The next day a passenger with a half-stupefied eye, staggering gait and disordered hair, was seen to emerge from the second cabin, and to totter to a seat on deck.
It was Passepartout. What had happened to him was as follows. Shortly after Fix left the opium den, two waiters had lifted the unconscious Passepartout, and had carried him to the bed reserved for the smokers. Three hours later, pursued even in his dreams by a fixed idea, the poor fellow awoke, and struggled against the stupefying influence of the narcotic. The thought of a duty unfulfilled shook off his torpor, and he hurried from the abode of drunkenness. Staggering and holding himself up by keeping against the walls, falling down and creeping up again, and irresistibly impelled by a kind of instinct, he kept crying out, "The Carnatic! the Carnatic!"
The steamer lay puffing alongside the quay, on the point of starting. Passepartout had but few steps to go; and, rushing upon the plank, he crossed it, and fell unconscious on the deck, just as the Carnatic was moving off. Several sailors, who were evidently accustomed to this sort of scene, carried the poor Frenchman down into the second cabin, and Passepartout did not wake until they were one hundred and fifty miles away from China. Thus he found himself the next morning on the deck of the Carnatic, and eagerly inhaling the exhilarating sea breeze. The pure air sobered him. He began to collect his sense, which he found a difficult task, but at last he recalled the events of the evening before, Fix's revelation, and the opium house.
"It is evident," he said to himself, "that I have been abominably drunk! What will Mr. Fogg say? At least I have not missed the steamer, which is the most important thing."
Then, as Fix occurred to him: "As for that rascal, I hope we are well rid of him, and that he has not dared, as he proposed, to follow us on board the Carnatic. A detective on the track of Mr. Fogg, accused of robbing the Bank of England! Pshaw! Mr. Fogg is no more a robber than I am a murderer."Should he divulge Fix's real errand to his master? Would it do to tell the part the detective was playing? Would it not be better to wait until Mr. Fogg reached London again, and then impart to him that an agent of the metropolitan police had been following him round the world, and have a good laugh over it? No doubt, at least, it was worth considering. The first thing to do was to find Mr. Fogg, and apologize for his singular behavior.
Passepartout got up and proceeded, as well as he could with the rolling of the steamer, to the afterdeck. He saw no one who resembled either his master or Aouda. "Good!" muttered he; "Aouda has not gotten up yet, and Mr. Fogg has probably found some partners at whist."
He descended to the saloon. Mr. Fogg was not there. Passepartout had only, however, to ask the purser the number of his master's stateroom. The purser replied that he did not know any passenger by the name of Fogg.
"I beg your pardon," said Passepartout persistently. "He is a tall gentleman, quiet and not very talkative, and has with him a young lady -"
"There is no young lady on board," interrupted the purser. "Here is a list of the passengers. You may see for yourself."
Passepartout scanned the list, but his master's name was not upon it. All at once an idea struck him.
"Ah! Am I on the Carnatic?"
"On the way to Yokohama?"
Passepartout had for an instant feared that he was on the wrong boat; but, though he was really on the Carnatic, his master was not there.He fell thunderstruck on a seat. He saw it all now. He remembered that the time of sailing had been changed, that he should have informed his master of that fact, and that he had not done so. It was his fault, then, that Mr. Fogg and Aouda had missed the steamer. Yes, but it was still more the fault of the traitor who, in order to separate him from his master, and detain the latter at Hong Kong, had inveigled him into getting drunk! He now saw the detective's trick, and at this moment Mr.