Around the World in Eighty Days – Day 5 of 87

“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 has grown 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 that the section between Rothal and Allahabad, on the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, 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 false deal. “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 the discussion.

“But suppose the Hindoos or Indians pull up the rails,” replied Stuart; “suppose they stop the trains, pillage the luggage-vans, and scalp the passengers!”

“All included,” calmly retorted Fogg; adding, as he threw down the cards, “Two trumps.”

Stuart, whose turn it was to deal, gathered them up, and went on: “You are right, 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 a journey, 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?”

“Yes.”

“I should like nothing better.”

“When?”

“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 the persistency 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 down again.

“Well, Mr. Fogg,” said he, “it shall be so: I will wager the four thousand on it.”

“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 twenty thousand at Baring’s which I will willingly risk upon it.”

“Twenty thousand pounds!” cried Sullivan. “Twenty thousand pounds, which you would 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 time in 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 trains upon 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 as a wager,” replied Phileas Fogg, solemnly. “I will bet twenty thousand pounds against anyone who wishes that I will make the tour of the world in eighty days or less; in nineteen hundred and twenty hours, or a hundred and fifteen thousand 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. I will take it.”

“This very evening?” asked Stuart.

“This very evening,” returned Phileas Fogg. He took out and consulted a pocket almanac, and added, “As today is Wednesday, the 2nd of October, I shall be due in London in this very room of the Reform Club, on Saturday, the 21st of December, 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 in right, 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 not bet to win, and had only staked the twenty thousand pounds, half of his fortune, because he foresaw that he might have to expend the other half to carry out this difficult, not to say unattainable, project. As for his antagonists, they seemed much agitated; not so much by the value of their stake, as because they had some scruples about betting under conditions so difficult 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 so good as to play, gentlemen.”

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