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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
In this chapter, Verne explains the circumstances in which the above mentioned telegraphic dispatch about Phileas Fogg was sent. The steamer Mongolia, belonging to the Peninsular and Oriental Company, was due at eleven o’clock a.m. on the 9 th of October, at Suez. The Mongolia plied regularly between Brindisi and Bombay via the Suez Canal.
Two men were promenading up and down the wharves, among the crowd of natives. One was the British consul at Suez, who was in the habit of seeing, from his office window, English ships daily passing to and fro on the great canal. The other was a small built personage with a nervous, intelligent face, and bright eyes peering out from under eyebrows, which he was incessantly twitching. He was manifesting signs of impatience, nervously pacing up and down. This was Fix, one of the detectives who had been dispatched from England in search of the bank robber. It was his responsibility to note all suspicious looking people. The detective was inspired by the hope of obtaining the splendid reward, which would be the prize of success, and waited with a feverish impatience, the arrival of the steamer Mongolia. He has a conversation with the consul, while awaiting the arrival of the Mongolia, in which he explains how he proposed to find the robber. Mr. Fix evidently was not wanting in a tinge of self-conceit.
As he passed among the busy crowd, Fix, scrutinized the passers by with a keen, rapid glance. He was irritated that the Mongolia had not yet come in and was questioning the consul on the course of the ship. The consul pointed out that the bank robber might be able to successfully hide in England itself, without leaving the country. This observation furnished the detective food for thought, and meanwhile the consul went away to his office. Fix had a feeling that the robber would be on board the Mongolia.
When the ship came in, Fix carefully examined each face and figure, which made its appearance. One of the passengers came up to him and politely asked if he could point out the English consulate, at the same time showing a passport which he wished to have validated. Fix took the passport, and with a rapid glance read the description of its bearer. An involuntary motion of surprise nearly escaped him, for the description in the passport was identical with that of the bank robber, which he had received from Scotland Yard. He found out that the passport was that of the man’s master and he advised the questioner that for getting the passport validated, the master would have to make an appearance himself at the Consulate.