**IN WHICH CERTAIN INCIDENTS ARE NARRATED WHICH ARE ONLY TO BE MET WITH O_MERICAN RAILROADS**
The train pursued its course, that evening, without interruption, passing For_aunders, crossing Cheyne Pass, and reaching Evans Pass. The road her_ttained the highest elevation of the journey, eight thousand and ninety-tw_eet above the level of the sea. The travellers had now only to descend to th_tlantic by limitless plains, levelled by nature. A branch of the "gran_runk" led off southward to Denver, the capital of Colorado. The country roun_bout is rich in gold and silver, and more than fifty thousand inhabitants ar_lready settled there.
Thirteen 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 brin_hem to New York. Phileas Fogg was not as yet behind-hand.
During the night Camp Walbach was passed on the left; Lodge Pole Creek ra_arallel with the road, marking the boundary between the territories o_yoming and Colorado. They entered Nebraska at eleven, passed near Sedgwick, and touched at Julesburg, on the southern branch of the Platte River.
It was here that the Union Pacific Railroad was inaugurated on the 23rd o_ctober, 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 an_awnees performed an imitation Indian battle, fireworks were let off, and th_irst number of the Railway Pioneer was printed by a press brought on th_rain. Thus was celebrated the inauguration of this great railroad, a might_nstrument of progress and civilisation, thrown across the desert, an_estined to link together cities and towns which do not yet exist. The whistl_f the locomotive, more powerful than Amphion's lyre, was about to bid the_ise from American soil.
Fort McPherson was left behind at eight in the morning, and three hundred an_ifty-seven miles had yet to be traversed before reaching Omaha. The roa_ollowed 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 Nort_latte, built between the two arms of the river, which rejoin each othe_round it and form a single artery, a large tributary, whose waters empty int_he Missouri a little above Omaha.
The one hundred and first meridian was passed.
Mr. Fogg 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 severa_uineas, which he seemed likely to lose; but he showed himself a not les_ager whist-player than Mr. Fogg. During the morning, chance distinctl_avoured that gentleman. Trumps and honours were showered upon his hands.
Once, having resolved on a bold stroke, he was on the point of playing _pade, when a voice behind him said, "I should play a diamond."
Mr. Fogg, Aouda, and Fix raised their heads, and beheld Colonel Proctor.
Stamp Proctor and Phileas Fogg recognised each other at once.
"Ah! it's you, is it, Englishman?" cried the colonel; "it's you who are goin_o play a spade!"
"And who plays it," replied Phileas Fogg coolly, throwing down the ten o_pades.
"Well, it pleases me to have it diamonds," replied Colonel Proctor, in a_nsolent tone.
He made a movement as if to seize the card which had just been played, adding,
"You don't understand anything about whist."
"Perhaps I do, as well as another," said Phileas Fogg, rising.
"You have only to try, son of John Bull," replied the colonel.
Aouda turned pale, and her blood ran cold. She seized Mr. Fogg's arm an_ently pulled him back. Passepartout was ready to pounce upon the American, who was staring insolently at his opponent. But Fix got up, and, going t_olonel 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!"
"Mr. Fix," 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 _pade, and he shall give me satisfaction for it."
"When and where you will," replied the American, "and with whatever weapon yo_hoose."
Aouda in vain attempted to retain Mr. Fogg; as vainly did the detectiv_ndeavour to make the quarrel his. Passepartout wished to throw the colone_ut of the window, but a sign from his master checked him. Phileas Fogg lef_he car, and the American followed him upon the platform. "Sir," said Mr. Fog_o his adversary, "I am in a great hurry to get back to Europe, and any dela_hatever will be greatly to my disadvantage."
"Well, what's that to me?" replied Colonel Proctor.
"Sir," said Mr. Fogg, very politely, "after our meeting at San Francisco, _etermined to return to America and find you as soon as I had completed th_usiness which called me to England."
"Will you appoint a meeting for six months hence?"
"Why not ten years hence?"
"I say six months," returned Phileas Fogg; "and I shall be at the place o_eeting promptly."
"All this is an evasion," cried Stamp Proctor. "Now or never!"
"Very good. You are going to New York?"
"What difference is it to you? Do you know Plum Creek?"
"No," replied Mr. Fogg.
"It's the next station. The train will be there in an hour, and will sto_here ten minutes. In ten minutes several revolver-shots could be exchanged."
"Very well," said Mr. Fogg. "I will stop at Plum Creek."
"And I guess you'll stay there too," added the American insolently.
"Who knows?" replied Mr. Fogg, returning to the car as coolly as usual. H_egan 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 th_etective could not refuse. Mr. Fogg resumed the interrupted game with perfec_almness.
At eleven o'clock the locomotive's whistle announced that they wer_pproaching Plum Creek station. Mr. Fogg rose, and, followed by Fix, went ou_pon the platform. Passepartout accompanied him, carrying a pair of revolvers.
Aouda remained in the car, as pale as death.
The door 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 th_ombatants were about to step from the train, the conductor hurried up, an_houted, "You can't get off, gentlemen!"
"Why not?" asked the colonel.
"We are twenty minutes late, and we shall not stop."
"But I am going to fight a duel with this gentleman."
"I am sorry," said the conductor; "but we shall be off at once. There's th_ell ringing now."
The train started.
"I'm really very sorry, gentlemen," said the conductor. "Under any othe_ircumstances I should have been happy to oblige you. But, after all, as yo_ave not had time to fight here, why not fight as we go along?"
"That wouldn't be convenient, perhaps, for this gentleman," said the colonel, in a jeering tone.
"It would be perfectly so," replied Phileas Fogg.
"Well, we are really in America," thought Passepartout, "and the conductor i_ gentleman of the first order!"
So muttering, he followed his master.
The two combatants, their seconds, and the conductor passed through the car_o the rear of the train. The last car was only occupied by a doze_assengers, whom the conductor politely asked if they would not be so kind a_o leave it vacant for a few moments, as two gentlemen had an affair of honou_o settle. The passengers granted the request with alacrity, and straightwa_isappeared on the platform.
The car, which was some fifty feet long, was very convenient for thei_urpose. The adversaries might march on each other in the aisle, and fire a_heir 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 firs_histle of the locomotive. After an interval of two minutes, what remained o_he two gentlemen would be taken from the car.
Nothing could be more simple. Indeed, it was all so simple that Fix an_assepartout felt their hearts beating as if they would crack. They wer_istening for the whistle agreed upon, when suddenly savage cries resounded i_he air, accompanied by reports which certainly did not issue from the ca_here the duellists were. The reports continued in front and the whole lengt_f the train. Cries of terror proceeded from the interior of the cars.
Colonel Proctor and Mr. Fogg, revolvers in hand, hastily quitted their prison, and rushed forward where the noise was most clamorous. They then perceive_hat the train was attacked by a band of Sioux.
This was not the first attempt of these daring Indians, for more than onc_hey had waylaid trains on the road. A hundred of them had, according to thei_abit, jumped upon the steps without stopping the train, with the ease of _lown mounting a horse at full gallop.
The Sioux were armed with guns, from which came the reports, to which th_assengers, who were almost all armed, responded by revolver-shots.
The Indians had first mounted the engine, and half stunned the engineer an_toker with blows from their muskets. A Sioux chief, wishing to stop th_rain, but not knowing how to work the regulator, had opened wide instead o_losing the steam-valve, and the locomotive was plunging forward with terrifi_elocity.
The Sioux had at the same time invaded the cars, skipping like enraged monkey_ver the roofs, thrusting open the doors, and fighting hand to hand with th_assengers. Penetrating the baggage-car, they pillaged it, throwing the trunk_ut of the train. The cries and shots were constant. The travellers defende_hemselves 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.
Aouda behaved courageously from the first. She defended herself like a tru_eroine with a revolver, which she shot through the broken windows whenever _avage made his appearance. Twenty Sioux had fallen mortally wounded to th_round, and the wheels crushed those who fell upon the rails as if they ha_een worms. Several passengers, shot or stunned, lay on the seats.
It was necessary to put an end to the struggle, which had lasted for te_inutes, and which would result in the triumph of the Sioux if the train wa_ot stopped. Fort Kearney station, where there was a garrison, was only tw_iles distant; but, that once passed, the Sioux would be masters of the trai_etween Fort Kearney and the station beyond.
The conductor was fighting beside Mr. Fogg, when he was shot and fell. At th_ame moment he cried, "Unless the train is stopped in five minutes, we ar_ost!"
"It shall be stopped," said Phileas Fogg, preparing to rush from the car.
"Stay, monsieur," cried Passepartout; "I will go."
Mr. Fogg had not time to stop the brave fellow, who, opening a doo_nperceived by the Indians, succeeded in slipping under the car; and while th_truggle continued and the balls whizzed across each other over his head, h_ade use of his old acrobatic experience, and with amazing agility worked hi_ay under the cars, holding on to the chains, aiding himself by the brakes an_dges of the sashes, creeping from one car to another with marvellous skill, and thus gaining the forward end of the train.
There, suspended by one hand between the baggage-car and the tender, with th_ther he loosened the safety chains; but, owing to the traction, he woul_ever have succeeded in unscrewing the yoking-bar, had not a violen_oncussion jolted this bar out. The train, now detached from the engine, remained a little behind, whilst the locomotive rushed forward with increase_peed.
Carried on by the force already acquired, the train still moved for severa_inutes; but the brakes were worked and at last they stopped, less than _undred feet from Kearney station.
The soldiers of the fort, attracted by the shots, hurried up; the Sioux ha_ot expected them, and decamped in a body before the train entirely stopped.
But when the passengers counted each other on the station platform severa_ere found missing; among others the courageous Frenchman, whose devotion ha_ust saved them.