Around the World in 80 Days HTML version

Chapter 16
The Rangoon--one of the Peninsular and Oriental Company's boats plying in the Chinese
and Japanese seas--was a screw steamer, built of iron, weighing about seventeen hundred
and seventy tons, and with engines of four hundred horse-power. She was as fast, but not
as well fitted up, as the Mongolia, and Aouda was not as comfortably provided for on
board of her as Phileas Fogg could have wished. However, the trip from Calcutta to Hong
Kong only comprised some three thousand five hundred miles, occupying from ten to
twelve days, and the young woman was not difficult to please.
During the first days of the journey Aouda became better acquainted with her protector,
and constantly gave evidence of her deep gratitude for what he had done. The phlegmatic
gentleman listened to her, apparently at least, with coldness, neither his voice nor his
manner betraying the slightest emotion; but he seemed to be always on the watch that
nothing should be wanting to Aouda's comfort. He visited her regularly each day at
certain hours, not so much to talk himself, as to sit and hear her talk. He treated her with
the strictest politeness, but with the precision of an automaton, the movements of which
had been arranged for this purpose. Aouda did not quite know what to make of him,
though Passepartout had given her some hints of his master's eccentricity, and made her
smile by telling her of the wager which was sending him round the world. After all, she
owed Phileas Fogg her life, and she always regarded him through the exalting medium of
her gratitude.
Aouda confirmed the Parsee guide's narrative of her touching history. She did, indeed,
belong to the highest of the native races of India. Many of the Parsee merchants have
made great fortunes there by dealing in cotton; and one of them, Sir Jametsee Jeejeebhoy,
was made a baronet by the English government. Aouda was a relative of this great man,
and it was his cousin, Jeejeeh, whom she hoped to join at Hong Kong. Whether she
would find a protector in him she could not tell; but Mr. Fogg essayed to calm her
anxieties, and to assure her that everything would be mathematically--he used the very
word--arranged. Aouda fastened her great eyes, "clear as the sacred lakes of the
Himalaya," upon him; but the intractable Fogg, as reserved as ever, did not seem at all
inclined to throw himself into this lake.
The first few days of the voyage passed prosperously, amid favourable weather and
propitious winds, and they soon came in sight of the great Andaman, the principal of the
islands in the Bay of Bengal, with its picturesque Saddle Peak, two thousand four
hundred feet high, looming above the waters. The steamer passed along near the shores,
but the savage Papuans, who are in the lowest scale of humanity, but are not, as has been
asserted, cannibals, did not make their appearance.