Around the World in Eighty Days – Day 78 of 87

“Certain, sir,” replied the engineer. “You must remember that, since we started, we have kept up hot fires in all our furnaces, and, though we had coal enough to go on short steam from New York to Bordeaux, we haven’t enough to go with all steam from New York to Liverpool.” “I will consider,” replied Mr. Fogg.

Passepartout understood it all; he was seized with mortal anxiety. The coal was giving out! “Ah, if my master can get over that,” muttered he, “he’ll be a famous man!” He could not help imparting to Fix what he had overheard.

“Then you believe that we really are going to Liverpool?”

“Of course.”

“Ass!” replied the detective, shrugging his shoulders and turning on his heel.

Passepartout was on the point of vigorously resenting the epithet, the reason of which he could not for the life of him comprehend; but he reflected that the unfortunate Fix was probably very much disappointed and humiliated in his self-esteem, after having so awkwardly followed a false scent around the world, and refrained.

And now what course would Phileas Fogg adopt? It was difficult to imagine. Nevertheless he seemed to have decided upon one, for that evening he sent for the engineer, and said to him, “Feed all the fires until the coal is exhausted.”

A few moments after, the funnel of the Henrietta vomited forth torrents of smoke. The vessel continued to proceed with all steam on; but on the 18th, the engineer, as he had predicted, announced that the coal would give out in the course of the day.

“Do not let the fires go down,” replied Mr. Fogg. “Keep them up to the last. Let the valves be filled.”

Towards noon Phileas Fogg, having ascertained their position, called Passepartout, and ordered him to go for Captain Speedy. It was as if the honest fellow had been commanded to unchain a tiger. He went to the poop, saying to himself, “He will be like a madman!”

In a few moments, with cries and oaths, a bomb appeared on the poop-deck. The bomb was Captain Speedy. It was clear that he was on the point of bursting. “Where are we?” were the first words his anger permitted him to utter. Had the poor man be an apoplectic, he could never have recovered from his paroxysm of wrath.

“Where are we?” he repeated, with purple face.

“Seven hundred and seven miles from Liverpool,” replied Mr. Fogg, with imperturbable calmness.

“Pirate!” cried Captain Speedy.

“I have sent for you, sir–”

“Pickaroon!”

“–sir,” continued Mr. Fogg, “to ask you to sell me your vessel.”

“No! By all the devils, no!”

“But I shall be obliged to burn her.”

“Burn the Henrietta!”

“Yes; at least the upper part of her. The coal has given out.”

“Burn my vessel!” cried Captain Speedy, who could scarcely pronounce the words. “A vessel worth fifty thousand dollars!”

“Here are sixty thousand,” replied Phileas Fogg, handing the captain a roll of bank-bills. This had a prodigious effect on Andrew Speedy. An American can scarcely remain unmoved at the sight of sixty thousand dollars. The captain forgot in an instant his anger, his imprisonment, and all his grudges against his passenger. The Henrietta was twenty years old; it was a great bargain. The bomb would not go off after all. Mr. Fogg had taken away the match.

“And I shall still have the iron hull,” said the captain in a softer tone.

“The iron hull and the engine. Is it agreed?”

“Agreed.”

And Andrew Speedy, seizing the banknotes, counted them and consigned them to his pocket.

During this colloquy, Passepartout was as white as a sheet, and Fix seemed on the point of having an apoplectic fit. Nearly twenty thousand pounds had been expended, and Fogg left the hull and engine to the captain, that is, near the whole value of the craft! It was true, however, that fifty-five thousand pounds had been stolen from the Bank.

When Andrew Speedy had pocketed the money, Mr. Fogg said to him, “Don’t let this astonish you, sir. You must know that I shall lose twenty thousand pounds, unless I arrive in London by a quarter before nine on the evening of the 21st of December. I missed the steamer at New York, and as you refused to take me to Liverpool–”

Comments

  1. TurtleReader Identicon Icon

    TurtleReader wrote:

    I’ve heard poop before when talking about a ship but never really checked the definition.

    poop
    An enclosed superstructure at the stern of a ship

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