In which Passepartout does not
succeed in making anybody listen
The train, on leaving Great
Salt Lake at Ogden, passed northward
for an hour as far as Weber River,
having completed nearly nine
hundred miles from San Francisco.
From this point it took an easterly
direction towards the jagged
Wahsatch Mountains. It was in
the section included between
this range and the Rocky Mountains
that the American engineers found
the most formidable difficulties
in laying the road, and that
the government granted a subsidy
of forty-eight thousand dollars
per mile, instead of sixteen
thousand allowed for the work
done on the plains. But the engineers,
instead of violating nature,
avoided its difficulties by winding
around, instead of penetrating
the rocks. One tunnel only, fourteen
thousand feet in length, was
pierced in order to arrive at
the great basin.
The track up to this time had
reached its highest elevation
at the Great Salt Lake. From
this point it described a long
curve, descending towards Bitter
Creek Valley, to rise again to
the dividing ridge of the waters
between the Atlantic and the
Pacific. There were many creeks
in this mountainous region, and
it was necessary to cross Muddy
Creek, Green Creek, and others,
Passepartout grew more and
more impatient as they went on,
while Fix longed to get out of
this difficult region, and was
more anxious than Phileas Fogg
himself to be beyond the danger
of delays and accidents, and
set foot on English soil.
At ten o'clock at night the
train stopped at Fort Bridger
station, and twenty minutes later
entered Wyoming Territory, following
the valley of Bitter Creek throughout.
The next day, 7th December, they
stopped for a quarter of an hour
at Green River station. Snow
had fallen abundantly during
the night, but, being mixed with
rain, it had half melted, and
did not interrupt their progress.
The bad weather, however, annoyed
Passepartout; for the accumulation
of snow, by blocking the wheels
of the cars, would certainly
have been fatal to Mr. Fogg's
"What an idea!" he said to
himself. "Why did my master make
this journey in winter? Couldn't
he have waited for the good season
to increase his chances?"
While the worthy Frenchman
was absorbed in the state of
the sky and the depression of
the temperature, Aouda was experiencing
fears from a totally different
Several passengers had got
off at Green River, and were
walking up and down the platforms;
and among these Aouda recognised
Colonel Stamp Proctor, the same
who had so grossly insulted Phileas
Fogg at the San Francisco meeting.
Not wishing to be recognised,
the young woman drew back from
the window, feeling much alarm
at her discovery. She was attached
to the man who, however coldly,
gave her daily evidences of the
most absolute devotion. She did
not comprehend, perhaps, the
depth of the sentiment with which
her protector inspired her, which
she called gratitude, but which,
though she was unconscious of
it, was really more than that.
Her heart sank within her when
she recognised the man whom Mr.
Fogg desired, sooner or later,
to call to account for his conduct.
Chance alone, it was clear, had
brought Colonel Proctor on this
train; but there he was, and
it was necessary, at all hazards,
that Phileas Fogg should not
perceive his adversary.
Aouda seized a moment when
Mr. Fogg was asleep to tell Fix
and Passepartout whom she had
"That Proctor on this train!" cried
Fix. "Well, reassure yourself,
madam; before he settles with
Mr. Fogg; he has got to deal
with me! It seems to me that
I was the more insulted of the
"And, besides," added Passepartout, "I'll
take charge of him, colonel as
"Mr. Fix," resumed Aouda, "Mr.
Fogg will allow no one to avenge
him. He said that he would come
back to America to find this
man. Should he perceive Colonel
Proctor, we could not prevent
a collision which might have
terrible results. He must not
"You are right, madam," replied
Fix; "a meeting between them
might ruin all. Whether he were
victorious or beaten, Mr. Fogg
would be delayed, and--"
"And," added Passepartout, "that
would play the game of the gentlemen
of the Reform Club. In four days
we shall be in New York. Well,
if my master does not leave this
car during those four days, we
may hope that chance will not
bring him face to face with this
confounded American. We must,
if possible, prevent his stirring
out of it."
dropped. Mr. Fogg had just
woke up, and was
looking out of the window. Soon
after Passepartout, without being
heard by his master or Aouda,
whispered to the detective, "Would
you really fight for him?"
"I would do anything," replied
Fix, in a tone which betrayed
determined will, "to get him
back living to Europe!"
Passepartout felt something
like a shudder shoot through
his frame, but his confidence
in his master remained unbroken.
Was there any
means of detaining Mr. Fogg
in the car, to avoid
a meeting between him and the
colonel? It ought not to be a
difficult task, since that gentleman
was naturally sedentary and little
curious. The detective, at least,
seemed to have found a way; for,
after a few moments, he said
to Mr. Fogg, "These are long
and slow hours, sir, that we
are passing on the railway."
"Yes," replied Mr. Fogg; "but
"You were in the habit of playing
whist," resumed Fix, "on the
"Yes; but it
would be difficult to do so
here. I have neither
cards nor partners."
"Oh, but we
can easily buy some cards,
for they are sold
on all the American trains. And
as for partners, if madam plays--"
"Certainly, sir," Aouda quickly
replied; "I understand whist.
It is part of an English education."
"I myself have
some pretensions to playing
a good game. Well,
here are three of us, and a dummy--"
"As you please, sir," replied
Phileas Fogg, heartily glad to
resume his favourite pastime
even on the railway.
Passepartout was dispatched
in search of the steward, and
soon returned with two packs
of cards, some pins, counters,
and a shelf covered with cloth.
The game commenced. Aouda understood
whist sufficiently well, and
even received some compliments
on her playing from Mr. Fogg.
As for the detective, he was
simply an adept, and worthy of
being matched against his present
"Now," thought Passepartout, "we've
got him. He won't budge."
At eleven in the morning the
train had reached the dividing
ridge of the waters at Bridger
Pass, seven thousand five hundred
and twenty-four feet above the
level of the sea, one of the
highest points attained by the
track in crossing the Rocky Mountains.
After going about two hundred
miles, the travellers at last
found themselves on one of those
vast plains which extend to the
Atlantic, and which nature has
made so propitious for laying
the iron road.
On the declivity of the Atlantic
basin the first streams, branches
of the North Platte River, already
appeared. The whole northern
and eastern horizon was bounded
by the immense semi-circular
curtain which is formed by the
southern portion of the Rocky
Mountains, the highest being
Laramie Peak. Between this and
the railway extended vast plains,
plentifully irrigated. On the
right rose the lower spurs of
the mountainous mass which extends
southward to the sources of the
Arkansas River, one of the great
tributaries of the Missouri.
At half-past twelve the travellers
caught sight for an instant of
Fort Halleck, which commands
that section; and in a few more
hours the Rocky Mountains were
crossed. There was reason to
hope, then, that no accident
would mark the journey through
this difficult country. The snow
had ceased falling, and the air
became crisp and cold. Large
birds, frightened by the locomotive,
rose and flew off in the distance.
No wild beast appeared on the
plain. It was a desert in its
After a comfortable breakfast,
served in the car, Mr. Fogg and
his partners had just resumed
whist, when a violent whistling
was heard, and the train stopped.
Passepartout put his head out
of the door, but saw nothing
to cause the delay; no station
was in view.
Aouda and Fix
feared that Mr. Fogg might
take it into his head
to get out; but that gentleman
contented himself with saying
to his servant, "See what is
Passepartout rushed out of
the car. Thirty or forty passengers
had already descended, amongst
them Colonel Stamp Proctor.
The train had stopped before
a red signal which blocked the
way. The engineer and conductor
were talking excitedly with a
signal-man, whom the station-master
at Medicine Bow, the next stopping
place, had sent on before. The
passengers drew around and took
part in the discussion, in which
Colonel Proctor, with his insolent
manner, was conspicuous.
joining the group, heard the
signal-man say, "No!
you can't pass. The bridge at
Medicine Bow is shaky, and would
not bear the weight of the train."
This was a suspension-bridge
thrown over some rapids, about
a mile from the place where they
now were. According to the signal-man,
it was in a ruinous condition,
several of the iron wires being
broken; and it was impossible
to risk the passage. He did not
in any way exaggerate the condition
of the bridge. It may be taken
for granted that, rash as the
Americans usually are, when they
are prudent there is good reason
Passepartout, not daring to
apprise his master of what he
heard, listened with set teeth,
immovable as a statue.
"Hum!" cried Colonel Proctor; "but
we are not going to stay here,
I imagine, and take root in the
"Colonel," replied the conductor, "we
have telegraphed to Omaha for
a train, but it is not likely
that it will reach Medicine Bow
is less than six hours."
"Six hours!" cried
"Certainly," returned the conductor, "besides,
it will take us as long as that
to reach Medicine Bow on foot."
"But it is only a mile from
here," said one of the passengers.
"Yes, but it's
on the other side of the river."
"And can't we cross that in
a boat?" asked the colonel.
The creek is swelled by the
rains. It is
a rapid, and we shall have to
make a circuit of ten miles to
the north to find a ford."
The colonel launched a volley
of oaths, denouncing the railway
company and the conductor; and
Passepartout, who was furious,
was not disinclined to make common
cause with him. Here was an obstacle,
indeed, which all his master's
banknotes could not remove.
There was a general disappointment
among the passengers, who, without
reckoning the delay, saw themselves
compelled to trudge fifteen miles
over a plain covered with snow.
They grumbled and protested,
and would certainly have thus
attracted Phileas Fogg's attention
if he had not been completely
absorbed in his game.
found that he could not avoid
telling his master
what had occurred, and, with
hanging head, he was turning
towards the car, when the engineer
a true Yankee, named Forster
called out, "Gentlemen, perhaps
there is a way, after all, to
"On the bridge?" asked
"On the bridge."
"With our train?"
"With our train."
Passepartout stopped short,
and eagerly listened to the engineer.
"But the bridge is unsafe," urged
"No matter," replied Forster; "I
think that by putting on the
very highest speed we might have
a chance of getting over."
"The devil!" muttered
But a number of the passengers
were at once attracted by the
engineer's proposal, and Colonel
Proctor was especially delighted,
and found the plan a very feasible
one. He told stories about engineers
leaping their trains over rivers
without bridges, by putting on
full steam; and many of those
present avowed themselves of
the engineer's mind.
"We have fifty chances out
of a hundred of getting over," said
was astounded, and, though
ready to attempt
anything to get over Medicine
Creek, thought the experiment
proposed a little too American. "Besides," thought
he, "there's a still more simple
way, and it does not even occur
to any of these people! Sir," said
he aloud to one of the passengers, "the
engineer's plan seems to me a
little dangerous, but--"
"Eighty chances!" replied
the passenger, turning his
"I know it," said Passepartout,
turning to another passenger, "but
a simple idea--"
"Ideas are no use," returned
the American, shrugging his shoulders, "as
the engineer assures us that
we can pass."
"Doubtless," urged Passepartout, "we
can pass, but perhaps it would
be more prudent--"
"What! Prudent!" cried Colonel
Proctor, whom this word seemed
to excite prodigiously. "At full
speed, don't you see, at full
"I know--I see," repeated Passepartout; "but
it would be, if not more prudent,
since that word displeases you,
at least more natural--"
"Who! What! What's the matter
with this fellow?" cried several.
The poor fellow did not know
to whom to address himself.
"Are you afraid?" asked
Very well; I will show these
people that a Frenchman
can be as American as they!"
"All aboard!" cried
"Yes, all aboard!" repeated
Passepartout, and immediately. "But
they can't prevent me from thinking
that it would be more natural
for us to cross the bridge on
foot, and let the train come
But no one heard this sage
reflection, nor would anyone
have acknowledged its justice.
The passengers resumed their
places in the cars. Passepartout
took his seat without telling
what had passed. The whist-players
were quite absorbed in their
The locomotive whistled vigorously;
the engineer, reversing the steam,
backed the train for nearly a
mile--retiring, like a jumper,
in order to take a longer leap.
Then, with another whistle, he
began to move forward; the train
increased its speed, and soon
its rapidity became frightful;
a prolonged screech issued from
the locomotive; the piston worked
up and down twenty strokes to
the second. They perceived that
the whole train, rushing on at
the rate of a hundred miles an
hour, hardly bore upon the rails
And they passed over! It was
like a flash. No one saw the
bridge. The train leaped, so
to speak, from one bank to the
other, and the engineer could
not stop it until it had gone
five miles beyond the station.
But scarcely had the train passed
the river, when the bridge, completely
ruined, fell with a crash into
the rapids of Medicine Bow.