Fix took up a position, and carefully examined each face and figure which made its appearance. Presently one of the passengers, after vigorously pushing his way through the importunate crowd of porters, 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 visaed. Fix instinctively 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. “Is this your passport?” asked he. “No, it’s my master’s.” “And your master” “He stayed on board.” “But he must go to the consul’s in person, so as to establish his identity.” “Oh, is that necessary?” “Quite indispensable.” “And where is the consulate?” “There, on the corner of the square,” said Fix, pointing to a house two hundred steps off. “I’ll go and fetch my master, who won’t be much pleased, however, to be disturbed.” The passenger bowed to Fix, and returned to the steamer. The detective passed down the quay, and rapidly made his way to the consul’s office.
It was portentous however that they did not laugh aloud, for the brute’s act constituted a side-splitting witticism according to the ethics which rule humor. That I have taken moments to write down a part of what occurred as that blow fell does not signify that I remained inactive for any such length of time.