Chapter 8

Fix soon rejoined Passepartout, who was lounging and looking about on the quay. Fix gets Passepartout talking. Passepartout admits that his master and he have been journeying at a frantic pace and that he never gets a chance to sightsee. Fix offers to take Passepartout to the right shops for shoe and shirt shopping. They go off together and Fix points out that Passepartout’s watch is slow. The valet replies that his watch is a family watch, come down from the time of his great-grandfather and that it doesn’t vary five minutes in the year. To this Fix points out that he had kept London time, which was two hours behind that of Suez. He then advises him to regulate his watch at noon in each country. Passepartout refuses to regulate his watch and returns the watch to its fob with a defiant gesture.

After a few minutes silence, Fix resumes the conversation and learns that Fogg was making a journey round the world and that he was a rich man. He also gets to know that Passepartout did not believe that his master was merely making such a journey for the sake of a bet. The effect of these replies upon the already suspicious and excited detective may be imagined. The hasty departure from London soon after the robbery; the large sum carried by Mr. Fogg; his eagerness to reach distant countries; the pretext of an eccentric and foolhardy bet all confirmed Fix in his theory. He continues to pump poor Passepartout, and learns that he really knew little or nothing of his master, who lived a solitary existence in London, was said to be rich, though no one knew whence came his riches, and was mysterious and impenetrable in his affairs and habits. Fix felt sure that Phileas Fogg would not land at Suez, but was really going on to Bombay.

When Passepartout spoke to Fix about the gas burner that was burning at his expense, Fix didn't pay any attention to Passepartout’s trouble about the gas. He was not listening, but was cogitating a project. Passepartout and he had now reached the shop, where Fix left his companion to make his purchases, after recommending him not to miss the steamer, and hurried back to the consulate. Now that he was fully convinced, Fix had quite recovered his equanimity.

Fix tries to persuade the Consul that he has found the robber. He reports in a few words the most important parts of his conversation with Passepartout. He then proceeds to the telegraph office, from where he sends the dispatch, which we have seen, to the London police office. A quarter of an hour later Fix, with a small bag in his hand, advances on board the Mongolia; and the noble steamer rides out at full steam upon the waters of the Red Sea.

Fix as we have seen is a shrewd detective who gets his information by snooping around. Now, he approaches Passepartout with the sole intention of obtaining information regarding Fogg. Detective Fix manages to divulge a lot of information from Passepartout regarding his master Fogg. We wonder why Passepartout reveals information so readily and easily. We see that Passepartout is a simpleton and loves to talk. He easily trusts people and it is only much later, that he realizes the truth about Fix.

Fix continues the probing - "You are in a great hurry, then?" "I am not, but my master is. By the way, I must buy some shoes and shirts. We came away without trunks, only with a carpetbag." "I will show you an excellent shop for getting what you want."

"Really, monsieur, you are very kind."

And they walked off together, Passepartout chatting volubly as they went along. "Above all," said he; "don’t let me lose the steamer."

"You have plenty of time; it’s only twelve o’clock." Passepartout pulled out his big watch. "Twelve!" he exclaimed; "why, it’s only eight minutes before ten." "Your watch is slow." Passepartout is a loveable simpleton. When he is told to regulate his watch, his pride prevents him from doing so. He says - "I regulate my watch? Never!"

When Fix tells him that his watch then will not agree with the sun, he replies in a typical stubborn French vein - "So much the worse for the sun, monsieur. The sun will be wrong, then!"

The words of Passepartout that convince Fix that Fogg is indeed the robber are as follows in the conversation between them-"You left London hastily, then?"

"I rather think so! Last Friday at eight o’clock in the evening, Monsieur Fogg came home from his club, and three-quarters of an hour afterwards we were off."

"But where is your master going?" "Always straight-ahead. He is going round the world." "Round the world?" cried Fix.

"Yes, and in eighty days! He says it is on a wager; but, between us, I don’t believe a word of it. That wouldn’t be common sense. There’s something else in the wind."

"Ah! Mr. Fogg is a character, is he?" "I should say he was."

"Is he rich?" "No doubt, for he is carrying an enormous sum in brand new banknotes with him. And he doesn’t spare the money on the way, either: he has offered a large reward to the engineer of the Mongolia if he gets us to Bombay well in advance of time."

"And you have known your master a long time?" "Why, no; I entered his service the very day we left London."

Jules Verne manages to show how coincidences and convenient assumptions lead to false conclusions. After hearing Passepartout talk about Fogg, Fix hastily assumes that Fogg and none else could be the robber. Fogg’s story does sound a little fishy but as we learn for a fact later, Fogg is a gentleman and certainly not a robber. Fix on the other hand is not too popular with the readers. We do not like his presumptuous air and his questionable ways of obtaining information. He is obviously using the innocent and extremely likeable Passepartout.

After the conversation with Passepartout, Fix goes back to the Consul with the conviction that he has found his robber. "Consul," said he, "I have no longer any doubt. I have spotted my man. He passes himself off as an odd stick who is going round the world in eighty days." "Then he’s a sharp fellow," returned the consul, "and counts on returning to London after putting the police of the two countries off his track." "We’ll see about that," replied Fix.

"But are you not mistaken?" "I am not mistaken."

"Why was this robber so anxious to prove, by the visa, that he had passed through Suez?" "Why? I have no idea; but listen to me." This chapter ends with Fix sure in the feeling that he will get a warrant for Fogg’s arrest and will catch hold of him in India. He too gets aboard the Mongolia, with the thought of keeping a tab on Fogg’s movements.

Jules Verne proceeds at a fast pace. No one episode is dwelt upon for too long. There is constant progression in the story and the reader never gets a chance to complain of boredom. The chapters are short and succeed in giving the required scenario; no more, no less.

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