“But,” added the pilot, “it might be arranged another way.”
Fix ceased to breathe at all.
“How?” asked Mr. Fogg.
“By going to Nagasaki, at the extreme south of Japan, or even to Shanghai, which is only eight hundred miles from here. In going to Shanghai we should not be forced to sail wide of the Chinese coast, which would be a great advantage, as the currents run northward, and would aid us.”
“Pilot,” said Mr. Fogg, “I must take the American steamer at Yokohama, and not at Shanghai or Nagasaki.”
“Why not?” returned the pilot. “The San Francisco steamer does not start from Yokohama. It puts in at Yokohama and Nagasaki, but it starts from Shanghai.”
“You are sure of that?”
“And when does the boat leave Shanghai?”
“On the 11th, at seven in the evening. We have, therefore, four days before us, that is ninety-six hours; and in that time, if we had good luck and a south-west wind, and the sea was calm, we could make those eight hundred miles to Shanghai.”
“And you could go–”
“In an hour; as soon as provisions could be got aboard and the sails put up.”
“It is a bargain. Are you the master of the boat?”
“Yes; John Bunsby, master of the Tankadere.”
“Would you like some earnest-money?”
“If it would not put your honour out–”
“Here are two hundred pounds on account sir,” added Phileas Fogg, turning to Fix, “if you would like to take advantage–”
“Thanks, sir; I was about to ask the favour.”
“Very well. In half an hour we shall go on board.”
“But poor Passepartout?” urged Aouda, who was much disturbed by the servant’s disappearance.
“I shall do all I can to find him,” replied Phileas Fogg.
While Fix, in a feverish, nervous state, repaired to the pilot-boat, the others directed their course to the police-station at Hong Kong. Phileas Fogg there gave Passepartout’s description, and left a sum of money to be spent in the search for him. The same formalities having been gone through at the French consulate, and the palanquin having stopped at the hotel for the luggage, which had been sent back there, they returned to the wharf.
It was now three o’clock; and pilot-boat No. 43, with its crew on board, and its provisions stored away, was ready for departure.