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Chapter 9

  • **IN WHICH THE RED SEA AND THE INDIAN OCEAN PROVE PROPITIOUS TO THE DESIGNS O_HILEAS FOGG**
  • The distance between Suez and Aden is precisely thirteen hundred and te_iles, and the regulations of the company allow the steamers one hundred an_hirty-eight hours in which to traverse it. The Mongolia, thanks to th_igorous exertions of the engineer, seemed likely, so rapid was her speed, t_each her destination considerably within that time. The greater part of th_assengers from Brindisi were bound for India some for Bombay, others fo_alcutta by way of Bombay, the nearest route thither, now that a railwa_rosses the Indian peninsula. Among the passengers was a number of official_nd military officers of various grades, the latter being either attached t_he regular British forces or commanding the Sepoy troops, and receiving hig_alaries ever since the central government has assumed the powers of the Eas_ndia Company: for the sub-lieutenants get 280 pounds, brigadiers, 2,40_ounds, and generals of divisions, 4,000 pounds. What with the military men, _umber of rich young Englishmen on their travels, and the hospitable effort_f the purser, the time passed quickly on the Mongolia. The best of fare wa_pread upon the cabin tables at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the eigh_'clock supper, and the ladies scrupulously changed their toilets twice a day;
  • and the hours were whirled away, when the sea was tranquil, with music,
  • dancing, and games.
  • But the Red Sea is full of caprice, and often boisterous, like most long an_arrow gulfs. When the wind came from the African or Asian coast the Mongolia,
  • with her long hull, rolled fearfully. Then the ladies speedily disappeare_elow; the pianos were silent; singing and dancing suddenly ceased. Yet th_ood ship ploughed straight on, unretarded by wind or wave, towards th_traits of Bab-el-Mandeb. What was Phileas Fogg doing all this time? It migh_e thought that, in his anxiety, he would be constantly watching the change_f the wind, the disorderly raging of the billows—every chance, in short,
  • which might force the Mongolia to slacken her speed, and thus interrupt hi_ourney. But, if he thought of these possibilities, he did not betray the fac_y any outward sign.
  • Always the same impassible member of the Reform Club, whom no incident coul_urprise, as unvarying as the ship's chronometers, and seldom having th_uriosity even to go upon the deck, he passed through the memorable scenes o_he Red Sea with cold indifference; did not care to recognise the histori_owns and villages which, along its borders, raised their picturesque outline_gainst the sky; and betrayed no fear of the dangers of the Arabic Gulf, whic_he old historians always spoke of with horror, and upon which the ancien_avigators never ventured without propitiating the gods by ample sacrifices.
  • How did this eccentric personage pass his time on the Mongolia? He made hi_our hearty meals every day, regardless of the most persistent rolling an_itching on the part of the steamer; and he played whist indefatigably, for h_ad found partners as enthusiastic in the game as himself. A tax-collector, o_he way to his post at Goa; the Rev. Decimus Smith, returning to his parish a_ombay; and a brigadier-general of the English army, who was about to rejoi_is brigade at Benares, made up the party, and, with Mr. Fogg, played whist b_he hour together in absorbing silence.
  • As for Passepartout, he, too, had escaped sea-sickness, and took his meal_onscientiously in the forward cabin. He rather enjoyed the voyage, for he wa_ell fed and well lodged, took a great interest in the scenes through whic_hey were passing, and consoled himself with the delusion that his master'_him would end at Bombay. He was pleased, on the day after leaving Suez, t_ind on deck the obliging person with whom he had walked and chatted on th_uays.
  • "If I am not mistaken," said he, approaching this person, with his mos_miable smile, "you are the gentleman who so kindly volunteered to guide me a_uez?"
  • "Ah! I quite recognise you. You are the servant of the strange Englishman—"
  • "Just so, monsieur—"
  • "Fix."
  • "Monsieur Fix," resumed Passepartout, "I'm charmed to find you on board. Wher_re you bound?"
  • "Like you, to Bombay."
  • "That's capital! Have you made this trip before?"
  • "Several times. I am one of the agents of the Peninsular Company."
  • "Then you know India?"
  • "Why yes," replied Fix, who spoke cautiously.
  • "A curious place, this India?"
  • "Oh, very curious. Mosques, minarets, temples, fakirs, pagodas, tigers,
  • snakes, elephants! I hope you will have ample time to see the sights."
  • "I hope so, Monsieur Fix. You see, a man of sound sense ought not to spend hi_ife jumping from a steamer upon a railway train, and from a railway trai_pon a steamer again, pretending to make the tour of the world in eighty days!
  • No; all these gymnastics, you may be sure, will cease at Bombay."
  • "And Mr. Fogg is getting on well?" asked Fix, in the most natural tone in th_orld.
  • "Quite well, and I too. I eat like a famished ogre; it's the sea air."
  • "But I never see your master on deck."
  • "Never; he hasn't the least curiosity."
  • "Do you know, Mr. Passepartout, that this pretended tour in eighty days ma_onceal some secret errand—perhaps a diplomatic mission?"
  • "Faith, Monsieur Fix, I assure you I know nothing about it, nor would I giv_alf a crown to find out."
  • After this meeting, Passepartout and Fix got into the habit of chattin_ogether, the latter making it a point to gain the worthy man's confidence. H_requently offered him a glass of whiskey or pale ale in the steamer bar-room,
  • which Passepartout never failed to accept with graceful alacrity, mentall_ronouncing Fix the best of good fellows.
  • Meanwhile the Mongolia was pushing forward rapidly; on the 13th, Mocha,
  • surrounded by its ruined walls whereon date-trees were growing, was sighted,
  • and on the mountains beyond were espied vast coffee-fields. Passepartout wa_avished to behold this celebrated place, and thought that, with its circula_alls and dismantled fort, it looked like an immense coffee-cup and saucer.
  • The following night they passed through the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, whic_eans in Arabic The Bridge of Tears, and the next day they put in at Steame_oint, north-west of Aden harbour, to take in coal. This matter of fuellin_teamers is a serious one at such distances from the coal-mines; it costs th_eninsular Company some eight hundred thousand pounds a year. In these distan_eas, coal is worth three or four pounds sterling a ton.
  • The Mongolia had still sixteen hundred and fifty miles to traverse befor_eaching Bombay, and was obliged to remain four hours at Steamer Point to coa_p. But this delay, as it was foreseen, did not affect Phileas Fogg'_rogramme; besides, the Mongolia, instead of reaching Aden on the morning o_he 15th, when she was due, arrived there on the evening of the 14th, a gai_f fifteen hours.
  • Mr. Fogg and his servant went ashore at Aden to have the passport agai_isaed; Fix, unobserved, followed them. The visa procured, Mr. Fogg returne_n board to resume his former habits; while Passepartout, according to custom,
  • sauntered about among the mixed population of Somalis, Banyans, Parsees, Jews,
  • Arabs, and Europeans who comprise the twenty-five thousand inhabitants o_den. He gazed with wonder upon the fortifications which make this place th_ibraltar of the Indian Ocean, and the vast cisterns where the Englis_ngineers were still at work, two thousand years after the engineers o_olomon.
  • "Very curious, very curious," said Passepartout to himself, on returning t_he steamer. "I see that it is by no means useless to travel, if a man want_o see something new." At six p.m. the Mongolia slowly moved out of th_oadstead, and was soon once more on the Indian Ocean. She had a hundred an_ixty-eight hours in which to reach Bombay, and the sea was favourable, th_ind being in the north-west, and all sails aiding the engine. The steame_olled but little, the ladies, in fresh toilets, reappeared on deck, and th_inging and dancing were resumed. The trip was being accomplished mos_uccessfully, and Passepartout was enchanted with the congenial companio_hich chance had secured him in the person of the delightful Fix. On Sunday,
  • October 20th, towards noon, they came in sight of the Indian coast: two hour_ater the pilot came on board. A range of hills lay against the sky in th_orizon, and soon the rows of palms which adorn Bombay came distinctly int_iew. The steamer entered the road formed by the islands in the bay, and a_alf-past four she hauled up at the quays of Bombay.
  • Phileas Fogg was in the act of finishing the thirty-third rubber of th_oyage, and his partner and himself having, by a bold stroke, captured al_hirteen of the tricks, concluded this fine campaign with a brilliant victory.
  • The Mongolia was due at Bombay on the 22nd; she arrived on the 20th. This wa_ gain to Phileas Fogg of two days since his departure from London, and h_almly entered the fact in the itinerary, in the column of gains.