WHICH ONCE MORE DEMONSTRATES THE USELESSNESS OF PASSPORTS AS AIDS TO DETECTIVES
The detective passed down the quay, and rapidly made his way to the consul’s office, where he was at once admitted to the presence of that official.
“Consul,” said he, without preamble, “I have strong reasons for believing that my man is a passenger on the Mongolia.” And he narrated what had just passed concerning the passport.
“Well, Mr. Fix,” replied the consul, “I shall not be sorry to see the rascal’s face; but perhaps he won’t come here–that is, if he is the person you suppose him to be. A robber doesn’t quite like to leave traces of his flight behind him; and, besides, he is not obliged to have his passport countersigned.”
“If he is as shrewd as I think he is, consul, he will come.”
“To have his passport visaed?”
“Yes. Passports are only good for annoying honest folks, and aiding in the flight of rogues. I assure you it will be quite the thing for him to do; but I hope you will not visa the passport.”
“Why not? If the passport is genuine I have no right to refuse.”
“Still, I must keep this man here until I can get a warrant to arrest him from London.”
“Ah, that’s your look-out. But I cannot–”
The consul did not finish his sentence, for as he spoke a knock was heard at the door, and two strangers entered, one of whom was the servant whom Fix had met on the quay. The other, who was his master, held out his passport with the request that the consul would do him the favour to visa it. The consul took the document and carefully read it, whilst Fix observed, or rather devoured, the stranger with his eyes from a corner of the room.
“You are Mr. Phileas Fogg?” said the consul, after reading the passport.
“And this man is your servant?”
“He is: a Frenchman, named Passepartout.”
“You are from London?”
“And you are going–”
“Very good, sir. You know that a visa is useless, and that no passport is required?”
“I know it, sir,” replied Phileas Fogg; “but I wish to prove, by your visa, that I came by Suez.”
“Very well, sir.”
The consul proceeded to sign and date the passport, after which he added his official seal. Mr. Fogg paid the customary fee, coldly bowed, and went out, followed by his servant.
“Well?” queried the detective.
“Well, he looks and acts like a perfectly honest man,” replied the consul.
“Possibly; but that is not the question. Do you think, consul, that this phlegmatic gentleman resembles, feature by feature, the robber whose description I have received?”
“I concede that; but then, you know, all descriptions–”
“I’ll make certain of it,” interrupted Fix. “The servant seems to me less mysterious than the master; besides, he’s a Frenchman, and can’t help talking. Excuse me for a little while, consul.”