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A struggle for life.



Page 140.



THE



BEGUM'S FORTUNE.



BY



JULES VERNE.



TRANSLATED BY W. H. G. KINGSTON.



[ WITH AN ACCOUNT OK

THE MUTINEERS OF THE "BOUNTY."



PHILADELPHIA :

J. B. LIPPINCOTT AND CO.,
MARKET STREET.



LONDON :

PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS,

STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS.






CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.

PAGE

ENTER MR. SHARP . i



CHAPTER II.
A PAIR OF CHUMS 16

CHAPTER III.
EFFECT OF AN ITEM OF NEWS 32

CHAPTER IV.
Two CLAIMANTS 47

CHAPTER V.
STAHLSTADT 63

CHAPTER VI.
THE ALBRECHT PIT 80

CHAPTER VII.
THE CENTRAL BLOCK 95



IV CONTENTS.



CHAPTER VIII.

PAGE

THE DRAGON'S DEN . 108



CHAPTER IX.
P. P. C 128

CHAPTER X.
AN ARTICLE FROM ' UNSERE CENTURIE,' A GERMAN REVIEW 142

CHAPTER XL
AT DINNER WITH DOCTOR SARRASIN 157

CHAPTER XII.
THE COUNCIL 165

CHAPTER XIII.
NEWS FOR THE PROFESSOR 178

CHAPTER XIV.
CLEARING FOR ACTION 182

CHAPTER XV.
THE EXCHANGE OF SAN FRANCISCO 189

CHAPTER XVI.
A BRACE OF FRENCHMEN CAPTURE A TOWN . . .202

CHAPTER XVII.
PARLEY BEFORE THE CITADEL 214



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER XVIII.

PAGE

THE KERNEL OF THE NUT 224



CHAPTER XIX.
A FAMILY AFFAIR 233

CHAPTER XX.
CONCLUSION 238



THE MUTINEERS OF THE "BOUNTY."

- CHAPTER I.
TURNED ADRIFT 241

CHAPTER II.
VOYAGE OF THE LONG BOAT 251

CHAPTER III.
THE MUTINEERS 262



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



Doctor Sarrasin at breakfast i

The newly-found Rajah 9

Astounding news 22

He read his father's letter again 2 ^

Otto tells his news 28

" For my part, I always believe what Max says" . . . . 31

Chairing the Doctor 40

Professor Schultz and his man 43

The LangeVol business 47

" We've got the best of it this time !" 59

Stahlstadt 65

The new workman 68

Puddlers at work 72

A monster hammer 72

The casting-hall 74

The little miner's life 83

Max offers his help 86

Poor little Carl 93

An unexpected sight 105

The King of Steel in his palace 107

The masterpiece of Herr Schultz 116

Terrible projectiles 118

Formidable guards 125

Max's ruse 134

A destructive fire 137



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. Vli

PAGE

A struggle for life 140

Frankville 142

The Frankville railway 147

The dinner at Doctor Sarrasin's 163

An important meeting to be held 169

No time to be lost 172

Plans for the defence . . . 182

Coolies at work 184

Great excitement among business men 192

Entering Stahlstadt 207

Forcing an entrance . . . . 210

Danger around 218

Max and Otto fighting the giants 219

The mysterious entrance 222

Herr Schultz discovered 225



THE MUTINEERS OF THE " BOUNTY."

Captain Bligh in the power of the mutineers 244

Christian watching the departing boat 250

The English and the natives 252

Bligh's perilous voyage 256

The Bounty approaching the shore 262




Doctor Sarrasin at breakfast.



Page i.



THE BEGUM'S FORTUNE.



CHAPTER I.

ENTER MR. SHARP.

" REALLY these English newspapers are very well written,"
said the worthy doctor to himself, as he leant back in a
great leathern easy-chair.

Dr. Sarrasin had all his life been given to soliloquising,
one of the many results of absence of mind.

He was a man of fifty, or thereabouts ; his features were
refined ; clear lively eyes shone through his steel spectacles,
and the expression of his countenance, although grave, was
genial. He was one of those people, looking at whom one
says at the first glance, " There is an honest man ! "

Notwithstanding the early hour, and the easy style of
his dress, the doctor had already shaved and put on a
white cravat.

Scattered near him on the carpet and on sundry chairs,
in the sitting-room of his hotel at Brighton, lay copies of
the Times, the Daily Telegraph, and the Daily News. It

B

n



THE BEGUM'S FORTUNE.



was not much more than ten o'clock, yet the doctor had
been out walking in the town, had visited an hospital,
returned to his hotel, and read in the principal London
journals the full report of a paper communicated by him
two evenings previously at a meeting of the great Inter
national Hygienic Conference on the " Compte globules du
sang," or " blood-corpuscle computator," an instrument he
had invented, and which even in England keeps its French
name. Before him stood a breakfast-tray covered with a
snowy napkin, on which were placed a well dressed cutlet,
a cup of hot and fragrant tea, and a plate of that buttered
toast which English cooks, thanks to English bakers, can
make to perfection.

"Yes," he repeated, "these journals are really admirably
well written, there is no denying the fact. Here is the
speech of the president, the reply by Doctor Cicogna of
Naples, my own paper in full, all as it were caught in the
air, seized and photographed at once !

" Dr. Sarrasin of Douai rose and addressed the meeting.
The honourable member spoke in French, and said, ' My
auditors will permit me to express myself in my own
language, which I am sure they understand far better than
I can speak theirs.'

" Five columns in small print !

" I cannot decide which reports it best, the Times or the
Telegraph, each seems so exact and so precise."



ENTER MR. SHARP.



Dr. Sarrasin had reached this point in his meditations,
when one of the waiters of the establishment, a gentleman
most correctly dressed in black, entered, and presenting a
card, inquired whether " Monsiou " was " at home " to
a visitor.

This appellation of " Monsiou " the English consider it
necessary to bestow indiscriminately on every Frenchman
in the same way they would think it a breach of all the
rules of civility did they fail to address an Italian as
"Signor," and a German as "Herr." Perhaps on the
whole the custom is a good one it certainly has the ad
vantage of at once indicating nationalities.

Considerably surprised to hear of a visitor in a country
where he was acquainted with no one, the doctor took the
card, and read with increased perplexity the following
.address :

Mr. Sharp,

Solicitor,

93, Southampton Row, London.

He knew that a " solicitor " meant what he should call
an "avoueY' and signified a lawyer of the compound
nature of attorney, procurator, and notary.

" What possible business can Mr. Sharp have with me ? "
thought the doctor. " Can I have got into some scrape or
other without knowing it ? Are you sure this card is
intended for me ? " he asked.

B 2



THE BEGUM'S FORTUNE.



" Oh yes, Monsiou."

" Well, let the gentleman come in."

A youngish man entered the room, whom the doctor at
once classed in the great family of " death's heads." Thin
dry lips, drawn back from long white teeth, hollow temple-
bones, displayed beneath skin like parchment, the com
plexion of a mummy, and small grey eyes as sharp as
needles, quite justified the title. The rest of the skeleton,
from the heels to the occiput, was hidden from view
beneath an ulster, of a large chequer pattern ; his hand
grasped a patent-leather bag.

This personage entered, bowing in a hasty manner,
placed bag and hat on the ground, took a chair without
waiting to have one offered, and opened his business by
saying

"William Henry Sharp, Junior, of the firm of Billows,
Green, Sharp and Co. Have I the honour of speaking to
Doctor Sarrasin ?"

" Yes, sir."

"Francois Sarrasin?'*

"That certainly is my name."

"OfDouai?"

" I reside at Douai."

"Your father's name was Isidore Sarrasin ?"

" It was so."

" Let us conclude him to have been Isidore Sarrasin."



ENTER MR. SHARP. 5



Mr. Sharp drew a note-book from his pocket, consulted
it, and resumed

" Isidore Sarrasin died at Paris in 1857, 6th Arrondisse-
ment, Rue Taranne, Number 54 the Hdtel des Ecoles,
now demolished."

''Perfectly correct, 5 * said the doctor, more and more
astonished. "But will you have the kindness to ex
plain ?"

"His mother's name," pursued the imperturbable Mr.
Sharp, "was Julie Langevol, originally of Bar-le-Duc,
daughter of Benedict Langevol, who lived in the alley
Loriol, and died in 1812, as is shown by the municipal
registers of the said town these registers are a valuable
institution, sir highly valuable hem hem and sister
of Jean Jacques Langevol, drum-major in the 36th
Light- -"

" I assure you," interrupted Doctor Sarrasin, confounded
by this intimate acquaintance with his genealogy, "that
you are better informed on these points than I am myself.
It is true that my grandmother's family name was
Langevol, and that is all I know about her."

"About the year 1807 she left the town of Bar-le-Duc
with your grandfather, Jean Sarrasin, whom she had
married in 1799. They settled at Melun, where he
worked as a tinsmith, and where, in 1811, Julie Langevol,
Sarrasin's wife, died, leaving only one child, Isidore



THE BEGUM'S FORTUNE.



Sarrasin, your father. From that time, up to the date
of his death, discovered at Paris, the thread is lost."

"I can supply it," said the doctor, interested in spite
of himself by this wonderful precision. "My grand
father settled in Paris for the sake of the education of
his son, whom he destined to the medical profession.
He died in 1832, at Palaiseau, near Versailles, where
my father practised as a physician, and where I was born
in 1822."

" You are my man/' resumed Mr. Sharp. " No brothers
or sisters ?"

" None. I was the only son ; my mother died two
years after my birth. Now, sir, will you tell me ? "

Mr. Sharp stood up.

" Rajah Bryah Jowahir Mothooranath," said he, pro
nouncing the names with the respect shown by every
Englishman to a title, " I am happy to have discovered
you, and to be the first to congratulate you."

" The man is deranged," thought the doctor ; " it is not
at all uncommon among these death's heads."

The solicitor read this opinion in his eyes.

" I am not mad in the slightest degree," said he calmly.
" You are at the present moment the sole known heir to
the title of Rajah, which Jean Jacques Langevol who
became a naturalised British subject in 1819, succeeded to
the property of his wife the Begum Gokool, and died in



ENTER MR. SHARP.



1841, leaving only one son, an idiot, who died without
issue in 1869 was allowed to assume by the Governor-
General of the province of Bengal.

" The value of the estate has risen during the last thirty
years to about five millions of pounds sterling. It
remained sequestered and under guardianship, almost
the whole of the interest going to increase the capital
during the life of the imbecile son of Jean Jacques
Langevol.

"In 1870 the value of the inheritance was given in
round numbers to be twenty-one millions of pounds
sterling, or five hundred and twenty-five millions of francs.
In fulfilment of an order of the law court of Agra, counter
signed by that of Delhi, and confirmed by the Privy
Council, the whole of the landed and personal property
has been sold, and the sum realised has been placed in the
Bank of England.

"The actual sum is five hundred and twenty-seven
millions of francs, which you can withdraw by a cheque as
soon as you have proved your genealogical identity in the
Court of Chancery. And in the meantime I am authorised
by Messrs. Trollop, Smith and Co., Bankers, to offer you
advances to any amount."

Dr. Sarrasin sat petrified for some minutes he could not
utter a word ; then, impressed by a conviction that this fine
story was without any foundation in fact, he quietly said



8 THE BEGUM'S FORTUNE.

u After all, sir, where are the proofs of this, and in
what way have you been led to find me out ? "

"The proofs are here, sir," replied Mr. Sharp, tapping
on his shiny leather bag. " As to how I discovered you, it
has been in a very simple way : I have been searching for
you for five years. It is the speciality of our firm to find
heirs for the numerous fortunes which year by year are
left in escheat in the British dominions. .

"For five years the question of the inheritance of the
Begum Gokool has exercised all our ingenuity and activity.
We have made investigations in every direction, passed in
review hundreds of families of your name without finding
that of Isidore Sarrasin. I was almost convinced that
there was not another of the name in all France, when
yesterday morning I read in the Daily News a report of
the meeting of the Hygienic Conference, and observed
that among the members was a Doctor Sarrasin, of
whom I had never before heard.

'* Referring instantly to my notes, and to hundreds of
papers on the subject of this estate, I ascertained with
surprise that the town of Douai had entirely escaped
our notice.

u With the conviction that I had got on the right scent,
I took the train for Brighton, saw you leave the meeting,
and all doubt vanished. You are the living image of
your great-uncle Langevol, of whom we possess a photo-




The newly -found Rajah.



Page 9.



ENTER MR.. SHARP.



graph taken from a portrait by the Indian painter
Saranoni."

Mr. Sharp took a photograph from his pocket-book and
handed it to Dr. Sarrasin.

It represented a tall man with a magnificent beard, a
crested turban, and a richly brocaded robe.

He was seated after the manner of conventional portraits
of generals in the army, appearing to be drawing up a plan
of attack, while attentively regarding the spectator.

In the background could be dimly discerned the smoke
of battle and a charge of cavalry.

"A glance at these papers will inform you on this
matter better than I can do," continued Mr. Sharp ; " I
will leave, them with you, and return in a couple of hours,
if you will then permit me to take your orders."

So saying, Mr. Sharp drew from the depths of his
glazed bag seven or eight bundles of documents, some
printed, some manuscript, placed them on the table, and
backed out of the room, murmuring

"I have the honour to wish the Rajah Bryah Jowahir
Mothooranath a very good morning."

Partly convinced, partly ridiculing the idea, the doctor
took the papers and began to peruse them.

A rapid examination sufficed to show him the truth
of Mr. Sharp's statements, and to remove his doubts.
Among the printed documents he read the following :



io THE BEGUM'S FORTUNE.

Evidence placed before the Right Honourable Lords
of Her Majesty's Privy Council on the 5th of January
1870, touching the vacant succession of the Begum Gokool
of Ragginahra, in Bengal. Points of the case. The
question concerns the rights of possession to certain
landed estates, together with a fc variety of edifices, palaces,
mercantile establishments, villages, personal properties,
treasure, arms, &c., &c., forming the inheritance of the
Begum Gokool of Ragginahra.

From evidence submitted to the civil tribunal of Agra,
and to the Superior Court at Delhi, it appears that in
1819, the Begum Gokool, widow of Rajah Luckmissur,
and possessed in her own right of considerable wealth,
married a foreigner, of French origin, by name Jean
Jacques Langevol.

This foreigner, after serving until 1815 in the French
army as drum-major in the 36th Light Cavalry, embarked
at Nantes, upon the disbandment of the army of the
Loire, as supercargo of a merchant ship.

He reached Calcutta, passed into the interior, and
speedily obtained the appointment of military instructor in
the small native army which the Rajah Luckmissur was
authorised to maintain. In this army he rose to be com-
mander-in-chief, and shortly after the Rajah's death he
obtained the hand of his widow.

In consideration of various important services rendered



ENTER MR. SHARP. II

to the English residents at Agra by Jean Jacques Langevol,
he was constituted a British subject, and the Governor-
General of Bengal obtained for the husband of the Begum
the title of Rajah of Bryah Jowahir Mothooranath, which
was the name of one of the most considerable of her estates.
The Begum died in 1839, leaving the whole of her wealth
and property to Langevol, who survived her only two years.

Their only child was imbecile from his infancy, and was
placed at once under guardians. The inheritance was
carefully managed by trustees until his death, which
occurred in 1869.

To this immense heritage there is no known heir. The
courts of Agra and Delhi having ordered its sale by auction,
on the application of the local government acting for the
state, we have the honour to request from the Lords of the
Privy Council a confirmation of their decision, &c. Here
followed the signatures.

Copies of legal documents from Agra and Delhi, deeds
of sale, an account of the efforts made in France to discover
the next of kin to Langevol's family, and a whole mass of
imposing evidence of the like nature, left Dr. Sarrasin no
room for doubt or hesitation.

Between him and the five hundred and twenty-seven
millions of francs deposited in the strong rooms of the
Bank of England there was but a step, the production of
authentic certificates of certain births and deaths.



12 THE BEGUM'S FORTUNE.



Such a stroke of fortune being enough to dazzle the
imagination of the most sober-minded man, the good
doctor could not contemplate it without some emotion.
Yet it was of short duration, and exhibited simply by a
rapid walk for a few minutes up and down his apartment.

Quickly recovering his self-possession, he accused him
self of weakness for yielding to this feverish agitation,
threw himself into his chair, and remained for a time lost
in profound reflection.

Then suddenly rising, he resumed his walk backwards
and forwards, while his eyes shone with a pure light as
though a noble and generous project burned within his
breast. He seemed to welcome, to caress, to encourage,
and finally to adopt it.

A knock at the door. Mr. Sharp returned.

" I ask pardon a thousand times for my doubts as to
the correctness of your information," said the doctor in a
cordial tone. " You see me now perfectly convinced, and
extremely obliged to you for the trouble you have taken."

" Not at all mere matter of business in the way of my
profession nothing more," replied Mr. Sharp. "May I
venture to hope that the Rajah will remain our client ? "

" That is understood. I place the whole affair in your
hands. I only beg you to desist from giving me that
absurd title."

" Absurd ! a title worth twenty millions ! " were the



ENTER MR. SHARP. 13



words Mr. Sharp would have uttered had he known no
better ; but he said, " Certainly, sir, if you wish it. As
you please, sir. I am now going to return by train to-
London, where I shall await your orders."

" May I keep these documents ? " inquired the doctor.

" Most assuredly we retain copies."

Dr. Sarrasin was left alone. He seated himself at his
desk, took out a sheet of paper, and wrote as follows :

"Brighton, 28th October, 1871.

"MY DEAR CHILD,

" We have become possessed of an enormous fortune,
a fortune absurdly colossal. Do not fancy that I have
lost my senses, but read the printed papers enclosed in
my letter. You will there plainly see that I am proved
to be the heir to a native title in India, and a sum
equivalent to many millions of francs, actually deposited
in the Bank of England.

" I can feel sure of the sentiments with which you, my
dear Otto, will receive this news. You will perceive, as I
do myself, the new duties which such wealth will impose
upon us, and the danger we are in of being tempted to use
it unwisely.

" It is but an hour since I was made aware of the fact,
and already the overpowering sense of responsibility seems
to lessen the pleasure it first gave me as I thought of you.
This change may be fatal instead of fortunate to our



14 THE BEGUM'S FORTUNE.

destiny. In the modest position of pioneers of science we
were content and happy in obscurity. Shall we continue
to be so ? I doubt it, unless perhaps (could I venture
to mention an idea which has flashed across my brain,)
unless this same fortune were to become in our hands a
new and powerful engine of science, a mighty tool in the
great work of civilisation and progress ! We will talk about
this. Write to me let me know very soon what impression
this wonderful news makes on your mind and let your
mother hear of it from you. Sensible woman as she is, I
am convinced she will receive it calmly. As to your sister,
she is too young to have her head turned by anything of
the sort. Besides, that little head of hers is a very sober
one, and even if she could comprehend all that this change
in our position implies, I believe she would take it more
quietly than any of us.

" Remember me cordially to Max ; I connect him with
all my schemes for the future.

" Your affectionate father,

" FRANCOIS SARRASIN."

This letter, with the more important papers, was
addressed to
Monsieur Octave Sarrasin,

Student at the Upper School of Arts and Manufactures,

32, Rue du Roi de Sicile,
Paris.



ENTER MR. SHARP.



Then the doctor put on his overcoat, took his hat, and
went to the Conference.

In a quarter of an hour, the worthy man had forgotten
all about his millions.



16 THE BEGUM'S FORTUNE.



CHAPTER II.

A PAIR OF CHUMS.

DR. SARRASIN'S son Octavius was not exactly what one
would call a dunce. He was neither a blockhead nor a
genius, neither plain nor handsome, neither tall nor short,
neither dark nor fair. His complexion was nut-brown, and
he was altogether an average specimen of the middle
class.

At school he had never taken a very high place, although
occasionally gaining a prize. He had failed in his first
examination for passing into the College of Engineers,
but a second attempt admitted him, although with no great
credit.

There was a want of decision in his character his mind
was content with inaccuracies ; he was one of those people
who are satisfied to have a general idea of a subject, and
who walk through life by moonlight.

Such men float at the mercy of fate, as corks do on the



A PAIR OF CHUMS. I/

crests of waves. They are driven to the equator or to the
pole, according to whether the wind blows north or south.
Chance decides their career.

Had Dr. Sarrasin altogether understood his son's
character, he might have hesitated to write the letter he
did ; but the wisest man may be a blind father.

Fortunately for Octavius, he had during his school life
come under the influence of an energetic nature, which by
its vigorous strength ruled him for his good, albeit some
what tyrannically. He formed a close friendship with one
of his companions, Max Bruckmann, a native of Alsace, a
year younger than himself, but far his superior in physical,
intellectual and moral vigour.

Max Bruckmann, left an orphan at the age of twelve,
inherited a small income, just sufficient to defray the
expense of his education. His life at college would have
been monotonous had he not passed the holidays with
Octavius, or Otto, as he called his friend, at his home.

The young Alsacien very soon felt himself one of Dr.
Sarrasin's family. Beneath a cold exterior lay a warm
and sensitive nature, and he considered that he was bound
for life to those who acted like father and mother to him.

He positively adored Dr. Sarrasin, his wife, and their
pretty thoughtful little daughter; his heart expanded
under the influence of their kindness, and he greatly
wished to be useful to them by helping Jeannette, who

C



1 8 THE BEGUM'S FORTUNE.

loved her studies, to advance in them, and thoroughly to
cultivate her excellent abilities and firm, sensible mind,
while he longed to lead Otto to become as good a man as
his father. This latter task he well knew to be by no
means so easy as the former, yet Max was resolved to
attain his double purpose.

Max Bruckmann was one of those trusty and gallant
champions whom year by year Alsace sends forth to do
battle on the great arena of life in Paris.

As a mere child he distinguished himself by the strength
and flexibility of his muscles, as much as by the vivacity
and intelligence of his mind. Inwardly full of life and
courage, his outward form exhibited strong muscular
development rather than graceful proportions. At college
he excelled in everything he attempted, whether sport or
study. Reaping an annual harvest of prizes, he thought
the year wasted if he failed to gain all within his reach.

At twenty his form was large, robust, and in splendid
condition ; his movements were animated, and his well-
shaped head betokened unusual intelligence. When he
entered college, the same year with Octavius, he stood
second, and was resolved to be first when the time came
for leaving it.

Without his persistent energy to urge him forward,
Octavius would never have got in at all. For the space of
a whole year Max had driven and goaded him to work,



A PAIR OF CHUMS. 19


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