to him, and the detective merely replied by shaking his head.
night passed. At dawn, the half-extinguished disc of the sun rose above
a misty horizon ; but it was now possible to recognise objects two miles
off. Phileas Fogg and the squad had gone southward; in the south all was
still vacancy. It was then seven o'clock.
who was really alarmed, did not know what course to take.
he send another detachment to the rescue of the first? Should he sacrifice
more men, with so few chances of saving those already sacrificed? His hesitation
did not last long, however. Calling one of his lieutenants, he was on the
point of ordering a reconnaissance, when gunshots were heard. Was it a
signal? The soldiers rushed out of the fort, and half a mile off they perceived
a little band returning in good order.
was marching at their head, and just behind him were Passepartout and the
other two travellers, rescued from the Sioux.
met and fought the Indians ten miles south of Fort Kearney. Shortly before
the detachment arrived, Passepartout and his companions had begun to struggle
with their captors, three of whom the Frenchman had felled with his fists,
when his master and the soldiers hastened up to their relief.
welcomed with joyful cries. Phileas Fogg distributed the reward he had
promised to the soldiers, while Passepartout, not without reason, muttered
to himself, "It must certainly be confessed that I cost my master dear!"
saying a word, looked at Mr. Fogg, and it would have been difficult to
analyse the thoughts which struggled within him. As for Aouda, she took
her protector's hand and pressed it in her own, too much moved to speak.
Passepartout was looking about for the train; he thought he should find
it there, ready to start for Omaha, and he hoped that the time lost might
the train!" cried he.
does the next train pass here?" said Phileas Fogg.
returned the impassible gentleman quietly.