Aouda turned pale, and her blood ran cold. She seized Mr Fogg's arm and gently pulled him back. Passepartout was ready to pounce upon the American, who was staring insolently at his opponent. But Fix got up, and going to Colonel Proctor said, `You forget that it is I with whom you have to deal, sir; for it was I whom you not only insulted, but struck!'
`Mr Fix,' said Mr Fogg, `pardon me, but this affair is mine, and mine only. The colonel has again insulted me, by insisting that I should not play a spade, and he shall give me satisfaction for it.'
`When and where you will,' replied the American, `and with whatever weapon you choose.'
Aouda in vain attempted to retain Mr Fogg; ash vainly did the detective endeavour to make the quarrel his. Passepartout wished to throw the colonel out of the window, but a sign from his master checked him. Phileas Fogg left the car, and the American followed him upon the platform.
`Sir,' said Mr Fogg to his adversary, `I am in a great hurry to get back to Europe, and any delay whatever will be greatly to my disadvantage.'
`Well, what's that to me?' replied Colonel Proctor.
`Sir,' said Mr Fogg, very politely; `after our meeting at San Francisco, I determined to return to America and find you as soon as I had completed the business which called me to England.'
`Will you appoint a meeting for six months hence?'
`Why not ten years hence?'
`I say six months,' returned Phileas Fogg; `and I shall be at the place of meeting promptly.'
`All this is an evasion,' cried Stamp Proctor. `Now or never!'
`Very good. You are going to New York?'
`What difference is it to you? Do you know Plum Creek?'
`No,' replied Mr Fogg.
`It's the next station. The train will be there in an hour, and will stop there ten minutes. In ten minutes several revolver-shots could be exchanged.'
`Very well,' said Mr Fogg. `I will stop at Plum Creek.'
`And I guess you'll stay there too,' added the American insolently.
`Who knows?' replied Mr Fogg, returning to the car as coolly as usual. He began to reassure Aouda, telling her that blusterers were never to be feared, and begged Fix to be his second at the approaching duel, a request which the detective could not refuse. Mr Fogg resumed the interrupted game with perfect calmness.
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