Around the World in 80 Days HTML version

Chapter 17
The detective and Passepartout met often on deck after this interview, though Fix was
reserved, and did not attempt to induce his companion to divulge any more facts
concerning Mr. Fogg. He caught a glimpse of that mysterious gentleman once or twice;
but Mr. Fogg usually confined himself to the cabin, where he kept Aouda company, or,
according to his inveterate habit, took a hand at whist.
Passepartout began very seriously to conjecture what strange chance kept Fix still on the
route that his master was pursuing. It was really worth considering why this certainly
very amiable and complacent person, whom he had first met at Suez, had then
encountered on board the Mongolia, who disembarked at Bombay, which he announced
as his destination, and now turned up so unexpectedly 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--which he religiously preserved--that Fix would also leave Hong Kong
at the same time with them, and probably on the same steamer.
Passepartout might have cudgelled his brain for a century without hitting upon the real
object which the detective had in view. He never could have imagined that Phileas Fogg
was being tracked as a robber around the globe. But, as it is in human nature to attempt
the solution of every mystery, Passepartout suddenly discovered an explanation of Fix's
movements, which was in truth far from unreasonable. Fix, he thought, could only be an
agent of Mr. Fogg's friends at the Reform Club, sent to follow him up, and to ascertain
that he really 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 be spying Mr. Fogg, who is so
honourable a man! Ah, gentlemen of the Reform, this shall cost you dear!"
Passepartout, enchanted with his discovery, resolved to say nothing to his master, lest he
should be justly offended at this mistrust on the part of his adversaries. But he determined
to chaff Fix, when he had the chance, with mysterious allusions, which, however, need
not betray his real suspicions.
During the afternoon of Wednesday, 30th October, the Rangoon entered the Strait of
Malacca, which separates the peninsula of that name from Sumatra. The mountainous and
craggy islets intercepted the beauties of this noble island from the view of the travellers.
The Rangoon weighed anchor at Singapore the next day at four a.m., to receive coal,
having gained half a day on the prescribed time of her arrival. Phileas Fogg noted this
gain in his journal, and then, accompanied by Aouda, who betrayed a desire for a walk on
shore, disembarked.