Phileas Fogg lived, in 1872, at No. 7, Saville Row, Burlington Gardens,
the house in which Sheridan died in 1814. He was one of the most noticeable
members of the Reform Club, though he seemed always to avoid attracting
attention; an enigmatical personage, about whom little was known, except
that he was a polished man of the world. People said that he resembled
Byron--at least that his head was Byronic; but he was a bearded, tranquil
Byron, who might live on a thousand years without growing old.
an Englishman, it was more doubtful whether Phileas Fogg was a Londoner.
He was never seen on 'Change, nor at the Bank, nor in the counting-rooms
of the "City"; no ships ever came into London docks of which he was the
owner; he had no public employment; he had never been entered at any of
the Inns of Court, either at the Temple, or Lincoln's Inn, or Gray's Inn;
nor had his voice ever resounded in the Court of Chancery, or in the Exchequer,
or the Queen's Bench, or the Ecclesiastical Courts. He certainly was not
a manufacturer; nor was he a merchant or a gentleman farmer. His name was
strange to the scientific and learned societies, and he never was known
to take part in the sage deliberations of the Royal Institution or the
London Institution, the Artisan's Association, or the Institution of Arts
and Sciences. He belonged, in fact, to none of the numerous societies which
swarm in the English capital, from the Harmonic to that of the Entomologists,
founded mainly for the purpose of abolishing pernicious insects.
Fogg was a member of the Reform, and that was all.
in which he got admission to this exclusive club was simple enough.
recommended by the Barings, with whom he had an open credit. His cheques
were regularly paid at sight from his account current, which was always
Fogg rich? Undoubtedly. But those who knew him best could not imagine how
he had made his fortune, and Mr. Fogg was the last person to whom to apply
for the information. He was not lavish, nor, on the contrary, avaricious;
for, whenever he knew that money was needed for a noble, useful, or benevolent
purpose, he supplied it quietly and sometimes anonymously. He was, in short,
the least communicative of men. He talked very little, and seemed all the
more mysterious for his taciturn manner. His daily habits were quite open
to observation; but whatever he did was so exactly the same thing that
he had always done before, that the wits of the curious were fairly puzzled.
travelled? It was likely, for no one seemed to know the world more familiarly;
there was no spot so secluded that he did not appear to have an intimate
acquaintance with it. He often corrected, with a few clear words, the thousand
conjectures advanced by members of the club as to lost and unheard-of travellers,
pointing out the true probabilities, and seeming as if gifted with a sort
of second sight, so often did events justify his predictions. He must have
travelled everywhere, at least in the spirit.
at least certain that Phileas Fogg had not absented himself from London
for many years. Those who were honoured by a better acquaintance with him
than the rest, declared that nobody could pretend to have ever seen him
anywhere else. His sole pastimes were reading the papers and playing whist.
He often won at this game, which, as a silent one, harmonised with his
nature; but his winnings never went into his purse, being reserved as a
fund for his charities. Mr. Fogg played, not to win, but for the sake of
playing. The game was in his eyes a contest, a struggle with a difficulty,
yet a motionless, unwearying struggle, congenial to his tastes.
Fogg was not known to have either wife or children, which may happen to
the most honest people; either relatives or near friends, which is certainly
more unusual. He lived alone in his house in Saville Row, whither none
penetrated. A single domestic sufficed to serve him. He breakfasted and
dined at the club, at hours mathematically fixed, in the same room, at
the same table, never taking his meals with other members, much less bringing
a guest with him; and went home at exactly midnight, only to retire at
once to bed. He never used the cosy chambers which the Reform provides
for its favoured members. He passed ten hours out of the twenty-four in
Saville Row, either in sleeping or making his toilet. When he chose to
take a walk it was with a regular step in the entrance hall with its mosaic
flooring, or in the circular gallery with its dome supported by twenty
red porphyry Ionic columns, and illumined by blue painted windows. When
he breakfasted or dined all the resources of the club--its kitchens and
pantries, its buttery and dairy--aided to crowd his table with their most
succulent stores; he was served by the gravest waiters, in dress coats,
and shoes with swan-skin soles, who proffered the viands in special porcelain,
and on the finest linen; club decanters, of a lost mould, contained his
sherry, his port, and his cinnamon-spiced claret; while his beverages were
refreshingly cooled with ice, brought at great cost from the American lakes.
live in this style is to be eccentric, it must be confessed that there
is something good in eccentricity.
in Saville Row, though not sumptuous, was exceedingly comfortable. The
habits of its occupant were such as to demand but little from the sole
domestic, but Phileas Fogg required him to be almost superhumanly prompt
and regular. On this very 2nd of October he had dismissed James Forster,
because that luckless youth had brought him shaving-water at eighty-four
degrees Fahrenheit instead of eighty-six; and he was awaiting his successor,
who was due at the house between eleven and half-past.
Fogg was seated squarely in his armchair, his feet close together like
those of a grenadier on parade, his hands resting on his knees, his body
straight, his head erect; he was steadily watching a complicated clock
which indicated the hours, the minutes, the seconds, the days, the months,
and the years. At exactly half-past eleven Mr. Fogg would, according to
his daily habit, quit Saville Row, and repair to the Reform.
at this moment sounded on the door of the cosy apartment where Phileas
Fogg was seated, and James Forster, the dismissed servant, appeared.
servant," said he.
man of thirty advanced and bowed.
a Frenchman, I believe," asked Phileas Fogg, "and your name is John?"
if monsieur pleases," replied the newcomer, "Jean Passepartout, a surname
which has clung to me because I have a natural aptness for going out of
one business into another. I believe I'm honest, monsieur, but, to be outspoken,
I've had several trades. I've been an itinerant singer, a circus-rider,
when I used to vault like Leotard, and dance on a rope like Blondin. Then
I got to be a professor of gymnastics, so as to make better use of my talents;
and then I was a sergeant fireman at Paris, and assisted at many a big
fire. But I quitted France five years ago, and, wishing to taste the sweets
of domestic life, took service as a valet here in England. Finding myself
out of place, and hearing that Monsieur Phileas Fogg was the most exact
and settled gentleman in the United Kingdom, I have come to monsieur in
the hope of living with him a tranquil life, and forgetting even the name
suits me," responded Mr. Fogg. "You are well recommended to me; I hear
a good report of you. You know my conditions?"
What time is it?"
minutes after eleven," returned Passepartout, drawing an enormous silver
watch from the depths of his pocket.
too slow," said Mr. Fogg.
me, monsieur, it is impossible —"
four minutes too slow. No matter; it's enough to mention the error. Now
from this moment, twenty-nine minutes after eleven, a.m., this Wednesday,
2nd October, you are in my service."
Fogg got up, took his hat in his left hand, put it on his head with an
automatic motion, and went off without a word.
heard the street door shut once; it was his new master going out. He heard
it shut again; it was his predecessor, James Forster, departing in his
turn. Passepartout remained alone in the house in Saville Row.