It was a band of voters coming to the rescue of their allies, and taking the Camerfield forces in flank. Mr. Fogg, Aouda, and Fix found themselves between two fires; it was too late to escape. The torrent of men, armed with loaded canes and sticks, was irresistible. Phileas Fogg and Fix were roughly hustled in their attempts to protect their fair companion; the former, as cool as ever, tried to defend himself with the weapons which nature has placed at the end of every Englishman’s arm, but in vain. A big brawny fellow with a red beard, flushed face, and broad shoulders, who seemed to be the chief of the band, raised his clenched fist to strike Mr. Fogg, whom he would have given a crushing blow, had not Fix rushed in and received it in his stead. An enormous bruise immediately made its appearance under the detective’s silk hat, which was completely smashed in.
“Yankee!” exclaimed Mr. Fogg, darting a contemptuous look at the ruffian.
“Englishman!” returned the other. “We will meet again!”
“When you please.”
“What is your name?”
“Phileas Fogg. And yours?”
“Colonel Stamp Proctor.”
The human tide now swept by, after overturning Fix, who speedily got upon his feet again, though with tattered clothes. Happily, he was not seriously hurt. His travelling overcoat was divided into two unequal parts, and his trousers resembled those of certain Indians, which fit less compactly than they are easy to put on. Aouda had escaped unharmed, and Fix alone bore marks of the fray in his black and blue bruise.
“Thanks,” said Mr. Fogg to the detective, as soon as they were out of the crowd.
“No thanks are necessary,” replied. Fix; “but let us go.”
“To a tailor’s.”
Such a visit was, indeed, opportune. The clothing of both Mr. Fogg and Fix was in rags, as if they had themselves been actively engaged in the contest between Camerfield and Mandiboy. An hour after, they were once more suitably attired, and with Aouda returned to the International Hotel.
Passepartout was waiting for his master, armed with half a dozen six-barrelled revolvers. When he perceived Fix, he knit his brows; but Aouda having, in a few words, told him of their adventure, his countenance resumed its placid expression. Fix evidently was no longer an enemy, but an ally; he was faithfully keeping his word.
Dinner over, the coach which was to convey the passengers and their luggage to the station drew up to the door. As he was getting in, Mr. Fogg said to Fix, “You have not seen this Colonel Proctor again?”
“I will come back to America to find him,” said Phileas Fogg calmly. “It would not be right for an Englishman to permit himself to be treated in that way, without retaliating.”
The detective smiled, but did not reply. It was clear that Mr. Fogg was one of those Englishmen who, while they do not tolerate duelling at home, fight abroad when their honour is attacked.
At a quarter before six the travellers reached the station, and found the train ready to depart. As he was about to enter it, Mr. Fogg called a porter, and said to him: “My friend, was there not some trouble to-day in San Francisco?”
“It was a political meeting, sir,” replied the porter.
“But I thought there was a great deal of disturbance in the streets.”
“It was only a meeting assembled for an election.”
“The election of a general-in-chief, no doubt?” asked Mr. Fogg.
“No, sir; of a justice of the peace.”
Phileas Fogg got into the train, which started off at full speed.