`What influence could I have?' replied Aouda. `Mr Fogg is influenced by no one. Has he ever understood that my gratitude to him is overflowing? Has he ever read my heart? My friend, he must not be left alone an instant! You say he is going to speak with me this evening?'
`Yes, madam; probably to arrange for your protection and comfort in England.'
`We shall see,' replied Aouda, becoming suddenly pensive.
Throughout this day (Sunday) the house in Saville Row was as if uninhabited, and Phileas Fogg, for the first time since he had lived in that house, did not set out for his club when Westminster clock struck half-past eleven.
Why should he present himself at the Reform? His friends no longer expected him there. As Phileas Fogg had not appeared in the saloon on the evening before (Saturday, the 21st of December, at a quarter before nine), he had lost his wager. It was not even necessary that he should go to his bankers for the twenty thousand pounds; for his antagonists already had his cheque in their hands, and they had only to fill it out and send it to the Barings to have the amount transferred to their credit.
Mr Fogg, therefore, had no reason for going out, and so he remained at home. He shut himself up in his room, and busied himself putting his affairs in order. Passepartout continually ascended and descended the stairs. The hours were long for him. He listened at his master's door, and looked through the keyhole, as if he had a perfect right so to do, and as if he feared that something terrible might happen at any moment. Sometimes he thought of Fix, but no longer in anger. Fix, like all the world, had been mistaken in Phileas Fogg, and had only done his duty in tracking and arresting him; while he, Passepartout - . This thought haunted him, and he never ceased cursing his miserable folly.
Finding himself too wretched to remain alone, he knocked at Aouda's door, went into her room, seated himself, without speaking, in a corner, and looked ruefully at the young woman. Aouda was still pensive.
About half-past seven in the evening Mr Fogg sent to know if Aouda would receive him, and in a few moments he found himself alone with her.
Phileas Fogg took a chair, and sat down near the fireplace, opposite Aouda. No emotion was visible on his face. Fogg returned was exactly the Fogg who had gone away; there was the same calm, the same impassibility.
He sat several minutes without speaking; then, bending his eyes on Aouda, `Madam,' said he, `will you pardon me for bringing you to England?'
`I, Mr Fogg!' replied Aouda, checking the pulsations of her heart.
`Please let me finish,' returned Mr Fogg. `When I decided to bring you far away from the country which was so unsafe for you, I was rich, and counted on putting a portion of my fortune at your disposal; then your existence would have been free and happy. But now I am ruined.'
`I know it, Mr Fogg,' replied Aouda; `and I ask you in my turn, will you forgive me for having followed you, and - who knows? - for having, perhaps, delayed you, and thus contributed to your ruin?'
`Madam, you could not remain in India, and your safety could only be assured by bringing you to such a distance that your persecutors could not take you.'
`So, Mr Fogg,' resumed Aouda, `not content with rescuing me from a terrible death, you thought yourself bound to secure my comfort in a foreign land?'
`Yes, madam; but circumstances have been against me. Still, I beg to place the little I have left at your service.'
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