**IN WHICH PHILEAS FOGG DESCENDS THE WHOLE LENGTH OF THE BEAUTIFUL VALLEY O_HE GANGES WITHOUT EVER THINKING OF SEEING IT**
The rash exploit had been accomplished; and for an hour Passepartout laughe_aily at his success. Sir Francis pressed the worthy fellow's hand, and hi_aster said, "Well done!" which, from him, was high commendation; to whic_assepartout replied that all the credit of the affair belonged to Mr. Fogg.
As for him, he had only been struck with a "queer" idea; and he laughed t_hink that for a few moments he, Passepartout, the ex-gymnast, ex-sergean_ireman, 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 wa_assing, and now, wrapped up in a travelling-blanket, was reposing in one o_he howdahs.
The elephant, thanks to the skilful guidance of the Parsee, was advancin_apidly through the still darksome forest, and, an hour after leaving th_agoda, had crossed a vast plain. They made a halt at seven o'clock, the youn_oman being still in a state of complete prostration. The guide made her drin_ little brandy and water, but the drowsiness which stupefied her could no_et be shaken off. Sir Francis, who was familiar with the effects of th_ntoxication produced by the fumes of hemp, reassured his companions on he_ccount. But he was more disturbed at the prospect of her future fate. He tol_hileas Fogg that, should Aouda remain in India, she would inevitably fal_gain into the hands of her executioners. These fanatics were scattere_hroughout the county, and would, despite the English police, recover thei_ictim at Madras, Bombay, or Calcutta. She would only be safe by quittin_ndia for ever.
Phileas Fogg replied that he would reflect upon the matter.
The station at Allahabad was reached about ten o'clock, and, the interrupte_ine of railway being resumed, would enable them to reach Calcutta in les_han twenty-four hours. Phileas Fogg would thus be able to arrive in time t_ake the steamer which left Calcutta the next day, October 25th, at noon, fo_ong Kong.
The young woman was placed in one of the waiting-rooms of the station, whils_assepartout was charged with purchasing for her various articles of toilet, _ress, shawl, and some furs; for which his master gave him unlimited credit.
Passepartout started off forthwith, and found himself in the streets o_llahabad, that is, the City of God, one of the most venerated in India, bein_uilt at the junction of the two sacred rivers, Ganges and Jumna, the water_f which attract pilgrims from every part of the peninsula. The Ganges,
according to the legends of the Ramayana, rises in heaven, whence, owing t_rahma's agency, it descends to the earth.
Passepartout made it a point, as he made his purchases, to take a good look a_he city. It was formerly defended by a noble fort, which has since become _tate prison; its commerce has dwindled away, and Passepartout in vain looke_bout him for such a bazaar as he used to frequent in Regent Street. At las_e came upon an elderly, crusty Jew, who sold second-hand articles, and fro_hom 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. H_hen returned triumphantly to the station.
The influence to which the priests of Pillaji had subjected Aouda bega_radually to yield, and she became more herself, so that her fine eyes resume_ll their soft Indian expression.
When the poet-king, Ucaf Uddaul, celebrates the charms of the queen o_hmehnagara, he speaks thus:
"Her shining tresses, divided in two parts, encircle the harmonious contour o_er white and delicate cheeks, brilliant in their glow and freshness. He_bony brows have the form and charm of the bow of Kama, the god of love, an_eneath her long silken lashes the purest reflections and a celestial ligh_wim, as in the sacred lakes of Himalaya, in the black pupils of her grea_lear eyes. Her teeth, fine, equal, and white, glitter between her smilin_ips like dewdrops in a passion-flower's half-enveloped breast. Her delicatel_ormed ears, her vermilion hands, her little feet, curved and tender as th_otus-bud, glitter with the brilliancy of the loveliest pearls of Ceylon, th_ost dazzling diamonds of Golconda. Her narrow and supple waist, which a han_ay clasp around, sets forth the outline of her rounded figure and the beaut_f 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 modelled i_ure silver by the godlike hand of Vicvarcarma, the immortal sculptor."
It is enough to say, without applying this poetical rhapsody to Aouda, tha_he was a charming woman, in all the European acceptation of the phrase. Sh_poke English with great purity, and the guide had not exaggerated in sayin_hat the young Parsee had been transformed by her bringing up.
The train was about to start from Allahabad, and Mr. Fogg proceeded to pay th_uide the price agreed upon for his service, and not a farthing more; whic_stonished Passepartout, who remembered all that his master owed to th_uide's devotion. He had, indeed, risked his life in the adventure at Pillaji,
and, if he should be caught afterwards by the Indians, he would wit_ifficulty escape their vengeance. Kiouni, also, must be disposed of. Wha_hould be done with the elephant, which had been so dearly purchased? Philea_ogg had already determined this question.
"Parsee," said he to the guide, "you have been serviceable and devoted. I hav_aid for your service, but not for your devotion. Would you like to have thi_lephant? He is yours."
The guide's eyes glistened.
"Your honour 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 an_aithful beast." And, going up to the elephant, he gave him several lumps o_ugar, saying, "Here, Kiouni, here, here."
The elephant grunted out his satisfaction, and, clasping Passepartout aroun_he waist with his trunk, lifted him as high as his head. Passepartout, not i_he least alarmed, caressed the animal, which replaced him gently on th_round.
Soon after, Phileas Fogg, Sir Francis Cromarty, and Passepartout, installed i_ carriage with Aouda, who had the best seat, were whirling at full spee_owards Benares. It was a run of eighty miles, and was accomplished in tw_ours. During the journey, the young woman fully recovered her senses. Wha_as her astonishment to find herself in this carriage, on the railway, dresse_n European habiliments, and with travellers who were quite strangers to her!
Her companions first set about fully reviving her with a little liquor, an_hen Sir Francis narrated to her what had passed, dwelling upon the courag_ith which Phileas Fogg had not hesitated to risk his life to save her, an_ecounting the happy sequel of the venture, the result of Passepartout's ras_dea. Mr. Fogg said nothing; while Passepartout, abashed, kept repeating that
"it wasn't worth telling."
Aouda pathetically thanked her deliverers, rather with tears than words; he_ine eyes interpreted her gratitude better than her lips. Then, as he_houghts strayed back to the scene of the sacrifice, and recalled the danger_hich still menaced her, she shuddered with terror.
Phileas Fogg understood what was passing in Aouda's mind, and offered, i_rder to reassure her, to escort her to Hong Kong, where she might remai_afely until the affair was hushed up—an offer which she eagerly an_ratefully accepted. She had, it seems, a Parsee relation, who was one of th_rincipal merchants of Hong Kong, which is wholly an English city, though o_n island on the Chinese coast.
At half-past twelve the train stopped at Benares. The Brahmin legends asser_hat this city is built on the site of the ancient Casi, which, like Mahomet'_omb, was once suspended between heaven and earth; though the Benares of to-
day, which the Orientalists call the Athens of India, stands quit_npoetically on the solid earth, Passepartout caught glimpses of its bric_ouses and clay huts, giving an aspect of desolation to the place, as th_rain entered it.
Benares was Sir Francis Cromarty's destination, the troops he was rejoinin_eing encamped some miles northward of the city. He bade adieu to Philea_ogg, wishing him all success, and expressing the hope that he would come tha_ay again in a less original but more profitable fashion. Mr. Fogg lightl_ressed him by the hand. The parting of Aouda, who did not forget what sh_wed to Sir Francis, betrayed more warmth; and, as for Passepartout, h_eceived a hearty shake of the hand from the gallant general.
The railway, on leaving Benares, passed for a while along the valley of th_anges. Through the windows of their carriage the travellers had glimpses o_he diversified landscape of Behar, with its mountains clothed in verdure, it_ields of barley, wheat, and corn, its jungles peopled with green alligators,
its neat villages, and its still thickly-leaved forests. Elephants wer_athing in the waters of the sacred river, and groups of Indians, despite th_dvanced season and chilly air, were performing solemnly their piou_blutions. These were fervent Brahmins, the bitterest foes of Buddhism, thei_eities being Vishnu, the solar god, Shiva, the divine impersonation o_atural forces, and Brahma, the supreme ruler of priests and legislators. Wha_ould these divinities think of India, anglicised as it is to-day, wit_teamers whistling and scudding along the Ganges, frightening the gulls whic_loat upon its surface, the turtles swarming along its banks, and the faithfu_welling upon its borders?
The panorama passed before their eyes like a flash, save when the stea_oncealed it fitfully from the view; the travellers could scarcely discern th_ort of Chupenie, twenty miles south-westward from Benares, the ancien_tronghold of the rajahs of Behar; or Ghazipur and its famous rose-wate_actories; or the tomb of Lord Cornwallis, rising on the left bank of th_anges; the fortified town of Buxar, or Patna, a large manufacturing an_rading-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 cloud_f black smoke heavenward.
Night came on; the train passed on at full speed, in the midst of the roarin_f the tigers, bears, and wolves which fled before the locomotive; and th_arvels of Bengal, Golconda ruined Gour, Murshedabad, the ancient capital,
Burdwan, Hugly, and the French town of Chandernagor, where Passepartout woul_ave been proud to see his country's flag flying, were hidden from their vie_n the darkness.
Calcutta was reached at seven in the morning, and the packet left for Hon_ong at noon; so that Phileas Fogg had five hours before him.
According to his journal, he was due at Calcutta on the 25th of October, an_hat was the exact date of his actual arrival. He was therefore neithe_ehind-hand nor ahead of time. The two days gained between London and Bomba_ad been lost, as has been seen, in the journey across India. But it is not t_e supposed that Phileas Fogg regretted them.