**IN WHICH A CONVERSATION TAKES PLACE WHICH SEEMS LIKELY TO COST PHILEAS FOG_EAR**
Phileas Fogg, having shut the door of his house at half-past eleven, an_aving put his right foot before his left five hundred and seventy-five times, and his left foot before his right five hundred and seventy-six times, reache_he Reform Club, an imposing edifice in Pall Mall, which could not have cos_ess than three million to build.
He repaired at once to the dining-room, the nine windows
of which open upon a tasteful garden, where the trees were already gilded wit_n autumn colouring; and took his place at the habitual table, the cover o_hich had already been laid for him. His breakfast consisted of a side-dish, _roiled fish with Reading sauce, a scarlet slice of roast beef garnished wit_ushrooms, a rhubarb and gooseberry tart, and a morsel of Cheshire cheese, th_hole being washed down with several cups of tea, for which the Reform i_amous. He rose at thirteen minutes to one, and directed his steps towards th_arge hall, a sumptuous apartment adorned with lavishly-framed paintings. _lunkey handed him an uncut Times, which he proceeded to cut with a skil_hich betrayed familiarity with this delicate operation. The perusal of thi_aper absorbed Phileas Fogg until a quarter before four, whilst the Standard, his next task, occupied him till the dinner hour. Dinner passed as breakfas_ad done, and Mr. Fogg re-appeared in the reading-room and sat down to th_all Mall at twenty minutes before six. Half an hour later several members o_he Reform came in and drew up to the fireplace, where a coal fire wa_teadily burning. They were Mr. Fogg's usual partners at whist: Andrew Stuart, an engineer; John Sullivan and Samuel Fallentin, bankers; Thomas Flanagan, _rewer; and Gauthier Ralph, one of the Directors of the Bank of England— al_ich and highly respectable personages, even in a club which comprises th_rinces of English trade and finance.
"Well, Ralph," said Thomas Flanagan, "what about that robbery?"
"Oh," replied Stuart, "the Bank will lose the money."
"On the contrary," broke in Ralph, "I hope we may put our hands on the robber.
Skilful detectives have been sent to all the principal ports of America an_he Continent, and he'll be a clever fellow if he slips through thei_ingers."
"But have you got the robber's description?" asked Stuart.
"In the first place, he is no robber at all," returned Ralph, positively.
"What! a fellow who makes off with fifty-five thousand pounds, no robber?"
"Perhaps he's a manufacturer, then."
"The Daily Telegraph says that he is a gentleman."
It was Phileas Fogg, whose head now emerged from behind his newspapers, wh_ade this remark. He bowed to his friends, and entered into the conversation.
The affair which formed its subject, and which was town talk, had occurre_hree days before at the Bank of England. A package of banknotes, to the valu_f fifty-five thousand pounds, had been taken from the principal cashier'_able, that functionary being at the moment engaged in registering the receip_f three shillings and sixpence. Of course, he could not have his eye_verywhere. Let it be observed that the Bank of England reposes a touchin_onfidence in the honesty of the public. There are neither guards nor grating_o protect its treasures; gold, silver, banknotes are freely exposed, at th_ercy of the first comer. A keen observer of English customs relates that, being in one of the rooms of the Bank one day, he had the curiosity to examin_ gold ingot weighing some seven or eight pounds. He took it up, scrutinise_t, passed it to his neighbour, he to the next man, and so on until the ingot, going from hand to hand, was transferred to the end of a dark entry; nor di_t return to its place for half an hour. Meanwhile, the cashier had not s_uch as raised his head. But in the present instance things had not gone s_moothly. The package of notes not being found when five o'clock sounded fro_he ponderous clock in the "drawing office," the amount was passed to th_ccount of profit and loss. As soon as the robbery was discovered, picke_etectives hastened off to Liverpool, Glasgow, Havre, Suez, Brindisi, Ne_ork, and other ports, inspired by the proffered reward of two thousan_ounds, and five per cent. on the sum that might be recovered. Detectives wer_lso charged with narrowly watching those who arrived at or left London b_ail, and a judicial examination was at once entered upon.
There were real grounds for supposing, as the Daily Telegraph said, that th_hief did not belong to a professional band. On the day of the robbery a well- dressed gentleman of polished manners, and with a well-to-do air, had bee_bserved going to and fro in the paying room where the crime was committed. _escription of him was easily procured and sent to the detectives; and som_opeful spirits, of whom Ralph was one, did not despair of his apprehension.
The papers and clubs were full of the affair, and everywhere people wer_iscussing the probabilities of a successful pursuit; and the Reform Club wa_specially agitated, several of its members being Bank officials.
Ralph would not concede that the work of the detectives was likely to be i_ain, for he thought that the prize offered would greatly stimulate their zea_nd activity. But Stuart was far from sharing this confidence; and, as the_laced themselves at the whist-table, they continued to argue the matter.
Stuart and Flanagan played together, while Phileas Fogg had Fallentin for hi_artner. As the game proceeded the conversation ceased, excepting between th_ubbers, when it revived again.
"I maintain," said Stuart, "that the chances are in favour of the thief, wh_ust be a shrewd fellow."
"Well, but where can he fly to?" asked Ralph. "No country is safe for him."
"Where could he go, then?"
"Oh, I don't know that. The world is big enough."
"It was once," said Phileas Fogg, in a low tone. "Cut, sir," he added, handin_he cards to Thomas Flanagan.
The discussion fell during the rubber, after which Stuart took up its thread.
"What do you mean by `once'? Has the world grown smaller?"
"Certainly," returned Ralph. "I agree with Mr. Fogg. The world has grow_maller, since a man can now go round it ten times more quickly than a hundre_ears ago. And that is why the search for this thief will be more likely t_ucceed."
"And also why the thief can get away more easily."
"Be so good as to play, Mr. Stuart," said Phileas Fogg.
But the incredulous Stuart was not convinced, and when the hand was finished, said eagerly: "You have a strange way, Ralph, of proving that the world ha_rown smaller. So, because you can go round it in three months—"
"In eighty days," interrupted Phileas Fogg.
"That is true, gentlemen," added John Sullivan. "Only eighty days, now tha_he section between Rothal and Allahabad, on the Great Indian Peninsul_ailway, has been opened. Here is the estimate made by the Daily Telegraph:
From London to Suez via Mont Cenis and
Brindisi, by rail and steamboats … … … … … .. 7 days
From Suez to Bombay, by steamer … … … … … … .. 13 "
From Bombay to Calcutta, by rail … … … … … … . 3 "
From Calcutta to Hong Kong, by steamer … … … … . 13 "
From Hong Kong to Yokohama (Japan), by steamer … .. 6 "
From Yokohama to San Francisco, by steamer … … … 22 "
From San Francisco to New York, by rail … … … … . 7 "
From New York to London, by steamer and rail … … .. 9 "
Total … … … … … … … … … … … … … … .. 80 days."
"Yes, in eighty days!" exclaimed Stuart, who in his excitement made a fals_eal. "But that doesn't take into account bad weather, contrary winds, shipwrecks, railway accidents, and so on."
"All included," returned Phileas Fogg, continuing to play despite th_iscussion.
"But suppose the Hindoos or Indians pull up the rails," replied Stuart;
"suppose they stop the trains, pillage the luggage-vans, and scalp th_assengers!"
"All included," calmly retorted Fogg; adding, as he threw down the cards, "Tw_rumps."
Stuart, whose turn it was to deal, gathered them up, and went on: "You ar_ight, theoretically, Mr. Fogg, but practically—"
"Practically also, Mr. Stuart."
"I'd like to see you do it in eighty days."
"It depends on you. Shall we go?"
"Heaven preserve me! But I would wager four thousand pounds that such _ourney, made under these conditions, is impossible."
"Quite possible, on the contrary," returned Mr. Fogg.
"Well, make it, then!"
"The journey round the world in eighty days?"
"I should like nothing better."
"At once. Only I warn you that I shall do it at your expense."
"It's absurd!" cried Stuart, who was beginning to be annoyed at th_ersistency of his friend. "Come, let's go on with the game."
"Deal over again, then," said Phileas Fogg. "There's a false deal."
Stuart took up the pack with a feverish hand; then suddenly put them dow_gain.
"Well, Mr. Fogg," said he, "it shall be so: I will wager the four thousand o_t."
"Calm yourself, my dear Stuart," said Fallentin. "It's only a joke."
"When I say I'll wager," returned Stuart, "I mean it." "All right," said Mr.
Fogg; and, turning to the others, he continued: "I have a deposit of twent_housand at Baring's which I will willingly risk upon it."
"Twenty thousand pounds!" cried Sullivan. "Twenty thousand pounds, which yo_ould lose by a single accidental delay!"
"The unforeseen does not exist," quietly replied Phileas Fogg.
"But, Mr. Fogg, eighty days are only the estimate of the least possible tim_n which the journey can be made."
"A well-used minimum suffices for everything."
"But, in order not to exceed it, you must jump mathematically from the train_pon the steamers, and from the steamers upon the trains again."
"I will jump—mathematically."
"You are joking."
"A true Englishman doesn't joke when he is talking about so serious a thing a_ wager," replied Phileas Fogg, solemnly. "I will bet twenty thousand pound_gainst anyone who wishes that I will make the tour of the world in eight_ays or less; in nineteen hundred and twenty hours, or a hundred and fiftee_housand two hundred minutes. Do you accept?"
"We accept," replied Messrs. Stuart, Fallentin, Sullivan, Flanagan, and Ralph, after consulting each other.
"Good," said Mr. Fogg. "The train leaves for Dover at a quarter before nine. _ill take it."
"This very evening?" asked Stuart.
"This very evening," returned Phileas Fogg. He took out and consulted a pocke_lmanac, and added, "As today is Wednesday, the 2nd of October, I shall be du_n London in this very room of the Reform Club, on Saturday, the 21st o_ecember, at a quarter before nine p.m.; or else the twenty thousand pounds, now deposited in my name at Baring's, will belong to you, in fact and i_ight, gentlemen. Here is a cheque for the amount."
A memorandum of the wager was at once drawn up and signed by the six parties, during which Phileas Fogg preserved a stoical composure. He certainly did no_et to win, and had only staked the twenty thousand pounds, half of hi_ortune, because he foresaw that he might have to expend the other half t_arry out this difficult, not to say unattainable, project. As for hi_ntagonists, they seemed much agitated; not so much by the value of thei_take, as because they had some scruples about betting under conditions s_ifficult to their friend.
The clock struck seven, and the party offered to suspend the game so that Mr.
Fogg might make his preparations for departure.
"I am quite ready now," was his tranquil response. "Diamonds are trumps: be s_ood as to play, gentlemen."