`And,' added Passepartout, `that would play the game of the gentlemen of the Reform Club. In four days we shall be in New York. Well, if my master does not leave this car during those four days, we may hope that chance will not bring him face to face with this confounded American. We must, If possible, prevent his stirring out of it.'
The conversation dropped. Mr Fogg had just woken up, and was looking out of the window. Soon after Passepartout, without being heard by his master or Aouda, whispered to the detective, `Would you really fight for him?'
`I would do anything,' replied Fix, in a tone which betrayed determined will, `to get him back living to Europe!'
Passepartout felt something like a shudder shoot through his frame, but his confidence in his master remained unbroken.
Was there any means of detaining Mr Fogg in the car, to avoid a meeting between him and the colonel? It ought not to be a difficult task, since that gentleman was naturally sedentary and little curious. The detective, at least, seemed to have found a way; for, after a few moments, he said to Mr Fogg, `These are long and slow hours, sir, that we are passing on the railway.'
`Yes,' replied Mr Fogg; `but they pass.'
`You were in the habit of playing whist,' resumed Fix, `on the steamers.'
`Yes; but it would be difficult to do so here. I have neither cards nor partners.'
`Oh, but we can easily buy some cards, for they are sold on all the American trains. And as for partners, if madam plays--'
`Certainly, sir,' Aouda quickly replied; `I understand whist. It is part of an English education.'
`I myself have some pretensions to playing a good game. Well, here are three of us, and a dummy--'
`As you please, sir,' replied Phileas Fogg, heartily glad to resume his favourite pastime - even on the railway.
Passepartout was despatched in search of the steward, and soon returned with two packs of cards, some pins, counters, and a shelf covered with cloth.
The game commenced. Aouda, understood whist sufficiently well, and even received some compliments on her playing from Mr Fogg. As for the detective, he was simply an adept, and worthy of being matched against his present opponent.
`Now,' thought Passepartout, `we've got him. He won't budge.'
At eleven in the morning the train had reached the dividing ridge of the waters at Bridger Pass, seven thousand five hundred and twenty-four feet above the level of the sea, one of the highest points attained by the track in crossing the Rocky Mountains. After going about two hundred miles, the travellers at last found themselves on one of those vast plains which extend to the Atlantic, and which nature has made so propitious for laying the iron road.
On the declivity of the Atlantic basin the first streams, branches of the North Platte River, already appeared. The whole northern and eastern horizon was bounded by the immense semicircular curtain which is formed by the southern portion of the Rocky Mountains, the highest being Laramie Peak. Between this and the railway extended vast plains, plentifully irrigated. On the right rose the lower spurs of the mountainous mass which extends southward to the sources of the Arkansas River, one of the great tributaries of the Missouri.
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|