《Around the World In 80 Days》CHAPTER36

《Around the World In 80 Days》 CHAPTER36
    by Jules Verne

It is time to relate what a change took place in English public opinion,
when it transpired that the real bankrobber, a certain James Strand,
had been arrested, on the 17th of December, at Edinburgh. Three days
before, Phileas Fogg had been a criminal, who was being desperately
followed up by the police; now he was an honourable gentleman, mathematically
pursuing his eccentric journey round the world.

The papers resumed their discussion about the wager; all those who
had laid bets, for or against him, revived their interest, as if by
magic; the `Phileas Fogg bends' again became negotiable, and many new
wagers were made. Phileas Fogg's name was once more at a premium on

His five friends of the Reform Club passed these three days in a state
of feverish suspense. Would Phileas Fogg, whom they had forgotten, reappear
before their eyes! Where was he at this moment? The 17th of December,
the day of James Strand's arrest, was the seventy-sixth since Phileas
Fogg's departure, and no news of him had been received. Was he dead?
Had he abandoned the effort, or was he continuing his journey along
the route agreed upon? And would he appear on Saturday, the 21st of
December, at a quarter before nine in the evening, on the threshold
of the Reform Club saloon?

The anxiety in which, for three days, London society existed, cannot
be described. Telegrams were sent to America and Asia for news of Phileas
Fogg. Messengers were despatched to the house in Saville Row morning
and evening. No news. The police were ignorant what had become of the
detective, Fix, who had so unfortunately followed up a false scent.
Bets increased, nevertheless, in number and value. Phileas Fogg, like
a racehorse, was drawing near his last turning-point. The bonds were
quoted, no longer at a hundred below par, but at twenty, at ten, and
at five; and paralytic old Lord Albemarle bet even in his favour.

A great crowd was collected in Pall Mail and the neighbouring streets
on Saturday evening; it seemed like a multitude of brokers permanently
established around the Reform Club. Circulation was impeded, and everywhere
disputes, discussions, and financial transactions were going on. The
police had great difficulty in keeping back the crowd, and as the hour
when Phileas Fogg was due approached, the excitement rose to its highest

The five antagonists of Phileas Fogg had met in the great saloon of
the club. John Sullivan and Samuel Fallentin, the bankers, Andrew Stuart,
the engineer, Gauthier Ralph, the director of the Bank of England, and
Thomas Flanagan, the brewer, one and all waited anxiously.

When the clock indicated twenty minutes past eight, Andrew Stuart got
up, saying, `Gentlemen, in twenty minutes the time agreed upon between
Mr Fogg and ourselves will have expired.'

`What time did the last train arrive from Liverpool?' asked Thomas

`At twenty-three minutes past seven,' replied Gauthier Ralph; `and
the next does not arrive till ten minutes after twelve.'

`Well, gentlemen,' resumed Andrew Stuart, `if Phileas Fogg had come
in the 7.23 train, he would have got here by this time. We can, therefore,
regard the bet as won.'

`Wait; don't let us be too hasty,' replied Samuel Fallentin. `You know
that Mr Fogg is very eccentric. His punctuality is well known; he never
arrives too soon, or too late; and I should not be surprised if he appeared
before us at the last minute.'

`Why,' said Andrew Stuart nervously, `if I should see him, I should
not believe it was he.'

`The fact is,' resumed Thomas Flanagan, `Mr Fogg's project was absurdly
foolish. Whatever his punctuality, he could not prevent the delays which
were certain to occur; and a delay of only two or three days would be
fatal to his tour.'

`Observe, too,' added John Sullivan, `that we have received no intelligence
from him, though there are telegraphic lines all along his route.'

`He has lost, gentlemen,' said Andrew Stuart, - `he has a hundred times
lost! You know, besides, that the "China" - the only steamer
he could have taken from New York to get here in time - arrived yesterday.
I have seen a list of the passengers and the name of Phileas Fogg is
not among them. Even if we admit that fortune has favoured him, he can
scarcely have reached America. I think he will be at least twenty days
behindhand, and that Lord Albemarle will lose a cool five thousand.'

`It is clear,' replied Gauthier Ralph; `and we have nothing to do but
to present Mr Fogg's cheque at Barings tomorrow.'

At this moment, the hands of the club clock pointed to twenty minutes
to nine.

`Five minutes more,' said Andrew Stuart.

The five gentlemen looked at each other. Their anxiety was becoming
intense; but, not wishing to betray it, they readily assented to Mr
Fallentin's proposal of a rubber.

`I wouldn't give up my four thousand of the bet,' said Andrew Stuart,
as he took his seat, `for three thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine.'

The clock indicated eighteen minutes to nine.

The players took up their cards, but could not keep their eyes off
the clock. Certainly, however secure they felt, minutes had never seemed
so long to them!

`Seventeen minutes to nine,' said Thomas Flanagan, as he cut the cards
which Ralph handed to him.

Then there was a moment of silence. The great saloon was perfectly
quiet; but the murmurs of the crowd outside were heard, with now and
then a shrill cry. The pendulum beat the seconds, which each player
eagerly counted, as he listened with mathematical regularity.

`Sixteen minutes to nine!' said John Sullivan, in a voice which betrayed
his emotion.

One minute more, and the wager would be won. Andrew Stuart and his
partners suspended their game. They left their cards, and counted the

At the fortieth second, nothing. At the fiftieth, still nothing.

At the fifty-fifth, a loud cry was heard in the street, followed by
applause, hurrahs, and some fierce growls.

The players rose from their seats.

At the fifty-seventh second the door of the saloon opened; and the
pendulum had not beat the sixtieth second when Phileas Fogg appeared,
followed by an excited crowd who had forced their way through the club
doors, and in his calm voice, said, `Here I am, gentlemen!'