Around the World in 80 Days HTML version

Chapter 11
The train had started punctually. Among the passengers were a number of officers,
Government officials, and opium and indigo merchants, whose business called them to
the eastern coast. 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, now on his way to join his corps at Benares. Sir
Francis was a tall, fair man of fifty, who had greatly distinguished himself in the last
Sepoy revolt. He made India his home, only paying brief visits to England at rare
intervals; and was almost as familiar as a native with the customs, history, and character
of India and its people. But Phileas Fogg, who was not travelling, but only describing a
circumference, took no pains to inquire into these subjects; he was a solid body,
traversing an orbit around the terrestrial globe, according to the laws of rational
mechanics. He was at this moment calculating in his mind the number of hours spent
since his departure from London, and, had it been in his nature to make a useless
demonstration, would have rubbed his hands for satisfaction. 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, nor
the circumstances under which he set out; 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
An hour after leaving Bombay the train had passed the viaducts and the Island of
Salcette, and had got into the open country. At Callyan they reached the junction of the
branch line which descends towards south-eastern India by Kandallah and Pounah; and,
passing Pauwell, they entered the defiles of the mountains, with their basalt bases, and
their summits crowned with thick and verdant forests. Phileas Fogg and Sir Francis
Cromarty exchanged a few words from time to time, and now Sir Francis, reviving the
conversation, observed, "Some years ago, Mr. Fogg, you would have met with a delay at
this point which would probably have lost you your wager."
"How so, Sir Francis?"
"Because the railway stopped at the base of these mountains, which the passengers were
obliged to cross in palanquins or on ponies to Kandallah, on the other side."