فصل 05

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فصل 05

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CHAPTER FIVE

When Passepartout becomes an acrobat

6 November

Hong Kong was the last country they travelled to under British law. This was the inspector’s final opportunity to get an arrest warrant for Phileas Fogg. It was not difficult to imagine his anger when he discovered that the British officials in Hong Kong knew nothing about the warrant and told him he had to wait for it. His only chance to arrest Phileas Fogg was to keep him in Hong Kong, but how?

While he was thinking about this, Fix recognised Passepartout walking down the steps of the Carnatic, the ship which was taking them to Yokohama. An excited Inspector Fix ran towards him. ‘Nice to meet you again, Mr…?’

‘Fix. We met in Egypt, in the Suez.’ He shook his hand. He was a little out of breath.

‘I’m sorry, Mr Fix, but I really don’t have time to talk,’ said Passepartout, and he continued walking.

‘Of course, I won’t stop you, but tell me, do you always go everywhere so quickly?’

‘I need to go back to the hotel to tell my master that the Carnatic, isn’t leaving tomorrow morning. The repairs are complete and the ship is going to leave tonight.’

‘Oh, I understand, but let me walk with you on the way to your hotel,’ said Inspector Fix.

The two men talked about Hong Kong, and their journey. Suddenly Fix had an idea.

‘Maybe I can stop Passepartout from telling Phileas Fogg about the ship, and then the ship will leave without him!’ he thought to himself.

‘It’s still early,’ Inspector Fix began. ‘Why don’t we have a drink, Monsieur Passepartout? I know a nice place near the hotel. I’m sure we can stop for a drink. It’s difficult to find a good friend to talk to after such a long journey away from home.’

‘Well, just one drink…’ said Passepartout, who was enjoying his conversation with Inspector Fix.

When they were inside the bar the detective’s plan was complete. He ordered the drinks and asked the barman to make a very strong drink for Passepartout. Less than an hour later Passepartout was drunk and fell asleep at the table.

‘Ah! Phileas Fogg will never know about the ship now,’ he said to himself. ‘And, now Mr Fogg, I just need to wait until I have the warrant for your arrest, and it won’t be long now, you can be certain of that!’

The next day, when Phileas Fogg woke up, he was a little surprised to see that Passepartout was not there. He packed the suitcases himself and paid the hotel bill. Then he went straight to the port with Mrs Aouda. But Passepartout was not there.

‘How strange!’ thought Phileas Fogg, but he showed no surprise to find that the Carnatic was not at the port. In fact, he did not seem worried about the departure of the ship or his manservant. Instead he went to speak to the captains of the different boats in the port.

Inspector Fix, who was waiting for Phileas Fogg, followed behind. The Carnatic was on its way to Yokohama. What was Phileas Fogg’s new plan? Fix saw him pay the captain of a small ship, who agreed to leave immediately. ‘Oh no!’ thought Inspector Fix. ‘He always thinks of something. That thief! He can’t escape! Not now.’

Fix was very angry and upset. He walked up and down near the ship, until Phileas Fogg noticed the poor man.

‘Are you looking for a ship, too, my good man?’ he asked. ‘We’re going to Japan. If that’s the direction you’re going in, you’re welcome to come with us.’

‘Thank you, sir. That’s very kind of you. My ship left early and I am in a terrible situation, in fact, I was just thinking about how I could find another ship to take me to Yokohama,’ replied Inspector Fix. He was amazed at his good luck but he was worried that things were not going exactly as he planned. He was determined to catch his thief. ‘I’ll have to follow Fogg around the world if that’s the only way I can catch him,’ he thought.

But where was our friend Passepartout?

Passepartout woke up in the bar a few hours later. His head hurt and he could not remember anything, except that he came into a bar with someone he met and that he talked to a man about… the ship! The Carnatic was leaving that evening. He looked at his watch. ‘Oh no!’ he thought. ‘I’m late. Mr Fogg will be at the port now.’ He ran to the boat and got on. He looked everywhere for Mr Fogg and Mrs Aouda, but he could not see them. It was then that he started to remember his afternoon with the man he met at the port. ‘But of course!’ he thought. ‘Mr Fogg doesn’t know. How could he? I was still in that bar with Mr Fix, and then I…’

It was too late. The ship was already sailing towards Yokohama.

He felt very bad. This was terrible. His master was losing his bet because of him. And he did not have a penny in his pocket!

When he arrived in Yokohama, he walked around the streets, trying to decide what to do. Soon he felt hungry and he decided to sell his elegant European jacket and buy an old Japanese one, but the money was not enough. He needed money to eat and to sleep, and, above all, to return home. Just when he thought the situation was hopeless he saw an advertisement for a circus.

Don’t miss Batulcar’s Circus. The last show before the circus moves to America. Acrobats, clowns, lions, tigers and much more!

‘What luck!’ thought Passepartout. ‘I’ll go to the circus owner. If he lets me go with them, I can go to America, and from there to England.’

‘So, you say you’re from Paris?’ said Mr Batulcar, a big man with a bald head and a moustache. He looked at Passepartout carefully.

‘Yes, a true Parisian, from Paris,’ replied Passepartout.

‘Well, you know how to make funny faces then,’ said Mr Batulcar smiling from the corners of his moustache.

Passepartout did not understand what he meant. ‘Err… yes,’ he said uncertainly.

‘Good! Then you can start as a clown,’ said Mr Batulcar, ‘and then you can do other jobs if we need an extra man. You can look after the tigers, for example.’

Passepartout was not very happy about this offer, but he needed the job.

That night an acrobat was ill, and Passepartout had to take his place as part of a human pyramid. Passepartout was at the bottom of the pyramid and he had to carry the weight of several men on his shoulders. The audience shouted out loudly, the drums sounded like a thunderstorm, and then… the people in the pyramid fell to the floor like a pack of cards. What happened?

Passepartout was running towards someone in the audience, someone he was very happy to see. It was his old employer, Phileas Fogg. But how did he get there?

When Fogg and Mrs Aouda arrived in Yokohama a week later, they spoke to the captain of the Carnatic and found Passepartout’s name among the list of passengers, but his ticket only took him to Yokohama. Phileas Fogg and Mrs Aouda wanted to find Passepartout before the ship left for its next destination - San Francisco. Inspector Fix, on the other hand, had no choice. He went with them and became their ‘friend’.

They looked all over the city but they could not find him anywhere. In the end, Phileas Fogg decided he wanted to go and see the circus. ‘We haven’t much time left in the city. Let’s go and see the circus. I believe it’s very good,’ he told the others. Mr Fix and Mrs Aouda agreed. Phileas Fogg did not see his manservant among the acrobats, but his manservant certainly saw him, and he left everyone else in the human pyramid in a big group of arms and legs on the floor.

They had no time to say sorry to a very angry Mr Batulcar. The Carnatic was leaving for America.

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