Ben Zoof, really thinking that his master was angry, made a threatening movement towards the professor.
"Touch me if you dare!" screamed Rosette, drawing himself up to the fullest height his diminutive figure would allow. "You shall answer for your conduct before a court of justice!"
"Where? On Gallia?" asked the captain.
"The earth! Pshaw! You know we shall never get there; our velocity is changed."
"On the earth," repeated the professor, with decision.
"Trash!" cried Ben Zoof. "The earth will be too far off!"
"Not too far off for us to come across her orbit at 42 minutes and 35.6 seconds past two o'clock on the morning of this coming 1st of January."
"Thanks, my dear professor--many thanks. You have given me all the information I required;" and, with a low bow and a gracious smile, the captain withdrew. The orderly made an equally polite bow, and followed his master. The professor, completely nonplussed, was left alone.