Around the World in 80 Days
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wholly taken by surprise. What! Had Mr. Fogg and himself
crossed the Pacific together, and not met on the steamer!
At least Fix felt honoured to behold once more the gentleman
to whom he owed so much, and, as his business recalled him to Europe,
he should be delighted to continue the journey in such pleasant company.
Mr. Fogg replied that the honour would be his; and the detective--
who was determined not to lose sight of him--begged permission
to accompany them in their walk about San Francisco--a request
which Mr. Fogg readily granted.
They soon found themselves in Montgomery Street, where a great
crowd was collected; the side-walks, street, horsecar rails,
the shop-doors, the windows of the houses, and even the roofs,
were full of people. Men were going about carrying large posters,
and flags and streamers were floating in the wind; while loud cries
were heard on every hand.
"Hurrah for Camerfield!"
"Hurrah for Mandiboy!"
It was a political meeting; at least so Fix conjectured, who said to Mr. Fogg,
"Perhaps we had better not mingle with the crowd. There may be danger in it."
"Yes," returned Mr. Fogg; "and blows, even if they are political
are still blows."
Fix smiled at this remark; and, in order to be able to see without
being jostled about, the party took up a position on the top of a flight
of steps situated at the upper end of Montgomery Street. Opposite them,
on the other side of the street, between a coal wharf and a petroleum warehouse,
a large platform had been erected in the open air, towards which the current
of the crowd seemed to be directed.
For what purpose was this meeting? What was the occasion of this
excited assemblage? Phileas Fogg could not imagine. Was it to nominate
some high official--a governor or member of Congress? It was not improbable,
so agitated was the multitude before them.
Just at this moment there was an unusual stir in the human mass.
All the hands were raised in the air. Some, tightly closed,
seemed to disappear suddenly in the midst of the cries--an energetic way,
no doubt, of casting a vote. The crowd swayed back, the banners and flags
wavered, disappeared an instant, then reappeared in tatters.
The undulations of the human surge reached the steps,
while all the heads floundered on the surface like a sea
agitated by a squall. Many of the black hats disappeared,
and the greater part of the crowd seemed to have diminished in height.
"It is evidently a meeting," said Fix, "and its object must be
an exciting one. I should not wonder if it were about the Alabama,
despite the fact that that question is settled."
"Perhaps," replied Mr. Fogg, simply.
"At least, there are two champions in presence of each other,
the Honourable Mr. Camerfield and the Honourable Mr. Mandiboy."
Aouda, leaning upon Mr. Fogg's arm, observed the tumultuous scene
with surprise, while Fix asked a man near him what the cause of it all was.
Before the man could reply, a fresh agitation arose; hurrahs and excited
shouts were heard; the staffs of the banners began to be used
as offensive weapons; and fists flew about in every direction.
Thumps were exchanged from the tops of the carriages and omnibuses
which had been blocked up in the crowd. Boots and shoes went whirling
through the air, and Mr. Fogg thought he even heard the crack of revolvers
mingling in the din, the rout approached the stairway, and flowed over
the lower step. One of the parties had evidently been repulsed;
but the mere lookers-on could not tell whether Mandiboy or Camerfield
had gained the upper hand.
"It would be prudent for us to retire," said Fix, who was anxious
that Mr. Fogg should not receive any injury, at least until
they got back to London. "If there is any question about England
in all this, and we were recognised, I fear it would go hard with us."
"An English subject--" began Mr. Fogg.
He did not finish his sentence; for a terrific hubbub now arose
on the terrace behind the flight of steps where they stood,
and there were frantic shouts of, "Hurrah for Mandiboy! Hip, hip, hurrah!"
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.
IN WHICH PHILEAS FOGG AND PARTY TRAVEL BY THE PACIFIC RAILROAD
"From ocean to ocean"--so say the Americans; and these four words
compose the general designation of the "great trunk line"
which crosses the entire width of the United States.
The Pacific Railroad is, however, really divided into two distinct lines:
the Central Pacific, between San Francisco and Ogden, and the Union Pacific,
between Ogden and Omaha. Five main lines connect Omaha with New York.
New York and San Francisco are thus united by an uninterrupted metal ribbon,
which measures no less than three thousand seven hundred and eighty-six miles.
Between Omaha and the Pacific the railway crosses a territory which is still
infested by Indians and wild beasts, and a large tract which the Mormons,
after they were driven from Illinois in 1845, began to colonise.
The journey from New York to San Francisco consumed, formerly,
under the most favourable conditions, at least six months.
It is now accomplished in seven days.
It was in 1862 that, in spite of the Southern Members of Congress,
who wished a more southerly route, it was decided to lay the road
between the forty-first and forty-second parallels. President Lincoln
himself fixed the end of the line at Omaha, in Nebraska. The work was
at once commenced, and pursued with true American energy; nor did the
rapidity with which it went on injuriously affect its good execution.