IN WHICH PASSEPARTOUT TALKS RATHER MORE, PERHAPS, THAN IS PRUDENT
Fix soon rejoined Passepartout, who was lounging and looking about on the quay, as if he did not feel that he, at least, was obliged not to see anything.
"Well, my friend," said the detective, coming up with him, "is your passport visaed?"
"Ah, it's you, is it, monsieur?" responded Passepartout. "Thanks, yes, the passport is all right."
"And you are looking about you?"
"Yes; but we travel so fast that I seem to be journeying in a dream. So this is Suez?"
"Certainly, in Egypt."
"And in Africa?"
"In Africa!" repeated Passepartout. "Just think, monsieur, I had no idea that we should go farther than Paris; and all that I saw of Paris was between twenty minutes past seven and twenty minutes before nine in the morning, between the Northern and the Lyons stations, through the windows of a car, and in a driving rain! How I regret not having seen once more Pere la Chaise and the circus in the Champs Elysees!"
"You are in a great hurry, then?"
"I am not, but my master is. By the way, I must buy some shoes and shirts. We came away without trunks, only with a carpet-bag."
"I will show you an excellent shop for getting what you want."
"Really, monsieur, you are very kind."
And they walked off together, Passepartout chatting volubly as they went along.
"Above all," said he; "don't let me lose the steamer."
"You have plenty of time; it's only twelve o'clock."
Passepartout pulled out his big watch. "Twelve!" he exclaimed; "why, it's only eight minutes before ten."
"Your watch is slow."
"My watch? A family watch, monsieur, which has come down from my great-grandfather! It doesn't vary five minutes in the year. It's a perfect chronometer, look you."
"I see how it is," said Fix. "You have kept London time, which is two hours behind that of Suez. You ought to regulate your watch at noon in each country."
"I regulate my watch? Never!"
"Well, then, it will not agree with the sun."
"So much the worse for the sun, monsieur. The sun will be wrong, then!"
And the worthy fellow returned the watch to its fob with a defiant gesture. After a few minutes silence, Fix resumed: "You left London hastily, then?"
"I rather think so! Last Friday at eight o'clock in the evening, Monsieur Fogg came home from his club, and three-quarters of an hour afterwards we were off."
"But where is your master going?"
"Always straight ahead. He is going round the world."
"Round the world?" cried Fix.
"Yes, and in eighty days! He says it is on a wager; but, between us, I don't believe a word of it. That wouldn't be common sense. There's something else in the wind."
"Ah! Mr. Fogg is a character, is he?"
"I should say he was."
"Is he rich?"
"No doubt, for he is carrying an enormous sum in brand new banknotes with him. And he doesn't spare the money on the way, either: he has offered a large reward to the engineer of the Mongolia if he gets us to Bombay well in advance of time."
"And you have known your master a long time?"
"Why, no; I entered his service the very day we left London."
The effect of these replies upon the already suspicious and excited detective may be imagined. The hasty departure from London soon after the robbery; the large sum carried by Mr. Fogg; his eagerness to reach distant countries; the pretext of an eccentric and foolhardy bet--all confirmed Fix in his theory. He continued to pump poor Passepartout, and learned that he really knew little or nothing of his master, who lived a solitary existence in London, was said to be rich, though no one knew whence came his riches, and was mysterious and impenetrable in his affairs and habits. Fix felt sure that Phileas Fogg would not land at Suez, but was really going on to Bombay.
"Is Bombay far from here?" asked Passepartout.
"Pretty far. It is a ten days' voyage by sea."
"And in what country is Bombay?"
"The deuce! I was going to tell you there's one thing that worries me-- my burner!"
"My gas-burner, which I forgot to turn off, and which is at this moment burning at my expense.