Mr. Fogg and his two companions took their places on a bench opposite the desks of the magistrate and his clerk. Immediately after, Judge Obadiah, a fat, round man, followed by the clerk, entered. He proceeded to take down a wig which was hanging on a nail, and put it hurriedly on his head.
"The first case," said he. Then, putting his hand to his head, he exclaimed, "Heh! This is not my wig!"
"No, your worship," returned the clerk, "it is mine."
"My dear Mr. Oysterpuff, how can a judge give a wise sentence in a clerk's wig?"
The wigs were exchanged.
Passepartout was getting nervous, for the hands on the face of the big clock over the judge seemed to go around with terrible rapidity.
"The first case," repeated Judge Obadiah.
"Phileas Fogg?" demanded Oysterpuff.
"I am here," replied Mr. Fogg.
"Present," responded Passepartout.
"Good," said the judge. "You have been looked for, prisoners, for two days on the trains from Bombay."
"But of what are we accused?" asked Passepartout, impatiently.
"You are about to be informed."
"I am an English subject, sir," said Mr. Fogg, "and I have the right--"
"Have you been ill-treated?"
"Not at all."
"Very well; let the complainants come in."
A door was swung open by order of the judge, and three Indian priests entered.
"That's it," muttered Passepartout; "these are the rogues who were going to burn our young lady."
The priests took their places in front of the judge, and the clerk proceeded to read in a loud voice a complaint of sacrilege against Phileas Fogg and his servant, who were accused of having violated a place held consecrated by the Brahmin religion.
"You hear the charge?" asked the judge.
"Yes, sir," replied Mr. Fogg, consulting his watch, "and I admit it."
"You admit it?"
"I admit it, and I wish to hear these priests admit, in their turn, what they were going to do at the pagoda of Pillaji."
The priests looked at each other; they did not seem to understand what was said.
"Yes," cried Passepartout, warmly; "at the pagoda of Pillaji, where they were on the point of burning their victim."
The judge stared with astonishment, and the priests were stupefied.
"What victim?" said Judge Obadiah. "Burn whom? In Bombay itself?"
"Bombay?" cried Passepartout.
"Certainly. We are not talking of the pagoda of Pillaji, but of the pagoda of Malabar Hill, at Bombay."
"And as a proof," added the clerk, "here are the desecrator's very shoes, which he left behind him."
Whereupon he placed a pair of shoes on his desk.
"My shoes!" cried Passepartout, in his surprise permitting this imprudent exclamation to escape him.
The confusion of master and man, who had quite forgotten the affair at Bombay, for which they were now detained at Calcutta, may be imagined.
Fix the detective, had foreseen the advantage which Passepartout's escapade gave him, and, delaying his departure for twelve hours, had consulted the priests of Malabar Hill. Knowing that the English authorities dealt very severely with this kind of misdemeanour, he promised them a goodly sum in damages, and sent them forward to Calcutta by the next train. Owing to the delay caused by the rescue of the young widow, Fix and the priests reached the Indian capital before Mr. Fogg and his servant, the magistrates having been already warned by a dispatch to arrest them should they arrive. Fix's disappointment when he learned that Phileas Fogg had not made his appearance in Calcutta may be imagined. He made up his mind that the robber had stopped somewhere on the route and taken refuge in the southern provinces. For twenty-four hours Fix watched the station with feverish anxiety; at last he was rewarded by seeing Mr. Fogg and Passepartout arrive, accompanied by a young woman, whose presence he was wholly at a loss to explain. He hastened for a policeman; and this was how the party came to be arrested and brought before Judge Obadiah.
Had Passepartout been a little less preoccupied, he would have espied the detective ensconced in a corner of the court-room, watching the proceedings with an interest easily understood; for the warrant had failed to reach him at Calcutta, as it had done at Bombay and Suez.