فصل 04

مجموعه: کتاب های ساده / کتاب: دور دنیا در هشتاد روز / فصل 4

کتاب های ساده

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فصل 04

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CHAPTER FOUR

When our adventurers rescue a woman from certain death

26 October

They stopped near a village, where they heard the sound of strange musical instruments. Their guide went to discover what was happening and he was soon back with the news. The people of the village, their guide said, were celebrating a local tradition called suttee. Our travellers immediately wanted to know more about it. The guide told them that when a woman’s husband dies, his wife must die with him and they burn her alive in a big fire.

‘The name of the woman is Mrs Aouda,’ he told them, ‘and she’s very beautiful. Everyone knows her. She is from a rich family. Her father was a businessman in a town near Bombay. Her parents sent her to a European school in Bombay. She learnt European languages there, and she has European ways. Her parents died and she had to marry an old prince. She became a widow after only three months. They are taking her to the pagoda tonight. They are going to burn her alive tomorrow, at sunrise.’

‘My goodness! How terrible! Do such traditions still exist?’ asked Phileas Fogg. He seemed surprised, but his voice sounded curious.

‘Poor woman!’ whispered Passepartout.

‘We can still save her,’ said Phileas Fogg. ‘We are a few hours ahead of time.’

‘Yes, but sir, if we save this woman, they’ll try and kill us!’ said their guide.

‘I can only speak for myself, but I am prepared to take that risk,’ replied Phileas Fogg.

‘Me, too!’ said Passepartout. When they arrived they started to plan the rescue. Unfortunately there were guards all around the pagoda and so they decided that it was too dangerous to do anything. They were about to leave, when Passepartout said that maybe he had an idea. When the sun came up the next day, the crowd arrived to see the bonfire ready for the sacrifice. Our travellers disappeared among the people. They saw the dead prince and his young wife through the smoke. Phileas Fogg prepared himself to run towards the fire in a final effort to save Mrs Aouda, when suddenly a terrified cry came from the crowd. Her husband was not dead! He stood up in the flames, took his wife in his hands and ran in the opposite direction to the crowd. It was not difficult to imagine Phileas Fogg’s surprise when he later discovered that the woman’s ‘husband’ was Passepartout. A few moments later our heroes disappeared into the forest with their new travelling companion, followed by the angry guards.

Mrs Aouda slowly started to wake up when they reached the station at Allahabad. Phileas Fogg thanked his guide for his loyalty and gave him the elephant. For a young guide an elephant like Kiouni was a big present. He could make a lot more money now that he had his own elephant. He was very happy and continued to thank Mr Fogg and the others until they left.

On the train to Calcutta, Phileas Fogg and Passepartout told Mrs Aouda all about their adventure. Mrs Aouda couldn’t believe it: these men risked their lives - for her!

At seven o’clock they arrived in Calcutta. The ship for Hong Kong did not leave until twelve o’clock midday. Fortunately they were still on time.

Inspector Fix was also on his way to Hong Kong. How did he know they were there? How did he get there? That remains a mystery, but one thing was sure: Inspector Fix was determined to arrest Phileas Fogg and he had a plan. He just had to wait a little longer.

After the ship stopped for a short time in Singapore, it continued on its way to Hong Kong where, on the morning of 6 November, a boat going to Yokohama, in Japan, was waiting for them. Unfortunately they arrived a day later than planned, because of a bad storm. ‘Oh no!’ thought Passepartout. ‘The boat will leave without us, and my master won’t win his bet!’

When they were at the port, Phileas Fogg and Passepartout walked towards the captain of a small boat.

‘When does the next boat to Yokohama leave?’ Fogg asked.

‘Tomorrow morning,’ he replied.

‘Didn’t it leave this morning?’

‘No, they had to repair it, so it’s not leaving until tomorrow.’

Passepartout was very happy to hear this good news and shook the captain’s hand. The captain was a little surprised. Phileas Fogg simply wrote how late they were in his diary.

6 November minus 24 hours

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