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Free Study Guide-Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne-Free Synopsis
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 11

Notes

In this chapter, Fogg’s and Passepartout’s journey by train is described. One of their companions is Sir Francis, who was with them on the ship too. He was now on his way to join his corps at Benares. Verne manages to create miniature life size pictures of the characters that Fogg comes across in his journey. He writes about Sir Francis that he 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. Verne successfully contrasts Sir Francis with Fogg - one who is more of a sociological creature and the other who is more didactic and rational.

We get a view of the passing Indian landscape - 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 southeastern 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."

"Such a delay would not have deranged my plans in the least," said Mr. Fogg. "I have constantly foreseen the likelihood of certain obstacles."

"But, Mr. Fogg," pursued Sir Francis, "you run the risk of having some difficulty about this worthy fellow’s adventure at the pagoda." We note how unsurprised and rational Fogg appears at all occasions. Whenever challenged with a proposition or faced with a new idea, he calmly inquires more about it without showing any signs of excitement or agitation.

Meanwhile, Passepartout - his feet comfortably wrapped in his travelling-blanket, was sound asleep and did not dream that anybody was talking about him. He is a gentle source of comedy throughout the novel - his blustering ways, his innocence, his agility as a ex-circus man, his sincerity, his follies are all characteristics that endear him to the reader. Sir Francis tells Fogg that the Government is very severe upon that kind of offence and that it takes particular care that the religious customs of the Indians should be respected. He warns Fogg of the dangers of punishment if Passepartout were caught. "Very well, Sir Francis," replied Mr. Fogg; "if he had been caught he would have been condemned and punished, and then would have quietly returned to Europe. I don’t see how this affair could have delayed his master." Fogg’s reply as usual is unruffled and confident. He seems to be able to anticipate all problems and find solutions to all of them too.

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 Khandeish, with its straggling villages, above which rose the minarets of the pagodas. Numerous small rivers water this fertile territory along with limpid streams, mostly tributaries of the Godavery. The Indian land is portrayed as a wild and exotic one - such a description was typical of the English writing about India. Verne writes - " The locomotive, guided by an English engineer and fed with English 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 picturesque bungalows, viharis (sort of abandoned monasteries), and marvelous temples enriched by the exhaustless ornamentation of Indian architecture. Then they came upon vast tracts extending to the horizon, with jungles inhabited by snakes and tigers, which fled at the noise of the train; succeeded by forests penetrated by the railway, and still haunted by elephants which, with pensive eyes, gazed at the train as it passed. The travelers crossed, beyond Milligaum, the fatal country so often stained with blood by the sectaries of the goddess Kali. Not far off rose Ellora, with its graceful pagodas, and the famous Aurungabad, capital of the ferocious Aureng-Zeb, now the chief town of one of the detached provinces of the kingdom of the Nizam. It was thereabouts that Feringhea, the Thuggee chief, king of the stranglers, held his sway. These ruffians, united by a secret bond, strangled victims of every age in honor of the goddess Death, without ever shedding blood; there was a period when this part of the country could scarcely be traveled over without corpses being found in every direction. The English Government has succeeded in greatly diminishing these murders, though the Thuggees still exist, and pursue the exercise of their horrible rites."

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