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Section I
This extract is taken from the classic adventure novel, Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne. An Englishman, Mr. Phileas Fogg, along with his French attendant, Passepartout, attempts to go round the world in eighty days on a wager of $20,000 (roughly$1.6 million today) set by his friends at the Reform Club.

Read this extract, where Phileas Fogg travels through some parts of India at a time when the railways were being built in the country.

Some places are spelt differently as the book was written over a century ago.

The train had started punctually. Among the passengers were a number of officers, Government officials and merchants. Passepartout rode in the same carriage with Mr.Fogg, and a third passenger occupied a seat opposite to them. This was Sir Francis Cromarty, one of the friends Mr. Fogg made on the ship Mongolia that brought him to Bombay.

An hour after leaving Bombay the train had passed the bridges and the Island of Salcette, and had got into the open country.

During the night the train left the mountains behind, and passed Nassik, and the next day proceeded over the flat, well-cultivated country of the Khandesh, with its straggling villages, above which rose the towers of temples. This fertile territory is watered by many small rivers and clear streams, mostly tributaries of the Godavari.

Passepartout, on waking and looking out, could not believe that he was actually crossing India in a railway train. The locomotive, guided by an English engineer and fed with coal, threw out its smoke upon cotton, coffee, nutmeg, clove, and pepper plantations, while the steam curled in spirals around groups of palm-trees, in the midst of which were seen attractive bungalows, viharas (sort of abandoned monasteries), and marvellous temples decorated by the rich work of Indian architecture. Then they came upon vast areas extending to the horizon, with jungles where snakes and tigers lived. These creatures fled at the noise of the train. Then they came to forests where elephants stood gazing with sad eyes at the train as it passed.

At half-past twelve the train stopped at Burhampoor. The travellers made a hasty breakfast and started off for Assurghur. Now they travelled along the banks of the small river Tapty, which empties into the Gulf of Cambray, near Surat.

Then towards evening the train entered the valleys of the Sutpour Mountains, which separate the Khandeish from Bundelcund. It was three in the morning.
Section II
The train stopped, at eight o’clock, in the midst of a clearing 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 why there was a halt in the midst of this forest of dates and acacias.

Curious, Passepartout rushed out and speedily returned, crying: ‘Monsieur, no more railway!’

‘What do you mean?’ asked Sir Francis.

‘I mean to say that the train isn’t going to go any futher.’

The general at once stepped out, while Phileas Fogg calmly followed him, and they proceeded together to the conductor.

‘Where are we?’ asked Sir Francis.

‘At the hamlet of Kholby.’

‘Do we stop here?’

‘Certainly. The railway isn’t finished.’

‘What! not finished?’

‘No. There’s still a matter of fifty miles to be laid from here to Allahabad, where the line begins again.’

‘But the papers announced the opening of the railway throughout.’

‘What can I tell you, officer? The papers were mistaken.’

‘Yet you sell tickets from Bombay to Calcutta,’ snapped Sir Francis, who was growing angry.

‘No doubt,’ replied the conductor; ‘but the passengers know that they must provide means of transportation for themselves from Kholby to Allahabad.’

Sir Francis was furious. Passepartout would willingly have knocked the conductor down, and did not dare to look at Mr.Fogg.

Sir Francis,’ said Mr. Fogg quietly, ‘we will, if you please, look about for some means of transport to Allahabad.’

‘No, Sir Francis; it was foreseen.’

‘What! You knew that the way—‘

‘Not at all; but I knew that some obstacle or other would sooner or later arise on my route. Nothing, therefore, is lost.

I have two days, which I have already gained, to sacrifice. A steamer leaves Calcutta for Hong Kong at noon, on the 25th. This is the 22nd, and we shall reach Calcutta in time.’
Section III
Mr. Fogg and Sir Francis Cromarty, after searching the village from end to end, came back without having found anything.

‘I shall go on foot,’ said Phileas Fogg.

Passepartout, who had now rejoined his master, made an unhappy face, as he thought of his magnificent Indian shoes. Happily he too had been looking about him, and, after a moment’s hesitation, said, ‘Monsieur, I think I have found a means of conveyance.’

‘What?’

‘An elephant! An elephant that belongs to an Indian who lives but a hundred steps from here.’

Kiouni—this was the name of the animal—could doubtless travel rapidly for a long time, and, in the absence of any other means of transport, Mr. Fogg resolved to hire him.

When therefore Mr. Fogg proposed this to the elephant’s owner, he refused point- blank. Mr. Fogg persisted, offering the excessive sum of ten pounds an hour for the loan of the animal to Allahabad. Refused. Twenty pounds? Refused also. Forty pounds? Still refused.

Phileas Fogg, without getting in the least flurried, then proposed to purchase the animal outright, and at first offered a thousand pounds for him. The owner, perhaps thinking he was going to make a great bargain, still refused.

Mr. Fogg offered first twelve hundred, then fifteen hundred, eighteen hundred, two thousand pounds. Passepartout was fairly white with suspense. At two thousand pounds the man yielded.

‘Good heavens, what a price for an elephant!’ cried Passepartout.

A young man, with an intelligent face, offered his services as a guide, which Mr. Fogg accepted, promising so generous a reward as to greatly increased his zeal. The elephant was led out and equipped.

The man, who was a skilled elephant driver, covered the elephant’s back with a sort of saddle-cloth, and attached to each of its sides some uncomfortable howdahs. Phileas Fogg paid the elephant owner with some banknotes which he extracted from the famous carpet-bag, an action that made poor Passepartout lose his breath.

While Sir Francis and Mr. Fogg took the howdahs on either side, Passepartout got onto the saddle-cloth between them. The driver 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 short cuts.

Jules Verne
Reference:
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). Term-3 English Standard-7. A Journey by Train by Jules Verne (pp. 79-85). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.