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Chapter 17

  • **SHOWING WHAT HAPPENED ON THE VOYAGE FROM SINGAPORE TO HONG KONG**
  • The detective and Passepartout met often on deck after this interview, thoug_ix was reserved, and did not attempt to induce his companion to divulge an_ore facts concerning Mr. Fogg. He caught a glimpse of that mysteriou_entleman once or twice; but Mr. Fogg usually confined himself to the cabin,
  • where he kept Aouda company, or, according to his inveterate habit, took _and at whist.
  • Passepartout began very seriously to conjecture what strange chance kept Fi_till on the route that his master was pursuing. It was really wort_onsidering why this certainly very amiable and complacent person, whom he ha_irst met at Suez, had then encountered on board the Mongolia, who disembarke_t Bombay, which he announced as his destination, and now turned up s_nexpectedly on the Rangoon, was following Mr. Fogg's tracks step by step.
  • What was Fix's object? Passepartout was ready to wager his Indian shoes—whic_e religiously preserved—that Fix would also leave Hong Kong at the same tim_ith them, and probably on the same steamer.
  • Passepartout might have cudgelled his brain for a century without hitting upo_he real object which the detective had in view. He never could have imagine_hat Phileas Fogg was being tracked as a robber around the globe. But, as i_s in human nature to attempt the solution of every mystery, Passepartou_uddenly discovered an explanation of Fix's movements, which was in truth fa_rom unreasonable. Fix, he thought, could only be an agent of Mr. Fogg'_riends at the Reform Club, sent to follow him up, and to ascertain that h_eally went round the world as had been agreed upon.
  • "It's clear!" repeated the worthy servant to himself, proud of his shrewdness.
  • "He's a spy sent to keep us in view! That isn't quite the thing, either, to b_pying Mr. Fogg, who is so honourable a man! Ah, gentlemen of the Reform, thi_hall cost you dear!"
  • Passepartout, enchanted with his discovery, resolved to say nothing to hi_aster, lest he should be justly offended at this mistrust on the part of hi_dversaries. But he determined to chaff Fix, when he had the chance, wit_ysterious allusions, which, however, need not betray his real suspicions.
  • During the afternoon of Wednesday, 30th October, the Rangoon entered th_trait of Malacca, which separates the peninsula of that name from Sumatra.
  • The mountainous and craggy islets intercepted the beauties of this nobl_sland from the view of the travellers. The Rangoon weighed anchor a_ingapore the next day at four a.m., to receive coal, having gained half a da_n the prescribed time of her arrival. Phileas Fogg noted this gain in hi_ournal, and then, accompanied by Aouda, who betrayed a desire for a walk o_hore, disembarked.
  • Fix, who suspected Mr. Fogg's every movement, followed them cautiously,
  • without being himself perceived; while Passepartout, laughing in his sleeve a_ix's manoeuvres, went about his usual errands.
  • The island of Singapore is not imposing in aspect, for there are no mountains;
  • yet its appearance is not without attractions. It is a park checkered b_leasant highways and avenues. A handsome carriage, drawn by a sleek pair o_ew Holland horses, carried Phileas Fogg and Aouda into the midst of rows o_alms with brilliant foliage, and of clove-trees, whereof the cloves form th_eart of a half-open flower. Pepper plants replaced the prickly hedges o_uropean fields; sago-bushes, large ferns with gorgeous branches, varied th_spect of this tropical clime; while nutmeg-trees in full foliage filled th_ir with a penetrating perfume. Agile and grinning bands of monkeys skippe_bout in the trees, nor were tigers wanting in the jungles.
  • After a drive of two hours through the country, Aouda and Mr. Fogg returned t_he town, which is a vast collection of heavy-looking, irregular houses,
  • surrounded by charming gardens rich in tropical fruits and plants; and at te_'clock they re-embarked, closely followed by the detective, who had kept the_onstantly in sight.
  • Passepartout, who had been purchasing several dozen mangoes— a fruit as larg_s good-sized apples, of a dark-brown colour outside and a bright red within,
  • and whose white pulp, melting in the mouth, affords gourmands a deliciou_ensation—was waiting for them on deck. He was only too glad to offer som_angoes to Aouda, who thanked him very gracefully for them.
  • At eleven o'clock the Rangoon rode out of Singapore harbour, and in a fe_ours the high mountains of Malacca, with their forests, inhabited by the mos_eautifully-furred tigers in the world, were lost to view. Singapore i_istant some thirteen hundred miles from the island of Hong Kong, which is _ittle English colony near the Chinese coast. Phileas Fogg hoped to accomplis_he journey in six days, so as to be in time for the steamer which would leav_n the 6th of November for Yokohama, the principal Japanese port.
  • The Rangoon had a large quota of passengers, many of whom disembarked a_ingapore, among them a number of Indians, Ceylonese, Chinamen, Malays, an_ortuguese, mostly second-class travellers.
  • The weather, which had hitherto been fine, changed with the last quarter o_he moon. The sea rolled heavily, and the wind at intervals rose almost to _torm, but happily blew from the south-west, and thus aided the steamer'_rogress. The captain as often as possible put up his sails, and under th_ouble action of steam and sail the vessel made rapid progress along th_oasts of Anam and Cochin China. Owing to the defective construction of th_angoon, however, unusual precautions became necessary in unfavourabl_eather; but the loss of time which resulted from this cause, while it nearl_rove Passepartout out of his senses, did not seem to affect his master in th_east. Passepartout blamed the captain, the engineer, and the crew, an_onsigned all who were connected with the ship to the land where the peppe_rows. Perhaps the thought of the gas, which was remorselessly burning at hi_xpense in Saville Row, had something to do with his hot impatience.
  • "You are in a great hurry, then," said Fix to him one day, "to reach Hon_ong?"
  • "A very great hurry!"
  • "Mr. Fogg, I suppose, is anxious to catch the steamer for Yokohama?"
  • "Terribly anxious."
  • "You believe in this journey around the world, then?"
  • "Absolutely. Don't you, Mr. Fix?"
  • "I? I don't believe a word of it."
  • "You're a sly dog!" said Passepartout, winking at him.
  • This expression rather disturbed Fix, without his knowing why. Had th_renchman guessed his real purpose? He knew not what to think. But how coul_assepartout have discovered that he was a detective? Yet, in speaking as h_id, the man evidently meant more than he expressed.
  • Passepartout went still further the next day; he could not hold his tongue.
  • "Mr. Fix," said he, in a bantering tone, "shall we be so unfortunate as t_ose you when we get to Hong Kong?"
  • "Why," responded Fix, a little embarrassed, "I don't know; perhaps—"
  • "Ah, if you would only go on with us! An agent of the Peninsular Company, yo_now, can't stop on the way! You were only going to Bombay, and here you ar_n China. America is not far off, and from America to Europe is only a step."
  • Fix looked intently at his companion, whose countenance was as serene a_ossible, and laughed with him. But Passepartout persisted in chaffing him b_sking him if he made much by his present occupation.
  • "Yes, and no," returned Fix; "there is good and bad luck in such things. Bu_ou must understand that I don't travel at my own expense."
  • "Oh, I am quite sure of that!" cried Passepartout, laughing heartily.
  • Fix, fairly puzzled, descended to his cabin and gave himself up to hi_eflections. He was evidently suspected; somehow or other the Frenchman ha_ound out that he was a detective. But had he told his master? What part wa_e playing in all this: was he an accomplice or not? Was the game, then, up?
  • Fix spent several hours turning these things over in his mind, sometime_hinking that all was lost, then persuading himself that Fogg was ignorant o_is presence, and then undecided what course it was best to take.
  • Nevertheless, he preserved his coolness of mind, and at last resolved to dea_lainly with Passepartout. If he did not find it practicable to arrest Fogg a_ong Kong, and if Fogg made preparations to leave that last foothold o_nglish territory, he, Fix, would tell Passepartout all. Either the servan_as the accomplice of his master, and in this case the master knew of hi_perations, and he should fail; or else the servant knew nothing about th_obbery, and then his interest would be to abandon the robber.
  • Such was the situation between Fix and Passepartout. Meanwhile Phileas Fog_oved about above them in the most majestic and unconscious indifference. H_as passing methodically in his orbit around the world, regardless of th_esser stars which gravitated around him. Yet there was near by what th_stronomers would call a disturbing star, which might have produced a_gitation in this gentleman's heart. But no! the charms of Aouda failed t_ct, to Passepartout's great surprise; and the disturbances, if they existed,
  • would have been more difficult to calculate than those of Uranus which led t_he discovery of Neptune.
  • It was every day an increasing wonder to Passepartout, who read in Aouda'_yes the depths of her gratitude to his master. Phileas Fogg, though brave an_allant, must be, he thought, quite heartless. As to the sentiment which thi_ourney might have awakened in him, there was clearly no trace of such _hing; while poor Passepartout existed in perpetual reveries.
  • One day he was leaning on the railing of the engine-room, and was observin_he engine, when a sudden pitch of the steamer threw the screw out of th_ater. The steam came hissing out of the valves; and this made Passepartou_ndignant.
  • "The valves are not sufficiently charged!" he exclaimed. "We are not going.
  • Oh, these English! If this was an American craft, we should blow up, perhaps,
  • but we should at all events go faster!"