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Around the World in 80 Days

Chapter 19
IN WHICH PASSEPARTOUT TAKES A TOO GREAT INTEREST IN HIS MASTER,
AND WHAT COMES OF IT
Hong Kong is an island which came into the possession of the English by the Treaty of
Nankin, after the war of 1842; and the colonising genius of the English has created upon
it an important city and an excellent port. The island is situated at the mouth of the
Canton River, and is separated by about sixty miles from the Portuguese town of Macao,
on the opposite coast. Hong Kong has beaten Macao in the struggle for the Chinese trade,
and now the greater part of the transportation of Chinese goods finds its depot at the
former place. Docks, hospitals, wharves, a Gothic cathedral, a government house,
macadamised streets, give to Hong Kong the appearance of a town in Kent or Surrey
transferred by some strange magic to the antipodes.
Passepartout wandered, with his hands in his pockets, towards the Victoria port, gazing as
he went at the curious palanquins and other modes of conveyance, and the groups of
Chinese, Japanese, and Europeans who passed to and fro in the streets. Hong Kong
seemed to him not unlike Bombay, Calcutta, and Singapore, since, like them, it betrayed
everywhere the evidence of English supremacy. At the Victoria port he found a confused
mass of ships of all nations: English, French, American, and Dutch, men-of-war and
trading vessels, Japanese and Chinese junks, sempas, tankas, and flower-boats, which
formed so many floating parterres. Passepartout noticed in the crowd a number of the
natives who seemed very old and were dressed in yellow. On going into a barber's to get
shaved he learned that these ancient men were all at least eighty years old, at which age
they are permitted to wear yellow, which is the Imperial colour. Passepartout, without
exactly knowing why, thought this very funny.
On reaching the quay where they were to embark on the Carnatic, he was not astonished
to find Fix walking up and down. The detective seemed very much disturbed and
disappointed.
"This is bad," muttered Passepartout, "for the gentlemen of the Reform Club!" He
accosted Fix with a merry smile, as if he had not perceived that gentleman's chagrin. The
detective had, indeed, good reasons to inveigh against the bad luck which pursued him.
The warrant had not come! It was certainly on the way, but as certainly it could not now
reach Hong Kong for several days; and, this being the last English territory on Mr. Fogg's
route, the robber would escape, unless he could manage to detain him.
"Well, Monsieur Fix," said Passepartout, "have you decided to go with us so far as
America?"
"Yes," returned Fix, through his set teeth.
 
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