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Full text of "Works of Jules Verne"






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THE LIBRARY 

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THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

IRVINE 

GIFT OF 



MR. WARREN STURTEVANT 



THE STEAM HOUSE. 

At sunrise a strange and most remarkable equipage had been seen 
to issue from the suburbs of the Indian capital, attended by a dense 
crowd of people drawn by curiosity to watch its departure. 

First, and apparently drawing the caravan, came a gigantic elephant. 
The monstrous animal, twenty feet in height, and thirty in length, 
advanced deliberately, steadily, and with a certain mystery of movement 
which struck the gazer with a thrill of awe. His trunk, curved like a 
cornucopia, was uplifted high in the air. His gilded tusks, projecting 
from behind the massive jaws, resembled a pair of huge scythes. On 
his back was a highly ornamented nowdah, which looked like a tower 
surmounted, in Indian style, by a dome-shaped roof ami furnished with 
lens-shaped glasses to serve for windows. 

This elephant drew after him a train consisting- of two enormous 
cars, or actual houses, moving bungalows in fact, each mounted on four 
wheels. — Page 152. 



Vol. 12. 






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EDITED BY 



CHARLES F. HORNE, Ph.D. 

Professor of English, College of the City of New York; 
Author of "The Technique of the Novel," etc. 




Vincent Parke and Company 
new york :: london 






Copyright, 1911, 
by Vincent Parke and Company. 



CONTENTS 

Volume Twelve 

PAGE 

Introduction 1 

The Giant Raft 

The Cryptogram 3 

The Steam House 

The Demon of Cawnpore . . . .113 
Tigers and Traitors 255 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Volume Twelve 

FACE 

The Steam House Frontispiece 

The Amazons 96 

Nana Sahib's Defiance 208 



vii 





INTRODUCTION TO VOLUME TWELVE 

«V HE CRYPTOGRAM," published in 1881, is 
nn % ^ w secon d book dealing with " The Giant 
J_ $ Raft." The first part, "Eight Hundred 
Leagues on the Amazon" had been, as its 
name suggests, mainly a geographical tale. 
Readers were this time conducted through the tropical for- 
ests and across the boundless prairies of Peru and Brazil. 

In " The Cryptogram," however, the geographical inter- 
est is almost entirely subordinate to the story. The solving 
of the cryptogram becomes the central feature, in working 
out which our author shows a skill scarce inferior to that of 
Poe himself. Here, for the first time in the body of his 
works, Verne takes express care to state his fondness for and 
indebtedness to the work of Poe, whom he denominates 
" that great analytical genius." He points to Poe's " Gold 
Bug w as the source of his own tale, calling the earlier story 
a masterpiece " never to be forgotten." The handling and 
appreciation of cipher writings in " The Cryptogram " is as 
different from the superficial explanation of the cipher in 
Verne's earlier " Center of the Earth," as is the appreciation 
of a master from that of the most idle amateur. 

In addition to his admiration of Poe, Verne in another 
book expresses equal admiration and indebtedness tozvard 
Dickens. He was also an enthusiastic devotee of Victor 
Hugo and of J. Fcnnimore Cooper. Surely a sufficiently 
cosmopolitan grouping of names! Yet it is worth noting 
that the four men whom Verne turned to, whom he thus per- 
haps unconsciously grouped together, are the four most ex- 
treme of romantic writers who hold yet a grasp on realism. 
It is to this group that Verne himself belongs. 

a The Steam House "is again a two book story belonging 
among the " Voyages Extraordinaires." In this case the 



2 INTRODUCTION 

country selected for depiction is India, and the characters, 
except for the French traveler Maitcler, are once more Eng- 
lishmen. Thus, in a way, Verne had gone back to his first 
love. His own practical qualities endeared to him this 
calmly practical race. He was a Breton, a race quite as 
much English as French in its characteristics. Indeed, 
Verne himself was called among his confreres " a half Eng- 
lishman." Certainly the characters of " The Steam 
Flo use " are appreciatively and even affectionately drawn, 
especially those of the hunter Captain Hood and his servant 
Fox. 

The events of the great "Indian Mutiny" of 1857 which 
supply the story of the book, are described with impartiality 
toward both sides. This warm denunciation of the suffer- 
ings and wrongs of Hindoos as well as Englishmen, has 
brought forth more than one protest from British sources. 

As for the selection of India as the seat of the story, 
Verne himself explained that his purpose was to cover, one 
by one, each of the countries of the globe, more especially 
those little known, so as to make of his completed works a 
sort of universal geography. Traveling under his guidance, 
he meant that we should travel everywhere. 

The mechanical invention of the steam house itself is in 
no way impossible. Such a construction was rather beyond 
the skill of thirty years ago when the book was written; but 
almost any good engineering firm to-day would contract to 
build you such a "steam-house '* if you cared to afford the 
expense. In fact our automobiles have already quite out- 
done this somewhat clumsy giant steam-engine, both in 
power and in speed. 

Mainly then " The Steam House/'and more especially its 
second book, " Tigers and Traitors," will be remembered as 
a thrilling hunting story. "Big game" incidents of the 
most exciting yet most natural character, such as the in- 
vasion of the naturalist's kraal, throng its busy pages. 



The Giant Raft 



BOOK TWO 




The Cryptogram 



CHAPTER I 

THE FIRST MOMENTS 

\ 

CARCELY had the pirogue which bore off 
Joam Garral, or rather Joam Dacosta — for it 
is more convenient that he should resume his 
real name — disappeared, than Benito stepped 
up to Manoel. 

" What is it you know? " he asked. 
" I know that your father is innocent! Yes, innocent! " 
replied Manoel, " and that he was sentenced to death three- 
and-twenty years ago for a crime which he never com- 
mitted!" 

" He has told you all about it, Manoel?" 
" All about it," replied the young man. " The noble 
fazender did not wish that any part of his past life should 
be hidden from him who, when he marries his daughter, 
is to be his second son." 

" And the proof of his innocence my father can one 
day produce? " 

" That proof, Benito, lies wholly in the three-and-twenty 
years of an honorable and honored life, lies entirely in the 
bearing of Joam Dacosta, who comes forward to say to 
justice, ' Here am I ! I do not care for this false existence 
any more. I do not care to hide under a name which is not 
my true one ! You have condemned an innocent man ! Con- 
fess your error and set matters right.' " 

" And when my father spoke like that, you did not hesitate 
for a moment to believe him? " 

" Not for an instant," replied Manoel. 

3 



4 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

The hands of the two young fellows closed in a long 
and cordial grasp. Then Benito went up to Padre Passanha. 
" Padre," he said, " take my mother and sister away to 
their rooms. Do not leave them all day. No one here 
doubts my father's innocence — not one, you know that! 
To-morrow my mother and I will seek out the chief of 
police. They will not refuse us permission to visit the prison. 
No ! that would be too cruel. We will see my father again, 
and decide what steps shall be taken to procure his vindi- 
cation." 

Yaquita was almost helpless, but the brave woman, though 
nearly crushed by the sudden blow, arose. With Yaquita 
Dacosta it was as with Yaquita Garral. She had not a 
doubt as to the innocence of her husband. The idea even 
never occurred to her that Joam Dacosta had been to blame 
in marrying her under a name which was not his own. She 
only thought of the life of happiness she had led with the 
noble man who had been injured so unjustly. Yes ! On 
the morrow she would go to the gate of the prison, and 
never leave it until it was opened! Padre Passanha took 
her and her daughter, who could not restrain her tears, and 
the three entered the house. 

The two young fellows found themselves alone. " And 
now," said Benito, " I ought to know all that my father has 
told you." 

" I have nothing to hide from you." 

"Why did Torres come on board the jangada?' : 

" To sell to Joam Dacosta the secret of his past life." 

" And so, when we first met Torres in the forest of 
Iquitos, his plan had already been formed to enter into 
communication with my father? " 

" There cannot be a doubt of it," replied Manoel. ' The 
scoundrel was on his way to the fazenda with the idea of 
consummating a vile scheme of extortion which he had 
been preparing for a long time." 

" And when he learned from us that my father and his 
whole family were about to pass the frontier, he suddenly 
changed his line of conduct?" 

" Yes. Because Joam Dacosta once in Brazilian territory 
became more at his mercy than while within the frontiers 
of Peru. That is why we found Torres at Tabatinga, where 
he was waiting in expectation of our arrival." 



THE FIRST MOMENTS 5 

" And it was I who offered him a passage on the raft! ' : 
exclaimed Benito, with a gesture of despair. 

" Brother," said Manoel, " you need not reproach your- 
self. Torres would have joined us sooner or later. He was 
not the man to abandon such a trail. Had we lost him at 
Tabatinga, we should have found him at Manaos." 

" Yes, Manoel, you are right. But we are not concerned 
with the past now. We must think of the present. An end 
to useless recriminations! Let us see! ' And while speak- 
ing, Benito, passing his hand across his forehead, endeavored 
to grasp the details of this strange affair. 

' How," he asked, " did Torres ascertain that my father 
had been sentenced three-and-twenty years back for this 
abominable crime at Tijuco?" 

' I do not know," answered Manoel, " and everything 
leads me to think that your father did not know that." 

' But Torres knew that Garral was the name under which 
Joam Dacosta was living? " 

" Evidently." 

" And he knew that it was in Peru, at Iquitos, that for 
so many years my father had taken refuge? " 

" He knew it," said Manoel, " but how he came to know 
it I do not understand." 

" One more question," continued Benito. " What was 
the proposition that Torres made to my father during the 
short interview which preceded his expulsion?' 

" He threatened to denounce Joam Garral as being Joam 
Dacosta, if he declined to purchase his silence." 

"And at what price? " 

" At the price of his daughter's hand ! " answered Manoel, 
unhesitatingly, but pale with anger. 

"This scoundrel dared to do that!" exclaimed Benito. 

" To this infamous request, Benito, you saw the reply 
that your father gave." 

"Yes, Manoel, yes! The indignant reply of an honest 
man. He kicked Torres off the raft. But it is not enough 
to have kicked him out. No ! That will not do for me. It 
was on Torres' information that they came here and ar- 
rested my father; is not that so? " 

" Yes, on his denunciation." 

" Very well," continued Benito, shaking his fist toward 
the left bank of the river, " I must find out Torres. I must 



6 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

know how he became master of the secret. He must tell 
me if he knows the real author of this crime. He shall 
speak out. And if he does not speak out, I know what I 
shall have to do." 

"What you will have to do is for me to do as well!" 
added Manoel, more coolly, but not less resolutely. 

" No, Manoel, no, to me alone ! " 

" We are brothers, Benito," replied Manoel. " The right 
of demanding an explanation belongs to us both." 

Benito made no reply. Evidently on that subject his 
decision was irrevocable. 

At this moment the pilot Araujo, who had been observ- 
ing the state of the river, came up to them. 

" Have you decided," he asked, " if the raft is to remain 
at her moorings at the Isle of Muras, or to go on to the 
port of Manaos ? r The question had to be decided before 
nightfall, and the sooner it was settled the better. 

In fact, the news of the arrest of Joam Dacosta ought 
already to have spread through the town. That it was of 
a nature to excite the interest of the population of Manaos 
could scarcely be doubted. But would it provoke more than 
curiosity against the condemned man, who was the principal 
author of the crime of Tijuco, which had formerly created 
such a sensation? Ought they not fear that some popular 
movement might be directed against the prisoner? 

In the face of this hypothesis was it not better to leave 
the jangada moored near the Isle of Muras on the right 
bank of the river at a few miles from Manaos? 

"No!' at length exclaimed Benito; "to remain here 
would look as though we were abandoning my father and 
doubting his innocence — as though we were afraid to make 
common cause with him. We must go to Manaos, and 
without delay! " 

"You are right," replied Manoel. "Let us go!" 

Araujo, with an approving nod, began his preparations 
for leaving the island. The maneuver necessitated a good 
deal of care. They had to work the raft slantingly across 
the current of the Amazon, here doubled in force by that 
of the Rio Negro, and to make for the embouchure of the 
tributary about a dozen miles down on the left bank. 

The ropes were cast off from the island. The jangada, 
again started on the river, began to drift off diagonally. 



THE FIRST MOMENTS 7 

Araujo, cleverly profiting by the bendings of the current, 
which were due to the projections of the banks, and assisted 
by the long poles of his crew, succeeded in working the 
immense raft in the desired direction. 

In two hours the jangada was on the other side of the 
Amazon a little above the mouth of the Ric Negro, and 
fairly in the current which was to take it to the lower bank 
of the vast bay which opened on the left side of the 
stream. 

At five o'clock in the evening it was strongly moored 
alongside this bank, not in the port of Manaos itself, which 
it could not enter without stemming a rather powerful cur- 
rent, but a short mile below it. 

The raft was then in the black waters of the Rio Negro, 
near rather a high bluff covered with cecropias with buds 
of reddish brown, and palisaded with stiff-stalked reeds 
called froxas, of which the Indians made some of their 
weapons. 

A few citizens were strolling along the bank. A feeling 
of curiosity had doubtless attracted them to the anchorage 
of the raft. The news of the arrest of Joam Dacosta had 
soon spread about, but the curiosity of the Manaens did not 
outrun their discretion, and they were very quiet. 

Benito's intention had been to land that evening, but 
Manoel dissuaded him. " Wait till to-morrow," he said, 
" night is approaching, and there is no necessity for us to 
leave the raft." 

" So be it ! To-morrow," answered Benito. 

And here Yaquita, followed by her daughter and Padre 
Passanha, came out of the house. Minha was still weeping, 
but her mother's face was tearless, and she had that look 
of calm resolution which showed that the wife was now 
ready for all things, either to do her duty or to insist on 
her rights. 

Yaquita slowly advanced toward Manoel. " Manoel," 
she said, " listen to what I have to say, for my conscience 
commands me to speak as I am about to do." 

" I am listening," replied Manoel. 

Yaquita, looking him straight in the face, continued : 
" Yesterday, after the interview you had with Joam Da- 
costa, my husband, you came to me and called me — mother! 
You took Minna's hand, and called her — your wife! You 



8 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

then knew everything, and the past life of Joam Dacosta 
had been then disclosed to you." 

" Yes," answered Manoel, " and Heaven forbid I should 
have any hesitation in doing so! " 

" Perhaps so," replied Yaquita ; " but then Joam Dacosta 
had not been arrested. The position is not now the same. 
However innocent he may be, my husband is in the hands 
of justice ; his past life has been publicly proclaimed. Minha 
is a convict's daughter." 

" Minha Dacosta or Minha Garral, what matters it to 
me?" exclaimed Manoel, who could keep silent no longer. 

" Manoel! " murmured Minha. 

And she would certainly have fallen, had not Lina's arm 
supported her. 

" Mother, if you do not wish to kill her," said Manoel, 
" call me your son ! " 

" My son ! my child ! " 

It was all Yaquita could say, and the tears, which she 
restrained with difficulty, filled her eyes. 

And then they all entered the house. But during the 
long night not an hour's sleep fell to the lot of the unfor- 
tunate family who were so cruelly tried. 



CHAPTER II 

RETROSPECTIVE 

Joam Dacosta had relied entirely on Judge Ribeiro, and 
his death was most unfortunate. 

Before he was judge at Manaos, and chief magistrate in 
the province, Ribeiro had known the young clerk at the 
time he was being prosecuted for the murder in the diamond 
arrayal. He was then an advocate at Villa Rica, and he 
it was who defended the prisoner at the trial. He took 
the cause to heart and made it his own, and from an exami- 
nation of the papers and detailed information, and not 
from the simple fact of his position in the matter, he came 
to the conclusion that his client was wrongfully accused, 
and that he had taken not the slightest part in the murder 
of the escort of the diamonds — in a word, that Joam Da- 
costa was innocent. 

But, notwithstanding this conviction, notwithstanding his 



RETROSPECTIVE 9 

talent and zeal, Ribeiro was unable to persuade the jury to 
take the same view of the matter. How could he remove 
so strong a presumption? If it was not Joam Dacosta, who 
had every facility for informing the scoundrels of the con- 
voy's departure, who was it? The official who accompanied 
the escort had perished with the greater part of the soldiers, 
and suspicion could not point against him. Everything 
agreed in distinguishing Dacosta as the true and only author 
of the crime. 

Ribeiro defended him with great warmth and with all 
his powers, but he could not succeed in saving him. The 
verdict of the jury was affirmative on all the questions. 
Joam Dacosta, convicted of aggravated and premeditated 
murder, did not even obtain the benefit of extenuating cir- 
cumstances, and heard himself condemned to death. 

There was no hope left for the accused. No commuta- 
tion of the sentence was possible, for the crime was com- 
mitted in the diamond arrayal. The condemned man was 
lost. But during the night which preceded his execution, 
and when the gallows was already erected, Joam Dacosta 
managed to escape from the prison at Villa Rica. We know 
the rest. 

Twenty years later Ribeiro the advocate became the chief 
justice of Manaos. In the depths of his retreat the fazender 
of Iquitos heard of the change, and in it saw a favorable 
opportunity for bringing forward the revision of the former 
proceedings against him, with some chance of success. He 
knew that the old convictions of the advocate would be still 
unshaken in the mind of the judge. He therefore resolved 
to try and rehabilitate himself. Had it not been for Ri- 
beiro's nomination to the chief justiceship in the province 
of Amazones, he might perhaps have hesitated, for he had 
no new material proof of his innocence to bring forward. 
Although the honest man suffered acutely, he might still 
have remained hidden in exile at Iquitos, and still have 
asked for time to smother the remembrances of the horrible 
occurrence, but something was urging him to act in the 
matter without delay. 

In fact, before Yaquita had spoken to him, Joam Dacosta 
had noticed that Manoel was in love with his daughter. 

The union of the young army doctor and his daughter 
was in every respect a suitable one. It was evident to Joam 



10 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

that some day or other he would be asked for her hand in 
marriage, and he did not wish to be obliged to refuse. 

But then the thought that his daughter would have to 
marry under a name which did not belong to her, that 
Manoel Valdez, thinking he was entering the family of 
Garral, would enter that of Dacosta, the head of which was 
under sentence of death, was intolerable to him. No ! The 
wedding should not take place unless under proper condi- 
tions ! Never ! 

Let us recall what had happened up to this time. Four 
years after the young clerk who eventually became the part- 
ner of Magalhaes, had arrived at Iquitos, the old Portu- 
guese had been taken back to the farm mortally injured. 
A few days only were left for him to live. He was alarmed 
at the thought that his daughter would be left alone and 
unprotected ; but knowing that Joam and Yaquita were in 
love with each other, he desired their union without delay. 

Joam at first refused. He offered to remain the protector 
or the servant of Yaquita without becoming her husband. 
The wish of the dying Magalhaes was so urgent that re- 
sistance became impossible. Yaquita put her hand into the 
hand of Joam, and Joam did not withdraw it. 

Yes! It was a serious matter! Joam Dacosta ought to 
have confessed all, or to have fled forever from the house 
in which he had been so hospitably received, from the estab- 
lishment of which he had built up the prosperity! Yes! 
To confess everything rather than to give to the daughter 
of his benefactor a name which was not his, instead of the 
name of a felon condemned to death for murder, innocent 
though he might be ! 

But the case was pressing, the old fazender was on the 
point of death, his hands were stretched out toward the 
young people! Joam was silent, the marriage took place, 
and the remainder of his life was devoted to the happiness 
of the girl he had made his wife. 

" The day when I confess everything," Joam repeated, 
"Yaquita will pardon everything! She will not doubt me 
for an instant! But if I ought not to have deceived her, 
I certainly will not deceive the honest fellow who wishes 
to enter our family by marrying Minha ! No ! I would 
rather give myself up and have done with this life! ' 

Many times had Joam thought of telling his wife about 



RETROSPECTIVE 11 

his past life. Yes! the avowal was on his lips whenever 
she asked him to take her into Brazil, and with her and 
her daughter descend the beautiful Amazon River. He 
knew sufficient of Yaquita to be sure that her affection for 
him would not thereby be diminished in the least. But 
courage failed him! 

And this is easily intelligible in the face of the happiness 
of the family which increased on every side. This happi- 
ness was his work, and it might be destroyed forever by his 
return. 

Such had been his life for those long years; such had 
been the continuous source of his sufferings, of which he 
had kept the secret so well; such had been the existence of 
this man, who had no action to be ashamed of, and whom a 
great injustice compelled to hide! 

But at length the day arrived when there could no longer 
remain a doubt as to the affection which Manoel bore to 
Minha, when he could see that a year would not go by 
before he was asked to give his consent to her marriage, 
and after a short delay he no longer hesitated to proceed 
in the matter. 

A letter from him, addressed to Judge Ribeiro, acquaint- 
ed the chief justice with the secret of the existence of Joam 
Dacosta, with the name under which he was concealed, with 
the place where he lived with his family, and at the same 
time with his formal intention of delivering himself up to 
justice, and taking steps to procure the revision of the pro- 
ceedings, which would either result in his rehabilitation or 
in the execution of the iniquitous judgment delivered at 
Villa Rica. 

What were the feelings which agitated the heart of the 
worthy magistrate? We can easily divine them. It was 
no longer to the advocate that the accused applied, it was 
to the chief justice of the province that the convict appealed. 
Joam Dacosta gave himself over to him entirely, and did 
not even ask him to keep the secret. 

Judge Ribeiro was at first troubled about this unexpected 
revelation, but he soon recovered himself, and scrupulously 
considered the duties which the position imposed on him. 
It was his place to pursue criminals, and here was one who 
delivered himself into his hands. This criminal, it was 
true, he had defended; he had never doubted but that he 



12 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

had been unjustly condemned ; his joy had been extreme 
when he saw him escape by flight from the last penalty ; he 
had even instigated and facilitated his flight ! But what the 
advocate had done in the past could the magistrate do in 
the present? 

"Well, yes!" had the judge said, "my conscience tells 
me not to abandon that just man. The step he is taking 
is a fresh proof of his innocence, a moral proof, even if 
he brings me others, which may be the most convincing of 
all. No! I will not abandon him! " 

From this day forward a secret correspondence took place 
between the magistrate and Joam Dacosta. Ribeiro at the 
outset cautioned his client against compromising himself by 
his imprudence. He had again to work up the matter, 
again to read over the papers, again to look through the 
inquiries. He had to find out if any new facts had come 
to light in the diamond province referring to so serious a 
case. Had any of the accomplices of the crime, of the 
smugglers who had attacked the convoy, been arrested 
since the attempt? Had any confessions or half-con- 
fessions been brought forward? Joam Dacosta had done 
nothing but protest his innocence from the very first. 
But that was not enough, and Judge Ribeiro was de- 
sirous of finding in the case itself the clue to the real 
culprit. 

Joam Dacosta had accordingly been prudent. He had 
promised to be so. But in all his trials it was an immense 
consolation for him to find his old advocate, though now 
a chief justice, so firmly convinced that he was not guilty. 
Yes! Joam Dacosta, in spite of his condemnation, was a 
victim, a martyr, an honest man to whom society owed a 
signal reparation ! And when the magistrate knew the past 
career of the fazender of Iquitos since his sentence, the 
position of his family, all that life of devotion, of work, 
employed unceasingly for the happiness of those belonging 
to him, he was not only more convinced but more affected, 
and determined to do all he could to procure the rehabilita- 
tion of the felon of Tijuco. 

For six months a correspondence had passed between 
these two men. 

One day, the case being pressing, Joam Dacosta wrote to 
Judge Ribeiro : 



RETROSPECTIVE 13 

" In two months I will be with you, in the power of the 
chief justice of the province!" 

" Come, then," replied Ribeiro. 

The jangada was then ready to go down the river. Joam 
Dacosta embarked on it with all his people. During the 
voyage, to the great astonishment of his wife and son, he 
landed but rarely, as we know. More often he remained 
shut up in his room, writing, working, not at his trade 
accounts, but, without saying anything about it, at a kind 
of memoir, which he called " The History of My Life," 
and which was meant to be used in the revision of the legal 
proceedings. 

Eight days before his new arrest, made on account of 
information given by Torres, which forestalled and per- 
haps would ruin his prospects, he intrusted to an Indian 
on the Amazon a letter, in which he warned Judge Ribeiro 
of his approaching arrival. 

The letter was sent and delivered as addressed, and the 
magistrate only waited for Joam Dacosta to commence on 
the serious undertaking which he hoped to bring to a suc- 
cessful issue. 

During the night before the arrival of the raft ai Ma- 
naos, Judge Ribeiro was seized with an attack of apoplexy. 
But the denunciation of Torres, whose scheme of extortion 
had collapsed in face of the noble anger of his victim, had 
produced its effect. Joam Dacosta was arrested in the 
bosom of his family, and his old advocate was no longer 
in this world to defend him. 

Yes! the blow was terrible indeed. His lot was cast, 
whatever his fate might be; there was no going back for 
him! And Joam Dacosta rose from beneath the blow 
which had so unexpectedly struck him! It was not only 
his own honor which was in question, but the honor of all 
who belonged to him! 



CHAPTER III 

MORAL PROOFS 

The warrant against Joam Dacosta, alias Joam Garral, 
had been issued by the assistant of Judge Ribeiro, who 
filled the position of magistrate in the province of Amazones, 
until the nomination of the successor of the late justice. 

This assistant bore the name of Vicente Jarriquez. He 
was a surly little fellow, whom forty years' practice in 
criminal procedure had not rendered particularly friendly 
toward those who came before him. He had had so many 
cases of this sort, and tried and sentenced so many rascals, 
that a prisoner's innocence seemed to him a priori inad- 
missible. To be sure, he did not come to a decision un- 
conscientiously ; but his conscience was strongly fortified, 
and was not easily affected by the circumstances of the 
examination or the arguments for the defense. Like a good 
many judges, he thought but little of the indulgence of the 
jury, and when a prisoner was brought before him, after 
having passed through the sieve of inquest, inquiry, and 
examination, there was every presumption in his eyes that 
the man was quite ten times guilty. 

Jarriquez, however, was not a bad man. Nervous, 
fidgety, talkative, keen, crafty, he had a curious look about 
him, with his big head on his little body; his ruffled hair, 
which would not have disgraced the judge's wig of the past ; 
his piercing, gimletlike eyes, with their expression of sur- 
prising acuteness ; his prominent nose, with which he would 
assuredly have gesticulated had it been movable; his ears 
wide open, so as to better catch all that was said, even 
when it was out of range of ordinary auditory apparatus; 
his fingers unceasingly tapping the table in front of him, 
like those of a pianist practising on the mute ; and his body 
so long and his legs so short, and his feet perpetually cross- 
ing and recrossing, as he sat in state in his magistrate's 
chair. 

In private life, Jarriquez, who was a confirmed old 
bachelor, never left his law books but for the table, which 
he did not despise ; for chess, of which he was a past master ; 
and above all things for Chinese puzzles, enigmas, charades, 
rebuses, anagrams, riddles, and such things, with which, 
like more than one European justice — thorough sphinxes 

14 



MORAL PROOFS 15 

by taste as well as by profession — he principally passed his 
leisure. 

It will be seen that he was an original, and it will be 
seen also how much Joam Dacosta had lost by the death 
of Judge Ribeiro, inasmuch as his case would come before 
this not very agreeable judge. 

Moreover, the task of Jarriquez was in a way very simple. 
He had neither to inquire nor to rule; he had not even to 
regulate a discussion nor to obtain a verdict, neither to 
apply the articles of the penal code, nor to pronounce a 
sentence. Unfortunately for the fazender, such formalities 
were no longer necessary ; Joam Dacosta had been arrested, 
convicted, and sentenced three-and-twenty years ago for 
the crime at Tijuco ; no limitation had yet affected his 
sentence. No demand in commutation of the penalty could 
be introduced, and no appeal for mercy could be received. 
It was only necessary then to establish his identity, and 
as soon as the order arrived from Rio Janeiro justice would 
have taken its course. 

But in the nature of things Joam Dacosta would protest 
his innocence ; he would say he had been unjustly con- 
demned. The magistrate's duty, notwithstanding the opin- 
ions he held, would be to listen to him. The question would 
be, what proofs could the convict offer to make good his 
assertions? And if he was not able to produce them when 
he appeared before his first judges, was he able to do so 
now? 

Herein consisted all the interest of the examination. 
There would have to be admitted the fact of a defaulter, 
prosperous and safe in a foreign country, leaving his re- 
fuge of his own free will to face the justice which his past 
life should have taught him to dread, and herein would be 
one of those rare and curious cases which ought to interest 
even a magistrate hardened with all the surroundings of 
forensic strife. Was it impudent folly on the part of the 
doomed man of Tijuco, who was tired of his life, or was 
it the impulse of a conscience which would at all risks have 
wrong set right? The problem was a strange one, it must 
be acknowledged. 

On the morrow of Joam Dacosta's arrest, Judge Jar- 
riquez made his way to the prison in God-the-Son Street, 
where the convict had been placed. The prison was an old 



16 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

missionary convent, situated on the bank of one of the 
principal inguarapes of the town. To the voluntary pris- 
oners of former times there had succeeded in this build- 
ing, which was but little adapted for the purpose, the com- 
pulsory prisoners of to-day. The room occupied by Joam 
Dacosta was nothing like one of those sad little cells which 
form part of our modern penitentiary system; but an old 
monk's room, with a barred window without shutters, open- 
ing on to an uncultivated space, a bench in one corner, and 
a kind of pallet in the other. 

It was from this apartment that Joam Dacosta, on this 
25th of August, about eleven o'clock in the morning, was 
taken and brought into the judge's room, which was the old 
common hall of the convent. 

Judge Jarriquez was there in front of his desk, perched 
on his high chair, his back turned toward the window, so 
that his face was in shadow while that of the accused re- 
mained in full daylight. His clerk, with the indifference 
which characterizes these legal folks, had taken his seat at 
the end of the table, his pen behind his ear, ready to record 
the questions and answers. 

Joam Dacosta was introduced into the room, and at a 
sign from the judge the guards who had brought him 
withdrew. 

Judge Jarriquez looked at the accused for some time. 
The latter, leaning slightly forward and maintaining a be- 
coming attitude, neither careless nor humble, waited with 
dignity for the questions to which he was expected to 
reply. 

" Your name? " said Judge Jarriquez. 

" Joam Dacosta." 

"Your age?" 

" Fifty-two." 

" Where do you live? " 

" In Peru, at the village of Iquitos." 

" Under what name ? " 

" Under that of Garral, which is that of my mother." 

" And why do you bear that name ? " 

" Because for three-and-twenty years I wished to hide 
myself from the pursuit of Brazilian justice." 

The answers were so exact, and seemed to show that 
Joam Dacosta had made up his mind to confess everything 



MORAL PROOFS 17. 

concerning his past life, that Judge Jarriquez, little accus- 
tomed to such a course, cocked up his nose more than was 
usual to him. 

" And why," he continued, " should Brazilian justice 
pursue you? " 

" Because I was sentenced to death in 1826 in the diamond 
affair at Tijuco." 

" You confess then that you are Joam Dacosta? ' : 

" I am Joam Dacosta." 

All this was said with great calmness, and as simply as 
possible. The little eyes of Judge Jarriquez, hidden by their 
lids, seemed to say: 

" Never came across anything like this before." 

He had put the invariable question which had hitherto 
brought the invariable reply from culprits of every category 
protesting their innocence. The fingers of the judge began 
to beat a gentle tattoo on the table. 

" Joam Dacosta," he asked, " what were you doing at 
Iquitos?" 

" I was a fazender, and engaged in managing a farm- 
ing establishment of considerable size." 

" It was prospering? " 

" Greatly prospering." 

" How long ago did you leave your f azenda ? ' : 

" About nine weeks." 

"Why?" 

" As to that, sir," answered Dacosta, " I invented a 
pretext, but in reality I had a motive." 

" What was the pretext ? " 

" The responsibility of taking into Para a large raft, and 
a cargo of different products of the Amazon." 

" Ah! and what was the real motive of your departure? " 

And in asking this question Jarriquez said to himself: 

" Now we shall get into denials and falsehoods." 

" The real motive," replied Joam Dacosta, in a firm 
voice, " was the resolution I had taken to give myself up 
to the justice of my country." 

"You give yourself up!" exclaimed the judge, rising 
from his stool. " You give yourself up of your own free 
will?" 

" Of my own free will." 

"And why?" 

V XII Verne 



18 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

" Because I had had enough of this lying life, this obli- 
gation to live under a false name, of this impossibility to 
be able to restore to my wife and children that which be- 
longs to them ; in short, sir, because " 

"Because?" 

" I was innocent ! " 

"That is what I was waiting for!" said Judge Jarri- 
quez aside. 

And while his fingers tattoed a slightly more audible 
march, he made a sign with his head to Dacosta, which sig- 
nified as clearly as possible: "Go on! Tell me your his- 
tory! I know it, but I do not wish to interrupt you in 
telling it in your own way." 

Joam Dacosta, who did not disregard the magistrate's 
far from encouraging attitude, could not but see this, and 
he told the history of his whole life. He spoke quietly 
without departing from the calm he had imposed upon him- 
self, without omitting any circumstances which had preceded 
or succeeded his condemnation. In the same tone he in- 
sisted on the honored and honorable life he had led since 
his escape, and his duties as head of his family, as husband 
and father, which he had so worthily fulfilled. He laid 
stress only on one circumstance — that which had brought 
him to Manaos to urge on the revision of the proceedings 
against him, to procure his rehabilitation — and that he was 
compelled to do. 

Judge Jarriquez, who was naturally prepossessed against 
all criminals, did not interrupt him. He contented himself 
with opening and shutting his eyes like a man who heard 
the story told for the hundredth time ; and when Joam 
Dacosta laid on the table the memoir which he had drawn 
up, he made no movement to take it. 

" You have finished? " he said. 

" Yes, sir." 

" And you persist in asserting that you only left Iquitos 
to procure the revision of the judgment against you? ' : 

" I had no other intention." 

"What is there to prove that? Who can prove, that 
without the denunciation which brought about your arrest, 
you would have given yourself up?" 

" This memoir in the first place." 

" That memoir was in your possession, and there is noth- 



MORAL PROOFS 19 

ing to show that had you not been arrested you would have 
put it to the use you say you intended." 

" At the least, sir, there was one thing that was not in 
my possession, and of the authenticity of which there can 
be no doubt." 

"What?" 

" The letter I wrote to your predecessor, Judge Ribeiro, 
the letter which gave him notice of my early arrival." 

"Ah! you wrote?" 

" Yes. And the letter which ought to have arrived at its 
destination should have been handed over to you." 

" Really ! " answered Judge Jarriquez, in a slightly in- 
credulous tone. " You wrote to Judge Ribeiro." 

" Before he was a judge in this province," answered Joam 
Dacosta, " he was an advocate at Villa Rica. He it was 
who defended me in the trial at Tijuco. He never doubted 
the justice of my cause. He did all he could to save me. 
Twenty years later, when he had become chief justice at 
Manaos, I let him know who I was, where I was, and what 
I wished to attempt. His opinion about me had not changed, 
and it was at his advice I left the fazenda, and came in 
person to proceed with my rehabilitation. But death un- 
fortunately struck him, and maybe I shall be lost, 
sir, if in Judge Jarriquez I do not find another Judge 
Ribeiro." ' 

The magistrate, appealed to so directly, was about to 
start up in defiance of all the traditions of the judicial 
bench, but he managed to restrain himself, and was con- 
tented with muttering, " Very strong, indeed; very strong!" 

Judge Jarriquez was evidently hard of heart, and proof 
against all surprise. 

At this moment a guard entered the room, and handed 
a sealed package to the magistrate. 

He broke the seal and drew a letter from the envelope. 
He opened it and read it, not without a certain contraction 
of the eyebrows, and then said, " I have no reason for 
hiding from you, Joam Dacosta, that this is the letter you 
have been speaking about, addressed by you to Judge Ri- 
beiro and sent on to me. I have, therefore, no reason to 
doubt what you have said on the subject." 

" Not only on that subject," answered Dacosta, " but on 
the subject of all the circumstances of my life which I have 



20 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

brought to your knowledge, and which are none of them 
open to question." 

"Eh! Joam Dacosta," quickly replied Judge Jarriquez. 
" You protest your innocence; but all prisoners do as much! 
After all, you only offer moral presumptions. Have you 
any material proof?" 

" Perhaps I have," answered Joam Dacosta. 

At these words, Judge Jarriquez left his chair. This was 
too much for him, and he had to take two or three circuits 
of the room to recover himself. 



CHAPTER IV 

MATERIAL PROOFS 

When the magistrate had again taken his place, like a 
man who considered he was perfectly master of himself, 
he leaned back in his chair, and with his head raised and 
his eyes looking straight in front, as though not even notic- 
ing the accused, remarked in a tone of the most perfect 
indifference: "Go on." 

Joam Dacosta reflected for a minute, as if hesitating to 
resume the order of his thoughts, and then answered as 
follows : 

" Up to the present, sir, I have only given you moral 
presumptions of my innocence grounded on the dignity, 
propriety, and honesty of the whole of my life. I should 
have thought that such proofs were those most worthy of 
being brought forward in matters of justice." 

Judge Jarriquez could not restrain a movement of his 
shoulders, showing that such was not his opinion. 

" Since they are not enough, I proceed with the ma- 
terial proofs which I shall perhaps be able to produce," 
continued Dacosta ; " I say perhaps, for I do not yet 
know what credit to attach to them. And, sir, I 
have never spoken of these things to my wife or 
children, not wishing to raise a hope which might be de- 
stroyed." 

" To the point," answered Jarriquez. 

" I have every reason to believe, sir, that my arrest on 
the eve of the arrival of the raft at Manaos is due to in- 
formation given to the chief of the police? " 



MATERIAL PROOFS 21 

" You are not mistaken, Joam Dacosta, but I ought to 
tell you that the information is anonymous." 

" It matters little, for I know that it could only come 
from a scoundrel called Torres." 

" And what right have you to speak in such a way of this 
— informer? " 

" A scoundrel! Yes, sir! " replied Joam, quickly. " This 
man, whom I received with hospitality, only came to me to 
propose that I should purchase his silence, to offer me an 
odious bargain that I shall never regret having refused, 
whatever may be the consequences of his denunciation!' 

" Always this method ! " thought Judge Jarriquez ; " ac- 
cusing others to clear himself." 

But he none the less listened with extreme attention to 
Joam's recital of his relations with the adventurer up to 
the moment when Torres let Jhim know that he knew and 
could reveal the name of the true author of the crime of 
Tijuco. 

" And what is the name of the guilty man? " asked Jar- 
riquez, shaken in his indifference. 

" I do not know," answered Joam Dacosta. ' Torres 
was too cautious to let it out." 

"And the culprit is living?" 

" He is dead." 

The fingers of Judge Jarriquez tattooed more quickly, 
and he could not avoid exclaiming : " The man who can 
furnish the proof of a prisoner's innocence is always dead." 

" If the real culprit is dead, sir," replied Dacosta, " Tor- 
res at least is living, and the proof, written throughout in 
the handwriting of the author of the crime, he has assured 
me is in his hands! He offered to sell it to me! ' 

" Eh! Joam Dacosta! " answered Judge Jarriquez, " that 
would not have been dear at the cost of your whole for- 
tune!" 

' If Torres had only asked my fortune, I would have 
given it to him, and not one of my people would have 
demurred ! Yes, you are right, sir ; a man cannot pay 
too dearly for the redemption of his honor! But this 
scoundrel, knowing that I was at his mercy, required more 
than my fortune! " 

"How so?" 

' My daughter's hand was to be the cost of the bargain! 



22 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

I refused; he denounced me; and that is why I am now 
before you ! " 

" And if Torres had not informed against you," asked 
Judge Jarriquez — " if Torres had not met with you on 
your voyage, what would you have done on learning on 
your arrival of the death of Judge Ribeiro? Would you 
then have delivered yourself into the hands of justice? " 

" Without the slightest hesitation," replied Joam, in a 
firm voice ; " for, I repeat it, I had no other object in leav- 
ing Iquitos to come to Manaos." 

This was said in such a tone of truthfulness, that Judge 
Jarriquez experienced a kind of feeling making its way to 
that corner of the heart where convictions are formed, but 
he did not give in. 

He could scarcely help being astonished. A judge en- 
gaged merely in this examination, he knew nothing of what 
is known by those who have followed this history, and 
who cannot doubt but that Torres held in his hands the 
material proof of Joam Dacosta's innocence. They know 
that the document existed ; that it contained this evidence ; 
and perhaps they may be led to think that Judge Jarriquez 
was pitilessly incredulous. But they should remember that 
Judge Jarriquez was not in their position ; that he was 
accustomed to the invariable protestations of the culprits 
who came before him. The document which Joam Dacosta 
appealed to was not produced ; he did not really know if 
it actually existed ; and to conclude, he had before him a 
man whose guilt had for him the certainty of a settled 
thing. 

However, he wished, perhaps through curiosity, to drive 
Joam Dacosta behind his last entrenchments. 

" And so," he said, " all your hope now rests on the 
declaration which has been made to you by Torres." 

" Yes, sir, if my whole life does not plead for me." 

" Where do you think Torres really is? " 

" I think in Manaos." 

" And you hope that he will speak — that he will consent 
good-naturedly to hand over to you the document for 
which you have declined to pay the price he asked? ' : 

" I hope so, sir," replied Joam Dacosta ; " the situation 
now is not the same for Torres ; he has denounced me, and 
consequently he cannot retain any hope of resuming his 



MATERIAL PROOFS 23 

bargaining under the previous conditions. But this docu- 
ment might still be worth a fortune if, supposing I am 
acquitted or executed, it should ever escape him. Hence 
his interest is to sell me the document, which cannot thus 
injure him in any way, and I think he will act according 
to his interest." 

The reasoning of Joam Dacosta was unanswerable, and 
Judge Jarriquez felt it to be so. He made the only pos- 
sible objection. 

" The interest of Torres is doubtless to sell you the docu- 
ment — if the document exists." 

" If it does not exist," answered Joam Dacosta, in a 
penetrating voice, " in trusting to the justice of men, I 
must put my trust only in God! " 

At these words Judge Jarriquez rose, and, in not quite 
such an indifferent tone, said, " Joam Dacosta, in examining 
you here, in allowing you to relate the particulars of your 
past life and to protest your innocence, I have gone further 
than my instructions allow me. An information has already 
been laid in this affair, and you have appeared before the 
jury at Villa Rica, whose verdict was given unanimously 
and without even the addition of extenuating circumstances. 
You have been found guilty of the instigation of, and com- 
plicity in, the murder of the soldiers and the robbery of the 
diamonds at Tijuco, the capital sentence was pronounced on 
you, and it was only by flight that you escaped execution. 
But that you came here to deliver yourself over, or not, to 
the hands of justice three-and-twenty years afterward, you 
would never have been retaken. For the last time, you 
admit that you are Joam Dacosta, the condemned man of 
the diamond arrayal ? " 

" I am Joam Dacosta! " 

" You are ready to sign this declaration? " 

" I am ready." 

And with a hand without a tremble Joam Dacosta put 
his name to the foot of the declaration and the report which 
Judge Jarriquez had made his clerk draw up. 

" The report, addressed to the minister of justice, is to 
be sent off to Rio Janeiro," said the magistrate. " Many 
days will elapse before we receive orders to carry out your 
sentence. If then, as you say, Torres possesses the proof 
of your innocence, do all you can yourself — do all you can 



24 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

through your friends — do everything, so that that proof 
can be produced in time. Once the order arrives no delay 
will be possible, and justice must take its course." 

Joam Dacosta bowed slightly. 

" Shall I be allowed in the meantime to see my wife and 
children? " he asked. 

" After to-day, if you wish," answered Judge Jarriquez; 
" you are no longer in close confinement, and they can be 
brought to you as soon as they apply." 

The magistrate then rang the bell. The guards entered 
the room, and took away Joam Dacosta. 

Judge Jarriquez watched him as he went out, and shook 
his head, and muttered, " Well, well ! This is a much 
stranger affair than I ever thought it would be ! " 



CHAPTER V 

THE LAST BLOW 

While Joam Dacosta was undergoing this examination, 
Yaquita, from an inquiry made by Manoel, ascertained that 
she and her children would be permitted to see the prisoner 
that very day about four o'clock in the afternoon. 

Yaquita had not left her room since the evening before. 
Minha and Lina kept near her, waiting for the time when 
she would be admitted to see her husband. Yaquita Garral 
or Yaquita Dacosta, he would still find her the devoted 
wife and brave companion he had ever known her 
to be. 

About eleven o'clock in the morning Benito joined Manoel 
and Fragoso, who were talking in the bow of the jangada. 
" Manoel," said he, " I have a favor to ask you." 

"What is it?" 

" And you, too, Fragoso." 

" I am at your service, Mr. Benito," answered the barber. 

"What is the matter?" asked Manoel, looking at his 
friend, whose expression was that of a man who had come 
to some unalterable resolution. 

" You never doubt my father's innocence ? Is that so ? ' : 
said Benito. 

" Ah ! " exclaimed Fragoso, " rather I think it was I 
who committed the crime." 



THE LAST BLOW 25 

" Well, we must now commence on the project I thought 
of yesterday." 

" To find out Torres? " asked Manoel. 

" Yes, and know from him how he found out my father's 
retreat. There is something inexplicable about it. Did he 
know it before? I cannot understand it, for my father 
never left Iquitos for more than twenty years, and this 
scoundrel is hardly thirty ! But the day will not close be- 
fore I know it ; or, woe to Torres ! " 

Benito's resolution admitted of no discussion ; and besides, 
neither Manoel nor Fragoso had the slightest thought of 
dissuading him. 

" I will ask, then," continued Benito, " for both of you 
to accompany me. We shall start in a minute or two. It 
will not do to wait till Torres has left Manaos. He has no 
longer got his silence to sell, and the idea might occur to 
him. Let us be off! " And so all three of them landed on 
the bank of the Rio Negro and started for the town. 

Manaos was not so considerable that it could not be 
searched in a few hours. They had made up their minds 
to go from house to house, if necessary, to look for Torres, 
but their better plan seemed to be to apply in the first in- 
stance to the keepers of the taverns and lojas, where the 
adventurer was likely to put up. There could hardly be a 
doubt that the ex-captain of the woods would not have 
given his name ; he might have personal reasons for avoid- 
ing all communication with the police. Nevertheless, unless 
he had left Manaos it was almost impossible for him to 
escape the young fellows' search. In any case, there would 
be no use in applying to the police, for it was very probable 
— in fact, we know that it actually was so — that the infor- 
mation given to them had been anonymous. 

For an hour Benito, Manoel, and Fragoso walked along 
the principal streets of the town, inquiring of tradesmen 
in their shops, the tavern-keepers in their cabarets, and even 
the bystanders, without any one being able to recognize the 
individual whose description they so accurately gave. Had 
Torres left Manaos? Would they have to give up all hope 
of coming across him? 

In vain Manoel tried to calm Benito, whose head seemed 
on fire. Cost what it might, he must get at Torres ! 

Chance at last favored them, and it was Fragoso who 



26 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

pitt them on the right track. In a tavern in Holy Ghost 
Street, from the description which the people received of 
the adventurer, they replied that the individual in question 
had put up at the loja the evening before. 

" Did he sleep here?" asked Fragoso. 

" Yes," answered the tavern-keeper. 

" Is he here now ? " 

" No. He has gone out." 

' But he has settled his bill, as a man would who has 
gone for good ? " 

" By no means ; he left his room about an hour ago, and 
he will doubtless come back to supper." 

" Do you know what road he took when he went out? " 

" We saw him turning toward the Amazon, going through 
the lower town, and you will probably meet him on that 
side." 

Fragoso did not want any more. A few seconds after- 
ward he rejoined the young fellows, and said, " I am on 
the track." 

" He is there ! " exclaimed Benito. 

"No; he has just gone out, and they have seen him 
walking across to the bank of the Amazon." 

" Come on ! " replied Benito. 

They had to go back toward the river, and the shortest 
way was for them to take the left bank of the Rio Negro, 
down to its mouth. 

They soon left the last houses of the town behind, and 
followed the bank, making a slight detour so as not to be 
observed from the jangada. The plain was at this time 
deserted. Far away the view extended across the flat, where 
cultivated fields had replaced the former forests. 

Benito did not speak; he could not utter a word. Manoel 
and Fragoso respected his silence. And so the three of 
them went along and looked about on all sides as they 
traversed the space between the bank of the Rio Negro 
and that of the Amazon. Three-quarters of an hour after 
leaving Manaos, and still they had seen nothing! 

Once or twice Indians working in the fields were met 
with. Manoel questioned them, and one of them at length 
told him that a man, such as he described, had just passed 
in the direction of the angle formed by the two rivers at 
their confluence. 



THE LAST BLOW 27 

Without waiting for more, Benito, by an irresistible move- 
ment, strode to the front, and his two companions had to 
hurry on to avoid being left behind. 

The left bank of the Amazon was then about a quarter 
of a mile off. A sort of cliff appeared ahead, hiding a part 
of the horizon, and bounding the view a few hundred paces 
in advance. Benito, hurrying on, soon disappeared behind 
one of the sandy knolls. 

"Quicker! quicker!" said Manoel to Fragoso. "We 
must not leave him alone for an instant." And they were 
dashing along when a shot struck on their ears. Had 
Benito caught sight of Torres? What had he seen? Had 
Benito and Torres already met? 

Manoel and Fragoso, fifty paces farther on, after swiftly 
running round the bank, saw two men standing face to face. 
They were Torres and Benito. 

In an instant Manoel and Fragoso had hurried up to 
them. It might have been supposed that in Benito's state 
of excitement he would be unable to restrain himself when 
he found himself once again in the presence of the ad- 
venturer. It was not so. 

As soon as the young man saw Torres, and was certain 
that he could not escape, a complete change took place in 
his manner, his coolness returned, and he became once more 
master of himself. The two men looked at one another for 
a few moments without a word. Torres first broke silence, 
and in the impudent tone habitual to him, remarked, " Ah! 
How goes it, Mr. Benito Garral? " 

"No, Benito Dacosta!" answered the young man. 

" Quite so," continued Torres. " Mr. Benito Dacosta, 
accompanied by Mr. Manoel Valdez and my friend Fra- 
goso! " 

At the irritating qualification thus accorded him by the 
adventurer, Fragoso, who was by no means loth to do him 
some damage, was about to rush to the attack, when Benito, 
quite unmoved, held him back. 

" What is the matter with you, my lad? " exclaimed Tor- 
res, retreating for a few steps. " I think I had better put 
myself on guard." 

And as he spoke he drew from beneath his poncho his 
manchetta, the weapon, adapted at will for offense or de- 
fense, which a Brazilian is never without. And then, 



28 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

slightly stooping, and planted firmly on his feet, he waited 
for what was to follow. 

" I have come to look for you, Torres," said Benito, who 
had not stirred in the least at this threatening attitude. 

" To look for me? " answered the adventurer. " It is not 
very difficult to find me. And why have you come to look 
for me? " 

" To know from your own lips what you appear to know 
of the past life of my father." 

"Really!" 

" Yes. I want to know how you recognized him, why 
you were prowling about our fazenda in the forest of Iqui- 
tos, and why you were waiting for us at Tabatinga? ' 

"Well! it seems to me nothing could be clearer!" an- 
swered Torres, with a grin. " I was waiting to get a pas- 
sage on the jangada, and I went on board with the intention 
of making him a very simple proposition — which possibly 
he was wrong in rejecting." 

At these words Manoel could stand it no longer. With 
pale face and eye of fire he strode up to Torres. 

Benito, wishing to exhaust every means of conciliation, 
thrust himself between them. 

" Calm yourself, Manoel! " he said. " I am calm — even 
I ! " And then continuing, " Quite so, Torres ; I know the 
reason of your coming on board the raft. Possessed of a 
secret which was doubtless given to you, you wanted to 
make it a means of extortion. But that is not what I want 
to know at present." 

"What is it, then?" 

" I want to know how you recognized Joam Dacosta in 
the fazender of Iquitos?" 

"How I recognized him?" replied Torres. "That is 
my business, and I see no reason why I should tell you. 
The important fact is, that I was not mistaken when I 
denounced in him the real author of the crime of Tijuco! ' ! 

" You say that to me! " exclaimed Benito, who began to 
lose his self-possession. 

" I will tell you nothing," returned Torres ; " Joam Da- 
costa declined my propositions! He refused to admit me 
into his family! Well! now that his secret is known, 
now that he is a prisoner, it is I who refuse to enter 
his family, the family of a thief, of a murderer, of 



THE LAST BLOW 29 

a condemned felon, for whom the gallows now waits!" 

" Scoundrel ! " exclaimed Benito, who drew h ; s man- 
chetta from his belt and put himself in position. 

Manoel and Fragoso, by a similar movement, quickly 
drew their weapons. 

" Three against one ! " said Torres. 

" No ! one against one ! " answered Benito. 

" Really ! I should have thought an assassination would 
have better suited an assassin's son ! " 

"Torres!' exclaimed Benito, "defend yourself, or I 
will kill you like a mad dog! " 

" Mad! so be it! " answered Torres, "but I bite, Benito 
Dacosta, and beware of the wounds!' And then again 
grasping his manchetta, he put himself on guard and ready 
to attack his enemy. 

Benito had stepped back a few paces. " Torres," he said, 
regaining all his coolness, which for a moment he had lost, 
" you were the guest of my father, you threatened him, 
you betrayed him, you denounced him, you accused an in- 
nocent man, and with God's help I am going to kill you! " 

Torres replied with the most insolent smile imaginable. 
Perhaps at the moment the scoundrel had an idea of stop- 
ping any struggle between Benito and him, and he could 
have done so. In fact, he had seen that Joam Dacosta had 
said nothing about the document which formed the material 
proof of his innocence. 

Had he revealed to Benito that he, Torres, possessed 
this proof, Benito would have been that instant disarmed. 
But his desire to wait till the very last moment, so as to 
get the very best price for the document he possessed, the 
recollection of the young man's insulting words, and the 
hate which he bore to all that belonged to him, made him 
forget his own interest. 

In addition to being thoroughly accustomed to the man- 
chetta, which he often had had occasion to use, the advent- 
urer was strong, active, and artful, so that against an ad- 
versary who was scarcely twenty, who could have neither 
his strength nor his dexterity, the chances were greatly in 
his favor. 

Manoel by a last effort wished to insist on fighting him 
instead of Benito. 

' No, Manoel," was the cool reply, " it is for me alone 



30 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

to avenge my father, and as everything here ought to be 
in order, you shall be my second." 

"Benito!" 

" As for you, Fragoso, you will not refuse if I ask you 
to act as second for that man? " 

" So be it," answered Fragoso, " though it is not an 
office of honor! Without the least ceremony," he added, 
" I would have killed him like a wild beast ! " 

The place where the duel was about to take place was a 
level bank about fifty paces long, on the top of a cliff 
rising perpendicularly some fifty feet above the Amazon. 
The river slowly flowed at the foot, and bathed the clumps 
of reeds which bristled round its base. 

There was, therefore, none too much room, and the com- 
batant who was the first to give way would quickly be driven 
over into the abyss. 

The signal was given by Manoel, and Torres and Benito 
stepped forward. Benito had complete command over him- 
self. The defender of a sacred cause, his coolness was 
unruffled, much more so than that of Torres, whose con- 
science, insensible and hardened as it was, was bound at 
the moment to trouble him. 

The two met, and the first blow came from Benito. Tor- 
res parried it. They then jumped back, but almost at the 
same instant they rushed together, and with their left hands 
seized each other by the shoulders — never to leave go again. 

Torres, who was the strongest, struck a side blow with 
his manchetta which Benito could not quite parry. His 
left side was touched, and his poncho was reddened with 
his blood. But he quickly replied, and slightly wounded 
Torres in the hand. 

Several blows were then interchanged, but nothing de- 
cisive was done. The ever silent gaze of Benito pierced 
the eyes of Torres like a sword-blade thrust to his very 
heart. Visibly, the scoundrel began to quail. He recoiled 
little by little, pressed back by his implacable foe, who was 
more determined on taking the life of his father's denouncer 
than in defending his own. To strike was all that Benito 
longed for; to parry was all that the other now attempted 
to do. 

Soon Torres saw himself thrust to the very edge of the 
bank, at a spot where, slightly scooped away, it overhung 



THE LAST BLOW 31 

the river. He perceived the danger; he tried to retake the 
offensive and regain the lost ground. His agitation in- 
creased, his looks grew livid. At length he was obliged to 
stoop beneath the arm which threatened him. 

"Die, then!" exclaimed Benito. 

The blow was struck full on the chest, but the point of 
the manchetta was stopped by a hard substance hidden be- 
neath the poncho of the adventurer. 

Benito renewed his attack, and Torres, whose return 
thrust did not touch his adversary, felt himself lost. He 
was again obliged to retreat. Then he would have shouted 
— shouted that the life of Joam Dacosta depended on his 
own! He had not time! 

A second thrust of the manchetta pierced his heart. He 
fell backward, and the ground suddenly failing him, he was 
precipitated down the cliff. As a last effort his hands con- 
vulsively clutched at a clump of reeds, but they could not 
stop him, and he disappeared beneath the waters of the 
river. 

Benito was supported on Manoel's shoulder ; Fragoso 
grasped his hands. He would not even give his companions 
time to dress his wound, which was very silght. 

" To the jangada! " he said, " to the jangada! ' 

Manoel and Fragoso with deep emotion followed him 
without speaking a word. 

A quarter of an hour afterward the three reached the 
bank to which the raft was moored. Benito and Manoel 
rushed into the room where were Yaquita and Minna, and 
told them all that had passed. 

"My son!" "My brother!" 

The words were uttered at the same moment. 
To the prison ! " said Benito. 
Yes ! Come ! come ! " replied Yaquita. 

Benito, followed by Manoel, hurried along his mother, 
and half an hour later they arrived before the prison. 

Owing to the order previously given by Judge Jarriquez 
they were immediately admitted, and conducted to the 
chamber occupied by the prisoner. The door opened. Joam 
Dacosta saw his wife, his son, and Manoel enter the room. 

' Ah ! Joam, my Joam ! " exclaimed Yaquita. 

' Yaquita! my wife! my children! " replied the prisoner, 
who opened his arms and pressed them to his heart. 



n 



32 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

" My Joam, innocent ! " 
" Innocent and avenged! " said Benito. 
"Avenged? What do you mean?" 
" Torres is dead, father ; killed by my hand ! " 
" Dead ! — Torres ! — Dead ! " gasped Joam Dacosta. " My 
son! You have ruined me! " 



CHAPTER VI 

RESOLUTIONS 

A few hours later the whole family had returned to the 
raft, and were assembled in the large room. All were there, 
except the prisoner, on whom the last blow had just fallen. 
Benito was quite overwhelmed, and accused himself of hav- 
ing destroyed his father, and had it not been for the en- 
treaties of Yaquita, of his sister, or Padre Passanha, and 
of Manoel, the distracted youth would in the first moments 
of despair have probably made away with himself. But 
he was never allowed to get out of sight, he was never left 
alone. And besides, how could he have acted otherwise? 
Ah! why had not Joam Dacosta told him all before he left 
the jangada? Why had he refrained from speaking, except 
before a judge, of this material proof of his innocence? 
Why, in his interview with Manoel after the expulsion of 
Torres, had he been silent about the document which the 
adventurer pretended to hold in his hands? But, after all, 
what faith ought he to place in what Torres had said? 
Could he be certain that such a document was in the rascal's 
possession? 

Whatever might be the reason, the family now knew 
everything, and that from the lips of Joam Dacosta himself. 
They knew that Torres had declared that the proof of the 
innocence of the convict of Tijuco actually existed ; that 
the document had been written by the very hand of the 
author of the attack; that the criminal, seized by remorse 
at the moment of his death, had intrusted it to his com- 
panion, Torres; and that he, instead of fulfilling the wishes 
of fhe dying man, had made the handing over of the docu- 
ment an excuse for extortion. But they knew also that 
Torres had just been killed, and that his body was 
engulfed in the waters of the Amazon, and that he 



RESOLUTIONS 33 

died without even mentioning the name of the guilty man. 

Unless he was saved by a miracle, Joam Dacosta might 
now be considered as irrevocably lost. The death of Judge 
Ribeiro on the one hand, the death of Torres on the other, 
were blows from which he could not recover! It should 
here be said that public opinion at Manaos, unreasoning as 
it always is, was all against the prisoner. The unexpected 
arrest of Joam Dacosta had revived the memory of the 
terrible crime of Tijuco, which had lain forgotten for three- 
and-twenty years. The trial of the young clerk at the 
mines of the diamond arrayal, his capital sentence, his escape 
a few hours before his intended execution — all were re- 
membered, analyzed, and commented on. An article which 
had just appeared in the O Diario d'o Grand Para, the most 
widely circulated journal in these parts, after giving a his- 
tory of the circumstances of the crime, showed itself de- 
cidedly hostile to the prisoner. Why should these people 
believe in Joam Dacosta's innocence, when they were igno- 
rant of all that his friends knew — of what they alone knew? 

And so the people of Manaos became excited. A mob 
of Indians and negroes hurried, in their blind folly, to sur- 
round the prison and roar forth tumultuous shouts of death. 
In this part of the two Americas, where executions under 
Lynch law are of frequent occurrence, the mob soon sur- 
renders itself to its cruel instincts, and it was feared that 
on this occasion it would do justice with its own hands. 

What a night it was for the passengers from the jangada! 
Masters and servants had been affected by the blow ! Were 
not the servants of the fazenda members of one family? 
Every one of them would watch over the safety of Yaquita 
and her people! On the bank of the Rio Negro there was 
a constant coming and going of the natives, evidently ex- 
cited by the arrest of Joam Dacosta, and who could say 
to what excesses these half -barbarous men might be led? 

The time, however, passed without any demonstration 
against the jangada. 

On the morrow, the 26th of August, as soon as the sun 
rose, Manoel and Fragoso, who had never left Benito for 
an instant during this terrible night, attempted to distract 
his attention. After taking him aside they made him under- 
stand that there was no time to be lost — that they must 
make up their minds to act. 

V XII Verne 



34 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

"Benito," said Manoel, "pull yourself together! Be a 
man again! Be a son again!" 

"My father!" exclaimed Benito, "I have killed him!" 

" No! " replied Manoel. " With heaven's help it is pos- 
sible that all may not be lost ! " 

" Listen to us, Mr. Benito," said Fragoso. 

The young man, passing his hands over his eyes, made 
a violent effort to collect himself. 

" Benito," continued Manoel, " Torres never gave a hint 
to put us on the track of his past life. We therefore cannot 
tell who was the author of the crime of Tijuco, or under 
what conditions it was committed. To try in that direc- 
tion is to lose our time ! " 

"And time presses!" added Fragoso. 

" Besides," said Manoel, " suppose we do find out who 
this companion of Torres was, he is dead, and he could 
not testify in any way to the innocence of Joam Dacosta. 
But it is none the less certain that the proof of this in- 
nocence exists, and there is no room to doubt the existence 
of a document which Torres was anxious to make the sub- 
ject of a bargain. He told us so himself. The document 
is a complete avowal written in the handwriting of the 
culprit, which relates the attack in its smallest detail, and 
which clears our father! Yes! a hundred times, yes! The 
document exists ! " 

" But Torres does not exist ! " groaned Benito, " and the 
document has perished with him! " 

" Wait, and don't despair yet ! " answered Manoel. " You 
remember under what circumstances we made the acquaint- 
ance of Torres? It was in the depths of the forest of 
Iquitos. He was in pursuit of a monkey which had stolen 
a metal case, which it so strangely kept, and the chase had 
lasted a couple of hours when the monkey fell to our guns. 
Now, do you think it was for the few pieces of gold con- 
tained in the case that Torres was in such a fury to 
recover it ? and do you not remember the extraordinary sat- 
isfaction which he displayed when we gave him back the 
case which he had taken out of the monkey's paw? " 

" Yes ! yes ! " answered Benito. " This case which I held 
— which I gave back to him! Perhaps it contained " 

" It is more than probable ! It is certain ! " replied 
Manoel. 



RESOLUTIONS 35 

" And I beg to add," said Fragoso, " for now the fact 
recurs to my memory, that during the time you were at Ega 
I remained on board, at Lina's advice, to keep an eye on 
Torres, and I saw him — yes, I saw him — reading, and again 
reading, an old, faded paper, and muttering words which 
I could not understand ! " 

" That was the document ! " exclaimed Benito, who 
snatched at the hope — the only one that was left. " But 
this document; had he not put it in some place of security? ' 

" No," answered Manoel, " no ; it was too precious for 
Torres to dream of parting with it. He was bound to carry 
it always about with him, and doubtless in that very case ! " 

" Wait ! wait, Manoel ! " exclaimed Benito ; " I remem- 
ber — yes, I remember. During the struggle, at the first 
blow I struck Torres in his chest, my manchetta was stopped 
by some hard substance under his poncho, like a plate of 
metal " 



That was the case ! " said Fragoso. 

" Yes," replied Manoel ; " doubt is impossible ! That was 
the case; it was in his breast-pocket." 

" But the corpse of Torres? " 

" We will recover it ! " 

" But the paper ! The water will have stained it, perhaps 
destroyed it, or rendered it indecipherable ! " 

" Why," answered Manoel, " if the metal case which held 
it was water-tight? " 

" Manoel," replied Benito, who seized on the last hope, 
" you are right ! The corpse of Torres must be recovered ! 
We will ransack the whole of this part of the river, if 
necessary, but we will recover it ! " 

The pilot Araujo was then summoned and informed of 
what they were going to do. 

" Good ! " replied he ; "I know all the eddies and cur- 
rents where the Rio Negro and the Amazon join, and we 
shall succeed in recovering the body. Let us take two 
pirogues, two ubas, a dozen of our Indians, and make a 
start." 

Padre Passanha was then coming out of Yaquita's room. 
Benito went to him, and in a few words told him what they 
were going to do to get possession of the document. " Say 
nothing to my mother or my sister," he added ; " if this 
last hope fails it will kill them ! " 



36 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

" Go, my lad, go," replied Passanha, " and may God help 
you in your search! " 

Five minutes afterward the four boats started from the 
raft. After descending the Rio Negro they arrived near 
the bank of the Amazon, at the very place where Torres, 
mortally wounded, had disappeared beneath the waters of 
the stream. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE FIRST SEARCH 

The search had to commence at once, and that for two 
weighty reasons. 

The first of these was — and this was a question of life or 
death — that this proof of Joam Dacosta's innocence must 
be produced before the arrival of the order from Rio 
Janeiro. Once the identity of the prisoner was established, 
it was impossible that such an order could be other than 
the order for his execution. 

The second was that the body of Torres should be got 
out of the water as quickly as possible so as to regain un- 
damaged the metal case and the paper it ought to contain. 

At this juncture Araujo displayed not only zeal and in- 
telligence, but also a perfect knowledge of the state of the 
river at its confluence with the Rio Negro. 

" If Torres," he said to the young men, " had been from 
the first carried away by the current, we should have to 
drag the river throughout a large area, for we shall have 
a good many days to wait for his body to reappear on the 
surface through the effects of decomposition." 

" We cannot do that," replied Manoel. " This very day 
we ought to succeed." 

" If, on the contrary," continued the pilot, " the corpse 
has got stuck among the reeds and vegetation at the foot 
of the bank, we shall not be an hour before we find it." 

"To work, then!" answered Benito. 

There was but one way of working. The boats ap- 
proached the bank, and the Indians, furnished with long 
poles, began to sound every part of the river at the base 
of the bluff which had served for the scene of combat. 

The place had been easily recognized. A track of blood 



THE FIRST SEARCH 37 

stained the declivity in its chalky part, and ran perpendic- 
ularly down it into the water ; and there many a clot scat- 
tered on the reeds indicated the very spot where the corpse 
had disappeared. 

About fifty feet down stream a point jutted out from the 
river-side and kept back the waters in a kind of eddy, as 
in a large basin. There was no current whatever near the 
shore, and the reeds shot up out of the river unbent. Every 
hope then existed that Torres' body had not been carried 
away by the main stream. Where the bed of the river 
showed sufficient slope, it was perhaps possible for the 
corpse to have rolled several feet along the ridge, and even 
there no effect of the current could be traced. 

The ubas and the pirogues, dividing the work among 
them, limited the field of their researches to the extreme 
edge of the eddy, and from the circumference to the center 
the crew's long poles left not a single point unexplored. But 
no amount of sounding discovered the body of the advent- 
urer, neither among the clumps of reeds nor on the bottom 
of the river, whose slope was then carefully examined. 

Two hours after the work had begun they had been led 
to think that the body, having probably struck against the 
declivity, had fallen off obliquely and rolled beyond the 
limits of this eddy, where the action of the current com- 
menced to be felt. 

" But that is no reason why we should despair," said 
Manoel, " still less why we should give up our search." 

" Will it be necessary," exclaimed Benito, " to search the 
river throughout its breadth and its length ? " 

" Throughout its breadth, perhaps," answered Araujo, 
" throughout its length, no, fortunately." 

" And why? " asked Manoel. 

" Because the Amazon, about a mile away from its junc- 
tion with the Rio Negro, makes a sudden bend, and at 
the same time its bed rises, so that there is a kind of natural 
barrier, well known to sailors as the Bar of Frias, which 
things floating near the surface are alone able to clear. In 
short, the currents are ponded back, and they cannot pos- 
sibly have any effect over this depression." 

This was fortunate, it must be admitted. But was 
Araujo mistaken? The old pilot of the Amazon could be 
relied on. For the thirty years that he had followed his 



38 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

profession the crossing of the Bar of Frias, where the 
current was increased in force by its decrease in depth, had 
often given him trouble. The larrowness of the channel 
and the elevation of the bed maoe the passage exceedingly 
difficult, and many a raft had there come to grief. 

And so Araujo was right in declaring that if the corpse 
of Torres was still retained by its weight on the sandy bed 
of the river, it could not have been dragged over the bar. 
It is true that, later on, when, on account of the expansion 
of the gases, it would again rise to the surface, the current 
would bear it away, and it would be irrecoverably lost down 
the stream, a long way beyond the obstruction. But this 
purely physical effect would not take place for several days. 
They could not have applied to a man who was more 
skillful or more conversant with the locality than Araujo, 
and when he affirmed that the body could not have been 
borne out of the narrow channel for more than a mile or 
so, they were sure to recover it if they thoroughly sounded 
that portion of the river. 

Not an island, not an inlet, checked the course of the 
Amazon in these parts. Hence, when the foot of the two 
banks had been visited up to the bar, it was in the bed 
itself, about five hundred feet in width, that more careful 
investigations had to be commenced. 

The way the work was conducted was this : The boats 
taking the right and left of the Amazon lay alongside the 
banks. The reeds and vegetation were tried with the poles. 
Of the smallest ledges in the banks in which a body could 
rest, not one escaped the scrutiny of Araujo and his Indians. 
But all this labor produced no result, and half the day 
had elapsed without the body being brought to the surface 
of the stream. 

An hour's rest was given to the Indians. During this 
time they partook of some refreshment, and then they re- 
turned to their task. 

Four of the boats, in charge of the pilot, Benito, Fra- 
goso, and Manoel, divided the river between the Rio Negro 
and the Bar of Frias into four portions. They set to work 
to explore its very bed. In certain places the poles proved 
insufficient to thoroughly search among the deeps, and hence 
a few dredges — or rather harrows, made of stones and old 
iron, bound round with a solid bar — were taken on board, 



THE FIRST SEARCH 39 

and when the boats had pushed off these rakes were thrown 
in and the river bottom stirred up in every direction. 

It was in this difficult task that Benito and his com- 
panions were employed till the evening. The ubas and 
pirogues, worked by the oars, traversed the whole surface 
of the river up to the Bar of Frias. 

There had been moments of excitement during this spell 
of work, when the harrows, catching in something at the 
bottom, offered some slight resistance. They were then 
hauled up, but in place of the body so eagerly searched for, 
there would appear only heavy stones or tufts of herbage 
which they had dragged from their sandy bed. No one, 
however, had an idea of giving up the enterprise. They 
none of them thought of themselves in this work of salva- 
tion. Benito, Manoel, Araujo had not even to stir up the 
Indians or to encourage them. The gallant fellows knew 
that they were working for the fazender of Iquitos — for 
the man whom they loved, for the chief of the excellent 
family who treated their servants so well. 

Yes ; and so they would have passed the night in dragging 
the river. Of every minute lost all knew the value. 

A little before the sun disappeared, Araujo, finding it 
useless to continue his operations in the gloom, gave the 
signal for the boats to join company and return together to 
the confluence of the Rio Negro and regain the jangada. 

The work so carefully and intelligently conducted was 
not, however, at an end. 

Manoel and Fragoso, as they came back, dared not men- 
tion their ill-success before Benito. They feared that the 
disappointment would only force him to some act of 
despair. 

But neither courage nor coolness deserted the young fel- 
low ; he was determined to follow to the end this supreme 
effort to save the honor and the life of his father, and 
he it was who addressed his companions, and said : " To- 
morrow we will try again, and under better conditions if 
possible." 

" Yes," answered Manoel ; " you are right, Benito. We 
can do better. We cannot pretend to have entirely explored 
the river along the whole of the banks and over the whole 
of its bed." 

" No ; we cannot have done that," replied Araujo ; " and 



40 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

I maintain what I said — that the body of Torres is there, 
and that it is there because it has not been carried away, 
because it will take many days before it rises to the surface 
and floats down the stream. Yes, it is there, and not a 
demijohn of tafia will pass my lips until I find it! ' : 

This affirmation from the pilot was worth a good deal, 
and was of a hope-inspiring nature. 

However, Benito, who did not care so much for words 
as he did for things, thought proper to reply : " Yes, Araujo ; 
the body of Torres is in the river, and we shall find it 
if " 

"If?" said the pilot. 

"If it has not become the prey of the alligators!' 1 

Manoel and Fragoso waited anxiously for Araujo's 
reply. 

The pilot was silent for a few moments; they felt that 
he was reflecting before he spoke. "Mr. Benito," he said, 
at length, " I am not in the habit of speaking lightly. I 
had the same idea as you ; but listen. During the ten hours 
we have been at work have you seen a single cayman in the 
river? " 

" Not one ! " said Fragoso. 

"If you have not seen one," continued the pilot, " it was 
because there were none to see, for these animals have 
nothing to keep them in the white waters when, a quarter 
of a mile off, there are large stretches of the black waters, 
which they so greatly prefer. When the raft was attacked 
by some of these creatures it was in a part where there was 
no place for them to flee to. Here it is quite different. 
Go to the Rio Negro, and there you will see caymans by 
the score. Had Torres' body fallen into that tributary there 
might be no chance of recovering it. But it was in the 
Amazon that it was lost, and in the Amazon it will be 
found!" 

Benito, relieved from his fears, took the pilot's hand and 
shook it, and contented himself with the reply : " To-mor- 
row, my friends! " 

Ten minutes later they were all on board the jangada. 
During the day Yaquita had passed some hours with her 
husband. But before she started, and when she saw neither 
the pilot, nor Manoel, nor Benito, nor the boats, she had 
guessed the search on which they had gone, but she said 



THE SECOND ATTEMPT 41 

nothing to Joam Dacosta, as she hoped that in the morning 
she would be able to inform him of their success. 

But when Benito set foot on the raft she perceived that 
their search had been fruitless. However, she advanced 
toward him. "Nothing?" she asked. 

" Nothing," replied Benito. " But the morrow is left to 
us." 

The members of the family retired to their rooms, and 
nothing more was said as to what had passed. 

Manoel tried to make Benito lie down so as to take a 
few hours' rest. 

" What is the good of that? " asked Benito. " Do you 
think I could sleep? " 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE SECOND ATTEMPT 

On the morrow, the 27th of August, Benito took Manoel 
apart, before the sun had risen, and said to him : " Our 
yesterday's search was vain. If we begin again under the 
same conditions, we may be just as unlucky." 

" We must do so, however," replied Manoel. 

"Yes," continued Benito; "but suppose we do not find 
the body, can you tell me how long it will be before it will 
rise to the surface? " 

" If Torres," answered Manoel, " had fallen into the 
water living, and not mortally wounded, it would take 
five or six days ; but if he had only disappeared after being 
so wounded, perhaps two or three days would be enough 
to bring him up again." 

This answer of Manoel, which was quite correct, requires 
some explanation. Every human body which falls into the 
water will float if equilibrium is established between its 
density and that of its liquid bed. This is well known to 
be the fact, even when a person does not know how to 
swim. Under such circumstances, if you are entirely sub- 
merged, and only keep your mouth and nose away from the 
water, you are sure to float. But this is not generally done. 
The first movement of a drowning man is to try and hold 
as much as he can of himself above water; he holds up his 
head and lifts up his arms, and these parts of his body, 



42 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

being no longer supported by the liquid, do not lose that 
amount of weight which they would do if completely im- 
mersed. Hence an excess of weight, and eventually entire 
submersion, for the water makes its way to the lungs 
through the mouth, takes the place of the air which fills 
them, and the body sinks to the bottom. 

On the other hand, when the man who falls into the 
water is already dead, the conditions are different, and more 
favorable for his floating, for then the movements of which 
we have spoken are checked, and the liquid does not make 
its way to the lungs so copiously, as there is no attempt to 
respire, and he is consequently more likely to promptly re- 
appear. Manoel then was right in drawing the distinction 
between the man who falls into the water living and the 
man who falls into it dead. In the one case the return to 
the surface takes much longer than in the other. 

The reappearance of the body after an immersion more 
or less prolonged, is always determined by the decomposi- 
tion, which causes the gases to form. These bring about 
the expansion of the cellular tissues, the volume augments 
and the weight decreases, and then, weighing less than the 
water it displaces, the body attains the proper conditions for 
floating. 

" And thus," continued Manoel, " supposing the condi- 
tions continue favorable, and Torres did not live after he 
fell into the water, if the decomposition is not modified by 
circumstances which we cannot foresee, he will not reap- 
pear before three days." 

" We have not got three days," answered Benito. " We 
cannot wait, you know ; we must try again, and in some 
new way." 

"What can you do?" asked Manoel. 

" Plunge down myself beneath the waters," replied 
Benito, " and search with my eyes — with my hands." 

" Plunge in a hundred times — a thousand times ! " ex- 
claimed Manoel. " So be it. I think, like you, that we 
ought to go straight at what we want, and not struggle on 
with poles and drag like a blind man, who only works by 
touch. I also think that we cannot wait three days. But 
to jump in, come up again, and go down again will give 
only a short period for the exploration. No; it will never 
do and we shall only risk a second failure." 



THE SECOND ATTEMPT 43 

" Have you no other plan to propose, Manoel ? " asked 
Benito, looking earnestly at his friend. 

" Well, listen. There is what would seem to be a Provi- 
dential circumstance that may be of use to us." 

"What is that?" 

" Yesterday, as we hurried through Manaos, I noticed 
that they were repairing one of the quays on the bank of 
the Rio Negro. The submarine works were being carried 
on with the aid of a diving-dress. Let us borrow, or hire, 
or buy, at any price, this apparatus, and then we may re- 
sume our researches under more favorable conditions." 

" Tell Araujo, Fragoso, and our men, and let us be off," 
was the instant reply of Benito. 

The pilot and the barber were informed of the decision 
with regard to Manoel's project. Both were ordered to 
go with the four boats and the Indians to the basin of 
Frias, and thence to wait for the two young men. 

Manoel and Benito started off without losing a moment, 
and reached the quay at Manaos. There they offered the 
contractor such a price that he put the apparatus at their 
service for the whole day. 

" Will you not have one of my men," he asked, " to help 
you?" 

" Give us your foreman and one of his mates to work 
the air-pump," replied Manoel. 

" But who is going to wear the diving-dress? " 

" I am," answered Benito. 

"You!" exclaimed Manoel. 

" I intend to do so." 

It was useless to resist. 

An hour afterward the raft and all the instruments neces- 
sary for the enterprise had drifted down to the bank where 
the boats were waiting. 

The diving-dress is well known. By its means men can 
descend beneath the waters and remain there a certain time 
without the action of the lungs being in any way injured. 
The diver is clothed in a waterproof suit of india rubber, 
and his feet are attached to leaden shoes, which allow him 
to retain his upright position beneath the surface. At the 
collar of the dress, and about the height of the neck, there 
is fitted a collar of copper, on which is screwed a metal globe 
with a glass front. In this globe the diver places his head, 



44 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

which he can move about at ease. To the globe are attached 
two pipes; one used for carrying off the air ejected from 
the lungs, and the other in communication with a pump 
worked on the raft, and bringing in the fresh air. When 
the diver is at work the raft remains immovable above him ; 
when the diver moves about on the bottom of the river 
the raft follows his movements, or he follows those of the 
raft, according to his convenience. 

These diving-dresses are now much improved, and are 
less dangerous than formerly. The man beneath the liquid 
mass can easily bear the additional pressure, and if anything 
was to be feared below the waters it was rather some cay- 
man who might there be met with. But, as had been ob- 
served by Araujo, not one of these amphibians had been 
seen, and they are well known to prefer the black waters 
of the tributaries of the Amazon. Besides, in case of dan- 
ger, the diver has always his check-string fastened to the 
raft, and at the least warning can be quickly hauled to the 
surface. 

Benito, invariably very cool once his resolution was taken, 
commenced to put his idea into execution, and got into the 
diving-dress. His head disappeared in the metal globe, 
his hand grasped a sort of iron spar with which to stir up 
the vegetation and detritus accumulated in the river-bed, 
and on his giving the signal he was lowered into the stream. 

The men on the raft immediately commenced to work 
the air pump, while four Indians from the jangada, under 
the orders of Araujo, gently propelled it with their long 
poles in the desired direction. 

The two pirogues, commanded one by Fragoso, the other 
by Manoel, escorted the raft, and held themselves ready 
to start in any direction, should Benito find the corpse of 
Torres and again bring it to the surface of the Amazon. 



CHAPTER IX 

A CANNON SHOT 

Benito then had disappeared beneath the vast sheet which 
still covered the corpse of the adventurer. Ah! if he had 
had the power to divert the waters of the river, to turn 
them into vapor, or to turn them off — if he could have made 



A CANNON SHOT 45 

the Frias basin dry down stream, from the bar up to the 
influx of the Rio Negro, the case hidden in Torres' clothes 
would already have been in his hands! His father's inno- 
cence would have been recognized ! Joam Dacosta, restored 
to liberty, would have again started on the descent of the 
river, and what terrible trials would have been avoided ! 

Benito had reached the bottom. His heavy shoes made 
the gravel on the beach crunch beneath them. He was in 
some ten or fifteen feet of water, at the base of the cliff, 
which was here very steep, and at the very spot where 
Torres had disappeared. 

Near him was a tangled mass of reeds and twigs and 
aquatic plants, all laced together, which assuredly during 
the researches of the previous day no pole could have pene- 
trated. It was consequently possible that the body was 
entangled among the submarine shrubs, and still in the place 
where it had originally fallen. 

Hereabouts, thanks to the eddy produced by the pro- 
longation of one of the spurs running out into the stream, 
the current was absolutely nil. Benito guided his move- 
ments by those of the raft, which the long poles of the 
Indians kept just over his head. 

The light penetrated deep through the clear waters, and 
the magnificent sun, shining in a cloudless sky, shot its 
rays down into them unchecked. Under ordinary condi- 
tions, at a depth of some twenty feet in water, the view 
becomes exceedingly blurred, but here the waters seemed 
to be impregnated with a luminous fluid, and Benito was 
able to descend still lower without the darkness concealing 
the river bed. 

The young man slowly made his way along the bank. 
With his iron-shod spear he probed the plants and rubbish 
accumulated along its foot. Flocks of fish, if we can use 
such an expression, escaped on all sides from the dense 
thickets like flocks of birds. It seemed as though the thou- 
sand pieces of a broken mirror glimmered through the 
waters. At the same time scores of crustaceans scampered 
over the sand, like huge ants hurrying from their hills. 

Notwithstanding that Benito did not leave a single point 
of the river unexplored, he never caught sight of the object 
of his search. He noticed, however, that the slope of the 
river-bed was very abrupt, and he concluded that Torres 



46 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

had rolled beyond the eddy toward the centre of the stream. 
If so, he would probably still recover the body, for the 
current could hardly touch it at the depth which was already 
great, and seemed sensibly to increase. Benito then re- 
solved to pursue his investigations on the side where he had 
begun to probe the vegetation. This was why he continued 
to advance in that direction, and the raft had to follow him 
during a quarter of an hour, as had been previously ar- 
ranged. 

The quarter of an hour had elapsed, and Benito had 
found nothing. He felt the need of ascending to the sur- 
face, so as to once more experience those physiological con- 
ditions in which he could recoup his strength. In certain 
spots, where the depth of the river necessitated it, he had 
had to descend about thirty feet. He had thus to support 
a pressure almost equal to an atmosphere, with the result 
of the physical fatigue and mental agitation which attack 
those who are not used to this kind of work. Benito then 
pulled the communication cord, and the men on the raft 
commenced to haul him in, but they worked slowly, taking 
a minute to draw him up two or three feet, so as not to 
produce in his internal organs the dreadful effects of de- 
compression. 

As soon as the young man had set foot on the raft, the 
metallic sphere of the diving-dress was raised, and he took 
a long breath and sat down to rest. 

The pirogues immediately rowed alongside. Manoel, 
Fragoso and Araujo came close to him, waiting for him 
to speak. 

"Well?" asked Manoel. 

"Still nothing! Nothing!" 

" Have you not seen a trace? " 

"Not one!" 

" Shall I go down now ? " 

"No, Manoel," answered Benito; "I have begun; I 
know where to go. Let me do it ! " % 

Benito then explained to the pilot that his intention was 
to visit the lower part of the bank up to the Bar of Frias, 
for there the slope had perhaps stopped the corpse, if, float- 
ing between the two streams, it had in the least degree 
been affected by the current. But first he wanted to skirt 
the bank and carefully explore a sort of hole formed in the 



A CANNON SHOT 47 

slope of the bed, to the bottom of which the poles had not 
been able to penetrate. Araujo approved of the plan, and 
made the necessary preparations. 

Manoel gave Benito a little advice. " As you want to 
pursue your search on that side," he said, " the raft will 
have to go over there obliquely; but mind what you are 
doing, Benito. That is much deeper than where you have 
been yet : it may be fifty or sixty feet, and you will have 
to support a pressure of quite two atmospheres. Only ven- 
ture with extreme caution, or you may lose your presence 
of mind, and no longer know where you are or what to do. 
If your head feels as if in a vise, and your ears tingle, do 
not hesitate to give us the signal, and we will at once haul 
you up. You can then begin again if you like, as you will 
have got accustomed to move about in the deeper parts of 
the river." 

Benito promised to attend to these hints, of which he 
recognized the importance. He was particularly struck 
with the fact that his presence of mind might abandon him 
at the very moment he wanted it most. 

Benito shook hands with Manoel ; the sphere of the div- 
ing-dress was again screwed to his neck, the pump began 
to work, and the diver once more disappeared beneath the 
stream. 

The raft was then taken about forty feet along the left 
bank, but as it moved toward the center of the river the 
current increased in strength, the ubas was moored, and 
the rowers kept it from drifting, so as only to allow it to 
advance with extreme slowness. 

Benito descended very gently, and again found himself 
on the firm sand. When his heels touched the ground it 
could be seen, by the length of the haulage cord, that he 
was at a depth of some sixty-five or seventy feet. He was 
therefore in a considerable hole, excavated far below the 
ordinary level. 

The liquid medium was more obscure, but the limpidity 
of these transparent waters still allowed the light to pene- 
trate sufficiently for Benito to distinguish the objects scat- 
tered on the bed of the river, and to approach them with 
some safety. Besides, the sand, sprinkled with mica flakes, 
seemed to form a sort of reflector, and the very grains could 
be counted glittering like luminous dust. 



48 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

Benito moved on, examining and sounding the smallest 
cavities with his spear. He continued to advance very 
slowly; the communication cord was paid out, and as the 
pipes which served for the inlet and outlet of the air were 
never tightened, the pump was worked under the proper 
conditions. 

Benito turned off so as to reach the middle of the bed 
of the Amazon, where there was the greatest depression. 
Sometimes profound obscurity thickened around him, and 
then he could see nothing, so feeble was the light ; but this 
was a purely passing phenomenon, and due to the raft, 
which, floating above his head, intercepted the solar rays, 
and made the night replace the day. An instant afterward 
the huge shadow would be dissipated, and the reflection of 
the sands appear again in full force. 

All the time Benito was going deeper. He felt the in- 
crease of the pressure with which his body was wrapped by 
the liquid mass. His respiration became less easy ; his or- 
gans no longer worked with as much ease as in the midst 
of an atmosphere more conveniently adapted for them. And 
so he found himself under the action of physiological effects 
to which he was unaccustomed. The rumbling grew louder 
in his ears, but as his thought was always lucid, as he felt 
that the action of his brain was quite clear — even a little 
more so than usual — he delayed giving the signal for return, 
and continued to go down deeper still. 

Suddenly, in the subdued light which surrounded him, his 
attention was attracted by a confused mass. It seemed to 
take the form of a corpse, entangled beneath a clump of 
aquatic plants. Intense excitement seized him. He stepped 
toward the mass ; with his spear he felt it. It was the car- 
cass of a huge cayman, already reduced to a skeleton, and 
which the current of the Rio Negro had swept into the bed 
of the Amazon. Benito recoiled, and, in spite of the asser- 
tions of the pilot, the thought recurred to him that some 
living cayman might even then be met with in the deeps 
near the Bar of Frias! 

But he repelled the idea, and continued his progress, so 
as to reach the very bottom of the depression. 

And now he had arrived at a depth of from eighty to a 
hundred feet, and consequently was experiencing a 
pressure of three atmospheres. If, then, this cavity was 



A CANNON SHOT 49 

also drawn blank, he would have to suspend his researches. 

Experience has shown that the extreme limit for such 
submarine explorations lies between a hundred and twenty 
and a hundred and thirty feet, and that below this there 
is great danger, the human organism not only being hin- 
dered from performing its functions under such a pressure, 
but the apparatus failing to keep up a sufficient supply of air 
with the desirable regularity. 

But Benito was resolved to go as far as his mental powers 
and physical energies would let him. By some strange pre- 
sentiment he was drawn toward this abyss; it seemed to 
him as though the corpse was very likely to have rolled 
to the bottom of the hole, and that Torres, if he had any 
heavy things about him, such as a belt containing either 
money or arms, would have sunk to the very lowest point. 
Of a sudden, in a deep hollow, he saw a body through the 
gloom! Yes! A corpse, still clothed, stretched out like a 
man asleep, with his arms folded under his head. 

Was that Torres? In the obscurity, then very dense, he 
found it difficult to see; but it was a human body that lay 
there, less than ten paces off, and perfectly motionless. 

A sharp pang shot through Benito. His heart, for an 
instant, ceased to beat. He thought he was going to lose 
consciousness. By a supreme effort he recovered himself. 
He stepped toward the corpse. 

Suddenly a shock as violent as unexpected made his 
whole frame vibrate! A long whip seemed to twine round 
his body, and in spite of the thick diving-dress he felt him- 
self lashed again and again. 

" A gymnotus ! " he said. 

It was the only word that passed his lips. 

In fact, it was a puraquc, the name given by the Brazil- 
ians to the gymnotus, or electric snake, which had just at- 
tacked him. 

It is well known that the gymnotus is a kind of eel, with 
a blackish, slimy skin, furnished along the back and tail 
with an apparatus composed of plates joined by vertical 
lamellae, and acted on by nerves of considerable power. 
This apparatus is endowed with singular electrical proper- 
ties, and is apt to produce very formidable results. Some 
of these gymnotuses are about the length of a common 
snake, others are about ten feet long, while others which. 

V XII Verne 



50 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

however, are rare, even reach fifteen or twenty feet, and 
are from eight to ten inches in diameter. 

Gymnotuses are plentiful enough both in the Amazon and 
its tributaries; and it was one of these living coils, about 
ten feet long, which, after uncurving itself like a bow, 
again attacked the diver. 

Benito knew what he had to fear from this formidable 
animal. His clothes were powerless to protect him. The 
discharges of the gymnotus, at first somewhat weak, be- 
came more and more violent, and there would come a time 
when, exhausted by the shocks, he would be rendered 
powerless. 

Benito, unable to resist the blows, half dropped upon the 
sand. His limbs were becoming paralyzed little by little 
under the electric influences of the gymnotus, which lightly 
touched his body as it wrapped him in its folds. His arms 
even he could not lift, and soon his spear escaped him, and 
his hand had not strength enough left to pull the cord and 
give the signal. 

Benito felt that he was lost. Neither Manoel nor his 
companions could suspect the horrible combat which was 
going on beneath them between the formidable puraque and 
the unhappy diver, who only fought to suffer, without any 
power of defending himself. 

And that at the moment when a body — the body of Tor- 
res without a doubt! — had just met his view. 

By a supreme instinct of self-preservation Benito uttered 
a cry. His voice was lost in the metallic sphere from which 
not a sound could escape ! 

And now the puraque redoubled its attacks ; it gave forth 
shock after shock, which made Benito writhe on the sand 
like the sections of a divided worm, and his muscles were 
wrenched again and again beneath the living lash! 

Benito thought that all was over; his eyes grew dim, his 
limbs began to stiffen. 

But before he quite lost his power or sight and reason he 
became the witness of a phenomenon, unexpected, inexplic- 
able, and marvelous in the extreme. 

A deadened roar resounded through the liquid depths. It 
was like a thunder-clap, the reverberations of which rolled 
along the river-bed, then violently agitated by the electrical 
discharges of the gymnotus. Benito felt himself bathed as 



THE CONTENTS OF THE CASE 51 

it were in the dreadful booming which found an echo in the 
very deepest of the river deeps. 

And then a last cry escaped him, for fearful was the 
vision which appeared before his eyes! 

The corpse of the drowned man which had been stretched 
on the sand arose! The undulations of the water lifted up 
the arms, and they swayed about as if with some peculiar 
animation. Convulsive throbs made the movement of the 
corpse still more alarming. 

It was indeed the body of Torres. One of the sun's rays 
shot down to it through the liquid mass, and Benito recog- 
nized the bloated, ashy features of the scoundrel who fell 
by his own hand, and whose last breath had left him beneath 
the waters. 

And while Benito could not make a single movement with 
his paralyzed limbs, while his heavy shoes kept him down 
as if he had been nailed to the sand, the corpse straightened 
itself up, the head swayed to and fro, and disentangling 
itself from the hole in which it had been kept by a mass 
of aquatic weeds, it slowly ascended to the surface of the 
Amazon. 



CHAPTER X 

THE CONTENTS OF THE CASE 

What was it that had happened ? A purely physical phe- 
nomenon, of which the following is an explanation. 

The gunboat Santa Ana, bound for Manaos, had come up 
the river and passed the bar at Frias. Just before she 
reached the embouchure of the Rio Negro she hoisted her 
colors and saluted the Brazilian flag. 

At the report vibrations were produced along the surface 
of the stream, and these vibrations making their way down 
to the bottom of the river, had been sufficient to raise the 
corpse of Torres, already lightened by the commencement 
of its decomposition and the distention of its cellular sys- 
tem. The body of the drowned man had in the ordinary 
course risen to the surface of the water. 

This well-known phenomenon explains the reappearance 
of the corpse, but it must be admitted that the arrival of 
the Santa Ana was a fortunate coincidence. 



52 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

By a shout from Manoel, repeated by all his companions, 
one of the pirogues was immediately steered for the body 
while the diver was at the same time hauled up to the raft. 

Great was Manoel's emotion when Benito, drawn on to 
the platform, was laid there in a state of complete inertia, 
not a single exterior movement betraying that he still lived. 
Was not this a second corpse which the waters of the Ama- 
zon had given up ? 

As quickly as possible the diving-dress was taken off him. 
Benito had entirely lost consciousness beneath the violent 
shocks of the gymnotus. 

Manoel, distracted, called to him, breathed into him, and 
endeavored to recover the heart's pulsation. " It beats ! 
It beats! " he exclaimed. 

Yes! Benito's heart did still beat, and in a few minutes 
Manoel's efforts restored him to life. 

" The body! the body! " Such were the first words, the 
only ones which escaped from Benito's lips. 

" There it is! " answered Fragoso, pointing to a pirogue 
then coming up to the raft with the corpse. 

" But what has been the matter, Benito? " asked Manoel. 
" Has it been the want of air? " 

" No ! " said Benito ; " a puraque attacked me ! But the 
noise? the detonation?" 

" A cannon shot ! " replied Manoel. " It was the cannon 
shot which brought the corpse to the surface." 

At this moment the pirogue came up to the raft with the 
body of Torres, which had been taken on board by the 
Indians. His sojourn in the water had not disfigured him 
very much. He was easily recognizable, and there was no 
doubt as to his identity. 

Fragoso, kneeling down in the pirogue, had already be- 
gun to undo the clothes of the drowned man, which came 
away in fragments. At the moment, Torres' right arm, 
which was now left bare, attracted his attention. On it ap- 
peared the distinct scar of an old wound produced by a blow 
from a knife. " That scar! " exclaimed Fragoso. " But — 
that is good ! I remember now " 

"What?" demanded Manoel. 

" A quarrel ! Yes ! a quarrel I witnessed in the province 
of Madeira three years ago. How could I have for- 
gotten it. This Torres was then a captain of the woods. 



THE CONTENTS OF THE CASE 53 

Ah! I know now where I had seen him, the scoundrel!' 

" That does not matter to us now! " cried Benito. " The 
case! the case! Has he still got that?" and Benito was 
about to tear away the last coverings of the corpse to get 
at it. 

Manoel stopped him. " One moment, Benito," he said ; 
and then, turning to the men on the raft who did not belong 
to the jangada, and whose evidence could not be suspected 
at any future time, " Just take note, my friends," he said, 
" of what we are doing here, so that you can relate before 
the magistrate what has passed." 

The men came up to the pirogue. 

Fragoso undid the belt which encircled the body of Tor- 
res underneath the torn poncho, and feeling his breast- 
pocket, exclaimed, "The case!" 

A cry of joy escaped from Benito. He stretched for- 
ward to seize the case, to make sure that it contained 

" No! " again interrupted Manoel, whose coolness did not 
forsake him. " It is necessary that not the slightest possible 
doubt should exist in the mind of the magistrate! It is 
better that disinterested witnesses should affirm that this 
case was really found on the corpse of Torres ! ' : 

" You are right," replied Benito. 

" My friend," said Manoel to the foreman of the raft, 
" just feel in the pocket of the waistcoat." 

The foreman obeyed. He drew forth a metal case, with 
the cover screwed on^ and which seemed to have suffered 
in no way from its sojourn in the water. 

"The paper! Is the paper still inside?" exclaimed 
Benito, who could not contain himself. 

" It is for the magistrate to open this case! " answered 
Manoel. " To him belongs the duty of verifying that the 
document was found within it." 

" Yes, yes. Again you are right, Manoel," said Benito. 
" To Manaos, my friends — to Manaos! " 

Benito, Manoel, Fragoso, and the foreman, who held the 
case, immediately jumped into one of the pirogues, 
and were starting off, when Fragoso said, " And the 
corpse? " 

The pirogue stopped. In fact, the Indians had already 
thrown back the body into the water, and it was drifting 
away down the river 



54 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

" Torres was only a scoundrel," said Benito. " If I had 
to fight him, it was God that struck him, and his body 
ought not to go unburied ! " And so orders were given to 
the second pirogue to recover the corpse, and take it to 
the bank to await its burial. 

But at the same moment a flock of birds of prey, which 
skimmed along the surface of the stream, pounced on the 
floating body. They were urubus, a kind of small vulture, 
with naked necks and long claws, and black as crows. In 
South America they are known as gallinazos, and their 
voracity is unparalleled. The body, torn open by their 
beaks, gave forth the gases which inflated it, its density 
increased, it sank down little by little, and for the last time 
what remained of Torres disappeared beneath the waters of 
the Amazon. 

Ten minutes afterward the pirogue arrived at Manaos. 
Benito and his companions jumped ashore, and hurried 
through the streets of the town. In a few minutes they 
had reached the dwelling of Judge Jarriquez, and informed 
him, through one of his servants, that they wished to see 
him immediately. The judge ordered them to be shown 
into his study. 

There Manoel recounted all that had passed, from the 
moment when Torres had been killed until the moment 
when the case had been found on his corpse, and taken from 
his breast-pocket by the foreman. 

Although this recital was of a nature to corroborate all 
that Joam Dacosta had said on the subject of Torres, and 
of the bargain which he had endeavored to make, Judge 
Jarriquez could not restrain a smile of incredulity. 

" There is the case, sir," said Manoel. " For not a single 
instant has it been in our hands, and the man who gives it 
to you is he who took it from the body of Torres." 

The magistrate took the case and examined it with care, 
turning it over and over as though it were made of some 
precious material. Then he shook it, and a few coins inside 
sounded with a metallic ring. Did not, then, the case con- 
tain the document which had been so much sought after — 
the document written in the very hand of the true author 
of the crime of Tijuco, and which Torres had wished to 
sell at such an ignoble price to Joam Dacosta? Was this 
material proof of the convict's innocence irrecoverably lost? 



THE DOCUMENT 55 

We can easily imagine the violent agitation which had 
seized upon the spectators of this scene. Benito could 
scarcely utter a word ; he felt his heart ready to burst. 
''Open it, sir! open the case!" he at last exclaimed, in a 
broken voice. 

Judge Jarriquez began to unscrew the lid; then, when 
the cover was removed, he turned up the case, and from it 
a few pieces of gold dropped out and rolled on the table. 

" But the paper ! the paper ! " again gasped Benito, who 
clutched hold of the table to save himself from falling. 

The magistrate put his fingers into the case and drew out, 
not without difficulty, a faded paper, folded with care, and 
which the water did not seem to have touched. 

" The document ! that is the document ! " shouted Fra- 
goso ; " that is the very paper I saw in the hands of 
Torres!" 

Judge Jarriquez unfolded the paper and cast his eyes over 
it, and then he turned it over so as to examine it on the 
back and the front, which were both covered with writing. 
" A document it really is ! " said he ; " there is no doubt 
of that. It is indeed a document ! " 

" Yes," replied Benito ; " and that is the document which 
proves my father's innocence!" 

" I do not know that," replied Judge Jarriquez; "and I 
am afraid it will be very difficult to know it." 

" Why? " exclaimed Benito, who became pale as death. 

" Because this document is a cryptogram, and " 

"Well?" 

" We have not got the key ! " 



CHAPTER XI 

THE DOCUMENT 

This was a contingency which neither Joam Dacosta nor 
his people could have anticipated. In fact, as those who 
have not forgotten the first scene in this story are aware, 
the document was written in a disguised form in one of the 
numerous systems used in cryptography. 

But which of them? To discover this would require all 
the ingenuity of which the human brain was capable. 

Before dismissing Benito and his companions, Judge Jar- 



56 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

riquez had an exact copy made of the document, and, keep- 
ing the original, handed the copy to them after due com- 
parison, so that they could communicate with the prisoner. 

Then, making an appointment for the morrow, they re- 
tired, and, not wishing to lose an instant in seeing Joam 
Dacosta, they hastened on to the prison; and there, in a 
short interview, informed him of all that had passed. 

Joam Dacosta took the document and carefully examined 
it. Shaking his head, he handed it back to his son. " Per- 
haps," he said, " there is therein written the proof I shall 
never be able to produce. But if that proof escapes me, if 
the whole tenor of my life does not plead for me, I have 
nothing more to expect from the justice of men, and my 
fate is in the hands of God! " 

And all felt it to be so. If the document remained 
indecipherable, the position of the convict was a desperate 
one. 

" We shall find it, father ! " exclaimed Benito. " There 
never was a document of this sort yet which could stand 
examination. Have confidence — ves, confidence! Heaven 
has, so to speak, miraculously given us the paper which 
vindicates you, and, after guiding our hands to recover it, 
it will not refuse to direct our brains to unravel it." 

Joam Dacosta shook hands wtih Benito and Manoel, and 
then the three young men, much agitated, retired to the 
jangada, where Yaquita was awaiting them. 

Yaquita was soon informed of what had happened since 
the evening — the reappearance of the body of Torres, the 
discovery of the document, and the strange form under 
which the real culprit, the companion of the adventurer, 
had thought proper to write his confession — doubtless, so 
that it should not compromise him if it fell into strange 
hands. 

Naturally, Lina was informed of this unexpected com- 
plication, and of the discovery made by Fragoso, that Tor- 
res was an old captain of the woods belonging to the gang 
who were employed about the mouths of the Madeira. 

"But under what circumstances did you meet him?" 
asked the young mulatto. 

" It was during one of my runs across the province of 
Amazones," replied Fragoso, " when I was going from vil- 
lage to village, working at my trade." 



THE DOCUMENT 57 

"And the scar?" 

" What happened was this : One day I arrived at the mis- 
sion of Aranas at the moment that Torres, whom I had 
never before seen, had picked a quarrel with one of his 
comrades — and a Dad lot they are! and this quarrel ended 
with a stab from a knife, which entered the arm of the cap- 
tain of the woods. There was no doctor there, and so I 
took charge of the wound, and that is how I made his 
acquaintance." 

" What does it matter, after all," replied the young girl, 
" that we know what Torres had been ? He was not the 
author of the crime, and it does not help us in the least." 

" No, it does not," answered Fragoso ; " for we shall 
end by reading this document, and then the innocence of 
Joam Dacosta will be palpable to the eyes of all." 

This was likewise the hope of Yaquita, of Benito, of 
Manoel, and of Minha, and, shut up in the house, they 
passed long hours in endeavoring to decipher the writ- 
ing. 

But if it was their hope — and there is no need to insist 
on that point — it was none the less that of Judge Jarriquez. 
After having drawn up his report at the end of his exam- 
ination establishing the identity of Joam Dacosta, the mag- 
istrate had sent it off to headquarters, and therewith he 
thought he had finished with the affair so far as he was 
concerned. It could not well be otherwise. 

On the discovery of the document, Jarriquez suddenly 
found himself face to face with the study of which he was 
a master. He, the seeker after numerical combinations, the 
solver of amusing problems, the answerer of charades, 
rebuses, logogryphs, and such things, was at last in his true 
clement. 

At the thought that the document might perhaps contain 
the justification of Joam Dacosta, he felt all the instinct 
of an analyst aroused. Here, before his very eyes, was a 
cryptogram! And so from that moment he thought of 
nothing but how to discover its meaning, and it is scarcely 
necessary to say that he made up his mind to work at it 
continuously, even if he forgot to eat or to drink. 

After the departure of the young people, Judge Jarriquez 
installed himself in his study. His door, barred against 
every one, assured him of several hours of perfect solitude. 



58 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

His spectacles were on his nose, his snuff-box on the table. 
He took a good pinch so as to develop the finesse and 
sagacity of his mind. He picked up the document and 
became absorbed in meditation, which soon became materi- 
alized in the shape of a monologue. The worthy justice 
was one of those unreserved men who think more 
easily aloud than to himself. " Let us proceed with 
method," he said. "No method, no logic; no logic, no 
success." 

Then, taking the document, he ran through it from be- 
ginning to end, without understanding it in the least. 

The document contained a hundred lines, which were 
divided into half a dozen paragraphs. 

"Hum!' said the judge, after a little reflection; "to 
try every paragraph, one after the other, would be to lose 
precious time, and be of no use. I had better select one of 
these paragraphs, and take the one which is likely to prove 
the most interesting. Which of them would do this better 
than the last, where the recital of the whole affair is prob- 
ably summed up ? Proper names might put me on the track, 
among others that of Joam Dacosta ; and if he has anything 
to do with this document, his name will evidently not be 
absent from its concluding paragraph." 

The magistrate's reasoning was logical, and he was de- 
cidedly right in bringing all his resources to bear in the 
first place on the gist of the cryptogram as contained in its 
last paragraph. 

Here is the paragraph, for it is necessary to again bring 
it before the eyes of the reader so as to show how an analyst 
set to work to discover its meaning: 

"Phyjslyddqfdzxgasgzzqqehxgkfn 
drxujugiocytdxvksbxhhuypohdvyry 
m h u h p u y d k j o x p h e t o z si e t n p m v ff o v p d p 
ajxhynojyggaymeqynfuqlnmvlyfgsu 
zmqiztlbqgyngsqeubvnrcredgruzblr 
m x y u h q h p z d r r g c r o h e p q x n f i v v r p I p h 
onthvddqfhqsntzhhhnfepmqkyuuexk 
togzgkyuumfvijdqdpzjqsykrplxhxq 
rymvklohhhotozvdksppsuvjh d." 



THE DOCUMENT 59 

At the outset. Judge Jarriquez noticed that the lines of 
the document were not divided either into words or phrases, 
and that there was a complete absence of punctuation. This 
fact could but render the reading of the document more 
difficult. 

" Let me see, however," he said, " if there is not some 
assemblage of the letters which appears to form a word — 
I mean a pronounceable word, whose number of consonants 
is in proportion to its vowels. And at the beginning I see 
the word phy; farther on the word gas. Hallo ! ujngi. Does 
this mean the African town on the banks of Tanganyika! 
What has this got to do with all this? Farther on 
here is the word ypo. Is it Greek, then? Close by here 
is rym and puy, and jox, and phctoz, and jyggay, 
and mv, and qrus. And before that we had got 
red and let. That is good! those are two English words. 
Then ohe — syk; then rym once more, and then the word 
oto." 

Judge Jarriquez let the paper drop, and thought for a 
few minutes. 

" All the words I see in this thing seem queer! " he said. 
" In fact, there is nothing to give a clue to their origin. 
Some look like Greek, some like Dutch; some have an 
English twist, and some look like nothing at all! To 
say nothing of these series of consonants which are 
not wanted in any human pronunciation. Most assuredly 
it would not be very easy to find the key to this crypto- 
gram." 

The magistrate's fingers commenced to beat a tattoo on 
his desk — a kind of reveille to arouse his dormant facul- 
ties. 

" Let us see," he said, " how many letters there are in 
the paragraph." 

He then counted them, pen in hand. 

' Two hundred and seventy-six! " he said. " Well, now 
let us try what proportion these different letters bear to 
each other." 

This occupied him for some time. The judge took up 
the document, and, with his pen in his hand, he noted each 
letter in alphabetical order. 

In a quarter of an hour he had obtained the following 
table : — 



60 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

a — 3 times. 

b= 4 — 

c= 3 — 

d= 16 — 

<?= 9 — 

/=10 - 

g=\3 - 

h = 23 — 

*= 4 — 

;= 8 - 

fc = 9 — 

/= 9 — 

w = 9 — 

»= 9 — 

o= 12 — 

p=16 — 

g= 16 — 

r=12 — 

j= 10 — 

t= 8 — 

w = 17 — 

w=13 — 

JT= 12 — 

y= 19 — 

3= 12 — 



Total . . 276 times. 

" Ah, ah ! ' he exclaimed. " One thing strikes me at 
once, and that is that in this paragraph all the letters of 
the alphabet are used. This is very strange. If we 
take up a book and open it by chance it will be very seldom 
that we hit upon two hundred and seventy-six letters with 
all the signs of the alphabet figuring among them. 
After all, it may be chance," and then he passed to a differ- 
ent train of thought. " One important point is to see if 
the vowels and consonants are in their normal propor- 
tion." 

And so he seized his pen, counted up the vowels, and 
obtained the following result: — 



THE DOCUMENT 61 



a = 


■ 3 


times. 


e = 


9 


— 


i = 


4 


— 


o = 


12 


— 


u = 


17 


— 


y = 


19 


— 




64 vowels. 



Total 

" And thus there are in this paragraph, after we have 
done our subtraction, sixty-four vowels and two hundred 
and twelve consonants. Good ! that is the normal propor- 
tion. That is about a fifth, as in the alphabet, where there 
are six vowels among twenty-five letters. It is possible, 
therefore, that the document is written in the language of 
our country, and that only the signification of each letter 
is changed. If it has been modified in regular order, and 
a & is always represented by an /, an o by a v, a g by a k, an 
u by an r, etc., I will give up my judgeship if I do not read 
it. What can I do better than follow the method of that 
great analytical genius, Edgar Allan Poe? " 

Judge Jarriquez herein alluded to a story by the great 
American romancer, which is a masterpiece. Who has not 
read the " Gold Bug? ' In this novel a cryptogram, com- 
posed of ciphers, letters, algebraic signs, asterisks, full-stops, 
and commas, is submitted to a truly mathematical analysis, 
and is deciphered under extraordinary conditions, which the 
admirers of that strange genius can never forget. On the 
reading of the American document depended only a treas- 
ure, while on that of this one depended a man's life. Its 
solution was consequently all the more interesting. 

The magistrate, who had often read and re-read his 
" Gold Bug," was perfectly acquainted with the steps in 
the analysis so minutely described by Edgar Poe, and he 
resolved to proceed in the same way on this occasion. In 
doing so he was certain, as he had said, that if the value 
or signification of each letter remained constant, he would, 
sooner or later, arrive at the solution of the document. 

" What did Edgar Poe do? " he repeated. " First of all 
he began by finding out the sign — here there are only let- 
ters, let us say the letter — which was reproduced the often- 
est. I see that that is h, for it is met with twenty-three 



62 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

times. This enormous proportion shows, to begin with, 
that h does not stand for h, but, on the contrary, that it 
represents the letter which recurs most frequently in our 
language, for I suppose the document is written in Portu- 
guese. In English or French it would certainly be e, in 
Italian it would be * or a, in Portuguese it will be a or o. 
Now let us say that h signifies a or o." 

After this was done, the judge found out the letter 
which recurred most frequently after h, and so on, and he 
formed the following table : — 



h 


— 


23 times 


y 


= 


19 — 


u 


= 


17 — 


dpq 


= 


16 — 


gv 


— 


13 — 


o r x z 


= 


12 — 


fs 


— 


10 — 


e k I m n 


= 


9 — 


it 


= 


8 — 


bi 


= 


4 — 


a c 


= 


3 — 



" Now the letter a only occurs thrice ! " exclaimed the 
judge, " and it ought to occur the oftenest. Ah ! that clearly 
proves that the meaning has been changed. And now, after 
a or o, what are the letters which figure oftenest in our 
language? Let us see," and Judge Jarriquez, with truly 
remarkable sagacity, which denoted a very observant mind, 
started on this new quest. In this he was only imitating 
the American romancer, who, great analyst as he was, had, 
by simple induction, been able to construct an alphabet cor- 
responding to the signs of the cryptogram, and by means 
of it to eventually read the pirate's parchment note with 
ease. 

The magistrate set to work in the same way, and we 
may affirm that he was no whit inferior to his illustrious 
master. Thanks to his previous work at logogryphs and 
squares, rectangular arrangements, and other enigmas, 
which depend only on an arbitrary disposition of the letters, 
he was already pretty strong in such mental pastimes. On 
this occasion he sought to establish the order in which the 



THE DOCUMENT 63 

letters were reproduced — vowels first, consonants after-t 
ward. 

Three hours had elapsed since he began. He had before 
his eyes an alphabet which, if his procedure were right, 
would give him the right meaning of the letters in the docu- 
ment. He had only to successively apply the letters of his 
alphabet to those of his paragraph. But before making this 
application some slight emotion seized upon the judge. He 
fully experienced the intellectual gratification — much greater 
than, perhaps, would be thought — of the man who, after 
hours of obstinate endeavor, saw the impatiently sought-for 
sense of the logogryph coming into view. 

" Now let us try," he said ; " and I shall be very much 
surprised if I have not got the solution of the enigma! ' : 

Judge Jarriquez took off his spectacles and wiped the 
glasses ; then he put them back again, and bent over the 
table. His special alphabet was in one hand, the crypto- 
gram in the other. He commenced to write under the first 
line of the paragraph the true letters, which, according to 
him, ought to correspond exactly with each of the crypto- 
graphic letters. As with the first line so did he with the 
second, and the third, and the fourth, until he had reached 
the end of the paragraph. 

Oddity as he was, he did not stop to see as he wrote if 
the assemblage of letters made intelligible words. No ; dur- 
ing the first stage his mind refused all verification of that 
sort. What he desired was to give himself the ecstasy of 
reading it all straight off at once. 

And now he had done. 

" Let us read ! " he exclaimed. 

And he read. Good heavens ! what cacophony ! The lines 
he had formed with the letters of his alphabet had no more 
sense in them than those of the document ! It was another 
series of letters, and that was all. They formed no word ; 
they had no value. In short, they were just as hieroglyphic. 

" Confound the thing! " exclaimed Judge Jarriquez. 



CHAPTER XII 

IS IT A MATTER OF FIGURES? 

It was seven o'clock in the evening. Judge Jarriquez had 
all the time been absorbed in working at the puzzle — and 
was no farther advanced — and had forgotten the time of 
repast and the time of repose, when there came a knock at 
his study door. 

It was^time. An hour later, and all the cerebral substance 
of the vexed magistrate would certainly have evaporated 
under the intense heat into which he had worked his 
head. 

At the order to enter — which was given in an impatient 
tone — the door opened and Manoel presented himself. The 
young doctor had left his friends on board the jangada at 
work on the indecipherable document, and had come to see 
Judge Jarriquez. He was anxious to know if he had been 
fortunate in his researches. He had come to ask if he had 
at length discovered the system on which the cryptogram 
had been written. 

The magistrate was not sorry to see Manoel come in. He 
was in that state of excitement that solitude was exasper- 
ating to him. He wanted some one to speak to, some one 
as anxious to penetrate the mystery as he was. Manoel was 
just the man. 

" Sir," said Manoel, as he entered, " one question! Have 
you succeeded better than we have? " 

" Sit down first," exclaimed Judge Jarriquez, who got up 
and began to pace the room. " Sit down! If we are both 
of us standing, you will walk one way and I shall walk the 
other, and the room will be too narrow to hold us." 

Manoel sat down and repeated his question. 

"No! I have not had any success!" replied the magis- 
trate ; " I do not think I am any better off. I have got 
nothing to tell you ; but I have found out a certainty.'* 

"What is that, sir?" 

" That the document is not based on conventional signs, 
but on what is known in cryptology as a cipher, that is to 
say, on a number." 

" Well, sir," answered Manoel, " cannot a document of 
that kind always be read ? " 

" Yes," said Jarriquez, " if a letter is invariably repre- 

64 



IS IT A MATTER OF FIGURES? 65 

sented by the same letter; if an a, for example, is always a 
p, and a p is always an x; if not, it cannot." 

"And in this document?" 

" In this document the value of the letter changes with 
the arbitrarily selected cipher which necessitates it. So a 
b which will in one place be represented by a k will later 
on become a s, later on a u or an n or an /, or any other 
letter." 

" And then, I am sorry to say, the cryptogram is inde- 
cipherable." 

" Indecipherable ! " exclaimed Manoel. " No, sir ; we 
shall end by finding the key of the document on which a 
man's life depends." 

Manoel had risen, a prey to the excitement he could not 
control; the reply he had received was too hopeless, and 
he refused to accept it for good. At a gesture from the 
judge, however, he sat down again, and in a calmer voice 
asked, " And in the first place, sir, what makes you think 
that the basis of this document is a number, or, as you call 
it, a cipher? " 

" Listen to me, young man," replied the judge, " and you 
will be forced to give in to the evidence." 

The magistrate took the document and put it before the 
eyes of Manoel and showed him what he had done. 

" I began," he said, " by treating this document in the 
proper way, that is to say, logically, leaving nothing to 
chance. I applied to it an alphabet based on the proportion 
the letters bear to one another which is usual in our lan- 
guage, and I sought to obtain the meaning by following 
the precepts of our immortal analyst, Edgar Poe. Well, 
what succeeded with him collapsed with me." 

" Collapsed ! " exclaimed Manoel. 

" Yes, my dear young man, and I at once saw that suc- 
cess sought in that fashion was impossible. In truth, a 
stronger man than I might have been deceived." 

" But I should like to understand," said Manoel, " and 
I do not " 

" Take the document," continued Judge Jarriquez ; " first 
look at the disposition of the letters, and read it through." 

Manoel obeyed. 

' Do you not see that the combination of several of the 
letters is very strange? " asked the magistrate. 

V XII Verne 



66 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

" I do not see anything," said Manoel, after having for 
perhaps the hundredth time read through the document. 

" Well ! study the last paragraph ! There you understand 
the sense of the whole is bound to be summed up. Do you 
see anything abnormal ? " 

" Nothing." 

" There is, however, one thing which absolutely proves 
that the language is subject to the laws of number." 

"And that is?" 

" That is that you see three h's coming together in two 
different places." 

What Jarriquez said was correct, and it was of a nature 
to attract attention. The two hundred and fourth, two hun- 
dred and fifth, and two hundred and sixth letters of the 
paragraph, and the two hundred and fifty-eighth, two hun- 
dred and fifty-ninth, and two hundred and sixtieth letters 
of the paragraph, were consecutive h's. At first this peculiar- 
ity had not struck the magistrate. 

"And that proves? " asked Manoel, without divining the 
deduction that could be drawn from the combination. 

" That simply proves that the basis of the document is a 
number. It shows a priori that each letter is modified in 
virtue of the ciphers of the number and according to the 
place which it occupies." 

"And why?" 

" Because in no language will you find words with three 
consecutive repetitions of the letter h." 

Manoel was struck with the argument ; he thought about 
it, and, in short, had no reply to make. 

" And had I made the observation sooner," continued the 
magistrate, " I might have spared myself a good deal of 
trouble and a headache which extends from my occiput to 
my sinciput." 

" But, sir," asked Manoel, who felt the little hope van- 
ishing on which he had hitherto rested, " what do you mean 
by a cipher? " 

" Tell me a number." 

" Any number you like." 

" Give me an example and you will understand the ex- 
planation better." 

Judge Jarriquez sat down at the table, took up a sheet 
of paper and a pencil, and said: 



IS IT A MATTER OF FIGURES? 67 

" Now, Mr. Manoel, let us choose a sentence by chance, 
the first that comes; for instance — 

Judge Jarriquez has an ingenious mind. 

I write this phrase so as to space the letters differently, and 
I get— 

Judge jarriquezhasaningeniousmind. 

That done," said the magistrate, to whom the phrase seemed 
to contain a proposition beyond dispute, looking Manoel 
straight in the face, " suppose I take a number by chance, 
so as to give a cryptographic form to this natural succession 
of words; suppose now this word is composed of three 
ciphers, and let these ciphers be 2, 3 and 4. Now on the 
line below I put the number 234, and repeat it as many times 
as are necessary to get to the end of the phrase, and so that 
every cipher comes underneath a letter. This is what we 
get— 

Judge jarriquezhasaningeniousmind. 
23423423423423423423423423 423423 

And now, Mr. Manoel, replacing each letter by the letter 
in advance of it in alphabetical order according to the value 
of the cipher, we get — 

/ plus 2 equal / 

u plus 3 equal x 

d plus 4 equal h 

g plus 2 equal i 

e plus 3 equal h 

j plus 4 equal n 

a plus 2 equal c 

r plus 3 equal u 

r plus 4 equal v 

i plus 2 equal k 

q plus 3 equal t 

u plus 4 equal y 

e plus 2 equal g 

z plus 3 equal c 

h plus 4 equal t 

a plus 2 equal c 

s plus 3 equal v 

a plus 4 equal e 

n plus 2 equal p 



68, THE CRYPTOGRAM 

i plus 3 equal / 
n plus 4 equal r 
g plus 2 equal i 
e plus 3 equal h 
n plus 4 equal r 
i plus 2 equal £ 
plus 3 equal r 
u plus 4 equal y 
^ plus 2 equal w 
and so on. 

" If, on account of the value of the ciphers which com- 
pose the number, I come to the end of the alphabet without 
having enough complementary letters to deduct, I begin 
again at the beginning. That is what happens at the end 
of my name when the z is replaced by the 3. As after z 
the alphabet has no more letters, I commence to count from 
a and so get the c. That done, when I get to the end of this 
cryptographic system, made up of the 234 — which was arbi- 
trarily selected, do not forget ! — the phrase which you recog- 
nize above is replaced by — 

Ixhihncuvktygclcveplrihrkryupmpg. 

" And now, young man, just look at it, and do you not 
think it is very much like what is in the document? Well, 
what is the consequence ? Why, that the signification of the 
letters depends on a cipher which chance put beneath them, 
and the cryptographic letter which answers to a true one is 
not always the same. So in this phrase the first / is repre- 
sented by an /, the second by an n; the first e by an h, the 
second by a g, the third by an h; the first d is represented 
by an h, the last by a g, and so on. Now you see that if 
you do not know the cipher 234 you will never be able to 
read the lines, and consequently if we do not know the num- 
ber of the document, it remains indecipherable!' 3 

On hearing the magistrate reason with such careful logic, 
Manoel was at first overwhelmed, but, raising his head, he 
exclaimed : 

" No, sir, I will not renounce the hope of finding the 
number ! " 

" We might have done so," answered Judge Jarriquez, 
" if the lines of the document had been divided into words." 

"And why?" 



IS IT A MATTER OF FIGURES? 69 

" For this reason, young man. I think we can assume 
that in the last paragraph all that is written in these earlier 
paragraphs is summed up. Now I am convinced that in it 
will be found the name of Joam Dacosta. Well, if the lines 
had been divided into words, in trying the words one after 
the other — I mean the words composed of seven letters, as 
the name of Dacosta is — it would not have been impossible 
to evolve the number which is the key of the document." 

" Will you explain to me how you ought to proceed to do 
that, sir?" asked Manoel, who probably caught a glimpse 
of one more hope. 

" Nothing can be more simple," answered the judge. 
" Let us take, for example, one of the words in the sen- 
tence we have just written — my name, if you like. It is 
represented in the cryptogram by this queer succession of 
letters, ncuvktygc. Well, arranging these letters in a col- 
umn, one under the other, and then placing them against the 
letters of my name, and deducting one from the other the 
numbers of their places in alphabetical order, I get the fol- 
lowing result: — 

Between n and ; we have 4 letters 



c — a 


- 2 


u — r 


- 3 


v — r 
k — i - 
t — q - 
y — u 


- 4 

- 2 

- 3 

- 4 


g — e 


- 2 


c — z 


- 3 



" Now what is the column of ciphers made up of that 
we have got by this simple operation? Look here! 423, 
423, 423, that is to say, of repetitions of the numbers 423, 
or 234, or 342." 

" Yes, that is it ! " answered Manoel. 

" You understand, then, by this means, that in calculat- 
ing the true letter from the false, instead of the false from 
the true, I have been able to discover the number with ease ; 
and the number I was in search of is really the 234 which 
I took as the key to my cryptogram." 

" Well, sir! " exclaimed Manoel, " if that is so, the name 
of Dacosta is in the last paragraph ; and taking successively 



70 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

each letter of these lines for the first of the seven letters 
which compose his name, we ought to get " 

" That would be impossible," interrupted the judge, " ex- 
cept on one condition." 

"What is that?" 

" That the first cipher of the number should happen to 
be the first letter of the word Dacosta, and I think you will 
agree with me that it is not probable." 

"Quite so!" sighed Manoel, who, with this improbabil- 
ity, saw the last chance vanish. 

" And so we must trust to chance alone," continued Jar- 
riquez, who shook his head, " and chance does not often do 
much in things of this sort." 

" But still," said Manoel, " chance might give us this 
number." 

" This number," exclaimed the magistrate — " this num- 
ber? But how many ciphers is it composed of? Of two, 
or three, or four, or nine, or ten? Is it made up of differ- 
ent ciphers only, or of ciphers in different order many times 
repeated? Do you not know, young man, that with the 
ordinary ten ciphers, using all at a time, but without any 
repetition, you can make 3,268,800 different numbers, and 
that if you use the same cipher more than once in the num- 
ber, these millions of combinations will be enormously in- 
creased? And do you not know that if we employ every 
one of the 525,600 minutes of which the year is composed 
to try at each of these numbers, it would take you six years, 
and that you would want three centuries if each operation 
took you an hour? No! You ask the impossible! ' : 

"Impossible, sir?" answered Manoel. "An innocent 
man has been branded as guilty, and Joam Dacosta is to 
lose his life and his honor while you hold in your hands 
the material proof of his innocence. That is what is im- 
possible ! " 

" Ah, young man! " exclaimed Jarriquez, " who told you, 
after all, that Torres did not tell a lie ? Who told you that 
he really did have in his hands a document written by the 
author of the crime ? that this paper was the document, and 
that this document refers to Joam Dacosta? ' : 

"Who told me so? " repeated Manoel, and his face was 
hidden in his hands. 

In fact, nothing could prove for certain that the docu- 



CHANCE! 71 

ment had anything to do with the affair in the diamond 
province. There was, in fact, nothing to show that it was 
not utterly devoid of meaning, and that it had been imagined 
by Torres himself, who was as capable of selling a false 
thing as a true one! 

" It does not matter, Manoel," continued the judge, ris- 
ing ; " it does not matter ! Whatever it may be to which 
the document refers, I have not yet given up discovering 
the cipher. After all, it is worth more than a logogryph or 
a rebus ! " 

At these words Manoel rose, shook hands with the mag- 
istrate, and returned to the jangada, feeling more hopeless 
when he went back than when he set out. 



CHAPTER XIII 

chance! 

A complete change took place in public opinion on the 
subject of Joam Dacosta. To anger succeeded pity. The 
population no longer thronged to the prison of Manaos to 
roar out cries of death to the prisoner. On the contrary, 
the most forward of them in accusing him of being the 
principal author of the crime of Tijuco now averred that 
he was not guilty, and demanded his immediate restoration 
to liberty. Thus it always is with the mob — from one ex- 
treme they run to the other. But the change was in- 
telligible. 

The events which had happened in the last few days — 
the struggle between Benito and Torres ; the search for the 
corpse, which had reappeared under such extraordinary cir- 
cumstances ; the finding of the " indecipherable " document, 
if we can so call it; the information it concealed, the assur- 
ance that it contained, or rather the wish that it contained, 
the material proof of the guiltlessness of Joam Dacosta ; and 
the hope that it was written by the real culprit — all these 
things had contributed to work the change in public opinion. 
What the people had desired and impatiently demanded 
forty-eight hours before, they now feared, and that was the 
arrival of the instructions due from Rio de Janeiro. 

These, however, were not likely to be delayed. 

Joam Dacosta had been arrested on the 24th of August, 



r 72 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

and examined next day. The judge's report was sent! oft* 
on the 26th. It was now the 28th. In three or four days 

more the Minister would have come to a decision regarding 
the convict, and it was only too certain that justice would 
take its course. 

There was no doubt that such would be the case. On 

'the other hand, that the assurance of Dacosta's innocence 

> would appear from the document, was not doubted by any- 
body, neither by his family nor by the fickle population of 
Manaos, who excitedly followed the phases of this dramatic 
affair. 

But, on the other hand, in the eyes of disinterested or 
indifferent persons who were not affected by the event, what 
value could be assigned to this document? and how could 
they even declare that it referred to the crime in the diamond 
arrayal ? It existed, that was undeniable ; it had been found 
on the corpse of Torres, nothing could be more certain. ^ It 
could even be seen, by comparing it with the letter in which 
Torres gave the information about Joam Dacosta, that the 
document was not in the handwriting of the adventurer. 
But, as had been suggested by Judge Jarriquez, why should 
not the scoundrel have invented it for the sake of his bar- 
gain ? And this was less unlikely to be the case, considering 
that Torres had declined to part with it until after his mar- 
riage with Dacosta's daughter — that is to say, when it 
would have been impossible to undo an accomplished fact. 
All these views were held by some people in some form, 
and we can quite understand what interest the affair created. 
In any case, the situation of Joam Dacosta was most hazard- 
ous. If the document were not deciphered, it would be just 
the same as if it did not exist ; and if the secret of the crypto- 
gram were not miraculously divined or revealed before the 
end of the three days, the supreme sentence would inevitably 
be suffered by the doomed man of Tijuco. And this miracle 
a man attempted to perform ! The man was Jarriquez, and 
he now really set to work more in the interest of Joam 
Dacosta than for the satisfaction of his analytical^ faculties. 
A complete change had also taken place in his opinion. Was 
not this man, who had voluntarily abandoned his retreat at 
Iquitos, who had come at the risk of his life to demand his 
rehabilitation at the hands of Brazilian justice, a moral enig- 
ma worth all the others put together? And so the judge 



CHANCE! 73 

had resolved never to leave the document until he had dis- 
covered the cipher. He set to work at it in a fury. He ate 
no more; he slept no more! All his time was passed in 
inventing combinations of numbers, in forging a key to 
force this lock! 

This idea had taken possession of Judge Jarriquez's brain 
at the end of the first day. Suppressed frenzy consumed 
him, and kept him in a perpetual heat. His whole house 
trembled ; his servants, black or white, dared not come near 
him. Fortunately he was a bachelor; had there been a 
Madame Jarriquez she would have had a very uncomfortable 
time of it. Never had a problem so taken possession of this 
oddity, and he had thoroughly made up his mind to get at 
the solution, even if his head exploded like an overheated 
boiler under the tension of its vapor. 

It was perfectly clear to the mind of the worthy magistrate 
that the key to the document was a number, composed of 
two or more ciphers, but what this number was all investiga- 
tion seemed powerless to discover. 

This was the enterprise on which Jarriquez, in quite a 
fury, was engaged, and during this 28th of August he 
brought all his faculties to bear on it, and worked away 
almost superhumanly. 

To arrive at the number by chance, he said, was to lose 
himself in millions of combinations, which would absorb 
the life of a first-rate calculator. But if he could in no 
respect reckon on chance, was it impossible to proceed by 
reasoning? Decidedly not! And so it was "to reason till 
he became unreasoning " that Judge Jarriquez gave him- 
self up after vainly seeking repose in a few hours of sleep. 
He who ventured in upon him at this moment after braving 
the formal defenses which protected his solitude, would have 
found him, as on the day before, in his study, before his 
desk, with the document under his eyes, the thousands of 
letters of which seemed all jumbled together and flying about 
his head. 

" Ah ! " he exclaimed, " why did not the scoundrel who 
wrote this separate the words in this paragraph ? We might 
— we will try — but no ! However, if there is anything here 
about the murder and the robbery, two or three words there 
must be in it — ' arrayal,' ' diamond,' ' Tijuco,' ' Dacosta,' 
and others ; and in putting down their cryptological equiva- 



74 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

lents the number could be arrived at. But there is nothing 
— not a break! — not one word by itself! One word of two 
hundred and seventy-six letters! I hope the wretch may 
be blessed two hundred and seventy-six times for complicat- 
ing his system in this way! He ought to be hanged two 
hundred and seventy-six times ! " 

And a violent thump with his fist on the document em- 
phasized this charitable wish. 

" But," continued the magistrate, " if I cannot find one of 
the words in the body of the document, I might at least 
try my hand at the beginning and end of each paragraph. 
There may be a chance there that I ought not to miss." 

And impressed with this idea Judge Jarriquez successively 
tried if the letters which commenced or finished the differ- 
ent paragraphs could be made to correspond with those 
which formed the most important word, which was sure to 
be found somewhere, that of Dacosta. 

To take only the last paragraph with which he began, 
the formula was- 



p 




D 


h 


— 


a 


y 


— 


c 


j 


= 





s 


= 


s 


I 


= 


t 


y 


■=. 


a 



Now at the very first letter Jarriquez was stopped in his 
calculations, for the difference in alphabetical position be- 
tween the d and p gave him not one cipher but two, namely : 
12, and in this kind of cryptogram only one letter can take 
the place of another. 

It was the same for the seven last letters of the paragraph, 
p s u v j h d, of which the series also commences with a 
p, and which could in no case stand for the d in Dacosta, 
because these letters were in like manner twelve spaces apart. 

So it was not his name that figured here. 

The same observation applied to the words arrayal and 
Tijuco, which were successively tried, but whose construc- 
tion did not correspond with the cryptographic series. 

After he had got so far, Judge Jarriquez, with his head 



CHANCE! 75 

nearly splitting, arose and paced his office, went for fresh 
air to the window, and gave utterance to a growl, at the noise 
of which a flock of humming-birds, murmuring among the 
foliage of a mimosa-tree, betook themselves to flight. Then 
he returned to the document. 

He picked it up and turned it over. 

"The humbug! the rascal!" he hissed; "it will end by 
driving me mad! But steady! Be calm! Don't let our 
spirits go down! This is not the time! " 

And then having refreshed himself by giving his head a 
thorough sluicing with cold water: — 

" Let us try another way," he said, " and as I cannot hit 
upon the number from the arrangement of the letters, let 
us see what number the author of the document would have 
chosen in confessing that he was the author of the crime 
at Tijuco." 

This was another method for the magistrate to enter upon, 
and maybe he was right, for there was a certain amount 
of logic about it. 

" And first let us try a date. Why should not the culprit 
have taken the date of the year in which Dacosta, the in- 
nocent man he allowed to be sentenced in his place, was 
born? Was he likely to forget a number which was so 
important to him? Then Joam Dacosta was born in 1804. 
Let us see what 1804 will give us as a cryptological 
number." 

And Judge Jarriquez wrote the first letters of the para- 
graph, and putting over them the number 1804 repeated 
thrice, he obtained 

1804 1804 1804 

p hy j sly d aqfd 

Then in counting up the spaces in alphabetical order he 
obtained 

o.yf r dy. cif. 

And this was meaningless! And he wanted three letters 
which he had to replace by points because the ciphers, 8, 
4, and 4, which command the three letters, h, d, and d, do 
not give corresponding letters in ascending the series. 

" That is not it again ! " exclaimed Jarriquez. " Let us 
try another number." 

And he asked himself, if instead of this first date the 



76 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

author of the document had not rather selected the date of 
the year in which the crime was committed. 

This was in 1826. 

And so proceeding as above, he obtained 

1826 1826 1826 

p hy i si y d d qf d 

and that gave 

o .v d rdv. cid. 

the same meaningless series, the same absence of sense, as 
many letters wanting as in the former instance, and for the 
same reason. 

" Bother the number ! " exclaimed the magistrate. " We 
must give it up again. Let us have another one ! Perhaps 
the rascal chose the number of contos representing the 
amount of the booty! " 

Now the value of the stolen diamonds was estimated at 
eight hundred and thirty-four contos, or about 2,500,000 
francs, and so the formula became 

834 834 834 834 

p hy j s I y d d q f d 

and this gave a result as little gratifying as the others — 

het bph pa. ic. 

" Confound the document and him who imagined it ! " 
shouted Jarriquez, throwing down the paper, which was 
wafted to the other side of the room. " It would try the 
patience of a saint ! " 

But the short burst of anger passed away, and the magis- 
trate, who had no idea of being beaten, picked up the 
paper. What he had done with the first letters of the differ- 
ent paragraphs he did with the last — and to no purpose. 
Then he tried everything his excited imagination could sug- 
gest. 

He tried in succession the numbers which represented 
Dacosta's age, which should have been known to the author 
of the crime, the date of his arrest, the date of the sentence 
at the Villa Rica assizes, the date fixed for the execution, 
etc., etc., even the number of victims at the affray at Tijuco! 

Nothing! All the time nothing! 

Judge Jarriquez had worked himself into such a state of 



CHANCE! 77 

exasperation that there really was some fear that his mental 
faculties would lose their balance. He jumped about, and 
twisted about, and wrestled about as if he really had got 
hold of his enemy's body. Then suddenly he cried : " Now 
for chance ! Heaven help me now, logic is powerless ! " 

His hand seized a bell-pull hanging near his table. The 
bell rang furiously, and the magistrate strode up to the 
door, which he opened. " Bobo ! " he shouted. 

A moment or two elapsed. 

Bobo was a freed negro, who was the privileged servant 
of Jarriquez. He did not appear; it was evident that Bobo 
was afraid to come into his master's room. 

Another ring at the bell ; another call to Bobo, who, for 
his own safety, pretended to be deaf on this occasion. And 
now a third ring at the bell, which unhitched the crank and 
broke the cord. 

This time Bobo came up. " What is it, sir? " asked Bobo, 
prudently waiting on the threshold. 

"Advance, without uttering a single word! " replied the 
judge, whose flaming eyes made the negro quake again. 

Bobo advanced. 

" Bobo," said Jarriquez, " attend to what I say, and 
answer immediately; do not even take time to think, or 
I " 

Bobo, with fixed eyes and open mouth, brought his feet 
together like a soldier and stood at attention. 

" Are you ready ? " asked his master. 

" I am." 

" Now, then, tell me, without a moment's thought — you 
understand — the first number that comes into your head." 

" 76223," answered Bobo, all in a breath. Bobo thought 
he would please his master by giving him a pretty large one ! 

Judge Jarriquez had run to the table, and, pencil in hand, 
had made out a formula with the number given by Bobo, 
and which Bobo had in his way only given him at a venture. 

It is obvious that it was most unlikely that a number such 
as 76223 was the key of the document, and it produced 
no other result than to bring to the lips of Jarriquez such 
a vigorous ejaculation that Bobo disappeared like a shot ! 



CHAPTER XIV, 

THE LAST EFFORT 

The magistrate, however, was not the only one who 
passed his time unprofitably. Benito, Manoel, Minha tried 
all they could together to extract the secret from the docu- 
ment on which depended their father's life and honor. On 
his part, Fragoso, aided by Lina, could not remain quiet, 
but all their ingenuity had failed, and the number still 
escaped them. 

" Why don't you find it, Fragoso ? " asked the young 
mulatto. 

" I will find it," answered Fragoso. 

And he did not find it ! 

Here we should say that Fragoso had an idea of a project 
of which he had not even spoken to Lina, but which had 
taken full possession of his mind. This was to go in search 
of the gang to which the ex-captain of the woods had be- 
longed, and to find out who was the probable author of 
this cipher document, which was supposed to be the con- 
fession of the culprit of Tijuco. The part of the Amazon 
where these people were employed, the very place where 
Fragoso had met Torres a few years before, was not very 
far from Manaos. He would only have to descend the 
river for about fifty miles, to the mouth of the Madeira, 
a tributary coming in on the right, and there he was almost 
sure to meet the head of these " capitaes do mato," to 
which Torres belonged. In two days, or three days at the 
outside, Fragoso could get into communication with the 
old comrades of the adventurer. 

" Yes ! I could do that," he repeated to himself ; " but 
what would be the good of it, supposing I succeeded ? If we 
are sure that one of Torres' companions has recently died, 
would that prove him to be the author of this crime ? Would 
that show that he gave Torres a document in which he an- 
nounced himself the author of this crime, and exonerated 
Joam Dacosta? Would this give us the key of the docu- 
ment? No! Two men only knew the cipher — the culprit 
and Torres! And these two men are no more! ' : 

So reasoned Fragoso. It was evident that his enterprise 
would do no good. But the thought of it was too much 
for him. An irresistible influence impelled him to set out, 

78 



THE LAST EFFORT 79 

although he was not even sure of finding the band on the 
Madeira. In fact, it might be engaged in some other part 
of the province, and to come up with it might require more 
time than Fragoso had at his disposal! And what would 
be the result? 

It is none the less true, however, that on the 29th of 
August, before sunrise, Fragoso, without saying anything 
to anybody, secretly left the jangada, arrived at Manaos, 
and embarked in one of the egariteas which daily descend 
the Amazon. 

And great was the astonishment when he was not seen 
on board, and did not appear during the day. No one, not 
even Lina, could explain the absence of so devoted a servant 
at such a crisis. Some of them even asked, and not with- 
out reason, if the poor fellow, rendered desperate at having, 
when he met him on the frontier, personally contributed to 
bringing Torres on board the raft, had not made away with 
himself. 

But if Fragoso could so reproach himself, how about 
Benito? In the first place, at Iquitos he had invited Torres 
to visit the fazenda; in the second place, he had brought 
him on board the jangada, to become a passenger on it; 
and in the third place, in killing him, he had annihilated 
the only witness whose evidence could save the condemned 
man. And so Benito considered himself responsible for 
everything — the arrest of his father, and the terrible events 
of which it had been the consequence. 

In fact, had Torres been alive, Benito could not tell 
but that, in some way or another, from pity or for reward, 
he would have finished by handing over the document. 
Would not Torres, whom nothing could compromise, have 
been persuaded to speak, had money been brought to bear 
upon him? Would not the long-sought- for proof have been 
furnished to the judge? Yes, undoubtedly! And the only 
man who could have furnished this evidence had been killed 
through Benito! 

Such was what the wretched man continually repeated 
to his mother, to Manoel, and to himself; were the cruel 
responsibilities which his conscience laid to his charge. 

Between her husband, with whom she passed all the time 
that was allowed to her, and her son, a prey to despair 
which made her tremble for his reason, the brave Yaquita, 



80 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

lost none of her moral energy. In her they found the 
valiant daughter of Magalhaes, the worthy wife of the 
fazender of Iquitos. 

The attitude of Joam Dacosta was well adapted to sus- 
tain her in this ordeal. That gallant man, that rigid Puritan, 
that austere worker, whose whole life had been a battle, 
had not yet shown a moment of weakness. 

The most terrible blow which had struck him without 
prostrating him had been the death of Judge Ribeiro, in 
whose mind his innocence did not admit of a doubt. Was 
it not with the help of his old defender that he had hoped 
to strive for his rehabilitation? The intervention of Tor- 
res he had regarded throughout as being quite secondary 
for him. And of this document he had no knowledge when 
he left Iquitos to hand himself over to the justice of his 
country. He only took with him moral proofs. When a 
material proof was unexpectedly produced in the course 
of the affair, before or after his arrest, he was certainly 
not the man to despise it. But, if, on account of regrettable 
circumstances, the proof disappeared, he would find himself 
once more in the same position as when he passed the 
Brazilian frontier — the position of a man who came to say : 
" Here is my past life ; here is my present ; here is an en- 
tirely honest existence of work and devotion which I bring 
you. You passed on me at first an erroneous judgment. 
After three-and-twenty years of exile I have come to give 
myself up! Here I am; judge me again! " 

The death of Torres, the impossibility of reading the 
document found on him, had thus not produced on Joam 
Dacosta the impression which it had on his children, his 
friends, his household, and all who were interested in 
him. 

" I have faith in my innocence," ne repeated to Yaquita, 
" as I have faith in God. If my life is still useful to my 
people, and a miracle is necessary to save me, that miracle 
will be performed; if not, I shall die! God alone is my 
judge!" 

The excitement increased in Manaos as the time ran on ; 
the affair was discussed with unexampled acerbity. In the 
midst of this enthrallment of public opinion, which evoked 
so much of the mysterious, the document was the principal 
object of conversation. 



THE LAST EFFORT 81 

At the end of this fourth day not a single person doubted 
but that it contained the vindication of the doomed man. 
Every one had been given an opportunity of deciphering 
its incomprehensible contents, for the Diario d'o Grand 
Para had reproduced it in facsimile. Autograph copies 
were spread about in great numbers at the suggestion of 
Manoel, who neglected nothing that might lead to the 
penetration of the mystery — not even chance, that " nick- 
name of providence," as some one has called it. 

In addition, a reward of 100 contos (or 300,000 francs) 
was promised to any one who could discover the cipher so 
fruitlessly sought after — and read the document. This was 
quite a fortune, and so people of all classes forgot to eat, 
drink, or sleep to attack this unintelligible cryptogram. 

Up to the present, however, all had been useless, and 
probably the most ingenious analysts in the world would 
have spent their time in vain. It had been advertised that 
any solution should be sent, without delay, to Judge Jarri- 
quez, to his house in God-the-Son Street ; but the evening 
of the 29th of August came and none had arrived, nor was 
any likely to arrive. 

Of all those who took up the study of the puzzle, Judge 
Jarriquez was one of the most to be pitied. By a natural 
association of ideas, he also joined in the general opinion 
that the document referred to the affair at Tijuco, and that 
it had been written by the hand of the guilty man, and 
exonerated Joam Dacosta. And so he put even more ardor 
into his search for the key. It was not only the art for 
the art's sake which guided him, it was a sentiment of 
justice, of pity toward a man suffering under an unjust 
condemnation. If it is the fact that a certain quantity of 
phosphorus is expended in the work of the brain, it would 
be difficult to say how many milligrammes the judge had 
parted with to excite the network of his " sensorium," and 
after all, to find out nothing, absolutely nothing. 

But Jarriquez had no idea of abandoning the inquiry. 
If he could only now trust to chance, he would work on 
for that chance. He tried to evoke it by all means possible 
and impossible. He had given himself over to fury and 
anger, and what was worse, to impotent anger! 

During the latter part of this day he had been trying 
different numbers — numbers selected arbitrarily — and how 



82 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

many of them can scarcely be imagined. Had he had the 
time, he would not have shrunk from plunging into the 
millions of combinations of which the ten symbols of numer- 
ation are capable. He would have given his whole life to 
it at the risk of going mad before the year was out. Mad! 
was he not that already? He had had the idea that the 
document might be read through the paper, and so he turned 
it round and exposed it to the light, and tried it in that way. 

Nothing! The numbers already thought of, and which 
he tried in this new way, gave no result. Perhaps the 
document read backward, and the last letter was really the 
first, for the author would have done this had he wished 
to make the reading more difficult. 

Nothing! The new combination only furnished a series 
of letters just as enigmatic. 

At eight o'clock in the evening Jarriquez, with his face 
in his hands, knocked up, worn out mentally and physically, 
had neither strength to move, to speak, to think, or to 
associate one idea with another. 

Suddenly a noise was heard outside. Almost immedi- 
ately, notwithstanding his formal orders, the door of his 
study was thrown open. Benito and Manoel were before 
him, Benito looking dreadfully pale, and Manoel supporting 
him, for the unfortunate young man had hardly strength 
to support himself. 

The magistrate quickly arose. 

" What is it, gentlemen ? What do you want ? " he asked. 

"The cipher! — the cipher! " exclaimed Benito, mad with 
grief — " the cipher of the document." 

" Do you know it, then? " shouted the judge. 

" No, sir! " said Manoel. " But you? " 

" Nothing — nothing! " 

"Nothing?" gasped Benito, and in a paroxysm of de- 
spair he took a knife from his belt, and would have plunged 
it into his breast had not the judge and Manoel jumped 
forward and managed to disarm him. 

" Benito," said Jarriquez, in a voice which he tried to 
keep calm, " if your father cannot escape the expiation of 
a crime which is not his, you could do something better than 
kill yourself." 

"What?" said Benito. 

"Try and save his life!" 



PREPARATIONS 83 

"How?" 

" That is for you to discover," answered the magistrate, 
and not for me to say." 



CHAPTER XV 

PREPARATIONS 

On the following day, the 30th of August, Benito and 
Manoel talked matters over together. They had under- 
stood the thought to which the judge had not dared to give 
utterance in their presence, and were engaged in devising 
some means by which the condemned man could escape the 
penalty of the law. 

Nothing else was left for them to do. It was only too 
certain that for the authorities at Rio Janeiro the undeci- 
phered document would have no value whatever, that it would 
be a dead letter, that the first verdict which declared Joam 
Dacosta the perpetrator of the crime at Tijuco would not 
be set aside, and that, as in such cases no commutation was 
possible, the order for his execution would inevitably be 
received. 

Once more, then, Joam Dacosta would have to escape 
by flight from an unjust punishment. 

It was at the outset agreed by the two young men that 
the secret should be carefully kept, and that neither Yaquita 
nor Minha should be informed of preparations, which would 
probably only give rise to hopes destined never to be real- 
ized. Who could tell if, owing to some unforeseen circum- 
stance, the attempt at escape would not prove a miserable 
failure ? 

The presence of Fragoso on such an occasion would have 
been most valuable. Discreet and devoted, his services would 
have been most welcome to the two young fellows; but 
Fragoso had not reappeared. Lina, when asked, could only 
say that she knew not what had become of him, nor why 
he had left the raft without telling her anything about 
it. 

And assuredly, had Fragoso foreseen that things would 
have turned out as they were doing, he would never have 
left the Dacosta family on an expedition which appeared to 
promise no serious results. Far better for him to have 



84 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

assisted in the escape of the doomed man than to have hur- 
ried off in search of the former comrades of Torres! But 
Fragoso was away, and his assistance had to be dispensed 
with. 

At daybreak Benito and Manoel left the raft and pro- 
ceeded to Manaos. They soon reached the town, and passed 
through its narrow streets, which at that early hour were 
quite deserted. In a few minutes they arrived in front of 
the prison. The waste ground, amid which the old convent 
which served for a house of detention was built, was trav- 
ersed by them in all directions, for they had come to study 
it with the utmost care. 

Fifty-five feet from the ground, in an angle of the build- 
ing, they recognized the window of the cell in which Joam 
Dacosta was confined. The window was secured with iron 
bars in a miserable state of repair, which it would be easy 
to tear down or cut through if they could only get near 
enough. The badly jointed stones in the wall, which were 
crumbled away every here and there, offered many a ledge 
for the feet to rest on, if only a rope could be fixed to climb 
up by. One of the bars had slipped out of its socket, and 
formed a hook over which it might be possible to throw 
a rope. That done, one or two of the bars could be re- 
moved so as to permit a man to get through. Benito and 
Manoel would then have to make their way into the pris- 
oner's room, and without much difficulty the escape could 
be managed by means of the rope fastened to the projecting 
iron. During the night, if the sky were very cloudy, none 
of these operations would be noticed, and before the day 
dawned Joam Dacosta could get safely away. 

Manoel and Benito spent an hour about the spot, tak- 
ing care not to attract attention, but examining the locality 
with great exactness, particularly as regarded the position 
of the window, the arrangement of the iron bars, and the 
place from which it would be best to throw the line. 

" That is agreed ! " said Manoel, at length. " And now, 
ought Joam Dacosta to be told about this ? " 

" No, Manoel. Neither to him, any more than to my 
mother, ought we to impart the secret of an attempt in which 
there is such a risk of failure." 

" We shall succeed, Benito! " continued Manoel. " How- 
ever, we must prepare for everything; and in case the 



PREPARATIONS 85 

chief of the prison should discover us at the moment of 
escape " 

" We shall have money enough to purchase his silence," 
answered Benito. 

" Good! " replied Manoel. " But once your father is out 
of prison he cannot remain hidden in the town or on the 
jangada. Where is he to find refuge? " 

This was the second question to solve : and a very dif- 
ficult one it was. 

A hundred paces away from the prison, however, the 
waste land was crossed by one of those canals which flow 
through the town into the Rio Negro. This canal afforded 
an easy way of gaining the river if a pirogue were in wait- 
ing for the fugitive. From the foot of the wall to the 
canal side was hardly a hundred yards. 

Benito and Manoel decided that about eight o'clock in 
the evening one of the pirogues, with two strong rowers, 
under the command of the pilot Araujo, should start from 
the jangada. They could ascend the Rio Negro, enter the 
canal, and, crossing the waste land, remain concealed 
throughout the night under the tall vegetation on the banks. 

But once on board, where was Joam Dacosta to seek 
refuge? To return to Iquitos was to follow a road full 
of difficulties and peril, and a long one in any case, should 
the fugitive either travel across the country or by the river. 
Neither by horse nor pirogue could he be got out of danger 
quickly enough, and the fazenda was no longer a safe 
retreat. He would not return to it as the fazender, Joam 
Garral, but as the convict, Joam Dacosta, continually in 
fear of extradition. He could never dream of resuming 
his former life. 

To get away by the Rio Negro into the north of the 
province, or even beyond the Brazilian territory, would re- 
quire more time than he could spare, and his first care 
must be to escape from immediate pursuit. 

To start again down the Amazon? But stations, villages, 
and towns abounded on both sides of the river. The de- 
scription of the fugitive would be sent to all the police, and 
he would run the risk of being arrested long before he 
reached the Atlantic. And supposing he reached the coast, 
where and how was he to hide and wait for a passage to 
put the sea between himself and his pursuers? 



B6 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

On consideration of these various plans, Benito and Ma- 
noel agreed that neither of them was practicable. One, 
however, did offer some chance of safety, and that was 
to embark in a pirogue, follow the canal into the Rio Negro, 
descend this tributary under the guidance of the pilot, reach 
the confluence of the rivers, and run down the Amazon 
along its right bank for some sixty miles during the nights, 
resting during the daylight, and so gaining the embouchure 
of the Madeira. 

This tributary, which, fed by a hundred affluents, descends 
from the waterheads of the Cordilleras, is a regular water- 
way opening into the very heart of Bolivia. A pirogue could 
pass up it and leave no trace of his passage, and a refuge 
could be found in some town or village beyond the Brazilian 
frontier. There Joam Dacosta would be comparatively 
safe, and there for several months he could wait for an 
opportunity of reaching the Pacific coast and taking passage 
in some vessel leaving one of its ports; and if the ship were 
bound for one of the States of North America he would be 
free. Once there, he could sell the fazenda, leave his coun- 
try forever, and seek beyond the sea, in the Old World, a 
final retreat in which to end an existence so cruelly and un- 
justly disturbed. Anywhere he might go, his family — not 
excepting Manoel, who was bound to him by so many ties — 
would assuredly follow without the slightest hesitation. 

" Let us go," said Benito ; " we must have all ready be- 
fore night, and we have no time to lose." 

The young men returned on board by way of the canal 
bank, which led along the Rio Negro. They satisfied them- 
selves that the passage of the pirogue would be quite 
possible, and that no obstacles such as locks or boats under 
repair were there to stop it. They then descended the left 
bank of the tributary, avoiding the slowly filling streets of 
the town, and reached the jangada. 

Benito's first care was to see his mother. He felt suf- 
ficiently master of himself to dissemble the anxiety which 
consumed him. He wished to assure her that all hope was 
not lost, that the mystery of the document would be cleared 
up, that in any case public opinion was in favor of Joam, 
and that, in face of the agitation which was being made in 
his favor, justice would grant all the necessary time for the 
production of the material proof of his innocence. " Yes, 



PREPARATIONS 87 

mother," he added, " before to-morrow we shall be free 
from anxiety." 

" May heaven grant it so ! " replied Yaquita, and she 
looked at him so keenly that Benito could hardly meet her 
glance. 

On his part, and as if by prearrangement, Manoel had 
tried to reassure Minha by telling her that Judge Jarriquez 
was convinced of the innocence of Joam, and would try 
to save him by every means in his power. 

" I only wish he would, Manoel," answered she, endeav- 
oring to restrain her tears. 

And Manoel left her, for the tears were also welling up 
in his eyes and witnessing against the words of hope to 
which he had just given utterance. 

And now the time had arrived for them to make their 
daily visit to the prisoner, and Yaquita and her daughter 
set off to Manaos. 

For an hour the young men were in consultation with 
(Araujo. They acquainted him with their plan in all its 
details, and they discussed not only the projected escape, 
but the measures which were necessary for the safety of 
the fugitive. 

Araujo approved of everything; he undertook, during 
the approaching night, to take the pirogue up the canal 
without attracting any notice, and he knew its course thor- 
oughly as far as the spot where he was to await the arrival 
of Joam Dacosta. To get back to the mouth of the Rio 
Negro was easy enough, and the pirogue would be able to 
pass unnoticed among the numerous craft continually de- 
scending the river. 

Araujo had no objection to offer to the idea of follow- 
ing the Amazon down to its confluence with the Madeira. 
The course of the Madeira was familiar to him for quite 
two hundred miles up, and in the midst of these thinly 
peopled provinces, even if pursuit took place in their direc- 
tion, all attempts at capture could be easily frustrated ; they 
could reach the interior of Bolivia, and if Joam decided 
to leave his country he could procure a passage with less 
danger on the coast of the Pacific than on that of the 
Atlantic. 

Araujo's approval was most welcome to the young fel- 
lows; they had great faith in the practical good sense of 



88 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

the pilot, and not without reason. His zeal was undoubted, 
and he would assuredly have risked both life and liberty 
to save the fazender of Iquitos. 

With the utmost secrecy, Araujo at once set about his 
preparations. A considerable sum in gold was handed over 
to him by Benito to meet all eventualities during the voyage 
on the Madeira. In getting the pirogue ready, he announced 
his intention of going in search of Fragoso, whose fate 
excited a good deal of anxiety among his companions. He 
stowed away in the boat provisions for many days, and did 
not forget the ropes and tools which would be required 
by the young men when they reached the canal at the ap- 
pointed time and place. 

These preparations evoked no curiosity on the part of 
the crew of the jangada, and even the two stalwart negroes 
were not let into the secret. They, however, could be ab- 
solutely depended on. Whenever they learned what the 
work of safety was in which they were engaged — when 
Joam Dacosta, once more free, was confided to their charge 
i — Araujo knew well that they would dare anything, even 
to the risk of their own lives, to save the life of their master. 

By the afternoon all was ready, and they had only the 
night to wait for. But before making a start Manoel wished 
to call on Judge Jarriquez for the last time. The magistrate 
might perhaps have found out something new about the 
document. Benito preferred to remain on the raft and 
wait for the return of his mother and sister. 

Manoel, then, presented himself at the abode of Judge 
Jarriquez, and was immediately admitted. 

The magistrate, in the study which he never quitted, was 
still the victim of the same excitement. The document, 
crumpled by his impatient fingers, was still there, before 
his eyes, on the table. 

" Sir," said Manoel, whose voice trembled as he asked 
the question, " have you received anything from Rio de 
Janeiro? " 

" No," answered the judge ; " the order has not yet come 
to hand, but it may at any moment." 

" And the document? " 

" Nothing yet ! " exclaimed he. " Everything my imag- 
ination can suggest I have tried, and no result." 

"None?" 



THE LAST NIGHT 89 

' Nevertheless, I distinctly see one word in the document 
— only one! " 

" What is that— what is the word ? " 

" ' Fly ' ! " 

Manoel said nothing, but he pressed the hand which Jar- 
riquez held out to him, and returned to the jangada to wait 
for the moment of action. 



CHAPTER XVI 

THE LAST NIGHT 

The visit of Yaquita and her daughter had been like all 
such visits during the few hours which each day the hus- 
band and wife spent together. In the presence of the two 
beings whom Joam so dearly loved his heart nearly failed 
him. But the husband — the father — retained his self-com- 
mand. It was he who comforted the two poor women and 
inspired them with a little of the hope of which so little 
now remained to him. They had come with the intention 
of cheering the prisoner. Alas! far more than he they 
themselves were in want of cheering! But when they found 
him still bearing himself unflinchingly in the midst of his 
terrible trial, they recovered a little of their hope. 

Once more had Joam spoken encouraging words to them. 
His indomitable energy was due not only to the feeling of 
his innocence, but to his faith in that God, a portion of 
whose justice yet dwells in the hearts of men. No! Joam 
Dacosta would never lose his life for the crime of Tijuco! 

Hardly ever did he mention the document. Whether it 
were apochryphal or no, whether it were in the handwriting 
of Torres or in that of the real perpetrator of the crime, 
whether it contained or did not contain the longed-for vindi- 
cation, it was on no such doubtful hypotheses that Joam 
Dacosta presumed to trust. No; he reckoned on a better 
argument in his favor, and it was to his long life of toil 
and honor that he relegated the task of pleading for him. 

This evening, then, his wife and daughter, strengthened 
by the manly words, which thrilled them to the core of their 
hearts, had left him more confident than they had ever been 
since his arrest. For the last time the prisoner had em- 
braced them; and with redoubled tenderness. It seemed 



90 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

as though he had a presentiment that, whatever it might 
be, the denouement was nigh. 

Joam Dacosta, after they had left, remained for some 
time perfectly motionless. His arms rested on a small table 
and supported his head. Of what was he thinking? Had 
he at last been convinced that human justice, after failing 
the first time, would at length pronounce his acquittal ? 

Yes, he still hoped. With the report of Judge Jarriquez 
establishing his identity, he knew that his memoir, which he 
had penned with so much sincerity, would have been sent to 
Rio Janeiro, and was now in the hands of the Chief Justice. 
This memoir, as we know, was the history of his life from 
his entry into the offices of the diamond arrayal until the 
very moment when the jangada stopped before Manaos. 
Joam Dacosta was pondering over his whole career. He 
again lived his past life from the moment when, as an 
orphan, he had set foot in Tijuco. There his zeal had raised 
him high in the offices of the governor-general, into which 
he had been admitted when still very young. The future 
smiled on him ; he would have filled some important position. 
Then this sudden catastrophe; the robbery of the diamond 
convoy, the massacre of the escort, the suspicion directed 
against him as the only official who could have divulged the 
secret of the expedition, his arrest, his appearance before 
the jury, his conviction in spite of all the efforts of his 
advocate, the last hours spent in the condemned cell at 
Villa Rica, his escape under conditions which betokened 
almost superhuman courage, his flight through the northern 
provinces, his arrival on the Peruvian frontier, and the 
reception which the starving fugitive had met with from 
the hospitable fazender Magalhaes. 

The prisoner once more passed in review these events, 
which had so cruelly marred his life. And then, lost in his 
thoughts and recollections, he sat, regardless of a peculiar 
noise on the outer wall of the convent, of the jerkings of a 
rope hitched on to a bar of his window, and of grating 
steel as it cut through iron, which ought at once to have 
attracted the attention of a less absorbed man. 

Joam Dacosta continued to live the years of his youth 
after his arrival in Peru. He again saw the fazender, the 
clerk, the partner of the old Portuguese, toiling hard for 
the prosperity of the establishment at Iquitos. Ah! why 



THE LAST NIGHT 91 

at the outset had he not told all to his benefactor? He 
would never have doubted him. It was the only error with 
which he could reproach himself. Why had he not con- 
fessed to him whence he had come, and who he was — above 
all, at the moment when Magalhaes had placed in his hand 
the hand of the daughter who would never have believed 
that he was the author of so frightful a crime. 

And now the noise outside became loud enough to attract 
the prisoner's attention. For an instant Joam raised his 
head ; his eyes sought the window, but with a vacant look, 
as though he were unconscious, and the next instant his head 
again sank into his hand. Again he was in thought back 
at Iquitos. 

There the old fazender was dying; before his end he 
longed for the future of his daughter to be assured, for his 
partner to be the sole master of the settlement which had 
grown so prosperous under his management. Should Da- 
costa have spoken then ? Perhaps ; but he dared not do it. 
He again lived the happy days he had spent with Yaquita, 
and again he thought of the birth of his children, again he 
felt the happiness which had its only trouble in the remem- 
brances of Tijuco and the remorse that he had not confessed 
his terrible secret. 

The chain of events was reproduced in Joam's mind with 
a clearness and completeness quite remarkable. 

And now he was thinking of the day when his daughter's 
marriage with Manoel had been decided. Could he allow- 
that union to take place under a false name without acquaint- 
ing the lad with the mystery of his life? No! And so at 
the advice of Judge Ribeiro he resolved to come and claim 
the revision of his sentence, to demand the rehabilitation 
which was his due! He was starting with his people, and 
then came the intervention of Torres, the detestable bargain 
proposed by the scoundrel, the indignant refusal of the 
father to hand over his daughter to save his honor and his 
life, and then the denunciation and the arrest? 

Suddenly the window flew open with a violent push from 
without. Joam started up; the souvenirs of the past van- 
ished like a shadow. 

Benito leaped into the room ; he was in the presence of 
his father, and the next moment Manoel, tearing down the 
remaining bars, appeared before him. 



92 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

Joam Dacosta would have uttered a cry of surprise. 
Benito left him no time to do so. 

" Father," he said, " the window grating is down. A 
rope leads to the ground. A pirogue is waiting for you on 
the canal not a hundred yards off. Araujo is there ready 
to take you away from Manaos, on the other bank of the 
Amazon, where your track will never be discovered ! Father, 
you must escape this very moment ! It was the judge's own 
suggestion! " 

" It must be done ! " added Manoel. 

" Fly! I! — Fly a second time! Escape again? " 

And with crossed arms, and head erect, Joam Dacosta 
stepped backward. 

"Never!" he said, in a voice so firm that Benito and 
Manoel stood bewildered. 

The young men had never thought of a difficulty like this. 
They had never reckoned on the hindrances to escape com- 
ing from the prisoner himself. 

Benito advanced to his father, and looking him straight 
in the face, and taking both his hands in his, not to force 
him, but to try and convince him, said, Never, did you 
say, father ? " 

"Never!" 

" Father," said Manoel — " for I also have the right to 
call you father — listen to us! If we tell you that you ought 
to fly without losing an instant, it is because if you remain 
you will be guilty toward others, toward yourself ! " 

" To remain," continued Benito, " is to remain to die ! 
The order for execution may come at any moment! If you 
imagine that the justice of men will nullify a wrong decision, 
if you think it will rehabilitate you whom it condemned 
twenty years since, you are mistaken! There is hope no 
longer! You must escape! Come! " 

By an irresistible impulse Benito seized his father and 
drew him toward the window. 

Joam Dacosta struggled from his son's grasp and recoiled 
a second time. " To fly," he answered, in the tone of a 
man whose resolution was unalterable, " is to dishonor my- 
self, and you with me! It would be a confession of my 
guilt! Of my own free will I surrendered myself to 
my country's judges, and I will await their decision, what- 
ever that decision may be ! " 



THE LAST NIGHT 93 

" But the presumptions on which you trusted are insuf- 
ficient," replied Manoel, "and the material proof of your 
innocence is still wanting! If we tell you that you ought to 
fly, it is because Judge Jarriquez himself told us so. You 
have now only this one chance left to escape from death ! ' : 

" I will die, then," said Joam, in a calm voice. " I will 
die protesting against the decision which condemned me! 
The first time, a few hours before the execution — I fled! 
Yes! I was then young. I had all my life before me in 
which to struggle against man's injustice! But to save my- 
self now, to begin again the miserable existence of a felon 
hiding under a false name, whose every effort is required 
to avoid the pursuit of the police, again to live the life of 
anxiety which I have led for three-and-twenty years, and 
oblige you to share it with me; to wait each day for a 
denunciation which sooner or later must come, to wait for 
the claim for extradition which would follow me to a 
foreign country ! Am I to live for that ? No ! Never ! " 

" Father," interrupted Benito, whose mind threatened to 
give way before such obstinacy, " you shall fly ! I will 
have it so ! " And he caught hold of Joam Dacosta, and 
tried by force to drag him toward the window. 

"No! no!" 

" You wish to drive me mad ! " 

"My son," exclaimed Joam .Dacosta, "listen to me! 
Once already I escaped from prison at Villa Rica, and peo- 
ple believed I fled from well-merited punishment. Yes, they 
had reason to think so. Well, for the honor of the name 
which you bear I shall not do so again." 

Benito had fallen on his knees before his father. He 
held up his hands to him ; he begged him — 

" But this order, father," he repeated, " this order, which 
is due to-day — even now — it will contain your sentence of 
death." 

" The order may come, but my determination will not 
change. No, my son! Joam Dacosta, guilty, might fly! 
Joam Dacosta, innocent, will not fly ! " 

The scene which followed these words was heart-rending. 
Benito struggled with his father. Manoel, distracted, kept 
near the window ready to carry off the prisoner — when the 
door of the room opened. 

On the threshold appeared the chief of police, accom- 



94 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

parried by the head warder of the prison and a few soldiers. 
The chief of the police understood at a glance that an 
attempt at escape was being made; but he also understood 
from the prisoner's attitude that he it was who had no 
wish to go! He said nothing. The sincerest pity was 
depicted on his face. Doubtless he also, like Judge Jarri- 
quez, would have liked Dacosta to have escaped. 

It was too late ! The chief of the police, who held a paper 
in his hand, advanced toward the prisoner. 

" Before all of you," said Joam Dacosta, " let me tell 
you, sir, that it only rested with me to get away and that 
I would not do so." 

The chief of the police bowed his head, and then, in a 
voice which he vainly tried to control, " Joam Dacosta," he 
said, " the order has this moment arrived from the Chief 
Justice at Rio de Janeiro." 

"Father!" exclaimed Manoel and Benito. 

" This order," asked Joam Dacosta, who had crossed his 
arms, " this order requires the execution of my sentence? ' : 

"Yes!" 

" And that will take place ? " 

" To-morrow." 

Benito threw himself on his father. Again would he 
have dragged him from his cell, but the soldiers came and 
drew away the prisoner from his grasp. 

At a sign from the chief of the police Benito and Manoel 
were taken away. An end had to be put to this painful 
scene, which had already lasted too long. 

" Sir," said the doomed man, " before to-morrow, before 
the hour of my execution, may I pass a few moments with 
Padre Passanha, whom I asked you to tell ? " 

" It will be forbidden." 

" May I see my family, and embrace for the last time 
my wife and children? " 

" You shall see them." 

" Thank you, sir," answered Joam ; " and now keep guard 
over that window : it will not do for them to take me out 
of here against my will." 

The chief of the police, after a respectful bow, retired 
with the warder and the soldiers. The doomed man, who 
had but a few hours to live, was left alone. 



CHAPTER XVII 

FRAGOSO 

And so the order had come, and, as Judge Jarriquez had 
foreseen, it was an order requiring the immediate execution 
of the sentence pronounced on Joam Dacosta. No proof 
had been produced ; justice must take its course. 

It was the very day — the 31st of August, at nine o'clock 
in the morning of which the condemned man was to perish 
on the gallows. The death penalty in Brazil is generally 
commuted except in the case of negroes, but this time it 
was to be suffered by a white man. Such are the penal 
arrangements relative to crimes in the diamond arrayal, for 
which, in the public interest, the law allows no appeal to 
mercy. 

Nothing could now save Joam Dacosta. It was not only 
life, but honor that he was about to lose. But on the 31st 
of August a man was approaching Manaos with all the 
speed his horse was capable of, and such had been the pace 
at which he had come, that half a mile from the town, the 
gallant creature fell, incapable of carrying him any 
farther. 

The rider did not even stop to raise his steed. Evidently 
he had asked and obtained from it all that was possible, and, 
despite the state of exhaustion in which he found himself, 
he rushed off in the direction of the city. The man came 
from the eastern provinces, and had followed the left bank 
of the river. All his means had gone in the purchase of 
this horse, which, swifter far than any pirogue on the 
Amazon, had brought him to Manaos. It was Fragoso ! 

Had, then, the brave fellow succeeded in the enterprise 
of which he had spoken to nobody? Had he found the 
party to which Torres belonged? Had he discovered some 
secret which would yet save Joam Dacosta? 

He hardly knew. But in any case, he was in great haste 
to acquaint Judge Jarriquez with what he had ascertained 
during his short journey. 

And this is what had happened. Fragoso had made no 
mistake when he recognized Torres as one of the captains 
of the party which was employed in the river provinces of 
the Madeira. He set out, and on reaching the mouth offhat 
tributary he learned that the chief of these capitaes da mato 

95 



96 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

was then in the neighborhood. Without losing a minute, 
Fragoso started on the search, and, not without difficulty, 
succeeded in meeting him. 

To Fragoso's questions the chief of the party had no 
hesitation in replying; he had no interest in keeping silence 
with regard to the few simple matters on which he was 
interrogated. In fact, three questions only of importance 
were asked him by Fragoso, and these were : " Did not a 
captain of the woods named Torres belong to your party 
three months ago ? " 

" Yes." 

" At that time had he not one intimate friend among 
his companions who has recently died?" 

"Just so!" 

" And the name of that friend was ? " 

" Ortega." 

This was all that Fragoso had learned. Was this infor- 
mation of a kind to modify Dacosta's position? It was 
hardly likely. Fragoso saw this, and pressed the chief of 
the band to tell him what he knew of this Ortega, of the 
place where he came from, and of his antecedents generally. 
Such information would have been of great importance if 
Ortega, as Torres had declared, was the true author of the 
crime of Tijuco. But unfortunately the chief could give 
him no information whatever in the matter. 

What was certain was that Ortega had been a member 
of the band for many years, that an intimate friendship 
existed between him and Torres, that they were always 
seen together, and that Torres had watched at his bedside 
when he died. 

This was all the chief of the band knew, and he could 
tell no more. Fragoso, then, had to be contented with these 
insignificant details, and departed immediately. 

But if the devoted fellow had not brought back the proof 
that Ortega was the author of the crime of Tijuco, he had 
gained one thing, and that was the knowledge that Torres 
had told the truth when he affirmed that one of his comrades 
in the band had died, and that he had been present during 
his last moments. 

The hypothesis that Ortega had given him the document 
in question had now become admissible. Nothing was more 
probable than that this document had reference to the crime 



3HT 

:!*:>& Blli iiT 

-JiW 

t rfoirfw 
>rfw 



,fcl .IoV 



THE AMAZONS. 

The town of Villa Bella, which is the principal guarana market in 
the whole province, was soon left behind by the giant raft. And so was 
the village of Faro and its celebrated river of the Nhamundas, on 
which, in 1539, Orellana asserted he was attacked by female warriors, 
who have never been seen again since, and thus gave us the legend which 
justifies the immortal name of the river of the Amazons. — Page 106. 



Vol. 12. 



FRAGOSO 97 

of which Ortega was really the author, and that it con- 
tained the confession of the culprit, accompanied by circum- 
stances which permitted no doubt as to its truth. 

And so, if the document could be read, if the key had 
been found, if the cipher on which the system hung were 
known, no doubt of its truth could be entertained. 

But this cipher Fragoso did not know. A few more pre- 
sumptions, a half-certainty that the adventurer had invented 
nothing, certain circumstances tending to prove that the 
secret of the matter was contained in the document — and 
that was all that the gallant fellow brought back from his 
visit to the chief of the gang of which Torres had been 
a member. 

Nevertheless, little as it was, he was in all haste to relate 
it to Judge Jarriquez. He knew that he had not an hour 
to lose, and that was why on this very morning, at about 
eight o'clock, he arrived, exhausted with fatigue, within 
half a mile of Manaos. The distance between there and 
the town he traversed in a few minutes. A kind of irre- 
sistible presentiment urged him on, and he had almost come 
to believe that Joam Dacosta's safety rested in his hands. 

Suddenly Fragoso stopped as if his feet had become rooted 
in the ground. He had reached the entrance to a small 
square, on to which opened one of the town gates. There, 
in the midst of a dense crowd, arose the gallows, towering 
up some twenty feet, and from it there hung the rope ! 

Fragoso felt his consciousness abandon him. He fell; 
his eyes involuntarily closed. He did not wish to look, and 
these words escaped his lips : " Too late ! too late ! " but by 
a superhuman effort he raised himself up. No : it was not 
too late, the corpse of Joam Dacosta was not dangling at 
the end of the rope. 

" Judge Jarriquez — Judge Jarriquez ! " shouted Fragoso, 
and, panting and bewildered, he rushed toward the city gate, 
dashed up the principal street of Manaos, and fell, half 
dead, on the threshold of the judge's house. The door was 
shut. Fragoso had still strength enough left to knock at it. 
One of the magistrate's servants came to open it ; his master 
would see no one. 

In spite of this denial, Fragoso pushed back the man 
who guarded the entrance, and with a bound threw himself 
into the judge's study. 

V XII Verne 



98 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

" I come from the province where Torres pursued his 
calling as captain of the woods ! " he gasped. " Mr. Judge, 
Torres told the truth. Stop — stop the execution ! " 

" You found the gang? " 

" Yes." 

"And you have brought me the cipher of the docu- 
ment?" 

Fragoso did not reply. 

" Come, leave me alone ! leave me alone ! " shouted Jar- 
riquez, and, a prey to an outburst of rage, he grasped the 
document to tear it to atoms. 

Fragoso seized his hands and stopped him. " The truth 
is there ! " he said. 

" I know," answered Jarriquez ; " but it is a truth which 
will never see the light ! " 

" It will appear — it must ! it must ! " 

" Once more, have you the cipher? " 

" No," replied Fragoso ; " but, I repeat, Torres has not 
lied. One of his companions, with whom he was very in- 
timate, died a few months ago, and there can be no doubt 
but that this man gave him the document he came to sell to 
Joam Dacosta." 

" No," answered Jarriquez — " no, there is no doubt about 
it — as far as we are concerned ; but that is not enough for 
those who dispose of the doomed man's life. Leave 
me!" 

Fragoso, repulsed, would not quit the spot. Again he 
threw himself at the judge's feet. " Joam Dacosta is in- 
nocent ! " he cried ; " you will not leave him to die ? It was 
not he who committed the crime of Tijuco, it was the 
comrade of Torres, the author of that document! It was 
Ortega!" 

As he uttered the name the judge bounded backward. "A3 
kind of calm swiftly succeeded to the tempest which raged 
within him. He dropped the document from his clenched 
hand, smoothed it out on the table, sat down, and, passing 
his hand over his eyes — " That name? " he said — " Ortega! 
Let us see," and then he proceeded with the new name 
brought back by Fragoso as he had done with the other 
names so vainly tried by himself. 

After placing it above the first six letters of the paragraph, 
he obtained the following formula: 



FRAGOSO 99 

Ortega 
P h y j si 

" Nothing! " he said. " That gives us — nothing! " 

And in fact the h placed under the r could not be expressed 
by a cipher, for, in alphabetical order, this letter occupies 
an earlier position to that of the r. 

The p, the y, the j, arranged beneath the letters o, t, e, 
disclosed the cipher 1, 4, 5, but as for the s and the / at the 
end of the word, the interval which separated them from 
the g and the a was a dozen letters, and hence impossible 
to express by a single cipher, so that they corresponded to 
neither g nor a. 

And here appalling shouts arose in the streets ; they were 
the cries of despair. Fragoso jumped to one of the win- 
dows, and opened it before the judge could hinder him. 

The people filled the road. The hour had come at which 
the doomed man was to start from the prison, and the crowd 
was flocking back to the spot where the gallows had been 
erected. 

Judge Jarriquez, quite frightful to look upon, devoured 
the lines of the document with a fixed stare. " The last 
letters ! " he muttered. " Let us try once more the last 
letters ! " 

It was the last hope. 

And then, with a hand whose agitation nearly prevented 
him from writing at all, he placed the name of Ortega over 
the six last letters of the paragraph, as he had done over 
the first. 

An exclamation immediately escaped him. He saw, at 
first glance, that the six letters were inferior in alphabetical 
order to those which composed Ortega's name, and that 
consequently they might yield the number. 

And when he reduced the formula, reckoning each later 
letter from the earlier letter of the word, he obtained 

Ortega 
432513 
S u v j h d 

The number thus disclosed was 432513. 

But was this number that which had been used in the 
document? Was it not as erroneous as those he had previ- 
ously tried? 



100 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

At this moment the shouts below redoubled — shouts of 
pity which betrayed the sympathy of the excited crowd. A 
few minutes more were all that the doomed man had to 
live! 

Fragoso, maddened with grief, darted from the room. 
He wished to see, for the last time, his benefactor who was 
on his road to death! He longed to throw himself before 
the mournful procession and stop it, shouting: "Do not 
kill this just man ! do not kill him ! " 

But already Judge Jarriquez had placed the given num- 
ber above the first letters of the paragraph, repeating them 
as often as was necessary, as follows : 

432513432513432513432513 
P h y j s I yddqfdzxgasgzzqqeh 

And then, reckoning the true letters according to their 
alphabetical order, he read : 

" Le veritable anteur du vol de — " 

A yell of delight escaped him! This number, 432513, 
was the number sought for so long! The name of Ortega 
had enabled him to discover it! At length he held the key 
of the document, which would incontestably prove the in- 
nocence of Joam Dacosta, and without reading any more he 
flew from his study into the street, shouting, " Halt ! 
Halt!" 

To cleave the crowd, which opened as he ran, to dash 
to the prison, whence the convict was coming at the moment, 
with his wife and children clinging to him with the violence 
of despair, was but the work of a minute for Judge Jar- 
riquez. 

Stopping before Joam Dacosta, he could not speak for a 
second, and then these words escaped his lips: 

" Innocent ! Innocent ! " 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THE CRIME OF TIJUCO 

On the arrival of the judge the mournful procession 
halted. A roaring echo had repeated after him and again 
repeated the cry which escaped from every mouth : 

" Innocent ! Innocent ! " 

Then complete silence fell on all. The people did not 
want to lose one syllable of what was about to be proclaimed. 

Judge Jarriquez sat down on a stone seat, and then, 
while Minha, Benito, Manoel, and Fragoso stood round 
him, while Joam Dacosta clasped Yaquita to his heart, he 
first unraveled the last paragraph of the document by means 
of the number, and as the words appeared by the institution 
of the true letters for the cryptological ones, he divided and 
punctuated them, and then read it out in a loud voice. And 
this is what he read in the midst of profound silence: — 
L e veritable a u t e ur duvoldesdiamantset 
43 251343251 343251 34325 1343251343251 
Ph yjslyddqf dzxgasgzzqqehxgkfndrxuju 

de Vassassinat des soldats qui esc ortaient le 
34 32 513432513 432 5134325 134 32 513432513 43 
g i ocyt dxv ksb x hhu ypohd v y rym huhpuyd k j ox ph 
convoi, c ommis dans la nuitduvingt-deux jan- 
251343 251343 2513 43 2513 43 251343251 343 
etozsl etnpmv ffov pd pajx hy ynojyggay meq 
vier mil huit cent vingt-six, n'est d one pas J o a m 
2513 432 5134 3251 34325134 32513432513 4325 
ynfu qln mvly fgsu zmqis tlb qgyu gsqeubv nrcr 
Dacosta, injustement c ondamne a mort, c' est 
134325134325134325 13432513 4 32513432 
edgruzb Irmxyuhqhpz drr gcroh e pqxu fivv 
moi, le mis er able employe de I 'administration 
513 43 251343251 3432513 43 2513 43 251343251 
rpl ph onthvddqf hqsntzhhhnfe pmq k y uuexk t o 
du district diamantin, oui, moi senl, qui signe 
34 32513432 513432513 432 513 4325 134 32513 
gz gkyuumfv ijdqdpzjq syk rpl xhxq rym vkloh 
de monvr ai nom , Ortega. 
43 2513432 513 432513 

hh o t ozvdk sp p suv jhd . 

101 



102 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

" The real author of the robbery of the diamonds and of 
the murder of the soldiers who escorted the convoy, com- 
mitted during the night of the twenty-second of January, 
one thousand eight hundred and twenty-six, was thus not 
Joam Dacosta, unjustly condemned to death; it was I, the 
wretched servant of the Administration of the diamond dis- 
trict; yes, I alone, who sign this with my true name, 
Ortega." 

The reading of this had hardly finished when the air 
was rent with prolonged hurrahs. 

What could be more conclusive than this last paragraph, 
which summarized the whole of the document, and pro- 
claimed so absolutely the innocence of the fazender of Iqui- 
tos, and which snatched from the gallows this victim of a 
frightful judicial mistake! 

Joam Dacosta surrounded by his wife, his children, and 
his friends, was unable to shake the hands which were held 
out to him. Such was the strength of his character, that a 
reaction occurred, tears of joy escaped from his eyes, at 
the same instant his heart was lifted up to that Providence 
which had come to save him so miraculously at the moment 
he was about to offer the last expiation to that God who 
would not permit the accomplishment of that greatest of 
crimes, the death of an innocent man! 

Yes! There could be no doubt as to the vindication of 
Joam Dacosta. The true author of the crime of Tijuco 
confessed of his own free will, and described the circum- 
stances under which it had been perpetrated ! 

By means of the number Judge Jarriquez interpreted the 
whole of the cryptogram. 

And this was what Ortega confessed : 

He had been the colleague of Joam Dacosta, employed, 
like him, at Tijuco, in the offices of the governor of the 
diamond arrayal. He had been the official appointed to ac- 
company the convoy to Rio de Janeiro, and, far from re- 
coiling at the horrible idea of enriching himself by means 
of murder and robbery, he had informed the smugglers of 
the very day the convoy was to leave Tijuco. 

During the attack of the scoundrels, who awaited the 
convoy just beyond Villa Rica, he pretended to defend him- 
self with the soldiers of the escort, and then, falling among 
the dead, he was carried away by his accomplices. Hence 



THE CRIME OF TIJUCO 103 

it was that the solitary soldier who survived the massacre 
had reported that Ortega had perished in the struggle. 

But the robbery did not profit the guilty man in the long 
run, for, a little time afterward, he was robbed by those 
whom he had helped to commit the crime. 

Penniless, and unable to enter Tijuco again, Ortega fled 
away to the provinces in the north of Brazil, to those dis- 
tricts of the Upper Amazon where the capitaes da mato are 
to be found. He had to live somehow, and so he joined 
this not very honorable company; they neither asked him 
who he was nor whence he came, and so Ortega became a 
captain of the woods, and for many years he followed the 
trade of a chaser of men. 

During this time, Torres, the adventurer, himself in ab- 
solute want, became his companion. Ortega and he became 
most intimate. But, as he had told Torres, remorse began 
gradually to trouble the scoundrel's life. The remembrance 
of his crime became horrible to him. He knew that another 
had been condemned in his place ! He knew subsequently 
that the innocent man had escaped from the last penalty, but 
that he would never be free from the shadow of his capital 
sentence ! And then, during an expedition of his party for 
several months beyond the Peruvian frontier, chance caused 
Ortega to visit the neighborhood of Iquitos, and there, in 
Joam Garral, who did not recognize him, he recognized 
Joam Dacosta. 

Henceforth he resolved to make all the reparation he could 
for the injustice of which his old comrade had been the 
victim. He committed to the document all the facts relative 
to the crime of Tijuco, writing it first in French, which had 
been his mother's native tongue, and then putting it into 
the mysterious form we know, his intention being to trans- 
mit it to the fazender of Iquitos, with the cipher by which 
it could be read. 

Death prevented his completing his work of reparation. 
Mortally wounded in a scuffle with some negroes on the 
Madeira, Ortega felt he was doomed. His comrade Torres 
was then with him. He thought he could intrust to his 
friend the secret which had so grievously darkened his life. 
He gave him the document, and made him swear to con- 
vey it to Joam Dacosta, whose name and address he gave 
him, and with his last breath he whispered the number 



104 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

432513, without which the document would remain inde- 
cipherable. 

Ortega dead, we know how the unworthy Torres acquitted 
himself of his mission, how he resolved to turn to his own 
profit the secret of which he was the possessor, and how he 
tried to make it the subject of an odious bargain. 

Torres died without accomplishing his work, and carried 
his secret with him. But the name of Ortega, brought back 
by Fragoso, had afforded the means of unraveling the 
cryptogram, thanks to the sagacity of Judge Jarriquez. Yes, 
the material proof sought after for so long was the incon- 
testable witness of the innocence of Joam Dacosta, returned 
to life, restored to honor. 

The cheers redoubled when the worthy magistrate, in a 
loud voice, and for the edification of all, read from the 
document this terrible history. 

From that moment Judge Jarriquez, who possessed this 
indubitable proof, arranged with the chief of police, and 
declined to allow Joam Dacosta, while waiting new instruc- 
tions from Rio de Janeiro, to stay in any prison but his 
own house. 

There could be no difficulty about this, and in the center 
of the crowd of the entire population of Manaos, Joam 
Dacosta, accompanied by all his family, beheld himself con- 
ducted like a conqueror to the magistrate's residence. 

In that minute the honest fazender of Iquitos was well 
repaid for all that he had suffered during the long years of 
exile, and if he was happy for his family's sake more than 
for his own, he was none the less proud for his country's 
sake that this supreme injustice had not been con- 
summated ! 

And in all this what had become of Fragoso? Well, 
the good-hearted fellow was covered with caresses ! Benito, 
Manoel, and Minha, had overwhelmed him, and Lina had 
by no means spared him. He did not know what to do, he 
defended himself as best he could. He did not deserve 
anything like it. Chance alone had done it. Were any 
thanks due to him for having recognized Torres as the 
captain of the woods? No, certainly not. As for his idea 
of hurrying off in search of the band to which Torres be- 
longed, he did not think it had been worth much, and as 
to the name of Ortega, he did not even know its value. 



THE CRIME OF TIJUCO 105 

Gallant Fragoso! Whether he wished it or not he had 
none the less saved Joam Dacosta! 

And herein what a strange succession of different events 
all tending to the same end. The deliverance of Fragoso at 
the time he was dying of exhaustion in the forest of Iquitos; 
the hospitable reception he had met with at the fazenda, 
the meeting with Torres on the Brazilian frontier, his em- 
barkation on the jangada ; and lastly, the fact that Fragoso 
had seen him somewhere before. 

"Well, yes!" Fragoso ended by exclaiming; "but it is 
not to me that all this happiness is due, it is due to Lina! ' : 

" To me? " replied the young mulatto. 

" No doubt of it. Without the liana, without the idea of 
the liana, could I ever have been the cause of so much hap- 
piness?' So that Fragoso and Lina were praised and 
petted by all the family, and by all the new friends whom 
so many trials had procured them at Manaos. 

But had not Judge Jarriquez also had his share in this 
rehabilitation of an innocent man? Though, in spite of 
all the shrewdness of his analytical talents, he had not been 
able to read the document, which was absolutely indecipher- 
able to any one who had not got the key, had he not at any 
rate discovered the system on which the cryptogram was 
composed? Without him what could have been done with 
only the name of Ortega to reconstruct the number which 
the author of the crime and Torres, both of whom were 
dead, alone knew ? And so he also received abundant thanks. 

Needless to say that the same day there was sent to Rio 
de Janeiro a detailed report of the whole affair, and with 
it the original document and the cipher to enable it to be 
read. New instructions from the Minister of Justice had to 
be waited for, though there could be no doubt that they 
would order the immediate discharge of the prisoner. A 
few days would thus have to be passed at Manaos, and then 
Joam Dacosta and his people, free from all constraint, and 
released from all apprehension, would take leave of their 
host to go on board once more and continue their descent 
of the Amazon to Para, where the voyage was intended to 
terminate with the double marriage of Minha and Manoel 
and Lina and Fragoso. 

Four days afterward, on the fourth of September, the 
order of discharge arrived. The document had been re- 



106 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

cognized as authentic. The handwriting was really that 
of Ortega, who had been formerly employed in the diamond 
district, and there could be no doubt that the confession of 
his crime, with the minutest details that were given, had 
been written entirely with his own hand. 

The innocence of the convict of Villa Rica was at length 
admitted. The rehabilitation of Joam Dacosta was at last 
officially proclaimed. 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE LOWER AMAZON 

Little remains to tell of the second part of the voyage 
down the mighty river. It was but a series of days of joy. 
Joam Dacosta returned to a new life, which shed its happi- 
ness on all who belonged to him. 

The giant raft glided along with greater rapidity on the 
waters now swollen by the floods. The town of Villa Bella, 
which is the principal guarana market in the whole province, 
was soon left behind by the giant raft. And so was the 
village of Faro and its celebrated river of the Nhamundas, 
on which, in 1539, Orellana asserted he was attacked by 
female warriors, who have never been seen again since, and 
thus gave us the legend which justifies the immortal name 
of the river of the Amazons. 

Here it is that the province of Rio Negro terminates. 
The jurisdiction of Para then commences ; and on the 22d 
of September the family, marveling much at a valley which 
has no equal in the world, entered that portion of the 
Brazilian empire which has no boundary to the east except 
the Atlantic. 

" How magnificent ! " remarked Minha over and over 
again. 

" How long ! " murmured Manoel. 

" How beautiful ! " repeated Lina. 

" When shall we get there ? " murmured Fragoso. 

And this was what might have been expected of these 
folks from their different points of view, though time passed 
pleasantly enough with them all the same. Benito, who 
was neither patient nor impatient, had recovered all his 
former good humor. 



THE LOWER AMAZON 107 

Soon the jangada glided between interminable planta- 
tions of cocoa-trees, with their somber green flanked by the 
yellow thatch or ruddy tiles of the roofs of the huts of the 
settlers on both banks from Chidos up to the town of Monte 
Alegre. 

Then there opened out the mouth of the Rio Trombetas, 
bathing with its black waters the houses of Obidos, situated 
at about one hundred and eighty miles from Belem, quite a 
small town, and even a citade with large streets bordered 
with handsome habitations, and a great center for cocoa 
produce. Then they saw another tributary, the Tapajoz, 
with its greenish-gray waters descending from the south- 
west; and then Santarem, a wealthy town of not less than 
five thousand inhabitants, Indians for the most part, whose 
nearest houses were built on the vast beach of white sand. 

After its departure from Manaos the jangada did not 
stop anywhere as it passed down the much less encumbered 
course of the Amazon. Day and night it moved along under 
the vigilant care of its trusty pilot ; no more stoppages either 
for the gratification of the passengers or for business pur- 
poses. Unceasingly it progressed, and the end rapidly grew 
nearer. 

In this jurisdiction of Para Manoel was at home, and 
he could tell them the names of the double chain of moun- 
tains which gradually narrowed the valley of the huge river. 
" To the right," said he, " that is the Sierra de Paracuarta, 
which curves in a half circle to the south! To the left, 
that is the Sierra de Curuva, of which we have already 
passed the first outposts." 

"Then they close in?" asked Fragoso. 

" They close in ! " replied Manoel. 

And the two young men seemed to understand each other, 
for the same slight but significant nodding of the head ac- 
companied the question and reply. 

To what a superb size the Amazon had now developed, 
as already this monarch of rivers gave signs of opening out 
like a sea! Plants from eight to ten feet high clustered 
along the beach, and bordered it with a forest of reeds. 

Then the river divided into two important branches, which 
flowed off toward the Atlantic, one going away northeast- 
ward, the other eastward, and between them appeared the 
beginning of the large Island of Marajo. This island is 



108 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

quite a province in itself. It measures no less than a Hun- 
dred and eighty leagues in circumference. Cut up by 
marshes and rivers, all savannah to the east, all forest to 
the west, it offers most excellent advantages for the rais- 
ing of cattle, which can here be seen in their thousands. 
This immense barricade of Marajo is the natural obstacle 
which has compelled the Amazon to divide before precipitat- 
ing its torrents of water into the sea. Following the upper 
branch, the jangada, after passing the islands of Caviana 
and Mexiana, would have found an embouchure of some 
fifty leagues across, but it would also have met with the 
bar of the prororoca, that terrible eddy which, for the three 
days preceding the new or full moon, takes but two minutes 
instead of six hours to raise the river from twelve to fifteen 
feet above ordinary high water mark. 

This is by far the most formidable of tide-races. Most 
fortunately the lower branch, known as the Canal of Breves, 
which is the natural arm of the Para, is not subject to 
the visitations of this terrible phenomenon, and its tides are 
of a more regular description. Araujo, the pilot, was quite 
aware of this. He steered, therefore, into the midst of 
magnificent forests, here and there gliding past islands cov- 
ered with muritis palms ; and the weather was so favorable 
that they did not experience any of the storms which so 
frequently rage along this Breves Canal. 

At length there appeared on the left Santa Maria de Belem 
do Para — the " town " as they call it in that country — with 
its picturesque lines of white houses at many different levels, 
its convents nestled among the palm-trees, the steeples of 
its cathedral and of Nostra Senora de Merced, and the 
flotilla of its brigantines, brigs, and barks, which form its 
commercial communications with the Old World. 

The hearts of the passengers of the giant raft beat high. 
At length they were coming to the end of the voyage which 
they had thought they would never reach. While the arrest 
of Joam detained them at Manaos, half-way on their jour- 
ney, could they ever have hoped to see the capital of the 
province of Para? 

It was in the course of this day, the 15th of October — 
four months and a half after leaving the fazenda of Iquitos 
— that, as they rounded a sharp bend in the river, Belem 
came in sight. 



THE LOWER AMAZON 109 

The arrival of the jangada had been signaled for some 
days. The whole town knew the story of Joam Dacosta. 
They came forth to welcome him, and to him and his peo- 
ple accorded a most sympathetic reception. Hundreds of 
craft of all sorts conveyed them to the wharf, and soon the 
jangada was invaded by all those who wished to welcome 
the return of their compatriot after his long exile. Thou- 
sands of sightseers — or more correctly speaking, thousands 
of friends — crowded on to the floating village as soon as 
it came to its moorings, and it was vast and solid enough 
to support the entire population. Among those who hur- 
ried on board one of the first pirogues had brought Madame 
Valdez. Manoel's mother was at last able to clasp to her 
arms the daughter whom her son had chosen. If the good 
lady had not been able to come to Iquitos, was it not as 
though a portion of the fazenda, with her new family, had 
come down the Amazon to her? 

Before evening the pilot Araujo had securely moored the 
raft at the entrance of a creek behind the arsenal. That 
was to be its last resting-place, its last halt, after its voyage 
of eight hundred leagues on the great Brazilian artery. 
There the huts of the Indians, the cottages of the negroes, 
the storerooms which held the valuable cargo, would be 
gradually demolished ; there the principal dwelling, nestled 
beneath its verdant tapestry of flowers and foliage, and the 
little chapel whose humble bell was then replying to the 
sounding clangor from the steeples of Belem, would each 
in its turn disappear. 

But, ere this was done, a ceremony had to take place on 
the jangada — the marriage of Manoel and Minha, the mar- 
riage of Lina and Fragoso. To Father Passanha fell the 
duty of celebrating the double union which promised so 
happily. In that little chapel the two couples were to re- 
ceive the nuptial benediction from his hands. If it hap- 
pened to be so small as to be only capable of holding the 
members of Dacosta's family, was not the giant raft large 
enough to receive all those who wished to assist at the 
ceremony? and if not, and the crowd became so great, did 
not the ledges of the river banks afford sufficient room for 
as many others of the sympathizing crowd as were desirous 
of welcoming him whom so signal a reparation had made 
the hero of the day? 



110 THE CRYPTOGRAM 

It was on the morrow, the 16th of October, that witK 
great pomp the marriages were celebrated. 

The Dacosta family came forth from their house and 
moved through the crowd toward the little chapel. Joam 
was received with absolutely frantic applause. He gave 
his arm to Madame Valdez; Yaquita was escorted by the 
Governor of Belem, who, accompanied by the friends of the 
young army surgeon, had expressed a wish to honor the 
ceremony with his presence. Manoel walked by the side 
of Minha, who looked most fascinating in her bride's cos- 
tume, and then came Fragoso, holding the hand of Lina, 
who seemed quite radiant with joy. Then followed Benito, 
then old Cybele and the servants of the worthy family 
between the double ranks of the crew of the jangada. 

Padre Passanha awaited the two couples at the entrance 
of the chapel. The ceremony was very simple, and the 
same hands which had formerly blessed Joam and Yaquita 
were again stretched forth to give the nuptial benediction 
to their child. 

So much happiness was not likely to be interrupted by 
the sorrow of long separation. In fact, Manoel Valdez al- 
most immediately sent in his resignation, so as to join the 
family at Iquitos, where he is still following his profession 
as a country doctor. 

Naturally the Fragosos did not hesitate to go back with 
those who were to them friends rather than masters. 

Madame Valdez had no desire to separate so happy a 
group, but she insisted on one thing, and that was that they 
should often come and see her at Belem. Nothing could be 
easier. Was not the mighty river a bond of communication 
between Belem and Iquitos? In a few days the first mail 
steamer was to begin a regular and rapid service, and it 
would then only take a week to ascend the Amazon, on 
which it had taken the giant raft so many months to drift. 
The important commercial negotiations, ably managed by 
Benito, were carried through under the best of conditions, 
and soon of what had formed this jangada — that is to say, 
the huge raft of timber constructed from an entire forest 
at Iquitos — there remained not a trace. 

A month afterward the fazender, his wife, his son, Ma- 
noel and Minha Valdez, Lina and Fragoso, departed by 
one of the Amazon steamers for the immense establish- 



THE LOWER AMAZON 111 

ment at Iquitos of which Benito was to take the manage- 
ment. 

Joam Dacosta reentered his home with his head erect, 
and it was indeed a family of happy hearts which he brought 
back with him from beyond the Brazilian frontier. As for 
Fragoso, twenty times a day at least was he heard to re- 
peat, "What! without the liana?" and he wound up by 
bestowing the name on the young mulatto who, by her affec- 
tion for the gallant fellow fully justified its appropriateness, 
" If it were not for the one letter," he said, " would not 
Lina and Liana be the same ? " 



THE END 



The Steam House 



BOOK ONE 



The Demon of Cawnpore 



V XII Vern« 



The Demon of 
Gawnpore 



it 



CHAPTER I 

TWO THOUSAND POUNDS FOR A HEAD 



}> 




X 



REWARD of two thousand pounds will be paid 
to any one who will deliver up, dead or alive, 
one of the prime movers of the Sepoy revolt, 
at present known to be in the Bombay presi- 
dency, the Nabob Dandou Pant, commonly 
called 

Such was the fragmentary notice read by the inhabitants 
of Aurungabad, on the evening of the 6th of March, 1867. 
A copy of the placard had been recently affixed to the 
wall of a lonely and ruined bungalow on the banks of the 
Doudhma, and already the corner of the paper bearing the 
second name — a name execrated by some, secretly admired 
by others — was gone. 

The name had been there, printed in large letters, but 
it was torn off by the hand of a solitary fakir who passed 
by that desolate spot. The name of the Governor of the 
Bombay presidency, countersigning that of the Viceroy of 
India, had also disappeared. What could have been the 
fakir's motive in doing this? 

By defacing the notice, did he hope that the rebel of 1857 
would escape public prosecution, and the consequences of 
the steps taken to secure his arrest? Could he imagine that 
a notoriety so terrible as his would vanish with the frag- 
ments of this scrap of paper? 

To suppose such a thing would have been madness. The 
notices were affixed in profusion to the walls of the houses, 
palaces, mosques, and hotels of Aurungabad. Besides which, 
a crier had gone through all the streets, reading in a loud 
voice the proclamation of the Viceroy. So that the in- 
habitants of the lowest quarters knew by this time that a 
sum, amounting to a fortune, was promised to whomso- 

115 



116 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

ever would deliver up this Dandou Pant. The name, an- 
nihilated in one solitary instance, would, before twelve hours 
were over, be proclaimed throughout the province. 

If, indeed, the report was correct that the Nabob had 
taken refuge in this part of Hindoostan, there could be no 
doubt that he would shortly fall into the hands of those 
strongly interested in his capture. Under what impulse, 
then, had the fakir defaced a placard of which thousands 
of copies had been circulated? 

The impulse was doubtless one of anger, mingled perhaps 
with contempt; for he turned from the place with a scorn- 
ful gesture, and entering the city was soon lost to view amid 
the swarming populace of its more crowded and disreputable 
quarter. 

That portion of the Indian peninsula which lies between 
the Western Ghauts, and the Ghauts of the Bay of Bengal, 
is called the Deccan. It is the name commonly given to 
the southern part of India below the Ganges. The Deccan, 
of which the name in Sanscrit signifies " south," contains 
a certain number of provinces in the presidencies of Bom- 
bay and Madras. Chief among these is the province of 
Aurungabad, the capital of which was, in former days, that 
of the entire Deccan. 

In the seventeenth century the celebrated Mogul Emperor, 
Aurungzebe, established his court in the town of Aurunga- 
bad, known in the early history of India by the name of 
Kirkhi. It then contained one hundred thousand inhabitants. 
Now, in the hands of the English who rule it in the name 
of the Nizam of Hyderabad, there are not more than fifty 
thousand. Yet it is one of the most healthful cities of the 
peninsula, having hitherto escaped the scourge of Asiatic 
cholera, as well as the visitations of the fever epidemics so 
much to be dreaded in India. 

Aurungabad possesses magnificent remains of its ancient 
splendor. Many artistic and richly ornamental buildings 
bear witness to the power and grandeur of the most illustri- 
ous of the conquerors of India, the renowned Aurungzebe, 
who raised this empire, increased by the addition of Cabul 
and Assam, to a marvelous height of prosperity. 

The palace of the Great Mogul stands on the right bank 
of the Doudhma. The mausoleum of the favorite Sultana 
of the Shah Jahan, the father of Aurungzebe, is also a 



TWO THOUSAND POUNDS FOR A HEAD 117 

remarkable edifice; so likewise is the elegant mosque built 
in imitation of the Tadje at Agra, which rears its four 
minarets round a graceful swelling cupola. 

Among the mixed and varied population of Aurungabad, 
such a man as the fakir above mentioned easily concealed 
himself from observation. Whether his character was real 
or assumed, he was in no respect to be distinguished from 
others of his class. Men like him abound in India, and 
form, with the sayeds, a body of religious mendicants, who, 
traveling through the country on foot or on horseback, ask 
alms, which, if not bestowed willingly, they demand as a 
right. They also play the part of voluntary martyrs, and 
are held in great reverence by the lower orders of the 
Hindoo people. 

This particular fakir was a man of good height, being 
more than five feet nine inches. His age could not have 
been more than forty, and his countenance reminded one 
of the handsome Mahratta type, especially in the brilliancy 
of his keen black eyes ; but it was difficult to trace the fine 
features of the race, disfigured and pitted as they were by 
the marks of smallpox. He was in the prime of life, and 
his figure was robust and supple. A close observer would 
have seen that he had lost one finger of his left hand. His 
hair was dyed a red color, and he went barefoot, wearing 
only a turban, and a scanty shirt or tunic of striped woolen 
stuff girded round his waist. 

On his breast were represented in bright colors the em- 
blems of the two principles of preservation and destruction 
taught by Hindoo mythology: the lion's head of the fourth 
incarnation of Vishnu, the three eyes and the symbolic 
trident of the ferocious Siva. 

There was great stir and commotion that evening in the 
streets of Aurungabad, especially in the lower quarters, 
where the populace swarmed outside the hovels in which 
they lived. Men, women, children ; English soldiers, sepoys, 
beggars of all descriptions ; peasants from the villages, met, 
talked, gesticulated, discussed the proclamation, and cal- 
culated the chances of winning the enormous reward offered 
by Government. 

The excitement was as great as it could have been before 
the wheel of a lottery where the prize was 2,000/. In this 
case the fortunate ticket was the head of Dandou Pant, 



118 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

and to obtain it a man must first have the good luck to fall 
in with the Nabob, and then the courage to seize him. 

The fakir, apparently the only person unexcited by the 
hope of winning the prize, threaded his way among the 
eager groups, occasionally stopping and listening to what 
was said, as though he might hear something of use to him. 
He spoke to no one, but if his lips were silent his eyes and 
ears were on the alert. 

"Two thousand pounds for finding the Nabob!" ex- 
claimed one, raising his clenched hands to heaven. 

" Not for finding him," replied another, " but for catch- 
ing him, which is a very different thing!" 

" Well, to be sure, he is not a man to let himself be taken 
without a resolute struggle." 

" But surely it was said he died of fever in the jungles 
of Nepaul?" 

" That story was quite untrue ! The cunning fellow chose 
to pass for dead, that he might live in greater security ! ' : 

" The report was spread that he had been buried in the 
midst of his encampment on the frontier ! " 

" It was a false funeral, on purpose to deceive peo- 
ple." 

The fakir did not change a muscle of his countenance on 
hearing this latter assertion, which was made in a tone 
admitting of no doubt. But when one of the more excited 
of the group near which he was standing began to relate 
the following circumstantial details, his brows knit in- 
voluntarily as he listened. 

" It is very certain," said the speaker, " that in 1859 the 
Nabob took refuge with his brother, Balao Rao, and the 
ex-rajah of Gonda, Debi-Bux-Singh, in a camp at the foot 
of the mountains of Nepaul. There, finding themselves 
closely pressed by the British troops, they all three resolved 
to cross the Indo-Chinese frontier. Before doing so, they 
caused a report of their death to be circulated, in order to 
confirm which they went through the ceremony of actual 
funerals; but in fact only a finger from the left hand of 
each man had been really buried. These they cut off them- 
selves when the rites were celebrated." 

"How do you know all this?" demanded one of the 
crowd of listeners. 

" I myself was present," answered the man. " The sol- 



TWO THOUSAND POUNDS FOR A HEAD 1 19 

diers of Dandou Pant had taken me prisoner. I only effected 
my escape six months afterward." 

While the Hindoo was speaking, the fakir never took 
his gaze off him. His eyes blazed like lightning. He kept 
his left hand under the ragged folds of his garment, and 
his lips quivered as they parted over his sharp-pointed teeth. 

"So you have seen the Nabob?" inquired one of the 
audience. 

" I have," replied the former prisoner of Dandou Pant. 

" And would know him for certain if accident were to 
bring you face to face with him? " 

" Assuredly I would : I know him as well as I know 
myself." 

" Then you have a good chance of gaining the 2,000/. ! " 
returned his questioner, not without a touch of envy in 
his tone. 

" Perhaps so," replied the Hindoo, " if it be true that the 
Nabob has been so imprudent as to venture into the presi- 
dency of Bombay, which to me appears very unlikely." 

"What would be the reason of his venturing so far? 
What reason would induce him to dare so much? ' 

" No doubt he might hope to instigate a fresh rebellion, 
either among the sepoys or among the country populations 
of Central India." 

" Since Government asserts that he is known to be in 
the province," said one of the speakers, who belonged to 
that class which takes for gospel everything stated by author- 
ity, " of course Government has reliable information on 
the subject." 

" Be it so ! " responded the Hindoo ; " only let it be the 
will of Brahma that Dandou Pant crosses my path, and my 
fortune is made ! " 

The fakir withdrew a few paces, but he did not lose sight 
of the ex-prisoner of the Nabob. 

It was by this time dark night, but there was no diminu- 
tion of the commotion in the streets of Aurungabad. Gossip 
about the Nabob circulated faster than ever. Here, peo- 
ple were saying that he had been seen in the town; there, 
that he was known to be at a great distance. A courier 
from the north was reported to have arrived, with news 
for the Governor, of his arrest. At nine o'clock the best 
informed asserted that he was already imprisoned in the 



120 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

town jail — in company with some Thugs who had been 
vegetating there for more than thirty years; that he was 
going to be hanged next day at sunrise without a trial, 
just like Tantia Topi, his celebrated comrade in revolt. 

But by ten o'clock there was fresh news. The prisoner 
had escaped, and the hopes of those who coveted the reward 
revived. In reality all these reports were false. Those sup- 
posed to be the best informed knew no more than any one 
else. The Nabob's head was safe. The prize was still to 
be won. 

It was evident that the Indian who was acquainted with 
the person of Dandou Pant had a better chance of gaining 
the reward than any one else. Very few people, especially 
in the presidency of Bombay, had had occasion to meet with 
the savage leader of the great insurrection. 

Farther to the north, or more in the center of the country 
— in Scinde, in Bundelkund, in Oude, near Agra, Delhi, 
Cawnpore, Lucknow, on the principal theater of the atroci- 
ties committed by his order — the population would have 
risen in a body, and delivered him over to British justice. 
The relatives of his victims — husbands, brothers, children, 
wives — still wept for those whom he had caused to be 
massacred by hundreds. Ten years had passed, but had not 
extinguished the righteous sentiments of horror and venge- 
ance. It seemed, therefore, impossible that Dandou Pant 
should be so imprudent as to trust himself in districts where 
his name was held in execration. 

If, then, he really had, as was supposed, recrossed the 
Indo-Chinese frontier — if some hidden motive, whether 
projects for new revolt or otherwise, had induced him to 
quit the secret asylum which had hitherto remained un- 
known even to the Anglo-Indian police — it was only in the 
provinces of the Deccan that he could expect an open course 
and a species of security. And we have seen that the Gov- 
ernor had, in point of fact, got wind of his appearance in the 
presidency, and instantly a price had been set on his head. 
Still it must be remarked that men of the upper ranks at 
Aurungabad — magistrates, military officers, and public func- 
tionaries — considerably doubted the truth of the informa- 
tion received by the Governor. 

It had so often been reported that this man had been 
seen, and even captured! So much false intelligence had 



TWO THOUSAND POUNDS FOR A HEAD 121 

been circulated respecting him, that there began to be a 
kind of legendary belief in a gift of ubiquity possessed by 
him, to account for the skill with which he eluded the most 
able and active agents of the police. The population, how- 
ever, made no doubt that the intelligence as to his appear- 
ance was reliable. 

Among those now most convinced that the Nabob was to 
be found was, of course, his ex-prisoner. The poor wretch, 
allured by the hope of gain, and likewise animated by a 
spirit of personal revenge, began to set about the under- 
taking at once, and regarded his success as almost cer- 
tain. 

His plan was very simple. He proposed next day to offer 
his services to the Governor; then, after having learned 
exactly all that was known of Dandou Pant — that is to say, 
the particulars on which was founded the information re- 
ferred to in the proclamation, he intended to make his way 
at once to the locality in which the Nabob was reported to 
have been seen. 

About eleven o'clock at night the Indian began to think 
of retiring to take some repose. His only resting-place was 
a small boat moored by the banks of the Doudhma; and 
thither he directed his steps, his mind full of the various 
reports he had heard, as, with half-closed eyes and thought- 
ful brow, he revolved the project he had resolved to carry 
out. 

Quite unknown to him the fakir dogged his steps; he 
followed noiselessly, and, keeping in the shadow, never for 
an instant lost sight of him. Toward the outskirts of this 
quarter of Aurungabad the streets became gradually de- 
serted. The chief thoroughfare opened upon bare, unoccu- 
pied ground, one circuit of which skirted the stream of the 
Doudhma. The place was a kind of desert beyond the town, 
though within its walls a few passengers were hastily trav- 
ersing it, evidently anxious to reach more frequented paths. 
The footsteps of the last died away in the distance, the 
Hindoo was now alone on the river's bank. 

The fakir was at no great distance, but concealed by trees, 
or beneath the somber walls of ruined habitations, which 
were scattered here and there. His precautions were need- 
ful. When the moon rose and shed uncertain rays athwart 
the gloom, the Hindoo might have seen that he was watched, 



122 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

and even very closely followed. As to hearing the sound 
of the fakir's tread, it was utterly impossible. Barefoot, 
he glided, rather than walked. Nothing revealed his pres- 
ence on the banks of the Doudhma. 

Five minutes passed. The Hindoo took his way mechan- 
ically toward his wretched boat, like a man accustomed to 
withdraw night after night to this desert place. 

He was absorbed in the thought of the interview he meant 
to have next day with the Governor; while the hope of 
revenging himself on the Nabob — never remarkable for his 
tenderness toward his prisoners — united with a burning de- 
sire to obtain the reward, rendered him blind and deaf to 
everything around him ; and though the fakir was gradually 
approaching him, he was totally unconscious of the danger 
in which his imprudent words had placed him. 

Suddenly a man sprang upon him with a bound like that 
of a tiger! He seemed to grasp a lightning flash. It was 
the moonlight glancing on the blade of a Malay dag- 
ger! 

The Hindoo, struck in the breast, fell heavily to the 
ground. The wound, inflicted by an unerring hand, was 
mortal ; but a few inarticulate words escaped the unhappy 
man's lips, with a torrent of blood. The assassin stooped, 
raised his victim, and supported him while he turned his 
own face to the full light of the moon. 

" Dost know me? " he asked. 

" It is he ! " murmured the Indian ; and the dreaded name 
would have been his last choking utterance, but his head 
fell back, and he expired. In another instant the corpse 
had disappeared beneath the waters of the Doudhma. 

The fakir waited until the noise of the plunge had passed 
away; then, turning swiftly, he traversed the open ground, 
and passing along the now deserted streets and lanes, ap- 
proached one of the city gates. 

This gate was closed for the night just as he reached 
it, and a military guard occupied the post, to prevent either 
ingress or egress. The fakir could not leave Aurungabad, 
as he had intended to do. " Yet depart this night I must, 
if ever I am to do it alive ! " muttered he. 

He turned away, and followed the inner line of fortifica- 
tions for some little distance; then, ascending the slope, 
reached the upper part of the rampart. The crest towered 



TWO THOUSAND POUNDS FOR A HEAD 123 

fifty feet above the level of the fosse which lay between 
the scarp and counterscarp, and was devoid of any salient 
points or projections which could have afforded support. 
It seemed quite impossible that any man could descend 
without a rope, and the cord he wore as a girdle was but 
a few feet in length. He paused, glanced keenly round, and 
considered what was to be done. 

Great trees rise within the walls of Aurungabad, which 
seems set in a verdant frame of foliage. The branches 
of these being long and flexible, it might be possible to 
cling to one, and at great risk, drop over the wall. No 
sooner did this idea occur to the fakir, than, without a 
moment's hesitation, he plunged among the boughs, and 
soon reappeared outside the wall, holding a long pliable 
branch, which he grasped midway, and which gradually bent 
beneath his weight. 

When the branch rested on the edge of the wall, the 
fakir began to let himself slowly downward, as though he 
held a knotted rope in his hands. By this means he de- 
scended a considerable distance; but when close to the ex- 
tremity of the bough, at least thirty feet still intervened 
between him and the ground. There he hung, swinging 
in the air by his outstretched arms, while his feet sought 
some crevice or rough stone for support. 

A flash! — another! The report of musketry! 

The sentries had perceived the fugitive and fired upon 
him. He was not hit, but a ball struck the branch which 
supported him, and splintered it. 

In a few seconds it gave way, and down went the fakir 
into the fosse. Such a fearful fall would have killed an- 
other man — he was uninjured. To spring to his feet, dart 
up the slope of the counterscarp amid a storm of bullets 
— not one of which touched him — and vanish in the dark- 
ness, was mere play to the agile fugitive. 

At a distance of two miles he passed the cantonments of 
the English troops, quartered outside Aurungabad. 

A couple of hundred paces beyond that he stopped, turned 
round, and stretching his mutilated hand toward the city, 
fiercely uttered these words : " Woe betide those who fall 
now into the power of Dandou Pant! Englishmen have not 
seen the last of Nana Sahib! " 

Nana Sahib! This name, the most formidable to which 



124 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

the revolt of 1857 had given a horrid notoriety, was there 
once more flung like a haughty challenge at the conquerors 
of India. 



CHAPTER II 

COLONEL MUNRO 

" Maucler, my dear fellow, you tell us nothing about 
your journey ! " said my friend Banks, the engineer, to me. 
" One would suppose you had never got beyond your native 
Paris ! What do you think of India? " 

" Think of India! " I replied. " I really must see it be- 
fore I can answer that question ! " 

"Well, that is good!" returned Banks. "Why, you 
have just traversed the entire peninsula from Bombay to 
Calcutta, and unless you are downright blind " 

" I am not blind, my dear Banks ; but during that jour- 
ney you speak of I was blinded." 

"Blinded?" 

" Yes ! quite blinded by smoke, steam, dust ; and, above 
all, by the rapid motion. I don't want to speak evil of rail- 
roads, Banks, since it is your business to make them; but 
let me ask whether you call it traveling to be jammed up in 
the compartment of a carriage, see no farther than the glass 
of the windows on each side of you, tear along day and 
night, now over viaducts among the eagles and vultures, 
now through tunnels among moles and rats, stopping only 
at stations one exactly like another, seeing nothing of towns 
but the outside of their walls and the tops of their minarets, 
and all this amid an uproar of snorting engines, shrieking 
steam-whistles, grinding and grating of rails, varied by the 
mournful groans of the brake? Can you, I say, call this 
traveling so as to see a country? " 

" Well done ! " cried Captain Hood. " There, Banks ! 
answer that if you can. What is your opinion, colonel? " 

The colonel, thus addressed, bent his head slightly, and 
merely said, " I am curious to know what reply Banks can 
make to our guest, Monsieur Maucler." 

" I reply without the slightest hesitation," said the en- 
gineer, " that I quite agree with Maucler." 



COLONEL MUNRO 125 

" But then," cried Captain Hood, " why do you construct 
these railroads at all? " 

" To enable you to go from Calcutta to Bombay in sixty 
hours when you are in a hurry." 

" I am never in a hurry." 

" Ah, well then, you had better take to the great trunk 
road and walk ! " 

" That is exactly what I intend doing." 

"When?" 

' When the colonel will agree to accompany me in a 
pretty little stroll of eight or nine hundred miles across the 
country ! " 

The colonel smiled, and without speaking again fell into 
one of the long reveries from which his most intimate 
friends, among whom were Captain Hood and Banks the 
engineer, found it difficult to rouse him. 

I had arrived in India a month previously. Having jour- 
neyed by the Great Indian Peninsular Railway, which runs 
from Bombay to Calcutta, via Allahabad. I knew literally 
nothing of the country. But it was my purpose to travel 
through its northern districts beyond the Ganges, to visit its 
great cities, to examine and study the principal monuments 
of antiquity, and to devote to my explorations sufficient 
time to render them complete. 

I had become acquainted with the engineer Banks in Paris. 
For some years we had been united by a friendship which 
only increased with greater intimacy. I had promised to 
visit him at Calcutta as soon as the completion of that part 
of the Scinde, Punjab, and Delhi Railroad, of which he was 
engineer, should set him at liberty. 

The works being now at an end, Banks had some months' 
leave, and I had come to propose that he should take rest 
by roaming over India with me ! As a matter of course he 
had accepted my proposal with enthusiasm, and in a few 
weeks, when the season would be favorable, we were to 
set off. 

On my arrival at Calcutta in the month of March, 1867, 
Banks had introduced me to one of his gallant comrades, 
Captain Hood, and afterward to his friend Colonel Munro, 
at whose house we were spending the evening. The colonel, 
at this time a man of about forty-seven, occupied a house 
in the European quarter; it stood somewhat apart, and con- 



126 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

sequently beyond the noise and stir of the great metropolis 
of India, which consists in fact of two cities, one native, the 
other foreign and commercial. 

The colonel's house was evidently that of a man in easy 
circumstances. There was a large staff of servants, such 
as is required in Anglo-Indian families. The furniture and 
every household arrangement was in the very best taste and 
style. In everything about the establishment might be traced 
the hand of an intelligent woman, whose thoughtful care 
must have originally planned the comforts and conveniences 
of the home, but at the same time one felt that this woman 
was there no longer. 

The management of the household was conducted entirely 
by an old soldier of the colonel's regiment, who acted as 
his steward or major-domo. Sergeant McNeil was a Scotch- 
man, who had been with him in many campaigns, not merely 
in his military capacity, but as an attached and devoted per- 
sonal attendant. 

He was a man of five-and- forty or thereabouts, of tall 
and vigorous frame, and manly, well-bearded countenance. 
Although he had retired from the service when his colonel 
did, he continued to wear the uniform; and this national 
costume, together with his martial bearing, bespoke him at 
once the Highlander and the soldier. 

Both had left the army in 1860. But instead of return- 
ing to the hills and glens of their native land, both had 
remained in India, and lived at Calcutta in a species of 
retirement and solitude, which requires to be explained. 

When my friend Banks was about to introduce me to 
Colonel Munro, he gave me one piece of advice. " Make 
no allusion to the sepoy revolt," he said : " and, above all, 
never mention the name of Nana Sahib." 

Colonel Edward Munro belonged to an old Scottish fam- 
ily, whose members had made their mark in the history of 
former days. 

He was descended from that Sir Hector Munro who in 
1760 commanded the army in Bengal, when a serious in- 
surrection had to be quelled. This he effected with a stern 
and pitiless energy. In one day twenty-eight rebels were 
blown from the cannon's mouth — a fearful sentence, many 
times afterward carried out during the mutiny of 1857. 

At the period of that great revolt Colonel Munro was in 



COLONEL MUNRO 127j 

command of the 93d Regiment of Highlanders, which he 
led during the campaign under Sir James Outram — one of 
the heroes of that war — of whom Sir Charles Napier spoke 
as " The Chevalier Bayard of the Indian Army." Colonel 
Munro was with him at Cawnpore ; and also, in the second 
campaign, he was at the siege of Lucknow, and continued 
with Sir James until the latter was appointed a Member of 
the Council of India at Calcutta. 

In 1858 Colonel Munro was made a Knight Commander 
of the Star of India, and was created a baronet. His be- 
loved wife never bore the title of Lady Munro, for she 
perished at Cawnpore on the 27th of June, 1857, in the 
atrocious massacre perpetrated by the orders and before 
the eyes of Nana Sahib. 

Lady Munro (her friends always called her so) had 
been perfectly adored by her husband. She was scarcely 
seven-and-twenty at the time of her terrible death. Mrs. 
Orr and Miss Jackson, after the taking of Lucknow, were 
miraculously saved and restored to their husband and father. 
But to Colonel Munro nothing remained of his wife. She 
had disappeared with the two hundred victims in the well 
of Cawnpore. 

Sir Edward, now a desperate man, had but one object 
remaining in life; it was to quench a burning thirst for 
vengeance — for justice. The discovery of Nana Sahib, for 
whom, by order of Government, search was being made in 
all directions, was his one great desire, his sole aim. 

It was in order to be free to prosecute this search that 
he had retired from the army. Sergeant McNeil got his 
discharge at the same time, and faithfully followed his 
master. The two men were animated by one hope, lived 
in one thought, had but one end in view ; and eagerly start- 
ing in pursuit, followed up one track after another, only to 
fail as completely as the Anglo-Indian police had done. 
The Nana escaped all their efforts. 

After three years spent in fruitless attempts, the colonel 
and Sergeant McNeil suspended their exertions for a time. 

Just then the report of Nana Sahib's death was current 
in India, and this time it seemed to be so well attested as 
to admit of no reasonable doubt. 

Sir Edward Munro and McNeil returned to Calcutta, and 
established themselves in the lonely bungalow which has 



128 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

been described. There the colonel lived in retirement, never 
left home, read nothing which could contain any reference 
to the sanguinary time of the mutiny, and seemed to live 
but for the cherished memory of his wife. Time in no way 
mitigated his grief. 

I learned these particulars from my friend Banks, on our 
way to the house of mourning, as Sir Edward's bungalow 
might be called. It was very evident why he had warned 
me against making any allusion to the sepoy revolt and its 
cruel chief. 

It must be noted that a report of Nana's reappearance in 
Bombay, which had for some days been circulating, had not 
reached him. Had it done so, he would have been on the 
move at once. 

Banks and Captain Hood were tried friends of the col- 
onel's, and they were his only constant visitors. 

The former, as I have said, had recently completed the 
works he had in charge, on the Great Indian Peninsular 
Railway. He was a man in the prime of life, and was 
now appointed to take an active part in constructing the 
Madras Railway, designed to connect the Arabian Sea with 
the Bay of Bengal, but which was not to be commenced for 
a year. He was just now on leave at Calcutta, occupied 
with many mechanical projects, for his mind was active and 
fertile, incessantly devising some novel invention. His spare 
time he devoted to the colonel, whose fast friend he had 
been for twenty years. Thus most of his evenings were 
spent in the veranda of the bungalow. There he usually 
met Captain Hood, who belonged to the first squadron of 
Carabineers, and had served in the campaign of 1857-58 
first under Sir John Campbell in Oude and Rohilkund, and 
afterward in Central India, under Sir Hugh Rose, during 
the campaign which terminated in the taking of Gwalior. 

Hood was not more than thirty ; he had spent most of his 
life in India, and was a distinguished member of the Madras 
Club. His hair and beard were auburn, and he belonged 
to an English regiment ; otherwise he was thoroughly " In- 
dianized," and loved the country as if it had been his by 
birth. He thought India the only place worth living in. 
And there, certainly, all his tastes were gratified. A soldier 
by nature and temperament, opportunities for fighting were 
of constant recurrence. An enthusiastic sportsman, was he 



COLONEL MUNRO 129 

not in a land where nature had collected together all the 
wild animals in creation, all the furred and feathered game 
of either hemisphere? A determined mountaineer, the mag- 
nificent ranges of Thibet offered him the ascent of the 
loftiest summits on the globe. 

An intrepid traveler, what debarred him from setting foot 
on the hitherto untrodden regions of the Himalayan fron- 
tier? Madly fond of horse-racing, the race-courses of India 
appeared to him fully as important as those of Newmarket 
or Epsom. 

On this latter subject Banks and Hood were quite at 
variance. The engineer took very little interest in the turfy 
triumphs of " Gladiator " and Co. 

One day, when Hood had been urging him to express 
some opinion on the point, Banks said that to his mind races 
could never be really exciting but on one condition. 

" And what is that ? " demanded Hood. 

" It should be clearly understood," returned Banks quite 
seriously, " that the jockey last at the winning-post is to 
be shot in his saddle." 

" Ah ! not a bad idea ! " exclaimed Hood, very simply. 
Nor would he have hesitated to run the chance himself. 

Such were Sir Edward Munro's two constant visitors, 
and without joining in their conversations he liked to listen 
to them. Their perpetual discussions and disputes, on all 
sorts of subjects, often brought a smile to his lips. 

One wish and desire these two brave fellows had in com- 
mon. And that was to induce the colonel to join them in 
making a journey, and so to vary the melancholy tenor of 
his thoughts. Several times they had tried to persuade him 
to go to places frequented during the hot season by the rich 
dwellers in Calcutta. 

The colonel was immovable. 

He had heard of the journey which Banks and I pro- 
posed to take. This evening the subject was resumed. 
Captain Hood's idea was a vast walking-tour in the north 
of India. He objected to railroads, as Banks did to horses. 
The middle course proposed was to travel either in carriages 
or in palanquins — easy enough on the great thoroughfares 
of Hindoostan. 

" Don't tell me about your bullock-wagons and your 
humped-zebu carriages ! " cried Banks. " I believe if you 

V XII Verne 



130 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

had your way without us engineers, you would still go about 
in primitive vehicles such as were discarded in Europe five 
hundred years ago." 

" I'm sure they are far more comfortable than some of 
your contrivances, Banks. And think of those splendid 
white bullocks ! why, they keep up a gallop admirably, and 
you find relays at every two leagues " 

" Yes ; and they drag a machine on four wheels after 
them, in which one is tossed and pitched worse than in a 
boat at sea in a storm." 

" Well, I can't say much for these conveyances, cer- 
tainly," answered Hood. " But have we not capital car- 
riages for two, three, or four horses, which in speed can 
rival some of your trains? For my part, give me a palan- 
quin rather than a train." 

" A palanquin, Hood ! Call it a coffin — a bier — where 
you are laid out like a corpse ! " 

" That's all very well, but at least you are not rattled and 
shaken about. In a palanquin you may write, read, or sleep 
at your ease, without being roused up for your ticket at 
every station. A palanquin carried by four or six Bengalee 
gamals (bearers) will take you at the rate of four-and-half 
miles an hour, and ever so much safer, too, than your merci- 
less express trains ! " 

" The best plan of all," said I, " would certainly be to 
carry one's house with one." 

" Oh, you snail ! " cried Banks. 

" My friend," replied I, " a snail who could leave his 
shell, and return to it at pleasure, would not be badly off. 
To travel in one's own house, a rolling house, will probably 
be the climax of inventions in the matter of journey- 
ing!" 

" Perhaps it will," said Colonel Munro, who had not yet 
spoken. " If the scene could be changed without leaving 
home and all its associations, if the horizon, points of view, 
atmosphere, and climate could be varied while one's daily 
life went on as usual — yes, perhaps " 

" No more traveler's bungalows," said Hood, " where 
comfort is unknown, although for stopping there you re- 
quire a leave from the local magistrate." 

" No more detestable inns, in which one is fleeced morally 
and physically! " said I. 



COLONEL MUNRO 131 

"What a vision of delight!' cried Captain Hood. 
" Fancy stopping when you please, setting off when you 
feel inclined, going at a foot's pace when disposed to linger, 
racing away at a gallop the instant the humor strikes you! 
Then to carry with you not only a bedroom, but drawing 
and dining and smoking rooms! and a kitchen! and a cook! 
That would be something like progress, indeed, Banks ! and 
a hundred times better than railways. Contradict me if 
you dare!" 

" Far from contradicting, I should entirely agree with 
you, if only you carried your notion of improvement far 
enough." 

' What? do you mean to say better still might be done? " 

" Listen, and judge for yourself. You consider that a 
moving house would be superior to a carriage — to a saloon- 
carriage — even to a sleeping-car on a railroad. And sup- 
posing one traveled for pleasure only, and not on business, 
you are right; I suppose we are agreed as to that? ' ! 

" Yes," said I, " we all think so ; " and Colonel Munro 
made a sign of acquiescence. 

" Well," continued Banks. " Now let us proceed. You 
give your orders to your coach-builder and architect com- 
bined, who turns you out a perfect realization of the idea, 
and there you have your rolling house, answering in every 
way to your requirements, replete with every convenience 
and comfort ; not so high as to make one fear a somersault, 
not so broad as to suggest the possibility of sticking in a 
narrow road ; well hung — in short, perfection. Let us sup- 
pose it has been built for our friend Colonel Munro ; he 
invites us to share his hospitality, and proposes to visit the 
northern parts of India — like snails if you please, but snails 
who are not glued by the tail to their shells. All is prepared 
— nothing forgotten, not even the precious cook and kitchen 
so dear to our friend Hood. The day for starting comes! 
All right! Holloa! who is to draw your house, my good 
friend?" 

"Draw it?' cried Hood; "why mules, asses, horses, 
bullocks ! " 

" In dozens? " said Banks. 

" Ah ! let's see ; elephants, of course — elephants ! It would 
be something superb, majestic, to see a house drawn by a 
team of elephants, well-matched, and with splendid action. 



132 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

Can you conceive a more lordly and magnificent style of 
progression? Would it not be glorious?" 

" Well— yes— but " 

" But ! still another of your ' buts.' " 

" And a very big ' but ' it is." 

" Bother you engineers ! you are good for nothing but to 
discover difficulties." 

" And to surmount them when not insurmountable," re- 
plied Banks quietly. 

" Well then, surmount this one." 

" I will — and in this way. My dear Munro, Captain Hood 
offers us a large choice of motive power, but none which 
is incapable of fatigue, none which will not on occasion 
prove restive or obstinate, and above all, require to eat. 
It follows that the traveling house we speak of is quite 
impracticable unless it can be a steam house." 

" And run upon rails, of course ! I thought so ! " cried 
the captain, shrugging his shoulders. 

"No, upon roads," returned Banks; "drawn by a first- 
rate traction engine." 

"Bravo!" shouted Hood, "bravo! Provided the house 
need not follow your imperious lines of rails, I agree to the 
steam." 

" But," said I to Banks, " an engine requires food as 
much as mules, asses, horses, bullocks, or elephants do, and 
for want of it will come to a standstill." 

" A steam horse," replied he, " is equal in strength to 
several real horses, and the power may be indefinitely in- 
creased. The steam horse is subject neither to fatigue nor 
to sickness. In all latitudes, through all weathers, in sun- 
shine, rain, or snow, he continues his unwearied course. He 
fears not the attack of wild beasts, the bite of serpents, nor 
the stings of venomous insects. Desiring neither rest nor 
sleep, he needs no whip, spur, or goad. The steam horse, 
provided only he is not required at last to be cooked for 
dinner, is superior to every draught animal which Providence 
has placed at the disposal of mankind. All he consumes is 
a little oil or grease, a little coal or wood; and you know, 
my friends, that forests are not scarce in our Indian Pen- 
insula, and the wood belongs to everybody." 

" Well said ! " exclaimed Captain Hood. " Hurrah for 
the steam horse! I can almost fancy I see the traveling 



COLONEL MUNRO 133 

house, invented by Banks the great engineer, traveling the 
highways and byways of India, penetrating jungles, plung- 
ing through forests, venturing even into the haunts of lions, 
tigers, bears, panthers, and leopards, while we, safe within 
its walls, are dealing destruction on all and sundry! Ah, 
Banks, it makes my mouth water! I wish I wasn't going 
to be born for another fifty years! " 

" Why not, my dear fellow? " 

" Because fifty years hence your dream will come true ; 
we shall have the steam house." 

" It is ready now," said Banks simply. 

' Ready! Who has made one? Have you? " 

' I have ; and to tell you the truth, I rather expect it will 
even surpass your visionary hopes." 

" My dear Banks, let's be off at once! " cried Hood, as 
if he had received an electric shock. 

The engineer begged him to be calm, and turning to Sir 
Edward Munro, addressed him in an earnest tone. 

' Edward," said he, " if I place a steam house at your 
command — if a month hence, when the season will be suit- 
able, I come and tell you that your rooms are prepared, and 
that you can occupy them and go wherever you like, while 
your friends Maucler, Hood, and I are ready and willing 
to accompany you on an excursion to the north of India — 
will you answer me, ' Let us start, Banks, let us start ; and 
the God of the traveler be our speed '? " 

' Yes, my friends," replied Colonel Munro, after a few 
moments' reflection. " Yes, I agree. I place at your dis- 
posal, Banks, the requisite funds. Keep your promise. 
Bring to us this ideal of a steam house, which is to surpass 
even Hood's imagination, and we will travel over all India." 

" Hurrah ! hurrah ! hurrah ! " shouted Captain Hood. 
" Now for wild sports on the frontiers of Nepaul ! " 

At this moment Sergeant McNeil, attracted by the cap- 
tain's ringing cheers, appeared at the entrance to the ver- 
anda. 

" McNeil," said Colonel Munro, " we start in a month 
for the north of India. Will you go? " 

" Certainly, colonel, if you do," he replied. 



CHAPTER III 

THE SEPOY REVOLT 

Some account must now be given of the state of India at 
the period when the events of this story took place, and 
especially it will be necessary to relate the chief circum- 
stances connected with the formidable revolt of the 
sepoys. 

The Honorable East India Company, called sometimes 
by the nickname of " John Company," was founded in 1600, 
in the reign of Elizabeth, in the midst of a population of 
two hundred millions, inhabiting the sacred land of Arya- 
varta. 

Their first title was merely " The Governor and Company 
of Merchants of London trading to the East Indies," and 
at their head was placed the Duke of Cumberland. 

About this time the power of the Portuguese, which till 
then had been very great in the Indies, began to diminish. 
Of this the English immediately took advantage, and made 
their first attempt at a political and military administration 
in the presidency of Bengal, its capital, Calcutta, becoming 
the center of the new government. 

A French Company was founded about the same period, 
under the patronage of Colbert, and the conflicting interests 
of the rival companies gave rise to endless contentions, in 
which, a century later, the names of Dupleix, Labourdon- 
nais, and Count de Lally, are distinguished both in successes 
and reverses. The French were finally compelled to abandon 
the Carnatic, that portion of the peninsula which compre- 
hends a part of its eastern coast. 

Lord Clive's brilliant successes having assured the Eng- 
lish power in Bengal, Warren Hastings consolidated the 
empire Clive had founded, and from that time war and 
conquest went on, till England became master of that vast 
empire which has been described as " not less splendid and 
more durable than that of Alexander." 

The Company, however, till then all powerful, began to 
lose its authority, and in 1784 a bill was passed placing it 
under the control of Government. In 1813 it lost the 
monopoly of trading to India, and in 1833 the right of 
trading to China. 

Since the establishment of a military force in India, the 

134 



THE SEPOY REVOLT 135 

army had always been composed of two distinct contingents, 
European and native. The first consisted of British cavalry 
and infantry regiments, and European infantry in service 
of the Company ; the second, of native regulars, commanded 
by English officers. There was also artillery, which belonged 
to the Company, and was European with the exception of 
a few batteries. 

When Lord William Bentinck was made Governor of 
Madras, he introduced some reforms which highly offended 
the native troops. The sepoys were required to clip their 
mustaches, shave their chins, and were forbidden to wear 
their marks of caste. A new regulation turban was also 
ordered for them. Incited by the sons of Tippoo Sahib, 
this was made the excuse for an outbreak, in which the 
garrison at Vellore rose against and massacred their officers 
and about a hundred English soldiers, even the sick in the 
hospital being butchered. 

The English troops quartered at Arcot fortunately ar- 
rived in time to stem that rebellion. This, however, showed 
that a slight cause would at any moment set the natives 
against their conquerors, and in 1857 imminent peril threat- 
ened this Eastern Empire. 

The Mohammedans of both sects longed to set themselves 
free from the British yoke, but could not hope to do so 
while the Hindoo soldiery remained true to their salt. Un- 
happily the spark that was needed to inflame their passions 
was not long in being supplied. A suspicion had seized the 
Hindoo mind that their religion and caste were in danger; 
that the English had determined that all the natives should 
become Christians. They believed that the cartridges for 
their new Enfield rifles were purposely greased with pig's 
fat, so that when they bit off the ends they would be defiled, 
lose caste, and be compelled to embrace the Christian re- 
ligion. 

Now, in a country where the population renounces even 
the use of soap, because the fat of either a sacred or unclean 
animal may enter into its composition, it was found very 
difficult to enforce the use of cartridges prepared with this 
substance, especially as they had to be touched with the lips. 
The Government yielded in some degree to the outcry which 
was made; but it was quite in vain to modify the drill with 
the rifles, or to assert that the fats in question took no part 



136 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

in the manufacture of the cartridges. Not a sepoy in the 
army could be reassured or persuaded to the contrary. 

At this time Lord Canning was at the head of the admin- 
istration as governor-general. Perhaps this statesman de- 
luded himself as to the extent of the movement. For some 
years past the star of the United Kingdom had been grow- 
ing visibly dimmer in the Hindoo sky. In 1842 the retreat 
from Cabul had diminished the prestige of the European 
conquerors. The attitude of the English army during the 
Crimean war had not in some instances been such as to 
sustain its military reputation. The sepoys, therefore, who 
were well acquainted with all that was happening on the 
shores of the Black Sea, thought the time had come when 
a revolt of the native troops would probably be successful. 
Their minds, already well prepared, were inflamed and ex- 
cited by the bards, brahmins, and moulvis, who stirred them 
up by songs and exhortations. 

At the beginning of the year 1857, while the contingent 
of the British army was reduced owing to exterior complica- 
tions, Nana Sahib, otherwise called Dandou Pant, who had 
been residing near Cawnpore, had gone to Delhi, and twice 
to Lucknow, no doubt with the object of provoking the 
rising, prepared so long ago, for, in fact, very shortly after 
the departure of the Nana, the insurrection was declared. 

On the 24th of February, at Berampore, the 34th regiment 
refused the cartridges. In the middle of the month of 
March an adjutant was massacred, and the regiment being 
disbanded after the punishment of the assassins, carried into 
the neighboring provinces most active elements of re- 
volt. 

On the 10th of May, at Meerut, a little to the north of 
Delhi, the 3d, 11th, and 20th regiments mutinied, killed 
their colonels and several staff officers, gave up the town 
to pillage, and then fell back on Delhi. Here the rajah, 
a descendant of Timour, joined them. The arsenal fell into 
their power, and the officers of the 54th regiment were 
slaughtered. On the 11th of May, at Delhi, Major Fraser 
and his officers were pitilessly massacred by the mutineers 
of Meerut, in the very palace of the European commandant ; 
and on the 16th of May forty-nine prisoners, men, women, 
and children, fell under the hatchets of the assassins. On 
the 20th of May, the 26th regiment, cantoned near Lahore, 



THE SEPOY REVOLT 137 

killed the commandant of the fort and the European 
sergeant-major. 

The impulse once given to these frightful butcheries, it 
was impossible to stop them. On the 28th of May, at 
Nourabad, many Anglo-Indian officers fell victims. The 
brigadier commandant, with his aide-de-camp, and many 
other officers, were murdered in the cantonments of Luck- 
now on the 30th of May. On the 31st of May, at Bareilly, 
in the Rohilkund, several officers were surprised and mas- 
sacred, without having time to defend themselves. At 
Shahjahanpore, on the same date, were assassinated the 
collector and a number of officers by the sepoys of the 38th 
regiment; and the next day, beyond Barwar, many officers, 
women, and children, who were en route for the station of 
Sivapore, a mile from Aurungabad, fell victims. 

In the first days of June, at Bhopal, were massacred a 
part of the European population ; and at Jansi, under the 
inspiration of the terrible dispossessed Rani, all the women 
and children who took refuge in the fort were slaughtered 
with unexampled refinement of cruelty. At Allahabad, on 
the 6th of June, eight young ensigns fell by the sepoys' 
hands. On the 14th of June, two native regiments revolted 
at Gwalior, and assassinated their officers. 

On the 27th of June, at Cawnpore, expired the first 
hecatomb of victims, of every age and sex, all shot or 
drowned — a prelude to the fearful drama which was to 
take place there a few weeks later. On the 1st of July, at 
Holkar, thirty-four Europeans — officers, women, and chil- 
dren — were massacred, and the town pillaged and burned; 
and on the same day, at Ugow, the colonel and adjutant 
of the 23d regiment were slain. 

The second massacre at Cawnpore was on the 15th of 
July. On that day several hundred women and children — 
among them Lady Munro — were butchered with unequaled 
cruelty by the order of Nana himself, who called to his aid 
the Mussulmen butchers from the slaughter-houses. This 
atrocious act, and how the bodies were afterward thrown 
down a well, is too well known to need further descrip- 
tion. 

On the 26th of September, in Lucknow, many were half 
cut to pieces, and then thrown still living into the flames. 
Besides these, in all the towns, and throughout the whole 






138 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

country, there were isolated murders, which altogether gave 
to this mutiny a horrible character of atrocity. 

To these butcheries the English generals soon replied by 
reprisals — necessary, no doubt, since they did much to in- 
spire terror of the British name among the insurgents — 
but which were truly frightful. At the beginning of the 
insurrection, at Lahore, Chief Justice Montgomery and 
Brigadier Corbett had managed to disarm, without blood- 
shed, the 8th, 16th, 26th, and 49th native regiments. At 
Moultan the 62d and 29th regiments were also forced to 
surrender their arms, without being able to attempt any 
serious resistance. The same thing was done at Peshawar 
to the 24th, 27th, and 51st regiments, who were disarmed 
by Brigadier S. Colton and Colonel Nicholson, just as the 
rebellion was about to burst. But the native officers of the 
51st regiment having fled to the mountains, a price was set 
on their heads, and all were soon brought back by the hill- 
men. This was the beginning of the reprisals. 

A column, commanded by Colonel Nicholson, attacked a 
native regiment, which was marching toward Delhi. The 
mutineers were soon defeated and dispersed, and one hun- 
dred and twenty prisoners brought to Peshawar. All were 
indiscriminately condemned to death ; but one out of three 
only were really executed. Ten cannon were placed on 
the drilling-ground, a prisoner fastened to each of their 
mouths, and five times were the ten guns fired covering the 
plain with mutilated remains, in the midst of air tainted 
with the smell of burning flesh. 

These men, as M. de Valbezen says in his book called 
" Nouvelles Etudes sur les Anglais et l'lnde," nearly all 
died with that heroic indifference which Indians know so 
well how to preserve even in the very face of death. " No 
need to bind me, captain," said a fine young sepoy, twenty 
years of age, to one of the officers present at the execution ; 
and as he spoke he carelessly stroked the instrument of 
death. " No need to bind me ; I have no wish to run away." 
Such was the first and horrible execution, which was to be 
followed by so many others. 

At the same time Brigadier Chamberlain published the 
following order to the native troops at Lahore, after the 
execution of two sepoys of the 55th regiment: " You have 
just seen two of your comrades bound to the cannon's mouth 



THE SEPOY REVOLT 139 

and blown to pieces; this will be the punishment of all 
traitors. Your conscience will tell you what penalties they 
will undergo in the other world. These two soldiers have 
been shot rather than hung on the gallows, because I wished 
to spare them the pollution of the executioner's touch, and 
prove thus that the Government, even at this crisis, wishes 
to avoid everything that would do the least injury to your 
prejudices of religion and caste." 

On the 30th of July, 1,237 prisoners fell successively be- 
fore firing platoons, and fifty others only escaped to die of 
hunger and suffocation in the prisons in which they were 
shut up. On the 28th of August, of 870 sepoys who fled 
from Lahore, 659 were pitilessly massacred by the soldiers 
of the British army. 

After the taking of Delhi, on the 23d of September, three 
princes of the king's family, the heir presumptive and his 
two cousins, surrendered unconditionally to Major Hod- 
son, who brought them, with an escort of five men only, 
into the midst of a menacing crowd of 5,000 Hindoos — 
one against 1,000. And yet, halfway through, Hodson 
stopped the cart which contained his prisoners, got into it, 
ordered them to lay bare their breasts, and then shot them 
all three with his revolver. " This bloody execution, by 
the hand of an English officer," says M. de Valbezen, " ex- 
cited the highest admiration throughout the Punjab." 

After the capture of Delhi, 3,000 prisoners perished 5y 
shot or on the gallows, and with them twenty-nine members 
of the royal family. The siege of Delhi, it is true, had 
cost the besiegers 2,151 Europeans, and 1,686 natives. At 
Allahabad horrible slaughter was made, not among the 
sepoys, but in the ranks of the humble population, whom 
the fanatics had almost unconsciously enticed to pillage. At 
Lucknow, on the 16th of November, 2,000 sepoys were shot 
at the Sikander Bagh, and a space of 120 square yards was 
strewed with their dead bodies. 

At Cawnpore, after the massacre, Colonel Neil obliged 
the condemned men, before giving them over to the gallows, 
to lick and clean with their tongues, in proportion to their 
rank of caste, each spot of blood remaining in the house 
in which the victims had perished. To the Hindoos this 
was preceding death with dishonor. 

During the expedition into Central India executions were 



140 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

continual, and under the fire of musketry " walls of human 
flesh fell and perished on the earth ! " On the 9th of March, 
1858, during the attack on the Yellow House, at the time 
of the second siege of Lucknow, after the decimation of 
the sepoys, it appears certain that one of these unfortunate 
men was roasted alive by the Sikhs, under the very eyes of 
the English officers ! On the 1 1th, the moats of the Begum's 
palace at Lucknow were filled with sepoys' bodies; for the 
English could not restrain the rage that possessed them. In 
twelve days 3,000 natives were slain, either hung or shot, 
including among them 380 fugitives on the island of Hydas- 
spes, who were escaping into Cashmere. 

In short, without counting the sepoys who were killed 
under arms during this merciless repression — in which no 
prisoners were made — in the Punjab only not less than 628 
natives were shot or bound to the cannon's mouth by order 
of the military authorities, 1,370 by order of the civil author- 
ity, 386 hung by order of both. 

At the beginning of the year 1859 it was estimated that 
more than 120,000 native officers and soldiers had perished, 
and more than 200,000 civilian natives, who paid with their 
lives for their participation — often doubtful — in this insur- 
rection. Terrible reprisals these! and perhaps, on that oc- 
casion, Mr. Gladstone had some reason on his side when 
he protested so energetically against them in Parliament. 

It was important, for the better understanding of our 
story, that the death-list on both sides should be given as 
above, to make the reader comprehend the unsatiated hatred 
which still remained in the hearts of the conquered, thirst- 
ing for vengeance, as well as in those of the conquerors, 
who, ten years afterward, were still mourning the victims 
of Cawnpore and Lucknow. 

As to the purely military facts of the campaign against 
the rebels, they comprised the following expeditions, which 
may be summarily mentioned. 

To begin with, Sir John Lawrence lost his life in the first 
Punjab campaign. Then came the siege of Delhi (that 
central point of the insurrection), reenforced by thousands 
of fugitives, and in which Mohammed Shah Bahadour was 
proclaimed Emperor of Hindoostan. " Finish up Delhi ! " 
was the impatient order of the governor-general in his last 
dispatch to the commander-in-chief; and the siege, begun 



THE SEPOY REVOLT 141 

on the night of the 13th of June, was ended on the 19th 
of September, after costing the lives of Generals Sir Harry 
Barnard and John Nicholson. 

At the same time, after Nana Sahib had had himself 
declared Peishwar, and been crowned at the castle fort of 
Bhitoor, General Havelock effected his march on Cawnpore. 
He entered it the 17th of July, though too late to prevent 
the second massacre, or to seize the Nana, who managed 
to escape with 5,000 men and forty pieces of cannon. 

Havelock then undertook a first campaign in the kingdom 
of Oude, and on the 28th of July he crossed the Ganges 
with 1,700 men and ten cannon only, and proceeded toward 
Lucknow. 

Sir Colin Campbell and Major-General Sir James Outram 
now appeared on the scene. The siege of Lucknow lasted 
eighty-seven days, and during it Sir Henry Lawrence and 
General Havelock lost their lives. Then Sir Colin Campbell, 
after having been obliged to retire on Cawnpore, of which 
he took definite possession, prepared for a second campaign. 

During this time other troops captured Mohir, a town 
of Central India, and made an expedition across the Mulwa, 
which established the British authority in that kingdom. 

At the commencement of the year 1858 Campbell and 
Outram again marched on Lucknow, with four divisions of 
infantry, commanded by Major-Generals Sir James Outram 
and Sir Edward Lugard, and Brigadiers Walpole and 
Franks. Sir Hope Grant led the cavalry, while Wilson 
and Robert Napier had other commands, the army consist- 
ing of about 25,000 men, which were joined by the Maha- 
rajah of Nepaul with 12,000 Ghoorkas. But the rebel 
army numbered not less than 120,000 men, and the town 
of Lucknow contained from 700,000 to 800,000 inhabitants. 
The first attack was made on the 6th of March. 

On the 16th, after a series of combats the English got 
possession of that part of the town situated on the left bank 
of the Goomtee. Moos-a-bagh was cannonaded and cap- 
tured by Sir James Outram and Sir Hope Grant on the 19th ; 
and on the 21st, after a fierce struggle the English took 
final possession of the city. 

In the month of April an expedition was made into Rohil- 
kund, as a great number of the fugitive insurgents were 
there. Bareilly, the capital of that kingdom, was the first 



142 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

object of the English, who were not at the outset very 
fortunate, as they suffered a sort of defeat at Jugdespore. 
Here also Brigadier Adrian Hope was killed. But toward 
the end of the month Campbell arrived, retook Shahjahan- 
pore, and on the 5th of May, attacking Bareilly, he seized 
it, without having been able to prevent the rebels evacu- 
ating it. 

The Central India Field Force, under the command of 
Sir Hugh Rose, performed many gallant achievements. 
This general, in January, 1858, marched through the king- 
dom of Bhopal and relieved the town of Saugor on the 3d 
of February, which had been closely besieged since July, 
1857. 

Ten days after he took the fort of Gurakota, forced the 
defiles of the Vindhya chain, crossed the Betwa, and arrived 
before Jhansi, defended by 11,000 rebels, under the com- 
mand of the savage Amazon Ranee; invested this place on 
the 22d of March, in the midst of intense heat, detached 
2,000 men from the besieging army to meet 20,000 men 
from Gwalior, led by the famous Tantia Topee, put this 
chief to the rout, and then assaulted the town on the 22d 
of April, forced the walls, and seized the citadel, from which 
the Ranee managed to escape. On the 23d of May the Brit- 
ish advanced on Calpee, and occupied it. The Ranee and 
Tantia Topee having taken possession of Gwalior, Sir Hugh 
Rose advanced upon that place; an action took place at 
Morar on the 16th of June, and on the 19th another fierce 
contest, in which the rebels were completely put to the rout, 
and the Central India Field Force returned to Bombay 
in triumph. 

The Ranee was killed in a hand-to-hand fight before 
Gwalior. This famous queen, who was devoted to the 
Nabob, and was his most faithful companion during the in- 
surrection, fell by the hand of Sir Edward Munro. Nana 
Sahib, by the dead body of Lady Munro at Cawnpore, the 
colonel, by the dead body of the Ranee at Gwalior, represent 
the revolt and the suppression, and were thus made enemies 
whose hatred would find terrible vent if they ever met face 
to face ! 

The insurrection might now be considered to be quelled, 
except in a few places in the kingdom of Oude. Campbell 
resumed the campaign on the 2d of November, seized the 



THE SEPOY REVOLT 143 

last of the rebel places, and compelled several important 
chiefs to submit themselves. One of them, however, Beni 
Madho, was not taken. In December it was learned that 
he had taken refuge in a neighboring district of Nepaul. It 
was said that Nana Sahib, Balao Rao his brother, and the 
Begum of Oude, were with him. Later it was reported that 
they had sought refuge across the Raptee, on the boundaries 
of the kingdoms of Nepaul and Oude. Campbell pressed 
rapidly on, but they had crossed the frontier. In the begin- 
ning of February, 1859, an English brigade, one of the 
regiments being under command of Colonel Munro, pursued 
them into Nepaul. Beni Madho was killed, the Begum of 
Oude and her son were made prisoners, and obtained per- 
mission to reside in the capital of Nepaul. As to Nana Sahib 
and Balao Rao, though for long they were thought to be 
dead, yet such was not the case. 

Thus the terrible insurrection was crushed. Tantia Topee, 
betrayed by his lieutenant Man-Singh, and condemned to 
death, was executed on the 15th of April at Sipree. This 
rebel, " this truly remarkable actor in the great drama of 
the Indian insurrection," says M. de Valbezen, " one who 
gave proofs of a political genius full of resources and dar- 
ing," died courageously on the scaffold. 

This sepoy mutiny, which might perhaps have lost India 
to the English if it had extended all over the peninsula, and 
especially if the rising had been national, caused the down- 
fall of the Honorable East India Company. On the 1st of 
November, 1858, a proclamation, published in twenty lan- 
guages, announced that Victoria, Queen of England, would 
wield the scepter of India — that country of which, some 
years later, she was to be crowned Empress. 

The governor, now called Viceroy, a Secretary of State, 
and fifteen members, composed the supreme government. 
The governors of the presidencies of Madras and Bombay 
were henceforward to be nominated by the Queen. The 
members of the Indian service and the commanders-in-chief 
to be chosen by the Secretary of State. Such were the 
principal arrangements of the new government. 

As to the military force, the English army contained sev- 
enteen thousand more men than before the sepoy mutiny. 
The army in 1867 numbered 64,902 European officers and 
men, and 125,246 native. Such was the actual state of the 



144 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

peninsula from an administrative and military point of view ; 
such the effective force which guarded a territory of 400,000 
square miles. 

" The English," says M. Grandidier, " have been fortu- 
nate in finding in this large and magnificent country a gentle, 
industrious, and civilized people, who for long have been 
accustomed to a yoke. But they must be careful ; gentleness 
has its limits, and the yoke should not be allowed to bruise 
their necks, or they may one day rebel and cast it off." 



CHAPTER IV 

DEEP IN THE CAVES OF ELLORA 

It was but too true. The Mahratta prince, Dandou Pant, 
adopted son of Baji Rao, Peishwar of Poona, known as 
Nana Sahib, and perhaps at this period the sole survivor 
of the leaders in the great insurrection, had dared to leave 
his inaccessible retreats amid the mountains of Nepaul. Full 
of courage and audacity, accustomed to face danger, crafty 
and skilled in the art of baffling and eluding pursuit in every 
form, he had ventured forth into the provinces of the Dec- 
can, animated by hatred intensified a hundredfold since the 
terrible reprisals taken after the rebellion. 

Yes ; Nana Sahib had sworn deadly hate to the possessors 
of India. Was he not the heir of Baji Rao? and when the 
Peishwar died in 1851, had not the Company refused to 
continue to pay to him his pension of eight lacs of rupees? 
This had been one of the causes of an enmity from which 
resulted the greater excesses. 

But what could Nana Sahib hope for now? The revolt 
had been completely quelled eight years before. The Hon- 
orable East India Company had gradually been superseded 
by the English Government, which now held the entire pen- 
insula under an authority very much firmer and better estab- 
lished than that of the old mercantile associations. 

Not a trace of the mutiny remained, for the ranks of the 
native regiments had been wholly reorganized. Could the 
Nana dream of success in an attempt to foment a national 
movement among the lowest classes of Hindoostan? We 
shall see. 

He was aware that his presence in the province of Aurun- 



DEEP IN THE CAVES OF ELLORA 145 

gabad had been observed that the governor and viceroy were 
informed of it, and that a price was set on his head. It 
was clear that precipitate flight was necessary, and that his 
place of refuge must be well concealed indeed if he 
hoped to baffle the search of the agents of Anglo-Indian 
police. 

The Nana did not waste an hour of the night between 
the 6th and 7th of March. He perfectly knew the country, 
and resolved to gain Ellora, twenty-five miles from Aurun- 
gabad, and there join one of his accomplices. 

The night was very dark. The pretended fakir, satisfied 
that no one was in pursuit, took his way toward the mau- 
soleum, erected at some distance from the city, in honor of 
the Mohammedan Sha-Soufi, a saint whose relics have a 
high medicinal reputation. All within the mausoleum, 
priests and pilgrims, slept profoundly, and the Nana passed 
on without being subjected to inconvenient questioning. 

Dark as it was, he soon discerned, four leagues farther 
northward, the block of granite on which is reared the 
impregnable fortress of Dowlatabad. Rising abruptly from 
the plain to the height of two hundred and forty feet, its 
vast outline could be traced against the sky. But Nana 
Sahib, with a glance of hatred, turned his gaze away from 
the place ; for one of his ancestors, an emperor of the Dec- 
can, had wished to establish his capital at the base of this 
stronghold. It would indeed have been an impregnable 
position, well suited to be the central point of an insurrec- 
tionary movement in this part of India. 

Having traversed the plain, a region of more varied and 
broken ground succeeded ; the undulations gave notice of 
mountains in the distance. But the Nana did not slacken 
his pace, although often making steep ascents. Twenty-five 
miles, the distance that is between Ellora and Aurungabad, 
had to be got over during the night; nothing therefore in- 
duced him to make a halt, although an open caravanserai 
lay near his path, and he passed a lonely and half-ruined 
bungalow among the hills, where he might have sought an 
hour's repose. 

When the sun rose he was beyond the village of Ranzah, 
which possesses the tomb of Aurungzeeb, the most famous 
of Mogul emperors. 

At length he had reached the celebrated group of excava- 

V XII Verne 



146 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

tions which take their name from the little neighboring 
village of Ellora. 

The hill in which these caves, to the number of thirty, 
have been hollowed out, is crescent-shaped. The monuments 
consist of twenty-four Buddhist monasteries and some grot- 
toes of less importance. The basaltic quarry has been ex- 
tensively worked by the hand of man. But the native 
architects, who from the earliest ages extracted stones from 
it, had not for their main object the erection of the marvel- 
ous buildings here and there to be seen on the surface of the 
vast peninsula. No ; they removed these stones in order to 
procure space within the living rock. 

The arrival of Nana Sahib at Ellora was unobserved ; he 
entered the caves and glided into one of several deep cracks 
or crevices which had opened in the basement, but were 
concealed behind the supporting elephants. 

This opening admitted him into a gloomy passage or drain 
which ran beneath the temple, terminating in a sort of crypt 
or vaulted reservoir, now dry and empty. 

Advancing a short way into the passage, the Nana uttered 
a peculiar whistle, to which a sound precisely similar im- 
mediately replied, and a light flashed through the darkness, 
proving that the answer was no mocking echo. Then an 
Indian appeared carrying a small lantern. 

" Away with the light! " said the Nana. 

" Dandou Pant! " said the Indian, extinguishing the lamp; 
"is it thou thyself?" 

" My brother, it is I myself." 

"Art thou ?," 

" Let me eat first," returned the Nana ; " we will converse 
afterward. But let both eating and speaking be in darkness. 
Take my hand and guide me." 

The Indian took his hand and drew him into the crypt, 
and he assisted him to lie down on a heap of withered grass 
and leaves, where he himself had been sleeping when roused 
by the fakir's signal. 

The man, accustomed to move in the obscurity of this dis- 
mal retreat, soon produced food, consisting of bread, the 
flesh of fowls prepared in a way common in India, and a 
gourd containing half a pint of the strong spirit known as 
arrack, distilled from the sap of the cocoanut-tree. 

The Nana ate and drank, but spoke never a word. He 



DEEP IN THE CAVES OF ELLORA 147 

was faint and sinking through hunger and fatigue, and his 
whole vitality seemed concentrated in his eyes, which burned 
and flashed in the darkness like those of a tiger. The In- 
dian remained motionless, waiting till the Nabob chose to 
speak. 

This man was Balao Rao, the brother of Nana Sahib. 
Balao Rao, a year older than Dandou Pant, resembled him 
physically, and might easily be mistaken for him. Morally 
the likeness was still more complete. In detestation of the 
English in craft to form plots, and in cruelty to execute them, 
they were as one soul, in two bodies. Throughout the rebel- 
lion these two brothers had kept together. After it was sub- 
dued, they shared together a refuge on the frontiers of 
Nepaul. And now, united by the single aim of resuming 
the struggle, they were both ready for action. 

When the Nana had devoured the food set before him, 
he remained for some time leaning his head on his folded 
arms. Balao Rao kept silence, thinking he wished to sleep. 

But Dandou Pant raised his head suddenly, and, grasp- 
ing his brother's hand, said in a hollow voice, " I am de- 
nounced ! There is a price set on my head ! 2,000/. prom- 
ised to the man who delivers up Nana Sahib ! " 

"Thy head is worth more than that, Dandou Pant!' 
cried Balao Rao ; " 2,000/. is hardly enough even for 
mine. They would be fortunate if they got the two for 
20,000/." 

" Yes," returned the Nana ; " in three months, on the 
23d of June, will be the anniversary of the battle of Plassy. 
Our prophets foretold that its hundredth anniversary, in 
1857, should witness the downfall of British rule and the 
emancipation of the children of the sun. Nine years more 
than the hundred have now all but passed, and India still 
lies crushed and trodden beneath the invader's heel." 

" That effort which failed in 1857 may and ought to suc- 
ceed ten years afterward," replied Balao Rao. " In 1827, 
'37, and '47, there were risings in India. The fever of 
revolt has broken out every ten years. Well — this year it 
will be cured by a bath of European blood ! " 

" Let but Brahma be our stay," murmured the Nana, 
"and then — life for life! Woe to the leaders of our foe 
who yet survive ! Lawrence is gone, Barnard, Hope, Napier, 
Hodson, Havelock — all are gone. But Campbell and Rose 



148 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

still live, and he whom, above all, I hate — that Colonel 
Munro, whose ancestor was the first to blow our men from 
the cannon's mouth, the man who with his own hand slew 
my friend the Ranee of Jhansi. Let but that man fall into 
my power, and he shall see whether I have forgotten the 
horrors of Colonel Neil, the massacres of Secunderabad, 
the slaughter in the Begum's palace, at Bareilly, Jhansi, 
Morar, the island of Hydaspes,. and at Delhi. He shall 
discover that I have sworn his death, as he did mine." 

" Has he not left the army? " inquired Balao Rao. 

" He would re-enter the service the moment any dis- 
turbances broke out," replied Nana Sahib. " But even if 
our attempted rising were to fail, he should not escape, for 
I would stab him in his bungalow at Calcutta." 

" So let it be — and now ? " 

" Now the work must begin. This time it shall be a 
national movement. Let but the Hindoos of towns, villages, 
and country places rise simultaneously, and very soon the 
sepoys will make common cause with them. I have traversed 
the center and north of the Deccan; everywhere I have 
found minds ripe for revolt. We have leaders ready to 
act in every town and straggling village. The Brahmins 
will fanaticize the people. Religion this time will carry 
along with us the votaries of Siva and Vishnu. At the ap- 
pointed time, at the given signal, millions of natives will 
rise, and the royal army will be annihilated! ' 

"And Dandou Pant? " exclaimed Balao Rao, seizing his 
brother's hand. 

" Dandou Pant," continued the Nana, " will not only be 
the Peishwar crowned in the hill-fort of Bithour. He will 
be the sovereign of the whole sacred land of Hindoostan! ' 

Nana Sahib folded his arms, his abstracted look was that 
of a man whose mental eye is bent on the distant future, 
and he remained silent. 

Balao Rao was careful not to rouse him. He loved to 
see the working of that fierce soul, burning as it were with 
a hidden fire, which he knew he could at any moment fan 
into a flame. 

The Nana could not have had an accomplice more de- 
voted to his person, a counselor more eager to urge him 
forward to attain his ends. He was to him, as has been 
said, a second self. 



DEEP IN THE CAVES OF ELLORA 149 

After a silence of some duration, the Nana raised his 
head — his thoughts had returned to the present. 

" Where are our comrades? " 

' In the caverns of Adjuntah, where they were appointed 
to wait for us." 

" And our horses? " 

" I left them a gunshot from this place, on the road 
between Ellora and Boregami." 

" Is Kalagani with them? " 

" He is, my brother. They are rested, refreshed, and 
perfectly ready for us." 

" Then let us start. We must be at Adjuntah before 
daybreak." 

"And after that what must be done? Has not this 
enforced flight disarranged our previous plans? " 

" No," replied Nana Sahib. " We must gain the heights 
of Sautpourra, where every defile is known to me, and 
where I can assuredly defy the pursuit of the English blood- 
hounds of police. There we shall be in the territory of 
the Bheels and Goonds, who are faithful to our cause. 
There, in the midst of that mountainous region of the Vind- 
hyas, where the standard of revolt may at any moment be 
raised, I shall await the favorable juncture ! " 

" Forward ! " exclaimed Balao Rao, starting up, " and 
let those who want heads come and take them ! " 

" Yes — let them come," responded the Nana, grinding 
his teeth. " I am ready." 

Balao Rao instantly made his way along the narrow pas- 
sage which led to this dismal cell beneath the temple. On 
reaching the secret opening behind the colossal elephant, 
he cautiously emerged, looked anxiously on all sides, amid 
the shadowy gloom, to ascertain that the coast was clear. 
Then advancing some twenty paces, and being satisfied that 
all was safe, he gave notice by a shrill whistle that the 
Nana might follow him. 

Shortly afterward the two brothers had quitted this arti- 
ficial valley, the length of which is half a league, and 
which, sometimes to a great height, and in several stories, 
is pierced by galleries, vaulted chambers, and excavations. 
The distance between Ellora and Adjuntah is fifty miles, 
but the Nana was no longer the fugitive of Aurungabad, 
traveling painfully on foot. Three horses awaited him, 



150 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

as his brother had said, under the care of his faithful 
servant Kalagani. They were concealed in a thick forest, 
about a mile from Ellora, and the three men were speedily 
mounted and galloping in the direction of Adjuntah. It 
was no strange thing to see a fakir on horseback. In point 
of fact, many of these impudent beggars demand alms from 
their seat in the saddle ! 

Although the time of the year was not that at which 
pilgrimages are usually made, yet the Nana avoided passing 
near the Mohammedan mausoleum frequented as a bungalow 
by pilgrims, travelers, and sightseers of all nations who 
often flock thither attracted by the wonders of Ellora, and 
pushed forward by a route as remote as possible from human 
habitations. He only halted occasionally to breathe the 
steeds and to partake of the simple provisions which Kala- 
gani carried at his saddle-bow. 

The ground was flat and level. In all directions stretched 
expanses of heath, crossed by massive ridges of dense jungle. 
But as they approached Adjuntah the country became more 
varied. 

The superb grottoes or caves of Adjuntah, which rival 
those of Ellora, and perhaps in general beauty surpass them, 
occupy the lower end of a small valley about half a mile 
from the town. Nana Sahib could reach them without 
passing through it, and therefore felt himself secure, al- 
though so near a place where the governor's proclamation 
was fixed to every building. 

Fifteen hours after quitting Ellora he and his two com- 
panions plunged into a narrow defile which led them into 
the celebrated valley where twenty-seven temples, hewn in 
the rocky wall, looked down into the giddy depths beneath. 

It was night, superb though moonless, for the heavens 
glittered with starry constellations, when the Nana, Balao 
Rao, and Kalagani approached their destination. Lofty 
trees and giant flowering plants stood out in strong relief 
against the sparkling sky. Not a breath stirred the air, not 
a leaf moved, not the faintest sound could be heard, save 
the dull murmur of a torrent which rolled in the depths of 
a ravine hundreds of feet below. 

This murmur grew on the ear, however, and became a 
hoarse roar as the riders advanced to the cataract of Sat- 
kound, where the water, torn by sharp projections of quartz 



DEEP IN THE CAVES OF ELLORA 151 

and basalt, plunges over a fall of fifty fathoms. As the 
travelers passed the chasm, a cloud of liquid dust whirled 
and eddied over it, which moonlight would have tinted with 
soft rainbow hues. 

Here the defile made a sharp turn like an elbow, and 
the valley, in all its wealth of Buddhist architecture, lay 
before them. 

On the walls of these temples — profusely adorned with 
columns, rose-tracery, arabesques, and galleries peopled by 
colossal forms of grotesque animals, hollowed out into cells 
formerly occupied by the priests, who were the guardians 
of these sacred abodes — the artist may admire the bright 
colors of frescoes which seem as though painted but yes- 
terday ; frescoes which represent royal ceremonies, religious 
processions, and battles, exhibiting every weapon employed 
long before the Christian era in the great and glorious em- 
pire of India. 

To Nana Sahib all the secrets of these mysterious tem- 
ples were well known. Already, more than once, he had, 
when closely pressed, sought refuge among them. The 
subterranean galleries connecting the temples, the narrow 
tunnels bored through solid walls of quartz, the winding 
passages crossing and recrossing in every direction, all the 
thousand ramifications of a labyrinth the clue to which 
might be sought in vain by the most patient, were familiar 
to him. Even with no torch to illumine their profound 
gloom, he was perfectly at home there. 

Like a man sure of what he was about, the Nana made 
straight for one of the excavations less important than the 
rest. The entrance to it was filled up by a curtain of 
foliage and a mass of huge stones piled up in some ancient 
landslip, and thickly overgrown by shrubs and creepers. 

The Nana gave notice of his presence at this concealed 
entrance simply by scraping his nail on a flat surface of 
stone. 

Instantly the heads of two or three natives appeared 
among the branches; then ten, then twenty, showed them- 
selves ; and then soon, creeping and winding out like ser- 
pents from between the stones, came a party of forty well- 
armed men. 

" Forward ! " said Nana Sahib. 

And seeking no explanation, ignorant of whither he led 



152 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

them, these faithful followers were ready to obey ; and, if 
needful, lay down their lives for Dandou Pant. They were 
on foot, but could vie with the speed of any horse. 

The little party made its way across the defile which 
skirted the abyss, keeping in a northerly direction, and 
rounding the shoulder of the hill. In an hour they reached 
the road to Kandeish, which finally leads to the passes of 
the Sautpourra mountains. 

At daybreak they passed near the line of railway run- 
ning from Bombay to Allahabad, above Nagpore. 

On a sudden the Calcutta express dashed into sight, fling- 
ing masses of white vapor among the stately banyans, and 
startling with its shrieking whistle the wild inhabitants of 
the jungle. 

The Nana drew bridle, and stretching his hand toward 
the flying train, exclaimed, in a strong, stern voice, " Speed 
on thy way, and tell the Viceroy of India that Nana Sahib 
lives ! Tell him that this railroad, the accursed work of the 
invader's hands, shall ere long be drenched in their 
blood." 



CHAPTER V 

THE IRON GIANT 

On the morning of the 5th of May, the passengers along 
the high road from Calcutta to Chandernagore, whether men, 
women, or children, English or native, were completely 
astounded by a sight which met their eyes. And certainly 
the surprise they testified was extremely natural. 

At sunrise a strange and most remarkable equipage had 
been seen to issue from the suburbs of the Indian capital, 
attended by a dense crowd of people drawn by curiosity 
to watch its departure. 

First, and apparently drawing the caravan, came a gigantic 
elephant. The monstrous animal, twenty feet in height, 
and thirty in length, advanced deliberately, steadily, and 
with a certain mystery of movement which struck the gazer 
with a thrill of awe. His trunk, curved like a cornucopia, 
was uplifted high in the air. His gilded tusks, projecting 
from behind the massive jaws, resembled a pair of huge 
scythes. On his back was a highly ornamented howdah, 



THE IRON GIANT 153 

which looked like a tower surmounted, in Indian style, by 
a dome-shaped roof and furnished with lens-shaped glasses 
to serve for windows. 

This elephant drew after him a train consisting of two 
enormous cars, or actual houses, moving bungalows in fact, 
each mounted on four wheels. The wheels, which, were 
prodigiously strong, were carved, or rather sculptured in 
every part. Their lowest portion only could be seen, as 
they moved inside a sort of case, like a paddle-box, which 
concealed the enormous locomotive apparatus. A flexible 
gangway connected the two carriages. 

How could a single elephant, however strong, manage to 
drag these two enormous constructions, without any ap- 
parent effort? Yet this astonishing animal did so! His 
huge feet were raised and set down with mechanical reg- 
ularity, and he changed his pace from a walk to a trot, 
without either the voice or a hand of a mahout being ap- 
parent. 

The spectators were at first so astonished by all this, that 
they kept at a respectful distance; but when they ventured 
nearer, their surprise gave place to admiration. They could 
hear a roar, very similar to the cry uttered by these giants 
of the Indian forests. At intervals there issued from the 
trunk a jet of vapor. And yet, it was an elephant! The 
rugged greeny-black skin evidently covered the bony frame- 
work of one that must be called the king of the pachyderms. 
His eyes were lifelike; all his members were endowed with 
movement ! 

Ay! But if some inquisitive person had chanced to lay 
his hand on the animal, all would have been explained. It 
was but a marvelous deception, a gigantic imitation, having 
as nearly as possible every appearance of life. In fact, this 
elephant was really encased in steel, and an actual steam- 
engine was concealed within its sides. 

The train, or Steam House, to give it its most suitable 
name, was the traveling dwelling promised by the engineer. 
The first carriage, or rather house, was the habitation of 
Colonel Munro, Captain Hood, Banks, and myself. In the 
second lodged Sergeant McNeil and the servants of the 
expedition. Banks had kept his promise, Colonel Munro 
had kept his ; and that was the reason why, on this May 
morning, we were setting out in this extraordinary vehicle, 



154 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

with the intention of visiting the northern regions of the 
Indian peninsula. 

But what was the good of this artificial elephant? Why 
have this fantastic apparatus, so unlike the usual practical 
inventions of the English? Till then, no one had ever 
thought of giving to a locomotive destined to travel either 
over macadam highways or iron rails, the shape and form 
of a quadruped. 

I must say, the first time we were admitted to view the 
machine we were all lost in amazement. Questions about 
the why and wherefore fell thick and fast upon our friend 
Banks. We knew that this traction-engine had been con- 
structed from his plans and under his directions. What, 
then, had given him the idea of hiding it within the iron 
sides of a mechanical elephant? 

" My friends," answered Banks seriously, " do you know 
the Rajah of Bhootan? " 

" I know him," replied Captain Hood, " or rather I did 
know him, for he died two months ago." 

" Well, before dying," returned the engineer, " the Rajah 
of Bhootan not only lived, but lived differently to any one 
else. He loved pomp, and displayed it in every possible 
manner. He never denied himself anything — I mean any- 
thing that ever came into his head. His brain imagined the 
most impossible things, and had not his purse been inex- 
haustible, it would soon have been emptied in the process 
of gratifying all his desires. He was enormously rich, had 
coffers filled with lacs of rupees. Now one day an idea 
occurred to him, which took such possession of his mind 
as to keep him from sleeping — an idea which Solomon might 
have been proud of, and would certainly have realized, had 
he been acquainted with steam : this idea was to travel in 
a perfectly new fashion, and to have an equipage such as 
no one had before dreamed of. He knew me, and sent for 
me to his court, and himself drew the plan of his locomotive. 
If you imagine, my friends, that I burst into a laugh at 
the Rajah's proposition, you are mistaken. I perfectly un- 
derstood that this grandiose idea sprang naturally from the 
brain of a Hindoo sovereign, and I had but one desire on 
the subject — to realize it as soon as possible, and in a way 
to satisfy both my poetic client and myself. A hardworking 
engineer hasn't an opportunity every day to exercise his 



THE IRON GIANT 155 

taients in this fantastic way, and add an animal of this 
description to the creations of the " Arabian Nights." In 
short, I saw it was possible to realize the Rajah's whim. 
All that has been done, that can be done, will be done in 
machinery. I set to work, and in this iron-plated case, in 
the shape of an elephant, I managed to inclose the boiler, 
the machinery, and the tender of a traction-engine, with all 
its accessories. The flexible trunk, which can be raised and 
lowered at will, is the chimney ; the legs of my animal are 
connected with the wheels of the apparatus ; I arranged his 
eyes so as to dart out two jets of electric light, and the 
artificial elephant was complete. But as it was not my own 
spontaneous creation, I met with numerous difficulties which 
delayed me. The gigantic plaything, as you may call it, 
cost me many a sleepless night ; so many indeed, that my 
rajah, who was wild with impatience, and passed the best 
part of his time in my workshops, died before the finishing 
touches were given that would allow the elephant to set 
forth on his travels. The poor fellow had no time even 
to make one trial of his invention. His heirs, however, less 
fanciful than he, viewed the apparatus with the terror of 
superstition, and as the work of a madman. They were 
only eager to get rid of it at any price. I therefore bought 
it up on the colonel's account. Now you know all the why 
and wherefore of the matter, and how it is that in all the 
world we alone are the proprietors of a steam elephant, 
with the strength of eighty horses, not to mention eighty 
elephants! " 

'Bravo, Banks! well done!" exclaimed Captain Hood. 
" A first-class engineer who is an artist, a poet in iron and 
steel into the bargain, is a rara avis among us ! " 

" The rajah being dead," resumed Banks, " and his ap- 
paratus being in my possession, I had not the heart to de- 
stroy my elephant, and give the locomotive its ordinary form." 

" And you did well ! " replied the captain. " Our elephant 
is superb, there's no other word for it ! " said the captain. 
" And what a fine effect we shall have, careering over the 
plains and through the jungles of Hindoostan ! It is a reg- 
ular rajah-like idea, isn't it? and one of which we shall reap 
the advantage, sha'n't we, colonel?" 

Colonel Munro made a faint attempt at a smile, to show 
that he quite approved of the captain's speech. 



156 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

The journey was resolved upon then and there ; and now 
this unique and wonderful steam elephant was reduced to 
drag the traveling residence of four Englishmen, instead of 
stalking along in state with one of the most opulent rajahs 
of the Indian peninsula. 

I quote the following description of the mechanism of 
this road engine, on which Banks had brought to bear all 
the improvements of modern science, from notes made at 
the time. 

" Between the four wheels are all the machinery of 
cylinders, pistons, feed-pump, etc., covered by the body 
of the boiler. This tubular boiler is in the fore part of the 
elephant's body, and the tender, carrying fuel and water, 
in the hinder part. The boiler and tender, though both on 
the same truck, have a space between them, left for the 
use of the stoker. The engine-driver is stationed in the 
fireproof howdah on the animal's back, in which we all could 
take refuge in case of any serious attack. He has there 
everything in his power, safety-valves, regulating brakes, 
etc., so that he can steer or back his engine at will. He has 
also thick lens-shaped glass fixed in the narrow embrasures, 
through which he can see the road both before and behind 
him. 

" The boiler and tender are fixed on springs of the best 
steel, so as to lessen the jolting caused by the inequalities 
of the ground. The wheels, constructed with vast solidity, 
are grooved so as to bite the earth, and prevent them from 
' skating.' 

" The nominal strength of the engine is equal to that of 
eighty horses, but its power can be increased to equal that 
of one hundred and fifty, without any danger of an ex- 
plosion. A case, hermetically sealed, incloses all the ma- 
chinery, so as to protect it from the dust of the roads, which 
would soon put the mechanism out of order. The machine 
has a double cylinder after the Field system, and its great 
perfection consists in this, that the expenditure is small and 
the results great. Nothing could be better arranged in that 
way, for in the furnace any kind of fuel may be burned, 
either wood or coal. The engineer estimates the ordinary 
speed at fifteen miles an hour, but on a good road it can 
reach twenty-five. There is no danger of the wheels skat- 
ing, not only from the grooves, but because of the perfect 



THE IRON GIANT 157 

poise of the apparatus, which is all so well balanced that 
not even the severest jolting could disturb it. The atmos- 
pheric brakes, with which the engine is provided, could 
in a moment produce either a slackening of speed or a 
sudden halt. 

" The facility with which the machine can ascend slopes 
is remarkable. Banks has succeeded most happily in this, 
taking into consideration the weight and power of propulsion 
of the machine. It can easily ascend a slope at an inclination 
of from four to five inches in the yard, which is consider- 
able." 

There is a perfect network of magnificent roads made by 
the English all over India, which are excellently fitted for 
this mode of locomotion. The Great Trunk Road, for in- 
stance, stretches uninterruptedly for one thousand and two 
hundred miles. 

I must now describe the Steam House. 

Banks had not only bought from the Nabob's heirs the 
traction-engine, but the train which it had in tow. This 
had of course been constructed, according to the Oriental 
taste of the rajah, in the most gorgeous Hindoo fashion. 
I have already called it a traveling bungalow, and it merited 
the name, for the two cars composing it were simply a 
marvelous specimen of the architecture of the country. 

Imagine two pagoda-shaped buildings without minarets, 
but with double-ridged roofs surmounted by a dome, the 
corbeling of the windows supported by sculptured pilasters, 
all the ornamentation in exquisitely carved and colored 
woods of rare kinds, a handsome veranda both back and 
front. You might suppose them a couple of pagodas torn 
from the sacred hill of Sonnaghur. 

To complete the marvel of this prodigious locomotive I 
must add that it can float! In fact, the stomach, or that 
part of the elephant's body which contains the machinery, 
as well as the lower portion of the buildings, form boats 
of light steel. When a river is met with, the elephant 
marches straight into it, the train follows, and as the animal's 
feet can be moved by paddle-wheels, the Steam House moves 
gayly over the surface of the water. This is an indescriba- 
ble advantage for such a vast country as India, where there 
are more rivers than bridges. 

This was the train ordered by the capricious Rajah of 



158 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

Bhootan. But though the carriages were like pagodas on 
the outside, Banks thought it best to furnish the interior 
to suit English tastes, with everything necessary for a long 
journey, and in this he was very successful. 

The width of the two carriages was not less than eighteen 
feet; they therefore projected over the wheels, as the axles 
were not more than fifteen. Being well hung on splendid 
springs, any jolting would be as little felt as on a well- 
made railroad. 

The first carriage was forty-five feet long. In front was 
an elegant veranda, in which a dozen people could sit com- 
fortably. Two windows and a door led into the drawing- 
room, lighted besides by two side windows. This room, 
furnished with a table and book-case, and having luxurious 
divans all round it, was artistically decorated and hung with 
rich tapestry. A thick Turkey carpet covered the floor. 
" Tatties," or blinds, hung before the windows, and were 
kept moistened with perfumed water, so that a delightful 
freshness was constantly diffused throughout all the apart- 
ments. A punkah was suspended from the ceiling and kept 
continually in motion, for it was necessary to provide against 
the heat, which at certain times of the year is something 
frightful. 

Opposite the veranda door was another of valuable wood, 
opening into the dining-room, which was lighted not only 
by side windows, but by a ceiling of ground glass. 

Eight guests might have been comfortably seated round 
the table in the center, so as we were but four we had 
ample room. It was furnished with sideboards and buffets 
loaded with all the wealth of silver, glass, and china, which 
is necessary to English comfort. Of course all these fragile 
articles were put in specially made racks, as is done on board 
ship, so that even on the roughest roads they would be 
perfectly safe. 

A door led out into the passage, which ended in another 
veranda at the back. From this passage opened four rooms, 
each containing a bed, dressing-table, wardrobe and sofa, 
and fitted up like the cabins of the best transatlantic steam- 
ers. The first of these rooms on the left was occupied by 
Colonel Munro, the second on the right by Banks. Captain 
Hood was established next to the engineer, and I next to 
Sir Edward. 



FIRST STAGES 159 

The second carriage was thirty-six feet in length, and 
also possessed a veranda which opened into a large kitchen, 
flanked on each side with a pantry, and supplied with every- 
thing that could be wanted. This kitchen communicated 
with a passage which, widening into a square in the middle, 
and lighted by a skylight, formed a dining-room for the 
servants. In the four angles were four cabins, occupied by 
Sergeant McNeil, the engine driver, the stoker, and Colonel 
Munro's orderly; while at the back were two other rooms 
for the cook and Captain Hood's man; besides a gun-room, 
box-room and ice-house, all opening into the back veranda. 

It could not be denied that Banks had intelligently and 
comfortably arranged and furnished Steam House. There 
was an apparatus for heating it in winter with hot air from 
the engine, besides two small fireplaces in the drawing and 
dining rooms. We were therefore quite prepared to brave 
the rigors of the cold season, even on the slopes of the 
mountains of Thibet. 

The following is the itinerary of the journey which was 
agreed on, subject to any modifications which unforeseen 
circumstances might suggest. We proposed leaving Cal- 
cutta, to follow the valley of the Ganges up to Allahabad, 
to cross the kingdom of Oude, so as to reach the first slopes 
of Thibet, to remain there for some months, sometimes in 
one place, sometimes in another, so as to give Captain Hood 
plenty of opportunity for hunting, and then to redescend to 
Bombay. We had thus 900 leagues, or 2,700 miles before 
us. But our house and servants traveled with us. Under 
these conditions, who would refuse even to make the tour 
of the world again and again? 



CHAPTER VI 

FIRST STAGES 

Before dawn, on the morning of our start, I left the 
Spencer Hotel, one of the best in Calcutta, which I had 
made my residence ever since my arrival. 

Our train awaited us at no great distance; we had only 
to enter and establish ourselves. Our luggage had of course 
been put "on board." Nothing unnecessary was allowed; 
but Captain Hood had large ideas in the matter of firearms, 



160 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

and considered an arsenal of four Enfield rifles, four fowl- 
ing-pieces, two duck-guns, and several other guns, pistols, 
and revolvers, quite indispensable for such a party as ours. 
This armory appeared to threaten the lives of wild beasts 
rather than simply to supply game for our table, but the 
Nimrod of our expedition was very decided in his views on 
the subject. 

Captain Hood was in the highest spirits. The triumph 
of having succeeded in persuading Colonel Munro to for- 
sake his solitary retreat; the pleasure of setting out on such 
a tour, with an equipage so entirely novel; the prospect 
of unusual occupation, plenty of exercise, and grand Hima- 
layan excursions; all combined to excite him to the great- 
est degree; and he gave vent to his feelings in perpetual 
exclamations, while he urged us to bestir ourselves. 

The clock struck the hour of departure. Steam was up, 
the engine ready for action. Our engine-driver stood at 
his post, his hand on the regulator. The whistle sounded. 

" Off with you, Behemoth ! " shouted Captain Hood, wav- 
ing his cap. And this name, so well suited to our wonderful 
traction-engine, was ever after bestowed upon it. 

Now for a word as to our attendants, who occupied the 
second house — No. 2, as we used to call it. 

The engine-driver, Storr, was an Englishman, and had 
been employed on " The Great Southern " line until a few 
months previously. Banks knew him to be an efficient and 
clever workman, thoroughly up to his business, and there- 
fore engaged him for Colonel Munro's service. He was 
a man of forty years of age, and proved exceedingly use- 
ful to us. 

The fireman's name was Kalouth. He belonged to a 
tribe or class of Hindoos much sought after by railway com- 
panies, to be employed as stokers, because they endure with 
impunity the double heat of their tropical climate and that 
of the engine furnaces. They resemble, in this, the Arabs 
employed as firemen in the Red Sea steamers — good fellows 
who are content to be merely boiled where Europeans would 
be roasted in a few minutes. 

Colonel Munro had a regimental servant named Goumi, 
one of the tribe of Gourkas. He belonged to that regiment 
which, as an act of good discipline, had accepted the use 
of the Enfield rifles, the introduction of which into the 



FIRST STAGES 161 

service had been the reason, or at least the pretext, of the 
sepoy revolt. Small, active, supple, and of tried fidelity, 
Goumi always wore the dark uniform of the rifle brigade, 
which was as dear to him as his own skin. 

Sergeant McNeil and Goumi were attached heart and 
soul to Colonel Munro. They had fought under his com- 
mand all through the Indian campaign; they had accompa- 
nied him in his fruitless search for Nana Sahib; they had 
followed him into retirement, and would never dream of 
leaving him. 

Captain Hood had also a faithful follower — a frank, 
lively young Englishman, whose name was Fox, and who 
would not have changed places with any officer's servant 
under the sun. He perfectly adored Captain Hood, and 
was quite as keen a sportsman as his master. Having ac- 
companied him on numberless tiger-hunts, Fox had proved 
his skill, and reckoned the tigers which had fallen to his 
gun at thirty-seven, only three less than his master could 
boast of. 

Our staff of attendants was completed by a negro cook, 
whose dominion lay in the forepart of the second house. 
He was of French origin, and having boiled, fried, and 
fricasseed in every possible latitude, Monsieur Parazard — 
for that was his name — had no small opinion of the im- 
portance of his noble profession ; he would have scorned to 
call it his trade. 

He presided over his saucepans with the air of a high 
priest, and distributed his condiments with the accuracy of 
a chemist. Monsieur Parazard was vain, it is true, but 
so clever that we readily pardoned his vanity. 

Our expedition, then, was made up of ten persons ; namely, 
Sir Edward Munro, Banks, Hood, and myself, who were ac- 
commodated in one house ; McNeil, Storr, Kalouth, Goumi, 
Fox, and Monsieur Parazard, in the other. 

I must not forget the two dogs, Fan and Niger, whose 
sporting qualities were to be put to the proof by Hood, in 
many a stirring episode of the chase. 

" Arrange the route exactly as you please, my friends," 
said Colonel Munro. " Decide without reference to me. 
Whatever you do will be done well." 

" Still, my dear Munro," replied Banks ; " it would be 
satisfactory to have your opinion." 

V XII Verne 



162 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

" No, Banks," returned the colonel ; " I give myself up 
to you, and have no wish to visit one place rather than an- 
other. One single question, however, I will ask. After 
Benares, in what direction do you propose to travel? ' : 

" Northward, most certainly ! " exclaimed Hood impetu- 
ously. " Right across the kingdom of Oude, up to the 
lower ranges of the Himalayas ! " 

" Well then, my friends," began Colonel Munro, '" per- 
haps when we get so far, I will propose — but it will be soon 
enough to speak of that when the time comes. Till then, go 
just where you choose." 

I could not help feeling somewhat surprised by these 
words of Sir Edward Munro. What could he have in his 
mind ? Had he only agreed to take this journey in the hope 
that chance might serve his purpose better than his own will 
and endeavor had done? Did it seem to him possible that, 
supposing Nana Sahib to be still alive, he might yet find 
trace of him in the extreme north of India? Was the hope 
of vengeance still strong within him? 

I could not resist the conviction that our friend was in- 
fluenced by this hidden motive, and that Sergeant McNeil 
shared his master's thoughts. 

When we left Calcutta we were seated in the drawing- 
room of Steam House. The door and the windows of the 
veranda were open, and the measured beat of the punkah 
kept up an agreeable temperature. Storr drove the engine 
at a slow and steady rate of three miles an hour, for we 
travelers were just then in no haste, and desired to see at 
leisure the country we passed through. 

For a long time we were followed by a number of Euro- 
peans who were astonished at our equipage, and by crowds 
of natives whose wonder and admiration was mingled with 
fear. We gradually distanced this attendant mob, but met 
people continually who lavished upon us admiring exclama- 
tions of Wallah! wallah! The huge elephant, vomiting 
clouds of steam, excited far more astonishment than the 
two superb cars which he drew after him. 

At ten o'clock breakfast was served in the dining-room; 

and, seated at a table which was far less shaken than it 

would have been in a first-class railway carriage, we did 

ample justice to the culinary skill of Monsieur Parazard. 

We were traveling along the left bank of the Hoogly, 



FIRST STAGES 163 

the most western of the numerous arms of the Ganges, 
which form together the labyrinthine network of the del- 
ta of the Sunderbunds, and is entirely an alluvial for- 
mation. 

" What you see there, my dear Maucler," said Banks, 
" is a conquest won by the sacred river Ganges from the 
not less sacred Bay of Bengal. It has been a mere affair 
of time. There is probably not an atom of that soil which 
has not been transported hither, by the mighty current, from 
the Himalayan heights. Little by little the stream has 
robbed the mountains in order to form this province, through 
which it has worked its bed " 

"And changes incessantly!" broke in Captain Hood. 
" There never was such a whimsical, capricious, lunatic of 
a river as this same Ganges. People take the trouble to 
build a town on its banks, and behold, a few centuries later 
the town is in the midst of a plain, its harbors are dry, 
the river has changed its course! Thus Rajmahal, as well 
as Gaur, were both formerly situated on this faithless 
stream, and now there they are dying of thirst amidst the 
parched rice-fields of the plains." 

" Then may not some such fate be in store for Calcutta ? " 
inquired I. 

" Ah, who knows." 

"Come, come," said Banks; "you forget the engineers! 
It would only require skillful embankments. We could 
easily put a straight waistcoat on the Ganges, and restrain 
its vagaries." 

" It is well for you, Banks," said I, " that no natives are 
within earshot when you speak so irreverently of their 
sacred stream! They would never forgive you." 

" Well, really," returned Banks, " they look on their 
river as a son of God, if not God himself, and in their eyes 
it can do nothing amiss." 

" Not even by maintaining, as it does, epidemics of the 
plague, fever, and cholera ! " cried Captain Hood. " I must 
say, however, that the atmosphere it engenders agrees splen- 
didly with the tigers and crocodiles which swarm in the 
Sunderbunds. Ah, the savages ! Fox ! " he added, turning 
to his servant, who was clearing away the breakfast things. 

" Yes, captain." 

" Wasn't it there you killed your thirty-seventh ? " 



164 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

" Yes, captain, two miles from Fort Canning. It was 
one evening- 



" There, Fox ! that will do," interrupted the captain, as 
he tossed off a large glass of brandy and soda. ' I know 
all about the thirty-seventh. The history of your thirty- 
eighth would interest me more." 

" My thirty-eighth is not killed yet, captain." 

" No, but you will bag him some day, Fox, as I shall 
my forty-first." 

It is to be noted, that in the conversations of Captain 
Hood and his man, the word " tiger " was never mentioned. 
It was quite unnecessary. The two hunters perfectly un- 
derstood one another. 

As we proceeded to the Hoogly, its banks, which above 
Calcutta are rather low, gradually contracted, much reduc- 
ing the width of the river. For some hours we kept near 
the railroad, which from Burdwan passes on to Rajmahal, 
in the valley of the Ganges, which it then follows till be- 
yond Benares. 

The Calcutta train passed us at great speed, and the 
shouts of the passengers showed that while they admired us, 
they mocked our slower pace. We did not return their 
defiance. More rapidly they certainly did travel than our- 
selves, but in comfort there was simply no comparison. 

During these two days the scenery was invariably flat, 
and therefore monotonous. Here and there waved a few 
slender cocoanut-trees, the last of which we should leave 
behind after passing Burdwan. These trees, which belong 
to the great family of palms, are partial to the coast, and 
love to breathe salt air. Thus they are not found beyond 
a somewhat narrow belt along the sea coast, and it is vain 
to seek them in Central India. The flora of the interior 
is, however, extremely interesting and varied. 

On each side of our route, the country in this part re- 
sembles an immense chess-board marked out in squares of 
rice-fields, and stretching as far as we could see. Shades 
of green predominated, and the harvest promised to be 
abundant in this moist, warm soil, the prodigious fertility 
of which is well known. 

On the evening of the second day, with punctuality which 
an express might have envied, the engine gave its last snort 
and stopped at the gates of Burdwan. This city is the 



FIRST STAGES 165 

judicial headquarters of an English district ; but properly 
speaking, the country belongs to a Maharajah, who pays 
taxes to Government amounting to not less than ten millions. 

The town consists in a great part of low houses, standing 
in fine avenues of trees, such as cocoanuts and arequipas. 
These avenues being wide enough to admit our train, we 
proceeded to encamp in a charming spot, full of shade and 
freshness. 

It seemed as though a large addition were suddenly made 
to the city, when our houses took up their position in it, 
and we would not have exchanged our residences for any 
in the splendid quarter where stands the magnificent palace 
of the sovereign of Burdwan. 

It may well be supposed that our elephant produced all 
the terror and admiration which he usually excited among 
Bengalees. The people ran together from all sides, the men 
bare-headed, their hair cut short a la Titus, and wearing 
only loose cotton drawers, while the women were enveloped 
from head to foot in white. 

" I begin to be afraid," said Captain Hood, " that the 
Maharajah will want to buy our Behemoth, and that he will 
offer such a vast sum, we shall be forced to let his highness 
have him." 

"Never!' exclaimed Banks. "I will make another 
elephant for him if he likes, of power enough to draw his 
whole capital from one end of his dominion to the other. 
But we won't part with Behemoth at any price, will we, 
Munro?" 

" Most certainly we will not," answered the colonel, in 
the tone of a man who was not to be tempted by millions. 

And after all there was no question as to whether our 
colossal elephant was for sale or not. The Maharajah was 
not at Burdwan, and the only visit we received was from 
his kamdar, a sort of private secretary, who came to examine 
our equipage. Having done so, this personage offered us 
permission, which we very readily accepted, to examine the 
gardens of the palace. 

We found them well worth a visit. They were beauti- 
fully laid out, filled with the finest specimens of tropical 
vegetation, and watered by sparkling rivulets flowing from 
miniature lakes. The park we also admired greatly : its 
verdant lawns were adorned by fanciful kiosks, and in 



166 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

superb menageries we found specimens of all the animals 
of the country, wild as well as domestic. Here were goats, 
stags, deer, elephants, tigers, lions, panthers, and bears, be- 
sides others too numerous to mention. 

"Oh, captain!" cried Fox, "here are tigers in cages 
just like birds. Isn't it a pity ? " 

" Indeed, Fox, and so it is," replied the captain. " If the 
poor fellows had their choice, they certainly would far rather 
be prowling about in the jungle, even within reach of our 
rifle-balls! " 

" That's just what I think, captain," sighed honest Fox. 

Next morning, the 10th of May, having laid in a fresh 
stock of provisions, we quitted Burdwan. Our Steam House 
passed the line of railroad by a level crossing, and traveled 
in the direction of Ramghur, a town situated about seventy 
leagues from Calcutta. 

During this part of the journey Behemoth was kept going 
at a gentle trot, which pace proved the excellent structure 
of our well-hung carriages ; the roads being good also fav- 
ored our experiment. 

To the great surprise of Captain Hood, we passed through 
many jungles without seeing any wild animals. It seemed 
not unlikely that they were terrified, and fled at the approach 
of a gigantic elephant, vomiting steam and smoke ; but as 
it was to the northern regions, and not to Bengal provinces, 
that our hunter looked for the sport he loved so well, he 
did not as yet begin to complain. 

On the 15th of May we were near Ramghur, about fifty 
leagues from Burdwan. The rate of speed at which we had 
traveled was not more than fifteen leagues in twelve hours. 
Three days afterward, on the 18th, we stopped at the little 
town of Chittra. No incidents marked these stages of our 
journey. The heat was intense; but what could be more 
agreeable than a siesta beneath the cool shelter of the ver- 
andas ! The burning hours passed away in luxurious repose. 

In the evenings Storr and Kalouth cleaned the furnace 
and oiled and thoroughly examined the engine, operations 
which were always carefully superintended by Banks him- 
self. While he was so employed, Captain Hood and I, 
accompanied by Fox, Goumi, and the two dogs, used to 
take our guns, and explore the neighborhood of our camp. 
We fell in with nothing move important in the way of game 



FIRST STAGES 167 

than birds and a few small animals; and although the cap- 
tain turned up his nose at such poor sport, he was always 
highly delighted next day, when Monsieur Parazard regaled 
us with a variety of new and savory dishes. 

Banks, when he could, made our halting-places near some 
wood, and on the banks of a stream or brook, because it 
was always necessary to replenish the tender with what 
was wanted for the next day's journey, and he attended 
personally to every detail. 

Goumi and Fox were frequently employed as hewers 
of wood and drawers of water. 

When the day's work was done we lighted our cigars (ex- 
cellent Manilla cheroots), and while we smoked we talked 
about this country with which Hood, as well as Banks, was 
so thoroughly well acquainted, The captain disdained cigars, 
and his vigorous lungs inhaled, through a pipe twenty feet 
long, the aromatic smoke of a hookah, carefully filled for 
him by the hand of Fox. It was our greatest wish that 
Colonel Munro should accompany us on our little shooting 
excursions round the camp. We invariably asked him to 
do so, but he as invariably declined, and remained with 
Sergeant McNeil, spending the time of our absence in pac- 
ing up and down a distance of not more than a hundred 
yards. 

They spoke little, but so completely did they understand 
one another, that words were not needed for the interchange 
of thoughts. 

Both were absorbed in tragic and indelible recollections. 
It was possible that, in approaching the theater of the bloody 
insurrection, these recollections would become more vivid. 

Banks and Captain Hood shared with me the opinion that 
some fixed idea, which would be developed later, had in- 
duced Colonel Munro to join us in this expedition to the 
north of India. 

In that case we might be on the verge of great events. 
Our steam Behemoth might be drawing us across these huge 
plains and mountains to the scene of a thrilling and unex- 
pected drama. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE PILGRIMS OF THE PHALGOU RIVER 

What is now called Behar was in former days the em- 
pire of Magadha. In the time of the Buddhists it was 
sacred territory, and is still covered with temples and mon- 
asteries. But, for many centuries, the Brahmins have oc- 
cupied the place of the priests of Buddha. They have 
taken possession of the viharas or temples, and, turning 
them to their own account, live on the produce of the wor- 
ship they teach. The faithful flock thither from all parts, 
and in these sacred places the Brahmins compete with the 
holy waters of the Ganges, the pilgrimages to Benares, the 
ceremonies of Juggernaut ; in fact, one may say the country 
belongs to them. 

The soil is rich, there are immense rice-fields of emerald 
green, and vast plantations of poppies. There are numerous 
villages, buried in luxuriant verdure, and shaded by palms, 
mangoes, and date-trees, over which nature has thrown, 
like a net, a tangled web of creeping plants. 

Steam House passed along roads which were embowered 
in foliage, and beneath the leafy arches the air was cool 
and fresh. We followed the chart of our route, and had 
no fear of losing our way. 

The snorting and trumpeting of our elephant mingled 
with the deafening screams of the winged tribes and the 
discordant chatterings and scoldings of apes and monkeys, 
and the golden fruit of the bananas shone like stars through 
light clouds, as smoke and steam rolled in volumes among 
the trees. The delicate rice-birds rose in flocks as Behemoth 
passed along, their white plumage almost concealed as they 
flew through the spiral wreaths of steam. 

But the heat ! the moist air scarcely made its way through 
the tatties of our windows. The hot winds, charged with 
caloric as they passed over the surface of the great western 
plains, enveloped the land in their fiery embrace. One longs 
for the month of June, when this state of the atmosphere 
will be modified. Death threatens those who seek to brave 
the stroke of this flaming sun. 

The fields are deserted. Even the ryots themselves, in- 
ured as they are to the burning heat, cannot continue their 
agricultural labors. The shady roadway alone is prac- 

168 



PILGRIMS OF THE PHALGOU RIVER 169 

ticable, and even there we require the shelter of our travel- 
ing bungalow. Kalouth the fireman must be made of pure 
carbon, or he would certainly dissolve before the grating 
of his furnace. But the brave Hindoo holds out nobly. It 
has become second nature with him, this existence on the 
platform of the locomotives which scour the railway lines 
of Central India ! 

During the daytime of May the 19th, the thermometer 
suspended on the wall of the dining-room registered 106° 
Fahrenheit. That evening we were unable to take our ac- 
customed " constitutional " or hawakana. This word sig- 
nifies literally " to eat air," and means that, after the stifling 
heat of the tropical day, people go out to inhale the cool 
pure air of evening. On this occasion we felt that, on 
the contrary, the air would eat us ! 

" Monsieur Maucler," said Sergeant McNeil to me, " this 
heat reminds me of one day in March, when Sir Hugh Rose, 
with just two pieces of artillery, tried to storm the walls 
at Lucknow. It was sixteen days since we had crossed the 
river Betwa, and during all that time our horses had not 
once been unsaddled. We were fighting between enormous 
w r alls of granite, and we might as well have been in a burn- 
ing fiery furnace. The chitsis passed up and down our 
ranks, carrying water in their leathern bottles, which they 
poured on the men's heads as they stood to their guns, 
otherwise we should have dropped. Well do I remember 
how I felt ! I was exhausted, my skull was ready to burst 
— I tottered. Colonel Munro saw me, and snatching the 
bottle from the hand of a chitsi, he emptied it over me — 
and it was the last water the carriers could procure. ... A 
man can't forget that sort of thing, sir! No, no! When 
I have shed the last drop of my blood for my colonel, I 
shall still be in his debt." 

" Sergeant McNeil," said I, " does it not seem to you that 
since we left Calcutta, Colonel Munro has become more 
absent and melancholy than ever? I think that every 
day " 

" Yes, sir," replied McNeil, hastily interrupting me, " but 
that is quite natural. My colonel is approaching Lucknow 
— Cawnpore — where Nana Sahib murdered. . . . Ah! it 
drives me mad to speak of it ! Perhaps it would have been 
better if this journey had been planned in some different 



170 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

direction — if we had avoided the provinces ravaged by the 
insurrection! The recollection of these awful events is not 
yet softened by time." 

"Why not even now change the route?" exclaimed I. 
" If you like, McNeil, I will speak about it to Mr. Banks 
and Captain Hood." 

" It's too late now," replied the sergeant. " Besides, I 
have reason to think that my colonel wishes to revisit, per- 
haps for the last time, the theater of that horrible war; 
that he will once more go to the scene of Lady Munro's 
death." 

" If you really think so, McNeil," said I, " it will be better 
to let things take their course, and not attempt to alter our 
plans. It is often felt to be a consolation to weep at the 
grave of those who are dear to us." 

" Yes, at their grave ! " cried McNeil. " But who can 
call the well of Cawnpore a grave? Could that fearful 
spot seem to anybody like a quiet grave in a Scotch church- 
yard, where, among flowers and under shady trees, they 
would stand on a spot, marked by a stone with one name, 
just one, upon it? Ah, sir, I fear the colonel's grief will 
be something terrible ! But I tell you again, it is too late to 
change the route. If we did, who knows but he might 
refuse to follow it? No, no; let things be, and may God 
direct us! " 

It was evident, from the way in which McNeil spoke, that 
he well knew what was certain to influence his master's 
plans, and I was by no means convinced that the opportunity 
of revisiting Cawnpore had not led the colonel to quit Cal- 
cutta. At all events, he now seemed attracted as by a 
magnet to the scene where that fatal tragedy had been 
enacted. To that force it would be necessary to yield. 

I proceeded to ask the sergeant whether he himself had 
relinquished the idea of revenge — in other words, whether 
he believed Nana Sahib to be dead. 

" No," replied McNeil frankly. " Although I have no 
ground whatever for my belief, I feel persuaded that Nana 
Sahib will not die unpunished for his many crimes. No; 
I have heard nothing, I know nothing about him, but I am 
inwardly convinced it is so. Ah, sir! righteous vengeance 
is something to live for! Heaven grant that my presenti- 
ment is true, and then — some day " 



\ 






PILGRIMS OF THE PHALGOU RIVER 171 

The sergeant left his sentence unfinished, but his looks 
were sufficient. The servant and the master were of one 
mind. 

When I reported this conversation to Banks and the 
captain, they were both of opinion that no change of route 
ought to be made. It had never been proposed to go to 
Cawnpore ; and, once across the Ganges at Benares, we in- 
tended to push directly northwards, traversing the eastern 
portion of the kingdoms of Oude and Rohilkund. McNeil 
might after all be wrong in supposing that Sir Edward 
Munro would wish to revisit Cawnpore ; but if he proposed 
to do so, we determined to offer no opposition. 

As to Nana Sahib, if there had been any truth in the 
report of his reappearance in the Bombay presidency, we 
ought by this time to have heard something more of him. 
But, on the contrary, all the intelligence we could gain on 
our route led to the conclusion that the authorities had been 
in error. 

If Colonel Munro really had any ulterior design in mak- 
ing this journey, it might have seemed more natural that 
he should have confided his intentions to Banks, who was 
his most intimate friend, rather than to Sergeant McNeil. 
But the latter was no doubt preferred, because he would 
urge his master to undertake what Banks would probably 
consider perilous and imprudent enterprises. 

At noon, on the 19th of May, we left the small town of 
Chittra, 280 miles from Calcutta. Next day, at nightfall, 
we arrived, after a day of fearful heat, in the neighborhood 
of Gaya. The halt was made on the banks of a sacred 
river, the Phalgou, well known to pilgrims. 

Our two houses were drawn up on a pretty bank, shaded 
by fine trees, within a couple of miles of the town. This 
place, being extremely curious and interesting, we intended 
to remain in it for thirty-six hours, that is to say for two 
nights and a day. Starting about four o'clock next morn- 
ing, in order to avoid the midday heat, Banks, Captain 
Hood, and I, left Colonel Munro, and took our way to 
the town of Gaya. 

It is stated that 150,000 devotees annually visit this center 
of Brahminical institutions ; and we found every road to 
the place was swarming with men, women, old people, and 
children, who were advancing from all directions across the 



172 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

country, having braved the thousand fatigues of a long pil- 
grimage in order to fulfill their religious duties. 

We could not have had a better guide than Banks, who 
knew the neighborhood well, having previously been on a 
survey in Behar, where a railroad was proposed, but not 
yet constructed. 

Just before entering the place, which is appropriately 
called the Holy City, Banks stopped us near a sacred tree, 
round which pilgrims of every age and sex were bowed in 
the attitude of adoration. This tree was a peepul : the girth 
of the trunk was enormous; but although many of its 
branches were decayed and fallen, it was not more than 
two or three hundred years old. This fact was ascertained 
by M. Louis Rousselet, two years later, during his interest- 
ing journey across the India of the Rajahs. 

The " Tree of Buddha," as it is called, is the last of a 
generation of sacred peepuls, which have for ages over- 
shadowed the spot, the first having been planted there five 
centuries before the Christian era; and probably the fanatics 
kneeling before it believe this to be the original tree con- 
secrated there by Buddha. It stands upon a ruined terrace 
close to a temple built of brick, and evidently of great an- 
tiquity. 

The appearance of three Europeans, in the midst of these 
swarming thousands of natives, was not regarded favor- 
ably. Nothing was said, but we could not reach the terrace, 
nor penetrate within the old temple : certainly it would have 
been difficult to do so under any circumstances, on account 
of the dense masses of pilgrims by whom the way was 
blocked up. 

" I wish we could fall in with a Brahmin," said Banks ; 
" we might then inspect the temple, and feel we were doing 
the thing thoroughly." 

"What!" cried I, "would a priest be less strict than 
his followers ? " 

" My dear Maucler," answered Banks, " the strictest rules 
will give way before the offer of a few rupees ! The Brah- 
mins must live." 

" I don't see why they should," bluntly said Captain 
Hood, who never professed toleration toward the Hin- 
doos, nor held in respect, as his countrymen generally do, 
their manners, customs, prejudices, and objects of venera- 



PILGRIMS OF THE PHALGOU RIVER 173 

tion. In his eyes India was nothing but a vast hunting- 
ground, and he felt a far deeper interest in the wild in- 
habitants of the jungles than in the native population either 
of town or country. 

After remaining for some time at the foot of the sacred 
tree, Banks led us on toward the town of Gaya, the crowd 
of pilgrims increasing as we advanced. Very soon, through 
a vista of verdure, the picturesque edifices of Gaya appeared 
on the summit of a rock. 

It is the temple of Vishnu which attracts travelers to this 
place. The construction is modern, as it was rebuilt by the 
Queen of Holcar only a few years ago. The great curiosity 
of this temple are the marks left by Vishnu when he con- 
descended to visit earth on purpose to contend with the 
demon Maya. The struggle between a god and a fiend could 
not long remain doubtful. 

Maya succumbed, and a block of stone, visible within the 
inclosure of Vishnu-Pad, bears witness, by the deep impress 
of his adversary's footprints, that the demon had to deal 
with a formidable foe. 

I said the block of stone was " visible " ; I ought to have 
said " visible to Hindoo natives only." No European is 
permitted to gaze upon these divine relics. 

Perhaps a more robust faith than is to be found in West- 
ern minds may be necessary in order to distinguish these 
traces on the miraculous stone. Be that as it may, Banks's 
offer of money failed this time. No priest would accept 
what would have been the price of a sacrilege; I dare not 
venture to suppose that the sum offered was unequal to the 
extent of the Brahminical conscience. Anyhow, we could 
not get into the temple. 

Captain Hood was furious. He seemed disposed to deal 
summarily with the Brahmin who had turned us away. 

Banks had to restrain him forcibly. 

" Are you mad, Hood? " said he. " Don't you know that 
the Hindoos regard their priests, the Brahmins, not merely 
as a race of illustrious descent, but also as beings of alto- 
gether superior and supernatural origin? " 

When we reached that part of the river Phalgou which 
bathes the rock of Gaya, the prodigious assemblage of pil- 
grims lay before us in its full extent. There, in indescribable 
confusion, was a heaving, huddling, jostling crowd of men 



174 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

and women, old men and children, citizens and peasants, rich 
babbos and poor ryots, of every imaginable degree. Some 
came in palanquins, others in carriages drawn by large- 
humped oxen. Some lie beside their camels, whose snake- 
like heads are stretched out on the ground, while many travel 
on foot from all parts of India. Here tents are set up ; there 
carts and wagons are unyoked, and numerous huts made of 
branches are prepared as temporary shelter for the crowd. 

" What a mob ! " exclaimed Captain Hood. 

" The water of the Phalgou will not be fit to drink this 
evening," observed Banks. 

" Why not ? " inquired I. 

" Because its waters are sacred, and this unsavory crowd 
will go and bathe in them, as they do in the Ganges." 

"Are we down stream?" cried Hood, pointing toward 
our encampment. 

" No ! don't be uneasy, captain ! " answered Banks, laugh- 
ing; " we are up the river." 

" That's all right ! It would never do to water Behemoth 
at an impure fountain ! " 

We passed on through thousands of natives massed to- 
gether in comparatively small space. The ear was struck 
by a discordant noise of chains and small bells. It was thus 
that mendicants appealed to public charity. Infinitely varied 
specimens of this vagrant brotherhood swarmed in all direc- 
tions. Most of them displayed false wounds and deform- 
ities, but although the professed beggars only pretend to be 
sufferers, it is very different with the religious fanatics. In 
fact it would be difficult to carry enthusiasm further than 
they do. 

Some of the fakirs, nearly naked, were covered with 
ashes ; one had his arm fixed in a painful position by pro- 
longed tension; another had kept his hand closed until it 
was pierced by the nails of his own fingers. 

Some had measured the whole distance of their journey 
by the length of their bodies. For hundreds of miles they 
had continued incessantly to lie down, rise up, and lie down 
again, as though acting the part of a surveyor's chain. 

Here some of the faithful, stupefied with bang (which is 
liquid opium mixed with a decoction of hemp), were sus- 
pended on branches of trees, by iron hooks plunged into 
their shoulders. Hanging thus, they whirled round and 



PILGRIMS OF THE PHALGOU RIVER 175 

round until the flesh gave way, and they fell into the waters 
of the Phalgou. 

Others, in honor of Siva, had pierced their arms, legs, or 
tongues through and through with little darts, and made 
serpents lick the blood which flowed from the wounds. 

Such a spectacle could not be otherwise than repugnant 
to a European eye. I was passing on in haste, when Banks 
suddenly stopped me, saying, " The hour of prayer! ' : 

At the same instant a Brahmin appeared in the midst of 
the crowd. He raised his right hand, and pointed toward 
the rising sun, hitherto concealed behind the rocks of Gaya. 

The first ray darted by the glorious luminary was the 
signal. The all but naked crowd entered the sacred waters. 
There were simple immersions, as in the early form of 
baptism, but these soon changed into water parties of which 
it was not easy to perceive the religious character. Per- 
haps the initiated, who recited slocas or texts, which for 
a given sum the priests dictated to them, thought no more 
of the cleansing of their bodies than their souls. The truth 
being that after having taken a little water in the hollow 
of the hand, and sprinkled it toward the four cardinal points, 
they merely threw up a few drops into their faces, like 
bathers who amuse themselves on the beach as they enter 
the shallow waves. I ought to add besides, that they never 
forgot to pull out at least one hair for every sin they had 
committed. A good many deserved to come forth bald from 
the waters of the Phalgou! 

So vehement were the watery gambols of the faithful, 
as they plunged hither and thither, that the alligators in 
terror fled to the opposite bank. There they remained in a 
row, staring with their dull sea-green eyes at the noisy 
crowd which had invaded their domain, and making the air 
resound with the snapping of their formidable jaws. The 
pilgrims paid no more attention to them than if they had 
been harmless lizards. 

It was time to leave these singular devotees, who were 
getting ready to enter Ka'ilas, which is the paradise of 
Brahm ; so we went up the river and returned to our en- 
campment. 

It might have been one o'clock the next morning when 
I was roused from uneasy slumber by a dull murmuring 
sound approaching along the banks of the Phalgou. 



176 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

My first idea was, that the atmosphere being charged with 
electricity, a storm of wind was rising in the west, which 
would displace the strata of air, and perhaps make it more 
suitable for respiration. I was mistaken; the branches of 
the trees above us remained motionless; not a leaf stirred. 

I put my head out at my window and listened. I plainly 
heard the distant murmur, but nothing was to be seen. The 
surface of the river was calm and placid, and the sound 
proceeded neither from the air nor from the water. Al- 
though puzzled, I could perceive no cause for alarm, and 
returning to bed, fatigue overcame my wakefulness, and I 
became drowsy. At intervals I was conscious of the in- 
explicable murmuring noise, but finally fell fast asleep. 

In about two hours, just as the first rays of dawn broke 
through the darkness, I awoke with a start. Some one in 
the passage was calling the engineer. " Mr. Banks ! " 

"What is wanted?" 

"Will you come here, sir?" 

It was Storr the fireman who spoke to Banks. I rose 
immediately, and joined them in the front veranda. Col- 
onel Munro was already there, and Captain Hood came 
soon after. " What's the matter? " I heard Banks say. 

" Just you look, sir," replied Storr. 

It was light enough for us to see the river banks and part 
of the road which stretched away before us; and to our 
great surprise these were encumbered by several hundred 
Hindoos, who were lying about in groups. 

" Ah! those are some of the pilgrims we saw yesterday! " 
said Captain Hood. 

" But what are they doing here? " said I. 

" No doubt," replied the captain, " they are waiting for 
sunrise, that they may perform their ablutions." 

"No such thing," said Banks; "why should they leave 
Gaya to do that? I suspect they have come here be- 
cause " 

" Because Behemoth has produced his usual effect," in- 
terrupted Captain Hood. " They heard that a huge great 
elephant — a colossus — bigger than the biggest they ever 
saw, was in the neighborhood, and of course they came to 
admire him." 

"If they keep to admiration, it will be all very well," 
returned the engineer, shaking his head. 



PILGRIMS OF THE PHALGOU RIVER 177 

" What do you fear, Banks? " asked Colonel Munro. 

" Well, I am afraid these fanatics may get in the wav 
and impede our progress." 

"Be prudent, whatever you do! One cannot act too 
cautiously in dealing with such devotees." 

" Kalouth! " cried Banks, calling the stoker, " are the fires 
ready? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" Well, light up." 

" Yes, light up by all means, Kalouth," cried Captain 
Hood; " blaze away, Kalouth; and let Behemoth puff smoke 
and steam into the ugly faces of all this rabble! ' : 

It was then half -past three in the morning. It would take 
half an hour to get up steam. The fires were in- 
stantly lighted. The wood cracked in the furnaces, and 
dense smoke issued from the gigantic trunk of the ele- 
phant, which was uplifted high among the boughs of the 
great trees. 

Several parties of natives approached; then a general 
movement took place in the crowd. The people pressed 
closer round us. Those in the foremost rank threw up their 
arms in the air, stretched them toward the elephant, bowed 
down, knelt, cast themselves prostrate on the ground, and 
distinctly manifested the most profound adoration. 

There we stood beneath the veranda, very anxious to 
know what this display of fanaticism would lead to. Mc- 
Neil joined us, and looked on in silence. Banks took his 
place with Storr in the howdah, from which he could direct 
every movement of Behemoth. 

By four o'clock steam was up. The noise made by the 
engine was, of course, taken by the Hindoos for the angry 
trumpeting of an elephant belonging to a supernatural race. 
Storr allowed the steam to escape by the valves, and it ap- 
peared to issue from the sides and through the skin of the 
gigantic quadruped. 

" We are at high pressure." 

" Go ahead, Banks," returned the colonel ; " but be care- 
ful ; don't let us crush anybody." 

It was almost day. The road along the river bank was 
occupied by this great crowd of devotees, who seemed to 
have no idea of making way for us, so that to go forward 
and crush no one was anything but easy. The steam-whistle 

V XII Verne 



178 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

gave forth two or three short piercing shrieks, to which 
the pilgrims replied by frantic howls. 

"Clear the way there!" shouted the engineer, telling 
the stoker at the same time to open the regulator. The 
steam bellowed as it rushed into the cylinders, the wheels 
made half a revolution, and a huge jet of white smoke issued 
from the trunk. 

For an instant the crowd swerved aside. The regulator 
was then half open; the trumpeting and snorting of Behe- 
moth increased in vehemence, and our train began to ad- 
vance between the serried ranks of the natives, who seemed 
loath to give place to it. 

" Look out, Banks ! " I suddenly exclaimed. 

I was leaning over the veranda rails, and I beheld a dozen 
of these fanatics cast themselves on the road, with the 
evident wish to be crushed beneath the wheels of the mon- 
strous machine. 

" Stand back there ! Attention ! " shouted Colonel Munro, 
signing to them to rise. 

" Oh, the idiots ! " cried Captain Hood ; " they take us for 
the car of Juggernaut ! They want to get pounded beneath 
the feet of the sacred elephant ! " 

At a sign from Banks, the fireman shut off steam. The 
pilgrims, lying across the road, seemed desirous not to move. 
The fanatic crowd around them uttered loud cries, and ap- 
peared by their gestures to encourage them to persevere. 
The engine was at a standstill. Banks was excessively em- 
barrassed. 

All at once an idea struck him. 

" Now we shall see ! " he cried ; and turning the tap of 
the clearance pipes under the boiler, strong jets of steam 
issued forth, and spread along the surface of the ground; 
while the air was filled by the shrill, harsh screams of the 
whistle. 

" Hurrah ! hurrah ! " shouted Captain Hood. " Give it 
them, Banks ! give it them well ! " 

The method proved successful. As the streams of vapor 
reached the fanatics, they sprang up with loud cries of pain. 
They were prepared and anxious to be run over, but not 
to be scalded. 

The crowd drew back. The way was clear. Steam was 
put on in good earnest, and the wheels revolved steadily. 



A FEW HOURS AT BENARES 179 

" Forward ! " exclaimed Captain Hood, clapping his hands 
and laughing heartily. 

And at a rapid rate Behemoth took his way along the 
road, vanishing in a cloud of vapor, like some mysterious 
visitant, from before the eyes of the wondering crowd. 

CHAPTER VIII 

A FEW HOURS AT BENARES 

The high road now lay open before our Steam House, 
a road which, via Sasseram, would lead us along the right 
bank of the Ganges, up to Benares. 

A mile beyond the encampment our engine slackened its 
speed, and we proceeded at the more moderate pace of about 
seven miles and a half an hour. It was Banks's intention 
to camp that evening seventy-five miles from Gaya, and to 
pass the night quietly in the neighborhood of the little town 
of Sasseram. 

In general, Indian roads avoid watercourses as much as 
possible, for they necessitate bridges, which are very ex- 
pensive affairs to erect on that alluvial soil. In many places 
where it was found impossible to prevent a river or stream 
from barring the path, there is no means of transit except 
an ancient and clumsy ferry-boat, of no use for the con- 
veyance of our train. Fortunately, however, we were in- 
dependent. 

We had that very day to cross an important river, the 
Sone. This stream is fed above Rhotas by its affluents, the 
Coput and the Coyle, and flows into the Ganges just between 
Arrah and Dinapore. 

Nothing could be easier than our passage. The elephant 
took to the water quite naturally. It descended the gentle 
slope of the bank straight into the river, rested on the sur- 
face, and with its huge feet beating the water like a paddle- 
wheel, it quietly drew our floating train to the opposite bank. 

Captain Hood could not contain his delight. 

" A traveling house! " he would exclaim, " a house which 
is both a carriage and a steamboat. Now we only need 
wings to enable us to fly through the air, and thus to cleave 
space." 

" That will be done some day or other, Hood," rejoined 
the engineer, quite seriously. 



180 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

" I believe it, Banks," answered the captain, no less seri- 
ously. " It will be done ! But what can't be done, is that 
our life should be given back to us a couple of hundred 
years hence to enable us to see all these marvels! Life is 
not all sunshine, but yet I would willingly consent to live 
ten centuries out of pure curiosity! " 

That evening, twelve hours after leaving Gaya, we passed 
under the magnificent tubular railway bridge, eighty feet 
above the bed of the Sone, and encamped in the environs 
of Sasseram. We merely wished to spend a night in this 
spot, to replenish our stock of wood and water, and start 
again at dawn of day. 

This program we carried out, and next morning, before 
the burning midday heat began, we were far on our way. 

The landscape was still much the same ; that is, very rich 
and very cultivated. Such it appeared on approaching the 
marvelous valley of the Ganges. I will not stop to describe 
the numberless villages we passed lying in the midst of ex- 
tensive rice-fields, nestling amid groves of palms, inter- 
spersed with mangoes and other trees of magnificent growth 
and foliage. 

We never paused on our way; for even if the road was 
blocked by a cart drawn by slow-paced zebus, two or three 
shrieks from our whistle caused them to draw on one side, 
and we dashed past, to the great amazement of the ryots. 

I was delighted and charmed at the sight of a great num- 
ber of fields of roses. We were indeed not far distant from 
Ghazipore, the great center of production of the water, or 
rather essence, made from these flowers. 

That evening, having traversed a tolerably level country 
between immense fields of poppies and tracts of rice marked 
out like a chess-board, we camped on the right bank of the 
Ganges, before the ancient Jerusalem of the Hindoos — the 
sacred city of Benares. 

" Twenty-four hours' halt here," said Banks. 

" At what distance from Calcutta are we now? " I asked 
the engineer. 

" About three hundred and fifty miles," he replied ; " and 
you acknowledge, my friend, do you not, that we have felt 
nothing of the length of the way or the fatigue of the 
journey? " 

The Ganges ! Is not that a name which calls up the most 



A FEW HOURS AT BENARES 181 

poetic legends, and does it not seem as if all India were 
summed up in that word? Is there in the world a valley 
to be compared to this, extending over a space of fifteen 
hundred miles, and containing not less than a hundred mil- 
lion inhabitants? Is there a spot on the globe where more 
wonders have been heaped up since the appearance of the 
Asiatic races? 

When we looked out the next morning, the 23d of May, 
the rising sun was shining on the sheet of water spread out 
before our eyes. Several alligators of great size lay on 
the white sand, as if drinking in the early sunlight. Mo- 
tionless, they were turned toward the radiant orb, as if they 
had been the most faithful votaries of Brahma. But the 
sight of several corpses floating by aroused them from their 
adoration. 

It is said that these bodies float on the back when they 
are men, and on the chest when they are women, but from 
personal observation I can state that there is no truth in 
this statement. In a moment the monsters had darted on 
the prey, daily furnished to them on the waters of these 
rivers, and with it plunged into the depths. 

The Calcutta Railway, before branching off at Allahabad 
to run toward Delhi, keeps close to the right bank of the 
Ganges, although it does not follow the river in all its 
numerous windings. At the Mogul-Serai station, from 
which we were but a few miles distant, a small branch line 
turns off, which passes Benares by crossing the river, and, 
passing through the valley of the Goumtie, reaches Jaunpore 
at a distance of about thirty-five miles. 

Benares lies on the left bank. But it was at Allahabad, 
and not here, that we were to cross the Ganges. Our Behe- 
moth stood therefore in the encampment we had chosen 
on the evening of the 22d of May. Several boats were 
moored to the bank, ready to take us across to the sacred 
town, which I was very desirous of exploring carefully. 

These cities had been so often visited by Colonel Munro 
that there was really nothing new to him to learn or see 
in this one. He had, however, at first thought of accom- 
panying us that day ; but on reflection decided to make an 
excursion along the banks of the river instead, with Sergeant 
McNeil as his companion ; so the two quitted Steam House 
before we ourselves had started. Captain Hood had at one 



182 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

time been quartered at Benares, and he was anxious to go 
and see a few of his old friends there. Banks and I, there- 
fore — the engineer having expressed a wish to be my guide 
— were the only members of our party whom a feeling of 
curiosity attracted to the city. 

" Benares," said Banks, " is the most holy city of India. 
It is the Hindoo Mecca, and whoever has lived in it, if only 
for four-and-twenty hours, is assured of eternal happiness. 
One can imagine, then, what an enormous crowd of pilgrims 
such a belief would attract thither, and what a great pop- 
ulation must reside in a city for which Brahma has reserved 
blessings of such importance." 

Benares is supposed to have existed for more than thirty 
centuries, and must therefore have been founded about the 
time when Troy disappeared. It always exercised a great 
influence — not political, but spiritual — over Hindoostan, and 
was the authorized center of the Buddhist religion until the 
ninth century. A religious revolution then occurred. Brah- 
minism destroyed the ancient worship. Benares became the 
Brahmin capital, the center of attraction to the faithful, and 
it is said that 300,000 pilgrims visit it annually. 

The Holy City still has its Rajah. Though he is a stipen- 
diary of the British, and his salary is somewhat poor, he is 
still a prince, and inhabits a magnificent residence at Ram- 
nagur, on the Ganges. He is a veritable descendant of the 
kings of Kaci, the ancient name of Benares, but has no real 
influence ; though he would console himself for that if his 
pension had not been reduced to a lac of rupees, which is 
100,000 rupees, or 10,000/., only enough for the pocket- 
money of a Nabob in the old times. 

Benares, like all towns in the valley of the Ganges, took 
part in the great insurrection of 1857. Its garrison was at 
this time composed of the 37th regiment of native infantry, 
a corps of irregular cavalry, and half a Sikh regiment. The 
English troops consisted merely of a half battery of artillery. 
This handful of men could not attempt to disarm the native 
soldiers. The authorities therefore waited with impatience 
for the arrival of Colonel Neil, who set out for Allahabad 
with the 10th regiment. Colonel Neil entered Benares with 
only two hundred and fifty men, and gave orders for a 
parade on the drill-ground. 

When all were assembled, the sepoys were told to give 



A FEW HOURS AT BENARES 183 

up their arms. They refused. A fight then ensued between 
them and Colonel Neil's infantry. The irregular cavalry 
almost immediately joined the mutineers, as did the Sikhs, 
who believed themselves betrayed. 

The half battery, however, opened fire on them, and, 
notwithstanding that they fought with valor and despera- 
tion, all were put to the rout. 

This fight took place outside the town. Inside there was 
an attempt at insurrection on the part of the Mussul- 
mans, who hoisted the green flag, but this was soon quelled. 
From that time, and throughout the rest of the revolt, 
Benares was troubled no more, even at the time when 
the insurrection appeared triumphant in the province of 
the west. 

These details Banks gave me as our boat glided slowly 
over the water of the Ganges. 

" My dear fellow," he remarked, " you are now going to 
pay your first visit to Benares. But although this city is 
so ancient, you must not expect to find in it any monument 
more than three hundred years old. Don't be astonished 
at this. It is the consequence of those religious contests in 
which fire and sword has played such a lamentable part. 
But all the same, Benares is a very remarkable and curious 
town, and you will not regret an excursion to it." 

We now stopped our boat at a suitable distance to allow 
us to gaze across a bay as blue as that of Naples, at the 
picturesque amphitheater of terraced houses and palaces 
descending to the water's edge, some of them projecting 
over the river, so that the waves constantly washed their 
base and appeared likely some day to undermine them. A 
pagoda of Chinese architecture, consecrated to Buddha — 
a perfect forest of towers, spires, and minarets — beautified 
the city, studded as it is with mosques and temples, the 
latter surmounted by the Lingam, one of the symbols of 
Siva, while the lofty Mohammedan mosque built by Aurung- 
zebe crowned the marvelous panorama. 

Instead of disembarking at one of the ghats, or flights of 
stone steps leading from the banks of the river up to the 
terraces, Banks directed the boatman to take us first past 
the quay. 

Here I found the scene at Gaya reproduced, though with 
a different landscape. Instead of the green forests of the 



184 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

Phalgou, we had this holy city for a background. But 
the life part of the picture was much the same. Thousands 
of pilgrims covered the banks, the terraces, the stairs, and 
devoutly plunged into the stream, in rows of three or four 
deep. It must not be imagined that this bath was free. 
Sentries in red turbans, with sabers at their sides, stood on 
the lower steps of the ghats, and exacted tribute, in company 
with industrious Brahmins, who sold chaplets, amulets, 
charms, and other religious articles. 

But besides the pilgrims who bathed on their own account, 
there were also traders whose only business was to draw 
this most sacred water, and transport it to the distant parts 
of the peninsula. As a security, each phial is marked with 
the seal of the Brahmins. But in spite of this, fraud is 
carried on to a great extent, as the exportation of this 
miraculous liquid is so considerable. 

" Perhaps," as Banks said to me, " all the water of the 
Ganges would not be sufficient to supply the wants of the 
faithful." 

I asked if these bathers did not often meet with accidents, 
for no one seemed to try to prevent such a thing. There 
were no swimmers to prevent imprudent people from ven- 
turing too far into the rapid current. 

" Accidents are indeed frequent," answered Banks ; " but 
if the body of the devotee is lost, his soul is saved; there- 
fore they do not concern themselves much about it." 

" And crocodiles? " I added. 

" Crocodiles," replied Banks, " usually keep their distance. 
All this noise terrifies them. These monsters are not to be 
feared so much as villains who dive under the water, seize 
women and children, and tear off their jewels. There is 
even a story about one of these wretches, who, by means 
of an artificial head, played the part of a crocodile for a 
long time, and made quite a little fortune by this profitable 
though dangerous trade. Finally, this impertinent intruder 
was devoured one day by a real alligator, and nothing was 
found of him but his head of tanned skin, floating on the 
surface of the water. 

" There are also desperate fanatics who voluntarily seek 
death in the depths of the Ganges; and this they do with 
a curious species of refinement. Round their body they tie 
a chaplet of open but empty urns ; gradually the water fills 



A FEW HOURS AT BENARES 185 

these vessels, and the devotee gently sinks down, amid the 
applause of the crowd." 

Our boat at last landed us at the Manmenka Ghat. Here 
were arranged in layers the funeral piles on which the 
corpses of all those who in their lifetime had had any care 
for their future existence, were burned. In this sacred 
spot, cremation is eagerly sought for by the faithful, and 
these funeral piles burn night and day. Rich baboos of 
distant territories cause themselves to be carried to Benares 
as soon as they are attacked by an illness which they feel 
will prove fatal. Benares is unquestionably the best start- 
ing point for a journey to the other world. If the deceased 
has only to reproach himself with venial faults, his soul is 
wafted on the smoke of the Manmenka straight to the 
regions of eternal bliss. If, on the contrary, he has been a 
great sinner, his soul must go and inhabit the body of a 
Brahmin yet to be born, for the purpose of being regener- 
ated. It is to be hoped that his second life will be exemplary, 
or he will be exposed to a third trial before he is finally 
admitted to share the delights of Brahma's heaven. 

The rest of the day we devoted to exploring the town, 
its principal monuments, and its bazaars, lined with dark 
shops after the Arab fashion. Here they sold principally 
fine muslin of beautiful texture, and kinkob, a rich silk 
material, brocaded with gold, which is one of the principal 
products of the Benares industry. The streets were clean, 
but so narrow as almost to prevent the sun's rays from 
penetrating to the pavement. But although it was shady, 
the heat was stifling. I pitied the bearers of our palanquin, 
who yet seemed to make no complaint themselves. 

However, it being an opportunity for the poor wretches 
to earn a few rupees was sufficient to give them strength and 
spirit. But a certain Hindoo, or rather Bengalee, with a 
keen eye and cunning expression, had no such reason for 
following us, as he did, the whole day, and without much 
attempt at concealment. As we landed at the Manmenka 
Ghat, I had been speaking to Banks, and uttered aloud 
the name of Colonel Munro. The Bengalee, who was watch- 
ing our boat put in, gave an evident start. I did not at 
the time pay much attention to this, but recalled the circum- 
stance when I perceived the spy incessantly dogging our 
steps. He only left us to appear again, either before or 



186 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

behind, a few minutes later. Whether friend or foe I could 
not tell, but that he was a man to whom the name of Colonel 
Munro was not indifferent was perfectly evident. 

Our palanquin soon stopped at the foot of a staircase of 
a hundred steps, leading from the quay to the mosque of 
Aurungzebe. Formerly the devotees only ascended these 
Santa Scala on their knees, after the manner of the faithful 
at Rome ; but that was when a magnificent Hindoo temple 
dedicated to Vishnu was on the site now occupied by the 
mosque of the conqueror. 

I should much have liked to survey Benares from the top 
of one of the minarets of this mosque, the construction of 
which is regarded as a perfect triumph of architecture. 
Although one hundred and thirty-two feet in height, they 
have scarcely the diameter of a manufactory chimney, and 
yet the cylindrical shaft contains a winding stair. No one 
is allowed to ascend, and there is a reason for this prohibi- 
tion : the two minarets are already sensibly out of the 
perpendicular, and unless endowed with the vitality of 
the Tower of Pisa, they will end by coming down some 
day. 

On leaving the mosque of Aurungzebe, I found the Ben- 
galee waiting for us at the door. This time I looked fixedly 
at him, and he lowered his eyes. Before drawing Banks' 
attention to this incident, I wished to ascertain if this in- 
dividual would persist in his suspicious behavior, and for 
the present I said nothing. 

You may count pagodas and mosques by hundreds in 
this marvelous town of Benares. Also splendid palaces — 
the most beautiful of which is unquestionably that of the 
King of Nagpore. Few rajahs indeed neglect to secure a 
house in the Holy City, and always come to it at the time 
of the great religious festivals of Mela. 

I could not attempt to visit all these buildings during the 
little time we had at our disposal. I contented myself, there- 
fore, with making a visit to the temple of Bicheshwar, in 
which is set up the Lingam of Siva. This — a shapeless 
stone, looked upon as part of the body of this the most 
savage god of the Hindoo mythology — covers a well, the 
stagnant waters of which possess, they say, miraculous vir- 
tues. I saw also the Mankarnika, or sacred fountain, where 
devotees bathe, to the great profit of the Brahmins; then 



A FEW HOURS AT BENARES 187 

the Manmundir, an observatory built two hundred years ago 
by the Emperor Akbar. 

I had heard of a palace of monkeys, which all tourists 
never failed to visit. A Parisian naturally imagined himself 
about to behold something like the celebrated monkey-house 
in the Jardin des Plantes. But there was nothing of the 
sort. I found that this palace was a temple, called the 
Dourga-Khound, situated a little beyond the outskirts. The 
monkeys were by no means shut up in cages. They roamed 
freely through the courts, leaping from wall to wall, climb- 
ing to the tops of enormous mango-trees, noisily disputing 
over the parched corn brought by their visitors, and to which 
they are very partial. 

There, as everywhere else, the Brahmins, who keep the 
Dourga-Khound, levy a small contribution, which evidently 
makes this profession one of the most lucrative in India. 

It is needless to say that we were rather done up by the 
heat, as toward evening we began to think of returning to 
Steam House. We had breakfasted and dined at Secrole, 
in one of the best hotels of that English town, and yet I 
must say that the cuisine made us regret that of Monsieur 
Parazard. 

As we were stepping into our boat to return to the right 
bank of the Ganges, I again caught sight of the Bengalee 
a short distance from us. A skiff containing a Hindoo was 
waiting for him, into which he got. Did he mean to cross 
the river, and so follow us to our encampment ? This looked 
suspicious. 

" Banks," said I in a low tone, pointing to the Bengalee, 
" that fellow is a spy, who has followed us every step of 
the way." 

" I have seen him," returned Banks ; " and I also noticed 
that it was the colonel's name, uttered by you, which first 
put him on the alert." 

"Isn't there any—?" I said. 

" No ; leave him alone," said Banks. " Better not to let 
him know that he is suspected — besides, he has gone now." 

In fact, the Bengalee's canoe had already disappeared 
among the numerous vessels of all shapes and sizes covering 
the dark waters of the Ganges. Banks turned to our boat- 
man. " Do you know that man? " he asked, in a tone of 
affected indifference. 



188 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

" No ; this is the first time I have seen him," replied the 
native. 

On reaching our encampment, we found Colonel Munro 
and Sergeant McNeil already there. Banks asked the 
sergeant if anything had happened during our absence. 
" Nothing," was the reply. 

" You haven't seen any suspicious-looking person prowl- 
ing about ? ' : 

" No, Mr. Banks. Have you any reason for suspect- 
ing ?" 

" We have been dogged during our excursion in Benares," 
answered the engineer, " and I did not like the look of the 
fellow who followed us." 

" The spy was ? ' 

" A Bengalee, who was put on the alert by the mention 
of Colonel Munro's name." 

" What could the man want with us? " 

" I don't know, McNeil. We must keep a lookout." 

" We will ! " returned the sergeant emphatically. 



CHAPTER IX 

ALLAHABAD 

The distance between Benares and Allahabad is about 
eighty miles, and the road lies on the right bank of the 
Ganges between the railway and the river. Storr had 
loaded the tender with a good supply of coal, so that the 
elephant would have no lack of nourishment for several 
days. Well cleaned — I had almost said well curry-combed 
— as bright as if he had just come out of the workshop, he 
impatiently waited the moment for starting. He didn't 
exactly paw the ground, but the quivering of the wheels 
betrayed the tension of the steam which filled his lungs of 
steel. Our train started early in the morning of the 24th, 
at a rate of three to four miles an hour. 

The night passed quietly, and we saw nothing of the 
Bengalee. 

I may as well mention here, once for all, that each day's 
program, of getting up, going to bed, breakfasts, luncheons, 
dinners, and siestas, was carried out with military exactitude. 
Our life in the Steam House went on as regularly as in 



ALLAHABAD 189 

the bungalow at Calcutta. The landscape was constantly 
changing under our eyes, without any perceptible movement 
of our house. We soon grew accustomed to our life, as do 
passengers on board an ocean steamer, though we had noth- 
ing monotonous, for, unlike the sea, our horizon was ever 
changing. 

Toward eleven o'clock we caught sight, on the plain, of 
a curious mausoleum, erected in honor of two holy person- 
ages of Islam, " Cassim-Soliman," father and son. Half 
an hour after this we passed the important fortress of 
Chunar, an impregnable rock crowned by picturesque ram- 
parts, and rising perpendicularly one hundred and fifty feet 
above the river. 

Of course we halted to pay this place a visit, as it is one 
of the most important fortresses in the valley of the Ganges. 

It is a very economical place with regard to expenditure 
of powder and bullets, for when an assaulting column en- 
deavors to scale the walls, it is immediately crushed by an 
avalanche of rocks and stones kept for the purpose. 

At its foot lies the town which bears its name, the houses 
coquettishly peeping out from among the verdure. 

In Benares, as we have seen, there exist many privileged 
places, which are considered by the Hindoos as the most 
sacred in the world. If one began to count, the number scat- 
tered over the peninsula would amount to hundreds. Chunar 
possesses one of these miraculous spots. Here you are 
shown a marble slab, to which some god or other comes reg- 
ularly to take his daily siesta. It is true that he is invisible, 
so we did not stop see him. 

About two o'clock next day we forded the little river 
Tonsa, at that time only containing a foot of water, and by 
the evening were encamped at the end of one of the suburbs 
of Allahabad. 

On the next day Banks again wished to accompany me 
during the few hours I was able to spend in Allahabad. 
One might easily have spent three days in exploring the 
three towns of which it is composed, but it is less 
curious than Benares, although numbered among the holy 
cities. 

There is really nothing to say about the Hindoo part of 
the town. It is simply a mass of low houses, separated by 
narrow streets, shaded by magnificent tamarind-trees. 



190 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

Of the English town and cantonments, there is not much 
to be said either. The fine well-planted avenues, wealthy 
habitations, and wide squares, all look as if the town was 
destined to become a great capital. 

Allahabad is situated in a vast plain, bounded on the north 
and south by the double course of the Jumna and Ganges. 
It is called the " Plain of Almsgiving," because the Hindoo 
princes have at all times come here to perform works of 
charity. M. Rousselet, quoting a passage from the " Life 
of Hionen Thsang," says, " It is more meritorious to give 
away one piece of money in this place, than a hundred 
thousand elsewhere." 

The fort of Allahabad is well worth a visit. It is con- 
structed to the west of the great Almsgiving Plain, from 
which its high granite walls stand boldly out. In the middle 
of the fort is a palace, now used as an arsenal, though for- 
merly the favorite residence of the Sultan Akbar. In one 
of the corners is the Lat of Feroze Schachs, a superb mo- 
nolith thirty-six feet in height, supporting a lion. Not far 
off is a little temple, which no Hindoo can visit, as they 
are refused admission into the fort, although it is one of 
the most sacred places in the world. 

Banks told me that the fort of Allahabad also has its 
legend, which reminds one of the story relative to the re- 
construction of Solomon's temple in Jerusalem. When the 
Sultan wished to build this fort, it seems that the stones 
turned very refractory. Directly a wall was built, it tum- 
bled itself down again. The oracle was consulted. The 
oracle replied, as usual, that a voluntary victim must be 
offered to remove this spell. 

A Hindoo offered himself as a holocaust; he was sacri- 
ficed, and the fort was soon finished. This man was called 
Brog, ?.nd that is the reason why the town is still designated 
by the double name of Brog-Allahabad. 

Banks took us to the deservedly celebrated gardens of 
Khousroo. Here numerous Mohammedan mausoleums 
stand under the shade of beautiful tamarinds. One of them 
is the last resting-place of the sultan from whom these 
gardens take their name. On one of the white marble walls 
is printed the palm of an enormous hand. This was pointed 
out to us with a complacency which was lacking in 
the exhibition of the sacred impressions at Gaya. It 



ALLAHABAD 191 

is true this was not the print of a god's foot, but that 
the hand of a simple mortal, the great nephew of Ma- 
homet. 

During the insurrection of 1857, blood flowed as freely 
in Allahabad as in the other towns of the Ganges valley. 
The fight between the English and the mutineers on the 
drill-ground at Benares caused the rising of the native 
troops, and in particular the revolt of the 6th regiment of 
the Bengal army. Eight ensigns were massacred to begin 
with ; but thanks to the energetic conduct of some European 
artillerymen who were at Chunar, the sepoys ended by lay- 
ing down their arms. 

It was a more serious affair in the cantonments. The 
natives rose, threw open the prisons, pillaged the docks, 
and set fire to the European houses. In the midst of all 
this, Colonel Neil, who had re-established order at Benares, 
arrived with his own regiment and a hundred fusiliers be- 
longing to a Madras regiment. He retook the bridge of 
boats, seized the suburbs of the town, dispersed the mem- 
bers of a provisional government installed by a Mussul- 
man, and very soon again became master of the province. 

During our short excursions in Allahabad, Banks and I 
carefully watched to see if we were followed there as we 
had been in Benares, but saw nothing to arouse our sus- 
picions. 

" Never mind," said the engineer, " we must all the same 
be on our guard. I should have liked to have traveled 
incognito, for Colonel Munro's name is too well known 
among the natives of this province." 

At six o'clock we returned to dinner. Sir Edward, who 
had left the encampment for an hour or two, had also come 
back, and was waiting for us, as was Captain Hood, who 
had been visiting some of his old comrades in the canton- 
ment. 

I observed to Banks that Colonel Munro seemed not more 
sad, but more anxious than was his wont. There appeared 
in his eyes a latent fire that tears should surely long ago 
have extinguished. 

" You are right," answered Banks ; " there is something 
the matter. What can have happened ? " 

"Suppose you ask McNeil?" said I. 

" Ah, yes, perhaps he will know." 



192 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

And leaving the drawing-room, the engineer opened the 
door of the sergeant's cabin. 

He was not there. 

"Where is McNeil?" asked Banks of Goumi, who was 
getting ready to wait at table. 

" He has left the camp," replied Goumi. 

"How long?" 

" He went nearly an hour ago, by Colonel Munro's 
orders." 

" You do not know where he has gone? " 

" No, sahib, and I cannot tell why he went." 

" Nothing fresh has happened here since we left? ' : 

" Nothing, sahib." 

Banks returned, and telling me of the sergeant's absence 
for a reason that no one knew, he repeated, " I do not know 
what it is, but very certainly there is something up. We 
must wait and see." 

Every one now sat down to table. Ordinarily, Colonel 
Munro took part in the conversation during meals. He 
liked to hear us relate our adventures and excursions, and 
was interested in all we had been doing during the day. 

I always took care to avoid speaking of anything that 
could in the slightest degree remind him of the mutiny. I 
think that he perceived this; but whether he appreciated it 
or not, it was sometimes difficult enough to maintain this 
reserve, especially when we talked of towns such as Benares 
and Allahabad. 

During dinner, on the evening of which I speak, I feared 
being obliged to speak of Allahabad. I need not have been 
afraid, however. Colonel Munro questioned neither Banks 
nor myself about the occupation of our day. He remained 
mute during the whole of dinner, and as time went on his 
preoccupation visibly increased. He cast frequent glances 
along the road which led to the cantonments, and several 
times was evidently on the point of rising from table, the 
better to see in that direction. It was plain that he was 
impatiently awaiting the return of Sergeant McNeil. 

Our meal was dull enough. Hood looked interrogatively 
at Banks, as if to ask him what was the matter, but Banks 
knew no more than he did. 

When dinner at last came to an end, Colonel Munro, in- 
stead of as usual lying down to take a nap, stepped down 



ALLAHABAD 193 

from the veranda, went a few paces along the road, gave 
one long look down it ; then, returning toward us, " Banks, 
Hood, and you, too, Maucler," he said, " will you accom- 
pany me as far as the nearest houses of the cantonments? ' 

We all immediately rose and followed the colonel, who 
walked slowly on without uttering a word. After proceed- 
ing thus for about a hundred paces, Sir Edward stopped 
before a post standing on the right hand side of the road, 
and having a notice stuck on it. " Read that," he said. 

It was the placard, already more than two months old, 
which put a price on the head of Nana Sahib, and gave 
notice of his presence in the presidency of Bombay. 

Banks and Hood could scarcely conceal their disappoint- 
ment. While still in Calcutta, and during the journey, they 
had so managed, up to the present time, that this notice 
had never come under the colonel's eyes. But now a vex- 
atious chance had baffled all their precautions. 

" Banks ! " said Sir Edward, seizing the engineer's hand, 
" did you know of this notice? " 

Banks made no reply. 

" You knew two months ago," continued the colonel, " of 
this announcement that Nana Sahib was in the presidency 
of Bombay, and yet you said nothing to me." 

Banks remained silent, not knowing what to say. 

" Well, yes, colonel," exclaimed Captain Hood, " we did 
know of it, but what was the use of telling you? Who 
was to prove that the announcement is true, and what was 
the good of bringing to your mind those painful recollec- 
tions which do you so much harm? " 

" Banks," cried Colonel Munro, his face, as it were, trans- 
formed, " have you forgotten that it is my right, that I of 
all men must do justice on that wretch? Know this! when 
I consented to leave Calcutta, I did so, because this journey 
would take me to the north of India, because I never even 
for a single day believed in the death of Nana Sahib, and 
because I will never relinquish my purpose of vengeance. 
In setting out with you, I had but one idea, one hope. For 
the attainment of my purpose, on the chances of the jour- 
ney, and the aid of heaven, I had relied. I was right in so 
doing. Heaven directed me to this notice. It is in the 
south, and not in the north, that Nana Sahib must be sought 
for. Be it so; I shall go south." 

V XII Verno 



194 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

We had not been mistaken in our fears. It was but too 
true. A fancy — nay more, a fixed idea — still governed the 
mind of Colonel Munro. He had just disclosed it to us. 

" Munro," returned Banks, " if I said nothing to you 
about this, it was because I did not believe in Nana Sahib's 
being in the Bombay Presidency. It is probable that the 
authorities have been once more mistaken. In fact, that 
notice is dated the 6th of March, and since that time nothing 
has been heard to corroborate the statement of the appear- 
ance of the nabob." 

At first Colonel Munro made no answer to the engineer's 
observation. He took another look along the road, then 
said, " My friends, I am about to hear the latest news. 
McNeil has gone to Allahabad with a letter for the gover- 
nor. In a few minutes I shall know whether Nana Sahib 
did indeed reappear in one of the western provinces ; whether 
he is there still, or whether he has again been lost sight of." 

" And if he has been seen, if the fact is indisputable, what 
shall you do, Munro? " asked Banks, grasping the colonel's 
hand. 

" I shall go," replied Sir Edward, " as is my duty, where 
justice leads me." 

" That is positively decided, Munro ? " 

" Yes, Banks, positively. You must continue your travels 
without me, my friends — I shall take the train to Bombay 
this evening." 

" But not alone," responded the engineer, turning toward 
us. " We will accompany you, Munro." 

: Yes, yes, colonel," exclaimed Captain Hood. " We 
shall certainly not let you go without us. Instead of hunt- 
ing wild beasts, we will hunt villains." 

" Colonel Munro," I added, " will you allow me to join 
the captain as one of your friends? " 

" Yes, Maucler," replied Banks ; " this very evening we 
will leave Allahabad." 

" It is needless," said a grave voice behind us. 

We all turned, and beheld Sergeant McNeil standing 
with a newspaper in his hand. " Read, colonel," said he. 
' This is what the governor desired me to show you." 

Sir Edward took the paper, and read as follows : 

" The Governor of the Bombay Presidency requests the 
public to take notice that the proclamation of the 6th of 



ALLAHABAD 195 

March, respecting the nabob, Dandou Pant, must now be 
considered as canceled. Nana Sahib was yesterday attacked 
in the defiles of the Sautpourra mountains, where he had 
taken refuge with his band, and was killed in the skirmish. 
The body has been identified by the inhabitants of Cawn- 
pore and Lucknow. A finger is wanting on the left hand, 
and it is known that Nana Sahib had one amputated at the 
time when his mock obsequies were celebrated to make 
people believe in his death. The kingdom of India has now 
nothing further to dread from the machinations of the cruel 
nabob who has cost her so much blood." 

Colonel Munro read these lines in a hollow voice; then 
the paper fell from his hands. 

We remained silent. Nana Sahib's death, now indisputa- 
ble, delivered us from all fear as to the future. 

Colonel Munro said nothing for some minutes, but stood 
with his hand pressed over his eyes, as if to efface all fright- 
ful recollections. Then, " When should we leave Alla- 
habad? " he asked. 

" To-morrow, at daybreak," replied the engineer. 

" Banks," resumed Sir Edward, " could we not stop for 
a few hours at Cawnpore? " 

"You wish it?" 

" Yes, Banks, I should like it — I must see Cawnpore once 
again — for the last time." 

" We shall be there in a couple of days," replied the en- 
gineer, quietly. 

" And after that? " said the colonel. 

" After that," answered Banks, " we shall continue bur 
expedition to the north of India." 

" Yes, to the north ! to the north ! " said the colonel, in 
a tone which stirred me to the depths of my heart. 

In truth, it was likely that Sir Edward Munro still enter- 
tained some doubt as to the real result of that last skirmish 
between Nana Sahib and the English. Yet what reason 
could he have for disbelieving such evidence as this? The 
future alone could explain. 



CHAPTER X 

VIA DOLOROSA 

The kingdom of Oude was formerly one of the most im- 
portant, as it is still one of the richest, provinces in India. 
It had many sovereigns — some strong, some feeble. The 
weakness of one of them, named Wajid Ali Shah, brought 
about the annexation of his kingdom to the dominions of 
the Company, on the 6th of February, 1857. 

This took place only a few months before the outbreak 
of this insurrection, and it was in Oude that the most fright- 
ful massacres were committed, and followed by the most 
terrible reprisals. The names of two cities remain in mourn- 
ful celebrity ever since that time : Lucknow and Cawnpore. 

Lucknow is the capital ; Cawnpore one of the principal 
towns of the ancient kingdom. We reached the latter place 
on the morning of the 29th of May, having followed the 
right bank of the Ganges through a level plain covered with 
immense fields of indigo. For two days we had traveled 
at a speed of three leagues an hour, and were now nearly 
one thousand " kilometers " from Calcutta. 

Cawnpore is a town of about 60,000 inhabitants. It oc- 
cupies a strip of land about five miles in length, on the right 
bank of the Ganges. There is a military cantonment, in 
which are quartered 7,000 men. The traveler would vainly 
seek for anything worthy of his attention in this city, al- 
though it is of very ancient origin ; anterior, they say, to 
the Christian era. No sentiment of curiosity, then, brought 
us to Cawnpore. The wishes of Sir Edward alone led us 
thither. 

Early on the morning of the 30th May we quitted our 
encampment, and Banks, Captain Hood, and I, followed the 
colonel and Sergeant McNeil along that melancholy route 
on which the points of mournful interest were for the last 
time to be revisited. 

I will here repeat the facts, as related to me by Banks, 
which it is necessary should be known. Cawnpore, which 
was garrisoned by reliable troops at the time of the annexa- 
tion of the kingdom of Oude, contained at the outbreak of 
the mutiny no more than two hundred and fifty British 
soldiers to three regiments of native infantry (the 1st, 53d, 
and 56th), two regiments of cavalry, and a battery of Ben- 

196 



VIA DOLOROSA 197 

gal artillery. There were in the place besides a consider- 
able number of Europeans, workmen, clerks, merchants, etc., 
with 850 women and children of the 32d regiment, which 
garrisoned Lucknow. 

Colonel Munro had been living at Cawnpore for several 
years. And it was there he met the lady who became his 
wife. Miss Hanlay was a charming young Englishwoman, 
high-spirited, intelligent, and noble-minded, worthy of the 
love of such a man as the colonel, who adored her. She 
and her mother resided in a bungalow near Cawnpore, and 
there, in 1855, she was married to Edward Munro. 

Two years afterward, in 1857, when the first acts of 
rebellion occurred at Meerut, Colonel Munro had to rejoin 
his regiment at a day's notice. He was therefore obliged 
to leave his wife with his mother-in-law at Cawnpore, but 
thinking that place unsafe, he charged them to make im- 
mediate preparations for departure to Calcutta. Alas, his 
fears were but too surely justified by what followed. The 
departure of Mrs. Hanlay and Lady Munro was delayed, 
and the consequences were fatal. The unfortunate ladies 
were unable to leave Cawnpore. 

Sir Hugh Wheeler was then in command of the division 
— an upright, honorable soldier, who was but too soon to 
fall a victim to the crafty designs of Nana Sahib. The 
nabob at that time occupied his castle of Bithour, ten miles 
from Cawnpore, and affected to be on the best possible terms 
with the Europeans. 

" You are aware, my dear Maucler," continued Banks, 
" that the first outbreak of the insurrection took place at 
Meerut and Delhi. The news reached Cawnpore on the 
4th of May. And on the same day the 1st regiment of 
sepoys exhibited symptoms of hostility. At this moment 
Nana Sahib came forward with an offer of his services to 
the Government. General Wheeler was so ill-advised as to 
place confidence in the good faith of this villain and knave, 
who immediately sent his own soldiers to occupy the Treas- 
ury Buildings. 

" That same day an irregular regiment of sepoys, on its 
way to Cawnpore, mutinied and massacred its British of- 
ficers at the very gates of the town. The danger then be- 
came evident in all its magnitude. General Wheeler gave 
orders that all Europeans should take refuge in the barracks, 



198 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

where were quartered the women and children of the 32d 
regiment, then at Lucknow. These barracks were situated 
at the point nearest the road from Allahabad, by which alone 
succor could arrive. 

" It was there that Lady Munro and her mother were 
shut up; and throughout this imprisonment she manifested 
the utmost sympathy for her companions in misfortune, 
tending them with her own hands, assisting them with 
money, encouraging them by words and example; in short, 
showing herself to be, as I have told you she was, a noble, 
heroic woman. 

" The arsenal was soon after confided to a guard of the 
soldiers of Nana Sahib. Then the traitor displayed the 
standard of rebellion; and, on the 7th of June, the sepoys, 
at their own desire, attacked the barracks, which was not 
defended by more than three hundred men who could be 
relied upon. They held out bravely, however, against the 
besiegers' fire, beneath showers of projectiles ; suffering sick- 
ness of all sorts, dying of hunger and thirst, for the supply 
of provisions was insufficient, and they had no water, be- 
cause the wells dried up. 

" This resistance lasted until the 27th of June. Nana 
Sahib then proposed a capitulation, and General Wheeler 
committed the unpardonable mistake of signing it, not- 
withstanding the earnest entreaties of Lady Munro, who 
besought him to continue the contest. 

" In consequence of this capitulation, about five hundred 
persons — men, women, and children — Lady Munro and her 
mother being of the number, were embarked in boats, which 
were to descend the Ganges, and convey them to Allahabad. 
Scarcely were these unmoored, than the sepoys opened fire ; 
bullets and grape-shot fell upon them like hail. Some of 
the boats sank, others were burned; one alone succeeded 
in passing several miles down the river. In this boat were 
Lady Munro and her mother, and for an instant they could 
believe themselves saved. But the soldiers of the Nana 
pursued, overtook, captured, and brought them back to the 
cantonments. 

" There the prisoners were divided. All the men were 
put to death at once. The women and children were added 
to the number of those who had not been massacred on the 
27th of June. These two hundred victims, for whom pro- 



VIA DOLOROSA 199 

tracted agony was reserved, were shut up in a bungalow, 
the name of which, Bibi-Ghar, will ever be held in sorrow- 
ful remembrance." 

" How did these horrible details become known to you? '' 
I inquired. 

They were related to me," replied Banks, " by an old 
sergeant of the 32d. This man escaped by a miracle, and 
was sheltered by the Rajah of Raischwarah, a province of 
the kingdom of Oude, who received him as well as some 
other fugitives with the greatest humanity." 

"And Lady Munro and her mother? — what became of 
them?" 

" My dear friend," replied Banks, " we have no direct 
information of what happened, but it is only too easy to 
conjecture. In fact, the sepoys were masters of Cawnpore, 
and they were so until the 15th of July, during which period 
(nineteen days, which were like so many years!) the un- 
happy victims were in hourly expectation of succor, which 
only came too late. General Havelock was marching from 
Calcutta to the relief of Cawnpore, and, after repeatedly 
defeating the mutineers, he entered it on the 17th of July. 

" But two days previously, upon hearing that the British 
troops had crossed the river Pandou-Naddi, Nana Sahib 
resolved to signalize the last hours of his occupation of 
Cawnpore by frightful massacres. No fate seemed to him 
too severe for the invaders of India. Some prisoners, who 
had shared the captivity of the prisoners at Bibi-Ghar, were 
brought, and murdered before his eyes. 

" The crowd of women and children remained, and among 
them Lady Munro and her mother. A platoon of the 6th 
regiment of sepoys received orders to fire upon them through 
the windows of Bibi-Ghar. The execution began, but not 
being carried out quickly enough to please the Nana, who 
was about to be compelled to beat a retreat, this sanguinary 
prince sent for Mussulman butchers to assist the soldiery. 
It was the butchery of a slaughter-house. 

" Next day, the children and women, dead or alive, were 
flung into a well ; and when Havelock's soldiers came up, 
this well, charged to the brim with corpses, was still 
reeking ! 

" Then began the reprisals. A 1 certain number of mu- 
tineers, accomplices of Nana Sahib, had fallen into the 



200 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

hands of General Havelock. And the following day he 
issued that terrible Order of the Day, the terms of which 
I shall never forget: — 

" ' The well in which lie the mortal remains of the poor 
women and children massacred by order of the miscreant 
Nana Sahib, is to be filled up and carefully covered over in 
the form of a tomb. A detachment of European British 
soldiers, under an officer's command, will fulfill the pious 
duty this evening. But the house and rooms in which the 
massacre took place are not to be cleansed by the fellow- 
countrymen of the victims. The officer is to understand 
that every drop of innocent blood is to be removed by the 
tongues of the mutineers condemned to die. After having 
heard the sentence of death, each man is to be conducted 
to the place of the massacre, and forced to cleanse a portion 
of the floors. Care must be taken to render the task as 
repulsive as possible to the religious sentiments of the con- 
demned men; and the lash, if necessary, must not be spared. 
This being accomplished, the sentence will be carried out on 
gallows erected near the house.' " 

" This," continued Banks, with deep emotion, " was the 
order for the day. It was executed in all particulars. But 
it could not restore the lost! And when, two days after- 
ward, Colonel Munro arrived and sought for tidings or 
traces of Lady Munro and her mother, he found nothing 
— nothing! " 

All this was related to me by Banks before reaching 
Cawnpore. And now it was toward the scene of these 
horrors that the colonel directed his steps. But first he 
revisited the bungalow where Lady Munro had lived in her 
youth, and where he had seen her for the last time. 

It was situated a little outside the suburbs, not far from 
the line of military cantonments. Nothing of the house 
remained but ruins, blackened gables, fallen trees decaying 
on the ground ; all was desolation, for the colonel had per- 
mitted nothing to be repaired. After the lapse of ten years 
the bungalow remained just as it had been left by the in- 
cendiaries. 

We spent an hour in this desolate place. Sir Edward 
moved silently among ruins which awoke so many recollec- 
tions, sometimes closing his eyes, as if in thought, he re- 
called the happy existence which nothing could ever restore 



VIA DOLOROSA 201 

to him. At length hastily, and as if doing violence to his 
feelings, he returned to us, and left the house. 

We almost began to hope this visit would satisfy him. 
But no! Sir Edward Munro had resolved to drain to the 
dregs the bitterness of the sorrow which overwhelmed him 
in this fatal town. He wished to go to the barracks where 
his heroic wife had devoted herself so nobly to the care of 
those who endured there the horrors of a siege. 

These barracks stood in the plain outside the town, and 
a church was being built on the spot. In order to reach it, 
we followed a macadamized road shaded by fine trees, and 
among the unfinished new buildings we could distinguish 
remains of the brick walls which had formed part of the 
works of defense raised by General Wheeler. 

After Colonel Munro had long gazed motionless and in 
silence upon the ruins of the barracks, he turned to go 
toward Bibi-Ghar, but Banks, unable to restrain himself, 
seized his arm, as though to arrest his steps. 

Sir Edward looked steadfastly in his face, and said in a 
terribly calm voice, " Let us proceed." 

" Munro! I beseech of you! " 

" Then I will go alone." 

There was no resisting him. We went toward Bibi-Ghar, 
which is approached through gardens very well laid out, and 
planted with fine trees. The building is of octagonal form, 
and has a colonnade in Gothic style, which surrounds the 
place where was the well, now filled up and closed in by a 
casing of stone. This forms a kind of pedestal on which 
stands a white marble statue representing the Angel of Pity, 
one of the last works due to the chisel of the sculptor 
Marochetti. 

It was Lord Canning, Governor-General of India during 
the fearful insurrection of 1857, who caused this monument 
to be erected. It was constructed from the design of Col- 
onel Yule, of the engineers, who himself wished to have 
defrayed all the expenses. Here Sir Edward Munro could 
no longer restrain his tears. He fell on his knees beside 
the statue; while Sergeant McNeil, who was close beside 
him, wept in silence; and we, in the deepest pain, stood 
looking on, powerless to console this unfathomable grief. 

At leng f h Banks, aided by McNeil, succeeded in drawing 
our friend away from the spot, and I thought of the words 



202 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

traced with his bayonet by one of Havelock's soldiers on 
the stone brink of the well: 
" Remember Cawnpore ! " 



CHAPTER XI 

THE MONSOON 

At eleven o'clock we returned to the encampment, anx- 
ious to leave Cawnpore as quickly as possible ; but our engine 
required some trifling repairs, and it was impossible to do 
so before the following morning. 

Part of a day, then, was at my disposal. I considered that 
I could not employ it better than by visiting Lucknow, as 
Banks did not intend to pass through that place, where 
Colonel Munro would again have been brought in contact 
with reminiscences of the war. He was right. These 
vivid recollections were already far too poignant. 

At midday, then, quitting Steam House, I took the little 
branch railway which unites Cawnpore to Lucknow. The 
distance is not more than twenty leagues, and in a couple 
of hours I found myself in this important capital of the 
kingdom of Oude, of which I wished merely to obtain a 
glance, or, as I might say, an impression. I soon perceived 
the truth of what I had heard respecting the great buildings 
of Lucknow, built during the reigns of the Mohammedan 
emperors of the seventeenth century. 

A Frenchman, named Martin, a native of Lyons, and a 
common soldier in the army of Lally-Tollendal, became, in 
1730, a favorite with the king. He it was who designed, 
and in fact may be called the architect of, the so-called 
marvels of the capital of Oude. 

The Kaiser Bagh, or official residence of the sovereigns, 
is a whimsical and fantastic medley of every style of archi- 
tecture which could possibly emanate from the imagination 
of a corporal, and is a most superficial structure. The in- 
terior is nothing ; all the labor has been lavished on the out- 
side which is at once Hindoo, Chinese, Moorish, and — 
European. It is the same with regard to another smaller 
palace, called the Farid Bakch, which is likewise the work 
of Martin. 

As to the Imambara, built in the midst of the fortress by 



THE MONSOON 203 

Kaifiatoulla, (he greatest architect of India in the seventeenth 
century, it is really superb, and, bristling with its hundreds 
of bell-towers, has a grand and imposing effect ! 

I could not leave Lucknow without seeing the Constantine 
Palace, which is another of the original performances of the 
French corporal, and bears his name. I also wished to visit 
the adjacent garden, called Secunder Bagh, where hundreds 
of sepoys were executed for having violated the tomb of 
the humble soldier of fortune before they abandoned the 
town. 

Another French name besides that of Martin is honored 
at Lucknow. A non-commissioned officer, formerly of the 
Chasseurs d'Afrique, named Duprat, so distinguished him- 
self by his bravery during the mutiny, that the rebels offered 
to make him their leader. Duprat nobly refused, notwith- 
standing the promises of wealth held out to tempt him, and 
the threats with which he was menaced when he stood firm. 
He remained faithful to the English. But the sepoys, who 
had failed to make him a traitor, directed against him their 
special vengeance, and he was slain in an encounter. " In- 
fidel dog! " they had said on his refusal to join them, " we 
will have thee in spite of thyself ! " And they had him ; 
but only when he was dead ! 

The names of these two French soldiers were united in 
the reprisals ; for the sepoys who had insulted the tomb of 
the one, and prepared the grave of the other, were ruth- 
lessly put to death ! 

At length — having admired the magnificent parks which 
encircle this great city of 500,000 inhabitants as with a belt 
of verdure and flowers, and having ridden on elephant-back 
through the principal streets, and the fine boulevard of 
Hazrat Gaudj — I took the train, and returned to Cawnpore. 

Next morning, the 31st of May, we resumed our route. 

" Now then ! " cried Captain Hood ; " we are done at last 
with your Allahabads, your Cawnpores, Lucknows, and the 
rest, for which I care about as much as I do for a blank- 
cartridge! " 

" Yes, Hood, we have got through all that," replied 
Banks ; " and now for the north, toward which we are to 
travel almost in a direct line, to the base of the Hima- 
layas." 

" Bravo! " resumed the captain. " What I call real India 



204 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

is not the provinces, crammed with native towns and swarm- 
ing with people, but the region where live in freedom my 
friends the elephants, lions, tigers, panthers, leopards, bears, 
bisons, and serpents. That is, in reality, the only habitable 
part of the whole peninsula! You will see that it is so, 
Maucler, and you will have no reason to regret the valley 
of the Ganges! " 

" In your society I can regret nothing, my friend," re- 
plied I. 

" There are, however," said Banks, " some very interest- 
ing towns in the northwest; such as Delhi, Agra, and La- 
hore. ..." 

" Oh ! my dear fellow ! who ever heard of those miser- 
able little places ! " cried Hood. 

" Miserable, indeed ! " replied Banks. " Let me tell you, 
Hood, they are magnificent cities! And," he continued, 
turning to me, " we must manage to let you see them, 
Maucler, without throwing out the captain's plans for a 
sporting campaign." 

" All right, Banks," said Hood ; " but it is only from 
to-day that I consider our journey to have fairly com- 
menced." 

Presently, in a loud voice, he shouted, " Fox ! " 

" Here, captain ! " answered his servant. 

" Fox ! get all the guns, rifles, and revolvers in good 
order!" 

" They are so, sir." 

" Prepare the cartridges." 

" They are prepared." 

"Is everything ready?" 

" Quite ready, sir." 

" Make everything still more ready." 

" I will, sir." 

1 It won't be long before the thirty-eighth takes his place 
on your glorious list, Fox ! " 

"The thirty-eighth!" cried the man, with sudden light 
in his eye ; " he won't have to complain of the nice little 
ball I am keeping ready for him ! " 

" Get along with you, Fox! " 

With a military salute Fox faced about, and re-entered 
the gun-room. 

I will now give an outline of the plan for the second part 



THE MONSOON 205 

of our journey — a plan which only unforeseen events were 
to induce us to alter. 

By this route we were to ascend the course of the Ganges 
toward the northwest for a long way, and then, turning 
sharp to the north, continue our way between two rivers; 
one a tributary of the great river, the other of the Goumi. 
By this means a considerable number of streams would be 
avoided; and, passing by Biswah, we should rise in an 
oblique direction to the lower ranges of the mountains of 
Nepaul across the western part of Oude and Rohilkund. 

This route had been ingeniously planned by Banks so as 
to surmount all difficulties. If coal were to fail in the north 
of Hindoostan, we were sure of having abundance of wood, 
and Behemoth would easily keep up any rate of speed we 
wished, on good roads through the grandest forests of the 
Indian Peninsula. 

It was agreed that we might easily reach Biswah in six 
days, allowing for stoppages at convenient places, and time 
for the sportsmen of the party to exhibit their prowess. 
Besides Captain Hood, with Fox and Goumi, could easily 
explore the vicinity of the roads, while Behemoth moved 
slowly along. 

I was permitted to join them, although I was far from 
being an experienced hunter, and I occasionally did so. 

I ought to mention that from the moment our journey 
took this new aspect, Colonel Munro became more sociable. 
Once fairly among the plains and forests beyond the valley 
of the Ganges, he appeared to resume the calm and even 
tenor of the life he used to lead at Calcutta, although it was 
impossible to suppose he could forget that we were grad- 
ually approaching the north of India, the region whither he 
was attracted as by an irresistible fatality. His conversa- 
tion became more animated, both at meals and during the 
pleasant evening hours when we halted. As for McNeil, 
he seemed more gloomy than usual. Had the sight of Bibi- 
Ghar revived his hatred and thirst for vengeance? 

" Nana Sahib killed? " said he to me one day. " No, no, 
sir; they have not done that for us yet! " 

The first day of our journey passed without any incident 
worth recording. Neither Captain Hood nor Fox had a 
chance of aiming at any sort of animal. It was quite dis- 
tressing, and so extraordinary that we began to wonder 



206 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

whether the apparition of a steam elephant could be keep- 
ing the savage dwellers of the plains at a distance. We 
passed several jungles, known to be the resort of tigers and 
other carnivorous feline creatures. Not one showed him- 
self, although the hunters kept away full two miles from us. 

They were forced to devote their energies, with Niger 
and Fan, to shooting for Monsieur Parazard's larder. He 
expected to be supplied regularly, and considered game for 
the table of paramount importance, most unreasonably de- 
spising the tigers and other beasts Fox talked to him about. 

Disdainfully shrugging his shoulders, he would ask, " Are 
they good to eat? " 

In the evening we fixed our camp beneath the shelter of 
a group of enormous banyans. The night was as tranquil 
as the day had been calm. No roars or howlings of wild 
animals broke the silence. The snorting of Behemoth him- 
self was stilled. 

When the camp-fires were extinguished, Banks, to please 
the captain, refrained from connecting the electric current 
by which the elephant's eyes would have become two power- 
ful lamps. But nothing came of it. It was the same the 
two following nights. Hood was getting desperate. 

"What can have happened to my kingdom of Oude?' 
repeated the captain. "It has been translated! There are 
no more tigers here than in the lowlands of Scotland ! " 

" Perhaps there may have been battues here lately," sug- 
gested Colonel Munro. " The animals may have emigrated 
en masse. But cheer up, my friend, and wait till we reach 
the foot of the mountains of Nepaul. You will find scope 
for your hunting instincts there ! " 

" It is devoutly to be hoped it may be so, colonel," re- 
plied Hood, sadly shaking his head. " Otherwise we may 
as well recast our balls, and make small shot of them! ' 

The 3d of June was one of the hottest days which we 
had endured. There was not a breath of wind, and had 
not the road been shaded by huge trees, I think we must 
have been literally baked in our rooms. It seemed possible 
that, in heat like this, wild animals did not care to quit their 
dens even during the night. 

Next morning, at sunrise, the horizon to the westward 
for the first time appeared somewhat misty. We then had 
presented to our eyes a magnificent spectacle — the phenome- 



THE MONSOON 207 

non of the mirage, which is called in some parts of India 
seekote, or castles in the air ; and in others, dessasur, or 
illusion. 

What we saw was not a visionary sheet of water, with 
curious effects of refraction, but a complete chain of low 
hills, crowned by castles of the most fantastic form, resem- 
bling the rocky heights of some Rhenish valley with their 
ancient fastnesses of the Margraves. In a moment we 
seemed transported not only to that romantic part of Europe, 
but into the Middle Ages five or six centuries back. This 
phenomenon was surprisingly clear, and gave us a strange 
sensation of absolute reality. So much so, that the gigantic 
elephant-engine, with all its apparatus of modern machinery, 
advancing toward the habitations of men of Europe, in the 
eleventh century, struck us as far more out of place and 
unnatural than when traversing, beneath clouds of vapor, 
the country of Vishnu and Brahma. 

" We thank you, fair Lady Nature ! " cried Captain Hood ; 
" instead of the minarets and cupolas, mosques and pagodas, 
we have been accustomed to, you are spreading before us 
charming old towns and castles of feudal times ! " 

" How poetical you are this morning, Hood ! " returned 
Banks. " Pray have you been reading romantic ballads 
lately?" 

" Laugh away, Banks ; quiz me as much as you like, but 
just look there! See how objects in the foreground are 
growing in size! The bushes are turning into trees, the 
hills into mountains, the-; " 

" Why the very cats will be tigers soon, won't they, 
Hood?" 

" Ah, Banks ! how jolly that would be ! . . . There ! " con- 
tinued the captain, " my Rhenish castles are melting away ; 
the town is crumbling to ruins, and we return to realities, 
seeing only a landscape in the kingdom of Oude, which the 
very wild animals have deserted." 

The sun, rising above the eastern horizon, quickly dis- 
sipated the magical effects of refraction. The fortresses, 
like castles built of cards, sank down with the hills, which 
were suddenly transformed into plains. 

" Well, now that the mirage has vanished, and with it 
Hood's poetic vein, shall I tell you, my friends," said 
Banks, "what the phenomenon presages? " 



208 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

" Say on, great engineer ! " quoth the captain. 
' Nothing less than a great change of weather," replied 
Banks. ' The early days of June are usually marked by 
climacteric changes. The turn of the monsoon will bring 
the periodical rainy season." 

' My dear Banks," said I, " let it rain as it will, we are 
snug enough here. Under cover like this I should prefer 
a deluge to heat such as " 

" All right, my dear friend, you shall be satisfied," re- 
turned he ; "I believe the rain is not far off, and we shall 
soon see the first clouds in the southwest." 

Banks was right. Toward evening the western horizon 
became obscured by vapors, showing that the monsoon, as 
frequently happens, would commence during the night. 
These mists, charged with electricity, came across the pen- 
insula from the Indian Ocean, like so many vast leathern 
bottles out of the cellars of yEolus, filled full of storm, 
tempest, and hurricane. 

Other signs, well known to Anglo-Indians, were observed 
during the day. Spiral columns of very fine dust whirled 
along the roads, in a manner quite unlike that which was 
raised by our heavy wheels. They resembled a number of 
those tufts of downy wool which can be set in motion by 
an electrical machine. The ground might, therefore, be com- 
pared to an immense receiver in which for several days 
electricity had been stored up. This dust was strangely 
tinted with yellow, and had a most curious effect, each atom 
seeming to shine from a little luminous center. At times 
we appeared to be traveling through flames, harmless flames, 
it is true, though neither in color nor vivacity resembling 
the ignis fatuus. 

On this evening the encampment was arranged with 
greater care than usual, because, if the heat of the follow- 
ing day should prove equally overpowering, Banks proposed 
to prolong the halt, so as to pursue the journey during the 
night. 

Colonel Munro was well pleased to think of spending 
some hours in this noble forest, so shady, so deeply calm. 
Everybody was satisfied with the arrangement; some be- 
cause they really required rest, others because they longed 
once more to endeavor to fall in with some animal worth 
firing at. It is easy to guess who those persons were. 



• I 

■ ■ ■ 

I 

] 



NANA SAHIB'S DEFIANCE. 

" i he arsenal was soon ai I to a guard of the soldiers of 

Nana Sahib. Then the traitor displayed the standard of rebellion; 

on the 7th of June, the sepoys, at their own desire, attacked the 
barracks, which was not defended by more than three hundred men 
who could be relied upon. They held out bravely, however, against 
tlie besiegers' lire, beneath showers of projectiles; suffering sickness 
-. dying of hunger and thirst, for the supply of provisions 
was insufficient, and they had no water, because the wells dried up. 

" This resistance lasted until the 27th of June. Nana Sahib then 
proposed a capitulation." — Page 198. 



Vol. 12. 



THE MONSOON 209 

"Fox! Goumi! it is only seven o'clock!" cried Captain 
Hood, as soon as we came to a halt ; " let's take a turn in 
the forest before it is quite dark. Will you come with us, 
Maucler?" 

" My dear Hood," said Banks, before I had time to an- 
swer, " you had better not leave the encampment. The 
weather looks threatening. Should the storm burst, you 
would find some trouble in getting back to us. To-morrow, 
if we remain here, you can go." 

" But to-morrow it will be daylight again," replied Hood. 
" The dark hours are what I want for adventure ! ' 

" I know that, Hood ; but the night which is coming on 
is very unpromising. Still, if you are resolved to go, do 
not wander to any distance. In an hour it will be very dark, 
and you might have great difficulty in making your way 
back to camp." 

" Don't be uneasy, Banks ; it is hardly seven o'clock, and 
I will only ask the colonel for leave of absence till ten." 

" Go, if you wish it, my dear Hood," said Sir Edward, 
" but pray attend to the advice Banks has given you." 

" All right, colonel." And the captain, with his followers, 
Fox and Goumi, all well equipped for the chase, left the 
encampment, and quickly disappeared behind the thick trees. 

Fatigued by the heat of the day, I remained in camp. 

Banks gave orders that the engine fires should not, as 
they usually were, be completely extinguished. He wished 
to retain the power of quickly getting up steam, in case of 
an emergency. 

Storr and Kalouth betook themselves to their accustomed 
tasks, and attended to the supplies of wood and water; in 
doing so they found little difficulty, for a small stream 
flowed near our halting-place, and there was no lack of 
timber close at hand. M. Parazard diligently labored in 
his vocation, and, while putting aside the remains of one 
dinner, was busily planning the next. 

As the evening continued pleasant, Sir Edward, Banks, 
McNeil, and I, went to rest by the borders of the rivulet, 
as the flow of its limpid waters refreshed the atmosphere, 
which even at this hour was suffocating. 

The sinking sun shed a light which tinged with a color 
like dark-blue ink a mass of vapor which, through open- 
ings in the dense foliage, we could see accumulating in the 

V XII Verne 



210 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

zenith. These thick, heavily condensed clouds were stirred 
by no wind, but appeared to advance with a solemn motion 
of their own. 

We remained chatting here till about eight o'clock. From 
time to time Banks rose to take a more extended view of the 
horizon, going toward the borders of the forest, which ab- 
ruptly crossed the plain within a quarter of a mile of the 
camp. Each time on returning he looked uneasy, and only 
shook his head in reply to our questions. 

At last we rose and accompanied him. Beneath the ban- 
yans it began to be dark already : I could see that an im- 
mense plain stretched westward up to a line of indistinct 
low hills, which were now almost enveloped in the clouds. 
The aspect of the heavens was terrible in its calm. Not a 
breath of air stirred the leaves of the highest trees. It was 
not the soft repose of slumbering nature, so often sung by 
poets, but the dull, heavy sleep of sickness. There was a 
restrained tension in the atmosphere, like condensed steam 
ready to explode. 

And indeed the explosion was imminent. The storm- 
clouds were high, as is usually the case over plains, and 
presented wide curvilinear outlines, very strongly marked. 
They seemed to swell out, and, uniting together, diminished 
in number while they increased in size. Evidently, in a 
short time, there would be but one dense mass spread over 
the sky above us. Small detached clouds at a lower eleva- 
tion hurried along, attracting, repelling, and crushing one 
against another, then, confusedly joining the general melee, 
were lost to view. 

About half-past eight a sharp flash of forked lightning 
rent the gloom asunder. Sixty-five seconds afterward, a 
peal of thunder broke, and the hollow rumbling attendant 
to that species of lightning lasted about fifteen seconds. 

' Sixteen miles," said Banks, looking at his watch. " That 
is almost the greatest distance at which thunder can be 
heard. But the storm, once unchained, will travel quickly; 
we must not wait for it. Let us go indoors, my friends." 

"And what about Captain Hood ? " said Sergeant McNeil. 

" The thunder has sounded the recall," replied Banks. 
" It is to be hoped he will obey orders." 



CHAPTER XII 

THREE-FOLD LIGHT 

Hindoostan shares with certain parts of Brazil — among 
others with Rio Janeiro — the proud distinction of being 
more frequently visited by storms than any other country 
on the face of the globe. 

I consulted the barometer as soon as we reentered our 
apartments, and found that there had been a sudden fall 
of two inches in the mercurial column. This I pointed out 
to Colonel Munro. 

" I am uneasy about Hood and his companions," he said. 
" A storm is imminent ; night is coming on, and the darkness 
rapidly increases. Sportsmen are certain always to go 
farther than they say they will, and even than they intend. 
How are they to find their way back to us? " 

' Madman that he is! " cried Banks; " it was impossible 
to make him listen to reason. They never ought to have 
gone ! " 

" That is true enough, Banks; but gone they are," replied 
Sir Edward ; " all we can do now is to try and get them 
back." 

"Can we signal to them, anyhow?" I asked. 

" To be sure we can. I will light the electric lamps at 
once. That is a happy thought of yours, Maucler." 

" Shall I go in search of Captain Hood, sir? " inquired 
McNeil. 

' No, my old friend," replied the colonel. " You would 
not find him, and would be lost yourself." 

Banks connected the electric current, and very soon 
Behemoth's eyes, like two blazing beacons, shot glaring light 
athwart the gloom of the banyan forest. It seemed certain 
that it would be visible to our sportsmen at a considerable 
distance. 

At this moment a hurricane of great violence burst forth, 
rending the tree-tops, and sounding among the columns of 
banyan as though rushing through sonorous organ-pipes. It 
was indeed a sudden outburst. Showers of leaves and dead 
branches strewed the ground and rattled upon the roofs of 
our carriages. 

We closed every window; but the rain did not yet fall. 
" It is a species of typhoon," remarked Banks. 

211 



212 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

"Storr!' cried Banks to the engine-driver, "are the 
embrasures of the turret well closed? " 

" Yes, Mr. Banks : there is nothing to fear there." 

"Where is Kalouth?" 

" He is stowing away the last of the fuel in the 
tender." 

" After this storm we shall only have to collect the wood. 
The wind is playing wood-cutter, and sparing us all the 
hard work," said the engineer. " Keep up the pressure, 
Storr, and get under shelter." 

" Ay, ay, sir." 

" Are your tanks filled, Kalouth? " 

" Yes, sahib ; the water-supply is made up." 

" Well, come in, come in." 

And the engine-driver and stoker hastened into the sec- 
ond carriage. 

Flashes of lightning were now frequent, and thunder 
from the electric clouds kept up a sullen roar. The wind 
blew like scorching blasts from the mouth of a furnace. 
Occasionally we left the saloon, and went into the veranda. 
Gazing upward at the lofty summits of the stately banyans, 
the branches showed like fine black lace against the glowing 
background of the illumined sky. The incessant lightning 
was followed so rapidly by the peals of thunder, that the 
echoes had not time to die away ; they were continually 
aroused by new and yet louder explosions. A deep, con- 
tinuous roll was maintained, and only broken by those sharp 
detonations so well compared by Lucretius to the harsh 
screaming sound of paper when it is torn. 

" I wonder the storm has not yet driven them in," said 
Colonel Munro. 

" Perhaps Captain Hood has found some shelter in the 
forest," answered Sergeant McNeil. " He may be waiting 
in some cave or hollow tree, and will rejoin us in the morn- 
ing. The camp will be here all right." 

Banks shook his head somewhat doubtfully; he did not 
seem to share McNeil's opinion. 

It was now about nine o'clock, and the rain began to fall 
with great force. It was mingled with enormous hailstones, 
and they pelted on the hollow roofs of Steam House with 
a noise like the roll of many drums. Even without the roar 
of the thunder, it was impossible to hear our own voices. 



THREE-FOLD LIGHT 213 

iThe air was full of the leaves of trees, whirling in all 
directions. 

Banks did not attempt to speak, but pointed to the engine, 
directing our attention to the hailstones as they struck the 
metal sides of Behemoth. It was marvelous! Each stone 
struck fire in the contact, like flint and steel. It seemed as 
though showers of fiery metallic drops fell from the clouds, 
sending forth sparks as they struck the steel-plated engine. 
This proved how completely the atmosphere was saturated 
with electricity. Fulminating matter traversed it incessantly, 
till all space seemed to blaze with fire. 

Banks signed to us to return to the saloon, and closed the 
veranda door. The darkness within the room contrasted 
strongly with the lightning which flashed without. We had 
presently a proof that we were ourselves strongly charged 
with the electric fluid, when, to our infinite astonishment, 
we perceived our saliva to be luminous. This phenomenon, 
rarely observed, and very alarming when it is so, has been 
described as " spitting fire." 

The tumult of the heavens seemed every instant to in- 
crease, and the stoutest hearts beat thick and fast. 

" And the others ! " said Colonel Munro. 

" Ah, yes, indeed — the others ! " returned Banks. 

We were horribly uneasy, yet could do nothing whatever 
to assist Captain Hood and his companions, who were of 
course in the utmost danger. 

Even supposing they had found shelter, it could only be 
beneath trees, where accidents during storms are most im- 
minent; and in the middle of a dense forest, how could 
they possibly maintain the distance of five or six yards 
from a vertical line, drawn from the extremity of the 
longest branches, which persons caught by storms in 
the neighborhood of trees are scientifically advised to 
do? 

As these thoughts rushed through my mind, a peal of 
thunder, louder than any we had heard, burst directly over 
us. Steam House trembled throughout, and seemed to rise 
on its springs. I expected it to be overturned. 

At the same time a strong odor filled the room — the pene- 
trating smell of nitrous vapors. 

"A thunderbolt has fallen!" said McNeil. 

"Storr! Kalouth! Parazard!" shouted Banks. 



214 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

The three men came running into our apartment, while 
the engineer stepped out on the balcony. 

" There ! — look there ! " he cried. An enormous banyan 
had been struck ten paces off, on the left of the road. 

We could see everything distinctly by the glare of inces- 
sant lightning. The immense trunk had fallen across the 
neighboring trees, its sturdy saplings no longer able to sus- 
tain it. The whole length of its bark had been peeled off, 
and one long strip was waving about and lashing the air, as 
the force of the gale made it twist and twine like a serpent. 
It was seen that the bark must have been stripped off from 
base to summit, under the influence of electricity which had 
violently rushed upward. 

" A narrow escape for Steam House," said the engineer. 
" We must remain here ; we are safer than under those 
trees." 

As he spoke we heard cries. Could it be our friends re- 
turning? 

" It is Parazard's voice," said Storr. 

It was indeed the cook, who, from the hinder balcony, 
was loudly calling to us. We hastened to join him. 

What a sight met our eyes ! Within a hundred yards of 
us, behind, and to the right of, the camp, the banyan forest 
was on fire! 

Already the loftier tree-tops were disappearing behind a 
curtain of flame. 

The conflagration advanced fiercely and with incredible 
velocity toward Steam House. The danger was imminent. 
The heat and long continuous drought had combined to 
make trees, grass, and bushes so dry and combustible that it 
was probable the entire forest would be devoured by the 
furious element. 

As we witnessed its rapid spread and advance, we were 
convinced that, should it reach the place of our encamp- 
ment, our entire equipage would, in a very few minutes, be 
destroyed. 

We stood silent before this fearful danger. 

Then, folding his arms, the colonel said quietly, " Banks, 
you must get us out of this scrape." 

" Yes, I must, Munro," replied the engineer ; " and since 
we cannot possibly put out this fire, we must run away 
from it." 



THREE-FOLD LIGHT 215 

"On foot?" exclaimed I. 

" No; with our train all complete." 

" And Captain Hood, sir? " said McNeil. 

" We can do nothing for them. If they are not here 
immediately, we shall start without them." 

" We must not abandon them," said the colonel. 

" My dear Munro, let me get the train out of reach of 
the fire, and then we can search for them." 

" Go on, then, Banks," replied Colonel Munro, who saw 
that the engineer was in the right. 

"Storr!" cried Banks, "to your engine at once! Ka- 
louth! to your furnace — get the steam up! What pressure 
have we ? " 

" Two atmospheres," answered the engine-driver. 

" Within ten minutes we must have four ! Look sharp, 
my lads ! " 

The men did not lose a moment. Torrents of black smoke 
gushed from the elephant's trunk, meeting, and seeming to 
defy, the torrents of rain. Behemoth replied with whirling 
clouds of sparks to the vivid flashes which surrounded him ; 
and draughts of air, whistling through the funnel, acceler- 
ated the combustion of the wood which Kalouth heaped 
and piled on his furnace. 

Sir Edward Munro, Banks, and I remained on the ver- 
anda in rear of the carriages, watching the progress of the 
forest-fire. Huge trees tottered and fell across this vast 
hearth; the branches cracked and crackled like musketry; 
the burning creepers twisted in all directions, and led the 
flames from tree to tree, thus spreading the devastation right 
and left. 

Within five minutes the conflagration had advanced fifty 
yards, and the flames, torn and disheveled by the gale, shot 
upward to such a height that the lightning flashes pierced 
them in all directions. 

" We must be off in five minutes," said Banks. 

" At what a pace this fire goes ! " I replied. 

"We shall go faster!" 

"If only Hood and his men were back!" said Sir 
Edward. 

" The whistle !— sound the whistle ! " cried Banks ; " they 
may, perhaps, hear that." 

And darting into the turret, he made the air resound with 



216 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

shrill screams, which were heard above the rumbling thun- 
der, and must have sounded to an immense distance. The 
situation can better be imagined than described. Necessity 
urged to immediate flight, while it seemed impossible to for- 
sake our absent friends. 

Banks returned to the hinder balcony. The edge of the 
fire was less than fifty yards from Steam House. The heat 
became insufferable; we could scarcely breathe the burning 
air. Flakes of fire fell on the carriages, which seemed pro- 
tected in a measure by the floods and torrents of rain; but 
these, we well knew, could not check the direct attack of 
the flames. 

The engine continued to send forth piercing shrieks. It 
was all in vain. There were no signs of either Hood, Fox, 
or Goumi. 

The engine-driver came to Banks, "Steam is up, sir!" 

" Go on, then, Storr ! " replied Banks, " but not too fast. 
Just quick enough to keep up beyond the reach of the fire." 

" Stop, Banks ! wait a few minutes ! " cried Colonel 
Munro, who could not bring himself to quit the spot. 

1 Three minutes, then, Munro," returned Banks coolly. 
' But in three minutes the back of the train will begin to 
burn." 

Two minutes passed. It was impossible to stay in the 
veranda. The iron plating could not be touched, and began 
to burst open at the joints. It would be madness to stop 
another instant. 

"Goon, Storr!" 

" Hallo ! " exclaimed the sergeant. 
[ There they are ! God be praised ! " said the colonel. 

To the right of the road appeared Captain Hood and Fox, 
supporting Goumi in their arms as they approached the car- 
riage door. 

"Is he dead?" 
No; but struck by lightning, which smashed his gun, 
and has paralyzed his left leg." 

' We should never have got back to camp but for your 
steam whistle, Banks ! " said Hood. 

" Forward ! forward ! " shouted the engineer. 

Hood and Fox sprang on board the train, and Goumi, 
who had not lost consciousness, was placed in his cabin. 

It was half -past ten — Banks and Storr went into the tur- 



THREE-FOLD LIGHT 217 

ret, and the equipage moved steadily forward, amid the 
blaze of a three-fold light, produced by the burning forest, 
the electric lamps, and the vivid lightning flashing from the 
skies. 

Then Captain Hood in a few words related what had 
happened during his excursion. They had seen no traces 
of any wild animals. As the storm approached, darkness 
overtook them much more rapidly than they expected. They 
were three miles from camp when they heard the first thun- 
der-clap, and endeavored to return, but quickly found they 
had lost their way among the banyan trunks, all exactly 
alike, and without a path in any direction whatever. 

The tempest increased in violence ; they were far beyond 
the limits of the light diffused by our electric lamp, and had 
nothing to guide them as to our whereabouts, while the rain 
and hail fell in torrents, quickly penetrating the shelter of 
the leafy screen above them. 

Suddenly, with a glare of intensely brilliant lightning, a 
burst of thunder broke over them, and Goumi fell prostrate 
at Captain Hood's feet; the butt-end of his gun alone re- 
mained in his hand, for it was instantaneously stripped of 
every bit of metal. They believed him to be killed, but 
found that the electric fluid had not struck him directlv, 
although his leg was paralyzed by the shock. Poor Goumi 
could not walk a step, and had to be carried. His com- 
panions would not listen to his entreaties that they would 
leave him, escape themselves, and, if possible, return after- 
ward to fetch him. They raised him between them, and, as 
best they could, pursued their doubtful way through the 
dark forest. 

Thus for two hours they wandered about, hesitating, 
stopping, resuming their march, without the slightest clue to 
the direction in which to find the camp. 

At last, to their infinite joy, they heard the shriek of the 
steam whistle. It was the welcome voice of Behemoth. 

A quarter of an hour afterward they arrived, as we were 
on the point of quitting the halting-place, and only just in 
time! 

And now, though the train ran rapidly along the broad, 
smooth forest-road, the fire kept pace with it, and the dan- 
ger was rendered the more threatening by a change of wind, 
such as frequently occurs during these violent meteoric 



218 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

storms. Instead of blowing in flank, it now changed to the 
rear, and by its vehemence materially increased the advance 
of the flames, which perceptibly gained on the travelers. A 
cloud of hot ashes whirled upward from the ground, as 
from the mouth of some crater ; and into this rained down- 
ward burning branches and flakes of fire. The conflagra- 
tion really resembled, more than anything else, the advance 
of a stream of lava, rushing across the country, and de- 
stroying everything in its course. 

Banks instantly perceived this, and, even if he had not, 
he would have felt the scorching blast as it swept by. 

Our speed was increased, although some danger attended 
the doing so over an unknown path. The machine, how- 
ever, would not proceed as fast as the engineer could have 
wished, owing to the road being so cut up and flooded by 
rain. 

About half-past eleven another awful clap of thunder 
burst directly over our heads. A cry escaped us. We 
feared that Banks and Storr had both been struck in their 
howdah, from which they were guiding the train. 

This calamity, however, had not befallen us. Our ele- 
phant only had been struck, the tip of one of his long, 
hanging ears having attracted the electric current. No 
damage resulted to the machine fortunately, and Behemoth 
seemed to try to reply to the peals of thunder by renewed 
and vigorous trumpetings. 

" Hurrah ! " cried Captain Hood. " Hurrah ! An ele- 
phant of flesh and blood would have been done for by this 
time. But this old fellow braves thunder and lightning, and 
sticks at nothing. Go it, Behemoth; hurrah! " 

For another half hour the train was still ahead. Banks, 
fearing to run it against some obstacle, only proceeded at 
a rate sufficient to keep us out of reach of the fire. 

From the veranda, in which Colonel Munro, Hood, and 
I had placed ourselves, we could see passing, great shadows, 
bounding through the blaze of the fire and lightning. We 
soon discovered them to be those of wild animals. 

As a precautionary measure, Captain Hood kept his gun 
ready, for it was possible that some terrified beast might 
leap on our train, in search of a shelter or refuge. 

One huge tiger did indeed make the attempt, but in his 
prodigious spring he was caught by the neck between two 



THREE-FOLD LIGHT 219 

branches of a banyan-tree, which, bending under the storm, 
acted like great cords, and strangled the animal. " Poor 
beast ! " said Fox. 

; These creatures," remarked Captain Hood, in an indig- 
nant manner, " are made to be killed by good, honest shot. 
You may well say poor beast." 

Poor Captain Hood was indeed out of luck. When he 
wanted tigers, he couldn't find them; and now, when he 
was not looking for them, they passed within range, without 
his being able to get a shot at them, or were strangled before 
his eyes, like mice in a trap. 

At one in the morning, our situation, dangerous as it had 
been before, became worse. The wind, which shifted about 
from one point of the compass to another, continually swept 
the fire across the road in front of us, so that now we were 
absolutely hemmed in. 

The storm, however, had much diminished in violence, as 
is invariably the case when these pass above a forest, for 
there the trees gradually draw off and absorb the electric 
matter. But though the lightning and thunder were now 
less frequent, and though the rain fell with gentler force, 
yet the wind still roared with inconceivable fury. 

At any cost it was absolutely necessary to hasten on, 
even at the risk of running into an obstacle, or of dashing 
over a precipice. 

Banks directed our course with astonishing coolness, his 
eyes glued to the glass of the howdah, his hand ever on the 
regulator. Our way now led between two hedges of fire, 
and these we were forced to go through. On went Banks, 
resolutely and steadily, at the rate of five or six miles an 
hour. 

I thought at last we should be obliged to stop, when 
before us lay a narrow passage, only fifty yards wide, with 
a roaring furnace on either side. Our wheels crunched over 
the glowing cinders, which strewed the soil, and a burning, 
stifling atmosphere enveloped us. 

We were past ! 

At two in the morning a flash of lightning revealed to us 
the borders of the wood. Behind us lay a vast panorama 
of flames, which would spread on, and never stop until they 
had devoured the very last banyan of the immense forest. 

At daybreak we halted at last; the storm had entirely 



220 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

ceased, and we arranged our camp. Our elephant, who was 
carefully examined, was found to have the tip of his right 
ear pierced by several holes running in diverse directions. 
If such a thing had happened to any other creature than an 
animal of steel, it would most certainly have at once sunk 
down, never again to rise, and our unfortunate train would 
then have been rapidly overwhelmed by the advancing 
flames. 

At six that morning, after a very short rest, we again 
resumed our journey, and by twelve o'clock we were en- 
camped in the neighborhood of Rewah. 



CHAPTER XIII 

CAPTAIN HOOD'S PROWESS 

The remainder of the day and the next night were quietly 
spent in camp. After all our fatigue and danger, this rest 
was well earned. 

We had no longer before us the rich plains of the king- 
dom of Oude. Steam House had now to pass through 
Rohilkund, a fertile territory, though much cut up by 
nullahs, or ravines. Bareilly is the capital of this province, 
which is one hundred and fifty-five miles square, well 
watered by the numerous affluents or tributaries of the 
Cogra; here and there are many groups of magnificent 
mango-trees, as well as thick jungles, which latter are grad- 
ually disappearing as cultivation advances. 

After the taking of Delhi, this was the center of the in- 
surrection ; Sir Colin Campbell conducted one of his cam- 
paigns here. Here, too, Brigadier Walpole's column was not 
at the outset very fortunate, and here, also, fell a friend of 
Sir Edward Munro, the colonel of the 93d Highlanders, 
who had so distinguished himself in the two assaults on 
Lucknow, during the affair of the 14th of April. 

We could not have had a country better suited for the 
advance of our train than this. Beautiful level roads, easily 
crossed streams, running from the two more important 
arteries, descending from the north, all united to render this 
part of our journey pleasant. In a short time we should 
come to the first rising ground which connected the plain 
with the mountains of Nepaul. 



CAPTAIN HOOD'S PROWESS 221 

We had, however, to think seriously of the rainy season. 

The monsoon, which is prevalent from the northeast to 
the southwest during the first months of the year, is now 
reversed. The rainy season is more violent on the coast 
than in the interior of the peninsula, and also a little later; 
the reason being that the clouds are exhausted before reach- 
ing the center of India. Besides this, their direction is 
somewhat altered by the barrier of high mountains which 
form a sort of atmospheric eddy. On the coast of Malabar 
the monsoon begins in the month of May ; in the central and 
northern provinces, it is felt some weeks later on, in June. 
We were now in June, and our journey was henceforward 
to be performed under new though well-foreseen circum- 
stances. 

I should have said before that honest Goumi, who had 
been disarmed by the lightning in such an untoward manner, 
was nearly well again by the next day. The paralysis of his 
left leg was merely temporary. Soon not a trace of his 
accident remained, but it seemed to me he always bore 
rather a grudge against that storm. 

On both the 6th and 7th of June, Captain Hood, aided 
by Fan and Niger, had better sport. He killed a couple of 
those antelopes called nylghaus. They are the blue oxen of 
the Hindoos, though it is certainly more correct to call them 
deer, since they have a greater resemblance to that animal. 

These were not the wild beasts Captain Hood hoped for ; 
but all the same, the nylghau, though not actually ferocious, 
is dangerous; for when slightly wounded, it turns on the 
hunter. 

A shot from the captain, and a second from Fox, stopped 
short both of these superb creatures, killed, as it were, on 
the wing ; and indeed Fox seemed to look on them as nothing 
higher than feathered game. 

Monsieur Parazard, fortunately, was quite of another 
opinion, and the excellent haunch, cooked to a turn, which 
he served up to us that day at dinner, brought us all over 
to his side. 

At daybreak on the 8th of June we left an encampment 
we had made near a little village in Rohilkund. We had 
arrived at it the evening before, after traversing the twenty- 
five miles which lay between it and Rewah. Our train could 
only go at a very moderate pace over the heavy ground 



222 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

caused by the rains. Besides this, the streams began to 
swell, and fording several delayed us some hours. After 
all we had not now so very far to go. We were sure of 
reaching the mountainous region before the end of June. 
There we intended to install Steam House for several of the 
summer months, as if in the midst of a sanitorium. We 
had nothing to make us uneasy in that respect. 

On the 8th of June Captain Hood missed a fine oppor- 
tunity for a shot. The road was bordered by a thick bam- 
boo jungle, as is often the case near villages, which look 
as if built in a basket of flowers. This was not as yet the 
true jungle, for that, in the Hindoo sense, applies to the 
rugged, bare, and sterile plain, dotted with lines of gray 
bushes. We, on the contrary, were in a cultivated country, 
in the midst of a fertile territory, covered in most places 
with marshy rice-grounds. 

Behemoth went quietly along, guided by Storr's hand, 
and emitting graceful, feathery clouds of vapor, which 
curled away and dispersed among the bamboos at the road- 
side. 

All at once, out leaped an animal with the most wonder- 
ful agility, and fastened on our elephant's neck. 

" A cheetah ! a cheetah ! " shouted the engine-driver. 

At this cry, Captain Hood darted out to the balcony, and 
seized his gun, always ready and always at hand. 

" A cheetah! " exclaimd he in his turn. 

"Fire, then!" cried I. 

: Time enough ! ' returned the captain, who contented 
himself with merely taking a good aim at the animal. 

The cheetah is a species of leopard peculiar to India, not 
so large as the tiger, but almost as formidable, it is so 
active, supple, and strong. 

Colonel Munro, Banks, and I stood out on the veranda, 
watching with interest for the captain to fire. 

The leopard had evidently been deceived by the sight of 
our elephant. He had boldly sprung at him, expecting to 
bury his teeth and claws in living flesh, but instead of that, 
met with an iron skin, on which neither teeth nor claws 
could make any impression. Furious at his discomfiture, 
he clung to the long ears of the artificial animal, and was 
no doubt preparing to bound off again when he caught sight 
of us. 



CAPTAIN HOOD'S PROWESS 223 

Captain Hood kept his gun pointed, after the manner of 
a hunter who is sure of his aim, but does not wish to fire 
until he is certain he can hit a vital part. 

The cheetah drew itself up, roaring savagely. It no 
doubt knew of its danger, but did not attempt to escape. 
Perhaps it watchd for an opportunity to spring on to the 
veranda. 

Indeed, we soon saw it climbing up the elephant's head, 
to the trunk or chimney, and almost to the opening out of 
which puffed jets of vapor. 

" Now fire, Hood ! " said I again. 

" There's time enough," answered the captain. Then, 
without taking his eyes off the leopard, who still gazed at 
us, he addressed himself to me. " Did you ever kill a 
cheetah, Maucler? " he asked. 

" Never." 

" Would you like to kill one? " 

" Captain," I replied, " I should not like to deprive you 
of this magnificent shot " 

" Pooh! " returned Hood, " it's nothing of a shot Take 
a gun and aim just below the beast's shoulder! If you 
miss, I shall catch him as he springs." 

" Be it so, then." 

Fox, who had joined us, put a double-barreled gun into 
my hands. I took it, cocked it, aimed just below the 
leopard's shoulder, and fired. 

The animal, wounded, though but slightly, took an 
enormous bound, right over the driver's howdah, and 
alighted on the first roof of Steam House. 

Skilled sportsman as Captain Hood was, even he had not 
time to fire. " Here Fox, after me ! " he shouted. 

And the two, darting out of the veranda, hastened up into 
the howdah. 

The leopard immediately sprang on to the second roof, 
clearing the foot-bridge at a bound. 

The captain was on the point of firing, but another des- 
perate leap carried the animal off the roof, and landed him 
at the side of the road, when he instantly disappeared in 
the jungle. 

" Stop! stop! " cried Banks, to the engineer, who, apply- 
ing the atmospheric brakes, brought the train to an instant 
standstill. 



224 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

The captain and Fox leaped out and ran into the thicket, 
in hopes of finding the cheetah. 

A few minutes passed. We listened somewhat impa- 
tiently. No shot was fired, and very soon the two hunters 
returned empty handed. 

" Disappeared ! Got clear off ! " called out Captain Hood ; 
" and not even a trace of blood on the grass ! ' : 

" It was my fault," said I. " It would have been better 
if you had fired at the cheetah yourself. You wouldn't 
have missed ! " 

" Nonsense," returned Hood, " you hit him, I'm certain, 
though not in a good place." 

" The beast wasn't fated to be my thirty-ninth, nor your 
forty-first, captain," remarked Fox, much out of coun- 
tenance. 

" Rubbish," said Hood, in a somewhat affected tone of 
indifference, "a cheetah isn't a tiger? If it had been, my 
dear Maucler, I couldn't have made up my mind to yield 
that shot to you ! " 

" Come to table, my friends," said Colonel Munro. 
" Breakfast is ready, and will console you " 

" I hope it may," put in McNeil ; " but it was all Fox's 
fault!" 

" My fault ? " said the man, quite nonplussed by this un- 
expected observation. 

" Certainly, Fox," returned the sergeant. " The gun you 
handed to Mr. Maucler was only loaded with number six ! '' 
And McNeil held out the second cartridge which he had 
just withdrawn, to prove his words. 

" Fox ! " said Captain Hood. 

" Yes, sir." 

" A couple of days under arrest ! " 

" Yes, captain." And Fox retired into his cabin, resolved 
not to appear again for forty-eight hours. He was quite 
ashamed of himself, and wished to hide his disgraced head. 

The next day Captain Hood, Goumi, and I went off to 
beat about the plain at the side of the road, and thus to spend 
the half day's halt which Banks allowed us. It rained all 
the morning, but about midday the sky cleared, and we 
hoped for a few hours of fine weather. 

I must mention that it was not Hood, the hunter of wild 
beasts, who took me out this time, but the sportsman in 



CAPTAIN HOOD'S PROWESS 225 

search of game. In the interests of the table, he intended 
to stroll quietly about the rice-fields, accompanied by Fan 
and Niger. 

Monsieur Parazard had hinted to the captain that his 
larder was empty, and that he expected his honor to take 
the necessary measures to fill it again. Captain Hood re- 
signed himself, and we set out. For two hours our battue 
had no other result than to put up a few partridges, or 
scare away a few hares ; but all at such a distance that, 
notwithstanding our good dogs, we had no chance of hitting 
them. 

Captain Hood became utterly disgusted. In this vast 
plain, without jungles, or thickets, and dotted with villages 
and farms, he had no great hopes of meeting with any sort 
of wild beast, which would make amends for the loss of the 
leopard the preceding day. He had only come out now 
in the character of a purveyor, and thought of the reception 
Monsieur Parazard would give him if he returned with an 
empty bag. It was not our fault that even by four o'clock 
we had not had occasion to fire a single shot. A dry wind 
blew, and, as I said, all the game rose out of range. 

"My dear fellow," said Hood, "this won't do at all. 
When we left Calcutta, I promised you such grand sport; 
and all this time, bad luck, fatality, I don't know what to 
call it, nor how to understand it, has prevented me from 
keeping my promise ! " 

" Come, captain," I replied, " you mustn't despair. 
Though I do regret it, it is more on your account than my 
own! We shall have better luck, no doubt, on the hills! " 

" Yes," said Hood, " on the Himalayan slopes we shall 
set to work under more favorable conditions. You see, 
Maucler, I'd wager anything that our train, with all its 
apparatus, its steam and its roaring, and especially the 
gigantic elephant, terrifies the confounded brutes much more 
than a railway train would do, and that's the reason we 
don't see anything of them when traveling! When we halt, 
we must hope to be more lucky. That leopard was a fool ! 
He must have been starving when he sprang on Behemoth, 
and he was worthy of being killed outright by a good shot ! 
Hang that fellow Fox! I sha'n't forget that little job of 
his in a hurry! What time is it now? " 

"Nearly five o'clock!" 

V XII Vera* 



226 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

" Five already, and we haven't bagged a thing! " 

" They won't expect us back in camp till seven. Perhaps 
by that time " 

" No ; luck is against us ! " exclaimed the captain ; " and, 
look you, luck is the half of success! " 

" Perseverance, too," I answered. " Suppose we agree 
that we won't go back empty-handed! Will that suit 
you?" 

" Suit me? of course it will! " 

" Agreed, then." 

" Look here, Maucler, I shall carry back a mouse or a 
squirrel, rather than be foresworn." 

Hood, Goumi, and I were now in a frame of mind to 
attack anything. The chase was continued with a persever- 
ance worthy of a better cause ; but it seemed as if even the 
most inoffensive birds had become aware of our hostile 
intentions. We couldn't get near a single one. 

We roamed about thus among the rice-fields, beating first 
one side of the road and then the other, and turning back 
again, so as not to get too far from the camp. All was 
useless. Half past six, and we had not had to reload our 
guns. We might as well have had walking-sticks in our 
hands, the results would have been all the same. 

I glanced at Captain Hood. He was marching along 
with his teeth set, while a deep frown on his brow betrayed 
his angry feelings. Between his compressed lips he mut- 
tered I don't know what vain menaces against every living 
creature whether feathered or furred of which there was 
not a specimen on the plain. He probably would soon fire 
his gun at the first object which met his eye, a tree or rock, 
may be — rather a cynical way of getting rid of his anger. 
It was easy to see his weapon burned his fingers, as it were, 
from the way he shifted it about, now to his shoulder, then 
to his arm, now again carrying it in his hand. 

Goumi looked at him. " The captain will be in a passion 
if this goes on! " he said to me, shaking his head. 

" Yes," I replied, " I'd willingly give thirty shillings for 
the most modest little tame pigeon, if some charitable hand 
would let it go within range ! It would appease him ! ' 

But neither for thirty shillings, nor for double, or triple 
that amount, could we procure even the cheapest or the 
most common of fowl. The country seemed deserted, and 



CAPTAIN HOOD'S PROWESS 227 

we saw neither farm nor village. Indeed if it had been pos- 
sible, I believe I should have sent Goumi to buy at any 
price some bird or other, if only a plucked chicken; any- 
thing to set our fretful captain free from his vow. 

Night was coming on. In an hour's time there would 
not be light enough for us to continue our fruitless expedi- 
tion. Although we had agreed not to return to camp with- 
out something, yet we should be forced to do so, unless we 
meant to stay out all night. Not only did it threaten rain, 
but Colonel Munro and Banks would be seriously alarmed 
if we did not reappear. 

Captain Hood, with straining eyeballs, glancing from 
right to left with birdlike quickness, walked ten paces 
ahead in an opposite direction to that of Steam House. 

I was thinking of hastening my steps so as to rejoin him 
and beg him not to continue this struggle against ill-luck, 
when a whirr of wings was heard on my right. I looked 
toward the spot. 

A dark mass was rising slowly above a thicket. 

Instantly, without giving Captain Hood time to turn 
round, I leveled my gun, and fired both barrels successively. 
The unknown bird fell heavily. 

Fan sprang forward, seized and brought it to the captain. 

" At last ! " exclaimed Hood. " If Monsieur Parazard 
isn't contented with this, he must be shoved into his pot 
himself, head first." 

" But is it an edible bird? " I asked. 

" Certainly, for want of anything better! " answered the 
captain. 

"It was lucky nobody saw you, Mr. Maucler!' : said 
Goumi. 

" What have I done wrong? " 

" Why, you have killed a peacock, and that is forbidden, 
for they are sacred birds all over India." 

" The fiend fly away with sacred birds and those who 
made them sacred, too ! " exclaimed Captain Hood impa- 
tiently. " This one is killed at all events, and we shall eat 
him — devoutly if you like, but devour him somehow! ' 

Since the expedition of Alexander into this peninsula, the 
peacock has been a sacred animal in the Brahmins' country. 
The Hindoos make it the emblem of the goddess Saravasti, 
who presides over births and marriages. To destroy this 



228 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

bird is forbidden under pain of punishment, which the Eng- 
lish law has confirmed. 

This one, which so rejoiced Captain Hood's heart, was 
a magnificent specimen, with green metallic gleaming wings, 
edged with gold. His beautifully marked tail formed a 
superb fan of silky feathers. 

" All right ; forward ! " said the captain. 
' To-morrow, Monsieur Parazard will give us peacock 
for dinner, in spite of what all the Brahmins in India may 
think! Although, when cooked, this bird will indeed only 
look like a somewhat pretentious chicken, yet with its feath- 
ers artistically arranged, it will have a fine effect on our 
table!" 

" Then you are satisfied, captain ? " 

' Satisfied — with you, yes, my dear fellow, but not pleased 
with myself at all ! My bad luck isn't over yet, and I must 
do away with it. Come along! " 

Off we started to retrace our steps to the camp, now 
about three miles distant. Captain Hood and I walked 
close together along a winding path through thick bamboo 
jungles; Goumi, carrying our game, bringing up the rear. 
The sun had not yet disappeared, but it was shrouded in 
great clouds, so that we had to find our way through semi- 
obscurity. 

All at once a terrific roar burst from a thicket on our 
right. The sound was to me so awful that I stopped short, 
almost in spite of myself. 

Captain Hood grasped my hand. "A tiger!" he said. 

Then an oath escaped him. "Thunder and lightning! " 
he exclaimed, " there is only small shot in our guns! " 

It was too true ; neither Hood, Goumi, nor I, had any ball 
cartridges. 

Besides, if we had, we should not have had time to re- 
load. Ten seconds after uttering his first roar, the animal 
leaped from the covert with a single bound, and landed on 
the road twenty paces from us. It was a magnificent tiger, 
what the Hindoos would have called a man-eater, his annual 
victims might no doubt be counted by hundreds. 

The situation was terrible. I gazed at the tiger, and must 
confess that my gun trembled in my hand. He measured 
from nine to ten feet in length, and was of a tawny color, 
striped with black and white. 



CAPTAIN HOOD'S PROWESS 229 

He stared back at us, his catlike eyes blazing in the 
shadow. His tail feverishly lashed his sides. He crouched 
as if about to spring. 

Hood had not lost his presence of mind. He took a care- 
ful aim at the animal, muttering in a tone which it is im- 
possible to describe, " Number six ! To fire at a tiger with 
number six! If I don't hit him right in the eyes, we 
are " 

The captain had not time to finish. The tiger advanced 
not by leaps, but slow steps. 

Goumi crouched behind us, and also took aim, though his 
gun, too, only contained small shot. As to mine, it was 
not even loaded. I prepared to do this now. 

' Not a movement, not a sound ! " muttered the captain. 
" The tiger will spring, and that will never do ! ' 

We all three remained motionless. The tiger advanced 
slowly, his eyes glaring fixedly, and his great jaws held 
almost level with the ground. The brute was now only ten 
paces from the captain. 

Hood stood firm, steady as a statue, concentrating his 
whole life in his gaze. The terrible struggle which was 
about to take place, and which might leave none of us alive, 
did not even make his heart beat more rapidly than usual. 
I thought the tiger was about to make his spring. He took 
five steps. I had need of all my self-control to keep from 
calling out, " Fire, Hood ! now fire ! " 

No ! The captain had said — and it was evidently his only 
chance — that he meant to blind the animal ; and to do that 
he must be very close before he fired. The tiger came three 
paces nearer, and prepared to spring — 

A loud report was heard, almost immediately followed by 
a second. The second explosion seemed to have taken 
place in the very body of the animal, which, after two or 
three starts and roars of pain, fell dead on the ground. 

" Wonderful ! " exclaimed Captain Hood, " my gun was 
loaded with ball after all, and what's more, with an ex- 
plosive ball ! Ah, thanks, Fox, this time many thanks ! " 

" Is it possible? " I cried. 

" Look for yourself." And as he spoke the captain drew 
out the cartridge from the other barrel. There was the ball. 

All was explained. Captain Hood possessed a double- 
barrelled rifle and a double-barrelled gun, both of the same 



230 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

caliber. Now, when Fox made the mistake of loading the 
rifle with small shot, he at the same time put explosive ball 
cartridges into the other. The day before, this mistake 
saved the life of the leopard, to-day it saved ours! 

" Yes," remarked Hood, " and never in my life have I 
been nearer death ! " 

Half an hour afterward, when we were safe back in 
camp, Hood called up Fox and told him what had hap- 
pened. 

" Captain," returned the man, " that proves that instead 
of two days in confinement, I deserved four, because I made 
a mistake twice ! " 

" That is my opinion," replied his master ; " but since 
through your mistake I have bagged my forty-first, it is 
also my opinion that I should offer you this sovereign " 

" And mine that I should take it," answered Fox, pocket- 
ing the piece of gold. 

Such were the incidents which marked Captain Hood's 
encounter with his forty-first tiger. 

In the evening of the 12th of June, our train came to a 
halt near a small village of no importance, and the next day 
we set out to begin the ninety miles which still lay between 
us and the mountains of Nepaul. 



CHAPTER XIV 

ONE AGAINST THREE 

Some days passed away, and we had at last commenced 
to ascend the first slopes of those northern regions of India, 
which, from rising ground to rising ground, from hill to 
hill, from mountain to mountain, at last attain to the highest 
altitude on the globe. Till then we had been rising, but so 
imperceptibly that Behemoth did not even appear to per- 
ceive it. 

The weather was stormy and rainy, but the temperature 
was supportable. The roads were not yet bad, and heavy 
as the train was, it passed easily over them. 

When too large a rut opened before us, Storr just touched 
the regulator, and a stronger press of the obedient fluid 
was enough to take us over the obstacle. The machine, as 
I said, had plenty of power, and a quarter of a turn given 



ONE AGAINST THREE 231 

to the supply valves instantly added immensely to its 
strength. 

As yet, we never had reason but to congratulate ourselves 
on this species of locomotion, as well as on the engine Banks 
had invented. Our rolling house was perfectly comfortable, 
and before our eyes we had always a fresh and ever-chang- 
ing landscape. 

The vast plain which extends from the valley of the 
Ganges into the territories of Oude and Rohilkund was 
ended. The north was framed in by the summits of the 
Himalayas, against which were swept the clouds driven by 
the southwest wind. It was impossible as yet to get a good 
view of the picturesque outline of this lofty chain; but on 
approaching the Thibetian frontier, the aspect of the country 
became more wild, and the jungle increased at the expense 
of cultivated ground. 

On the 17th of June our camp was made near a serai — 
or traveler's bungalow. The weather was rather brighter, 
and Behemoth, who had been worked hard for the last 
four days, required, if not rest, at any rate some attention. 
It was therefore agreed that the rest of the day and the 
following night should be passed in this spot. 

The serai or caravanserai, the inn to be found on all the 
high roads, is a quadrangle of low buildings, surrounding 
an inner court, and usually surmounted by a tower at each 
corner, giving it quite an oriental appearance. The at- 
tendants in the serai consist of the bhisti, or water-carrier, 
the cook, who does well enough for travelers who can con- 
tent themselves with eggs and chickens, and the khansama, 
or provider of provisions, with whom you must treat, and 
whose prices are low enough generally. 

The keeper of the serai is simply an agent of the Honor- 
able Company, to whom the greater number of these estab- 
lishments belong, and they are inspected occasionally by the 
engineer-in-chief of the district. 

A strange but strictly kept rule is in force in these bun- 
galows : a traveler may occupy the serai for four-and-twenty 
hours, unquestioned, but in the event of his wishing to stay 
longer, he must get a permit from the inspector. Without 
this authorization the next comer, whether English or Hin- 
doo, may turn him out. 

It is needless to say that on our arrival at our halting- 



232 THE DEMON OF CAWNPOR& 

place Behemoth produced the usual sensation, that is to say, 
he was very much stared at, and perhaps very much coveted. 
I must say, though, that the actual guests in the serai looked 
at him with somewhat of disdain, disdain too affected to 
be real. 

These people, however, were not simple mortals, travel- 
ing on business or pleasure. Here was nothing less than 
the Prince Gourou Singh, in person, son of an independent 
rajah of Guzarate, and a rajah himself, traveling with great 
pomp in the north of the Indian peninsula. 

This prince not only occupied the three or four rooms in 
the bungalow, but also all the neighborhood, which had been 
arranged so as to lodge the people of his suite. 

I had never before seen a traveling rajah; so as soon as 
our camp had been settled at about a quarter of a mile from 
the serai, in a charming spot beside a stream and under 
magnificent trees, I went, in company with Captain Hood 
and Banks, to visit the encampment of Prince Gourou Singh. 
The son of a rajah who wishes to travel, cannot travel alone, 
that is evident ! If there are any people in the world whom 
I have not the slightest inclination to envy, they are those 
who can't move hand or foot, without putting in motion 
at least a hundred people! Far better to be the simplest 
pedestrian, with knapsack on back, stick in hand, and gun 
on shoulder, than an Indian prince traveling with all the 
ceremonial which his rank requires. 

" You can't call it a man going from one town to an- 
other," said Banks to me; " it's a whole village altering its 
geographical relations ! " 

" I like Steam House far better," I answered, " and I 
would not change with this rajah's son for anything! " 

" Who knows," said Captain Hood, " whether this prince 
may not prefer our rolling house to all his large and cum- 
bersome equipage ! " 

" There will be only one answer to make to that," cried 
Banks, " though I shall have no objection to build him a 
steam palace, provided he gives a good price! But while 
awaiting his summons, let us look around the camp, it is 
worth the trouble." 

The prince's suite consisted of not less than five hundred 
persons. Under the great trees stood two hundred chariots, 
symmetrically arranged, like the tents of a vast camp. Some 



ONE AGAINST THREE 233 

had zebras to draw them, others buffaloes, and besides these, 
there were three magnificent elephants, bearing on their 
backs richly ornamented palanquins, and twenty camels, 
from the country to the west of the Indus. Nothing was 
wanting in the caravan, neither musicians to charm the ears 
of his Highness, nor dancing-girls to delight his eyes, nor 
jugglers to amuse his idle hours. Three hundred bearers 
and two hundred guards completed the company, the pay- 
ment of whose wages would soon have exhausted any other 
purse than that of an independent Indian rajah. 

Directly we appeared, the Hindoos started up and 
salaamed to us, bending down to the earth. A number also 
shouted, " Sahib ! sahib ! " and we answered with friendly 
gestures. 

It occurred to me that perhaps Prince Gourou Singh 
might give in our honor one of those fetes of which rajahs 
are so lavish. The wide court of the bungalow was there 
all ready for any ceremony of this kind, and seemed to me 
admirably suited for the dances of the nautch-girls, the 
incantations of the charmers, or the tricks of the acrobats. 

It would have delighted me, I acknowledge, to be present 
at such a spectacle in the middle of a serai, beneath the shade 
of magnificent trees, and with the natural get-up of the 
attendants. It would all have been worth far more than the 
boards of a narrow theater, with its scenery of painted can- 
vas, and its imitation trees. I spoke my thoughts to my 
companions, who, while sharing my desire, did not think 
it would be realized. 

" The Rajah of Guzarate," said Banks, " is an inde- 
pendent man, who was with difficulty induced to submit, 
after the sepoy revolt, during which his conduct was at least 
suspicious. He does not at all like the English, and his son 
is not likely to make himself agreeable." 

" Well, well, we can do without his nautchs," responded 
Captain Hood, shrugging his shoulders disdainfully. 

Banks's idea was probably correct, for we were not even 
admitted to the interior of the serai. Perhaps Prince Gourou 
Singh expected an official visit from the colonel; but as 
Sir Edward Munro had nothing to ask from this personage, 
he expected nothing, and did not trouble himself. 

We now all returned to our own camp, where we did 
justice to the excellent dinner Monsieur Parazard served 



234 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

up. Preserved meats now formed the staple of our food. 
For several days the bad weather had prevented our hunt- 
ing; but our cook was a clever man, and, under his know- 
ing hands, preserved vegetables and meat resumed all their 
natural flavor and freshness. 

In spite of what Banks had said, a feeling of curiosity 
led me to wait all that evening for an invitation which never 
came. Captain Hood joked about my taste for ballets in 
the open air, and even assured me that it was " no end 
better " than the opera ; but of this, unless the prince showed 
himself a little amiable, I should have no opportunity of 
judging. It was settled that our departure should take 
place at break of day the next morning, the 18th of June. 

At five o'clock, Kalouth began to make up the fires. Our 
elephant, which had been detached from the rest of the 
train, stood about fifty paces off, and the engine-driver was 
busy taking in water. While this was going on, we strolled 
about beside the stream. 

Forty minutes later the boiler was sufficiently under pres- 
sure, and Storr had begun to back, when a party of Hin- 
doos approached. These were five or six richly dressed men, 
in white robes, silk tunics, and gold-embroidered turbans. 
A dozen guards armed with muskets and sabers accom- 
panied them, one of the soldiers bearing a crown of green 
leaves, which showed the presence of some important person. 

This important person was no other than Prince Gourou 
Singh himself, a man of some thirty-five years, with a very 
haughty expression, of a type common among the rajahs, 
in whose features are often found traces of the Mahratta 
character. 

The prince did not deign to take notice of our presence. 
He walked forward a few paces and approached the gigantic 
elephant, which Storr's hand was now causing to move. 
Then after gazing at it, not without some feeling of curios- 
ity, though that he did not wish to betray, " Who made that 
machine? " he demanded of Storr. 

The engine-driver pointed to the engineer, who had joined 
us, and was standing a short distance off. 

Prince Gourou Singh expressed himself very easily in 
English, and turning toward Banks, "Did you make — ?" 
he forced himself to say. 

"I did," replied Banks. 



ONE AGAINST THREE 235 

" Did not some one tell me that it was a fancy of the 
late Rajah of Bhootan?" 

Banks signed an affirmative. 

' What is the good," returned his highness, rudely shrug- 
ging his shoulders, " what is the good of being dragged 
about by a machine, when one has elephants of flesh and 
blood at one's command ? " 

' Probably," said Banks, " because this elephant is more 
powerful than all those of which the late rajah made use." 

" Oh ! ' said Gourou Singh contemptuously, ; ' more 
powerful! " 

" Infinitely more so ! " returned Banks. 

' Not one of yours," put in Captain Hood, who much 
disliked these manners, " not one of yours would be capable 
of making that elephant stir an inch, if he did not wish 
it." 

" You say — ? " said the prince. 

" My friend asserts," replied the engineer, " and I also 
assert it, that this artificial animal could resist ten pair of 
horses, and that your three elephants harnessed together, 
could not make him move a foot ! " 

" I don't believe a word of it," replied the prince. 

1 Then you are quite wrong not to believe a word of it," 
replied Captain Hood. 

" And if your highness chooses to name a price," added 
Banks, " I will engage to supply you with one that will 
have the strength of twenty of the best elephants in your 
stables ! " 

" It is easy to say so," replied Gourou Singh dryly. 

" And it is easy to do so," returned Banks. 

The prince began to get exasperated. It was plain to see 
that he could not stand contradiction. 

" Can the experiment be made here? " he asked, after a 
moment's thought. 

" It can," replied the engineer. 

" I should like," added Prince Gourou Singh, " to make 
this experiment the subject of a considerable wager, unless 
you draw back at the fear of losing it, as no doubt your 
elephant will draw back, when he has to struggle with mine." 

"Behemoth draw back?' exclaimed Captain Hood. 
" Who dares to say Behemoth will draw back? " 

" I do," returned Gourou Singh. 



236 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

" And what sum will your highness wager? " asked the 
engineer, folding his arms. 

" Four thousand rupees," replied the prince, " if you 
have got four thousand rupees to lose." 

This would amount to nearly 400/. The stake was con- 
siderable, and I could see that Banks, confident as he was, 
did not much care to risk such a sum. 

As for Captain Hood, he would have betted double that, 
if his modest pay would have allowed such a proceeding. 

" You refuse? " at last said his highness, to whom 4,000 
rupees merely represented the price of a passing fancy, " you 
are afraid to risk it?" 

"Done!" exclaimed Colonel Munro, who had just ap- 
proached, and now uttered this single word which was of 
much consequence to us. 

"Will Colonel Munro wager 4,000 rupees?" inquired 
Prince Gourou Singh. 

" Or even ten thousand," answered Sir Edward, " if that 
would suit your highness better." 

" Be it so ! " replied Gourou Singh. 

This was becoming interesting. The engineer grasped 
the colonel's hand, as if to thank him for saving him from 
the affront offered by the haughty rajah ; but his brows 
knit for a moment, and I wondered whether he might not 
have presumed too much on the mechanical power of his 
apparatus. 

Captain Hood had no such fears, he beamed all over, 
rubbed his hands, and advancing toward the elephant, " At- 
tention, Behemoth," he cried, " you have to work for the 
honor of old England, remember." 

All our party stood together, at the side of the road. 
About a hundred Hindoos left their own camp, and ran to 
be present at the forthcoming trial. 

Banks left us and mounted into the howdah beside Storr, 
who by means of an artificial draught, was blowing up the 
furnaces so as to send a jet of vapor through Behemoth's 
trunk. 

While this was going on, at a sign from the prince, sev- 
eral of his servants went to the serai, and brought back 
the three elephants, freed from all their traveling harness. 
They were magnificent beasts, natives of Bengal, and much 
taller than their brethren of Southern India. The sight of 



ONE AGAINST THREE 237 

these superb animals, in all their pride of strength, caused 
me a qualm of uneasiness. The mahouts, perched on their 
great necks, guided them by hand and voice. 

As these elephants passed before his highness, the biggest 
of the three — a regular giant — stopped, bent his knees, 
raised his trunk, and saluted the prince like the well-trained 
courtier that he was. He with his two companions then 
approached Behemoth, whom they apparently regarded with 
astonishment, mingled with some fear. 

Strong iron chains were fixed to the tender of our ele- 
phant. I confess my heart beat quick. Captain Hood 
gnawed his mustache and fidgeted about with anxiety. 
Colonel Munro was calm enough, far calmer indeed than 
Prince Gourou Singh. 

" We are ready," said the engineer. " When your high- 
ness pleases " 

' It pleases me now," returned the prince. Gourou Singh 
made a sign, the mahouts uttered a peculiar whistle, and 
the three elephants, planting their huge feet firmly on 
the ground, drew all together. The machine began to 
move. 

A cry escaped me. Hood stamped. 

" Put on the brakes ! " said the engineer quietly, turning 
to the driver. And with a quick turn, followed by a rush 
of steam, the atmospheric brake was instantly brought to 
bear. 

Behemoth stopped, immovable. 

The mahouts excited the three elephants, who with strain- 
ing muscles renewed their efforts. All was in vain. Our 
elephant appeared rooted to the ground. 

Prince Gourou Singh bit his lip till the blood came. 

Captain Hood clapped his hands. 

" Forward ! " cried Banks. 

" Yes, forward," repeated the captain, " forward ! ' 

The regulator was opened wide, great puffs of vapor 
issued from the trunk, the wheels turned slowly round, 
and the three elephants, notwithstanding their struggles, 
were drawn backward, making deep ruts in the ground as 
they went. 

" Go ahead ! go ahead ! " yelled Captain Hood. 

And as Behemoth still moved forward, the enormous 
animals fell over on their sides, and were thus dragged 



238 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

some twenty feet, without apparently making any difference 
to our elephant. 

"Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!" shouted the captain, who 
could not contain himself. " They might fasten the whole 
serai on to his highness's elephants! It wouldn't weigh 
more than a cherry to our Behemoth! " 

Colonel Munro made a sign. Banks closed the regulator, 
and the machine stopped. Anything more piteous to behold 
than the prince's three elephants now, could not be seen. 
There they lay, their trunks covered with mud, their great 
feet waving helplessly in the air, like gigantic beetles turned 
on their backs ! 

The prince, both irritated and ashamed, had by this time 
departed, without waiting for the end of the experiment. 

The three elephants were now unharnessed. They rose, 
visibly humiliated by their defeat. As they repassed Behe- 
moth, the largest, in spite of his driver, could not help 
bowing his knees and saluting with his trunk, just as he 
had done to Prince Gourou Singh. 

In a quarter of an hour, a Hindoo, the kamdar, or sec- 
retary of his highness, appeared in our camp and handed to 
the colonel a bag containing the lost wager of ten thousand 
rupees. 

Sir Edward took the bag, but tossed it scornfully back, 
saying, " For the people of his highness ! " 

Then turning on his heel, he walked quietly into Steam 
House. No better way could have been devised for putting 
down this arrogant prince who had so contemptuously pro- 
voked us. 

Behemoth being now in his place, Banks gave the signal 
and we started off at full speed, in the midst of an enormous 
crowd of amazed and wondering Hindoos. 

Shouts and cries saluted us, and soon a turn of the road 
hid Prince Gourou Singh's camp and serai from our sight. 

The next day, Steam House began to ascend an acclivity 
which connects the level country with the base of the Him- 
alayan frontier. This was mere child's play to our Behe- 
moth, whose twenty-four horse power had enabled him 
successfully to cope with Prince Gourou Singh's three ele- 
phants. He pressed easily up the steep roads of this region, 
without its being found necessary to increase the regular 
pressure of steam. 



ONE AGAINST THREE 239 

It was indeed a strange sight, to see our colossal animal 
breasting the hill, giving vent to snorts and shrieks as he 
dragged our train up after him. Our heavy wheels crashed 
and ground along, not, it must be confessed, to the improve- 
ment of the roads; in which, already softened by torrents 
of rain, they made deep ruts. In spite of it all, Steam 
House gradually rose, the panorama widened, the plain sub- 
sided, and toward the south the horizon stretched at last 
farther than the eye could reach. 

We were more sensible of the effect produced, when for 
some hours the road lay under the trees of a thick forest. 
Now and then a wide glade opened before us, like an im- 
mense window on the mountain ridge, when we would stop 
our train, for a minute or two if the landscape was misty, 
or for half a day, if the view was clear. All four 
then leaning out of the back veranda would take our fill 
of gazing at the magnificent panorama extended before our 
eyes. 

This ascent, interrupted by more or less prolonged halts 
— for the view as well as for night encampments — continued 
for no less than seven days, from the 19th to the 25th of 
June. 

With a little patience," remarked Captain Hood, " our 
train will mount to the very highest summits of the Him- 
alayas ! " 

" Don't be too ambitious, captain," responded the en- 
gineer. 

"It could do it, Banks!" 

" Yes, Hood, it could if the practicable road did not soon 
come to an end, and provided we carried fuel, for that we 
should no longer find among the glaciers, besides respirable 
air, which would be wanting up there. But there is no need 
for us to do more than just pass the habitable zone of the 
Himalayas. When Behemoth has attained a medium alti- 
tude, he will stop in some pleasant spot, on the border of 
an Alpine-like forest, in delicious air refreshed by the breezes 
from above. Our friend Munro will have transported his 
Calcutta bungalow on to the mountains of Nepaul, that is 
all, and there we can stay as long as we like." 

On the 25th of June, we found the halting-place in which' 
we were to camp for several months. For forty-eight hours 
the road had been becoming less and less practicable, being 



240 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

either half made or deeply cut up by the rain. It was a 
regular tug for Behemoth, but he managed it by devouring 
a little more fuel than usual. A few pieces of wood, added 
to Kalouth's furnace, served to increase the steam pres- 
sure. 

For this last forty-eight hours our train had been travel- 
ing through an almost deserted country. Settlements or 
villages were no longer to be met with. Only here and 
there a farm, or isolated dwelling, buried in the great pine- 
forests, with which the southern ridges bristled. Three or 
four times a solitary mountaineer greeted us with admiring 
exclamations. No doubt, on seeing the marvelous apparatus 
ascending the mountain, they imagined that Brahma had 
taken it into his head to transport an entire pagoda to some 
inaccessible and lofty height. 

At last, on the 25th of June, Banks gave the word to 
" Halt ! " and thus ended the first part of our journey into 
Northern India. 

The train came to a standstill in the middle of a wide 
glade, near a torrent, the limpid waters of which would 
supply the wants of our camp for several months. Our 
outlook, too, extended for fifty or sixty miles over the plain. 

Steam House was now 975 miles from its starting-place, 
6,000 feet above the level of the sea, and resting at the foot 
of the Dhawalagiri, whose summit rises 27,000 feet into 
the air. 



CHAPTER XV 

THE PAL OF TANDIT 

Having followed thus far the travels of Colonel Munro 
and his companions, from Calcutta to the Indo-Chinese fron- 
tier, and seen them safely encamped at the base of the 
mountains of Thibet, we will leave them for a time in their 
winter-quarters and devote a few pages to some other char- 
acters who have appeared in our story. 

Our readers may remember the incident which marked 
the arrival of Steam House at Allahabad. From a news- 
paper of that town, dated the 25th of May, Colonel Munro 
learned the news of the death of Nana Sahib. Was this 
report so often spread before, and again so often contra- 



THE PAL OF TANDiT 241 

dieted, this time indeed true? After reading such minute 
details, could Sir Edward Munro still doubt, and was he 
not justified in renouncing all expectation of being able 
finally to do justice on the rebel of 1857? 

We shall be enabled to judge of this, when we hear of 
all that occurred after the night of the 7th of March, during 
which Nana Sahib, accompanied by Balao Rao, his brother, 
and escorted by most faithful companions, the Hindoo Kala- 
gani among the number, left the caves of Adjuntah. 

Sixty hours later, the nabob reached the narrow defiles 
of the Sautpoora Mountains, after crossing the Taptee, which 
flows into the sea on the west coast, near Surat. He was 
then a hundred miles from Adjuntah, in a part of the 
province little frequented, and thus tolerably secure for a 
time. The place was well chosen. 

Here Nana Sahib was near the country of the Ghoonds, 
an aboriginal tribe, only half subdued, whom he hoped to 
induce to revolt. Ghoondwana is a territory of two 
hundred square miles containing a population of more than 
three millions. M. Rousselet considers the inhabitants to 
be always ripe for rebellion. It is quite an important part 
of Hindoostan, and truth to say, is only nominally under 
English rule. The railway from Bombay to Allahabad trav- 
erses this district from southwest to northeast, and even 
has a branch into the center of the province of Nagpore ; but 
the tribes remain as savage as ever, become refractory at 
any proposal of civilization, are very impatient of the Euro- 
pean yoke, and in fact, as they can any moment retreat 
into their mountain fastnesses, are extremely difficult to 
keep in order, and this Nana Sahib well knew. 

Here then he determined to seek shelter, so as to escape 
the search of the English police, and there to await a fit 
time to provoke an insurrectional movement. 

If the nabob should succeed in his enterprise, if at his 
summons the Ghoonds should rise and follow where he led, 
the revolt would doubtless spread rapidly and widely. 

To the north of Ghoondwana lies Bundelcund, which 
comprises the mountainous region, situated between the 
higher plateau of the Vindhyas and the important river the 
Jumna. In this country, covered with beautiful virgin for- 
ests, live a deceitful and cruel people, among whom all 
criminals, political or otherwise, seek and easily find a 

V XII Vern» 



242 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

refuge. These provinces still remain barbarous, and here 
still live the descendants of those who fought under Tippoo 
Sahib against the invaders. Here, too, are the headquarters 
of the celebrated stranglers, the Thugs, so long the terror 
of India, fanatical assassins, who destroy innumerable vic- 
tims, though without shedding blood ; as well as bands of 
Pindarris, who perpetrate the most odious massacres, almost 
with impunity. In every part are swarms of the terrible 
Dacoits, a sect of poisoners, who follow in the footsteps of 
the Thugs ; and finally Nana Sahib himself had taken refuge 
here, after escaping the royal troops, now masters of Jansi. 
He having thus thrown them off the scent, intended soon 
to go and seek a more secure asylum in the inaccessible 
retreats of the Indo-Chinese frontier. 

To the east of Ghoondwana is Kondistan or the country 
of the Konds. These people are the fierce votaries of Tado 
Pennor, the god of the earth, and Maunek Soro, the red 
god of battles. They are much given to those meriahs or 
human sacrifices, which the English have so long endeavored 
to abolish ; and can only be compared to the savage natives 
of the most barbarous Polynesian islands. In 1840 and 
1854, Major-General John Campbell with Captains Mac- 
pherson, Macvicar, and Fry, engaged in long and trouble- 
some expeditions against these daring fanatics, who will do 
anything under a religious pretext, if an unscrupulous leader 
can be found. 

To the west of Ghoondwana lies a state containing from 
1,500,000 to 2,000,000 souls, occupied by the Bheels, for- 
merly so powerful in Malwa and Rajpootana, now divided 
into clans, and spread all about the Vindhyas. They are 
almost always intoxicated with the spirit they obtain from 
the mikowah tree, but are brave, daring, hardy, and active, 
and constantly prepared to answer to the kisri their cry 
for war or pillage. 

From this description it will be seen that Nana Sahib 
had chosen well. In this central region of the peninsula, he 
hoped this time, instead of a mere military insurrection, to 
provoke a national movement, in which Hindoos of every 
caste would take part. 

But before taking any decided step, it was necessary to 
settle in the country, so as to obtain as much influence, and 
act as effectively as was possible under the circumstances. 



THE PAL OF TANDIT 243 

This, of course, necessitated the discovery of a safe retreat, 
for a time at any rate, which he could be free to abandon, 
directly it was suspected. 

This was Nana Sahib's first care. The Hindoos who had 
followed him from Adjuntah, could go and come as they 
liked throughout the presidency. Balao Rao, who was not 
included in the governor's notice, might also have enjoyed 
the same immunity, had it not been for his likeness to his 
brother. Since his flight to the frontiers of Nepaul, atten- 
tion had not been drawn to his person, and there was every 
reason to believe him dead. But, taken for Nana Sahib, he 
would have been at once arrested, and this at any cost must 
be avoided. 

A single asylum then was needed for these two brothers, 
one in thought and aim, and in the defiles of the Sautpoora 
Mountains, this would neither take long nor be difficult 
to find. 

A suitable place was at last pointed out by one of the 
natives of the band, a Ghoond, who knew every inch of the 
valley, even to its innermost retreats. 

On the right bank of a little tributary of the Nerbudda 
was a deserted pal, called the Pal of Tandit. 

A pal is something less than a village and scarcely a ham- 
let, merely a collection of huts, or sometimes even a solitary 
habitation. The wanderers who inhabit it take up their 
abode there only for a time. After burning a few trees, the 
cinders of which improve the ground for a time, the Ghoond 
and his friends construct a dwelling. As the country is 
anything but safe, the house has all the appearance of a 
little fort. It is surrounded by palisades, and is capable of 
being defended against a surprise. Besides which, hidden 
in some thick clump of trees, or buried, so to speak, in a 
bower of cactus and brushwood, it is no easy matter to 
discover it at all. 

Usually, the pal crowns some hillock with a narrow valley 
on one side, between two steep spurs of the mountains, in 
the midst of an impenetrable forest. It does not seem that 
any human creature could live there. There is no road to 
it, nor even the vestige of a path. To reach one, it is some- 
times necessary to ascend the bed of a torrent, so that the 
water may wash away all traces of any one having passed 
that way. Besides this, a perfect avalanche of stones and 



244 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

rocks is kept ready at the top, arranged so that even a child's 
hand would be sufficient to push them over, and crush any- 
one who attempted to reach the pal against the wish of the 
inhabitants. 

Isolated as they are in their inaccessible eyries, the 
Ghoonds can yet communicate most rapidly from pal to 
pal. From the unequal ridges of the Sautpooras, signals 
are in a few minutes sent over sixty miles of country. A 
fire lighted on the summit of a pointed rock, a tree changed 
into a gigantic torch, a column of smoke on the top of a 
spur of the hills: the inhabitants all know what these sig- 
nify. The enemy, that is to say, a detachment of English 
soldiers, or a squad of police, has penetrated into the valley, 
ascended the course of the Nerbudda, is searching the 
gorges, in quest of some criminal, to whom the district offers 
a willing refuge. The war-cry, so familiar to the ear of the 
mountaineers, becomes a cry of alarm. A stranger might 
mistake it for the call of night-birds, or the hissing of 
serpents. 

The Ghoond does not so mistake it, however: it is a 
warning that he must fly, and so he does. The suspected 
pals are abandoned, or even burned. The nomads escape 
to other retreats, to be in their turn deserted if close pressed, 
so that when the agents of the authorities at last make their 
way to them, they find nothing but ruins. 

It was to one of these places, the Pal of Tandit, that 
Nana Sahib and his friends came to take refuge. The 
faithful Ghoond, so devoted to the person of the nabob, 
brought them to it, and there, on the 12th of March, they 
stationed themselves. 

The brothers' first care, after taking possession of the 
Pal of Tandit, was diligently to reconnoiter the neighbor- 
hood. They observed in what directions they could see, 
and how far. They found out what were the nearest habita- 
tions, and who were their occupants. The position of this 
lonely peak, on which in the midst of a group of trees, was 
the Pal of Tandit, was minutely studied, until they finally 
came to the conclusion that it was utterly impossible to 
obtain access to it without following the bed of the Nazzur 
torrent, up which they had themselves ascended. 

The security this Pal offered was undoubted, more 
especially as below it was a cave or tunnel, from 



THE PAL OF TANDlx 245 

which secret passages led out from the spur of the moun- 
tain, and afforded another way of escape when necessary. 

It was not enough, however, for Balao Rao to know only 
what the Pal of Tandit was at the present time ; he wished 
to know what it had been, and while the nabob was 
examining the interior he continued to interrogate the 
Ghoond. 

' A few questions more," he said. " For how long has 
this pal been deserted?" 

" For more than a year," replied the Ghoond. 

" Who last inhabited it?" 

' A wandering family, who only stayed there a few 
months." 

"Why did they leave it?" 

' Because the soil did not supply them with sufficient 
nourishment on which to subsist." 

' And since their departure, no one to your knowledge 
has taken refuge there? " 

" No one." 

" A soldier or emissary of the police has never set foot 
in this pal ? " 

" Never." 

" It has been visited by no stranger? " 

" By none," answered the Ghoond, " unless it was a 
woman." 

" A woman? " exclaimed Balao Rao. 

" Yes, a woman, who has been wandering about in the 
valley of the Nerbudda for the last three years." 

"Who is she?" 

" I have no idea who she is," replied the man. " Where 
she comes from I cannot tell, and not a person in the valley 
knows more than I do about the matter. Whether she is 
a foreigner, or a native, no one has ever been able to find 
out." 

Balao Rao reflected for a moment, then resumed, " What 
does this woman do?" he asked. 

" She goes to and fro," replied the Ghoond, " and lives 
entirely on alms. Every one in the valley has a kind of 
superstitious veneration for her. I have several times my- 
self received her in my own pal. She never speaks, and is 
generally supposed to be dumb, and I should not be surprised 
if she were. At night she may be seen straying about, hold- 



246 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

ing a lighted torch in her hand. For this reason she is 
always known by the name of the ' Roving Flame.' " 

" But," said Balao Rao, " if this woman knows the Pal 
of Tandit, is she not likely to return to it while we are 
here, and so cause us some danger? " 

" Not at all," replied the Ghoond. " She is mad. Her 
senses have fled; her eyes gaze without seeing; her ears 
listen without hearing, her tongue cannot utter a word. It 
is as though she were blind, deaf, and dumb to all that goes 
on around her. She is quite mad, and madness is a living 
death!" 

The Ghoond, in the language of the hillmen, thus traced 
the portrait of a strange creature, well known in the valley 
under the name of the " Roving Flame " of the Nerbudda. 
This was a woman whose pale, still beautiful, countenance, 
worn, though not with years, and quite devoid of expression, 
betrayed neither her origin nor age. The wild eyes looked 
as though they had closed to all intellectual life on some 
terrific scene, the horror of which still lingered in them. 

The hillmen always received this poor inoffensive creature 
kindly. Like all savage people, the Ghoonds hold persons 
who have been deprived of reason in a sort of superstitious 
reverence. Roving Flame was hospitably welcomed wher- 
ever she appeared. No pal was closed to her. They fed 
her when she was hungry, gave her a bed when she was 
weary, without expecting a word of thanks from the poor 
speechless mouth. 

For how long had this woman led this existence ? Where 
had she come from ? When did she first appear in Ghoond- 
wana? Why did she rove about with a torch in her hand? 
Was it to light her path or to scare away wild beasts? It 
was impossible to find out. Sometimes she disappeared for 
whole months together. What became of her then? Did 
she leave the defiles of the Sautpooras for the gorges of the 
Vindhyas? Did she wander beyond the Nerbudda into 
Malwa or Bundelcund? No one knew. More than once, 
when her absence was prolonged, it was thought that her 
melancholy life had ended. But no ! She always came back, 
still looking the same : for neither fatigue, nor illness, nor 
privation had any visible effect on her apparently frail body. 

Balao Rao heard the native with extreme attention. He 
considered whether there might not be some danger in the 



ROVING FLAME 247 

fcircumstance that Roving Flame knew the Pal of Tandit, 
for, as she had already before sought refuge there, her 
instinct might lead her back to it. He therefore questioned 
the Ghoond as to whether he or his friends knew where the 
mad woman actually was at the present time. 

" I cannot tell at all," answered the Ghoond. " For more 
than six months no one has seen her in the valley. Possibly 
she may be dead; but even should she reappear and come 
to this pal, there is nothing to fear from her. She is but 
a moving statue. She will not see you, nor hear you, nor 
know in the least who you are! She will just enter, sit by 
your hearth for a day or even two, then light her torch, 
and begin again to wander from house to house. That is 
the way her life is spent. But since her absence this time 
has been so prolonged, most likely she will not return again. 
The mind died long ago, and now the body must be dead 
also!" 

Balao Rao did not attach sufficient importance to this in- 
cident to think it worth mentioning to Nana Sahib. 

The fugitives spent a month in the Pal of Tandit, and as 
yet Roving Flame had not returned to the Nerbudda valley. 

CHAPTER XVI 

ROVING FLAME 

For a whole month, from the 12th of March to the 12th 
of April, Nana Sahib remained concealed in the pal. He 
wished to give the English authorities time either to make 
some mistake by thinking he was dead, and so give up the 
search, or to go on a false scent in quite another direction. 

The two brothers did not go out in the daytime them- 
selves, but their faithful followers went forth throughout 
the valley, visiting the villages and hamlets, announcing in 
ambiguous words the approaching apparition of a great 
moulti, half god, half man, and thus preparing their minds 
for a national rising. 

When night fell, Nana Sahib and Balao Rao ventured to 
quit their retreat. Following the banks of the Nerbudda, 
they went from village to village, from pal to pal, awaiting 
the time when, with some security, they might attempt the 
domains of the rajahs under British rule. Nana Sahib 
knew, besides, that there were many semi-independent tribes, 



248 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

who were impatient of the foreign yoke, and would rally 
round him at his summons. But in the first instance he must 
only deal with the savage populations of Ghoondwana. 

These barbarous Bheels, nomad Konds, and Ghoonds, as 
little civilized as the natives of the Pacific isles, the Nana 
found all ready to rise and follow where he would. Al- 
though he prudently only made himself known to two or 
three powerful chiefs, that was sufficient to prove to him 
that his name alone would attract millions of natives from 
the central plateau of Hindoostan. 

When the two brothers met again in their pal, they com- 
pared notes of all that they had seen, heard, and done. 
Their companions then joined them, bringing from all parts 
word that the spirit of revolt was blowing like a tempest 
through the Nerbudda valley. The Ghoonds only longed 
to be allowed to yell the " kisri," or war-cry of the hillmen, 
and hurl themselves like a cataract on the military canton- 
ments of the residency. 

The time for that had not yet come. 

It was in truth not enough that in the province lying be- 
tween the Sautpooras and Vindhyas alone the spirit of revolt 
should be smouldering. That the fire might gradually gain 
on the country, it was necessary to carry the combustible 
elements into the neighboring states, which were more di- 
rectly under English authority. 

The whole of the vast kingdom of Scindia, as well as the 
states of Bhopal, Malwa, and Bundelcund were to be made 
to resemble a huge bonfire, ready and prepared for lighting. 
But Nana Sahib, wisely enough, did not intend to delegate 
to others the task of visiting his partisans in the insurrec- 
tion of 1857; those natives who remained faithful to his 
cause, and never had believed in his death, were constantly 
expecting his reappearance. 

A month after his arrival in the Pal of Tandit, the Nana 
began to consider he might act in safety. He thought that 
by this time the story of his having been seen in the province 
would be contradicted. Trusty spies kept him informed as 
to all that the governor of the Bombay Presidency had done 
to effect his capture. He knew that at first the authorities 
had instituted a most active search, but without result. The 
fisherman of Aurungabad, once the Nana's prisoner, had 
fallen by his dagger, and no one had suspected that the 



ROVING FLAME 249 

fugitive fakir was the Nabob Dandoo Pant, on whose head 
a price had been set. In a week the reports grew fewer, 
the aspirants to the prize of 2,000/. lost hope, and the name 
of Nana Sahib began to be forgotten. 

Without much fear of being recognized, the nabob now 
began his insurrectionary campaign. Now in the costume 
of a parsee, and now in that of a humble ryot, one day alone, 
and another accompanied by his brother, he went long dis- 
tances from the Pal of Tandit, northward, to the other side 
of the Nerbudda, and even beyond the Vindhyas. 

If a spy had followed him in his wanderings he would, 
soon after the 12th of April, have found him at Indore. 

There, Nana Sahib, while preserving the strictest in- 
cognito, put himself in communication with the extensive 
rural population employed in the culture of poppy fields. 
These were Rihillas, Mekranis, Valayalis, eager, courageous, 
and fanatical, chiefly sepoy deserters, concealed by the dress 
of native peasants. 

Nana Sahib, on the 19th of April, passing through a mag- 
nificent valley in which dates and mango-trees grew in 
profusion, arrived at Suari. 

Here rise numerous curious constructions, of very great 
antiquity. They are called " topes," and resemble tumuli, 
crowned with hemispheric domes, the principal group being 
that of Saldhara, at the north of the valley. From these 
funeral monuments — these dwellings of the dead — the altars 
of which, dedicated to Buddhist rites, are shaded by stone 
parasols — issued, at the voice of Nana Sahib, hundreds of 
fugitives. Buried in these ruins to escape the retaliations of 
the English, one word was sufficient to make them under- 
stand what the nabob expected of them; when the hour 
came, a signal would be enough to excite them to throw 
themselves en masse on the invaders. 

On the 24th of April the Nana reached Bhilsa, the chief 
town of an important district of Malwa, and in the ruins 
of that ancient place he collected men ripe for revolt, to 
whom he gave the news. 

On the 27th he entered Rajghur, and on the 30th the old 
city of Saugor, not far from the spot where General Sir 
Hugh Rose fought a bloody battle with the insurgents, and 
with the hill of Maudanpoor, gained the key of the defiles 
of the Vindhyas. 



250 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

There the nabob was joined by his brother and Kalagani, 
and the two then made themselves known to the chiefs of 
the principal tribes of which they were sure. In these 
councils the preliminaries of a general insurrection were 
discussed and agreed upon. While Nana Sahib and Balao 
Rao were pursuing their operations in these parts, 
their allies were no less busy on the northern side of the 
Vindhyas. 

Before returning to the Nerbudda valley, the two brothers 
wished to visit Punnah. They ventured up the Keyne, 
under the shade of giant teaks and colossal bamboos. Here 
they enrolled many wild fellows from among the miserable 
people who work for the rajah in the valuable diamond- 
mines of the territory. " This rajah," says M. Rousselet, 
" understanding the position which English protection gives 
to the princes of Bundelcund, prefers the role of a rich 
land-holder to that of an insignificant prince." A rich land- 
holder indeed ! The region he possesses extends for twenty 
miles north of Punnah, and the working of his mines, the 
products of which are most esteemed in the markets of 
Benares and Allahabad, employs a large number of Hindoos. 
They are very hardly treated, condemned to the severest 
labor, and running a great chance of being decapitated as 
soon as their work is no longer required : so it is not to be 
wondered at that the Nana found many among them ready 
to fight for the independence of their country. 

Leaving this place, the brothers came southward again, 
intending to return to the Pal of Tandit. However, before 
provoking the southern rising which should coincide with 
that of the north, they determined to stop at Bhopal. 

This is an important Mussulman town, and the capital 
of Islamism in India. Its begum remained faithful to the 
English during the time of the rebellion. 

Nana Sahib and Balao Rao, accompanied by a dozen 
Ghoonds, arrived at Bhopal on the 24th of May, the last 
day of the Moharum festival, instituted to celebrate the 
revival of the Mussulman army. Both had assumed the 
dress of jogiiis, religious mendicants armed with long dag- 
gers with rounded blades, which they dig into their bodies 
in a fanatical manner, though without doing any great harm. 
Being unrecognizable in this disguise, the two brothers fol- 
lowed the procession through the streets of the town, in the 



ROVING FLAME 251 

midst of numerous elephants, bearing on their back tadzias, 
or little temples, twenty feet high; they mingled with the 
Mussulmen, who were richly clothed in gold-embroidered 
tunics and muslin turbans; they joined with the musicians, 
soldiers, dancing-girls, young men disguised as women — a 
strange agglomeration which gave to the ceremony quite 
the look of a carnival. In this mob of natives were many 
of their friends, with whom the conspirators could easily 
manage to exchange a masonic sign, well known to the 
rebels of 1857. 

When evening came, the crowd surged toward the lake 
which bathes the eastern suburb of the town. 

There, in the midst of deafening cries, reports of firearms, 
popping of crackers, and by the light of innumerable torches, 
the fanatics seized the tadzias, and cast them into the waters 
of the lake. The Moharum festival was ended. 

Just then Nana Sahib felt a touch on his shoulder. He 
turned and saw a Bengalee standing beside him. 

The Nana recognized in this man one of his former fol- 
lowers. He gave him a questioning look. 

The Bengalee thereupon murmured the following words, 
all of which were heard by the Nana without his betraying 
emotion by a single word or look. 

" Colonel Munro has left Calcutta." 

"Where is he?" 

" He was at Benares yesterday." 

" Where is he going? " 

" To the Nepaulese frontier." 

"With what object?" 

" To stay there a few months." 

"And then ?" 

" Return to Bombay." 

A whistle was heard. At the signal a native glided 
through the crowd and stood before them. 

It was Kalagnani. 

" Go this instant," said the nabob, " join Munro on his 
way to the north. Attach yourself to him. Render him 
some service, and risk your life if necessary. Never leave 
him until he is beyond the Vindhyas in the Nerbudda valley. 
Then — and then only — come and give me notice of his 
presence." 

Kalagnani signed an affirmative and disappeared. An 



252 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

order from the nabob was enough. In ten minutes he had 
left Bhopal. 

At that moment Balao Rao approached his brother. 

" It is time to set out," he said. 

"Yes," replied the Nana; "and before daybreak we 
must be at the Pal of Tandit." 

"Forward, then!" 

Followed by their Ghoonds, the two men skirted the 
northern side of the lake until they reached an isolated 
farm, where horses awaited them and their escort. They 
were swift animals, fed upon spiced food, and capable of 
doing fifty miles in a single night. By eight o'clock 
they were galloping along the road from Bhopal to the 
.Vindhyas. 

The Nana prudently wished his return to the pal to pass 
unnoticed ; so in order to reach their destination before day- 
break, they pushed on at their utmost speed. 

The brothers barely exchanged a word, but their minds 
were occupied with the same thoughts. During their ex- 
cursion they had gathered more than hope — the absolute 
certainty that numberless followers would rally around them. 
The center of India was entirely in their hands. The mili- 
tary cantonments scattered over this vast territory could 
not resist the first assault of the insurgents. Their annihila- 
tion would leave the way open for the revolt, which, spread- 
ing from coast to coast, would call up a wall of determined 
natives, against which the English army would dash them- 
selves in vain. 

The Nana's thoughts were divided between this and the 
fortunate chance, which would soon put Munro into his 
power. The colonel had at last quitted Calcutta, where he 
was so difficult to get at. Henceforth, none of his move- 
ments would be unknown to the nabob. Without his sus- 
pecting it, the hand of Kalagnani would guide him into the 
wild country of the Vindhyas, and once there, none could 
protect him from the punishment Nana Sahib's hate re- 
served for him. 

Balao Rao knew nothing of what had passed between 
the Bengalee and his brother. It was not until they were 
approaching the pal, when stopping to breathe their horses 
for an instant, that Nana Sahib mentioned the subject. 

' Munro has left Calcutta and is going to Bombay." 



ROVING FLAME 253 

" The road to Bombay," exclaimed Balao Rao, " leads 
to the shores of the Indian Ocean." 

" The road to Bombay, this time," returned the Nana, 
" will end in the Vindhyas." 

The horses set off again at a gallop through the thick 
forest which covered the borders of the Nerbudda valley. 

It was five in the morning, and day was dawning, as Nana 
Sahib, Balao Rao, and their companions drew rein at the 
foot of the Nazzur torrent. The party here dismounted 
and left their horses in charge of a couple of Ghoonds, with 
orders to take them to the nearest village. The rest then 
followed the brothers, who were already ascending the tor- 
rent. 

All was still. The noise of day had not yet succeeded to 
the silence of night. Suddenly a shot was heard, followed 
by many others; then shouts arose. "Hurrah! hurrah! 
forward ! " 

An officer, with fifty British soldiers, appeared on the 
crest of the pal. " Fire ! let none escape ! " he exclaimed. 

Another volley was fired straight at the group of Ghoonds 
which surrounded the Nana and his brother. Five or six 
natives fell, the others throwing themselves into the stream 
disappeared among the trees. 

" Nana Sahib ! Nana Sahib ! " shouted the English, as 
they penetrated the narrow ravine. 

All at once, one of those who had been mortally wounded, 
rose, his hand extended. " Death to the invaders ! ' he 
cried, in a hoarse voice, then fell back dead. 

The officer approached the body. " Is this indeed Nana 
Sahib? " he asked. 

" Yes, sir, it is," answered two of his men, who had been 
at Cawnpore, and were well acquainted with the person of 
the nabob. 

" After the others now," called out the officer. 

And he with all his detachment hastened off into the 
forest in pursuit. 

Scarcely had they disappeared, when a dark figure glided 
out of the dim recesses of the pal. It was Roving Flame. 

The evening before, the mad woman had been the un- 
conscious guide of the officer and his men. She had entered 
the valley and was mechanically bending her step toward 
the Pal of Tandit, when she happened to pass a bivouac of 



254 THE DEMON OF CAWNPORE 

these soldiers who were engaged in the search for the Nana. 
As the strange being glided by, the tongue which was sup- 
posed to be speechless, uttered a word, a name, that of 
the slaughterer of Cawnpore. 

"Nana Sahib! Nana Sahib! " she repeated, as if some 
unaccountable presentiment had called up the image in her 
mind. 

The officer heard and started. He instantly ordered up 
his men and followed in her steps, she appearing neither 
to see nor hear them. They reached the pal. Was this 
indeed the place in which the miscreant had hidden himself? 
The officer took the necessary measures for guarding the 
bed of the Nazzur and waited for day. 

Directly Nana Sahib and his Ghoonds appeared on the 
scene, they were met with a volley, which laid many low, 
and among them, the chief of the Sepoy Mutiny. 

Such was the account of the skirmish sent by telegraph 
to the Governor of the Bombay Presidency. The telegram 
soon spread all over the peninsula, the papers copied it, and 
thus Colonel Munro read it on the 26th of May in the 
Allahabad Gazette. 

No one could any longer have doubts about the death of 
Nana Sahib. His identity had been proved, and as the 
paragraph stated, " India has now nothing further to dread 
from the machinations of the cruel nabob who has cost 
her so much blood ! " 

The madwoman left the pal and descended the bed of 
the Nazzur. Her hollow eyes were burning with a strange 
light, which was not there a short time before, and she still 
muttered at intervals the name of the Nana. 

She reached the spot where the dead bodies lay, and 
stopped before the one recognized by the soldiers. The hor- 
rid scowl with which he died was fixed on his features. 
Having lived but for vengeance, his hate still survived. 

The madwoman knelt down, laid her clasped hands on 
the body, from which the blood flowed and stained the folds 
of her dress and looked long and fixedly at the face. Then 
she arose, and shaking her head, glided slowly away. 

By the time she had gone a few yards, Roving Flame 
had relapsed into her wonted indifference, and her lips no 
longer uttered the cursed name of Nana Sahib. 

END OF BOOK ONE 



The Steam House 



BOOK TWO 



Tigers and Traitors 




Tigers and Traitors 



CHAPTER I 

OUR SANITARIUM 

PEAKING of the great American Andes, the 
mineralogist Haiiy uses a grand expression 
when he calls them " The incommensurable 
parts of Creation." 

These proud words may justly be applied to 
the Himalayan chain, whose heights no man 
can measure with any mathematical precision. They occurred 
to my mind when I first viewed this incomparable region, 
in the midst of which Colonel Munro, Captain Hood, Banks, 
and myself were to sojourn for several weeks. 

" Not only are these mountains immeasurable," said the 
engineer, " but their summit must be regarded as inacces- 
sible; for human organs cannot work at such a height, 
where the air is not dense enough for breathing! ' 

This chain may be best described as a barrier of primitive 
granite, gneiss, and schist rocks, 1,560 miles in length, ex- 
tending from the seventy-second meridian to the ninety-fifth, 
through two presidencies, Agra and Calcutta, and two king- 
doms, Bhootan and Nepaul. It comprehends three distinct 
zones; the first 5,000 feet high, being more temperate than 
the lower plain, and yielding a harvest of corn in the winter, 
and rice in the summer; the second, increasing from 5,000 
to 9,000 feet, on which the snow melts in the spring time, 
and the third, rising to 25,000, covered with ice and snow, 
which even in the hot season defies the solar rays. 

At an elevation of 20,000 feet the mountains are pierced 
by eleven passes, which, incessantly threatened by ava- 
lanches, swept by torrents, and encumbered by glaciers, yet 
make it possible, though dangerous and difficult, to go from 
India to Thibet. Above this ridge, which is sometimes 
rounded and then again as flat as Table Mountain at the 
Cape of Good Hope, rise seven or eight peaks, some volcanic, 
commanding the sources of the Gogra, the Jumna, and the 
Ganges. The chief are Mounts Dookia and Kinchinjinga, 

V XII Verne 257 



258 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

rising to 28,000 feet; Diodhoonga, 24,000; Dhawalagiri, 
27,000; Chumalari, 28,000; and the highest in the world, 
Mount Everest, 29,000 feet. Such is this magnificent pile 
of mountains, which neither Alps, Pyrenees, nor Andes can 
excel in loftiness. 

The first slopes are extensively and thickly wooded. Here 
may be found different representatives of the palm family, 
which, in a higher zone, give place to vast forests of oaks, 
cypress, and pines, to rich masses of bamboos and herbaceous 
plants. 

Banks, who gave us this information, told us also that the 
snow-line is 6,000 feet lower on the Indian side of the chain 
than on the Thibetian; the reason being that the vapors 
brought by the south winds are arrested by the enormous 
barrier. On the other side, therefore, villages have been 
established at an altitude of 15,000 feet in the midst of 
fields of barley and beautiful meadows. If you believe the 
natives, one night is sufficient for a crop of grass to carpet 
these pastures! 

In the middle zone, peacocks, partridges, pheasants, bus- 
tards, and quails, represent the winged tribe. Goats and 
sheep abound. In the highest zone we only find the wild 
boar, the chamois, the wild cat ; and the eagle soars above the 
scanty vegetation, mere humble specimens of an arctic flora. 

But there was nothing there to tempt Captain Hood. 
Was it likely that this Nimrod would have come into the 
Himalayan region merely to continue his trade of domestic 
provider? Fortunately for him, there was no chance that 
game worthy of his Enfield-rifle, and his explosive balls, 
would be scarce. 

At the foot of the first slopes of the chain extends a zone, 
called by the natives the belt of Terrai. It is a long de- 
clivitous stretch of land, four or five miles wide, damp, 
warm, covered with vegetation and dense forests forming 
favorite resorts for wild beasts. This Eden of the hunter 
who loves the stirring features of the chase lay but 1,500 
yards below us. It was therefore easy to enter into these 
preserves, which seemed as it were quite distinct grounds. 

It was more than probable that Captain Hood would 
have greater pleasure in visiting the lower than the upper 
zones of the Himalayas, although, even after the explora- 
tions of that most ill-humored of travelers, Victor Jacque- 



OUR SANITARIUM 259 

mont, many important geographical discoveries remain yet 
to be made. 

" So this important chain is only very imperfectly 
known ? " I remarked to Banks. 

" Very imperfectly indeed," answered the engineer. 
" The Himalayan chain may be likened to a little planet, 
stuck on to our globe, and keeping its own secrets." 

" They have been surveyed though," said I, " they have 
been explored as much as is possible ! " 

" Oh, yes ! There has been no lack of Himalayan trav- 
elers," replied Banks. " Messrs. Gerard and Webb, the 
officers Kirkpatrick, Fraser, Hodgson, Herbert, Lloyd, 
Hooker, Cunningham, Strabing, Skinner, Johnson, Moor- 
croft, Thomson, Griffith, Vigne, Hugel, the missionaries 
Hue and Gabet, and more recently the brothers Schlagen- 
tweit, Colonel Waugh, Lieutenants Reuillier and Mont- 
gomery, have, by dint of great labor, made known in large 
measure their orological arrangements. Nevertheless, my 
friends, much remains to be learned. 

" The exact heights of the principal peaks have given 
rise to numberless rectifications. Formerly, Dhawalagiri 
was the king of the whole chain; then after new measure- 
ments, he was forced to yield the throne to Kinchinjinga, 
who again has abdicated in favor of Mount Everest. At 
the present time, the latter surpasses all its rivals. How- 
ever, the Chinese now say that the Kuen-Lun Mountains, to 
which it is true European measurements have not been 
applied, surpass Mount Everest in a slight degree, and that 
we must no longer look to the Himalayas as possessing the 
highest point of our globe. 

" But in reality these measurements must not be con- 
sidered mathematical until they have been barometrically 
obtained, and with every precaution that a direct determina- 
tion will admit of. And how is this to be done without 
carrying a barometer to the very top of one of these in- 
accessible peaks? Of course no one has yet accomplished 
this." 

" It will be done," answered Captain Hood, " just as some 
day voyages will be made to both the north and south pole ! ' 

"Evidently!" 

" Or an exploring party to the lowest depths of old 
Ocean." 



260 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

" Doubtless." 

" Or a journey to the center of the earth? " 

"Bravo, Hood!" 

"As everything will be done!" I added. 

" Even an aerial voyage to each of the planets of the 
solar system ! " rejoined Hood, whom nothing daunted. 

" No, captain," I replied. " Man, a mere inhabitant of 
the earth, cannot overstep its boundaries! But though he 
is confined to its crust, he may penetrate into all its 
secrets." 

" He can, he must ! " cried Banks. " All that is within 
the limits of possibility may and shall be accomplished. 
Then when man has nothing more to discover in the globe 
which he inhabits " 

" He will disappear with the spheroid which has no longer 
any mysteries concealed from him," put in Captain Hood. 

"Not so!' returned Banks. "He will enjoy it as a 
master, and will derive far greater advantages from it. But 
friend Hood, now that we are in the Himalayan country, I 
wish to tell you of a curious discovery which you may make, 
among others, and which will certainly interest you." 

" What is it about, Banks ? " 

" In the account of his travels, the missionary Hue speaks 
of a singular tree which is called in Thibet ' the tree of ten 
thousand pictures.' According to the Hindoo legend, Tong 
Kabac, the reformer of the Buddhist religion, was changed 
into a tree, some thousand years after the same adventure 
happened to Philemon, Baucis, and Daphne, those curious 
vegetable beings of the mythological flora. The hair of 
Tong Kabac became the foliage of this sacred tree, and on 
the leaves are — the missionary declares he saw it with his 
own eyes — Thibetian characters, distinctly to be traced in 
the veins." 

" A tree producing printed leaves! " I exclaimed. 

" And, moreover, on which you may read the purest and 
most moral sentences," continued the engineer. 

" That would be well worth the trouble of proving," said 
I, laughing. 

" Prove it, then, my friends," answered Banks. " If these 
trees exist in the southern part of Thibet, they surely are 
to be found in the upper zone, on the southern slopes of the 
Himalayas. During your excursions, then, you can be on 



OUR SANITARIUM 261 

the look out for this — what shall I call it? — this maxim- 
tree." 

' No, by Jove! " returned Captain Hood. " I came here 
to hunt, and have not the smallest intention of doing any- 
thing in the climbing line." 

" Well, my dear fellow," resumed Banks, " a daring 
climber like you ought to make some ascent in all this 
great chain." 

" Never! " exclaimed the captain. 

"Why not?" 

" I have renounced ascents ! " 

" Since when ? " 

" Since the day when, after having risked my life twenty 
times," answered Captain Hood, " I managed to reach the 
summit of Vrigel, in the kingdom of Bhootan. It was said 
that no human being had ever set foot on the top of that 
peak! There was glory to be gained! my honor was at 
stake! Well, after no end of narrow squeaks for it, I got 
to the top, and what did I see but these words cut on a 
rock: ' Durand, dentist, 14, Rue Caumartin, Paris!' I 
climb no more ! " 

The honest captain! I must confess that, while telling 
us of his discomfiture, Hood looked so comical, that it was 
impossible to help joining him in a hearty laugh. 

I have several times spoken of the " sanatariums " of the 
peninsula. These resorts in the mountains are much fre- 
quented during the summer by landowners, officers, and 
merchants, who are scorched by the glowing heat of the 
plains. In the first rank we must name Simla. It is like 
a little bit of Switzerland, with its torrents, its streams, its 
chalets, pleasantly situated under the shade of cedars and 
pines, 6,000 feet above the level of the sea. 

After Simla, I must mention Darjeeling, with its pretty 
white houses, overlooked by Mount Kinchinjinga, 312 miles 
to the north of Calcutta, 6,900 feet above the level of the 
sea — a charming situation, in the most beautiful country 
in the world. 

And now to these fresh and healthy stations, rendered 
indispensable by the burning climate of India, was added our 
Steam House. But it belonged to ourselves alone. It 
offered all the comforts of the most luxurious dwellings on 
the peninsula. Here, in this delicious climate, surrounded 



262 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

by all the necessaries and appliances of modern life, we 
dwelt in an atmosphere of quietness which we might have 
sought for in vain at Simla or Darjeeling, where there 
are swarms of Anglo-Indians. 

The site for our sanitarium was judiciously chosen. The 
road, leaving the lower part of the mountain, diverged at 
this point both to the east and to the west, so as to connect 
several scattered villages. The nearest of these hamlets 
was five miles from Steam House. It was occupied by a 
hospitable race of mountaineers, who rear goats and sheep, 
and cultivate rich fields of wheat and barley. 

One of the spurs supporting the great framework of the 
Himalayas formed a gently undulating plateau, nearly a 
mile in length, and half a mile in width. This was cov- 
ered with a thick carpet of short, close, velvety grass, dotted 
all over with violets. Clusters of beautiful rhododendrons, 
as large as small oaks, and natural arbors of camellias, gave 
a gay and gardenlike aspect to the scene. Nature had had 
no need to call in the aid of workmen from Ispahan or 
Smyrna, to manufacture this vegetable carpet. Several 
million seeds, brought by the sweet South breezes to the 
fertile ground, a little rain, a little sunshine, and there lay 
the green, soft fabric! 

In the background roared a torrent, whose course could 
be traced by its silvery gleam many hundred feet, as it de- 
scended the mountainside. It flowed down the right slope 
of the spur, and plunged, at no great distance from us, into 
a natural basin, overhung by splendid trees. 

The overflow from this basin formed a stream, which, 
running across our plateau, ended in a noisy cascade, which 
dashed itself finally into a bottomless gulf. 

From this description it may be seen how favorably Steam 
House was situated, both for comfort for the body and 
pleasure for the eye. Below us lay other and lesser crests, 
descending in gigantic steps to the plain. All this we could 
see from our high place of observation. 

Number One of Steam House was placed so that the 
view to the south might be seen from the veranda as well 
as from the side windows of the drawing and dining rooms. 
Over us " a cedar spread his dark-green layers of shade," 
contrasting with the eternal show which glittered on the 
distant mountain peaks. 



OUR SANITARIUM 263 

On the left, Number Two stood close to an enormous 
granite rock, gilded by the sun. This, our attendants' house, 
was placed about twenty feet from the principal dwelling. 
From the end of one of its roofs curled upward a little- 
stream of blue-gray smoke, showing the position of Mon- 
sieur Parazard's culinary laboratory. 

In the midst of the trees which lay between the two 
habitations might be seen a huge mastodon. It was Behe- 
moth, standing under a great beech-tree, with his trunk 
upraised, as if browsing on the branches. He, too, was 
stationary now ; resting, albeit he had no need of rest. 
However, there he stood, resolute defender of Steam House, 
like some enormous antediluvian animal, guarding the way. 

Colossal as we had always thought our elephant, now 
that he stood before the everlasting hills, he, the handiwork 
of puny man, faded into insignificance. " Like a fly on 
the facade of a cathedral ! " remarked Captain Hood con- 
temptuously. 

The comparison was good. Here, behind us, was a block 
of granite, from which a thousand elephants the size of 
ours might have been carved, and this block was but a simple 
step in the stair which leads up and up to the topmost crest 
crowned by the peak of Dhawalagiri. 

At times, when the sky lowers, not only the highest sum- 
mits, but the lower crests, disappear. This is caused by 
thick vapors sweeping across the middle zone, and veiling 
all the upper part. The landscape shrinks, and then, by 
an optical effect, it is as if the houses, the trees, the rocks, 
and Behemoth himself, resumed their natural size. 

When certain moist winds blow, the clouds often roll 
below the plateau. The eye then rests on nothing but a sea 
of clouds, illumined here and there by the sun's rays. All 
land both above and beneath vanishes, and we feel as if 
transported into some aerial region, beyond the earth. 

Suddenly the wind changes. A northern breeze blows 
through the mountain gulleys, the fog is swept away, the 
cloudy sea disappears as if by magic, the grand rocks and 
peaks stand out again, and once more our view extends 
over a panorama of sixty miles. 



CHAPTER II 

MATHIAS VAN GUITT 

At daybreak on the 26th of June, the jovial tones of a 
well-known voice aroused me from my slumbers. Captain 
Hood and his man Fox were engaged in lively conversa- 
tion in the dining-room, where I soon joined them. 

At the same moment Banks made his appearance, upon 
which the captain greeted him with, " Well, Banks, here we 
are at last, arrived in safety. It's a positive halt this time. 
Not a mere stoppage for an hour or two, but a stay of 
some months." 

" Very true, my dear Hood," replied the engineer, " now 
you can arrange your hunting excursions as you please. 
Behemoth's whistle won't hurry you back to camp." 

" Do you hear, Fox? " 

" Ay, ay, captain," answered the man. 

" St. Hubert be my speed ! '" cried Hood. " I vow I 
won't leave this sanitarium, as you call it, until the fiftieth 
is added to my list ! The fiftieth, Fox ! I have an idea 
that fellow will be particularly hard to get hold of." 

" He will be got, though," put in Fox. 

"What has put that idea into your head, captain?" I 
asked. 

" Oh, Maucler, it is merely a presentiment — a sports- 
man's presentiment, nothing more." 

" Well, then," said Banks, " from to-day, I suppose, you 
will commence the campaign?''* 

" From to-day," answered Captain Hood, " we shall be- 
gin by reconnoitering the ground, so as to explore the lower 
zone, by descending into the Terrai. Provided the tigers 
have not abandoned their residences." 

" Can you imagine such a thing? " 

" Remember! my bad luck! " 

" Bad luck! — in the Himalayas! " returned the engineer. 
" Would that be possible? " 

" Well, we shall see ! You will accompany us, Maucler? " 
asked Captain Hood, turning to me. 

" Yes, certainly." 

"And you, Banks?" 

"I also," replied the engineer; "and I fancy too that 
Munro will join you, like myself — as an amateur." 

264 



MATHIAS VAN GUITT 265 

" Oh," returned Hood, " come as amateurs if you like, 
but you must be amateurs well armed. It would never do 
to walk about with nothing but sticks in your hands. The 
very wild beasts would hide themselves for shame." 

" Agreed, then," said the engineer. 

1 Now, Fox," continued the captain, addressing his ser- 
vant, " no mistakes this time, please. We are in the tiger 
country. Four Enfield rifles for the colonel, Mr. Banks, 
Monsieur Maucler, and myself; two guns loaded with ex- 
plosive ball for yourself and Goumi." 

" Don't be afraid, captain," replied Fox. " The game 
sha'n't have any reason to complain, I warrant you." 

About eleven o'clock, therefore, Sir Edward Munro, 
Banks, Hood, Fox, Goumi, and myself, all well armed, 
descended the road which slanted toward the plain, taking 
care to leave behind our two dogs, whose services were not 
required in an expedition of this sort. 

Sergeant McNeil remained in camp with Storr, Kalouth, 
and the cook, to complete the arrangements. After his 
two months' journey, Behemoth required to be examined 
both inside and out, cleaned, and put in order. This was, 
of course, a long, minute, and delicate operation, which 
would give his usual keepers, the driver and stoker, occu- 
pation for some time. 

Soon after leaving our camp, a turn of the road quite hid 
Steam House, which disappeared from our sight, behind a 
thick curtain of trees. It no longer rained. A fresh wind 
blew from the northeast, driving the hurrying clouds before 
it. The sky was overcast, and the temperature consequently 
suitable for pedestrians, but we missed the pretty variations 
of light and shade which add such a charm to woodland 
scenery. 

The six thousand feet down a direct road would have 
been but an affair of five-and-twenty or thirty minutes, but 
it was lengthened by the windings it took to avoid 
steep places. It took us not less than an hour and a half 
to reach the outskirts of the forest, but we all enjoyed the 
walk. 

" Attention ! " exclaimed Captain Hood. " We are now 
entering the domain of tigers, lions, panthers, leopards, and 
other interesting inhabitants of the Himalayan region. It 
is very exciting to destroy wild beasts, but it wouldn't be 



266 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

quite so pleasant to be destroyed by them! Therefore, do 
not stray away from each other, and be prudent." 

Such advice from the lips of so bold a hunter was of con- 
siderable value, and we respected it accordingly. We all 
looked to the loading of our guns, and kept our eyes open. 
I may add that we not only had to be on our guard against 
wild beasts, but against serpents also, as the most dangerous 
of their species infest the Indian forests. Belongas, green 
serpents, whip snakes are frightfully venomous. The num- 
ber of victims who succumb annually to the bite of these 
reptiles is five or six times greater than that of do- 
mestic animals or human beings who are killed by wild 
beasts. 

In this region it was no more than the commonest pru- 
dence required, to look where you set your foot, or placed 
your hand, to keep your ears open for the slightest rustle in 
the grass or bushes, and your eyes, as much as possible, 
everywhere at once. 

At half-past twelve we were well into the forest. The 
great trees formed wide alleys through which even Behe- 
moth and his train might have passed with ease. Indeed, 
this part of the forest had been partially cleared by the 
hill-men, as we ascertained from the marks their carts had 
left in the soft clay ground. The principal alleys ran 
parallel with the mountain chain, along the greatest length 
of the Terrai, connecting the glades formed by the wood- 
man's ax, with more narrow paths which led off from them, 
and ended in impenetrable thickets. 

We followed these avenues, more like surveyors than 
sportsmen, so as to ascertain their general direction. No 
roar or scream broke the silence of the woods; but great 
footprints, plainly recent, showed that wild beasts had not 
deserted the Terrai. 

Suddenly, just as we were turning an angle formed by 
the hill, an exclamation from Captain Hood brought us all 
to a standstill. 

Twenty paces from us was a construction most peculiar 
in its shape. It was not a house, for it had neither chimney 
nor windows. It was not a hunter's lodge, for it had neither 
loopholes nor embrasures. It might rather have been taken 
for a native tomb, lost in the depths of the forest. 

Imagine a sort of long cube, formed of trunks placed 



MATHIAS VAN GUITT 267 

vertically side by side, fixed firmly in the ground, and con- 
nected with the upper part by a thick border of boughs. 
For a roof, other transverse trunks were strongly mortised 
into the walls. Evidently the builder of this edifice had 
determined to make it proof against anything. It was 
nearly six feet high, and twelve feet by five in length and 
width. There was no sign of any opening, unless one was 
hidden by a thick beam, of which the rounded top rose a 
little above the rest of the building. Above the roof were 
several long flexible tendrils, curiously arranged and tied 
together. At the extremity of a horizontal lever, which 
supported all this, hung a running knot, or rather noose, 
made of a thick twist of creepers. 

"Hallo, what's that?" I exclaimed. 

" That," answered Banks, after examining it well, " is 
simply a mouse-trap, and I leave you, my friends, to guess 
what sort of mice it is destined to catch." 

"A tiger-trap?" asked Hood. 

" Yes," replied Banks, " a tiger-trap. You see the door 
is closed by that beam, which was kept up by those tendrils, 
and which must have dropped when the inner weight was 
touched by some animal." 

" It is the first time," said Hood, " that I ever saw a 
snare of that kind in an Indian forest. A mouse-trap, in- 
deed! But it isn't worthy of a sportsman." 

" Nor of a tiger," added Fox. 

" No doubt," said Banks, " but when it is a question of 
destroying these ferocious animals, and not merely hunting 
them for pleasure, the best trap is the one which catches 
most. Now this appears to me most ingeniously arranged 
to attract and detain wild creatures, however sly and strong 
they may be." 

" Allow me to remark, my friends," said Colonel Munro, 
" that since the equilibrium of the weight which holds back 
the door of the trap has been disturbed, the probability is 
that some animal is taken in it." 

" We shall soon know that," cried Captain Hood, " and 
if the mouse is not dead " 

The captain, giving force to his words, put his gun at full 
cock. All followed his example. 

We had no doubt now that the erection before us was a 
trap, which, if it was not the work of a native, at any rate 



268 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

was a very practical engine of destruction, being extremely 
sensitive and uncommonly strong. 

Our arrangements made, Captain Hood, Fox, and Goumi 
approached and marched round the snare, examining it 
minutely. 

Not the smallest chink, however, gave them the least 
glimpse into the interior. 

They listened attentively. Not a sound betrayed the 
presence of any living creature. All was silent as the grave. 

Hood and his companions came round again to the front. 
They ascertained that the beam slid up and down in two 
wide vertical grooves. It was only necessary, therefore, to 
raise this, and the entrance would be open. 

" There's not the slightest sound," said Captain Hood, 
with his ear close against the door, " not even a breath. 
The mouse-trap is empty ! " 

" Never mind that, you must be careful," and saying this, 
Colonel Munro seated himself on the trunk of a fallen tree 
to the left of the clearing. I placed myself beside him. 

" Come, Goumi," said the captain. 

Goumi, with his supple, well-knit frame, active as a 
monkey, lithe as a leopard, a regular native acrobat, under- 
stood directly what was required of him. His natural 
adroitness designed him for the service the captain wished 
done. One spring, and he was on the roof, and grasping 
one of the rods. Then he crept along the lever till he 
reached the rope of creepers, and by his weight brought it 
down to the beam which closed the opening. 

The loop was then passed over the head of the beam in 
a notch made for the purpose. All that now remained to 
be done was to move it by weighing down the other end 
of the lever. 

The united strength of our little party was required for 
this, so Colonel Munro, Banks, Fox, and I proceeded to the 
back of the trap. Goumi remained on the roof to look 
after the lever, in case anything prevented it from working 
freely. 

" I say, you fellows," shouted Captain Hood, " if you 
want me, I will come ; but if you can do without me, I would 
prefer to stop where I am, near the opening. If a tiger pops 
out, he shall be saluted with one shot, at any rate ! ' 

" And will that count for your forty-second ? " asked I. 



MATHIAS VAN GUITT 269 

" Why not? " answered Hood. " If I shoot him, he will 
have fallen in freedom." 

' Don't count your chickens before they are hatched," 
said the engineer. 

" Especially when the chicken may turn out to be a 
tiger," added the colonel. 

" Now, my friends," cried Banks, " all together." 

The beam was heavy, and did not run easily in the 
grooves ; we managed, however, to move it just a foot from 
the ground, but then it stuck. 

Captain Hood, with his gun at full cock, bent down, ex- 
pecting to see some huge paw or nose poking out. Nothing 
was to be seen. 

" Once more ! " cried Banks. Goumi now gave a jerk 
or two to the lever, and the beam again moved up. Grad- 
ually the opening became large enough to give passage even 
to an animal of great size. But no creature of any descrip- 
tion appeared. 

It was possible, after all, that owing to the noise made 
around the trap, the prisoner might have retreated into the 
farthest corner of his prison. He might perhaps be waiting 
for a favorable opportunity to spring out, overturn any- 
thing that opposed him, and disappear in the depths of the 
forest. It was very exciting. 

At last I saw Captain Hood step forward, his finger on 
the trigger, and cast a keen glance into the interior of the 
snare. The beam was by this time completely raised, and 
the sunlight streamed freely into the building. 

At that moment, a slight rustle was heard inside, then a 
great snore, or rather a tremendous yawn which had a very 
suspicious sound. Evidently an animal was in there, which 
had been fast asleep and was now awakening. 

Captain Hood advanced still nearer, and pointed his gun 
at a dark object which he now saw moving in a corner. 

Suddenly a cry of terror burst forth, followed imme- 
diately by these words, spoken in good English, " Don't 
fire ! For heaven's sake, don't fire ! " 

The man who uttered them ran out. Our astonishment 
was such that our hands left their grasp of the lever, 
and the beam fell again with a dull sound before the 
opening. 

In the meantime, the personage who had so unexpectedly 



270 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

made his appearance, came up to Captain Hood, whose 
gun was aimed full at the stranger's breast, and in a some- 
what affected tone, accompanied by an emphatic gesture, 
' I beg you will lower your weapon, sir," he said. " It is 
no tiger that you have to deal with." 

Captain Hood, after some hesitation, returned his rifle 
to a less threatening position. 

" Whom have I the honor of addressing? " asked Banks, 
advancing in his turn. 

" The naturalist Mathias van Guitt, purveyor of pachy- 
dermata, tardigrades, plantigrades, proboscidate animals, 
carnivora, and other mammalia for the house of Mr. 
Charles Rice of London, and Messrs. Hagenback of Ham- 
burg." 

Then indicating us by a comprehensive wave of the arm — 
"These gentlemen ?" 

" Are Colonel Munro and his traveling companions," an- 
swered Banks. 

" Taking a walk in the Himalayan forest," resumed the 
purveyor. " A charming excursion indeed. I am happy 
to pay my respects to you, gentlemen." 

Who could this original be, whom we had met in such 
a strange way? He looked rather as if his wits had gone 
astray during his imprisonment in the tiger-trap. Was he 
mad, or was he in possession of his senses? Lastly, to 
what order of bimana did this individual belong? 

We were about to ascertain all this, and we were destined 
eventually to learn to know well this singular person, who 
with perfect truth termed himself a naturalist. Mathias van 
Guitt, menagerie purveyor, was a spectacled man of about 
fifty. His smooth face, his twinkling eyes, his turned-up 
nose, the perpetual stir of his whole person, his exaggerated 
gestures, suited to each of the sentences which issued from 
his wide mouth, all combined to make him a perfect type 
of the old provincial comedian. Who has not, at some time 
or another, met one of these ancient actors, whose whole 
existence, limited by a horizon of foot-lamps and drop- 
scene, has been passed between the green-room and stage 
of a theater? Indefatigable talkers, worrying gesticulators, 
always striking some theatrical attitude or other, and the 
head, which is too empty at old age to have ever had much 
in it, carried high in air, and thrown a little back. There 



MATHTAS VAN GUITT, 271 

was certainly something of the old actor in Mathias van 
Guitt. 

I have heard an amusing anecdote about a poor wretch 
of a singer, who prided himself on always suiting his actions 
to the words of his part. Thus, in the opera of " Ma- 
saniello," when he sung, — 

" If of a Neapolitan fisher ..." 

his right arm, extended toward the audience, would shake 
as if he held at the end of a line the fish which had just 
swallowed his hook. Then continuing, — 

" Heaven wish'd to make a monarch," 

while one hand was raised toward the roof to indicate 
Heaven, the other, tracing a circle around his proudly-set 
head, denoted a royal crown. 

" Rebelling against the decrees of destiny," 

his whole body seemed strongly to resist some unseen 
agency which almost threw him backward. 

" He would say as he steer'd his bark . . . . " 

Then his two arms, quickly brought from left to right, and 
from right to left, as if moving the scull, showed his skill 
in guiding a boat. 

Well, these gestures, customary with the singer in ques- 
tion, were very similar to those used by Mathias van Guitt. 
His language was always composed of the choicest terms, 
and he was sometimes rather annoying to his interlocu- 
tors if they could not keep beyond the radius of his 
gestures. 

As we learned later, from his own mouth, Mathias van 
Guitt was formerly Professor of Natural History in the 
Rotterdam Museum, but did not succeed in his teaching. 
The worthy man was doubtless a subject for much laughter, 
and though pupils flocked to his chair, it was to amuse 
themselves, not to learn. In short, circumstances induced 
him to leave his wearisome, unsuccessful teaching of theoret- 
ical zoology and take to practical zoology in the East 
Indies. This sort of trade suited him better, and he be- 
came the agent of important firms in London and Ham- 



272 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

burg, who provide both public and private menageries in 
the two worlds. A large order from Europe for wild 
beasts had now brought him into the Terrai. Indeed, his 
camp was not more than a couple of miles from the trap 
out of which we had just extricated him. 

But how had the purveyor got into the snare? This 
Banks soon asked, and the reply was made in high-flown 
language, adorned with various gestures. 

" It was yesterday. Already had the sun completed half 
his daily round, when the thought occurred to me that I 
would go and visit one of the tiger-traps erected in the 
forest. I therefore quitted my kraal, which I trust you will 
honor with a visit, gentlemen, and soon reached this clear- 
ing. My servants were attending to some urgent work, 
and I did not wish to disturb them. It was imprudent, I 
confess. When I arrived before this snare, I observed that 
the movable beam was raised. From this I drew the 
logical conclusion that no wild animal had allowed itself 
to be taken in it. However, wishing to ascertain if the 
bait was still in its place, and if the working of the 
weight was in good order, I, with a quick movement, in- 
sinuated my body through the narrow aperture." Here 
the hand of Mathias van Guitt imitated the graceful un- 
dulations of a serpent as it glides through the long 
grass. 

" When I reached the other side of the trap," he con- 
tinued, " I examined the quarter of a goat, the emanations 
from which were to attract guests to partake of it from 
this part of the forest. The bait was intact. I was about 
to withdraw, when an involuntary blow from my arm dis- 
placed the weight, the rope became loose, the beam fell, 
and I found myself taken in my own snare, without any 
possible means of escape." Mathias van Guitt paused 
a moment to allow us to take in all the gravity of the situa- 
tion. 

" Yet, gentlemen," he resumed, " I will not conceal from 
you, that I was first of all struck by the comic view of the 
matter. I was imprisoned, well ! There was no jailer to 
open the door of my dungeon, granted ! But I thought 
indeed, that my people, finding that I did not reappear at 
the kraal, would become uneasy at my prolonged absence 
and commence a search which sooner or later would 



MATHIAS VAN GUITT 273 

end in my being discovered. It was but an affair of time. 

1 Stone walls do not a prison make, 
Nor iron bars a cage; 
Minds innocent and quiet take 
That for an hermitage.' 

I consoled myself with these thoughts, and the hours passed 
away without anything occurring to modify my situation. 
The shades of evening fell, and pangs of hunger made 
themselves felt. I imagined the best thing I could do would 
be to cheat time by sleeping. I resigned myself then phil- 
osophically, and was soon in the arms of Morpheus. The 
night was calm, and silence reigned throughout the forest. 
Nothing troubled my slumber, and perhaps I should even 
now be oblivious, if it had not been that I was awakened 
by an unusual noise. The door of the trap rose slowly, 
the blessed light of day streamed into my darksome retreat, 
the way of escape was open before me ! What was my dis- 
may, when I perceived the instrument of death aimed full 
at my heart! A moment more, and I should have been 
stretched lifeless on the ground! The hour of my deliver- 
ance would have been the last of my life! But the gallant 
captain soon recognized in me a creature of his own species. 
And I have still to thank you, gentlemen, for having restored 
to me my liberty." 

Such was our new friend's account of himself. It must 
be acknowledged that we had some difficulty in keeping 
our gravity, so absurd were his tone and gestures. ■ 

" So, sir," said Banks, " your camp is established in this 
part of the Terrai? " 

" Yes, sir," replied Mathias van Guitt. " As I had the 
pleasure of informing you, my kraal is not more than two 
miles from here, and if you will honor it with your presence, 
I shall be happy to receive you there." 

" Certainly, Mr. van Guitt," answered Colonel Munro, 
" we will come and pay you a visit." 

" We are hunters," added Captain Hood, " and the ar- 
rangements of a kraal will interest us." 

" Hunters! " cried Mathias van Guitt, " hunters! " And 
his countenance betrayed that he held the sons of Nimrod 
in very moderate estimation. " You hunt wild beasts — for 

V XII Verne 



274 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

the sake of killing them doubtless? " he resumed, addressing 
the captain. 

" Only to kill them," replied Hood. 

" And I only to catch them," answered the purveyor, 
with evident pride. 

" Well, Mr. van Guitt, we sha'n't agree upon that point," 
said Captain Hood. 

The purveyor shook his head. The discovery of our hunt- 
ing propensities was not, however, of importance enough 
to make him withdraw his invitation. " When you are 
ready to follow me, gentlemen," said he, bowing gracefully. 

As he spoke, voices were heard in the distance, and very 
soon half a dozen natives appeared at the other end of the 
glade. "Ah! here are my people," said Van Guitt. 

Then approaching us closer, and placing his finger on his 
lips, " Not a word of my adventure ! " he whispered. " The 
attendants and servants of the kraal must not know that I 
have been caught in my own trap like some common animal ! 
It would lessen the reputation for wisdom which I endeavor 
to preserve in their eyes." 

Our sign of acquiescence reassured the purveyor. 

" Master," said one of the natives, whose impassible and 
intelligent countenance attracted my attention ; " master, 
we have been searching for you for more than an hour, 
without " 

" I was with these gentlemen, who wish to accompany 
me to the kraal," answered Van Guitt. " But before quit- 
ting the clearing, the trap must be put in order." 

While the natives were proceeding to obey their master's 
orders, Mathias van Guitt invited us to visit the interior 
of the trap. Captain Hood entered with alacrity, and I 
followed. The space was somewhat limited for the display 
of our host's gestures, but he nevertheless did the honors 
as though it were a drawing-room. 

" I congratulate you," said Hood, after examining the 
apparatus. " It is exceedingly well contrived." 

" I do not hesitate to say that it is, captain," replied Van 
Guitt. " This description of snare is infinitely preferable 
to the ditches set with stakes of hardened wood, or the 
flexible branches of trees bent together so as to form a 
running knot. In the first case, the animal is impaled on 
the sharp points; in the second, it is strangled. That, of 



MATHIAS VAN GUITT 275 

course, matters little when the object is merely to kill and 
destroy. But I who now speak to you must procure the 
living creature intact, with not the slightest blemish." 

"Certainly," said Captain Hood; " we do not proceed in 
the same way." 

" Mine is perhaps the best," said the purveyor. " If you 
were to consult the animals themselves " 

" But I have no intention of consulting them," replied 
the captain. 

Mathias van Guitt and Captain Hood would have some 
trouble in getting on together, most decidedly. 

" Now when the animals are caught in the trap," I asked, 
"what do you do next?" 

" A rolling cage is brought close to the trap," replied 
Van Guitt, " the prisoners run into it of their own accord, 
and then all I have to do is to convey them to the kraal, 
drawn at a slow and steady pace by my domestic buffaloes." 

Scarcely were these words uttered when cries arose out- 
side. Captain Hood and I immediately hastened out of the 
building. What had happened? 

A whip-snake, of the most venomous species, lay on the 
ground, cut in two pieces by a rod which one of the natives 
held in his hand, just as it was darting at the colonel. The 
man was the one I had at first remarked, and his rapid in- 
tervention had certainly saved Sir Edward from immediate 
death. 

The cry we had heard was uttered by another of the 
servants, who now lay on the grass in the agonies of death. 
By a deplorable fatality, the head of the snake, as it was 
severed from the body, had bounded against the unfortunate 
man's chest, its fangs had entered him, and penetrated by 
the subtle poison, in less than a minute he was dead, all 
help proving unavailing. 

Rousing ourselves from the horror caused by this dread- 
ful sight, we ran up to Colonel Munro. " You are not 
hurt? " exclaimed Banks, grasping his hand. 

" No, Banks, no, make yourself easy," answered Sir 
Edward. 

Then advancing toward the native, to whom he owed 
his life. " I thank you, friend," he said. 

The native made a sign as if to say that no thanks were 
necessary, for that. 



276 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

" What is your name? " asked the colonel. 
" Kalagani," answered the Hindoo. 



CHAPTER III 

THE KRAAL 

The death of this unfortunate man made a deep impres- 
sion upon us, both from the fact itself and from the cause, 
though it was anything but an unusual occurrence. It was 
but one more added to the thousands who annually fall vic- 
tims in India to the formidable reptiles. 

It has been said — jestingly I presume — that formerly 
there were no snakes in Martinique, but that the English 
imported them when they were obliged to give up the island 
to France. The French had no occasion to retaliate in this 
manner when they yielded their conquest in India, for 
Nature had shown herself only too prodigal in that respect. 

Under the influence of the venom, the body of the Hindoo 
began to exhibit signs of rapid decomposition. A speedy 
burial was necessary. His companions, therefore, set to 
work, and soon laid him in a grave deep enough to protect 
the body from wild beasts. When this sad ceremony was 
ended, Mathias van Guitt invited us to accompany him to 
his kraal, and we readily did so. 

Half an hour's walk brought us to the place, which de- 
served its name of kraal, though it is a word more especially 
used by the settlers of South Africa. 

It was a wide inclosure, standing in a glade in the depths 
of the forest. Mathias van Guitt had arranged it with a 
perfect understanding of the requirements of his trade. A 
row of high palisades, having a gate wide enough to admit 
carts, surrounded it on the four sides. Inside was a long 
hut, made of trunks of trees and planks, which was the 
dwelling-place. 

Six cages, divided into several compartments, and each 
mounted on four wheels, were drawn up in the left end of 
the inclosure. From the roars which issued from them, 
we concluded they were not untenanted. 

To the left were penned a dozen buffaloes, which were 
fed on the mountain grass. These were the animals used 
to draw the traveling menagerie. Six men, who attended to 



THE KRAAL 277 

these creatures and drove the carts, and ten others who 
were especially skillful in the chase, completed the staff of 
attendants in the kraal. 

The carters were hired only for the duration of the cam- 
paign. Their services ended by driving the carts to the 
nearest railway station. There the cages were placed on 
trucks, and wheeled off, via Allahabad, to Bombay or Cal- 
cutta. The hunters, who were Hindoos, are called shikar- 
rics. They were employed to discover and follow up the 
traces of animals, dislodge them, and then assist in their 
capture. 

Mathias van Guitt and his men had lived for some months 
in this kraal. They were there exposed, not only to the 
attacks of ferocious beasts, but also to the fevers with which 
the Terrai is infested. The damp nights, the pernicious 
evaporations from the ground, the moist heat hanging about 
under the thick-growing trees, through which the sun never 
penetrates, all combine to make this lower zone of the Him- 
alayas a most unhealthy region. The purveyor and his men 
were, however, so well acclimatized, that the malaria affected 
them no more than it did the tigers or other inhabitants 
of the Terrai. 

It would not have been wise for us to live in the kraal, 
nor did this enter into Captain Hood's plan. Except for a 
night or two passed on the watch, we intended living in 
Steam House, which was too high up for any baleful vapors 
to reach us there. 

Here were we, then, arrived at Van Guitt's encampment. 
The door opened for us to enter. Mathias van Guitt ap- 
peared particularly flattered by our visit. " Now, gentle- 
men," he said, " permit me to do the honors of my kraal. 
This establishment is replete with every necessary for the 
pursuit of my vocation. In reality, it is but a hut on a 
large scale, which, in this country, hunters call a houddi." 

Saying this, our host opened the door of the dwelling 
which he and his people occupied together. Nothing could 
have been more simple. One room for the master, another 
for the carters, and another for the shikarries. A fourth, 
rather larger, serving for both kitchen and dining-room. 

After visiting the habitation of " these bimana, belonging 
to the highest order of mammalia," we were requested to 
look at the nearest of the quadruped's dwellings. This was 



278 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

the most interesting part of the kraal. The cages were not 
like the comfortable dens of a zoological garden, but re- 
called rather the appearance of a traveling show. All that 
was required to complete them was a gaudily-painted canvas 
hung above a stage, and representing in startling colors a 
tamer, in pink tights and velvet jacket, striking an attitude 
in the midst of a bounding herd of wild beasts, who, with 
bloody jaws and claws outspread, were cowering under the 
lash of some heroic Van Amburgh. 

A few paces farther on were the buffaloes. They oc- 
cupied a portion of the kraal on the right, and their daily 
rations of fresh grass were brought to them there. It would 
have been impossible to allow these animals to stray in the 
neighboring pastures. As Mathias van Guitt elegantly re- 
marked, " the freedom of pasture, allowable in the United 
Kingdom, is incompatible with the dangers presented by the 
Himalayan forests." 

The menagerie, properly so called, comprised six cages 
on wheels. Each cage, with a barred front, was divided 
into three compartments. Doors, or rather partitions, moved 
from the top, made it easy for the animals in one compart- 
ment to be driven into another when necessary. 

The cages at the present time contained seven tigers, two 
lions, three panthers, and a couple of leopards. 

Van Guitt informed us that his stock would not be com- 
plete until he had captured two leopards, three tigers, and 
one lion more. Then he intended leaving this camp, pro- 
ceeding to the nearest railway station, and thence traveling 
to Bombay. 

The wild beasts were easily watched in their cages, and 
proved to be magnificent creatures, but particularly fero- 
cious. They had been too recently caught to have yet become 
accustomed to a state of captivity. This was plain from 
their constant roars, their restless pacings up and down, and 
the blows they gave the bars, straining them in many places. 

On seeing us, their rage was redoubled ; but Van Guitt 
was not in the least disturbed. 

" Poor beasts ! " remarked Captain Hood. 

" Poor beasts ! " echoed Fox. 

" Do you believe, then, that they are more to be pitied 
than those which you kill?" asked our host, somewhat 
sharply. 



THE KRAAL 279 

" Less to be pitied than blamed . . . for allowing them- 
selves to be caught! " returned Hood. 

If it is true that the wild beasts of a country such as 
Africa are sometimes compelled to undergo a long fast, 
because the animals upon which they feed are scarce, such 
could never be the case in the Terrai zone. Here abound 
bisons, buffaloes, zebras, boars, antelopes, to which the lions, 
tigers, and panthers are constantly giving chase. Besides 
goats and flocks of sheep, not to mention the poor ryots 
who are their shepherds, offer a certain and easy prey. 
They always find abundance in the Himalayan forests to 
satisfy their hunger. The purveyor fed his menagerie chiefly 
on the flesh of bison and zebras, and it was the shikarries' 
duty to procure this meat. 

It is a mistake to imagine that this species of hunting 
is without danger. Quite the contrary. The tiger himself 
has much to fear from the savage buffalo, who is a terrible 
animal when wounded. Many a hunter has, to his horror, 
found his antagonist rooting up, with its horns, the tree in 
which he has taken refuge. 

It is said that the eye of a ruminant is a regular mag- 
nifying lens, increasing the size of an object threefold, and 
that man, in this gigantic aspect, awes him. It is also 
asserted that the upright position of a human being walking 
is of a nature to terrify ferocious animals, and, therefore, 
that it is far better to face them standing than lying or 
crouching down. I cannot tell how much truth there may 
be in these statements ; but it is very certain that a man, 
even when drawn up to his full height, produces no effect 
whatever on the savage buffalo; and if his shot misses, he 
is almost certainly lost. 

The buffalo of India has a short, square head, smooth 
horns, flattened at the base, a humped back — like its Amer- 
ican congener — its legs, from the foot to the knee, being 
white, and its size, from the root of the tail to the end of 
its muzzle, measuring sometimes twelve feet. Although it 
is not particularly ferocious when feeding in herds on the 
plain, it yet is very formidable to any hunter who rashly 
attacks it. 

The purveyor, who knew his business, was very sparing 
as to his captives' food. Once a day, at twelve o'clock, four 
or five pounds of meat were given them, and nothing more. 



280 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

He even, though not from any religious motive, allowed 
them to fast from Saturday to Monday. They must have 
passed a dismal Sunday! Then, when forty-eight hours 
had elapsed, and their modest pittance appeared, the excite- 
ment and the roaring may be imagined, the cages actually 
swaying backward and forward with the movement of the 
springing, bounding creatures inside. 

Yes, poor beasts! we may be tempted to say with Cap- 
tain Hood. But Mathias van Guitt did not act thus without 
a motive; and this enforced abstinence was good for the 
animals, and heightened their price in the European market. 

It may easily be imagined that while Van Guitt was ex- 
hibiting his collection, more as a naturalist than a show- 
man, his tongue was not allowed to stand still. On the 
contrary. He talked, he described, he related; and as wild 
beasts were the principal subjects of his redundant periods, 
it was all tolerably interesting to us. 

" But, Mr. van Guitt," said Banks, " can you tell me if 
the profits of the trade are in proportion to the risks that 
are run? " 

" Sir," answered the purveyor, " it was formerly ex- 
tremely remunerative. However, for the last few years, I 
have been forced to perceive that ferocious animals have 
declined. You may judge of this by the current prices of 
the last quotation. Our principal market is the Zoological 
Garden in Antwerp. Volatiles, ophidians, specimens of the 
simian and saurian family, representatives of the carnivora 
of both hemispheres, such is the consuetudinal " 

At this word Captain Hood bowed. 

" — produce of our adventurous battues in the forests of 
the peninsula. From one cause or another the public taste 
seems to have altered, and the sale price is sometimes less 
than what was expended on the capture! For instance, a 
male ostrich is now sold but for 44/., and the female for 32/. 
A black panther found a purchaser for only 60/., a Java 
tigress for 96/., and a family of lions — father, mother, 
uncle, and two healthy cubs — were sold in a lump for 280//' 
They really went for nothing," said Banks. 

" As to proboscidate animals — " resumed Van Guitt. 

" Proboscidate ? " said Captain Hood. 
' We call by that scientific name those pachydermata 
which nature has furnished with a trunk." 



THE KRAAL 281 

" Such as elephants ! " 

" Yes, elephants since the quaternary period. They were 
* mastodons ' in the prehistoric times." 

" Thank you," replied Hood. 

" As to proboscidate animals," resumed Van Guitt, " we 
must soon renounce even their capture, unless it is for the 
sake of their tusks ; for the consumption of ivory has in no 
way diminished. But since the authors of dramatic pieces, 
at their wit's end for some novelty, have conceived the idea 
of introducing these creatures on the stage, they are taken 
about from one town to another ; so that the same elephant, 
parading the country with a strolling company, satisfies the 
curiosity of a whole province. From this cause, elephants 
are in less request than formerly." 

" But," I asked, " do you only supply European men- 
ageries with these specimens of the Indian fauna? ' 

" You will pardon me," replied Mathias van Guitt, " if 
on this subject, sir, I allow myself, without being too curious, 
to put to you a simple question? " 

I bowed in token of acquiescence. 

" You are French, sir," said the purveyor. " That is 
plainly seen, not only by your accent, but by your type, which 
is an agreeable combination of the Gallo-Roman and the 
Celt. Now, as a Frenchman, you cannot have any propensity 
for distant journeys, and probably have not made the tour 
of the world ? " Here Van Guitt's hand described one of 
the great circles of the sphere. 

" I have not yet had that pleasure," I replied. 

" I will ask you, then, sir," continued our friend, " not 
if you have been to. the Indies, as you are already here, 
but if you are thoroughly acquainted with the Indian pen- 
insula? " 

" Imperfectly as yet," I answered. " However, I have 
already visited Bombay, Calcutta, Benares, Allahabad, and 
the valley of the Ganges. I have seen their monuments, I 
have admired " 

"Ah! what is that, sir, what is all that?" interrupted 
Mathias van Guitt, turning away his head, and shaking his 
hand, in a manner to express supreme disdain. 

Then launching out into an animated description, " Yes, 
what is all that, if you have not visited the menageries of 
those powerful rajahs, who maintain the worship of the 



282 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

superb animals, on which the sacred territory of India prides 
itself? Resume your tourist's staff, sir. Go into Guicowar, 
and render homage to the King of Baroda. Inspect his 
menageries, which owe the greater number of their tenants, 
lions from Kattiwar, bears, panthers, cheetahs, lynx, and 
tigers, to me. Be present at the celebration of the marriage 
of his sixty thousand pigeons, which takes place every year, 
with great pomp! Admire his five hundred bulbuls, the 
nightingales of the peninsula, whose education is attended 
to as carefully as if they were heirs to the throne! Con- 
template the elephants ; one of them is the executioner, and 
his business it is to dash the head of the condemned man 
on the stone of punishment! Then transfer yourself to the 
establishments of the Rajah of Maissour, the richest of 
Asiatic sovereigns. Enter his palace, where you may count 
hundreds of rhinoceri, elephants, tigers, and every creature 
of high rank which belongs to the animal aristocracy of 
India! And when you have seen all this, sir, perhaps you 
need no longer be accused of ignorance of the marvels of 
this incomparable country! " 

I could do no more than bow before these remarks. Van 
Guitt's impassioned style of representing things admitted 
of no discussion. 

Captain Hood, however, pressed him more directly about 
the particular fauna of this region of the Terrai. 

" A little information, if you please," he said, " about the 
wild beasts which I have come to this part of India to hunt. 
Although I am only a sportsman, and I repeat, I do not 
compete with you, Mr. van Guitt, yet if I could be of any 
use in capturing the tigers which you still want for your 
collection, I shall only be too pleased to do so. But, when 
your menagerie is completed, you must not take it ill if I, 
in my turn, shoot a few for my own personal amusement." 

Mathias van Guitt put himself into the attitude of a man 
who has resigned himself to submit to what he disapproves 
of, but does not know how to prevent. He admitted, how- 
ever, that the Terrai contains a considerable number of 
troublesome animals, in no great request in the European 
markets, so that their sacrifice might be permitted. 

" Kill the boars, I consent to that," said he. " Although 
these swine of the order of pachydermata, are not carni- 
vorous " 



THE KRAAL 283 

" Carnivorous? " said Captain Hood. 
' I mean by that, that they are herbivorous ; their ferocity 
is so great, that hunters who are rash enough to attack 
them run the greatest danger." 

"And wolves?" 

' Wolves are numerous all over the peninsula, and are 
much to be dreaded when they advance in herds on some 
solitary farm. These animals slightly resemble the wolf of 
Poland, and I certainly have not much esteem either for 
jackals or wild dogs. I do not deny the ravages they com- 
mit, and as they have not the smallest marketable value, 
and are unworthy to figure among the higher classes of 
zoo-ocracy, I will abandon them also to you, Captain Hood." 

"And bears?" I next asked. 

" Bears are good, sir," answered the zoologist with a nod 
of approval. " Although those of India are not sought for 
quite as eagerly as others of the family Ursidae, they never- 
theless possess a certain commercial value which recom- 
mends them to the benevolent attention of connoisseurs. 
Your taste might hesitate between the two species which we 
find in the valleys of Cashmere and the hills of Rajmahal. 
But, except perhaps in the hibernating period, these crea- 
tures are almost inoffensive, and, in short, would not tempt 
the cynegetic instincts of a true sportsman, such as I hold 
Captain Hood to be." 

The captain smiled in a significant manner, showing well 
that with or without the permission of Mathias van Guitt, 
he meant only to refer to himself on these special questions. 

" These animals," continued Van Guitt, " feed only on 
vegetables, and have nothing in common with the ferocious 
species, on which the peninsula so justly plumes itself." 

" Do you include the leopard in your list of wild beasts ? " 
asked Captain Hood. 

" Most certainly, sir. This creature is active, bold, full 
of courage, and he can climb trees, so for that reason he is 
sometimes more formidable than the tiger." 

" Oh! " ejaculated the captain. 

" Sir," answered Mathias van Guitt in a dignified tone, 
" when a hunter is no longer sure of finding a refuge in 
trees, he is very near being hunted in his turn ! ' : 

" And the panther? " asked Captain Hood, willing to cut 
short this discussion. 



284 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

" The panther is superb," answered Mathias van Guitt ; 
" and you may observe, gentlemen, that I have some mag- 
nificent specimens. Astonishing animals, which by a singular 
contradiction, an antilogy, to use an uncommon word, may 
be trained for the chase. Yes, gentlemen, in Guicowar 
especially, the rajahs use panthers in this noble exercise. 
They are taken out in a palanquin, with their heads muffled 
like a falcon or a merlin! Indeed, they are regular four- 
footed hawks! No sooner do the hunters come in sight 
of a herd of antelopes, than the panther is unhooded, and 
flies upon the timid ruminants, whose feet, swift as they 
are, cannot carry them beyond the reach of those terrible 
claws! Yes, captain, yes! You will find panthers in the 
Terrai ! You may perhaps find more than you care for, but 
I warn you charitably that they are by no means tame ! ' : 

" I should hope not," was Captain Hood's reply. 

" Nor the lions either," added the zoologist, somewhat 
vexed at this answer. 

"Ah! lions!" said Hood. "Let us speak a little about 
lions, please! " 

" Well, sir," resumed Mathias van Guitt, " I regard the 
so-called king of beasts as inferior to his congeners of an- 
cient Libya. Here the males do not wear that mane which 
is the appendage of the African lion, and in my opinion, 
they are, therefore, but shorn Sampsons! They have, be- 
sides, almost entirely disappeared from Central India to 
seek a refuge in the Kattiwar peninsula, the desert of Theil, 
and the Terrai forest. These degenerate felines, living soli- 
tary, like hermits, do not gain strength by frequenting the 
company of their fellows. Therefore, I do not give them 
the first place in the scale of quadrupeds. Indeed, gentle- 
men, you may escape from a lion, from a tiger, never!' 

" Ah! tigers! " cried Captain Hood. 

" Yes, tigers ! " echoed Fox. 

" The tiger," replied Van Guitt, growing animated, " to 
him belongs the crown. We speak of the royal tiger, not 
the royal lion, and that is but justice. India belongs en- 
tirely to him, and may be summed up in him. Was he not 
the first occupant of the soil ? Was it not his right to look 
upon as invaders, not only the representatives of the Anglo- 
Saxon race, but also the polar race? Is he not indeed the 
true child of this sacred land of Aryvarta? These mag- 



THE KRAAL 285 

nificent animals are spread over the whole surface of the 
peninsula, and they have not abandoned a single district 
of their ancestors, from Cape Comerin to the Himalayan 
barrier! " 

And Mathias van Guitt's arm, stretched out to denote the 
southern promontory, was now waved northward toward 
the mountain peaks. 

" In the Sunderbunds," he continued, " they are at home! 
There they reign as masters, and woe to all who attempt 
to dispute with them their territory! In the Neilgherry 
Hills they roam about in a body, like wild cats. 

"'Si parva licet componere magnis!' 

You can understand from this why these superb felidae 
are in such demand in all European markets, and are the 
pride of menageries! What is the great attraction in the 
public or private wild beast show? The tiger! When 
do you most fear for the life of the tamer? When he is 
in the tiger's cage! For what animals do the rajahs pay 
their weight in gold to obtain them to ornament their royal 
gardens? The tiger! What creature is always at a pre- 
mium in the wild animal market exchange of London, Ant- 
werp, and Hamburg? The tiger! In what chase do British 
officers in India so distinguish themselves? In the tiger 
hunt! Do you know, gentlemen, what entertainment the 
independent sovereigns of India provide for their guests? 
A royal tiger in a cage is brought. The cage is placed in 
the midst of a wide plain. The rajah, his guests, his officers, 
his guards, are armed with lances, revolvers, and rifles, and 
are, for the most part, mounted on gallant solipeds " 

" Solipeds? " said Captain Hood. 

" Their horses, if you prefer the more vulgar word. 
Already the solipeds, terrified by the near neighborhood of 
the tiger, his scent, and the light which gleams from his 
eyes, rear, so that it requires all their rider's skill to manage 
them. Suddenly the door of the cage is thrown open. The 
monster springs forth ; with wild leaps he flies on the 
scattered groups ; in his fury he immolates a hecatomb of 
victims. Although sometimes he contrives to break through 
the circle of fire and sword with which he is surrounded, 
more often he is overcome and falls, one against a hundred. 



286 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

But, at least, his death is a glorious one, it is avenged be- 
forehand." 

" Bravo, Mr. van Guitt," cried Captain Hood, in his turn 
becoming quite excited. " Yes, that must be a fine sight. 
Truly the tiger is the king of beasts." 

" A royalty, too, which defies revolution," added the 
zoologist. 

" You have caught many, Mr. van Guitt," said Hood, 
" I have killed many, and I hope not to leave the Terrai 
until the fiftieth has fallen by my shot." 

" Captain," said the purveyor with a frown, " I have de- 
livered up to you boars, wolves, bears, and buffaloes, will 
not those suffice to gratify your sporting mania? ' 

I saw that our friend Hood would burst forth with as 
much animation as Mathias van Guitt on this exciting ques- 
tion. Had the one captured more tigers than the other had 
killed? Was it better to catch or shoot them? This was 
the matter and theme of discussion! The captain and the 
zoologist commenced to exchange rapid sentences, both 
speaking at once, and apparently not in the least comprehend- 
ing what the other said. 

Banks interposed. " That tigers are the kings of creation 
is understood, gentlemen, but I must be permitted to add 
that they are very dangerous to their subjects. In 1862, 
if I am not mistaken, these excellent felidse devoured all 
the telegraph clerks in the Island of Sangor. We are also 
told of a tigress who, in three years, made no less than a 
hundred and eighteen victims, and another, who in the 
same space of time destroyed a hundred and twenty-seven 
persons. That is rather too much, even for a queen ! Lastly, 
since the mutiny, in an interval of three years, twelve thou- 
sand five hundred and fifty-four individuals have perished 
by tigers teeth or claws." 

" But, sir," replied Van Guitt, " you seem to forget that 
these animals are omophagae." 

"Omophagse?" said Captain Hood. 

" Yes, eaters of raw flesh, and the natives say that when 
they have once tasted human flesh, they never care for any 
other!" 

"Well, sir?" said Banks. 

" Well, sir," answered Mathias van Guitt, smiling, " they 
obey their nature! . . . They certainly must eat! ' 



CHAPTER IV 

A QUEEN OF THE TERRAI 

This remark of the zoologist ended our visit to the kraal, 
as it was time to return to Steam House. 

I must say that Captain Hood and Mathias van Guitt 
did not part the best friends in the world. One wished to 
destroy the wild beasts of the Terrai, the other wished to 
catch them ; yet there were plenty to satisfy both. 

It was, however, agreed that intercourse between the 
kraal and the sanitarium should be frequent. Each was 
to give information to the other. Van Guitt's shikarries, 
who were well acquainted with this sort of expedition, and 
knew every turn of the forest, were to render a service to 
Captain Hood by showing him the tracks of animals. The 
zoologist most obligingly placed all his men, and especially 
Kalagani, at his disposal. This native, although but re- 
cently engaged at the kraal, showed himself very intelligent, 
and completely to be depended on. 

In return, Captain Hood promised, as far as lay in his 
power, to aid in the capture of the animals which were yet 
wanting to complete the stock of Mathias van Guitt. 

Before leaving the kraal, Sir Edward Munro, who prob- 
ably did not purpose making many visits there, again thanked 
Kalagani, whose intervention had saved him. He told him 
that he should always be welcome at Steam House. 

The native saluted coldly. Although he must have felt 
some sentiment of satisfaction at hearing the man whose 
life he had preserved speak thus, he allowed no trace of it 
to appear on his countenance. 

We returned in time for dinner. As may be imagined, 
Mathias van Guitt was our chief subject of conversation. 
" By Jove! what an absurd fellow he is," said the captain. 
" What with his gestures, his fine choice of words, and his 
grand expression, he is a caution! Only, if he fancies that 
wild beasts are mere subjects for exhibition, he is greatly 
mistaken ! " 

On the three following days, the 27th, 28th, and 29th of 
June, rain fell with such violence, that our hunters, to their 
great annoyance, could not dream of leaving Steam House. 
In such dreadful weather it would be impossible to find a 
track, and the carnivora, who are no fonder of water than 

287 



238 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

are cats, would not willingly leave their clens. At last the 
weather showed signs of clearing, and Hood, Fox, Goumi, 
and I made preparations for descending to the kraal. 

During the morning, some mountaineers came to pay us 
a visit. They had heard that a miraculous pagoda had been 
transported to the Himalayas, and a lively feeling of curios- 
ity had brought them to Steam House. 

They were fine types of the Thibetian frontier race. Full 
of warlike virtues, of tried loyalty, practising liberal hospital- 
ity, and far superior, both morally and physically, to the 
natives of the plains. The supposed pagoda astonished 
them; but Behemoth so impressed them as to draw from 
them marks of adoration. He was now at rest, what would 
not these good people have felt if they had seen him, vomit- 
ing forth flame and smoke, and ascending with a steady step 
the rough slopes of their mountains ! 

Colonel Munro gave a kind reception to these men, who 
usually frequented the territories of Nepaul, on the Indo 
Chinese boundary. The conversation turned for a time on 
that part of the frontier where Nana Sahib had taken re- 
fuge, after the defeat of the sepoys. 

These hillmen knew scarcely so much as we did our- 
selves on this matter. The rumors of the nabob's death 
had reached them, and they cast no doubt upon it. As to 
those of his companions who had survived, perhaps they 
had sought a more secure refuge in the depths of Thibet; 
but to find them in that country would have been difficult. 
Indeed, if Colonel Munro, in coming to the north of the 
peninsula, had had any idea of throwing light on Nana 
Sahib's history, this reply should have satisfied him. In 
listening to our visitors he remained thoughtful, and took 
no more part in the conversation. 

Captain Hood put some questions to them, but on quite 
another point. He learned that wild beasts, more partic- 
ularly tigers, had made frightful ravages in the lower zone 
of the Himalayas. Farms, and even whole villages, had 
been deserted by their inhabitants. Many flocks of goats 
and sheep had been already destroyed, besides numerous 
victims among the natives. Notwithstanding the consider- 
able sum offered by the government — three hundred rupees 
for every tiger's head — the number of these creatures did 
not appear to diminish, and people were asking themselves 



A QUEEN OF THE TERRAI 289 

whether they would not soon be obliged to leave the country 
to them entirely. 

The hillmen also added this information, that the tigers 
did not confine themselves entirely to the Terrai. When- 
ever the plain offered them tall grass, jungle, and trees 
among which they could crouch, there they might be met 
with in great numbers. " The evil beasts ! ' was their 
expression. 

These honest people had very good cause not to profess 
the same opinions on the subject of tigers as the zoologist 
Mathias van Guitt and our friend Captain Hood. 

The mountaineers retired, enchanted with the reception 
they had met with, and promising to repeat their visit to 
Steam House. After their departure our preparations were 
completed, and Captain Hood, our two companions, and I, 
all well armed ready for any encounter, descended to the 
Terrai. 

On arriving at the trap from which we had so fortunately 
extracted Mathias van Guitt, that gentleman presented him- 
self before our eyes, not without some ceremony. 

Five or six of his people, Kalagani among the number, 
were occupied in getting a tiger, which had been caught 
during the night, from the snare into a traveling-cage. It 
was a magnificent animal indeed, and, as a matter of course, 
caused Captain Hood to feel corresponding envy! 

" One less in the Terrai ! ' ' he murmured, between two 
sighs which found their echo in Fox's manly breast. 

" One more in the menagerie," replied the zoologist. 
" Still two tigers, a lion, and two leopards, and I shall be 
in a position to honor my engagements before the end of 
the season. Will you come with me to the kraal, gentle- 
men?" 

"Thank you," said Captain Hood; "to-day, however, 
we are out on our own account." 

" Kalagani is at your disposal, Captain Hood," replied 
the purveyor. " He is well acquainted with the forest, and 
may be useful to you." 

" We will gladly take him as a guide." 

" Farewell, gentlemen," said Van Guitt ; " I wish you 
good sport! But promise me not to massacre them all!' 

" We will leave you a few," returned Hood. 

And Mathias van Guitt, saluting us with a superb bow, 

V XII Verne 



290 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

followed his cage, and soon disappeared among the trees. 

"Forward!" said Hood, "forward, my men. Hurrah 
for my forty-second! " 

" And my thirty-eighth ! " responded Fox. 

" And my first ! " I added. But the quiet way in which 
I uttered the words, made the captain lau°ri. Evidently, I 
did not feel the sacred fire. 

Hood turned to Kalagani. " So you know the forest 
well ? " he asked. 

" I have been over it twenty times, day and night, in every 
direction," replied the man. 

" Have you heard that a particular tiger has been lately 
noticed near the kraal ? " 

" Yes ; but this tiger is a tigress. She has been seen two 
miles from here, in the upper part of the forest, and they 
have been trying to get hold of her for several days. Should 
you like " 

" That's just what we want! " answered Captain Hood, 
without giving the native time to finish the sentence. 

To follow Kalagani was the best thing we could do, so 
we did it. Wild beasts were apparently very plentiful in 
the Terrai, but here, as everywhere else, each required two 
bullocks a week for their own particular consumption ! Just 
calculate what the cost of such a " keep " would be to the 
entire peninsula. 

It must not be imagined that the numerous tigers visit 
inhabited country unless impelled by necessity. Till urged 
by hunger, they remain hidden in their lairs. Very many 
travelers have journeyed through these forests without even 
catching a glimpse of one. When a hunt is organized, the 
first thing to be done is to reconnoiter the places most fre- 
quented by the animal, and especially to find out the stream 
or spring to which he comes to slake his thirst. 

Sometimes this is not sufficient, and he has to be attracted 
to the spot. This is done easily enough by putting a quarter 
of beef tied to a stake in some place surrounded by trees 
and rocks to shelter the hunters. This at least, is the way 
they proceed in the forest. 

In the plains, it is another thing, and there the elephant 
becomes the most useful auxiliary to man in his dangerous 
sport. These animals have, however, to be trained to the 
work, though even then, they are sometimes seized with a 



A QUEEN OF THE TERRAI 291 

panic which renders the position of the men perched on 
their backs dangerous in the extreme. It must also be said 
that sometimes the tiger does not hesitate to spring on the 
elephant. The struggle between the man and beast then 
takes place on the very back of the gigantic steed, and it is 
rarely indeed that it does not end in favor of the tiger. 

In this way the grand hunts of the rajahs and great sports- 
men of India are conducted, but it was by no means Captain 
Hood's manner of proceeding. He was going to search 
for tigers on foot, and it was on foot that he was accustomed 
to fight them. 

In the meantime, we were following Kalagani, who was 
walking on at a round pace. Reserved as all Hindoos are, 
he spoke little, and contented himself with replying briefly 
to the questions which we put to him. 

After walking for an hour, we halted by a rapid stream, 
and on its banks were the still fresh tracks of animals. In 
a little glade was a stake, to which was fastened a quarter of 
beef. The bait had not been entirely untouched. It had been 
recently gnawed by the teeth of jackals, those thieves of 
the Indian fauna, always in quest of prey, but this was not 
intended for them. A dozen or so of these creatures fled 
at our approach, and left the place clear. 

"Captain," said Kalagani, " we must wait for the tigress 
here. You see that it is a good place for an ambush." 

It was, indeed, easy to post ourselves in trees or behind 
rocks, so as to have a cross-fire over the post in the center 
of the glade. This was immediately done. Goumi and I 
took our places in the same tree. Hood and Fox perched 
themselves in two magnificent oaks opposite each other. 
Kalagani hid behind a high rock, which he could climb if 
the danger became imminent. 

The animal would be thus enclosed in a circle. All the 
chances were against it, although we were as yet reckoning 
on the unforeseen. We had now to wait. 

We could still hear the hoarse bark of the dispersed jack- 
als in the neighboring thickets, but they did not dare to 
return. Nearly an hour had thus passed, when the yelps 
suddenly ceased. Almost immediately two or three jackals 
bounded out of the wood, and darting across the glade, dis- 
appeared in the thicker part of the forest. 

A sign from Kalagani, who was ready to climb his rock, 



292 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

told us to be on our guard. We guessed that the precipitate 
flight of the jackals must have been caused by the approach 
of some savage animal — the tigress no doubt — so that we 
were ready to see her at any moment appear on one side 
or other of the glade. 

Our guns were all ready. Captain Hood and his man 
held their weapons pointed at the place from which the 
jackals had issued. 

Very soon I saw a slight agitation among the upper 
branches of the thicket. The snapping of dry wood was 
also heard. Some animal was approaching, but slowly and 
warily. Though evidently seeing nothing of the hunters 
in wait among the branches, its instinct warned it that the 
place was not quite safe. Certainly, unless urged by hunger, 
and attracted by the smell of the beef, it would not have 
ventured farther. 

At last we could see it through the branches, where it 
stopped, probably mistrustful. It was a huge tigress, power- 
ful and active. She began to advance, crouching, and with 
an undulatory movement. 

With one consent, we allowed her to approach the post. 
She smelt the ground, she drew herself up and arched her 
back, like a gigantic cat, prepared to spring. 

Suddenly two sharp reports rang out. 

"Forty-two!" cried Captain Hood. 

"Thirty-eight! " shouted Fox. 

The captain and his man had fired at the same moment, 
and with such true aim, that the animal, shot through the 
heart, fell dead on the ground. 

Kalagani ran up. We all quickly descended from our 
various trees. The tigress did not stir. 

But to whom belonged the honor of having killed her? 
To the captain or to Fox? This was an important question, 
as may be imagined. The beast was examined. Two balls 
were found in the heart ! 

" Come," said Hood, not without a slight touch of regret 
in his voice, " we've got half a tiger apiece." 

" So we have, captain; half a tiger apiece," answered Fox, 
in the same tone. 

And I verily believe neither of the two would, on any 
account have given up the share he reckoned to his own 
account. 



A QUEEN OF THE TERRAI 293 

Such was this wonderful shot, of which the clearest result 
was that the animal had fallen without a struggle, and con- 
sequently without danger to the assailants — a very rare oc- 
currence. Fox and Goumi remained on the field of battle, 
in order to despoil the animal of her magnificent skin, while 
Captain Hood and I returned to Steam House. 

It is not my intention to note every incident of our ex- 
peditions into the Terrai forest, but only those which present 
some particular characteristic. I shall content myself with 
saying that, so far, Captain Hood and Fox found no reason 
to complain. 

On the 10th of July, during a houddi hunt, a happy 
chance again favored them, without their running any real 
danger. The houddi, or hut, its walls pierced with loop- 
holes, is built on the borders of a stream at which animals 
are accustomed to come and drink. Used to the sight of 
these erections, they are not alarmed, and carelessly expose 
themselves to be shot at. But, to be safe, it is necessary to 
mortally wound the creature at the first, or he becomes 
dangerous, and the hut does not always protect the hunter 
from his infuriated spring. 

This is exactly what occurred on the occasion of which 
I am about to speak. Mathias van Guitt accompanied us. 
Perhaps he hoped that some tiger, slightly wounded, might 
fall to his share, to take home to his kraal and be cured. 

This time our sportsmen had three tigers to deal with. 
The first discharge was not sufficient to prevent them from 
springing on to the walls of the houddi. The two first, 
to the zoologist's great disgust, were each killed by a second 
ball, but the third leaped right in, his shoulder covered with 
blood, but not mortally wounded. 

" We must have that fellow ! " cried Van Guitt, who 
risked not a little in speaking thus. " We must take him 
alive!" 

Scarcely had he uttered the words when, with a bound, 
the animal was upon him. He was overthrown in an instant, 
and it would have been all up with our friend had not 
Captain Hood sent a ball through the tiger's head, and thus 
saved the Dutchman, who sprang up, exclaiming, " Well, 
captain, you might just as well have waited " 

"Waited — what for?" answered Captain Hood; "until 
that brute had torn you to bits with his claws? ' : 



294 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

" A wound with a claw needn't be mortal ! " 

" All right," returned Captain Hood quietly. " Another 
time I will wait ! " 

This tiger, however, instead of figuring in a menagerie, 
was fated only to be used as a hearthrug; but it brought 
up the list to forty-two for the captain, and thirty-eight for 
his man, without counting the half-tigress. 

It must not be imagined that these grand hunts made us 
neglect smaller ones. Monsieur Parazard could not allow 
that. Antelopes, chamois, great bustards, of which there 
were numbers around Steam House, partridges and hares 
supplied our table with a great variety of game. 

When we went into the Terrai, it was very rarely that 
Banks accompanied us. Although these expeditions began 
to interest me, he did not seem to care for them. The upper 
zones of the Himalayas evidently offered him greater at- 
tractions, and he took pleasure in these excursions, especially 
when Colonel Munro consented to join him. 

But it was only once or twice that the engineer could 
persuade his friend to do so. We observed that since our 
installation in the sanitarium, Sir Edward Munro had again 
become anxious. He spoke less, he kept aloof from us, 
but held long conferences with Sergeant McNeil. Were 
these two men meditating some new project which they 
wished to keep concealed even from Banks? 

On the 13th of July Mathias van Guitt came to pay us 
a visit. Less favored than the captain, he had not added 
a single fresh tenant to his menagerie. Neither tigers, lions, 
nor leopards seemed disposed to be caught. The idea of 
going to exhibit themselves in the countries of the West 
apparently did not allure them. Consequently the zoologist 
was in a very bad humor, and did not seek to hide it. _ Kala- 
gani and two shikarries accompanied him on this visit. 

The situation of our house pleased him much. Colonel 
Munro begged him to remain and dine. He consented with 
pleasure to honor our table. While waiting for dinner, Van 
Guitt wished to go over Steam House, the comfort of which 
was a contrast to the modest arrangements of the kraal. 
Our dwellings drew forth many compliments from him, but 
I must confess that Behemoth did not excite his admiration 
in the least. A naturalist, such as he was, could not but 
be indifferent to this masterpiece of mechanics. Remarkable 



A QUEEN OF THE TERRAI 295 

as it was, how could he admire a mere imitation — a mechan- 
ical creation? 

"Do not think badly of our elephant, Mr. van Guitt! ' 
said Banks. " He is a powerful animal, who would make 
nothing of drawing all your menagerie cages and our cars 
as well." 

" I have my buffaloes," answered the naturalist, " and I 
prefer their slow and steady pace." 

" Behemoth fears neither the claws nor teeth of tigers! " 
cried Hood. 

' No doubt, gentlemen," replied Mathias van Guitt, " but 
why should wild beasts attack him? They would not care 
for iron flesh ! " 

Though the zoologist did not conceal his indifference to 
our elephant, his men and Kalagani in particular were never 
tired of staring at it. Mingled with their admiration for 
the gigantic animal, there was evidently some superstitious 
respect. Kalagani appeared very much surprised when the 
engineer repeated that our iron elephant was more powerful 
than all the teams at the kraal put together. This was an 
opportunity for Captain Hood to describe, not without pride, 
our adventure with the three " proboscidate animals ' be- 
longing to Prince Gourou Singh. A slight incredulous smile 
curled the lip of the naturalist, but he said nothing. 

On the 16th of July something occurred which made a 
regular quarrel between the zoologist and the captain. Hood 
shot a tiger just as it was about to enter one of the traps; 
and though this made his forty-third, it was not the eighth 
which the purveyor wished for. 

However, after a lively interchange of epithets, harmony 
was once more restored, thanks to Colonel Munro's inter- 
vention, and Captain Hood promised to respect any animal 
who " had intentions " of being caught in Van Guitt's traps. 

For the ensuing days the weather was detestable. We 
were obliged to stay indoors nolens volens. We were anx- 
ious that the rainy season should come to an end, and that 
could not now be long, for it had already lasted for more 
than three months. If the program of our journey was 
carried out as Banks had arranged, we had only six weeks 
to pass in our sanitarium. 

On the 23d of July some hillmen came to pay a second 
visit to Colonel Munro. Their village, called. Souari, lay 



296 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

but five miles from our encampment on the upper limit of 
the Terrai. One of them told us, that for several weeks 
past, a tigress had been making frightful ravages on this 
part of the territory. The flocks were being carried off, and 
they even talked of abandoning Souari as uninhabitable. 
There was no safety in it, either for man or beast. Snares 
and traps had been tried without any success on the ravenous 
beast, which already was spoken of as one of the most 
formidable ever known among even the oldest mountaineers. 

It may be guessed that the story excited Captain Hood 
at once. He immediately offered to accompany the men 
back to their village, ready to put his hunting experience 
and his accurate aim at the service of these honest people, 
who, I imagine, counted not a little on such an offer. 

" Shall you come, Maucler? " asked the captain, in the 
tone of a man who did not wish to influence a determination. 

" Certainly," I replied. " I should not like to miss such 
an interesting expedition." 

" I will join you, this time," said the engineer. 

" That's capital, Banks." 

" Yes, Hood. I have a great wish to see you at work! ' : 

" Am I not to go, captain ? " asked Fox. 

" Ah, you rascal ! " laughed his master. " You won't be 
sorry for an opportunity to make up your half-tigress ! Yes, 
Fox, yes, you shall go ! " 

As we should probably be absent from Steam House for 
three or four days, Banks asked the colonel whether he 
would not like to go with us to the village of Souari. Sir 
Edward thanked him, but said he proposed to profit by our 
absence to visit the middle zone of the Himalayas above 
the belt of forest, with Goumi and Sergeant McNeil. Banks 
did not urge the matter. 

It was decided that we should set out directly for the 
kraal, in order to borrow from Mathias van Guitt a few of 
his shikarries, who might be useful to us. About midday 
we arrived there, and acquainted the naturalist with our 
intentions. He could not conceal his secret satisfaction in 
hearing of the exploits of this tigress, " well calculated," 
said he, " to heighten the reputation of these felidae of the 
peninsula in the minds of connoisseurs." He then placed 
at our disposal three of his men, besides Kalagani, always 
ready for any danger. 



A QUEEN OF THE TERRAI 297 

It was settled with Captain Hood that, if by any possibil- 
ity the tigress should be taken living, it was to belong to 
Van Guitt's menagerie. What an attraction it would be 
to have a placard hung in front of its cage, stating in elo- 
quent terms the great deeds of " one of the Queens of the 
Terrai, who has devoured no less than a hundred and thirty- 
eight persons of both sexes! " 

Our little band left the kraal about two o'clock in the 
afternoon. Before four o'clock, after ascending in an east- 
erly direction, we arrived without adventure at Souari. 

The panic here was at its height. That very morning a 
native had been surprised by the tigress near a stream and 
carried off into the forest. 

We were received most hospitably in the house of a well- 
to-do-farmer, an Englishman. Our host had had more 
reason than any one else to complain of the savage beast, 
and would willingly pay several thousand rupees for its skin. 
" Several years ago, Captain Hood," he said, " a tigress 
obliged the inhabitants of thirteen villages of the central 
provinces to take to flight, and in consequence a hundred 
and fifty miles were forced to lie fallow ! Well, if that sort 
of thing takes place here the whole province will have to 
be deserted ! " 

" Have you employed every possible means to get rid of 
this tigress? " asked Banks. 

"Yes, indeed, everything: traps, pitfalls, and even baits 
prepared with strychnine! Nothing has succeeded! ' : 

" Well, my friend," said Captain Hood, " I can't promise 
for certain to give satisfaction, but I assure you we will 
do our very best." 

Thereupon a battue was organized for that same day. 
Our party and the shikarries were joined by about twenty 
mountaineers, who were well acquainted with the country. 
Although Banks was so little of a sportsman he accompanied 
our expedition with the most lively interest. 

For three days we searched about all round the neighbor- 
hood, but with no result, except that a couple of tigers, 
which no one thought much of, fell by the captain's gun. 
" Forty-five! " was all the remark he made. 

At last the tigress signalized herself by a fresh misdeed. 
A buffalo, belonging to our host, disappeared from its 
pasture, and its remains were found about a quarter of a 



298 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

mile from the village. The assassination — premeditated 
murder, as a lawyer would say — had been accomplished be- 
fore daybreak. The assassin could not be far off. 

But was the principal author of this crime indeed the 
tigress so long sought in vain? The natives of Souari had 
no doubt of it. "I know it was my uncle, he did the mis- 
chief ! " said one of the villagers to us. 

" My uncle " is the natives' usual name for the tiger, they 
believing that the soul of each of their ancestors is lodged 
for eternity in the body of some member of the cat tribe. 
On this occasion it would certainly have been more correct 
to say " My aunt!" 

It was immediately decided that we should set out in 
quest of the animal without waiting for night, as the dark- 
ness would conceal it more effectually than ever. We knew 
it must be gorged, and would probably not leave its den for 
two or three days. 

We took the field. Starting from the place where the 
buffalo had been seized, traces of blood showed the direc- 
tion the tigress had taken. These marks led us toward a 
thicket, which had been beaten many times already, without 
discovering anything. It was resolved to surround this 
spot so as to form a circle through which the animal could 
not escape, at least without being seen. 

The villagers dispersed themselves around, so as to grad- 
ually narrow the circle. Captain Hood, Kalagani, and I 
were on one side, Banks and Fox on the other, but in con- 
stant communication with the rest of the people. Each point 
of the ring was dangerous, since the tigress might try to 
break through anywhere. 

There was no doubt that the animal was in this thicket, 
for the traces which entered one side did not reappear on 
the other. This did not prove though that it was its habitual 
retreat, for it had been searched before. It was early, only 
eight o'clock. When all arrangements were made, we began 
to advance noiselessly, contracting the investing circle. In 
half an hour we were at the limit of the first trees. 

Nothing had occurred, nothing had announced the pres- 
ence of any creature, and for my own part I began to ques- 
tion whether we were not wasting our time. Each could 
now only see the men next him, and yet it was important 
that we should advance with perfect unanimity. 



M QUEEN OF THE TERRAI 299 

It had been previously agreed that the man who first 
entered the wood should fire a shot. The signal was given 
by Captain Hood, who was always first in everything, and 
the border was crossed. I looked at my watch; it was 
thirty-five minutes past eight. 

In a quarter of an hour the circle had so drawn in that 
our elbows touched, but we still had seen nothing. 

Till now the silence had been unbroken, except by the 
snapping of dry branches under our feet. Suddenly a roar 
was heard. 

" The beast is in there ! " cried Captain Hood, pointing 
to the mouth of a cavern in a mass of rocks and trees. He 
was not mistaken. If it was not the usual haunt of the 
tigress, it was evidently her refuge now. 

Hood, Banks, Fox, Kalagani, and several other men ap- 
proached the narrow opening to which the bloody traces led. 

" We shall have to go in there," said the captain. 

" A dangerous job ! " remarked Banks. " It will be a 
serious matter for the first who enters ! ' : 

" I shall go in though," returned Hood, looking carefully 
to his rifle. 

"After me, captain!" put in Fox, who was already 
stooping to enter the cave. 

" No, no, Fox! " cried Hood. " This is my affair! " 

"Ah, captain!" said Fox, in most persuasive yet re- 
proachful accents, "I am six behind you!' Just imagine 
their reckoning up their tigers at such a moment! 

"Neither one nor the other shall enter!' exclaimed 
Banks. " No! I can't allow it." 

" There is another way," interrupted Kalagani. 

"What is that?" 

" To smoke her out," replied the native. ' She will be 
forced to appear then. It will be easier and less risky to 
kill her outside." 

" Kalagani is right," said Banks. " Come, my men, dead 
wood, dry grass! Stop up the opening partly, so that the 
wind may drive the smoke and flame inside. The beast 
must either be roasted or run away ! " 

" It will run away," said the native. 

" So much the better! " remarked Captain Hood. <r We 
shall be ready to give her a salute on her way." 

In a few minutes branches, grass, and dead wood, of 



300 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

which there was plenty lying near, were piled in a heap 
before the entrance to the den. Nothing had stirred inside. 
Nothing could be seen in the gloomy depths. Yet our ears 
could not have deceived us, the roar certainly came from 
that place. 

A light was set to the heap, and soon the whole was in 
a blaze. From this bonfire issued a thick, choking smoke, 
blowing right into the interior. A second roar, more furious 
than the first, burst forth. The creature was being driven 
to extremities, and would make a rush. 

We all waited anxiously, our faces toward the rocks, 
and partially sheltered by the trees, so as to avoid the first 
infuriated spring. The captain had chosen another position, 
which, to suit him, must, of course, be the most perilous. 
This was in a gap between the brushwood, the only one 
which offered a passage from the den. There Hood knelt 
on one knee, so as to steady his aim, his rifle at his shoulder, 
and looking as if carved in marble. 

Three minutes had passed since the fire was first lighted, 
when a third roar, a stifled, suffocated roar, was heard. A 
huge monster dashed through the fire and smoke ! 

" Fire ! ' shouted Banks. Ten shots rang out, though 
we found afterward that not one had touched the animal. 

Amid volumes of smoke, a second and yet longer bound 
carried the animal toward the thicket. Captain Hood, who 
waited with the greatest coolness, fired, hitting her below 
the shoulder. 

Like a lightning flash the tigress was upon him, over he 
went, and in another moment her terrible claws would have 
torn open his head. 

But Kalagani sprang forward, knife in hand. In an in- 
stant the brave fellow had seized the tigress by the throat. 

The animal on this sudden attack shook off the native, 
and turned upon him. 

Feeling himself free, the captain leaped up, and grasping 
the knife which had fallen from Kalagani's hand, plunged 
it into the creature's very heart. The tigress rolled 
over. 

This exciting scene had taken place in less time than it 
takes to write it. 

" Bag mahryaga! Bag mahryaga! " shouted the natives 
■ — meaning, " the tigress is dead ! " 



A QUEEN OF THE TERRAI 301 

Yes, quite dead ! But what a magnificent animal ! Ten 
feet from muzzle to tail, tall in proportion, and its enormous 
paws armed with long claws, which looked as if they had 
been sharpened up on a grindstone! 

While we were admiring the creature the natives, who 
had good reason for the grudge they bore against it, over- 
whelmed it with invectives. 

Kalagani approached Captain Hood. " I thank you, 
sahib! " he said. 

' What are you thanking me for? " cried Hood. " It's 
I who owe you thanks, my brave fellow ! If it hadn't been 
for you, I should have been done for ! " 

" I should have been killed without your help ! " replied 
the man coldly. 

" What ! By Jove — didn't you rush forward, knife in 
hand, to stab the tigress just as she was going to tear my 
skull open ? " 

" You killed him though, sahib, and that makes your 
forty-sixth ! " 

" Hurrah ! hurrah ! " cried the natives. " Hurrah for 
Captain Hood ! " 

The captain had certainly every right to add this tigress 
to his list, but he gave Kalagani a grateful shake of the 
hand. 

" Come to Steam House," said Banks to the man. " Your 
shoulder has been torn, and is bleeding; but we will find 
something in our medicine-chest to heal the wound. 

Kalagani acquiesced, and so, having taken leave of the 
inhabitants of Souari, who loaded us with thanks, we all 
proceeded in the direction of our sanitarium. 

The shikarries now left us, to return to the kraal. Again 
they went back empty-handed, and if Mathias van Guitt had 
counted on this " Queen of the Terrai," he must mourn 
for her; under the circumstances it was utterly impossible 
to take her alive. 

We reached Steam House about midday. Here unex- 
pected news awaited us. To our extreme disappointment 
Colonel Munro, Sergeant McNeil, and Goumi had gone 
away. 

A note addressed to Banks told us not to be uneasy at 
their absence ; that Sir Edward was desirous of reconnoiter- 
ing the Nepaulese frontier, so as to clear up certain sus- 



302 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

picions relating to the companions of Nana Sahib, but that 
he would return before the time at which we had arranged 
to leave the Himalayas. 

On hearing this note read, I fancied that an involuntary 
movement denoting vexation escaped Kalagani. 

What could have occasioned this? I wondered. 



CHAPTER V 

A NIGHT ATTACK 

The colonel's unexpected departure made us seriously 
uneasy. He was evidently still brooding over past events. 
But what could we do? Follow Sir Edward? We were 
ignorant of the direction he had taken, or even what point 
of the Nepaulese frontier he wished to reach. 

On the other hand, we could not conceal from ourselves 
that as he had said nothing to Banks about this plan, it was 
because he dreaded his friend's expostulations had wished 
to avoid hearing them. Banks much regretted having fol- 
lowed us on our expedition. 

All we could do now was to resign ourselves and wait. 
Colonel Munro would certainly return before the end of 
August, that month being the last we were to pass here 
before proceeding southwest by the road to Bombay. 

Kalagani, who was well doctored by Banks, only remained 
four-and-twenty hours in Steam House. His wound began 
to heal rapidly, and he left us, to return to his duties at 
the kraal. 

The month of August was ushered in by violent rains — 
weather bad enough to give a frog a cold in its head, as 
Captain Hood remarked; but as there was less wet than in 
July, it was consequently more propitious for our excursions 
into the Terrai. Intercourse with the kraal was frequent. 
Mathias van Guitt continued dissatisfied. He, too, hoped 
to leave his camp in the beginning of September; but a 
lion, two tigers, and two leopards were still wanting, and 
he needed them to complete his troupe. 

By way of retaliation, instead of the actors which he 
wished to engage on his employers' account, others came 
and presented themselves at his agency, for whom he had 
no occasion. Thus, on the 4th of August, a fine bear was 



A NIGHT ATTACK 303 

caught in one of his traps. We happened to be in the 
kraal when the shikarries brought back a cage containing 
a prisoner of great size, with black fur, sharp claws, and 
long hairy ears, which is a specialty of the ursine family in 
India. 

" Now what do I want with this useless tardigrade ? " ex- 
claimed the naturalist, shrugging his shoulders. 

" Brother Ballon! Brother Ballon! " repeated the shikar- 
ries. Apparently though the natives are only nephews of 
tigers, they are the brothers of bears. 

But Mathias van Guitt, notwithstanding this degree of 
relationship, received brother Ballon with a very evident 
show of ill-humor. It certainly did not please him to catch 
bears when he wanted tigers. What was he to do with 
this inconvenient beast? It did not suit him to feed the 
animal without hopes of making anything by it. The Indian 
bear is little in request in the European market. It has 
not the mercantile value of the American grizzily, nor the 
Polar bear. Therefore Mathias van Guitt, being a good 
business man, did not care to possess a cumbersome brute, 
which he might find it very difficult to get rid of! 

" Will you have him? " asked he of Captain Hood. 

"What on earth do you expect me to do with him?' 
returned the captain. 

" You can make him into beefsteaks," replied the zo- 
ologist, " if I may make use of the catachresis! " 

" Mr. van Guitt," said Banks gravely, " the catachresis 
is allowable, when for lack of any other expression, it ren- 
ders the thought properly." 

: That is quite my opinion," replied the zoologist. 

" Well, Hood," said Banks, " will you or will you not 
take Mr. van Guitt's bear? " 

" Of course not," replied the captain. " To eat bear 
steaks when once the bear is killed is all very well; but to 
kill a bear on purpose to make steaks of him isn't an 
appetizing job ! " 

" Then you may give that plantigrade his liberty," said 
Van Guitt, turning to his shikarries. 

They obeyed. The cage was brought out of the kraal. 
One of the men opened the door. Brother Ballon, who 
seemed rather ashamed of the situation, did not require 
to be asked twice. He walked calmly out of the cage, shook 



304 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

his head, which might be interpreted as meaning thanks, 
and marched off uttering a grunt of satisfaction. 

" That is a good deed you have performed," said Banks. 
" It will bring you luck, Mr. van Guitt! " 

Banks was right enough. On the 6th of August the zo- 
ologist was rewarded by procuring one of the animals he 
wished for. These were the circumstances of the capture: 
Mathias van Guitt, Captain Hood, and I, accompanied by 
Fox, Storr, and Kalagani, had been beating a thicket of 
cactus and lentisks since daybreak, when a half-stifled roar 
was heard. 

With our guns ready cocked, and walking near together 
so as to guard against an isolated attack, we proceeded im- 
mediately to the suspected spot. Fifty paces off the natur- 
alist made us halt. He appeared to recognize the animal by 
the nature of the roar, and addressing himself more par- 
ticularly to Captain Hood, " No useless firing, I beg," he 
whispered. 

Then advancing a few steps, while we, obeying his sign, 
remained behind, " A lion ! " he cried. 

There, indeed, at the end of a strong rope fastened to 
the forked branch of a tree, an animal was struggling. The 
fierce beast, hanging by one of its forepaws, which was 
tight in the slip-knot of the rope, gave terrible jerks with- 
out managing to free itself. 

Captain Hood's first impulse, in spite of Van Guitt's re- 
quest, was to make ready to fire. 

"Do not fire, captain!" exclaimed the naturalist. "I 
conjure you not to fire! " 

" But " 

" No, no ; I tell you ! That lion is caught in one of my 
own snares, and he belongs to me ! " 

It was indeed a gallows-snare, at once simple and very 
ingenious. A very strong rope is fixed to the branch of a 
tree which is both tough and flexible. This branch is then 
bent down to the ground, so that the lower end of the cord, 
terminating in a running loop, hangs in a notch cut in a 
stake fixed firmly in the ground. On this stake is placed 
a bait in such a position that if any animal wishes to get 
at it, he must put either his head or one of his paws in 
the noose. But as soon as he does this, and moves the 
bait ever so slightly, the cord is disengaged from the stake, 



A NIGHT ATTACK 305 

the branch flies up, the animal is raised, and at the same 
moment a heavy cylinder of wood, sliding along the rope, 
falls on the knot, fixing it tightly and rendering vain all 
the efforts of the suspended animal to get free. 

This species of snare is frequently set in the Indian for- 
ests, and wild animals allow themselves to be caught in them 
far more frequently than one would be tempted to believe. 
It usually happens that the beast is seized by the neck, caus- 
ing almost immediate strangulation, while at the same time; 
the skull is half fractured by the heavy wooden cylinder. 
But the lion which was now struggling before our eyes had 
only been caught by the paw. He was decidedly " all alive 
and kicking," as Captain Hood remarked, and well worthy 
to figure among the zoologist's guests. 

Mathias van Guitt, in high delight, at once dispatched 
Kalagani to the kraal, with orders to bring a cage in charge 
of a driver. While he was gone we had ample leisure and 
opportunity to observe the captive, whose fury was re- 
doubled by our presence. 

The naturalist never took his eyes off him. He walked 
round and round the tree, taking good care, however, to 
keep out of reach of the claws which the poor lion struck 
out in every direction. 

In half an hour's time the cage appeared, drawn by two 
buffaloes. The suspended animal was cut down, not with- 
out some trouble, and we took the road to the kraal. 

" Truly I was beginning to despair," said Van Guitt. 
" Lions do not figure in great numbers among the nemoral 
beasts of India " 

"Nemoral?" said Captain Hood. 

" Yes, beasts which haunt forests, and I have reason to 
congratulate myself on capturing this animal, which will do 
honor to my menagerie." 

Dating from this day, Mathias van Guitt had no further 
reason to complain of ill-luck. On the 11th of August two 
leopards were taken together in that first trap from which 
we liberated the naturalist. These creatures were cheetahs, 
similar to the one which so audaciously attacked Behemoth 
on the plains of Rohilkund, and which we were not able 
to shoot. Two tigers only were now required to complete 
Van Guitt's stock. 

It was now the 15th of August. Colonel Munro had not 

V XII Verne 



306 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

yet reappeared, and we had not received any news of him. 
Banks was more uneasy than he cared to show. He inter- 
rogated Kalagani, who knew the Nepaul frontier, as to 
the danger Sir Edward might run by venturing into these 
independent territories. 

The native assured him that not one of Nana Sahib's 
partisans remained within the confines of Thibet. How- 
ever, he seemed to regret that the colonel had not chosen 
him for a guide. His services would have been very use- 
ful in a country, with every path of which he was well 
acquainted. But there was no use now in thinking of join- 
ing him. 

In the meanwhile, Captain Hood and Fox more especially 
continued their excursions in the Terrai. Aided by the 
shikarries, they contrived to kill three more tigers of medium 
size, not without great risk. Two of the animals went to 
the captain's account, the third to his man. 

" Forty-eight ! " said Hood, who greatly longed to make 
up the round number of fifty before quitting the Himalayas. 

" Thirty-nine ! " said Fox, without counting a formidable 
panther which had fallen by his gun. 

On the 20th of August the last but one of the tigers 
wanted by Van Guitt was found in one of the pits, which 
either by instinct or chance the creatures had till then 
escaped. As is usually the case, the animal was hurt in 
its fall, but the injury was not serious. A few days' rest 
was sufficient to effect a cure, so that there would be nothing 
visible when delivery was made to Messrs. Hagenbeck, of 
Hamburg. 

The use of this pit is regarded by connoisseurs as a bar- 
barous method. When it is merely a question of destroying 
the animals, any way is good ; but when it is necessary to 
take them alive, death is too often the consequence of their 
fall, especially when they are precipitated into a pit fifteen 
or twenty feet deep, destined for the capture of elephants. 
Out of ten there may be only one without some mortal in- 
jury. Therefore, even in Mysore, the naturalist told us, 
where the plan was at first so highly extolled, they are now 
beginning to give it up. 

Mathias van Guitt being anxious to set out for Bombay, 
did all in his power to obtain his last tiger. It was not 
long before he had it in his possession, but at what a 



A NIGHT ATTACK 307 

price! This incident deserves a detailed account, for the 
animal was dearly — too dearly — bought. 

An expedition had been arranged by Captain Hood, for 
the evening of the 26th of August. Circumstances com- 
bined to render it a favorable opportunity — a cloudless sky, 
a calm, still night, and a waning moon. When the darkness 
is very profound, wild beasts do not care to quit their 
lairs, but a half light attracts them. Thus the meniscus — 
a word which Mathias van Guitt applied to the crescent 
moon — shed a few faint beams after midnight. 

Captain Hood and I, Fox and Storr, who had taken a 
liking for the chase, formed the nucleus of this expedition, 
which was joined by the zoologist, Kalagani, and a few 
of the natives. Dinner ended, after taking leave of Banks, 
who had declined accompanying us, we left Steam House 
about seven in the evening, and at eight reached the kraal, 
without having met with any misadventure. Mathias van 
Guitt was just finishing his supper. He received us in his 
usual demonstrative style. A council of war was held, and 
a plan agreed upon. 

It was thought advisable to lie in wait at the edge of a 
stream, falling down one of those ravines called nullahs, 
a couple of miles from the kraal, at a place which a pair of 
tigers visited every night. No bait had been placed at this 
spot, as the natives pronounced it useless. A battue recently 
made in that part of the Terrai proved that the need to 
quench their thirst was sufficient to attract the tigers to 
the bottom of that nullah. They also said that it would be 
easy for us to post ourselves advantageously there. 

As we were not to leave the kraal before midnight, and it 
was then but eight o'clock, we had to wait with what pa- 
tience we might until the hour for departure. " Gentle- 
men," said Mathias van Guitt, " my habitation is entirely 
at your disposal. I invite you to do as I intend doing, 
lie down and endeavor to obtain some sleep. We shall have 
to rise more than early, and a few hours slumber will do 
much to fit us for our exertions." 

"Do you care to have a snooze, Maucler?" asked Cap- 
tain Hood. 

" No, thanks," I answered, " and I would rather keep 
myself awake by walking about than be roused out of my 
first sleep." 



308 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

" Just as you please, gentlemen," answered the zoologist. 
" As for myself, I already feel that spasmodic winking of 
the eyelid which is caused by the need of sleep. You see 
I have already the pendulum movement! ' And Mathias 
van Guitt, raising his arms and throwing back his head and 
body, gave vent to several portentous yawns. Then mak- 
ing us a profound bow, he retired into his hut, and was 
doubtless soon fast asleep. 

" Now what are we going to do? " asked I. 

" Let us walk about, Maucler," answered Captain Hood, 
" up and down in the kraal. It is a fine night, and I shall 
feel much more fit for a start than if I had three or four 
hour's nap first. Besides, though sleep is called our best 
friend, it is a friend who often keeps us waiting! ' : 

We were now strolling up and down in the inclosure, 
thinking or chatting as we chose. Storr, ' whose best 
friend was not likely to keep him waiting," was already 
asleep, lying at the foot of a tree. The shikarries and the 
rest were all crouched in their several corners, and no one 
in the place was awake but ourselves. 

Keeping a watch would have been useless, as the kraal 
was entirely surrounded by a close and solid palisade. Kala- 
gani himself made sure that the door was securely fastened ; 
then, that duty performed, he wished us good night as he 
passed and joined his companions. 

Our stroll took us first to the place occupied by the buf- 
faloes. These magnificent ruminants, quiet and docile, were 
not even tethered. Accustomed to repose under the shade 
of gigantic maples, there they lay, their great horns en- 
tangled, their feet folded beneath them, and deep, sonorous 
breathing issuing from their enormous bodies. Even our 
approach did not arouse them. One only lifted his huge 
head for a moment, and looked sleepily at us, but soon put 
it down again. 

" See to what a state tameness, or rather domestication, 
has reduced them," I remarked. 

" Yes," replied Hood ; " and yet buffaloes are terrible 
animals when in a savage state. But though they are so 
strong, they have not agility, and what can their horns do 
against the teeth and claws of lions and tigers? The ad- 
vantage is decidedly on the side of the latter." 

Talking thus, we approached the cages. There, too, all 



A NIGHT ATTACK 309 

was still. Tigers, lions, panthers, leopards, all were asleep 
in their various compartments. Mathias van Guitt wisely 
did not put them together until they were somewhat tamed 
by a few weeks of captivity. Otherwise, the brutes would 
most certainly have eaten each other up the very first day. 

The three lions crouched motionless in a half circle like 
huge cats. Nothing of their heads could be seen, so buried 
were they in a thick muff of black fur, and they slept the 
sleep of the just. 

Slumber was less profound in the tigers' apartment. 
Their glowing eyes flamed through the dusk. Now and 
again a great paw would be stretched out, clawing at the 
iron bars. This was the sleep of fretful and impatient 
carnivora. 

"They are having bad dreams, and I feel for them!' : 
said the compassionate captain. 

Some remorse, no doubt, troubled the three panthers, or 
at least some regret. At this hour, in their free life, they 
would have been roaming through the forest ! They would 
have prowled around the pastures in quest of living flesh. 

As to the four leopards, no nightmare disturbed their 
rest. They reposed peacefully. Two of these felines, a 
male and female, occupied the same room, being to all ap- 
pearance as comfortable as if they were in their own den. 

A single compartment was still empty — the one destined 
for the sixth and impracticable tiger, for whose capture 
Mathias van Guitt yet lingered in the Terrai. 

Our promenade had lasted for nearly an hour. After 
once more making the tour of the kraal, we seated ourselves 
at the foot of an enormous mimosa. Absolute silence 
reigned over the entire forest. The wind, which whistled 
through the trees as night fell, had now died away. Not 
a leaf rustled. 

Captain Hood and I, now seated near each other, no 
longer chatted. Not that we were becoming drowsy. It 
was rather that sort of absorption, more moral than physi- 
cal, which is the effect produced by the perfect repose of 
nature. One thinks without forming the thought. One 
dreams as a man dreams without sleeping, when the wide 
open eyes gaze far away, seeing only some vision of the 
fancy. 

One peculiarity surprised the captain, and unconsciously 



310 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

speaking in an undertone, as if fearing to break the silence, 
he said, " Maucler, this stillness astonishes me ! Generally 
there are wild beasts roaring all night and making the forest 
a most noisy place. If not tigers or panthers, at any rate 
the jackals never rest. This kraal, full of living beings, 
ought to attract hundreds of them, and yet we hear noth- 
ing, not a snap of dry wood, or even a howl. If Mathias 
van Guitt was awake he would wonder as much as I do, no 
doubt, and would find some long break-jaw word by which 
to express his surprise ! " 

" Your observation is correct, my dear Hood," I replied ; 
" and I do not know to what cause to attribute the absence 
of these night prowlers. But we must take care, or we 
shall end by going to sleep ourselves ! " 

" No, no, fight against it ! " returned the captain, stretch- 
ing himself. " It will soon be time for us to start." 

And we continued to interchange sentences at somewhat 
long intervals. How long this lasted I cannot say, but 
suddenly a noise was heard which quickly aroused me from 
my drowsy state. 

There was no doubt about it, the noise issued from the 
wild beasts' cage. Lions, tigers, panthers, leopards, till 
now so peaceful, were uttering sullen growls of anger. Pa- 
cing up and down their narrow dens, they seemed to scent 
something afar off, and stopped every now and again to rear 
themselves up against the bars and sniff the air. 

" What's the matter with them? " asked I. 

" I don't know," answered Hood, " but I fear they scent 
the approach of " 

At that moment tremendous roars were heard outside 
the inclosure. 

" Tigers! " exclaimed Hood, running toward Van Guitt's 
hut. But such was the violence of the roaring that all the 
inhabitants of the kraal were already on foot, and the zo- 
ologist met him at the door. 

" An attack ! " he cried. 

" I believe so," replied the captain. 

"Stop! I will see!" 

And without taking time to finish his phrase, Mathias 
van Guitt, seizing a ladder, placed it against the palisade. 
In a moment he was at the top. 

" Ten tigers and a dozen panthers ! " he cried. 



A NIGHT ATTACK 311 

" That's serious," answered Captain Hood. " We in- 
tended hunting them, and now they have come hunting us! " 

" Your guns — get your guns ! " cried the zoologist. Obey- 
ing his orders, in half a minute we were ready to fire. 

Attacks by a band of wild beasts are not rare in India. 
The inhabitants of districts infested by tigers, particularly 
the Sunderbunds, have often been besieged in their dwell- 
ings. This is a dreadful event, and too often the victory 
rests with the assailants. 

In the meanwhile to the roars outside were joined howls 
and growls from the inside. The kraal was answering the 
forest. We could scarcely hear ourselves speak. 

" To the palisades ! " shouted Van Guitt, making us un- 
derstand what he wanted more by his gestures than his voice. 
We all hastened forward. 

At that moment, the buffaloes, a prey to the wildest terror, 
endeavored to force their way out from their inclosure, 
while the men vainly tried to keep them back. 

Suddenly, the gate, having no doubt been insecurely fast- 
ened, was burst violently open, and a whole troop of wild 
beasts rushed in. 

And yet Kalagani was supposed to have closed that gate 
carefully; he did so every evening! 

" To the hut ! to the hut ! " shouted Van Guitt, running 
toward his house, which alone offered a refuge. 

But should we have time to reach it? Already two shik- 
arries lay stretched on the earth. The others fled across 
the inclosure seeking a shelter. The zoologist, Storr, and 
six natives were already in the house, and closed the door 
just in time, as a couple of tigers were about to spring 
in. 

Kalagani, Fox, and the rest had caught hold of trees, 
and hoisted themselves up among the branches. As for the 
captain and myself we had no time nor opportunity for join- 
ing Van Guitt. 

" Maucler ! Maucler ! " shouted Hood, whose right arm 
had just received a wound. 

With a blow of his tail a huge tiger had thrown me to 
the ground. Before he had time to turn upon me, I rose 
and hastened to Captain Hood's assistance. 

One refuge still remained to us; the empty compart- 
ment of the sixth cage. We sprung in, and in a moment we 



312 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

had closed the door, and were for a time safe from the 
brutes who threw themselves, growling savagely, against 
the iron bars. 

Such was the fierceness of the furious beasts, joined to 
the anger of the tigers imprisoned in the neighboring com- 
partments, that the cage, oscillating on its wheels, seemed 
on the point of being capsized. 

The tigers, however, soon abandoned it to attack some 
more certain prey. What a scene it was! not a detail of 
it was lost to us, looking through the bars of our cage ! 

" The world is turned upside down ! " cried Hood, who 
was almost mad with vexation. 

"Those brutes to be out and we shut up!" 

" Your wound ? " I asked. 

"That's nothing!" 

Five or six shots were at this moment heard. The firing 
was from the hut, around which two tigers and three 
panthers were raging. One of the animals was killed by 
an explosive ball from Storr's rifle. 

The others retreated and fell upon the herd of buffaloes, 
who were utterly defenceless against such adversaries. Fox, 
Kalagani, and the natives, who had dropped their weapons 
in their haste to climb the trees, could give no assistance. 

However, Captain Hood, taking aim between the bars 
of our cage, fired. Although his right arm being almost 
paralyzed by his wound prevented him from taking his 
usual unerring aim, he was lucky enough to " pot his forty- 
ninth tiger." 

The buffaloes leaped from their inclosure and rushed bel- 
lowing through the kraal. They vainly endeavored to gore 
the tigers, who, however, easily kept out of reach of their 
horns. One of them, mounted by a panther, his claws tear- 
ing its neck, rushed out and away through the forest. 

Five or six others, pursued closely by the beasts, also 
disappeared. A few of the tigers followed ; but the buffaloes 
who had not been able to escape, lay slaughtered and torn 
on the ground. 

Other shots were fired through the windows of the hut. 
But while Hood and I were doing our part, a new danger 
menaced us. The animals shut up in the cages, excited by 
the rage of the struggle, the smell of blood, the roars of 
their brethren, rampaged about with indescribable violence. 



A NIGHT ATTACK 313 

Would they end by breaking their bars? This seemed 
really likely. 

In faet, one of the tigers' cages was turned over. I 
thought for a moment that it would burst open and let 
them loose ! 

Fortunately nothing like this happened, and the prisoners 
could not even see what was passing outside, since it was 
the barred side of the cage which was downwards. 

"Decidedly there are too many of them! " muttered the 
captain, as he reloaded. 

At that moment, a tiger made a prodigious spring, and 
clung to the fork of a tree, on which two or three shikarries 
had sought refuge. One of the unfortunate men was seized 
and dragged down to the ground. 

There a panther disputed with the tiger for the possession 
of the dead body, crunching the bones in the midst of a 
sea of blood. 

" Fire now ! Why don't you fire ! " shouted the captain, 
as if Van Guitt and his companions could hear him. 

As to us, we could do nothing more. Our cartridges were 
exhausted, and we could only remain powerless spectators 
of the scene. Even this did not last long, a tiger in the 
next compartment to ours who had been endeavoring to break 
out, managed by giving a violent shake to destroy the equi- 
librium of the cage. It oscillated for a moment, and then 
over it went. 

Slightly bruised by the fall, we soon scrambled again to 
our knees. The sides bore the shock, but now we could 
no longer see what was going on outside. Though we 
could not see, we could at least hear! What a hideous 
din ! What a horrid odor of blood ! The fight seemed to 
have taken a still more violent character. What had hap- 
pened? Had the prisoners in the other cages escaped? 
Where they attacking Van Guitt's hut? Were the tigers 
and panthers springing into the trees and tearing down the 
natives ? 

" And we all the time shut up in this abominable box ! ' 
exclaimed Captain Hood, wild with excitement and 
rage. 

Nearly a quarter of an hour — which appeared whole hours 
to us — passed in this way. Then the uproar began to calm 
down. The roaring and howling diminished. The bounds 



314 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

of the tigers which occupied the compartments in one cage 
were less frequent. Had the massacre come to an end ? 

All at once, I heard the gate of the kraal slammed to with 
great noise ; and Kalagani's voice calling to us loudly, then 
Fox shouting, " Captain! captain! ' : 

"This way! " cried Hood. 

He was heard, and we soon felt the cage being lifted. 
A moment more and we were free. 

"Fox! Storr!" called the captain, whose first thought 
was for his companions. 

Here, sir! " answered both the men. 

They were not even wounded. Mathias van Guitt and 
Kalagani were equally safe and sound. Two tigers and a 
panther lay lifeless on the ground. The others had left 
the kraal, and Kalagani had shut them out. We were all 
in safety. None of the beasts of the menagerie had effected 
an escape during the combat, and besides that the zoologist 
now counted one prisoner more. This was a young tiger 
imprisoned in the small traveling cage, which had upset 
over him, and under which he was caught as in a snare. 

The stock of Mathias van Guitt was thus completed ; but 
it had cost him dear! Five of his buffaloes were killed, 
and three of his natives, horribly mutilated, weltered in 
their blood on the grass of the inclosure! 



CHAPTER VI 

MATHIAS VAN GUITT'S FAREWELL 

During the rest of the night no other incident occurred 
either in or outside the kraal. The gate was securely fast- 
ened this time. How was it that at the very time the wild 
beasts surrounded the palisade it should have been open? 
This was truly most unaccountable, for Kalagani had him- 
self placed the strong bars which fastened it. 

Captain Hood's wound gave him considerable pain, al- 
though it was but skin-deep. A little more though would 
have caused him to lose the use of his right arm. 

For my part, I felt nothing of the violent blow which 
had thrown me to the ground. We resolved to return to 
Steam House as soon as day began to dawn. 

As to Mathias van Guitt, except for regretting the loss 



MATHIAS VAN GUITT'S FAREWELL 315 

of three of his people, he was not at all disheartened, al- 
though the being deprived of his buffaloes must put him to 
some inconvenience when the time for his departure came. 
' It is but the chances of the trade," he said, " and I have 
for long had a presentiment that an adventure of this kind 
would befall me." 

He then proceeded to arrange for the interment of the 
three natives, whose remains were laid in a corner of the 
kraal in a grave deep enough to prevent any wild animals 
disturbing them. 

Soon, however, the dawn began to light up the dark 
avenues of the Terrai, and after many shakes of the hand, 
we took leave of Mathias van Guitt. To accompany us on 
our walk through the forest the zoologist put at our disposal 
Kalagani and two natives. His offer was accepted, and at 
six o'clock we left the kraal. 

No untoward incident marked our return journey. Of 
tigers and panthers there was not a trace. The animals 
having been so severely repulsed had no doubt retreated 
to their dens, and this was not the time to go and rouse 
them up. As to the buffaloes which had escaped from the 
kraal, they had either been slain and devoured in the depths 
of the forest, or, if still alive, having fled to a great distance, 
it was not to be expected that their instinct would lead them 
back to the encampment. They must therefore be con- 
sidered as positively lost to the naturalist. 

At the border of the forest, Kalagani and the other men 
left us, and not long after Fan and Niger welcomed us 
back with joyful barks to Steam House. 

I recounted our adventures to Banks, and it is needless 
to say that he congratulated us heartily on having got off 
so well! Too often in attacks of this nature not one of 
the assailed party escapes to tell the tale of the exploits 
of the assailants! 

As to Captain Hood, he was obliged, whether he liked 
it or not, to keep his arm in a sling ; but the engineer, who 
was the doctor of the expedition, found his wound not 
serious, and declared that in a few days no trace of it 
would remain. At heart Captain Hood was much mortified 
at having received a wound without having returned it. 
And yet, he had added another tiger to the forty-eight al- 
ready on his list. 



316 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

On the afternoon of the 27th our attention was aroused 
by the joyful and excited barking of the dogs. We hast- 
ened out and saw Colonel Munro, McNeil, and Goumi. 
Their return was a real relief to us. Had Sir Edward suc- 
ceeded in his expedition? This we did not yet know. He, 
was there, however, safe and sound, and that was the most 
important thing after all. 

Banks immediately hurried up to him, grasped his hand, 
and gave him a questioning look. 

"Nothing!" was all the reply he received, accompanied 
by a shake of the head. 

This word signified not only that the search of the 
Nepaulese frontier had resulted in nothing, but that any 
conversation on this subject would be useless. It appeared 
to mean that there was nothing to speak about. 

McNeil and Goumi, whom Banks interrogated in the 
evening, were more explicit. They told him that Colonel 
Munro had indeed wished to survey that portion of Hin- 
doostan in which Nana Sahib had taken refuge before his 
reappearance in the Bombay Presidency; to ascertain what 
had become of the nabob's companions ; to search for any 
traces which might remain of their passage over that part 
of the frontier; to endeavor to learn whether, instead of 
Nana Sahib, his brother, Balao Rao, was hiding in that 
country. Such had been Sir Edward's object. 

The result of this search was that there could no longer 
be any doubt that the rebels had left the country. There 
was not a vestige of that camp in which the false obsequies 
of Nana Sahib had been celebrated. No news was heard 
of Balao Rao. Of his companions, nothing that could urge 
them to set off on the track. The nabob killed in the 
defiles of the Sautpoora Mountains, his friends probably 
dispersed beyond the limits of the peninsula, the work of 
the avenger seemed already performed. To quit the Him- 
alayas, continue southward, and thus finish our journey 
from Calcutta to Bombay, was all we had now to think of. 

The departure was fixed for a week from that time, for 
the 3d of September. That time was necessary to com- 
plete the healing of Captain Hood's wound. Colonel 
Munro, too, who was plainly fatigued by his excursion 
through that rough country, was also glad of a few days' 
rest. 



MATHIAS VAN GUITT'S FAREWELL 317 

During this time Banks began his preparations by getting 
our train in order, and in a state for the journey from 1 lie- 
Himalayas to Bombay. To begin with it was agreed that 
the route should be a second time altered so as to avoid 
the great towns of the northwest, Mi rat, Delhi, Agra, 
Gwalior, Jansi, and others, in which so many disasters of 
the mutiny of 1857 had taken place. With the last rebels 
of the insurrection had disappeared all that could arouse 
the recollections of Colonel Munro. 

Our traveling dwelling would thus go straight through 
the provinces without stopping at the principal cities, but 
the country was well worth a visit, if only for its natural 
beauties. The immense kingdom of Scindia is unequalled 
in this respect. The most picturesque roads in the peninsula 
now lay before Behemoth. 

The season of the monsoons had ended with the rainy 
season, which is not prolonged beyond the month of August. 
The first days of September promised a most agreeable tem- 
perature, which would render the second part of our journey 
far pleasanter than the first. 

During the last week of our stay in the sanitarium, Fox 
and Gofimi purveyed daily for the pantry. Accompanied 
by the two dogs they found swarms of partridges, pheasants, 
and bustards. These birds, preserved in the ice-house, were 
to supply us with game during the journey. 

We paid two or three more visits to the kraal. There 
Mathias van Guitt was also preparing for his departure for 
Bombay, bearing his troubles with the philosophy which 
carried him calmly through all the miseries of existence 
both great and small. 

The capture of the tenth tiger had completed his stock. 

It was now only necessary to make up the number of his 
buffaloes. Not one of those which fled during the night 
attack had been recaptured. The chances were that all, 
dispersed in the forest, had met with violent deaths. The 
difficulty was how to make up the teams. In hopes of ob- 
taining animals among the scattered farms and villages of 
the neighborhood, Van Guitt had sent Kalagani to inquire, 
and awaited his return with some impatience. 

The last week of our abode at the sanitarium passed 
without incident. Captain Hood's wound gradually healed, 
and he seemed to hope for one more expedition before clos- 



318 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

ing the campaign. But this idea Colonel Munro would 
not encourage. 

Why risk himself needlessly while his arm was weak? 

During the rest of our journey he would be very likely 
to meet with sport en route. 

" Besides," observed Banks, " you surely ought to be 
satisfied to find yourself alive and well, with a score of 
forty-nine tigers fallen to your gun. The balance is all in 
your favor." 

" Forty-nine — yes," returned the captain with a sigh ; 
" but I wanted fifty." 

He was evidently dissatisfied. 

The 2d of September arrived, and we were on the eve 
of departure. In the morning Goumi came in to announce 
a visit from the purveyor. Van Guitt, accompanied by 
Kalagani, came to Steam House; no doubt he wished to 
take formal leave at the last moment. 

Colonel Munro received him cordially, and the Dutch- 
man plunged into a course of speechifying more astonish- 
ing than ever. It struck me that his high-flown compli- 
ments concealed something which he hesitated to propose. 
Banks brought him to the point by inquiring whether he had 
succeeded in making up his buffalo teams. 

" No, indeed, Mr. Banks," he replied, " Kalagani has been 
unsuccessful. Although I gave him carte blanche as to price, 
he failed to procure a single pair of these useful animals. 
I am forced to admit myself wholly at a loss how to con- 
vey my menagerie to the nearest railway station. This loss 
of my buffaloes, by the sudden attack on the night between 
the 25th and 26th of August, embarrasses me exceedingly. 
My cages with their four-footed prisoners are heavy, 
and " 

"Well, how are you going to manage?" demanded the 
engineer. 

" I can't exactly say," returned Mathias. " I plan — I con- 
trive — I hesitate — but the fact is that on the 20th of Sep- 
tember, that is to say eighteen days hence, I am bound to 
deliver the animals at Bombay." 

" In eighteen days ! " echoed Banks. " Why you have 
not an hour to lose." 

"I know it, sir, and I have but one resource, just one." 

"What may that be?" 



MATHIAS VAN GUITT'S FAREWELL 319 

" It is to entreat the colonel to do me a very great favor." 

"Speak freely, Mr. van Guitt," said Colonel Munro; 
" if I can oblige you, I will do so with pleasure." 

Mathias bowed, placed his right hand on his lips, swayed 
himself from side to side, and in every gesture betokened 
himself overwhelmed by unexpected kindness. He then 
explained that understanding our giant engine to be of 
immense power, he wished to know if it would be possible 
to attach his caravan of cages to our train, and so to drag 
them to Etawah, the nearest station on the line between 
Delhi and Allahabad. 

The colonel turned to the engineer, saying, " Can we do 
what Mr. van Guitt requires?" 

" I see no difficulty," replied Banks. " Behemoth will 
never know that he draws a heavier weight." 

" It shall be done, Mr. van Guitt," said Colonel Munro. 
" We will take your goods to Etawah. People ought to 
be neighborly and help one another even in the Hima- 
layas." 

' I am aware of your goodness, colonel," replied Van 
Guitt, " and indeed felt I might reckon on it." 

" You were right," said Colonel Munro. 

Everything being thus arranged, the Dutchman prepared 
to return to his kraal, in order to dismiss such of his at- 
tendants as were no longer required, retaining only four 
shikarries who were wanted to tend the animals. 

" We meet to-morrow, then," said Colonel Munro. 

" To-morrow, gentlemen, I shall be ready, and waiting 
for you and your steam monster at my kraal." And the 
purveyor, delighted with the success of his visit, retired 
with all the airs of an actor leaving the stage. 

Kalagani, after fixedly regarding Colonel Munro, whose 
journey to the frontiers of Nepaul appeared to interest him 
deeply, followed his master. 

The last arrangements were completed. Everything was 
in traveling order, and of the Steam House sanitarium 
nothing remained. We were ready to descend to the plains, 
where our elephant was to leave us and fetch the Dutch- 
man's caravan to join our train, which then was to start 
across Rohilkund. 

At seven o'clock on the morning of the 3d of September, 
Behemoth stood ready to resume the duties he had hitherto 



320 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

so well fulfilled. But a very unexpected occurrence now 
excited the surprise of every one. 

After lighting the furnace to heat the boiler, Kalouth 
opened the different flues and the soot doors, in order to 
be sure that nothing impeded the draught of air, but started 
back when, with a strange sound of hissing, a score of 
what seemed like leathern thongs darted toward him from 
the tubes. 

" Hallo, Kalouth ! What's the matter? " said Banks. 

" A swarm of serpents, sahib," cried the stoker. 

In fact, what appeared like straps were snakes which had 
chosen to make themselves at home in the furnace chimneys, 
whence the heat now dislodged them. Some were scorched, 
and fell to the ground ; had not Kalouth opened the valves, 
all would speedily have been roasted. 

" What ! " cried Captain Hood, running forward, " has 
Behemoth been cherishing a brood of serpents in his 
bosom ? " 

Yes, of the most dangerous and numerous description 
and a superb tiger-python now showed his pointed head 
from the tip of the elephant's trunk, and began to unfold 
his coils, amid spiral volumes of smoke. The other ser- 
pents, which were so lucky as to escape with their lives, 
quickly vanished among the bushes. 

But the python could not easily ascend the cast iron 
cylinder, and Captain Hood had time to get his rifle and 
send a bullet through its head. 

Then Goumi mounted the elephant, and scrambling up 
the trunk, succeeded, with the help of Kalouth and Storr, 
in hoisting out the huge reptile. It was a most magnificent 
boa, in a vesture of gorgeous green and purple, adorned with 
regular rings, which seemed as though cut out of splendid 
tiger skin. It was as thick as a man's arm, and measured 
quite five yards in length. 

Truly it was a superb specimen, and would have made 
an advantageous addition to Van Guitt's collection could 
it have been secured alive. 

The excitement of this incident having subsided, Kalouth 
rearranged his furnace, the boiler soon began to do its part, 
and steam being fairly got up, we were ready to be off. One 
last glance over the marvelous panorama spread before us 
to the south, one last lingering look toward the indented 



MATHIAS VAN GUITT'S FAREWELL 321 

outlines of the mighty mountain peaks which stood forth 
sharply against the northern sky, and then the shriek of the 
whistle gave notice of departure. 

We descended the winding road without difficulty, the 
atmospheric brake acting admirably on the steep pitches, 
and in an hour we halted on the lower limit of the Terrai, 
at the edge of the plain. Here Behemoth, under charge 
of Banks and the fireman, left us, and at a dignified pace 
entered one of the broad roads through the forest. 

A couple of hours later we heard the snorting and puffing 
of the steam giant, and he issued from the thicket of trees 
with the Dutchman's caravan menagerie in tow. 

Mathias van Guitt made his appearance, and renewed 
his thanks to the colonel. The wild beast cages, with a van 
in front for the purveyor and his men, were attached to 
our train, now composed of eight carriages. 

Banks gave the signal, the regulation whistle sounded, 
and Behemoth, with stately motion, began to advance along 
the magnificent road leading to the south. The addition of 
Van Guitt and his wild beast vans made no difference to him. 

"Well, Van Guitt, what do you think of it?" inquired 
Captain Hood. 

" I think, captain," replied Mathias, with some reason, 
" that this elephant would be much more wonderful if he 
were made of flesh and blood." 

We did not follow the route by which we had reached 
the foot of the Himalayas, but traveled southwest toward 
the little town of Philibit. We went at a moderate and 
easy pace, and met with no hindrance or discomfort. 

The Dutchman daily took his seat at our table, when 
his splendid appetite never failed to do honor to the culinary 
talents of Monsieur Parazard. It speedily became necessary 
to call upon our sportsmen to do their duty, and Captain 
Hood resumed his labors for the larder. Food was re- 
quired for our four-footed passengers, as well as for our- 
selves, and the shikarries took care to provide it. They 
were clever hunters; and led by Kalagani, himself a first- 
rate shot, kept up a supply of bison and antelope meat. 

Kalagani maintained his peculiar and reserved manners, 
although very kindly treated by Colonel Munro, who was 
not a man to forget a good service done him. 

On the 10th of September our train skirted the town of 

V XII Verna 



322 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

Philibit without making a halt, but a considerable number 
of natives came to see us. Van Guitt's wild beast show 
attracted little attention in comparison with Behemoth, and 
without more than a passing glance at the splendid creatures 
within their cages, all hastened to admire the Steam Ele- 
phant. 

We traversed the great plains of Northern India, passing, 
at a distance of some leagues, Bareilly, one of the chief 
cities of Rohilkund. Sometimes we were surrounded by- 
forests filled with birds of brilliant plumage, sometimes by 
dense thickets of the thorny acacia two or three yards high, 
which is called by the English " Wait-a-bit." 

There we met with many wild boars, whose flesh was of 
a remarkably fine flavor, from the fact of their feeding on 
the yellowish berry of these plants. These boars are ex- 
tremely savage animals, and on several occasions they were 
killed by Captain Hood and Kalagani, under circumstances 
which displayed to advantage all the courage and skill pos- 
sessed by our mighty hunters. 

Between Philibit, and Etawah railway station our train 
had to cross the Upper Ganges, and shortly after an im- 
portant tributary, the Kali-Nacli. 

The menagerie vans were detached, and Stqam House, 
assuming its nautical character, easily floated from one bank 
to the other. It was different with the Dutchman's vans. 
They had to be transported singly by a ferry boat, and 
though tedious, the passage was effected without much dif- 
ficulty, as both he and his men knew exactly what to do. 

At length without any adventure worthy of notice we 
reached the line of rail between Delhi and Allahabad. Here 
the two parts of our train were to separate, the first con- 
tinuing to descend southward across the vast territories of 
Scind, in order to reach the Vindhyas and the presidency 
of Bombay. The second, was to be placed on railway trucks 
to travel to Bombay, and so by ship to Europe. 

We encamped together for one night, and the respective 
starts were to be made at daybreak. Mathias van Guitt 
was about to dismiss such of his attendants as were no 
longer necessary to him, retaining the natives only until 
he should reach the ship. 

Among the men now paid off was Kalagani, the hunter. 

We had become attached to this native since he had 



PASSAGE OF THE BETTWA 323 

rendered good service both to Colonel Munro and Captain 
Hood ; and Banks, perceiving him to be at a loss for em- 
ployment, asked if it would suit him to accompany us as 
far as Bombay. 

After some moments consideration, Kalagani accepted 
the proposal, which seemed to please Colonel Munro very 
much. He was well acquainted with all this part of India, 
and attached to the staff of Steam House was likely to be 
extremely useful to us. 

The next morning the camp was struck. Steam was 
up, and Storr only awaited final orders. 

The ceremony of leave-taking was very simple on our 
part, highly theatrical on that of Van Guitt, who amplified 
his expressions of thanks, and specially distinguished him- 
self in the final scene, when, as he disappeared from our 
sight he indicated by pantomimic gestures that never, either 
here below or in life hereafter, should our kindness fade 
from his memory. 



CHAPTER VII 

PASSAGE CF THE BETTWA 

Our position on the 18th of September stood thus, 
Distance from Calcutta . . . 812 miles. 

From Sanitarium on the Himalayas 236 
From Bombay .... 1,000 " 
With regard to distance, not half of our proposed journey 
had been accomplished, but reckoning the seven weeks spent 
on the Himalayan frontier above half the time allotted to 
it had elapsed. We left Calcutta on the 6th of March, and 
in two months we hoped to reach the western shores of 
Hindostan. Avoiding the great towns concerned in the 
revolt of 1857, we should travel nearly due south. There 
being excellent roads through Scind, we should meet no 
difficulties until we came to the mountains of Central India. 
The presence of an experienced man like Kalagani would 
give additional security as well as facility to our progress, 
as he seemed so thoroughly well acquainted with this part 
of Hindostan. Banks called him the first day, while Colonel 
Munro was taking his siesta, and asked in what capacity 
he had so frequently traversed these provinces. 



324 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

" I belonged," replied the man, " to one of the numerous 
caravans of Brinjarees, who convey to the interior, on the 
backs of oxen, supplies of grain, either ordered by the 
government or private persons. In this capacity I have 
passed a score of times across the territories of North and 
Central India." 

" Do such caravans still cross this part of the peninsula? " 

" Yes, sir, they do, and at this season of the year I 
should expect to meet Brinjarees on their way north." 

" Well, Kalagani, you are likely to be very useful to us. 
We wish to avoid the great cities, and to pass through the 
open country. You shall be our guide." 

" Certainly, sir," answered the Hindoo, in the cold tone 
which was habitual to him, and to which I could never get 
quite reconciled. Then, he added, " Shall I state in a gen- 
eral way the direction we shall have to take? " 

" Do so, Kalagani," said Banks, spreading a large map 
on the table, and preparing to verify by observation the in- 
formation about to be given him. 

" It is very simple," said the Indian. " A direct line takes 
us from the Delhi railroad to that of Bombay. The junc- 
tion is at Allahabad. Between Etawah and the frontier of 
Bundelkund, there is but one important river to cross, the 
Jumna ; between that and the Vindhyas Mountains there 
is another, the Bettwa. These two rivers may have over- 
flowed their banks, but I think your train would be able 
to cross them even if it were so." 

" There would be no serious difficulty," replied the en- 
gineer. " And having reached the Vindhyas ? ' 

" We should turn slightly to the southeast, in order to 
reach a practicable pass. There will be no difficulty there 
either, for I know a spot where the ascents are easy. Wheel 
carriages prefer that way; it is the pass of Sirgour." 

" That ought to suit us," returned Banks, " but I perceive 
that beyond the pass of Sirgour the country is very hilly. 
Could we not approach the Vindhyas by crossing Bhopal ? ' 

" There are a great many towns in that direction," an- 
swered Kalagani ; " it would be difficult to avoid them. The 
sepoys distinguished themselves particularly there during 
the war of independence." 

I was struck by this expression, " the war of indepen- 
dence," which Kalagani applied to the Mutiny. However, 



PASSAGE OF THE BETTWA 325 

I reflected that it was a native, not an Englishman, who 
used it. Besides, we had no reason to suppose that Kala- 
gani had taken part in the revolt. 

" Well," resumed Banks, " leaving the cities of Bhopal 
to the west, are you certain that the pass of Sirgour will 
give us access to a practicable road? " 

" To a road I have often traveled, sir, which, after mak- 
ing the circuit of Lake Puturia, will bring you near Jub- 
bulpore, on the Bombay railway." 

" I see," said Banks, who followed on the map all that 
the man said; " and after that ? " 

" After that the road turns to the southwest, and, more 
or less, runs alongside the line as far as Bombay." 

" Of course — so it does," returned Banks. " I see no 
particular difficulty anywhere, and the route suits us. We 
shall not forget your services, Kalagani." 

Kalagani made his salaam, and was about to retire, when 
changing his mind, he again approached the engineer. 

" Have you any question to put to me? " said Banks. 

" I have, sir ; may I be permitted to ask why you especially 
want to avoid the great towns of the Bundelkund? ' 

Banks looked at me. There seemed no reason for con- 
cealing the facts of the case from this man, and after a 
little consideration, Colonel Munro's position was explained 
to him. 

He listened attentively to what the engineer related to 
him, and then he said in a tone denoting surprise, " Colonel 
Munro has nothing more to fear from Nana Sahib — at 
least not in these provinces." 

" Neither in these provinces nor anywhere else," returned 
Banks. " Why do you say ' in these provinces ? ' " 

" Because it was reported several months ago that the 
nabob had reappeared in the Bombay Presidency, but by 
no research could his retreat be discovered, and supposing 
him ever to have been there, it is probable that he has 
now again passed beyond the Indo-Chinese frontier." 

This answer seemed to prove that Kalagani was ignorant 
of what had taken place in the Sautpourra Mountains, and 
that in the month of May, Nana Sahib had been slain by 
British soldiers at the Pal of Tandit. 

" It seems that news takes a long time to reach the Him- 
alayan forests ! " exclaimed Banks. 



326 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

Kalagani looked at him fixedly, like one not in the least 
comprehending his words. 

" You do not seem to know that Nana Sahib is dead," 
continued the engineer. 

" Nana Sahib dead ! " cried the native. 

" Certainly," replied Banks, " government announced the 
fact that he had been killed, with all the details." 

" Killed? " said Kalagani, shaking his head, " where do 
they say Nana Sahib was killed ? " 

" At the Pal of Tandit, in the Sautpourra Mountains." 

"And when?" 

" Nearly four months ago, on the 25th of last May." 

I noticed a peculiar look flit over Kalagani's face as he 
folded his arms and remained silent. 

" Have you any reason," inquired I, " for discrediting 
the account of Nana Sahib's death? " 

" None, sir; I believe what you tell me." 

In another instant Banks and I were alone, and he ex- 
claimed, "You see what these fellows are! They regard 
the chief of the rebel sepoys as something more than mortal, 
and because they have not seen him hanged, they never 
will believe he is dead." 

" Why," replied I, " that is just like the old soldiers of 
the empire, who for twenty years after Napoleon's death 
stoutly maintained that he was still alive." 

Since passing across the Upper Ganges fifteen days pre- 
vious to this, a fertile country had opened before us, called 
the Doab, a district lying in the angle formed by the 
Ganges and the Jumna, which two rivers unite near Al- 
lahabad. 

My impressions of the Doab are of alluvial plains cleared 
by the Brahmins twenty centuries before the Christian era, 
farming operations of the rudest description carried on by 
the peasantry, vast canal works due to English engineers, 
fields of the cotton plant, which especially thrives in this 
part of the country, the groans of the cotton mill machinery 
at work near every village, mingled with the songs of the 
men who are employed about it. 

We went on our way very comfortably. Scenery and 
situations changed before our eyes, while we enjoyed in 
luxury the climax of the art of locomotion. 

What mode ~f progression could be superior to this? 



PASSAGE OF THE BETTWA 327 

We reached the left bank of the Jumna. This important 
stream forms the boundary of Rajasthan, the country of 
the Rajahs, dividing it from Hindostan, or the country of 
the Hindoos. 

We found that an early flood had already raised the 
waters of the Jumna. The current was rapid, but although 
this made our transit somewhat less easy, it did not hinder 
it at all. Banks took some few precautions, found a suit- 
able landing-place, and within half an hour, Steam House 
was mounting the opposite bank of the river. 

Railway trains require massive bridges to be built at 
great expense; one of these, of tubular construction, spans 
the Jumna at the fortress of Pelimghur near Delhi. 

But our Behemoth drew his double cars over the surface 
of the current with as much ease as along the best macadam- 
ized high road. 

Beyond the Jumna lay several of the towns which our 
engineer intended to pass by unvisited. 

Among these was Gwalior, situated near the river Sa- 
wunrika, built on a basaltic rock, with its superb mosque of 
Musjid, its palace of Pal, its curious Gate of Elephants, 
its famous fortress, and the Vihura erected by Buddhists. 
The modern town of Lashkar, built at a little distance, forms 
a singular contrast to this ancient city, and competes in 
trade with it vigorously. 

It was at Gwalior that the Ranee of Jansi, the devoted 
friend of Nana Sahib, defended herself heroically to the 
last. There, as we have already said, she fell by the hand 
of Colonel Munro during an engagement with two squad- 
rons of the British troops, where he was in command of a 
battalion of his regiment, and from that moment dated the 
mortal hatred borne toward him by the Nabob, who sought 
till death to gratify it by revenge. 

Yes! it certainly was desirable that Sir Edward Munro 
should not renew his recollections of the scenes which took 
place before the gates of Gwalior! 

After Gwalior we passed Antri, and its vast plain broken 
by numerous peaks, like islands in an archipelago. 

Then Duttiah, which has not been in existence for more 
than five centuries. It possesses a central fortress, elegant 
houses, temples of various forms, the deserted palace of 
Birsing-Deo, and the arsenal of Tope-Kana, the whole form- 



328 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

ing the capital of the province of Duttiah, which lies in 
the northern angle of Bundelkund, and is under British 
protection. Antri and Duttiah, as well as Gwalior, were 
seriously compromised by the insurrectional disturbances 
of 1857. 

On the 22d of September, Jansi was passed at a con- 
siderable distance. This city is the most important military 
station in the Bundelkund, and the spirit of revolt is strong 
in the lower classes of its population. The town is com- 
paratively modern, and has a great trade in Indian muslins, 
and blue cotton cloths. There are no ancient remains in 
this place, but it is interesting to visit its citadel, whose 
walls the English artillery and projectiles failed to destroy, 
also the Necropolis of the rajahs, which is remarkably pic- 
turesque. 

This was the chief stronghold of the sepoy mutineers in 
Central India. There the intrepid Ranee instigated the first 
rising, which speedily spread throughout the Bundelkund. 

There Sir Hugh Rose maintained an engagement which 
lasted no less than six days, during which time he lost 
fifteen per cent, of his force. 

There, in spite of the obstinate resistance of a garrison 
of twelve thousand sepoys, and backed by an army of 
twenty thousand, Tantia Topi. Balao Rao (brother of the 
Nana), and last not least, the Ranee herself, were compelled 
to yield to the superiority of British arms. 

It was there, at Jansi, that Colonel Munro had saved 
the life of his sergeant, McNeil, and given up to him his 
last drop of water. Yes ! Jansi of all places must be avoided 
in a journey where the route was planned and marked out 
by Sir Edward's warmest friends! 

After passing Jansi, we were detained for several hours 
by an encounter with travelers of whom Kalagani had pre- 
viously spoken. 

It was about eleven o'clock. Breakfast was over, and 
we were lounging under the veranda, or in the saloon, 
while Behemoth plodded steadily on at a moderate speed. 
The road was magnificent. Shaded by lofty trees it passed 
through fields of cotton and grain. The weather was fine, 
the sun very hot. All we could wish for was a metropolitan 
water-cart, to keep down the puffs of fine white dust which 
occasionally rose round our equipage. 



PASSAGE OF THE BETTWA 329 

But after a while the atmosphere appeared to become 
absolutely darkened with clouds of dust as dense as any 
ever blown up by the simoom of the Libyan Desert. 

" I cannot imagine the cause of such a phenomenon," said 
Banks, " for the wind blows quite a light breeze." 

" Probably Kalagani can explain it," said Colonel 
Munro. 

He was called, and entering the veranda, looked along 
the road, and at once said, " It is a long caravan going 
northward, and is most likely a party of the Brinjarees I 
spoke of to you, Mr. Banks." 

" Ah ! and no doubt you will find some old friends among 
them." 

" Possibly, sahib; I lived a long time among those wan- 
dering tribes." 

" Perhaps you will want to leave us and join them again," 
remarked Captain Hood. 

" Not at all," answered Kalagani. 

Half an hour later, it was proved that his opinion was 
correct. A moving wall of oxen advanced, and our mighty 
elephant himself was brought to a standstill. There was 
nothing to regret in this enforced halt, however, for a most 
curious spectacle was presented to our observations. 

A drove of four or five thousand oxen encumbered the 
road, and, as our guide had supposed, they belonged to a 
caravan of Brinjarees. 

" These people," said Banks, " are the Zingaris of Hin- 
dostan. They are a people rather than a tribe, and have 
no fixed abode, dwelling under tents in summer, in huts 
during the winter or rainy season. They are the porters 
and carriers of India, and I saw how they worked during 
the insurrection of 1857. By a sort of tacit agreement be- 
tween the belligerents, their convoys were permitted to 
pass through the disturbed provinces. In fact, they kept 
up the supply of provisions to both armies. If these Brin- 
jarees belong to one part of India more than to another, 
I should say it was Rajpootana, and perhaps more par- 
ticularly the kingdom of Milwar. Pray examine them at- 
tentively, my dear Maucler, as they pass before vou in 
defile." 

Our equipage was prudently drawn up on one side of 
the great highway. Nothing could have withstood this 



330 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

avalanche of horned cattle, even wild beasts hasten out of 
their way. 

Following Banks' advice, I set myself to observe closely 
the enormous procession as it passed by, and the first thing 
I noticed was that our Steam Elephant, so accustomed to 
create surprise and admiration, seemed scarcely to attract 
the attention of these people at all; they looked as if noth- 
ing ever could astonish them. 

Both men and women of the race were extremely hand- 
some ; the former tall and strong, with fine features, curly 
hair, and a clear bronze complexion. They wore long tunics 
and turbans, and carried lances, bucklers, or round shields, 
and large swords slung across their shoulders, the latter, 
also very tall and well formed, were dressed in becoming 
bodices with full skirts, a loose mantle enveloping the whole 
form in graceful drapery. They wore jewels in their ears, 
and necklaces, bracelets, bangles, and anklets, made of gold, 
ivory, or shells. 

Thousands of oxen paced quietly along with these men, 
women, old men, and children. They had neither harness 
nor halter, only bells or red tassels on their heads, and 
double packs thrown across their backs, which contained 
wheat and other grains. 

A whole tribe journeyed in this manner, under the direc- 
tions of an elected chief, called the naik, whose power 
is despotic while it lasts. He controls the movements of the 
caravan, fixes the hours for the start and the halt, and 
arranges the dispositions of the camp. 

I was struck by the magnificent appearance of a large 
bull, who with superb and imperial step led the van. He 
was covered with a bright colored cloth, ornamented with 
bells and shell embroidery, and I asked Banks if he knew 
what was the special office of this splendid animal. 

" Kalagani will of course be able to tell us," answered he. 
"Where is the fellow?" 

He was called, but did not make his appearance, and 
search being made, it was found he had left Steam 
House. 

" No doubt he has gone to renew acquaintance with some 
old comrade," said Colonel Munro. " He will return be- 
fore we resume our journey." 

This seemed very natural. There was nothing in the 



PASSAGE OF THE BETTWA 331 

temporary absence of the man to occasion uneasiness, but 
somehow it haunted me uncomfortably. 

" Well," said Banks, " to the best of my belief this bull 
represents, or is an emblem of, their deity. Where he goes 
they follow ; where he stops, there they encamp ; but of 
course we are to suppose he is in reality under the secret 
control of the naik. Anyhow, he is to these wanderers 
an embodiment of their religion." 

The cortege seemed interminable, and for two hours there 
was no sign of an approaching end. Soon afterward, how- 
ever, the rear guard came in sight, and at last I perceived 
Kalagani accompanied by a native who was not of the 
Brinjaree type. They were conversing together very coolly, 
and he was no doubt one who, as Kalagani had frequently 
done, had joined the caravan for a time only. Probably 
they were talking of the country which the caravan had 
just passed through, and across which lay the route by which 
our new guide had undertaken to lead us. 

This man, who was the last of all the procession to pass 
us, paused for a moment before Steam House. He looked 
at the equipage with some interest, and I thought his eye 
rested particularly on Sir Edward Munro ; but without utter- 
ing a word, he made a parting sign to Kalagani, rejoined 
the troop, and disappeared in a cloud of dust. 

Kalagani then came up, and before any questions were 
asked, addressed himself to Colonel Munro, and simply 
saying, " One of my old comrades, who has been with the 
caravan for the last two months," he resumed his place in 
our train, and we were speedily moving along a road now 
deeply marked by the footprints of thousands of men and 
oxen. 

Next day, the 24th of September, we halted to pass the 
night a little to the east of Ourtcha on the left bank of 
the Bettwa, which is one of the chief tributaries of the 
Jumna. 

There is nothing to see or say about Ourtcha. It is the 
old capital of Bundelkund, and was a flourishing town dur- 
ing the earlier part of the seventeenth century. But hard 
blows from the Mahrattas on one side, and the Mongols on 
the other, reduced it to a low condition, from which it has 
never recovered, so that, at the present time, one of the 
great cities of Central India is nothing more than a 



ZZ2 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

large village, miserably housing a few hundred peasants. 

I said we encamped on the banks of the Bettwa, but the 
halt was made at some distance from the river, which, we 
learned, had considerably overflowed its banks. Night was 
coming on and it would be necessary next day to examine 
carefully the nature of the ground before attempting a pas- 
sage. We therefore spent our evening in the usual way 
and retired to rest. 

Except under very peculiar circumstances, we never kept 
watch by night. There seemed to be no occasion for it. 
Could anybody run away with our houses? No! Could 
they steal our elephant? Rather not! Nothing was more 
unlikely than an attack of thieves; but at all times our two 
dogs, Fan and Niger, were on the alert, and ready to give 
notice of approaching footsteps. 

This very thing happened that night. Their violent bark- 
ing aroused us about two in the morning. When I opened 
the door of my room, I found all my companions on foot. 
"Is anything the matter? " inquired Colonel Munro. 

" The dogs seem to think so," replied Banks. " I don't 
believe they would bark like that for nothing." 

" I should not wonder if a panther had coughed in the 
jungle," said Hood. " Let's take our guns and make a 
search." 

McNeil, Kalagani, and Goumi were all out listening and 
trying to find out what was going on. We joined them. 

" Weil," said the captain, " I suppose a few wild animals 
have passed on their way to the drinking-place ? ' 

" Kalagani thinks this is something very different," re- 
plied Sergeant McNeil. 

"What then, Kalagani?" 

" I don't know yet, colonel," said the Indian ; " but cer- 
tainly neither panthers, tigers, nor jackals. I fancy I can 
discern a confused mass among the trees " 

"Let's have at them at once!" exclaimed the captain, 
with eager hopes of his fiftieth tiger. 

" Wait, Hood, wait," said Banks ; " caution is desirable 
in this case." 

" But we are in force, and well armed ! I want to be 
at the bottom of this disturbance," persisted the cap- 
tain. 

" All right then," cried Banks. " Munro, you must re- 



PASSAGE OF THE BETTWA 333 

main in camp with McNeil and the other men, while Hood, 
Maucler, Kalagani, and I go to reconnoiter." 

All this time the dogs continued to bark, but without 
any symptoms of the fury which they always displayed on 
the approach of wild beasts. 

" Come along, Fox ! " cried Captain Hood, beckoning to 
his servant. 

Fan and Niger darted into the thicket. We followed 
them, and presently distinguished the sound of footsteps. 
It seemed as though the scouts of a large party were prowl- 
ing round our camp. A few figures vanished silently among 
the bushes. The two dogs, barking loudly, ran backward 
and forward some paces in advance of us. 

" Who goes there ? " shouted Captain Hood. 

No answer. 

" These people either do not choose to speak or else un- 
derstand no English," said Banks. 

" Well — give it them in Hindoostanee ! Tell them we 
will fire if they don't answer." 

In the dialect of Central India, Kalagani summoned the 
invisible rovers to advance and show themselves. Still no 
answer. 

A rifle shot broke the silence. The impetuous captain 
could stand it no longer, and had taken aim apparently at 
a shadow flitting through the trees. The report was fol- 
lowed by a confused rushing sound, as if a multitude of 
people were dispersing right and left. Fan and Niger ran 
forward, and then returning to us quietly, showed no 
further uneasiness. 

" Well, they beat a retreat double quick, these fellows, 
whoever they were," exclaimed Hood. 

" That is very certain," returned Banks, " and now, 
whether they were robbers or rovers, all we have to do is 
to get back to Steam House. But we must set a watch till 
daybreak." 

In a very few minutes we had rejoined our party. Mc- 
Neil, Goumi, and Fox arranged to take turns as sentries, 
and we once more retired to our cabins. The night passed 
without disturbance; it was clear, that seeing we were on 
our guard, the visitors had decamped. 

Next day, the 25th of September, while preparation was 
being made for a start, Colonel Munro, Hood, McNeil, 



334 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

Kalagani, and I set out to explore the borders of the forest. 
We saw no trace whatever of the nocturnal adventurers, 
and on our return found Banks busily arranging for the, 
passage of the river Bettwa, whose tawny waters were flow- 
ing far beyond their accustomed bed. The current was 
running at so rapid a rate, that Behemoth would have to 
make head against it to avoid being carried down stream. 

The engineer, field-glass in hand, was endeavoring to de- 
termine our landing-place on the opposite bank. The Bettwa 
was at this point about a mile in width. Our train had as 
yet crossed no river so broad. 

" What," said I, " becomes of travelers and traders when 
they are stopped by floods like this? These currents re- 
semble rapids ; ordinary ferry-boats could not resist them." 

"Why! it is quite simple," replied Captain Hood, "they 
stay where they are." 

" They can always cross if they have elephants," said 
Banks. 

" You don't mean to say elephants can swim such dis- 
tances? " 

" Of course they can, and the thing is managed thus," 
answered the engineer. " All the baggage is placed on the 
back of these " 

"•Proboscidians," suggested Hood, recollecting his friend 
the Dutchman's fine words. 

" And the mahouts force them, at first reluctantly, to 
enter the stream. The animals hesitate, draw back, trumpet 
loudly; but finally make up their minds to face the dif- 
ficulty, and beginning to swim, gallantly effect the passage. 
It must be admitted that some are occasionally swept away 
by the current and drowned, but that rarely happens if any 
experienced person is in charge." 

" Well," said Hood, " Behemoth is thoroughly amphibi- 
ous, and no doubt will make a fine passage." 

We all took our places ; Kalouth by his furnace, Storr 
in the howdah, Banks acting as steersman. With gentle 
pace the elephant began his march. His great feet were 
covered, but the water was for about fifty feet too shallow 
to float him. Great caution was requisite, and the train 
moved slowly from terra firm a. 

All of a sudden we became aware that the sounds we 
had heard in the night were renewed and drawing near us. 



PASSAGE OF THE BETTWA 335 

About a hundred creatures, gesticulating and grimacing, is- 
sued from the woods. 

" Monkeys, by Jove ! " exclaimed Hood, with a burst of 
laughter, as a whole regiment of apes advanced in close 
order toward Steam House. 

" What on earth do they want? " inquired McNeil. 

" Of course they are going to attack us," answered the 
belligerent captain. 

" No, you have nothing to fear," said Kalagani, who was 
watching them. 

" Well, but what are they up to? " repeated McNeil. 

" They only want to cross the river with us," said the 
Indian. 

And Kalagani was right. These were not insolent gib- 
bons, with long hairy arms and importunate manners, nor 
were they members of the aristocratic family which inhabit 
the palace at Benares ; but black monkeys, the largest in 
India, very active, and with white whiskers round their 
smooth faces, which make them look like old lawyers. In 
fantastic airs and attitudes they almost rivaled our friend 
Mathias van Guitt himself. 

I then learned that these apes are sacred throughout In- 
dia. One legend asserts that they are the descendants of 
Rama, who conquered the island of Ceylon. At Amber 
they occupy the Zenana palace, and do the honors to visitors. 
It is expressly forbidden to kill them, several English 
officers have lost their lives through disregard of this 
law. 

These monkeys are usually very gentle, and easily do- 
mesticated, but are dangerous if attacked, and when only 
slightly wounded, become, according to the statement of 
M. Louis Rousselet, quite as formidable as hyenas or pan- 
thers. But we had no intention of attacking them, and 
Captain Hood's gun was not called into requisition. Could 
Kalagani be right in saying that these creatures, unable 
otherwise to cross the river, intended to avail themselves 
of our floating equipage? 

We were speedily to see that it was so. When, after 
passing through the shallows, Behemoth reached the bed of 
the river, our train floated after him, and encountering a 
kind of eddy from a turn in the bank, remained at first 
almost stationary. 



336 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

Just then the troop of monkeys approached, wading and 
dabbling in the shallow water. They made no demonstra- 
tion of hostility; but suddenly the whole party, males, 
females, old and young, began to gambol and spring toward 
us, and, finally seizing each other by the hand, they fairly 
bounded up on our train, which actually seemed to be 
waiting for them. 

In a few seconds there were a dozen on Behemoth's back, 
thirty on the top of each carriage, and soon we had quite 
a hundred passengers, gay, familiar, even talkative (at least 
among themselves), no doubt congratulating one another 
on the fortunate chance by which they had secured their 
passage across the river. 

Behemoth now fairly entered the current, and boldly fac- 
ing it, proceeded on his way. 

For an instant Banks looked anxiously at the apes, but 
they disposed themselves judiciously, so as to trim the 
flotilla. They sat or clung in all directions over the back 
of the elephant, on his neck, on his tusks, even on his 
upraised trunk, caring nothing for the jets of steam which 
it cast forth. 

They clustered on the arched roofs of our carriages, some 
squatting down, some standing upright, some on all fours, 
others dangling by the tail from the veranda roofs. Steam 
House maintained its equilibrium, and the excess of cargo 
proved to be quite immaterial. 

Captain Hood was immensely amused, and his man Fox 
excessively astonished. He soon made friends with the 
free and easy creatures, who were grimacing on all sides 
of him, and began to do the honors of the house. He 
talked to them, shook hands, made his best bows, offered 
lumps of sugar, and would willingly have handed sweet- 
meats all round if Monsieur Parazard would have allowed 
it. 

Behemoth worked his four feet strenuously; they beat 
the water, and acted like paddles. 

Drifting downward in the current, he followed the direc- 
tion which took us toward the landing-place. This we 
safely reached in about half an hour; and the moment our 
train touched the shore, the whole troop of monkeys sprang 
down, and with numberless absurd antics and capers, scam- 
pered off as hard as they could go. 



HOOD VERSUS BANKS 337 

" They might as well have said ' Thank'ee ! ' ' cried Fox, 
quite disgusted with the bad manners of his fellow pas- 
sengers. 



CHAPTER VIII 

HOOD VERSUS BANKS 

Having passed the Bettwa, we found ourselves already 
sixty-two miles from the station of Etawah, where we had 
left the Dutchman, Van Guitt. 

Four days passed without incident — without even any 
sport for Captain Hood, wild animals being scarce in that 
part of Scind. " Upon my word," he kept repeating in 
tones of great annoyance, " I begin to fear I shall arrive 
at Bombay without having bagged my fiftieth! ' 

Kalagani evidently knew this thinly-peopled region per- 
fectly, and guided us across it most admirably. On the 29th 
of September our train began to ascend the northern slope 
of the Vindhyas, in order to reach the pass of Sirgour. 

Hitherto we had met with no obstacle or difficulty, al- 
though this country is one of the worst in repute of all 
India, because it is a favorite retreat of criminals. Robbers 
haunt the highways, and it is here that the Dacoits carry 
on their double trade of thieves and poisoners. Great cau- 
tion is desirable when traveling in this district. 

Steam House was now about to penetrate the very worst 
part of the Bundelkund, namely, the mountainous region 
of the Vindhyas. We were within about sixty miles of 
Jubbulpore, the nearest station on the railway between Bom- 
bay and Allahabad ; it was no great distance, but we could 
not expect to get over the ground as quickly as we had done 
on the plains of Scind. Steep ascents, bad roads, rocky 
ground, sharp turnings, and narrow defiles. All these must 
be looked for, and would reduce the rate of our speed. It 
would be necessary to reconnoiter carefully our line of 
march, as well as the halting-places, and during both day 
and night keep a very sharp lookout. 

Kalagani was the first to urge these precautions. It was 
certainly wise to be prepared for every contingency; pru- 
dence is always a virtue. 

Nevertheless, we had little to fear, being a numerous 

V XII Verne 



338 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

party, thoroughly armed, and, as it were, garrisoning two 
strong houses and a castle, which it was hardly likely 
marauders of any sort, Dacoits or even Thugs, supposing 
any still lurked in this wild part of the Bundelkund, would 
venture to assault. 

The pass of Sirgour was attained with no great difficulty. 
In some places it was necessary to put on steam, when 
Behemoth instantly displayed power amply sufficient for 
the occasion. 

Kalagani appeared so well acquainted with the winding 
passes among which we found ourselves, that we ceased to 
feel anxiety as to the route we were on. Fie never showed 
the smallest hesitation, but led the way confidently among 
deep gorges, lofty precipices, and dense forests of pines and 
other alpine trees, even where cross-roads would have puz- 
zled many guides. 

At times he stopped the train, and went forward to sur- 
vey the road, but it was to ascertain its condition, which 
after the rainy season was often torn up by torrents, and 
retreat being difficult, it was awkward to come upon such 
chasms unawares. 

The weather was perfect. The rains were over, and the 
burning sky was veiled by light mists, which tempered the 
solar rays, so that the heat we experienced was temperate, 
very endurable for travelers so well sheltered as we were. 
It was easy for our sportsmen to shoot what game we 
needed for the table without going any great distance from 
Steam House. 

Captain Hood, however, and doubtless Fox also, regretted 
the absence of the wild beasts which abounded in the Terrai. 
But how could they hope to find lions, tigers, and panthers, 
where there was nothing for them to eat? 

If, however, there was a lack of carnivora, we found oc- 
casion to make better acquaintance with Indian elephants — 
I mean wild elephants, of whom hitherto we had seen but 
rare examples. 

It was about noon on the 30th of September that we 
perceived a pair of these superb animals in front of our 
train. On our approach, they left the road to let us pass, 
as though alarmed by the novel appearance of our equipage. 

Even Captain Hood never thought of firing at the mag- 
nificent creatures unnecessarily. We all stood admiring 



HOOD VERSUS BANKS 339 

them thus roaming at liberty their native wilds, where 
streams, torrents, and pastures afforded all they required. 

" What a fine opportunity now for our friend Van Guitt 
to deliver a lecture on zoology! " cried the captain. 

Everybody knows that India is, par excellence, the coun- 
try for elephants ; the species is rather smaller than the 
African elephant; it abounds in the various provinces of 
the peninsula, and is sought after also in Burmah, Siam, in 
the territories east of the Bay of Bengal. 

They are usually captured by means of a keddah, which 
is an enclosure surrounded by palisades. Sometimes it is 
intended to secure a whole herd at once, and then the hunters 
assemble to the number of three or four hundred, under 
command of a jemidar, that is, a native sergeant, or head- 
man, and drive them gradually toward the keddah. 

This they are enticed to enter by the aid of tame ele- 
phants trained to the business ; they are then separated, and 
have their hind legs shackled. The capture is then complete. 
But this method, besides being tedious, and troublesome, is 
generally unsuccesful with the large male elephants, who 
are bolder, and cunning enough to burst through the circle 
of beaters, thus escaping imprisonment in the keddah. The 
tame female elephants are appointed to follow these males 
for several days, the mahouts, wrapped in dark clothes, re- 
main on their backs, and at last the unsuspecting elephants, 
when peacefully slumbering, are seized, chained, and led 
away captive before they recover from their first sur- 
prise. 

In former times, as I have already had occasion to men- 
tion, elephants were taken in deep pits dug near their haunts, 
but by falling into these, which were about fifteen feet 
deep, the animals were often hurt or even killed, and the 
barbarous practice is now almost given up. 

In Bengal and Nepaul, where the lasso is still in use, the 
chase becomes highly exciting and replete with adventure. 
Well-trained elephants are mounted by three men; one, the 
mahout, rides on the neck, and directs the animal's move- 
ments ; another behind, whose duty it is to spur and goad 
him, while the hunter is seated on his back, armed with a 
lasso, the noose ready prepared to fling. Thus equipped, 
the pursuit may last for hours, over plains and through 
forests, the hunters running great danger in the chase, but 



340 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

at length the huge quarry is lassoed, falls heavily, and is 
at the mercy of his captors. 

By these different methods a vast number of elephants is 
annually caught in India. It is not a bad speculation. The 
price of a female elephant is sometimes 280/., of a male 
800/., or even 2,000/., if he is of noble race. 

But are the animals which cost such sums really so useful 
as to be worth it ? 

Yes, provided they are well fed. They must have six or 
seven hundred pounds' weight of green fodder in every 
eighteen hours, that is about the amount allowed for aver- 
age rations, and are then fit for active service ; for the 
transport of troops and military stores, transport of artil- 
lery and wagons in mountainous countries, or through jun- 
gle impassable for horses ; also in many great works of 
civil engineering, and other undertakings, where they are 
employed as beasts of burden. 

These strong and docile giants are easily and quickly 
trained, seeming by instinct to be disposed to obedience; 
they are universally employed in Hindoostan, and as they 
do not multiply in captivity, it is necessary to keep up the 
supply for the country and for exportation, by continually 
hunting those which roam the forests. Notwithstanding 
this the herds of wild elephants appear in no way dimin- 
ished. Numbers are still to be found in the different king- 
doms of India. 

Indeed, as far as we were concerned, far too many were 
at liberty, and this I shall presently show. 

The two elephants in advance of us drew aside as I 
described, so as to allow our train to pass by them, imme- 
diately afterward resuming their march in the rear. 

Presently several other elephants came in sight, ?md quick- 
ening their pace, overtook and joined the pair we had just 
passed. In a quarter of an hour as many as a dozen were 
behind us. They were evidently watching our equipage, 
and followed us at a distance of fifty yards. They did not 
try to overtake us, still less did they show any intention of 
leaving our company. They might easily have done so, for 
an elephant's pace can be much more rapid than at first 
sight one would suppose, and among the rugged steeps of 
the Vindhyas, Behemoth could travel but slowly. 

But their object evidently was to assemble in greater 



HOOD VERSUS BANKS 341 

numbers. As they advanced they uttered peremptory calls, 
which appeared to be a summons to companions lingering 
behind, for cries, unmistakably in answer, sounded in the 
distance. 

By one o'clock a troop of full thirty elephants followed 
us closely, and it was quite likely the number would in- 
crease. 

Herds of these animals, consisting of thirty individuals, 
and forming a family party more or less nearly related, are 
frequently seen together; at times a formidable assemblage 
of at least a hundred are encountered with no great pleasure 
by travelers. 

We all stood in the veranda behind our second carriage, 
and watched proceedings with some anxiety. 

" The numbers continue to increase," remarked Banks. 
" I suppose they mean to bring all the elephants in the dis- 
trict about us? " 

" But," said I, " they cannot call to each other at any 
great distance." 

" No," replied the engineer ; " but they have a very acute 
sense of smell, and we know it, because tame elephants 
detect the presence of wild ones three or four miles 
off." 

"Why it is like a migration — an exodus! " said Colonel 
Munro. " We ought to increase our speed, Banks." 

" Behemoth is doing his best, Munro. He has heavy 
work on this steep and rugged way." 

"What's the use of hurrying? " cried Hood, always de- 
lighted with fresh adventure. " Let them come along with 
us, the jolly beasts! They form an escort just suited to 
us! The country, which seemed so desolate and deserted, 
is much more interesting now, and we go along with a 
retinue fit for a rajah ! " 

" We shall have to submit to their presence certainly," 
said Banks. " I don't see how we are to prevent it." 

" Why, what in the world are you afraid of ? " asked the 
captain. " You know very well that a herd is always less 
dangerous than a solitary elephant. These are good, quiet 
beasts! Sheep, big sheep, with trunks — that's all! ' 

" Hood's enthusiasm is rising fast," said Colonel Munro. 
" I am willing to believe that if these animals remain in 
the rear and keep their distance, we have nothing to fear; 



342 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

but if they take it into their heads to try to pass us on this 
narrow road, the consequences might be serious ! " 

" Besides," I added, " what sort of reception will they 
give Behemoth, if they find themselves face to face with 
him?" 

"Oh, nonsense! They will only salute him!" cried 
Hood. " They will make grand salaams to him as Prince 
Gourou Singh's elephants did ! " 

" But those were tame elephants, sir, and well trained," 
remarked Sergeant McNeil very sensibly. 

" Well, those fellows behind there will become tame too. 
Their astonishment at meeting our giant will produce the 
deepest respect." 

Our friend's admiration for the artificial elephant con- 
tinued unabated ; the chef-d'ceuvre of mechanism, created 
by the hand of an English engineer. 

"Besides," he continued, "these animals are intelligent; 
they reason, compare, and judge. They can associate ideas 
like human beings." 

" I question that," said Banks. 

" Question that, do you? " cried the captain. " One would 
almost think you had never lived in India! Are not these 
excellent fellows put to all manner of domestic service? 
Have we any servant to equal them? Is not the elephant 
always ready to be useful? Don't you know, Maucler, 
what accounts of him are given by the best informed 
authors? According to them, the elephant is devoted to 
those he loves, carries their parcels, gathers flowers for 
them, goes out to shop in the bazaars, buys his own sugar- 
cane, bananas, and mangoes, and pays for them himself, 
guards the house from wild beasts, and takes the children 
out walking more carefully than the best nurse in all Eng- 
land. He is kind, grateful, has a prodigious memory ; and 
never forgets either a benefit or an injury. And then so 
tender-hearted! Why, an elephant won't hurt a fly, if he 
can help it ! Look here ! a friend of mine told me this him- 
self. He saw a ladybird placed on a big stone, and the 
elephant was ordered to crush the little insect. Not a bit of 
it ! The good beast would not put his foot on the creature ; 
neither commands nor blows could drive him to the cruel 
deed! But directly he was told to lift it, he picked it up 
most tenderly with the delicate tip of his trunk, and let it 



HOOD VERSUS BANKS 343 

fly away ! Now then, Banks, I hope you will admit that the 
elephant is good and generous, superior to every other ani- 
mal in creation, even to the ape and the dog. Are not the 
natives in the right when they attribute to him almost 
human intelligence? " 

And the captain wound up his tirade by taking off his 
hat, and making a flourishing bow to the formidable army, 
which, with measured pace, came marching after us. 

"Well spoken, Hood!" exclaimed Colonel Munro, with 
a smile. " Elephants have in you a very warm advocate." 

" Don't you think I am in the right, colonel ? ' 

"Hood may possibly be right," said Banks; "but I am 
disposed to agree with the opinion of Sanderson, a great 
hunter, and the best authority in such matters." 

"Well; and what may this Sanderson say?" cried the 
captain in a tone of contempt. 

" He maintains that the elephant possesses no unusual 
amount of intelligence, and that his most wonderful per- 
formances are simply the result of absolute obedience to 
orders given more or less secretly by their drivers." 

" Oh ! indeed ! " exclaimed Hood with some warmth. 

" And he points to the fact," continued Banks, " that the 
Hindoos have never chosen the elephant to symbolize wis- 
dom ; but in their sculptures, and sacred carvings have given 
in this respect the preference to the fox, the crow, and 
the ape." 

" Oh! oh! I protest! " cried the captain vehemently. 

" Protest as much as you like, but listen to me. San- 
derson adds that in the elephant the organ of obedience is 
phrenologically developed to an extraordinary degree — any 
one may see the protuberance of his skull. Besides he lets 
himself be taken in traps which are perfectly childish in 
their simplicity, such as holes covered over with sticks and 
branches, from which he never contrives to escape. He is 
easily decoyed into enclosures which no other wild animal 
would go near. And if he escapes from captivity he is re- 
taken with a facility which is very little credit to his good 
sense. Even experience does not teach him prudence." 

" Poor beggars ! ' interposed Hood in a comic tone, 
" what a character this engineer is giving you, to be sure! ' : 

" I will add as my final argument," continued Banks. 
" that it is often extremely difficult to domesticate and train 



344 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

these creatures, especially while they are young, and when 
they belong to the weaker sex." 

" Why that only proves more than ever that they resem- 
ble human beings!" exclaimed Hood joyfully. "Isn't it 
much easier to manage men than children and women? " 

" My dear fellow, I do not see that either you or I, as 
bachelors, can be competent to decide such a question as 
that" 

" Ha! ha! well answered! " 

" In short," added Banks, " I do not think we ought to 
place too much reliance on the amiability of the elephant; 
if anything were to excite a troop of them to fury, it would 
be impossible to resist them, and as for those who are at 
this moment escorting us to the south, I heartily wish that 
they had urgent business in the opposite direction! " 

" While you and Hood have been disputing about them, 
my dear Banks, their number has increased to an alarming 
extent," remarked Colonel Munro. 



CHAPTER IX 

A HUNDRED AGAINST ONE 

Sir Edward was not mistaken. A herd of from fifty to 
sixty elephants was now behind our train. They advanced 
in close ranks and were already so near to Steam House — 
within ten yards — that it was possible to survey them 
minutely. 

At their head marched one of the largest in the herd, 
although its height, measured from the shoulder, was cer- 
tainly not more than nine feet. As I remarked before, the 
Asiatic elephant is smaller than the African, which is fre- 
quently twelve feet high, and its tusks are in proportion. 
In the island of Ceylon a certain number of animals are 
found deprived of these appendages, but mncknas, which 
is the name given them, are rare on the mainland of India. 

Behind the first elephant came several females, who in 
general are the leaders, while the males remain in the rear. 
Apparently on this occasion the usual order was changed, 
because of our presence on the line of march. The males 
in fact have nothing to do with the guidance of the herd. 
They have not the charge of their young ones ; they cannot 



A HUNDRED AGAINST ONE 345 

know when the babies ought to have a rest, nor can they 
tell what sort of camping-place is most fit for them. It 
is the females who, figuratively, " carry the tusks " of the 
household and direct the great migrations. 

It was really difficult to answer the question of why they 
were now on the move, whether it was to seek more abun- 
dant pasture or to escape the sting of certain venomous 
insects, or a mere fancy to follow our strange equipage, 
the country was open enough, and according to their usual 
custom when they are not in wooded regions, these ele- 
phants journey by daylight. Before long we should see 
whether they would stop at nightfall, as we should ourselves 
be obliged to do. 

" Hood," said I, " see how our rearguard has increased ! 
Do you still persist in thinking there is no danger? ' 

" Pooh ! " said the captain. " Why should those animals 
want to do us any harm? They are not like tigers, are they, 
Fox?" 

"Nor even panthers!" was the answer of the servant, 
who always chimed in with his master's ideas. 

But at this reply I perceived Kalagani shake his head 
disapprovingly. He evidently did not share in the perfect 
equanimity of the two hunters. 

" You seem to be uneasy, Kalagani," said Banks, looking 
at him. 

" Cannot the speed of the train be increased? " was the 
man's only reply. 

" It will be rather difficult," returned the engineer, " but 
we will try." 

So saying, Banks left the veranda, and ascended to the 
howdah in which Storr was standing. Almost immediately 
the snorts of Behemoth increased, as well as the speed of 
the train. 

Very little, though, for the road was rough. But even if 
our rate had been redoubled, the state of things would have 
remained the same. The herd of elephants also advanced 
more rapidly, and the distance between them and Steam 
House did not diminish. 

Several hours passed thus without any important altera- 
tion taking place. After dinner we resumed our places on 
the veranda of the second carriage. 

The road now stretched away behind us for two miles or 



346 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

so in a straight line. Our view of it was no longer inter- 
cepted by sudden turnings. 

To our extreme uneasiness we perceived that the number 
of elephants had increased within the last hour! We now 
counted at least a hundred. 

The creatures marched in double or treble file, according 
to the width of the road, silently, at an even step, with 
their trunks in the air. It was like the advance of the tide 
flowing quietly in. All was calm now, to continue the 
metaphor, but if a tempest lashed into fury this moving 
mass, to what danger might we not be exposed ? 

In the meantime evening came on. There would be no 
moon, nor would the stars give any light, for a sort of fog 
or haze shrouded the heavens. 

As Banks said, it would be impossible to follow such a 
difficult road in the dark. He resolved, therefore, to halt 
as soon as the valley widened, or we met with some gorge 
into which we could go, and allow the alarming-look- 
ing herd to pass us, and continue their migration to the 
south. 

But would they do so? Might they not halt in or near 
our encampment? 

This was the great question. 

With nightfall came a sort of agitation among the ele- 
phants which we had not observed during the day. A sort 
of roar, powerful but dull, escaped from their mighty lungs. 
To this uproar succeeded another peculiar noise. 

" What does that mean? " asked the colonel. 

" That is the sound they make," replied Kalagani, " when 
they are in presence of an enemy." 

" And it is we, it can only be we whom they consider as 
such," said Banks. 

" I fear so," replied the native. 

The sound now resembled distant thunder. It recalled 
that which is produced in the side-scenes of a theater by 
the vibration of sheets of iron. Rubbing the extremity of 
their trunks on the ground, the elephants sent forth pro- 
longed breaths with a deep and sullen roar. 

It was now nine in the evening. 

We had reached a sort of little plain, almost circular, and 
half a mile in width, from which debouched the road to the 
lake Puturia, near which Kalagani had proposed our halt- 



A HUNDRED AGAINST ONE 347 

ing. But this lake being still ten miles off, it was hopeless 
to think of reaching it that night. 

Banks now gave the signal to stop. Behemoth became 
stationary, but he was not unharnessed. The fires were 
not even raked out. Storr received orders to keep up the 
pressure so that the train might move on again at a mo- 
ment's notice. We were thus ready for any emergency. 

Colonel Munro retired to his room. Banks and Hood 
did not care to go to bed, and I preferred sitting up with 
them. All our servants were also afoot. But what could we 
possibly do, if the elephants took it into their heads to 
attack Steam House? 

For the first hour a dull murmur continued around our 
encampment. The herd was evidently spreading over the 
little plain. Were they merely crossing it, and pursuing 
their way southward? 

" That's possible, after all," said Banks. 

" It is even more than probable," added Captain Hood, 
whose optimism was never at fault. 

Toward eleven o'clock the sounds began to diminish and 
at ten minutes past it had totally ceased. 

It was a perfectly calm night, so that the slightest noise 
would have reached our ears. Nothing was to be heard but 
the panting of Behemoth, and nothing was to be seen but 
the sparks which flew occasionally from his trunk. 

"Well! " remarked Hood, " wasn't I right? Those fine 
fellows have taken their departure." 

" And a pleasant journey to them," I rejoined. 

' I am not at all sure they are gone," said Banks, shak- 
ing his head. " But we must find out." 

Then calling to the engine-driver, — 

" Storr," he said, " the signal lamps." 

"Ay, ay, sir!" 

In twenty seconds' time the two electric lights blazed 
from Behemoth's eyes, and by automatic mechanism were 
directed in turn to every point of the horizon. 

There lay the elephants in a great circle round Steam 
House motionless, perhaps asleep. The brilliant light turned 
upon their dark bodies seemed to animate them with super- 
natural life. By a natural optical illusion the monsters 
assumed gigantic proportions, rivaling our Behemoth. 
Aroused by the glare they started as if touched by a fiery 



348 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

sting. Trunks were raised and tusks pointed as if the 
creatures were making ready for a rush at the train. Roars 
issued from each vast throat. This sudden fury communi- 
cated itself to all, and round our encampment soon arose a 
deafening concert as if a hundred clarions at once were 
sounding a startling call. 

" Out with the light ! " called Banks. 

The electric current was suddenly interrupted, and as 
suddenly the commotion ceased. 

" They are there, you see, camped in a circle," said the 
engineer; "and there they will still be at daybreak." 

" Hum! " observed Captain Hood, whose confidence ap- 
peared to be somewhat shaken. 

What was to be done next ? Kalagani was consulted. He 
did not attempt to conceal the anxiety he felt. 

Could we leave the encampment under cover of the dark- 
ness? That was impossible. Besides, what use would it 
be? The herd of elephants would certainly follow us, and 
the difficulties of the road would be far greater than by day. 

It was therefore agreed that the departure should not be 
attempted until dawn. We would then proceed with all 
possible prudence and celerity, but without startling or 
offending our formidable retinue. 

"And suppose these animals persist in escorting us? " I 
asked. 

" We will endeavor to reach some spot where Steam 
House can be put out of their reach," answered Banks. 

" Shall we find such a spot, before we get beyond the 
Vindhyas ? " asked the captain. 

" There is one," said the Hindoo. 

"What is it?" demanded Banks. 

"Lake Puturia." 

" At what distance is it ? " 

" About nine miles." 

" But elephants swim," replied Banks, " perhaps better 
than any other quadruped. They have been seen to keep 
themselves on the surface of the water for more than half 
a day! Now, is it not to be feared that they might follow 
us into Lake Puturia, and thus the situation of Steam 
House be made still more serious? " 

" I cannot see any other way of escaping their attack ! " 
said the native. 



A HUNDRED AGAINST ONE 349 

" Then we will try it! " said the engineer. 

It was indeed the only thing to be done. The elephants 
might perhaps not venture to swim after us, and if they 
did, we might outstrip them. 

We waited impatiently for day, which was not long in 
appearing. No hostile demonstration was made during the 
night, but at sunrise not an elephant had stirred, and Steam 
House was surrounded on all sides. 

All at once a general move was made, as if the creatures 
were obeying a word of command. They shook their 
trunks, rubbed their tusks on the ground, made their toilet 
by squirting water all over their bodies, gathered several 
mouthfuls of the thick grass with which the ground was 
covered, and finally approached so near to Steam House 
that we could have touched them through the windows. 

Banks, however, expressly forbade us to provoke them. 
It was important that no pretext should be given for a sud- 
den attack. 

In the meantime, several elephants pressed up close to 
Behemoth. They evidently wished to ascertain what the 
enormous animal, now standing so motionless, could be. 
Did they consider him as a relation? Did they suspect that 
he was endowed with marvelous power ? 

On the day before they had had no opportunity for seeing 
him at work, for their first ranks had always kept a certain 
distance from the rear of the train. But what would they 
do when they heard him snort and bellow, when his trunk 
ejected torrents of vapor, when they saw him raise and set 
down his great feet and begin to march, dragging the two 
great vans after him? 

Colonel Munro, Captain Hood, Kalagani, and I took our 
places in the forepart of the train. Sergeant McNeil and 
his companions were at the back. Kalouth, at the furnaces, 
kept up the supply of fuel, so that the pressure of vapor 
had already reached five atmospheres. Banks was in the 
howdah with Storr, and kept his hand on the regulator. 

The moment for departure came. At a sign from Banks, 
the driver touched the spring, and an ear-piercing whistle 
resounded through the air. 

The elephants raised their heads, then drawing back a 
little, they left the way open for a few feet. 

A jet of vapor started from the trunk, the wheels of the 



350 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

machine were put in motion, Behemoth and the train ad- 
vanced together. None of my companions will contradict 
me when I assert that there was at first a lively movement 
of surprise among the foremost animals. A wider passage 
opened, and the road appeared free enough to allow the 
train to proceed at a pace equal to a horse's trot. 

But at the same moment all the " proboscidian herd," to 
use an expression of the captain's, moved too, both in front 
and rear. The first took the lead of the procession, the rest 
followed the train. All seemed quite determined not to 
abandon it. 

At the same time, as the road was here wider, others 
walked at the sides, like horsemen accompanying a carriage. 
Male and female mingled, of all sizes, of all ages, adults of 
five-and-twenty years, and " grown men " of sixty, old fel- 
lows of more than a hundred, and little ones who had not 
yet left their mother's side, but sucking with their lips and 
not with their trunks — as is sometimes supposed — got their 
breakfasts as they trotted along. 

The entire troop kept a certain order, not hurrying, but 
regulating their pace to that of Behemoth. 

" If they escort us like this to the lake," said Colonel 
Munro, " I shall make no objection." 

" Yes," replied Kalagani, " but what will happen when the 
road narrows?" 

In this lay the danger. 

No incident occurred during the three hours which were 
employed in traveling eight out of the ten miles to Lake 
Puturia. Two or three times only a few elephants stood 
across the road, as if it was their intention to bar it; but 
Behemoth pointed his tusks straight at them, sputtered out 
smoke in their faces, advancing all the time, so that they 
thought better of it, and started out of his way. 

At ten o'clock two miles only lay between us and the lake. 
There — at least, so we hoped — we should be in comparative 
safety. 

Of course, if no hostile demonstration was made before 
we reached the lake, Banks intended to leave Puturia on the 
west without stopping there, so as to quit the region of the 
Vindhyas the next day. From thence to the station of 
Jubbulpore was but a few hours' journey. 

I may here add that the country was not only very wild, 



A HUNDRED AGAINST ONE 351 

but absolutely a desert. Not a village, not a farm — the insuf- 
ficiency of pasture accounting for this — not a caravan, or 
even a solitary traveler. Since our entry into this mountain- 
ous part of Bundelkund, we had not met a single human being. 

About eleven o'clock the valley through which Steam 
House was passing, between two great spurs of the chain, 
began to narrow. 

The danger of our situation, already fraught with so 
much to cause uneasiness, was now aggravated. 

If the elephants had simply gone on in front or followed 
the train, the difficulty would not have occurred. But those 
marching alongside could not remain there. We should 
either crush them against the rocky sides of the road, or 
tumble them over the precipices which bordered it in some 
places. Instinctively they tried to get either forward or 
back, the consequence being that it was no longer possible 
either to advance or retreat. 

" This complicates matters," remarked the colonel. 

" Yes," said Banks; " we are now under the necessity of 
breaking through the herd." 

" Well, break through, dash into them ! " exclaimed Cap- 
tain Hood. " By Jove ! Behemoth's iron tusks are worth 
much more than the ivory tusks of those idiotic brutes! " 

The " proboscidians " were now only " idiotic brutes " in 
the eyes of our lively and changeable captain. 

" No doubt," said McNeil," " but we are one against a 
hundred." 

" Forward", whatever happens ! " cried Banks, " or the 
herd will trample us under foot ! " 

Several puffs of steam now gave notice of more rapid 
movement on Behemoth's part. His tusks ran into the ele- 
phant nearest him. 

A cry of pain burst from the animal, which was answered 
by the furious clamor of the whole herd. A struggle, the 
issue of which we could not foresee, was imminent. 

We had our weapons already in our hands, the rifles 
loaded with explosive ball and the revolvers charged. We 
were thus prepared to repel any aggression. 

The first attack was made by a gigantic male, of ferocious 
aspect, who, planting his hind feet firmly on the ground, 
turned against Behemoth. 

" A gunesh! " cried Kalagani. 



352 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

" Pooh! he has only one tusk! " replied Hood, shrugging 
his shoulders disdainfully. 

" He is the more terrible! " answered the native. 

Kalagani had given to this elephant a name which hunters 
used to designate the males which have only one tusk. 
These are animals particularly reverenced by the natives, 
especially when it is the right tusk which is wanting. Such 
was the case with this one, and, as Kalagani said, it was, 
like all its species, uncommonly fierce. 

This was soon proved. 

The gunesh uttered a trumpet-note of defiance, turned 
back his trunk, which elephants never use for fighting, and 
rushed against Behemoth. 

His tusk struck the iron side with such violence as to 
pierce through, but meeting with the thick armor of the 
inner plating, it broke against it. 

The whole train felt the shock. 

However, it continued to advance and drove back the 
gunesh, which boldly, but vainly, endeavored to resist it. 

His call had been heard and understood. 

The whole mass of animals stopped, presenting an in- 
surmountable obstacle of living flesh. 

At the same moment the hinder troops, continuing their 
march, pressed violently against the veranda. How could 
we resist such a crushing force. 

Those which still remained at the side, raised their trunks, 
and twining them round the uprights of the carriages, shook 
them violently. 

It would not do to stop, or it would soon be all up with 
the train, but we had to defend ourselves. No hesitation was 
possible. Guns and rifles were instantly aimed at our assailants. 

" Don't waste a single shot! " cried the captain. " Aim 
at the root of the trunk, or the hollow below the eye. Those 
are the vital parts! " 

Captain Hood was obeyed. Several reports rang out, fol- 
lowed by yells of pain. 

Three or four elephants, hit in a vital spot, had fallen 
behind us and at the side — a fortunate circumstance, since 
their corpses did not obstruct our road. Those in front 
drew to one side, and the train continued its advance. 

" Reload and wait! " cried Hood. 

If what he ordered us to wait for was the attack of the 



A HUNDRED AGAINST ONE 353 

entire herd, there was no long delay. It was made 
with such violence that we almost gave ourselves up for lost. 

A perfect chorus of hoarse and furious trumpeting sud- 
denly burst forth. One might have supposed them to be 
an army of those fighting elephants, which, when possessed 
by the excitement called " must," are treated by the natives 
so as to increase their rage. 

Nothing can be more terrible, and the boldest clcphan- 
tador, trained in Guicowar for the express purpose of fight- 
ing these formidable animals, would certainly have quailed 
before the assailants of Steam House. 

" Forward! " cried Banks. 

" Fire ! " shouted Hood. 

And with the snorts and shrieks of the engine were min- 
gled the crack of our rifles. It was next to impossible to 
aim carefully, as the captain had advised, in such confusion. 
Every ball found a mark in the mass of flesh, but few 
hit a mortal part. The wounded animals, therefore, re- 
doubled their fury, and to our shots they answered with 
blows of their tusks, which seriously damaged the walls. 

To the reports of the guns, discharged both in front and 
rear of the train, and the bursting of the explosive balls 
in the bodies of the animals, was joined the hissing and 
whistling of the steam. Pressure rapidly increased. 

Behemoth dashed into the bellowing crowd, dividing and 
repelling it. At the same time, his movable trunk, rising 
and falling like a formidable club, dealt repeated blows on 
the quivering bodies which he pierced with his tusks. 

Thus we advanced along the narrow road. 

Sometimes the wheels seemed about to stick fast, but 
on we struggled, till we were within a short distance of 
the lake. 

" Hurrah ! " shouted Captain Hood, like a soldier who 
is about to dash into the thick of the fight. 

" Hurrah ! hurrah ! " we echoed. 

All at once I caught sight of a huge trunk darting across 
the front veranda. In another minute Colonel Munro would 
be seized by this living lasso and be dashed under the mon- 
ster's feet. Just in time, however, Kalagani bounded for- 
ward and severed the trunk by a vigorous blow from a 
hatchet. 

After this, while all were taking part in the common 

V XII Verne 



354 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

defence, the Hindoo never lost sight of Sir Edward. In 
his unfailing devotion and exposure of his own person to 
shield the colonel, he showed how sincere was his desire 
to protect him. 

Behemoth's power and strength of endurance were now 
put to the proof. How he worked his way, like a wedge, 
penetrating through the mass! And as at the same time 
the hindermost elephants butted at us with their heads the 
train advanced, not only without stopping, although with 
many a jolt and shock, but even faster than we could have 
hoped. 

All at once a fresh noise arose amid the general din and 

clamor. 

A party of elephants were crushing the second carriage 
against the rocks! 

"Join us! join us!" shouted Banks to those of our 
friends who were defending the back of Steam House._ 

Already Fox, Goumi, and the sergeant had darted into 
our house. 

" Where is Parazard ? " asked Captain Hood. 

" He won't leave his kitchen," answered Fox. 

"He must come! — haul him along!" 

Doubtless our cook considered it a point of honor not 
to leave the post which had been confided to him. But to 
attempt to resist Goumi's powerful arms, when those arms 
had once grasped him, would have been of as much use as 
to endeavor to escape from the jaws of a crocodile. 

Monsieur Parazard was soon deposited in the drawing- 
room. 

" Are you all there ? " cried Banks. 

" Yes, sahib," returned Goumi. 

" Cut through the connecting bar! " 

" What, and leave half of our train behind! " cried Cap- 
tain Hood. 

" It must be done ! " answered Banks. 

The bar was cut through, the gangway hacked to pieces, 
and our second carriage was detached. 

Not too soon! The carriage was crushed, heaved up, 
capsized, the elephants ending by pounding it beneath their 
feet. Nothing but a shapeless ruin was left, obstructing 
the road. 

" Hum! " uttered Hood in a tone which would have made 



A HUNDRED AGAINST ONE 355 

us laugh had the occasion allowed of it, " and those ani- 
mals wouldn't crush a ladybird ! " 

If the maddened elephants treated the first carriage as 
they had treated the last, we now knew the fate which 
awaited us. 

" Pile up the fires, Kalouth! " called the engineer. 

A few more vards — a last effort, and Lake Puturia might 
be reached. 

Storr opened wide the regulator, thus showing Behemoth 
what was expected of him. He made a regular break 
through the rampart of elephants, and not contenting him- 
self with merely thrusting them with his tusks, he squirted 
at them jets of burning steam, as he had done to the pil- 
grims of the Phalgou, scalded them with boiling water! It 
was magnificent! 

The lake lay before us. 

Ten minutes would put us in comparative safety. 

The elephants no doubt knew this — which was a proof 
in favor of the intelligence Captain Hood had argued for. 
For the last time they bent all their efforts to capsize our 
train. 

Still we used our firearms. The balls fell on the animals 
like hail. Only five or six elephants now barred our pass- 
age. Many fell, and the wheels ground over earth red with 
blood. These last remaining brutes had now to be got out 
of our way. 

"Again! again!" shouted Banks to the driver. 

At this Behemoth roared as if his inside was a workshop 
full of spinning-jennies. Steam rushed through the valves 
under the pressure of eight atmospheres. To increase this 
would have burst the boiler, which already vibrated. Hap- 
pily this was needless. 

Behemoth's power was now irresistible. We could actu- 
ally feel him bounding forward with the throbbing of the 
piston. The remains of the train followed him, jolting over 
the legs of the elephants which covered the ground, at the 
risk of being overset. If such an accident had happened, 
Steam House and its inhabitants would most certainly have 
come to an untimely end. 

Mercifully this we were saved from; the edge of the lake 
was safely reached, into it dashed our brave Behemoth, and 
the train floated on the surface of its tranquil waters! 



356 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

"Heaven be praised! " ejaculated the colonel. 

Two or three elephants, blind with fury, rushed after us 
into the lake, attempting to pursue on its surface those 
whom they had vainly endeavored to annihilate on dry land. 
But Behemoth's feet did their work well. 

The train drew gradually from the shore, and a few well- 
directed shots soon freed us from the " marine monsters," 
just as their trunks were getting closer than was pleasant 
to our back veranda. 

" Well, captain," remarked Banks, " what do you think 
of the gentleness of Indian elephants? " 

"Pooh!" said Hood, "they aren't worth being called 
wild beasts! Just suppose thirty tigers or so in the place 
of those hundred pachydermata, and I wager my commis- 
sion that by this time not one of us would be alive to tell 
the tale!" 



CHAPTER X 

LAKE PUTURIA 

Lake Puturia, on which Steam House had found a tem- 
porary refuge, is situated twenty-five miles to the east of 
Dumoh. This town, the chief place in the English pro- 
vince to which it has given its name, is in a fair way of pros- 
perity, and with its twelve hundred inhabitants reenforced 
by a small garrison, commands this dangerous portion of 
Bundelkund. Beyond its walls, however, especially toward 
the east, in the uncultivated region of the Vindhyas 
partly occupied by the lake, its influence can only slightly 
make itself felt. 

But after all, what could happen to us worse than the 
adventure with the elephants from which we had come out 
safe and sound? 

Our situation was still, however, somewhat critical, since 
the greater part of our stores had disappeared with " No. 
2." It was hopeless, even to think of patching up our ill- 
fated carriage. Turned over and crushed among the rocks, 
we knew that the mass of elephants must have passed over 
its remains, and that only shapeless debris could be left. 

And yet, besides being the lodging of our attendants, 
that house contained not only the kitchen and pantry, but 



LAKE PUTURIA 357 

our store of provisions and ammunition. Of the latter we 
now had but a dozen cartridges; it was not probable, how- 
ever, that we should wish to use firearms before our arrival 
at Jubbulpore. As to food, that was another question, and 
one more difficult to answer. 

We had indeed nothing to eat of any description. 

Even supposing that we reached the town, forty-three 
miles distant, by the next evening, we must resign ourselves 
to passing four-and-twenty hours without food. 

There was no help for it! 

Under these circumstances the most melancholy among 
us was naturally Monsieur Parazard. The loss of his 
pantry, the destruction of his apparatus, the scattering of 
his stores, had pierced him to the heart. He could not 
conceal his despair, and forgetful of the dangers through 
which we had been sc miraculously preserved, regarded the 
disaster as an entirely personal misfortune. While we were 
all assembled in the saloon, discussing what was best to be 
done, Monsieur Parazard, with a most solemn face, appeared 
at the door, and begged to " make a communication of the 
utmost importance." 

' Speak, Monsieur Parazard," replied Colonel Munro, 
signing to him to enter. 

"Gentlemen," gravely said our dismal cook, " you cannot 
but know that all the stores contained in the second carriage 
of Steam House have been destroyed in the late catastrophe ! 
Had a few provisions remained, I should have had some 
difficulty in preparing you even the most modest repast with- 
out a kitchen." 

' We know it, Monsieur Parazard," answered the colonel. 
" It is to be regretted, but if we are compelled to fast, we 
must fast, and make the best of it." 

" It is the more to be regretted indeed, gentlemen," re- 
sumed our cook, " when we are actually within sight of the 
herd of elephants which assailed us, of which more than 
one fell under your murderous fire " 

" That's a fine sentence, Monsieur Parazard," interrupted 
Captain Hood. " With a few lessons you would soon learn 
to express yourself with as much elegance as our friend 
Mathias van Guitt." 

At this compliment Monsieur Parazard bowed, taking it 
all seriously, then with a sigh continued, — 



358 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

" I say then, gentlemen, that a unique occasion for dis- 
tinguishing myself in my business has offered itself. The 
flesh of the elephant, as may be supposed, is not all good, 
most of the parts being unquestionably hard and tough; 
but it appears that the Author of all Things has placed in 
the huge mass of flesh two choice morsels, worthy to be 
served at the table of the Viceroy of India. I mean the 
tongue of the animal, which is extraordinarily savory when 
it is prepared by a recipe which is exclusively my own, and 
also the feet of the pachyderm " 

" Pachyderm — ? Very good, although proboscidian may 
be more elegant," put in Hood, with an approving gesture. 

" With the feet," resumed Parazard, " may be made one 
of the best soups known in the culinary art, of which I am 
the representative in Steam House." 

" You make our mouths water, Monsieur Parazard," an- 
swered Banks. " Unfortunately on one account, and for- 
tunately on another, the elephants have not followed us into 
the lake, and I fear much that we must renounce, for some 
time at least, any idea of foot soup or a tongue ragout made 
from this savory but formidable animal." 

" Would it not be possible," said the cook, " to return to 
land and procure " 

" Out of the question, Monsieur Parazard. However 
dainty and perfect your preparations would be, it would not 
do to run such a risk." 

" Well, gentlemen," returned our cook, " pray accept my 
expression of the great regret I feel on the subject of this 
deplorable adventure." 

" Your regrets are well expressed, Monsieur Parazard," 
replied Colonel Munro, " and we give you credit for them. 
As to dinner and breakfast, don't think about such a thing 
until we reach Jubbulpore." 

" I must then withdraw," said Parazard, bowing with- 
out losing any of the gravity which was habitual to him. 

We could have laughed heartily at our cook's speeches 
and appearance had we not been so occupied with other 
matters. 

In fact, another complication had arisen. Banks informed 
us that the thing most to be regretted was not the want of 
provisions, not the want of ammunition, but the lack of 
fuel. There was nothing wonderful in this, since for forty- 



LAKE PUTURIA 359 

eight hours it had not been possible to renew the supply of 
wood necessary for the feeding of the machine. The last 
of our store was thrown into the furnaces as we reached 
the lake. It would have been impossible to go on for an- 
other hour, so if we had not found a refuge then, the first 
carriage of Steam House would have shared the fate of the 
second. 

" Now," added Banks, " we have nothing more to burn, 
pressure is becoming lower, it has already fallen to two 
atmospheres, and there is no means of raising it." 

" Is our situation really as serious as you seem to think, 
Banks ? " asked the colonel. 

"If we only wanted to get back to the shore from which 
we are now but a little distant, that would be practicable," 
said Banks. " A quarter of an hour would do it. But to 
return to a spot where doubtless the elephants are still col- 
lected, would be highly imprudent. No, we must, on the 
contrary, cross this lake, and seek a landing place on its 
southern shore." 

" How wide may it be at this part ? ' asked Colonel 
Munro. 

" Kalagani reckons it to be about seven or eight miles. 
Now, under present circumstances it would take several 
hours to cross, and as I say, in forty minutes the engine 
will cease working." 

" Well," answered Sir Edward, " to begin with, we must 
pass the night quietly on the lake. We are safe here. To- 
morrow we shall see what is to be done." 

This was decidedly the best thing to be done. We were 
all in great need of rest. At our last halting place in the 
middle of the circle of elephants, no one in Steam House 
had been able to sleep. But if that was a " white night," 
as we say in French, meaning sleepless night, this one was 
black, and much blacker than we liked. 

In fact, toward seven o'clock, a slight mist began to 
rise over the surface of the lake. There had been a great 
deal of fog the preceding night in the higher regions of the 
atmosphere, but owing to the difference of locality and 
evaporation of the water, it was here low. After a hot 
day there was confusion between the higher and lower layers 
of the air, and the lake soon began to disappear in a fog, 
slight at first, but every moment increasing in density. This, 



360 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

as Banks said, was a complication which we had to take 
into consideration. 

As we had foreseen, about half-past seven, the panting 
of Behemoth grew fainter, the throbbing of the piston be- 
came weaker, his feet at last ceased to beat the water, and 
the mighty beast and our single house floated peacefully 
on the bosom of the lake. We no longer moved ; there was 
no fuel, and no means of procuring any! 

Under the circumstances, it was difficult to make out our 
situation exactly. During the short time the machine was 
working, we steered toward the southeastern shore, there 
to seek a landing place. Puturia being in form a long 
oval, it was possible that Steam House was not so very far 
from one or other of its banks. 

It is needless to say that the trumpetings of the elephants, 
which we had heard for quite an hour after leaving the 
shore, had now died away in the distance. 

While talking of the different eventualities which might 
occur in this new situation, Banks summoned Kalagani to 
share in our consultation. The native soon appeared, and 
was invited to give his opinion. 

We were all assembled in the dining-room, which had a 
skylight but no side windows. The light from the lamps 
could not, therefore, be seen outside. 

This was a wise precaution, it being just as well that the 
situation of Steam House should not be known by any 
prowlers who might happen to be on the shore. 

In answering the questions put to him, Kalagani — at least, 
so it appeared to me — hesitated somewhat. We wished to 
know the position which the train now occupied, and that, 
I confess, was rather embarrassing to answer; perhaps a 
slight breeze from the northwest had had an effect upon 
Steam House, or perhaps a current was insensibly drifting 
us to the lower point of the lake. 

" Look here, Kalagani," said Banks, " do you know the 
exact extent of the Puturia?" 

" Doubtless, sahib," replied the man, " but in such a fog 
it is difficult " 

" Can you make a rough guess at the distance which we 
now are from the nearest bank? " 

' Yes," answered the native, after some thought. " The 
distance cannot be more than a mile and a half." 



LAKE PUTURIA 361 

" To the east? " asked Banks. 

" To the east." 

" So then, if we land there, we shall be nearer Jubbulpore 
than Dumoh ? " 

" Certainly." 

" At Jubbulpore then we must refit," said Banks. " But 
now who knows when or how we can reach the shore ? It 
may be a day or a couple of days before we can do so, 
and our provisions are exhausted ! " 

" But," said Kalagani, " could we not try, or at any rate 
one of us try, to land this very night ? " 

"How?" 

" By swimming to shore." 

"A mile and a half in such a dense fog?' returned 
Banks. " A man would risk his life " 

" That is no reason for not making the attempt," replied 
Kalagani. I cannot tell why, but again it appeared to me 
that the man's voice had not its accustomed frankness. 

" Would you attempt this swim? " asked Colonel Munro, 
fixing his steady gaze on the countenance of the native. 

" Yes, colonel, and I have every reason to believe I should 
succeed." 

" Well, my man,' : resumed Banks, " in doing this you 
would render us a great service! Once on shore you will 
easily reach Jubbulpore, and from that place send us the 
help we need." 

" I am ready to start at once! " was Kalagani's quiet re- 
sponse. 

I expected Colonel Munro to thank our guide for having 
consented to perform such a perilous task; but after giving 
him another long and attentive look, he summoned Goiimi. 
The servant appeared. 

" Goumi," said his master, " are you not an excellent 
swimmer? " 

" Yes, sahib." 

" A mile and a half on a night like this, through the 
calm waters of the lake, would not be too much for you ? " 

" Not one mile nor even two." 

" Well," resumed the colonel, " here is Kalagani offering 
to swim across to the shore nearest to Jubbulpore. Now 
in the water, as well as on the land, in this part of Bundel- 
kund, two bold and intelligent men being able to assist each 



362 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

other, have a better chance of succeeding. Will you accom- 
pany Kalagani ? " 

" Directly, sahib," answered Goumi. 

" I do not need any one," said Kalagani, " but if Colonel 
Munro insists, I willingly accept Goumi as a companion." 

" Go then, my men," said Banks, " and be as prudent as 
you are brave ! " 

This settled, Colonel Munro called Goumi aside, and gave 
him a few brief directions. Five minutes after, the two 
natives, each with a parcel of clothes on his head, slipped 
over the side into the water. The fog being now very 
dense, a few strokes carried them out of sight. 

I asked Colonel Munro why he had been so anxious to 
send a companion with Kalagani. 

" My friends," returned Sir Edward, " that man's re- 
plies, although till now I have never suspected his fidelity, 
did not appear frank to me!" 

" The same thing struck me," said I. 

" I cannot say I noticed anything of the kind," observed 
the engineer. 

" Listen, Banks," resumed the colonel. " In offering to 
swim ashore, Kalagani had some ulterior motive." 

"What?" 

" I do not know, but though he wished to land, it was 
not to bring us help from Jubbulpore." 

"Hullo!" exclaimed Hood. 

Banks knit his brows as he looked at the colonel. Then — 

" Munro," he said, " till now that native has been most 
devoted to us all, and more particularly to you ! And now 
you imagine that Kalagani would betray us! What 
possible reason can you have for thinking such a 
thing?" 

" While Kalagani was speaking," answered Sir Edward, 
" I noticed that his skin darkened, and when a copper-col- 
ored complexion becomes darker, it means that the man is 
lying! Scores of times, I have, by knowing this, been able 
to convict of falsehood both Hindoos and Bengalees, and 
have never been mistaken. I repeat, then, that Kalagani, 
notwithstanding all the presumptions in his favor, has not 
told the truth." 

This observation of the colonel's, which I have often 
since seen verified, was quite correct. When they lie, the 



LAKE PUTUR1A 363 

natives of India turn a shade darker, just as white people 
turn red. 

This symptom had not escaped the colonel's penetration, 
and he had therefore acted upon it. 

" But what could Kalagani's plans be," questioned Banks, 
" and why should he betray us? " 

That remains to be seen," answered Colonel Munro, 
" we shall know later, perhaps too late." 

" Too late, colonel! " cried the captain. " Why what do 
you expect ? We aren't going quite to destruction, I should 
hope!" 

" At any rate, Munro," said the engineer, " you did very 
right in sending Goumi as well. That fellow would serve 
us till his last breath. Active, intelligent, as he is, if he 
suspects any danger, he will know " 

" So much the more," observed the colonel, " that he has 
been warned beforehand, and mistrusts his companion." 

" Good," said Banks. " Now we can wait for day. The 
mist will doubtless disperse as the sun rises, and then we 
shall better know where we are." 

The fog was dense, but nothing denoted the approach of 
bad weather.. This was fortunate, for though our train 
could float, it was not built for a sea voyage ! 

Our attendants took up their abode for the night in the 
dining-room, we ourselves lying down on the sofas in the 
saloon, talking little, but listening to every sound from the 
outside. 

About two in the morning, a perfect concert of wild 
beasts suddenly broke the stillness. 

This showed the direction of the southwest shore, but it 
was evidently at some distance, from the sounds, and Banks 
guessed it to be a good mile from us. A band of wild 
animals had doubtless come to drink at the extreme point of 
the lake. 

Very soon we became sure that, urged by a slight breeze, 
our train was drifting in a slow but steady manner toward 
the shore. In fact, by degrees the sounds not only came 
more distinctly to our ears, but we could already distinguish 
the deep roar of the tiger from the hoarse howl of the 
panther. 

" By Jove ! " Hood could not refrain from saying, " what 
a splendid opportunity for potting my fiftieth! " 



364 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

" Another time for that, captain," observed Banks. 
" When day breaks, I prefer to think that when we touch 
the shore that band of wild beasts will have left the place 
free for us! " 

" Would it be at all dangerous," I asked, " to light the 
electric lamps ? " 

" I do not think so," replied Banks. " That part of the 
shore is probably only occupied by those animals who have 
come to drink. There can be no danger in trying to get 
a look at them." 

By Banks's orders the brilliant light was thrown in a 
southwesterly direction. But powerless to pierce the thick 
mist, it only illuminated a short space before Steam House, 
and the shore remained totally invisible. 

However, the sounds becoming more and more clear 
showed that the train had not ceased to drift. The wild 
beasts were evidently very numerous, though there was noth- 
ing astonishing in this, since Lake Puturia is the natural 
watering place for all the animals in that part of Bundel- 
kund. 

" I only hope Goumi and Kalagani won't fall into the 
clutches of those brutes," observed Captain Hood. 

" It is not tigers that I dread for Goumi," responded the 
colonel. 

Colonel Munro's suspicions had evidently increased, and 
for my part I began to share them. Yet the good offices 
of Kalagani since our arrival in the Himalayan regions, 
his unquestionably useful services, his devotion on both 
occasions that he had risked his life for Sir Edward and 
Captain Hood, all told in his favor. But when the mind 
once allows a doubt to gain an entrance, the value of deeds 
performed grow less, their character changes, we forget the 
past and dread the future. 

And yet what motive could the man possibly have for 
betraying us? Had he any reason for personal hatred 
against the inhabitants of Steam House? Assuredly not. 
Why then should he lead them into an ambush? It was 
most inexplicable. All felt quite bewildered on the subject 
and longed impatiently for the denouement. 

About four o'clock the roaring of the wild beasts abruptly 
ceased. What struck us as curious in this was that they 
did not grow gradually distant and drop off, one after an- 



LAKE PUTURIA 365 

other, as each took a last bumper and roared a farewell to 
his fellows. No, this was instantaneous. It was just as 
if some chance disturbed them in their carouse and caused 
their flight. Evidently they returned to their dens and 
lairs, not like beasts going quietly homeward, but like beasts 
running away. 

Silence succeeded. The cause was not apparent to us 
now, but nevertheless it increased our anxiety. 

As a precautionary measure, Banks ordered the lamps 
to be extinguished. If the animals had fled on the approach 
of a band of those highway rovers who frequent Bundel- 
kund and the Vindhyas, it was most necessary carefully to 
conceal the situation of Steam House. 

The stillness was not even broken by the ripple of the 
water, for the breeze had fallen. Whether or not the train 
was continuing to drift in a current, it was impossible to 
know, but with the day we hoped the fog would disperse. 

I looked at my watch; it was five o'clock. Without the 
mist there should have been light enough to allow us to 
see some miles round. But the veil was not lifted ; we were 
compelled to wait. 

Colonel Munro, McNeil, and I in front; Fox, Kalouth, 
and Monsieur Parazard at the back; Banks and Storr in 
the howdah ; and Captain Hood perched on the neck of the 
gigantic animal near the trunk, like a sailor on the topmast 
of a ship, all watched and waited for the first shout of 
"Land!" 

Toward six o'clock a breeze sprang up which gradually 
freshened. The first rays of the sun pierced the fog; it 
Ueared, and the horizon lay before us. 

" Land! " shouted Captain Hood. 

There to the southeast was the shore. It formed at the 
extremity of the lake a sort of narrow creek with a well- 
wooded background. The mist rose and left exposed to 
view the distant mountains. The train was now floating 
not more than two hundred yards from the other end of the 
creek, and it was still drifting on under the influence of the 
northwest breeze. 

Nothing was to be seen on the shore. Not an animal 
nor a human being. It seemed a perfect desert. We could 
not even perceive a cottage or farm under the trees. A 1 
landing might surely be effected here without danger. 



366 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

The wind sent us slowly onward. We neared the shore. 
At last we touched ! A better place for landing could not 
have been chosen, for here the bank was low, sandy, and 
shelving. But now it was impossible to move another inch. 
Without steam we could not advance a step on the road 
which the compass told us must be the way to Jubbul- 
pore. 

Without losing a moment, therefore, we all followed 
Hood, who was, of course, the first to leap on to the beach. 

" Fuel, fuel ! " cried Banks. " In an hour we shall be 
under pressure, and then forward ! " 

This was easy work. The ground all around was strewn 
with dead wood, fortunately dry enough to be used at once. 
We had only to fill the furnaces and load the tender. 

All hands were soon hard at it. Kalouth alone remain- 
ing on the engine to receive and stow away what we col- 
lected. This was amply sufficient to take us to Jubbulpore, 
and at that place we could take in a supply of coal. As 
to food, the want of which speedily made itself felt, why, 
the hunters belonging to the expedition were not forbidden 
to shoot any game they might come across ! Monsieur Par- 
azard could borrow Kalouth's fire, and we must satisfy our 
hunger as well as we could. 

In an hour's time the steam had reached a sufficient pres- 
sure, Behemoth began to move, ascended the slope, and set 
foot on the road. 

" Now for Jubbulpore! " cried Banks. 

But before Storr had time to give even a half turn to 
the regulator, furious shouts burst from the neighboring 
forest. A band of at least one hundred and fifty natives 
rushed out, and made directly at Steam House. In a 
moment the howdah, the carriage, both front and rear were 
invaded. 

Before we knew where we were, we found ourselves 
seized, dragged fifty paces from our train, and held so 
firmly that it was impossible to free ourselves. 

Judge of our wrath and fury when we were compelled 
to behold the scene of destruction and pillage which ensued. 
The natives, hatchet in hand, fell to the work of devastation 
and ruin. Of the interior furniture soon nothing was left! 
Then fire finished what the ax began, and in a few minutes 
all that could burn in our second carriage was in flames! 



LAKE PUTURIA 367 

u The blackguards ! the scoundrels ! ' yelled Captain 
Hood, struggling in the grasp of several natives. 

All abuse was in vain, for the robbers could not even 
understand what was said. As to escaping from those 
who held us, it was not to be thought of. 

The flames died down, leaving only the bare skeleton of 
our traveling house, which had journeyed half over the 
peninsula. 

The natives next applied themselves to Behemoth, eager 
to destroy him also ! But here they were impotent. Neither 
ax nor fire could make the smallest impression on the thick 
iron skin of the creature, nor on the engine which he bore 
within. In spite of all their efforts, he remained unhurt, to 
the triumph of Captain Hood, who uttered shouts of mingled 
joy and rage. 

At this moment a man came forward. Evidently the 
chief of the band. The men immediately drew up in order 
before him. Another man accompanied him. All was ex- 
plained, for in him we recognized our guide, Kalagani. 

Of Goumi there was not a trace. The faithful servant 
had disappeared, and the traitor only remained. No doubt 
the devotion of the brave man had cost him his life, and we 
should never see him again! 

Kalagani advanced straight to Colonel Munro, and quite 
coolly, without the faintest sign of shame, pointed him out. 
" This one! " said he. 

Instantly Colonel Munro was seized, and dragged away 
soon disappearing in the midst of the band, who at once 
set off in a southerly direction, without allowing us to give 
him one grasp of the hand, or exchange a last farewell ! 

Hood, Banks, and the rest of us struggled in vain to free 
ourselves, and fly to our friend's assistance. Fifty rough 
hands threw us to the ground. Another movement and we 
would have been strangled. 

" Don't resist ! It's useless ! " said Banks. 

The engineer was right. We could do absolutely nothing 
to save the colonel. It was better to reserve all our energies 
for another attempt. 

When a quarter of an hour had elapsed, the natives who 
detained us suddenly let go their hold, and darted off in 
the track of the first band. To follow them would have 
caused a catastrophe of no advantage to Sir Edward, and 



368 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

yet we would have done anything to be with him once more. 

" Not another step," said Banks. 

We obeyed. 

It was very evident that Colonel Munro, and he alone, 
was the object of this attack of the natives led by Kalagani. 

What were the intentions of the traitor? He surely was 
not acting on his own account. Who then could he be 
obeying? The name of Nana Sahib came with ominous 
meaning into my mind! 

Here ends the manuscript written by Maucler. The young 
Frenchman did not witness the events which occurred after 
this, and hastened the denouement of the drama, but on 
their becoming known later, they were put together in a 
narrative form, thus completing the account of this journey 
across Northern India. 



CHAPTER XI 

FACE TO FACE 

The murderous " Thugs," from whom India appears now 
to be delivered, have left worthy successors behind them. 

These are the " Dacoits," who are really only Thugs, with 
a difference. These assassins have not the same object in 
view, and they carry it out in another way, but the result 
is identical : it is premeditated murder — assassination. 

The Thugs devoted their victims to the ferocious Kali, 
goddess of Death, and effected murder by strangulation. 
The Dacoits practise poisoining for the purpose of robbery. 
They are more commonplace criminals than the fanatical 
Thugs, but quite as formidable. 

Certain territories of the peninsula are infested with 
bands of Dacoits, recruited ever and anon by such evil- 
doers as manage to slip through the fingers of Anglo-Indian 
justice. Day and night they haunt the highways of the 
wilder and more uncultivated regions, the Bundelkund, in 
particular, affording them favorable localities for their deeds 
of violence and pillage. At times the bandits unite in num- 
bers to attack a lonely and defenceless village. 

The wretched population has no safety but in flight; 
torture awaits all who remain in the hands of the Dacoits. 



FACE TO FACE 369 

Their cruelties, according to M. Louis Rousselet, surpass 
all that imagination can conceive. 

Colonel Munro had fallen into the power of a band of 
Dacoits, conducted by Kalagani. Rudely torn from his 
companions, he found himself hurried along the road to 
Jubbulpore, before he had time to collect his thoughts. 

The conduct of Kalagani, from the day he joined our 
party, had been that of a traitor. He was the emissary of 
Nana Sahib: the instrument chosen by him to procure his 
revenge. 

It will be recollected that on the 24th of May, at Bhopal, 
during the festivals of the Moharum, which the Nabob had 
audaciously attended, he had become aware of Sir Edward 
Munro's departure on a journey to the northern provinces 
of India. Kalagani, one of the followers most absolutely 
devoted to his cause and to his person, had then instantly 
quitted Bhopal. His orders were to throw himself on the 
track of the colonel ; to find and to follow him, and at all 
hazards to obtain confidential employment about the person 
of the enemy of Nana Sahib. 

Without an hour's delay, Kalagani had pushed northward. 
He overtook the Steam House train at Cawnpore, and from 
that moment never lost sight of it, but failed to find op- 
portunity to do more. Therefore, when Colonel Munro and 
his party were installed in the sanitarium on the Himalayas, 
he determined to enter the service of Mathias van Guitt 

Kalagani foresaw that almost daily intercourse would in- 
fallibly take place between the kraal and the sanitarium. 
He was right, and immediately succeeded, not only in at- 
tracting the notice of Colonel Munro, but in securing a 
claim upon his gratitude. 

The most difficult part of his mission was thus accom- 
plished. We know the sequel. The Indian often came to 
Steam House ; he became acquainted with our future plans, 
he heard what route Banks proposed to take when the 
journey was resumed. Thenceforth one single idea and 
design possessed him, that of securing the office of guide 
to the expedition. 

For the attainment of his purpose, Kalagani left no stone 
unturned. He risked his own life, and that of others, under 
what circumstances the reader will not have forgotten, but 
they demand explanation. 

V XII Verne 



370 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

He wished to disarm suspicion by accompanying the ex- 
pedition at first starting without leaving the sen-ice of Van 
Guitt, hoping that something might afterward lead to the 
very post being offered to him which it was his sole object 
to obtain. 

But the union of the two parties could not be effected, 
while the Dutchman had his full complement of draught 
oxen, or rather buffaloes. Deprived of them* he would be 
obliged to seek the aid of Behemoth. That the buffaloes 
might leave the inclosure and wander away during the night, 
Kalagani, at the risk of such disaster as actually occurred, 
withdrew the bolts, and left the gate open. Tigers, pan- 
thers, and what not, rushed into the kraal, the buffaloes were 
killed or dispersed, several natives lost their lives — what 
matter? the plan had succeeded, and Mathias van Guitt was 
forced to entreat Colonel Munro to help his menagerie along 
the road to Bombay. 

He did not do this without an attempt to make up his 
teams, but this was naturally a matter of great difficulty in 
the desert regions of the Himalaya, and the business being 
intrusted to Kalagani, had not the slightest chance of suc- 
cess. The result was, that Mathias van Guitt, with his 
whole menagerie and personal goods, traveled in tow of 
Behemoth to Etawah Station. There, availing himself of 
the railway, Kalagani and the other shikarries became of 
no further use to him, and were consequently dismissed. 

Banks, observing the embarrassment evinced by Kalagani, 
and well aware of his intelligence, and perfect acquaintance 
with this part of India, concluded that he would render 
important service as a guide, offered him the situation. It 
was accepted, and from that moment Kalagani held the 
fate of the expedition in his hands. 

V, 'ho could suspect treason in a man always ready to 
venture his life? 

Once only was Kalagani on the point of betraying him- 
self. It was when Banks spoke of the death of Nana Sahib. 
An incredulous gesture escaped him ; he shook his head 
like one who knows better than to believe what is stated. 
To us, however, it seemed only natural that he. in common 
with his race, should regard that fiendish man with super- 
stitious veneration, and believe he bore a charmed life. 

Kalagani may have had our news confirmed, when — cer- 



FACE TO FACE 371 

tainly not by accident — he met an old comrade in the caravan 
of the Brinjarees. Whatever he may then have heard, he 
in no way changed his tactics; but led us on through the 
defiles of the Vindhyas, and finally, after the various ad- 
ventures which have been related, to the banks of Lake 
Puturia, amid whose waters we were forced to take refuge. 

Then, under pretext that he would seek help at Jubbul- 
pore, the traitor proposed to leave us. Colonel Munro or- 
dered Goumi to accompany him. The two men plunged 
into the lake, and within the hour reached its southwestern 
bank. 

They proceeded together through the darkness of the 
night, one full of suspicion, the other ignorant that he was 
suspected. Goumi, therefore, as faithful to his colonel as 
McNeil could be, had the advantage. 

During three hours they journeyed side by side along 
the road which leads across the southern slopes of the 
Vindhyas to the station of Jubbulpore. The fog became 
less dense, and Goumi closely surveyed his companion. A 
strong knife hung at his girdle. Goumi, rapid in all he did, 
was prepared to spring on his campanion and disarm him 
on the slightest suspicious movement. 

Unfortunately the faithful fellow had no time to act as 
he intended. The night was pitchy dark, even a moving 
figure could not be discerned a few paces distant. Thus it 
happened that at a turning in the path, a voice suddenly 
called, " Kalagani ! " 

" Here am I, Nassim," replied the Hindoo. 

At the same instant a strange, shrill cry sounded to the 
left of the way. This sound was the kisri of the fierce 
tribes of the Gondwana, well known to Goumi. He was 
taken by surprise and attempted nothing. The cry was a 
summons to a whole band, and even had he struck down 
Kalagani, of what use would that have been? Escape! — • 
he must escape — he must fly at once, and strive to rejoin 
his friends so as to warn them of their danger. Once more 
by the lake, he would endeavor to swim back to them, and 
prevent any attempt to reach the shore. 

Without an instant's hesitation he moved aside, and, while 
Kalagani joined Nassim, who had spoken, sprang into the 
jungle and disappeared. 

Presently Kalagani turned back with his accomplice, in- 



372 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

tending to rid himself of the companion thrust upon him 
by Colonel Munro — but Goumi was gone ! 

Nassim was the chief of a band of Dacoits devoted to the 
cause of Nana Sahib. When he heard of Goumi and that 
he had fled, he dispersed his men on all sides in pursuit. 
It was important to secure at any price so brave an adherent 
of Sir Edward Munro. But search was useless. Goumi 
made good his escape ! 

What, after all, had these Dacoits to fear from him? He 
was thrown on his own resources in a wild and unknown 
country, already three hours' march from Lake Puturia; 
make what speed he might, he could not reach it before 
they did! 

Kalagani took his measures. He conferred for a few 
moments with the chief of the Dacoits, who appeared to 
await his orders, and the whole band was speedily in hasty 
march toward the lake. 

Now, by what means had this troop been summoned from 
the gorges of the Vindhyas? How were they made aware 
of the approach of Colonel Munro to the neighborhood of 
Puturia? By Nassim himself, who was none other than 
the Indian who followed the caravan of Brinjarees ! 

In fact, everything that happened was the result of a 
well-laid plan, in which Colonel Munro and his companions 
merely acted the parts prepared for them. And thus, at 
the moment when the train touched the southern border of 
the lake, the Dacoits were ready to attack it, under com- 
mand of Nassim and Kalagani. 

It was their object to seize Colonel Munro alone. His 
companions, abandoned to their fate in this wild region, 
their last house destroyed, were powerless. He only there- 
fore was made prisoner, and hurried away, so that by seven 
o'clock in the morning Lake Puturia lay six miles behind 
them. 

Sir Edward at once concluded that his enemies, having 
secured him in this desolate place, would never let him leave 
the Vindhya region alive. Yet the brave man maintained 
his calm and dignified aspect. He walked with the utmost 
coolness in the midst of his savage captors, ready for any- 
thing that might occur, and by no sign or look showing 
that he perceived Kalagani. Flight was, of course, im- 
possible, for although unbound, he was so closely sur- 



FACE TO FACE 373 

rounded, that no gap in the crowd was available. Besides, 
instant recapture must have ensued. 

All the circumstances of the case passed in review before 
the colonel's mind. Was it credible that this seizure was 
brought about by Nana Sahib? Impossible! Was not that 
terrible man dead? Yet it might be that to some devoted 
follower — perhaps to Balao Rao — he had bequeathed the 
fulfillment of his long-cherished revenge. Thus only could 
Sir Edward account for his misfortune. 

Then he thought of poor Goumi. He was not apparently 
a prisoner of these Dacoits. Could he have escaped from 
them? It was possible. Had he not rather been slain at 
once? That was much more likely. But supposing him 
to be safe and at liberty, might his assistance be reckoned 
upon? It was hard to say. 

If he had pressed forward to demand help at Jubbul- 
pore, he would arrive too late. 

If, on the other hand, he had gone to rejoin Banks and 
the rest at the lake, what could be done, destitute as they 
were of all stores and supplies? They might endeavor to 
reach Jubbulpore, but long ere they could do so, the un- 
happy captive would be dragged into the inaccessible retreats 
of the robbers among the mountains ! 

The case appeared hopeless, as Colonel Munro carefully 
and deliberately examined its bearings. He would not des- 
pair, neither would he indulge in groundless visions of de- 
liverance. 

The Dacoits marched with extreme rapidity. Nassim and 
Kalagani seemed anxious to reach, before sunset, an ap- 
pointed rendezvous, where their prisoner's fate would prob- 
ably be decided. Colonel Munro was equally anxious to 
advance and end his suspense. 

Once only, for half an hour at midday, Kalagani called 
a halt. The Dacoits carried provisions, which were eaten 
by the margin of a little brook. A morsel of bread and 
dried meat was given to the colonel, who ate it readily, not 
wishing to refuse what was necessary to sustain his powers 
at this dreadful crisis. 

By this time they had traveled nearly sixteen miles. 
When Kalagani gave orders to resume the march, they still 
proceeded in the direction of Jubbulpore. 

It was not until five o'clock in the afternoon that the 



374 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

Dacoits abandoned the highway, and turned off to the left. 
Then indeed did Sir Edward Munro feel that he was beyond 
human help. God alone could save him now. 

In a short time Kalagani and his followers were passing 
through a narrow defile at the extreme limit of the valley 
of the Nerbudda, and approaching the wildest and most 
savage part of Bundelkund. 

The place is two hundred and sixteen miles from the 
Pal of Tandit, at the east end of the Sautpoora Mountains, 
which may be called the western point of the Vindhyas, on 
one of the spurs of which stood the ancient fortress of 
Ripore, now long abandoned, because when the defiles were 
occupied by the enemy, even in small numbers, it was im- 
possible to obtain supplies. 

This fort occupied a commanding position, which formed 
a kind of natural redan, five hundred feet in height, and 
overhanging a wide gorge amid adjacent precipices. The 
only access to it was by a narrow winding path, cut in the 
solid rock, and extremely difficult even for foot soldiers. 

Dismantled walls, ruined bastions, crowned the summit; 
a stone parapet guarded the esplanade from the abyss be- 
neath, and part remained of the building which had served 
as barracks for the little garrison of Ripore. 

One alone was left of all the guns which had formerly 
defended the fort. This was an enormous cannon, pointed 
from the front of the esplanade. Too heavy for removal, 
too much impaired to be of any value, it had been left 
there a prey to devouring -rust. This piece of artillery, in 
size and length, was a match for the famous bronze cannon 
of Bhilsa; which was cast in the time of Jehanghir, and is 
an enormous gun, six yards in length, with a caliber of 
forty-four. It might also bear comparison with the equally 
celebrated cannon of Bidjapoor, whose detonation, accord- 
ing to the natives, was enough to overthrow every building 
in the city. 

Such was the hill-fort of Ripore, to which Kalagani led 
his prisoner. 

It was late when they reached it, after a fatiguing march 
of more than five-and-twenty miles. In whose presence was 
Colonel Munro about to find himself? He was soon to 
know. 

At the farther end of the esplanade, a group of natives 



FACE TO FACE 375 

could be seen within the ruined barracks. They left it, 
and advanced, while along the opposite parapet the Dacoits 
ranged themselves in a half circle, of which Colonel Munro 
occupied the center. 

He stood, with folded arms, awaiting his fate. Kalagani, 
quitting his place in the ranks, advanced a few paces to 
meet the party. 

A native, simply dressed, walked in front. Before him 
Kalagani bent respectfully, and kissed his extended hand, 
receiving a sign of approbation for good service ren- 
dered. 

His leader then approached the prisoner ; deliberately, but 
with flaming eyes, and in every feature showing symptoms 
of rage — intense, although restrained. 

He was like a wild beast drawing near his prey. Colonel 
Munro let him come ; he drew not back an inch, but regarded 
the man as fixedly as he was himself regarded. When but 
five paces apart, — 

" 'Tis only Balao Rao," said the colonel, in a tone of 
profound contempt. 

" Look again ! " returned the Hindoo. 

"Nana Sahib!" cried Colonel Munro; and now indeed 
he started back. "Nana Sahib alive!" 

It was indeed the nabob himself, the notorious leader of 
the sepoy revolt, the deadly enemy of Sir Edward Munro. 

Who then fell at the Pal of Tandit? 

His brother, Balao Rao. 

The extraordinary resemblance of these two men, both 
marked with smallpox, both having lost the same finger of 
the same hand, had deceived the soldiers of Lucknow and 
Cawnpore; they had not hesitated to express absolute cer- 
tainty that that man was the nabob, who in fact was his 
brother. The mistake was inevitable, and thus Government 
was informed of the death of Nana Sahib, while he yet 
lived, and Balao Rao was no more. 

He failed not to take advantage of this new aspect of 
affairs, by which almost absolute security was afforded him. 
No such indefatigable search would be made for his brother 
as for himself, because neither had he taken a leading part 
in the Cawnpore massacres, nor had he the pernicious in- 
fluence possessed by the Nana over his countrymen. 

Nana Sahib therefore resolved to maintain the idea of 



376 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

his death, and renounce for the present his insurrectionary 
schemes, devoting himself wholly to private revenge. 

Never had circumstances in this respect so favored him. 
Colonel Munro had left Calcutta on a long journey, by 
which he meant to reach Bombay. 

Believing it possible to decoy him across the Bundelkund 
into the lonely region of the Vindhyas, Nana Sahib had 
previously put that mission into the hands of the crafty 
Kalagani. 

After the affair at the Pal of Tandit, he himself of course 
quitted what was no longer a safe retreat, and plunging 
into the Nerbudda valleys, concealed himself among the deep 
gorges of the Vindhyas. 

There, with a band of followers devoted to his person, 
he established himself in the deserted fort of Ripore, where 
he was soon reenforced by a party of Dacoits, worthy allies 
of such a chief, and month after month he waited. 

Four months he waited, until, having done his part, 
Kalagani should inform him of the near approach of his 
enemy. 

One fear possessed Nana Sahib. It was lest news of his 
death should reach the ears of Kalagani ; for if he had reason 
to believe it, would he not abandon his treacherous design? 

In order to prevent any such mistake, Nassim had been 
dispatched to meet the Steam House train on the road from 
Scind, communicate with Kalagani, and acquaint him with 
the exact state of the case. 

Immediately after doing so in the crowded caravan of 
the Brinjarees, Nassim hastened back to the Fort of Ripore, 
and gave him the latest intelligence of the progress of his 
victim. Kalagani was bringing him by short journeys to- 
ward the Vindhyas, and he was to be taken prisoner on 
the banks of Lake Puturia. 

All had succeeded to a wish. This time revenge was 
certain. 

And now! Now Colonel Munro stood before Nana 
Sahib, disarmed, alone, at his mercy. 

After the first few words, these two men continued to 
gaze in silence one upon another. On a sudden the image 
of Lady Munro rose so vividly before his eyes, that the 
blood rushed from her husband's heart to his head. He 
sprang at the murderer of the prisoners of Cawnpore! Nana 



FACE TO FACE 377 

Sahib merely stepped back two paces, while several men 
flung themselves upon the colonel, whom they overpowered, 
though not without difficulty. 

Sir Edward Munro resumed his self-possession, which, 
no doubt, the nabob perceived, for by a sign he made his 
men retire. 

Once more the foes stood face to face. 

At length the Nana spoke. 

' Munro," he said, " by your people a hundred and 
twenty prisoners were blown from the cannon's mouth at 
Peshawur ; since then more than twelve hundred sepoys have 
perished by that frightful death. Your people ruthlessly 
massacred the fugitives of Lahore; after the siege of Delhi 
they slaughtered three princes and twenty-nine members of 
the royal family ; at Lucknow they slew six thousand of our 
race, and three thousand after the campaign of the Punjaub. 
In all, by cannon, musketry, by the gallows and the sword, 
a hundred and twenty thousand sepoys and two hundred 
thousand natives have paid with their lives for the rising 
in defence of national independence." 

" Death ! death ! " cried the Dacoits and all the followers 
of Nana Sahib. 

He silenced them by a gesture, and waited for Colonel 
Munro to speak. The colonel gave no answer. 

:< As for thee, Munro," resumed the nabob, " my faithful 
friend the Ranee of Jansi was slain by thy hand. She is 
not yet avenged." 

Still no reply. 

' Four months ago," said Nana Sahib, " my brother Balao 
Rao fell under English balls aimed at me, and my brother 
is not yet avenged." 

"Death! death!" 

This time these words were uttered more furiously, and 
the whole band made a movement as though to fall upon 
the prisoner. 

" Silence ! " exclaimed the Nana. " Await the hour of 
justice! " 

All drew back. 

" Munro," once more continued the nabob, " an ancestor 
of yours, one Hector Munro, first invented the punishment, 
of which fearful use was made during the war of 1857. 
He gave the first order to tie the living bodies of our peo- 



378 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

pie, our parents, our brothers to the cannon's mouth " 

These words excited a fresh outburst of rage among his 
followers ; once more he calmed them, and said, — 

" Munro, as they perished so shalt thou perish ! Behold 
this gun! " and turning round, he pointed to the enormous 
cannon which occupied the center of the esplanade. 

"It is already loaded. You are about to be bound to 
its mouth; and to-morrow morning, when the sun rises, 
that cannon's roar shall announce throughout the depths of 
the Vindhyas that the vengeance of Nana Sahib is at last 
complete ! " 

Colonel Munro fixed his eyes on the nabob with a com- 
posure which proved that death, even such a death, had no 
terrors for him. 

" It is well," he said. " You do as I should have done had 
you fallen into my hands." And walking up to the gun, he 
placed himself before it; his hands were tied behind his 
back, and by strong cords he was bound across its deadly 
mouth. 

There, for more than an hour, he was subjected to the 
base insults of all these savage men. 

The brave colonel remained unmoved before their out- 
rages, as before death itself. 

Night fell. Nana Sahib, Kalagani, and Nassim withdrew 
into the old barracks. Their men, at length weary of tor- 
menting the captive, followed their leaders. 

Sir Edward Munro was alone in the presence of Death, 
and of his God. 



CHAPTER XII 

AT THE CANNON'S MOUTH 

The silence was not long unbroken. 

An ample supply of provisions and abundance of arrack 
quickly excited the Dacoits, who ate and drank immod- 
erately, to noisy and vociferous clamor. 

By degrees, however, the uproar subsided. Sleep over- 
took the ruffians, who were wearied by days spent on the 
watch, before capturing their prisoner. 

Was it possible he would be left thus alone until the 
hour of execution? Even though secured by triple cords 



AT THE CANNON'S MOUTH 379 

round breast and arms, incapable of the least movement, 
would not Nana Sahib place a guard over his victim? 

While such thoughts passed through the colonel's mind 
a Dacoit left the barracks, and came across the esplanade. 

This man was appointed to keep watch over the prisoner 
throughout the night. 

He approached the gun, and after ascertaining that Col- 
onel Munro's position remained unaltered, he tried the cords 
with no gentle hand, muttering, — 

: Ten pounds of gunpowder ! The old gun has not spoken 
for a long time. To-morrow she will say something worth 
hearing." 

This remark brought a haughty smile to the lips of the 
gallant colonel. The most fearful death had no terrors 
for him. 

The native then went round the cannon caressing it with 
his hand, and resting his finger for an instant on the touch- 
hole. There he stood, leaning on the breach of the gun, 
apparently losing all recollection of the prisoner, who re- 
mained like a culprit beneath the gibbet, waiting till the 
fatal bolt be withdrawn. 

Somewhat affected by the powerful spirit he had been 
drinking, and utterly indifferent to the awful position of 
the unhappy prisoner, the Hindoo indistinctly hummed the 
air of an old Hindostanee song, breaking off and resuming 
the tune as a man does when, under the influence of liquor, 
his thoughts gradually escape control. 

Presently he stood erect. Again passing his hand all over 
the gun, he came round it and stopped in front of the col- 
onel, gazing stupidly as he muttered incoherent words. He 
touched the cords and seemed about to draw them tighter, 
then nodding his head as if reassured, sauntered up to the 
parapet about a dozen paces off. 

For ten minutes he remained there, resting his arms on 
the top, sometimes glancing round, and then again gazing 
far down into the abyss at the foot of the fortress. 

It was plain he was making a last effort against the 
drowsiness which threatened to overcome him. But at last 
he yielded, let himself drop to the ground and there lay 
stretched, the shadow of the parapet completely hiding him. 

The night was intensely dark. Heavy clouds hung low 
and motionless. The atmosphere was still and oppressive. 



380 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

No sound from the valley reached this height, perfect silence 
reigned around. 

For the honor of brave Colonel Munro we must describe 
how he spent this terrible night. Not for a moment did 
he allow his thoughts to dwell on that last moment of his 
life, now fast approaching when with rude force his body 
would be blown to pieces and the atoms scattered far and 
wide. After all it would be instantaneous, and such a death 
had no terrors for a nature on which no moral or physical 
danger ever had effect. A few hours were still his, they 
belonged to this life which for the greater part had been 
spent so happily. His whole existence passed before him 
with wonderful exactitude. The image of Lady Munro 
arose. Once more he saw, he heard that dear one whom 
still he mourned as in the first days of his bereavement, no 
longer with tears but with an ever-aching heart! In his 
thoughts he returned to the beginning of his acquaintance 
with her, then a fair young girl living in the doomed town 
of Cawnpore, in the house where first he admired, knew, 
and loved her ! He lived over again those few years of hap- 
piness, suddenly terminated by that most frightful catas- 
trophe. He could recall every word, look, glance of hers, 
with such distinctness that the reality itself could hardly 
have been more real ! Midnight passed without his being 
aware of it. The present was forgotten by him. Nothing 
could disturb him in his blissful recollections of his adored 
wife. In three hours he had gone over every day of the 
three years they had spent together. Yes ! he was far away 
in imagination from the plateau and fortress of Ripore, 
far away from the mouth of that cannon, which the first 
rays of the sun were to fire! 

But now came that horrible siege of Cawnpore, the im- 
prisonment of Lady Munro and her mother in the Bibi- 
Ghar, the frightful massacre, and lastly the well, the tomb 
of two hundred victims on which four months ago he had 
wept for the last time. 

And now that demon, Nana Sahib, was here, only a few 
yards from him, behind the walls of the ruined barrack. 
The leader of the massacres, the murderer of Lady Munro 
and of so many other unhappy beings! It was into this 
assassin's hands he had fallen, he who had hoped to do 
justice on the assassin who had hitherto escaped. 



AT THE CANNON'S MOUTH 381 

These thoughts roused Sir Edward. With an impulse of 
blind anger he made one desperate effort to free himself. 
The cords stretched, but the tightened knots cut into his 
flesh. He uttered a cry, not of pain, but of impotent rage. 
At the sound the native raised his head. His senses re- 
turned, he remembered that he was guarding the prisoner. 

He got up and staggered to the colonel, laid his hand 
on his shoulder to make sure his prisoner was still there, 
and in a drowsy tone muttered, — 

"To-morrow, at sunrise — Boom!" 

Then he returned to the parapet as if for support, but 
no sooner did he touch it than he again lay down and was 
soon sound asleep. 

After that one vain effort, calm fell upon Colonel Munro. 
The course of his thoughts was changed, though not directed 
to the fate which awaited him. By a natural association of 
ideas his mind reverted to his friends, his companions. He 
wondered whether they also had fallen into the hands of 
the Dacoits who swarm all over the Vindhyas, whether a 
fate similar to his own might not be reserved for them: 
the very idea sent a pang through his heart. But then he 
told himself that such a thing could not be. If the nabob 
had wished their death, would he not have united them 
together in the same punishment, to double his agony by 
the sight of his friends? No! it was on him, and on him 
alone — this he strove to believe — that Nana Sahib wished 
to wreak his hatred ! 

Then if Banks, Captain Hood, and Maucler were free 
what were they doing? Had they taken the road to Jub- 
bulpore, mounted on Behemoth ? The Dacoits had not been 
able to destroy him, and he could carry them quickly. Once 
there, they could soon get help. But what would be the 
use of it then? How could they find out where the colonel 
was? No one knew of the fortress of Ripore, the retreat 
of Nana Sahib. And besides, why should the name of 
the nabob come into their minds? Did they not believe 
that Nana Sahib was dead, that he fell in the attack on the 
Pal of Tandit ? No, they could do nothing for the prisoner ! 

Neither from Goumi could help be expected. Kalagani 
had had every reason for getting rid of this faithful servant ; 
and since Goumi was not there, it was because his death had 
preceded that of his master! 



382 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

It was useless to count on even one chance of deliverance. 
Colonel Munro was not the sort of man who would delude 
himself with vain hopes. He saw his position in its true 
light, and he returned to his thoughts of the past, and all 
its happy days and hours. 

How long a time was spent thus he would have found it 
difficult to determine. The night was still dark. No faint 
streak of light as yet appeared on the mountain peaks to 
herald the approach of dawn. 

It must have been about four in the morning, when the 
attention of Colonel Munro was arrested by a most singular 
phenomenon. While living that past inner existence, he had 
no eyes for anything near him; scenes of other days were 
before him. 

Exterior objects, indistinctly seen in the gloom, had no 
attraction for him, when suddenly his eyes became conscious 
of something which caused the vision called up by his 
imagination totally to vanish. In fact, the colonel was no 
longer alone on the esplanade of Ripore. A wavering light 
had all at once appeared toward the end of the path, near 
the postern of the fortress. It went to and fro, now dim, 
now bright, one moment almost extinguished, the next re- 
suming its brilliancy, as if held in an insecure hand. 

In the prisoner's position, every incident had its impor- 
tance. He watched the light intently. Observing that a 
smoky vapor rose from it, he concluded it was not inclosed 
in a lantern. 

" One of my companions," thought the colonel. " Goumi, 
perhaps! But no! He would not be there with a light to 
betray his presence. Who can it be? " 

The flame slowly advanced. It glided along the wall of 
the old barrack, so close, indeed, that Sir Edward feared 
it would be perceived by the natives sleeping within. 

No notice was taken. The light passed unobserved. 
Every now and then, when the hand that bore it waved it 
wildly aloft, it blazed up afresh, and burned more brightly. 
By the time it reached the parapet, and moved along the 
crest, like St. Elmo's Fire in a stormy night, the colonel 
had begun to distinguish a phantom — no distinct outline, but 
a vague shadow flitting onward. The being, whoever it was, 
was clothed in a long garment, covering both arms and 
head. 



AT THE CANNON'S MOUTH 383 

The prisoner did not move. He scarcely dared to breathe. 
He feared to terrify this apparition, or see the flame dis- 
appear in the darkness. He kept as motionless as the 
weighty piece of metal which held him, as it were, in its 
enormous jaws. 

In the meantime the phantom continued to glide along 
the parapet. Suppose it stumbled over the body of the 
sleeping Hindoo ! No, that was not likely ; for the man 
lay to the left of the cannon, while the apparition advanced 
from the right, stopping sometimes, but ever gradually draw- 
ing nearer. 

It at last came so close that Colonel Munro could see it 
distinctly. What he saw was a being of medium height, 
entirely covered by a long mantle. One hand alone was 
visible, bearing a lighted torch. 

" It is some madman," thought the colonel, " who is so 
accustomed to visit the Dacoits' encampment, that they 
take no notice of him ! Why hasn't he a dagger in his hand 
instead of a torch ? Perhaps I should be able " 

It was not a madman, and yet Sir Edward had nearly 
guessed aright. 

This was the madwoman of the Nerbudda valley, the 
unconscious creature who for the last four months had 
strayed about the Vindhyas, always respected and hospitably 
received by the superstitious Ghoonds. Neither Nana Sahib 
nor any of his companions knew of the part " Roving 
Flame " had taken in the attack on the Pal of Tandit. Many 
a time had they met her in this mountainous district of 
Bundelkund, but her presence had never caused them any 
anxiety. Often had her incessant wanderings led her to 
the fortress of Ripore, and no one ever dreamed of driving 
her away. It was only by chance that her nocturnal peregri- 
nations had brought her there that night. 

Colonel Munro knew nothing about this madwoman. He 
had never heard of Roving Flame ; and yet as this unknown 
being approached, and was about to touch and perhaps speak 
to him, his heart beat with unaccountable violence. 

Little by little the madwoman drew near the cannon. 
Her torch burned dimly; she did not appear to see the 
prisoner, although she was face to face with him, and her 
eyes were visible through openings like holes in the hood 
of a " penitent." 



384 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

Sir Edward did not stir. Neither by word nor by gesture 
did he seek to attract the attention of this strange being. 

At last she turned and flitted round the huge gun, the 
light she carried casting little wandering shadows over its 
surface. 

Did the poor, bewildered brain know the use of this gun, 
standing there like a monster; that a man was bound to 
its mouth, and that, at the first morning beam of light, it 
would vomit forth a fearful burst of thunder and light- 
ning? 

Far from it. Roving Flame was there as she might be 
anywhere, quite unconscious. She wandered about to-night 
as she had done many a time before on the esplanade. Then 
she would probably leave the spot, glide down the winding 
path to the valley, and thence stray wherever her fancy 
took her. 

As Colonel Munro could freely turn his head, he fol- 
lowed all her movements. He saw her pass round the gun 
and direct her steps in the direction of the postern. 

Suddenly Roving Flame stopped only a few paces from 
the sleeping native, and turned. Some invisible power 
seemed to draw her forward, some unaccountable instinct 
brought her back to the colonel, and again she stood motion- 
less before him. 

Sir Edward's heart beat vehemently, as though it would 
burst from his bosom. 

Roving Flame moved yet nearer. She raised her torch 
to a level with the prisoner's face, as though the better to 
see him. Nothing of her own face was visible except her 
eyes, and they were brilliant with a feverish fire. 

Colonel Munro gazed intently, as if fascinated. 

The left hand of this strange being gradually drew back 
the folds of its garment until her face was exposed to view, 
and at the same time she shook the torch until it blazed 
afresh, and threw a bright light around. 

A half-stifled cry broke from the prisoner, — 

"Laura! Laura!" 

He thought he must be going mad himself. 

He closed his eyes for a moment. Then again he looked 
at her. It was Lady Munro! It was his wife who stood 
before him! 

" Laura ! — you ! — is it you ? " he stammered. 



AT THE CANNON'S MOUTH 385 

Lady Munro answered not a word. She did not recognize 
him. She did not even appear to hear him. 

"Laura! Mad! — yes, mad! but living!" 

Sir Edward could not have been deceived by a mere re- 
semblance. The image of his wife was too deeply graven 
on his heart. Sadly changed, but still beautiful, was Lady 
Munro, and even after nine years of a separation which 
her husband had deemed eternal, he knew her to be his wife. 

This poor lady, after doing all in her power to defend 
her mother, slain before her eyes, had herself fallen 
wounded, but not mortally ; she was one of the last thrown 
into the well of Cawnpore on the heap of victims already 
filling it. When night fell, the instinct of self-preservation 
caused her to struggle to the margin of the well — instinct 
alone, for reason had fled at the horror of these awful 
scenes. After all she had suffered from the commence- 
ment of the siege, in the prison of the Bibi-Ghar, and at 
the massacre, finally seeing her mother slain had driven 
away her senses. She was mad, quite mad, but living, just 
as Munro had said. Crazed, she had dragged herself out of 
the well, and had wandered away and left the town, as did 
Nana Sahib and his followers after the bloody execution. 
Mad, she had escaped in the darkness through the country ; 
avoiding town and inhabited districts, received by the poor 
ryots, and respected by them as a being deprived of reason, 
the poor creature had roamed onward until she reached the 
Sautpoora Mountains, and then the Vindhyas. Dead to 
every one for nine years, crazed by the horrors she had wit- 
nessed, she wandered incessantly, unable ever to rest ! 

And this was she ! 

Colonel Munro called again. No answer. 

Oh, what would he not have given for power to fold her 
in his arms, carry her, fly with her, and commence a new 
life at her side! With the care and the great love he would 
lavish on her, reason could surely be won back ! But what 
vain fancies were these? Was he not powerless, bound to 
this mass of metal, his limbs cut and numb with the tightly 
drawn cords, utterly unable to stir, in spite of all his wild 
longing to tear her away from that accursed spot ! 

What torture, what agony was that! Far beyond even 
what Nana Sahib's cruel imagination could have conceived. 
Ah, if that demon had been there, if he had known that 

V XII Verno 



386 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

Lady Munro was in his power, what horrible joy he would 
have felt. With what refinement of cruelty he could have 
increased the sufferings of his prisoner. 

'' Laura ! Laura ! " repeated Sir Edward, raising his voice 
even at the risk of arousing his guard, sleeping but a few 
steps distant, or the Dacoits in the old barrack, or Nana 
Sahib himself. 

Neither comprehending him nor seeing who he was, Lady 
Munro kept her wild eyes fixed on the colonel's face. She 
understood nothing of the frightful torture inflicted on him, 
at thus finding his wife again, only when he himself had 
but an hour to live. She shook her head slightly, as though 
she had no wish to reply. 

A' few minutes passed like this ; then her hand sunk down, 
her mantle fell again over her face, and she drew back a step 
or two. 

She was leaving him! 

" Laura ! " cried once more the agonized husband, as 
though he were bidding her a last farewell. 

But no, it was evidently not yet her intention to leave 
the esplanade. The situation, already so dreadful, was now 
to be aggravated in a terrible degree. 

Lady Munro stopped. The cannon had attracted her at- 
tention. Perhaps it awoke in her darkened mind some 
shadowy recollection of the siege of Cawnpore. At any 
rate, she slowly returned. The hand which held the torch 
cast the light over every part of the gun. The smallest 
spark falling on the touch-hole would take instant effect ! 

Must he then die by that hand, the one in all the world 
most dear to him ? 

The thought was too awful to be endured. Far better 
were it to perish before the eyes of the Nana and his men. 

He must shout and arouse his executioners ! 

Suddenly from the interior of the cannon he felt a hand 
grasp his. Yes, it was true; a friendly hand was busy at 
the cords. Then he became aware that a sharp blade was 
carefully cutting between the knots and his wrists. By 
some miracle a liberator was near him, in the very heart 
of the instrument of death! 

One by one the cords were severed. 

In a second it was done, he took a step forward! He 
was free! 



BEHEMOTH 387 

All his self-command was required to restrain himself. 
The least sound would be certain ruin. 

From the mouth of the piece issued a hand. Munro 
grasped it; with his assistance a man struggled forth, and 
fell at his feet. 

It was Goumi ! 

After his escape from Kalagani, this faithful servant had 
followed the road to Jubbulpore, instead of returning to the 
lake toward which Nassim's band was proceeding. On 
reaching the path to Ripore, he had been obliged to conceal 
himself a second time on meeting a party of natives. From 
his hiding-place he overheard them speaking of Colonel 
Munro, who was to be brought by the Dacoits, headed by 
Kalagani, to the fortress, where Nana Sahib had determined 
his death should take place. 

Unhesitatingly, Goumi crept cautiously up the winding 
path, and reached the then deserted esplanade. There the 
heroic idea occurred to him that he would creep into the 
huge gun, hoping to save his master if it were possible, and 
if not, to die with him! 

" Day is breaking! " whispered Goumi. " We must fly." 

" And Lady Munro? " murmured the colonel, pointing to 
the motionless figure, now standing with her hand resting 
on the breech of the gun. 

" In our arms, master ! " answered Goumi, asking no ex- 
planation. 

It was too late! 

As the colonel and Goumi approached to seize her, the 
poor lady to escape them leaned across the gun. A spark 
fell from her torch, and a terrific roar, echoing from cliff 
to cliff of the Vindhyas, filled the valley as with a burst 
of thunder. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

BEHEMOTH ! 

r Ar this tremendous report, Lady Munro fell fainting into 
the arms of her husband. Without losing a moment the 
colonel darted across the esplanade, Goumi, after giving his 
quietus to the astounded guard, following. 

Scarcely had they passed through the postern before the 



388 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

esplanade was covered with the suddenly awakened men. 
A moment's hesitation ensued, which was favorable to the 
fugitives. 

Nana Sahib rarely passed the night in the fortress; and 
the evening before, after binding Colonel Munro to the 
cannon's mouth, he had gone to meet some chiefs whom he 
did not dare to visit in open day. But this was the hour at 
which he usually returned, and he would not be long in 
appearing. 

Kalagani, Nassim, Hindoos, and Dacoits, more than a 
hundred men in all, would instantly have set off in pursuit 
of the prisoner. One thing alone delayed them. They 
were perfectly ignorant of what had occurred ; and the dead 
body of the native who had been entrusted with the charge 
of the colonel completely mystified them. 

Their natural thought was that in all probability, by some 
strange mischance, the gun had gone off before the hour 
fixed, and that now the body of the prisoner was blown to 
pieces. 

The fury of Kalagani and the others vented itself in a 
storm of oaths and abuse. Had Nana Sahib and the rest 
been after all deprived of the pleasure of witnessing the last 
moments of Colonel Munro? The nabob was at no great 
distance. He must have heard the report, and be even now 
returning in all haste to the fortress. What reply could 
they make when he required at their hands the prisoner 
whom he had left in their charge? This hesitation and 
delay, slight as it was, gave the fugitives time to get some 
little distance before being perceived. 

Sir Edward and Goumi, full of hope after their mirac- 
ulous deliverance, rapidly descended the winding path, the 
strong arms of the colonel scarcely feeling their burden. 
His faithful servant kept- close at his side, ready to defend 
or assist him. 

Five minutes after leaving the postern, they were half 
way between the plateau and the valley. But day was 
breaking, and already a glimmering light penetrated to the 
bottom of the narrow gorge. 

A yell burst from the heights above them. 

As he leaned over the parapet, Kalagani had caught sight 
of two fugitives. One of them must be the prisoner of the 
Nana. 



BEHEMOTH 389 

"Munro! There is Munro! " shouted Kalagani, mad 
with rage. 

And with a bound he was through the postern, and in hot 
pursuit, followed by all his band. 

' We are seen," said the colonel, increasing his speed. 

' I will stop the first ! " said Goumi. " They will kill me, 
but it may give you time to reach the high road." 

" They shall either kill us both, or we will escape to- 
gether!" responded Munro. 

The part of the way now reached was less rough, and 
they could therefore proceed faster. Forty feet farther 
and they would be in the Ripore road leading to the high- 
way. 

But though flight would be easier, so also would be the 
pursuit. To seek concealment was useless. Both would 
have been discovered immediately. The only chance of 
ultimate escape was to reach the open country. 

Colonel Munro's resolve was taken. He would not again 
fall alive into the hands of Nana Sahib. Rather than leave 
her, who had just been restored to him, in the power of the 
nabob, he would plunge Goumi's dagger into her heart, and 
then himself die by the same weapon. 

" Courage, master! " said Goumi, ready, if need were, to 
shield the colonel with his own body. " In five minutes we 
shall be on the Jubbulpore road ! " 

" God grant that we may find help there! " murmured the 
colonel. 

The shouts of the natives were becoming more and more 
distinct. 

On hurried the fugitives ; they were at the road ; they 
turned the corner. To their horror there, close to them, 
were two men, rapidly advancing from the opposite direc- 
tion. 

It was now light enough to distinguish faces clearly, and 
two names, uttered like a cry of hatred, burst forth at the 
same moment. 

"Munro!" 

"Nana Sahib!" 

On hearing the report of the cannon, the nabob had 
hastened with all speed toward the fortress. He could not 
understand why his orders should have been executed before 
the hour he had named. 



390 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

A Hindoo accompanied him; but before this man had 
time to make even a sign, he fell at Goumi's feet, stabbed 
with the same knife which had severed the colonel's bonds. 

" Help ! here ! " cried the Nana to the men who were 
dashing down the path. 

" Yes, here ! " returned Goumi ; and like a lightning flash 
he was upon the nabob. 

His intention was — if he failed in killing him at the first 
blow — at least to struggle with him, so as to give Colonel 
Munro time to reach the high road ; but the knife was struck 
from his grasp, and fell to the ground. 

Furious at being disarmed, Goumi seized his adversary 
round the body, and lifting him in his powerful arms, 
actually carried him off, determining to spring with him 
over the nearest precipice into the abyss beneath. 

In the meanwhile, Kalagani and his companions were 
rapidly approaching ; in another minute they would be upon 
them, and then what hope of escape could there be ? 

"Another effort!" repeated Goumi. "I can keep them 
at bay for a few minutes by using their nabob as a shield! 
Fly, master, fly without me ! " 

The pursuers were close behind. In a half -strangled voice 
the nabob called on Kalagani. Suddenly, not twenty paces 
from them, other cries rose. 

" Munro ! Munro ! " 

There on the Ripore road was Banks, with him Captain 
Hood, Maucler, Sergeant McNeil, Fox, Parazard, and a 
little way behind them, on the high road, vomiting forth 
torrents of steam, Behemoth, in charge of Storr and Ka- 
louth. 

After the destruction of the last car composing Steam 
House, the engineer and his companions had no alternative 
but to use as a vehicle the elephant, which the Dacoits had 
been unable to destroy. Perched on Behemoth, they soon 
left Lake Puturia, and advanced along the Jubbulpore road. 
But just as they were passing the turning which led to the 
fortress, the tremendous report bursting over their heads 
caused them to halt. 

Some presentiment, instinct, call it what you will, made 
them spring to the ground, and hurry at full speed up the 
steep road. What they hoped or expected they could not 
have told. 



BEHEMOTH 391 

A sudden turn brought them all at once in full view of the 
colonel, whose first cry was, — 

"Save Lady Munro!" 

"And keep fast hold of the true Nana Sahib!" gasped 
Goumi, who with a last furious effort had thrown the half 
suffocated man to the ground. 

Captain Hood, McNeil, and Fox quickly seized and made 
him prisoner, and without asking any other explanation the 
whole party hastened back to Behemoth. 

By order of the colonel, who wished to give him up to 
English justice, Nana Sahib was bound to the elephant's 
neck. Lady Munro was placed in the howdah, her husband 
by her side; she was gradually recovering from her faint, 
and he anxiously watched for the least gleam of reason. 

All were soon on the elephant's back. 

" At full speed ! " cried Banks. 

It was time. Already the foremost natives were but a 
hundred yards distant. All would be well if Behemoth 
could only reach before them the advanced post of the mili- 
tary cantonment of Jubbulpore, commanding the last defile 
of the Vindhyas. 

The engine was abundantly supplied with water and fuel, 
everything necessary to maintain pressure, and keep up the 
utmost speed. But the road being full of sudden turns and 
angles, careful steering was necessary, it was not safe to 
rush blindly on. 

The natives gained visibly, and their shouts redoubled. 

" We shall have to defend ourselves," said McNeil. 

"And we will defend ourselves!" returned Captain 
Hood, with determination. 

A dozen cartridges were all they had ! Not a single shot 
must miss, for their pursuers were armed, and everything 
depended on their being kept at a distance. 

Hood and Fox, rifle in hand, posted themselves in the 
rear, at the back of the howdah. Goumi was forward, but 
still able to take good aim ; McNeil was stationed near Nana 
Sahib, revolver in one hand, and dagger in the other, ready 
to stab him if the Hindoos seemed likely to overpower them. 
Kalouth and Parazard supplied the furnaces. Banks and 
Storr drove the engine. 

Already the pursuit had lasted ten minutes. Two hun- 
dred paces at most divided the parties. Though the natives 



392 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

went faster, the elephant could of course keep up his speed 
longer. The only tactics it was possible to employ were to 
keep the enemy from getting ahead. 

At that moment a dozen shots rang out from the pur- 
suers. The balls whistled harmlessly over Behemoth, ex- 
cept one which struck the end of his trunk. 

" Don't fire yet ! We mustn't fire till we are certain of 
hitting ! " cried Captain Hood. " Save your fire ! they are 
too far off yet ! " 

Banks, now seeing a straight line of road before him, 
opened wide the regulator ; and Behemoth, dashing forward, 
left the enemy several hundred yards behind. 

" Hurrah ! hurrah for old Behemoth ! " shouted the cap- 
tain, wild with excitement. " Ha, ha! those scoundrels can't 
catch him ! " 

But at the end of this straight bit of road lay a steep and 
winding pass or defile, the last on this south side of the 
Vindhyas, which must necessarily delay the progress of 
Banks and his companions. Kalagani and his party, know- 
ing this, redoubled their efforts. 

On went Behemoth, and now he was in the narrow road 
with a precipitous cliff on their side. 

Speed was slackened, and Banks had to steer with the 
greatest care. Of course the natives soon regained all the 
ground they had lost. Though they had no hope of saving 
Nana Sahib, who was at the mercy of a dagger-thrust, at 
least they could avenge his death ! 

Another discharge was fired, but without touching any 
one on Behemoth's back. 

" This is getting serious ! " said the captain, leveling his 
gun. " Attention ! " 

He and Goumi fired simultaneously. Two of the fore- 
most natives were struck full in the chest and fell. 

" Two less ! " said Goumi, reloading his weapon. 

" Two out of a hundred ! " returned Hood. " That is not 
nearly enough ! We must make them pay more dearly than 
that!" 

And three more natives fell dead. 

It was impossible to go fast along this winding defile; 
and besides, as it narrowed, the way became steeper. How- 
ever, another half mile and the last slope of the Vindhyas 
would be crossed, and Behemoth would find himself not a 



BEHEMOTH 393 

hundred yards from an outpost almost in sight of Jubbul- 
pore. 

These natives were not the sort of men to be terrified at 
the fire directed against them. They counted their lives as 
nothing when the duty of saving or avenging Nana Sahib 
was in question. Ten — twenty of them might fall ; but 
eighty would still remain to rush on Behemoth, the moving 
citadel, and attack with murderous intent the little party it 
contained. 

Kalagani was well aware of the fact that Captain Hood 
and his friends had but a few cartridges left, and that con- 
sequently their guns would soon be but useless weapons in 
their hands. Half of their ammunition was indeed already 
gone. 

However, four more shots were fired, and four more 
Hindoos fell. Hood and Fox had now but a bullet a piece. 

At that moment Kalagani, who had till now been very 
cautious, sprang forward nearer than was prudent. 

" Ha ! that's you, is it ? I'll have you now ! " remarked 
the captain, taking aim with the greatest coolness. 

The shot struck the traitor in the very middle of the 
forehead. His hands clutched wildly at the air; he made 
one bound, and fell dead on the spot ! 

Suddenly the end of the pass appeared before them. 
Behemoth made one last effort. Once more Fox's rifle rang 
out, and one more native sank to the ground ! The natives 
perceiving immediately that the firing had ceased, pressed 
forward to the assault. 

" Jump off! " cried Banks. 

Under the circumstances it was indeed best to abandon 
Behemoth, and hasten on foot to the outpost. 

Colonel Munro, his wife in his arms, stepped down. 

Hood, Maucler, the sergeant, and the rest speedily leaped 
off. Banks alone remained in the howdah ! 

" And that villain ! " cried Captain Hood, pointing to 
Nana Sahib, who was still bound to the elephant's neck. 

" Leave him to me, captain! " returned Banks, in a signifi- 
cant tone. Then, giving a last turn to the regulator, he also 
descended. 

All hurried as fast as they could along the road, daggers 
in their hands, prepared to sell their lives dearly. 

Behemoth, left to himself, continued to move, but having 



394 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

no one to guide him, soon ran against the cliff and there 
abruptly stopped, entirely barring the road. 

On came the natives; with a rush they were upon him, 
eager to liberate the Nana. Suddenly a tremendous roar, 
like a most frightful crash of thunder, rent the air. 

Before leaving the howdah, Banks had heavily charged 
the valves of the engine. The vapor reached extreme ten- 
sion, and when Behemoth ran against the cliff, finding no 
way of escape through the cylinders, it burst the boiler, the 
fragments flying far and wide. 

" Poor Behemoth! " cried Captain Hood. " He has died 
to save us ! " 



CHAPTER XIV 

CAPTAIN HOOD'S FIFTIETH TIGER 

Colonel Munro and his party had now nothing further 
to fear either from the nabob and the natives who followed 
his fortunes, or from the Dacoits who had so long troubled 
this part of Bundelkund. 

At the sound of the explosion, soldiers issued from the 
guard-house in imposing numbers. Finding themselves 
without a leader, the Dacoits no sooner perceived this re- 
enforcement than they instantly took to flight. 

Colonel Munro made himself known. In half an hour's 
time they reached the station, where they were supplied with 
all they needed, and especially food, of which they were in 
great want. 

Lady Munro was lodged in a comfortable hotel, until it 
was possible for her to be removed to Bombay. There Sir 
Edward trusted that his tender care would at last restore 
life to the soul of her whose body was at present the only 
living part, and who would be still dead to him unless her 
reason returned! 

None of his friends despaired of the final recovery of 
Lady Munro. All confidently awaited it as the only thing 
which could entirely alter the colonel's existence. 

It was settled that the next day they should start for 
Bombay by the first train. This time they would be car- 
ried away by a common locomotive, instead of the indefatig- 
able Behemoth, who now, alas! lay in shapeless ruins. 



CAPTAIN HOOD'S FIFTIETH TIGER 395 

But neither his ardent admirer, Captain Hood, nor Banks, 
his ingenious inventor, nor indeed any of the members of 
the expedition could ever forget the " faithful animal," to 
whom they all agreed in ascribing real life. Long did the 
noise of the explosion which annihilated him ring in their 
ears. 

Before leaving Jubbulpore, Banks, Hood, Maucler, Fox, 
and Goumi naturally wished to pay a visit to the scene of 
the catastrophe. 

There was nothing to be feared from the band of Dacoits, 
yet as a precautionary measure, when the engineer and his 
companions reached the outpost, a detachment of soldiers 
joined them, and proceeded with them to the entrance of 
the defile. 

On the ground lay five or six mutilated corpses, the bodies 
of those who had rushed on Behemoth for the purpose of 
freeing Nana Sahib. 

Of the remainder of the band there was not a trace. 
Instead of returning to the ruined fortress, the last faithful 
followers of the Nana had dispersed through the Nerbudda 
Valley. 

Poor Behemoth had been utterly destroyed by the burst- 
ing of his boiler. One of his huge feet was found at a 
great distance. A part of his trunk blown against the cliff, 
stuck fast, and now projected like a gigantic arm. To a 
great distance the ground was strewn with fragments of 
iron, screws, bolts, pins, remains of pipes, valves, and cyl- 
inders. At the moment of the explosion the tension of the 
force of steam must indeed have been terrific, perhaps ex- 
ceeding twenty atmospheres. 

And now, of that artificial elephant of which the dwellers 
in Steam House had been so proud, that colossal animal 
which had provoked the superstitious admiration of the na- 
tives, the mechanical masterpiece of Banks the engineer, the 
realized dream of the whimsical Rajah of Bhootan, what 
remained? Only a valueless and unrecognizable skeleton! 

" Poor beast ! " sighed Captain Hood as he gazed on the 
body of his beloved Behemoth. 

" We can make another — another which shall be even 
still more powerful ! " said Banks. 

" No doubt," returned the captain, heaving another deep 
sigh, " but it won't be him ! " 



396 TIGERS AND TRAITORS 

While pursuing their investigations, the engineer and his 
companions anxiously looked for the remains of Nana 
Sahib. Even if his face were not recognizable, the finding 
of a hand which had lost a finger would be sufficient to 
prove his identity. It would be satisfactory to have this un- 
questionable proof of the death of the man who could no 
longer be mistaken for his brother, Balao Rao. 

But none of the bloody remains which strewed the ground 
appeared to belong to him who once was Nana Sahib. Had 
his followers carried away every trace and vestige of him? 
That was more than probable. 

The result of this was, that there being no certain proof 
of the death of Nana Sahib, a legend sprang up among the 
population of Central India. To them their unseen 
nabob was still living; they regarded him as an immortal 
being. 

Banks and his friends were, however, positive that Nana 
Sahib could not have survived the explosion. 

They returned to the town, though not until Captain 
Hood had picked up a piece of one of Behemoth's tusks, 
which he ever afterward treasured as a remembrance. 

The next day, the 4th of October, all left Jubbulpore by 
train. Four-and-twenty hours later, they crossed the West- 
ern Ghauts, the Andes of Hindostan, which stretch their 
immense length through dense forests of banyans, syca- 
mores, teaks, mingled with palms, cocoa-trees, arecas, pep- 
per-trees, sandalwood, and bamboos. In a few hours more, 
the railway deposited them on the island of Bombay, which 
with the islands of Salsette, Elephanta, and others, forms a 
magnificent roadstead and port, at the southeastern extrem- 
ity of which stands the capital of the presidency. 

Colonel Munro did not wish to remain in this great town, 
swarming with Arabs, Persians, Banyans, Abyssinians, Par- 
sees or Guebres, Scindes, Europeans of every nationality, 
and also Hindoos. 

The physicians whom he consulted on the state of Lady 
Munro, recommended him to take her to a villa in the neigh- 
borhood, where perfect quiet, combined with their great at- 
tention and the incessant care of her husband, could not fail 
to produce a salutary effect. 

A month passed. Not one of the colonel's companions, 
not one of his servants, thought of leaving him ; they wished 



CAPTAIN HOOD'S FIFTIETH TIGER 397 

to be near him on the not far-distant day which they hoped 
would witness the cure of the poor lady. 

This joy came at last. Little by little Lady Munro's 
senses returned. The mind resumed its natural balance. 
Of her who had been Roving Flame there remained not a 
trace, she herself had no recollection of that sad time. 

"Laura, Laura! " exclaimed the colonel, as Lady Munro 
at last fully recognizing him, was clasped in his arms. 

A week after this, the inhabitants of Steam House were 
united once more in the bungalow at Calcutta. Another life 
was beginning in the beautiful dwelling very different to 
that which had formerly been passed within its walls. Banks 
was entreated to pass his leisure time there, Hood to return 
whenever he could get leave. As to McNeil and Goumi, 
they belonged to the house, and could never be separated 
from Colonel Munro. About this time Maucler was obliged 
to leave Calcutta to return to Europe. He took leave at 
the same time as Hood, whom the devoted Fox was to fol- 
low to the military cantonments of Madras. 

" Good-by, captain," said Colonel Munro ; " I am glad to 
think that you have nothing to regret in your journey across 
Northern India, except not having shot your fiftieth tiger ! ' 

" But I did shoot him, colonel." 

" What ! the fiftieth? When was that? " 

" Why," returned the captain, with a flourish, " forty-nine 
tigers, and Kalagani. Does not that make fifty? " 



THE END. 



MAR 1 5 1978 



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