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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
The train started punctually. Among the passengers were a number of officers, government officials, and opium and indigo merchants. Passepartout rode in the same carriage with his master, and a third passenger occupied a seat opposite to them. This was Sir Francis Cromarty, one of Mr. Fogg’s whist partners on the Mongolia. Sir Francis knew a lot about India but Fogg was not interested in knowing anything from the former. Sir Francis Cromarty had observed the oddity of his travelling companion although the only opportunity he had for studying him had been while he was dealing the cards, and between two rubbers and questioned himself whether a human heart really beat beneath this cold exterior, and whether Phileas Fogg had any sense of the beauties of nature. The brigadier general was free to mentally confess that, of all the eccentric persons he had ever met, none was comparable to this product of the exact sciences. Phileas Fogg had not concealed from Sir Francis his design of going round the world and the general only saw in the wager a useless eccentricity and a lack of sound common sense. In the way this strange gentleman was going on, he would leave the world without having done any good to himself or anybody else.
The course of the train is described along with the scanty conversation that Fogg has with Comarty. Comarty warns Fogg that the latter might get into trouble because of Passepartout’s entering the holy pagoda at Bombay. Fogg feels that his servant’s mistake cannot harm him in any way. Passepartout, on waking and looking out, could not realize that he was actually crossing India in a railway train. The land through which the train passes is described here.
At half past twelve the train stopped at Burhampoor, where Passepartout was able to purchase some Indian slippers, ornamented with false pearls, in which, he proceeded to encase his feet. The travelers made a hasty breakfast and started off for Assurghur, after skirting for a little the banks of the small river Tapty, which empties into the Gulf of Cambray, near Surat. Passepartout was now plunged into absorbing reverie. He worried about the wager and whether Fogg would be able to complete his mission. He realizes that this is not a jest and that his master is serious about traversing the globe.
The train stopped, at eight o’clock, in the midst of a glade some fifteen miles beyond Rothal, where there were several bungalows, and workmen’s cabins. The conductor, passing along the carriages, shouted, "Passengers will get out here!" Phileas Fogg looked at Sir Francis Cromarty for an explanation; but the general could not tell what meant a halt in the midst of this forest of dates and acacias. Passepartout, not less surprised, rushed out and speedily returned, crying: "Monsieur, no more railway!" They learn that the rail has not been lain from this place till Allahabad and so the passengers will have to find their own way to Allahabad and from there they can once again board a train to Calcutta. While Sir Francis and Passepartout are very angry, Fogg is calm and looks for a means of transport.
Passepartout finds an elephant and they all go to have a look at it. They soon reach a small hut, near which, enclosed within some high palings, was the animal in question. Kiouni this was the name of the beast could doubtless travel rapidly for a long time, and, in default of any other means of conveyance, Mr. Fogg resolved to hire him. But, the mahout was unwilling to hire out the elephant even at a high price. Phileas Fogg, without getting in the least flurried, then proposed to purchase the animal outright, and at first offered a thousand pounds for him. Sir Francis Cromarty took Mr. Fogg aside, and begged him to reflect before he went any further; to which that gentleman replied that he was not in the habit of acting rashly, that a bet of twenty thousand pounds was at stake, that the elephant was absolutely necessary to him, and that he would secure him if he had to pay twenty times his value. At two thousand pounds the Indian yielded.
They found a guide easily. A young Parsee, with an intelligent face, offered his services, which Mr. Fogg accepted, promising a generous reward as to stimulate his zeal. The elephant was led out and equipped. Phileas Fogg paid the Indian with some banknotes, which he extracted from the famous carpet bag. Then Fogg offered to carry Sir Francis to Allahabad, which the brigadier gratefully accepted. Provisions were purchased at Kholby, and, while Sir Francis and Mr. Fogg took the howdahs on either side, Passepartout got astride the saddle cloth between them. The Parsee perched himself on the elephant’s neck, and at nine o’clock they set out from the village, the animal marching off through the dense forest of palms by the shortest cut.