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|Around the World in 80 Days||Jules Verne|
IN WHICH FIX COMES FACE TO FACE WITH PHILEAS FOGG
|Page 2 of 4||
And, offering his arm to Aouda, he directed his steps toward the docks in search of some craft about to start. Fix, stupefied, followed; it seemed as if he were attached to Mr. Fogg by an invisible thread. Chance, however, appeared really to have abandoned the man it had hitherto served so well. For three hours Phileas Fogg wandered about the docks, with the determination, if necessary, to charter a vessel to carry him to Yokohama; but he could only find vessels which were loading or unloading, and which could not therefore set sail. Fix began to hope again.
But Mr. Fogg, far from being discouraged, was continuing his search, resolved not to stop if he had to resort to Macao, when he was accosted by a sailor on one of the wharves.
"Is your honour looking for a boat?"
"Have you a boat ready to sail?"
"Yes, your honour; a pilot-boat--No. 43--the best in the harbour."
"Does she go fast?"
"Between eight and nine knots the hour. Will you look at her?"
"Your honour will be satisfied with her. Is it for a sea excursion?"
"No; for a voyage."
"Yes, will you agree to take me to Yokohama?"
The sailor leaned on the railing, opened his eyes wide, and said, "Is your honour joking?"
"No. I have missed the Carnatic, and I must get to Yokohama by the 14th at the latest, to take the boat for San Francisco."
"I am sorry," said the sailor; "but it is impossible."
"I offer you a hundred pounds per day, and an additional reward of two hundred pounds if I reach Yokohama in time."
"Are you in earnest?"
"Very much so."
The pilot walked away a little distance, and gazed out to sea, evidently struggling between the anxiety to gain a large sum and the fear of venturing so far. Fix was in mortal suspense.
Mr. Fogg turned to Aouda and asked her, "You would not be afraid, would you, madam?"
"Not with you, Mr. Fogg," was her answer.
The pilot now returned, shuffling his hat in his hands.
"Well, pilot?" said Mr. Fogg.
"Well, your honour," replied he, "I could not risk myself, my men, or my little boat of scarcely twenty tons on so long a voyage at this time of year. Besides, we could not reach Yokohama in time, for it is sixteen hundred and sixty miles from Hong Kong."
"Only sixteen hundred," said Mr. Fogg.
"It's the same thing."
Fix breathed more freely.
"But," added the pilot, "it might be arranged another way."
Fix ceased to breathe at all.
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