Study Guide

Around the World in Eighty Days Chapter 13

By Jules Verne

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Chapter 13

In which Passepartout receives a new proof that fortune favours the brave

  • Phileas Fogg decides to make time for a daring rescue in the middle of his world tour.
  • Long story short, the religious ceremony our adventurers witness from the back of their elephant is a "suttee," an ancient practice of burning the body of a dead rajah (king) along with his possessions (including his still-living wife.) Often the woman would be drugged with opium so she'd cooperate with the ceremony that would burn her alive. If she escaped, her family would shun her and she'd starve to death and be forced to shave off all her hair (a fate, we learn, that would be worse than death).
  • Phileas, Passepartout, and Sir Francis learn from their elephant guide that the woman is an Indian princess.
  • The princess is heavily guarded in the pagoda of Pillaji, and the adventurers wait all night to figure out a plan for rescue.
  • They decide to try tunneling through the old building, but are stopped when the guards awaken.
  • Passepartout has an idea and slips quietly away.
  • Distressed, they watch the next morning as the drugged woman is led upon the funeral pyre and it is lit.
  • Phileas and Sir Francis are just about to rush the pyre when suddenly the dead rajah sits up and grabs the princess, dragging her through the crowd toward them. It seems that during the night Passepartout had the creative idea to impersonate the dead body to achieve the daring rescue.
  • The party runs away into the woods and the elephant crashes through the jungle at a frantic pace. Escape is achieved.

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