Study Guide of Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
In this article will discuss chapter-by-chapter summary of Jules Verne’s well-known adventure novel Around the World in Eighty Days.It was first published by Jules Verne in 1873. It is a good read. The characters are well-drawn, and the plot is simple to follow. The main character is an English gentleman named Phileas Fogg, who prefers things to be so predictable that he lives his life according to a strict schedule and in a mathematically precise manner. This jaded gentleman decides to place a bet on travelling across the world. Is not that an interesting thought?
Phileas Fogg accepts a bet (on a large sum) that he can travel around the world in eighty days. Naturally, he calculated this with his mathematical mind. When he has made up his mind, Fogg does not back down from entirely deviating from his everyday routine. Fogg embarks on his expedition with his freshly hired valet Passepartout. When they begin their voyage, there is a detective subplot as Fogg is accused of being a thief and is being trailed by the police, which he is unaware of. Passepartout decides that Fogg has enough on his mind and refuses to tell him. The concept of Fogg becoming a criminal is amusing in and of itself. Passepartout is frequently a character who provides additional information to the reader, but he also serves as humorous relief. They form an excellent pair.
Each chapter of the novel is connected, but each has its own hooks and cliffhangers. Phileas Fogg has become a stoic paradigm for too cool operators in a variety of books.
Mr. Phileas Fogg resided in Burlington Gardens at No. 7, Savile Row. He was one of the Reform Club’s most prominent members, and nothing was known about him except that he was a refined gentleman. His history and source of fortune were largely unknown. Numerous theories circulated regarding his past. He had most certainly travelled extensively, albeit he had not left London in many years. The first chapter’s initial section is focused mostly on Mr. Fogg’s description and activities. His actions are defined as those of a fastidious man who is extremely structured, punctual, and a creature of habit.
When he dined or breakfasted, the club’s resources—its kitchens and pantries, its buttery and dairy—aided in cramming his table with the club’s most delectable offerings; he was served by the club’s gravest waiters in the most opulent manner conceivable. Savile Row’s mansion was luxuriously comfortable. The occupant’s habits needed little of the lone domestic, but Phileas Fogg required him to be superhumanly punctual and consistent. He would dismissed James Forster because the unfortunate kid had brought him shaving water that was little warmer than required. Passepartout had gone to Phileas Fogg seeking employment and intended to become the valet our successor. Mr. Fogg and Mr. Passepartout meet to finalise the nature of the services to be performed by Passepartout for Mr. Fogg. Mr. Passepartout is engaged to serve as the hotel’s valet. Then Phileas Fogg walked away silently. After his master and prior servant left, Passepartout heard the street door shut twice. Passepartout afterwards lived alone at the Savile Row residence.
Jules Verne dates the storey to 1872. There are no superfluous descriptions, and Savile Row and its inhabitants are detailed in great depth instantly. The very first chapter teaches us everything we need to know about the story’s hero, Phileas Fogg. Though he appeared to avoid attention at all costs, he garnered a great deal of it and came off as an enigmatical figure. In Jules Verne’s own words: ” 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.”
While Phileas Fogg was undoubtedly an Englishman, it was more debatable if he was a Londoner. He was never seen on the ‘Change, nor at the Bank, nor in the “City” counting-rooms; no ships ever entered the London docks of which he was the owner; he held no public employment; he had never been admitted to any of the Inns of Court, whether at the Temple, Lincoln’s Inn, or Gray’s Inn; nor had his voice ever resounded in the Court of Chancery, or in the Exchequer, or in He was most emphatically not a manufacturer; he was also not a merchant or a gentleman farmer. His surname was unfamiliar to scientific and scholarly groups, and he was never known to participate in the enlightened discussions of the Royal Institution or the London Institution, the Artisan’s Association, or the Institution of Arts and Sciences. All that was known of him was that he was a Reform Club member. He gained entry to this private club in a fairly straightforward manner. He was recommended by Barings, with whom he had an open credit.
The narrator also comments on the state of things using the third person dialogue. He writes – ” Was Phileas 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.” Thus, while he presents dialogue between the characters as it might have really happened, he also controls the characters with his third person omniscience. The author most definitely likes his hero who is made to fit the heroic mode quite well. Phileas Fogg, in Mr. Verne’s words – ” 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.”
Mr. Verne also describes the effect that Phileas Fogg had on others. Thus, the hero is placed against the larger canvas of the society and that is important for any complete and panoramic novel. This is how Phileas must have seemed to others – ” 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.” The author seems to be satirizing the usual society of London who found it difficult to understand exceptional characters such as Phileas and were enamoured by them.
The main theme of the novel – the journey of the hero around the world also finds a place within the first chapter itself. Reference is made to the hero’s knowledge of the world around him – “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 travelers, 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 traveled everywhere, at least in the spirit.”
Those who were honored by a better acquaintance with Mr. Fogg than the rest declared that nobody could pretend to have ever seen him anywhere else. His sole pastimes were reading the papers and playing cards. He often won at this game, which, as a silent one, harmonized 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, unwavering struggle, congenial to his tastes. Indeed, the reader does start looking forward to reading more about a heroic and noble person such as he. In the main part of the book, we shall see how the game of whist is replaced by the game of going around the world in eighty days. Both endeavors require a determined will, which Mr. Fogg has in plenty.
The description of Mr. Fogg’s daily activities incites curiosity. 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 cozy chambers, which the Reform provides for its favored 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. Our hero seems to lead a meticulous existence but we shall see how all the meticulousness shall be replaced instead by a mad dashing around the world.
In the first chapter, we are also introduced to Mr. Passepartout, who is the second most important character in the novel. While he too is an honest and orderly man, there is a sense of clumsiness around him and he has apparently had a more adventurous, colorful life than his master. As he himself says, – ” 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.” He has good references and it seems that Mr. Fogg appreciates honesty, as Mr. Passepartout is given the job immediately. We shall soon see how Mr. Fogg and Mr. Passepartout make an excellent, entertaining pair.
During his brief interview with Mr. Fogg, Passepartout had been carefully observing him. He appeared to be a man about forty years of age, with fine, handsome features, and a tall, well shaped figure. His countenance possessed in the highest degree “repose in action,” a quality of those who act rather than talk. Seen in the various phases of his daily life, he gave the idea of being perfectly well balanced. Phileas Fogg’s immaculate appearance and efficient behavior is now described.
As for Passepartout, he was a true Parisian of Paris. Since he had abandoned his own country for England, taking service as a valet, he had in vain searched for a master after his own heart. He was unlike other servants and had a certain class despite his colorful past. The author continues with his third person narrative – ” It would be rash to predict how Passepartout’s lively nature would agree with Mr. Fogg. It was impossible to tell whether the new servant would turn out as absolutely methodical as his master required; experience alone could solve the question.” Passepartout himself is described as a man who had been a sort of vagrant in his early years, and who now yearned for repose. Passepartout was desirous of respecting the gentleman whom he served. Hearing that Mr. Phileas Fogg was looking for a servant, and that his life was one of unbroken regularity, he felt sure that this would be the place he was after.
When Passepartout found himself alone in the house in Saville Row, he inspected it, and found the neatness quite to his liking. He observed, hung over the clock, a card which, upon inspection, proved to be a program of the daily routine of the house. It comprised all that was required of the servant, from morning till night. In short, the house, which must have been a very temple of disorder and unrest under the illustrious but dissipated Sheridan, was comfort, and method idealized. Passepartout is very pleased with the state of things and looks forward to his service with his master, Mr. Fogg.
The second chapter concentrates on Passerpartout and his reactions to the new home that he has taken service in. Passepartout is happy that Mr. Fogg is even more stiff than the wax figures of Madame Tussaud’s at London. Calm and phlegmatic, with a clear eye, Mr. Fogg seemed a perfect type of that English composure. The description of Mr. Fogg that had started in the first chapter continues here too – ” He was so exact that he was never in a hurry, was always ready, and was economical alike of his steps and his motions. He never took one step too many, and always went to his destination by the shortest cut; he made no superfluous gestures, and was never seen to be moved or agitated. He was the most deliberate person in the world, yet always reached his destination at the exact moment. He lived alone, and, so to speak, outside of every social relation; and as he knew that in this world account must be taken of friction, and that friction retards, he never rubbed against anybody.”
If the master is praised profusely by his creator – Jules Verne, so is the master’s servant – Passerpartout. The author writes, – “
Passepartout was by no means one of those pert dunces depicted by Moliere with a bold gaze and a nose held high in the air; he was an honest fellow, with a pleasant face, lips a trifle protruding, soft mannered and serviceable, with a good round head, such as one likes to see on the shoulders of a friend. His eyes were blue, his complexion rubicund, his figure almost portly and well built, his body muscular, and his physical powers fully developed by the exercises of his younger days. His brown hair was somewhat tumbled.”
Passerpartout is made out to be as superior amongst his own class, as his master is in his respective class. The two seem to fit each other perfectly. Passerpartout’s history is outlined and it is emphasized that he could not take root in coarse soil and was only suited to a lofty master, such as Mr. Fogg. As Jules Verne writes about Passerpartout – ” But he could not take root in any of these; with chagrin, he found his masters invariably whimsical and irregular, constantly running about the country, or on the look out for adventure.” It is ironic to note here that while Passerpartout joins Mr. Fogg to escape a whirlwind lifestyle, he gets exactly that which he had tried to flee from. When Mr. Fogg undertakes his journey around the world, Passerpartout is dragged along as well.
While Passepartout is exploring the house, he reaches the second story and recognizes at once the room, which he was to inhabit, and he was well satisfied with it. The description of Mr. Fogg’s house’s details has us surprised and questioning – ” Electric bells and speaking tubes afforded communication with the lower stories; while on the mantel stood an electric clock, precisely like that in Mr. Fogg’s bedchamber, both beating the same second at the same instant.” “That’s good, that’ll do,” said Passepartout to himself.
We learn that Mr. Fogg follows a well-planned regimen at all times and it is imperative that the routine be followed strictly. Even Mr. Fogg’s wardrobe is described – It was amply supplied and in the best taste. Each pair of trousers, coat, and vest bore a number, indicating the time of year and season at which they were in turn to be laid out for wearing; and the same system was applied to the master’s shoes.
Having scrutinized the house from top to bottom, Passerpartout rubbed his hands, a broad smile overspread his features and he said joyfully, “This is just what I wanted! Ah, we shall get on together, Mr. Fogg and I! What a domestic and regular gentleman! A real machine; well, I don’t mind serving a machine.” The second chapter is devoted to Passerpartout and not without reason. He is to be in Mr. Fogg’s company and it is because of his carelessness at more than one occasion, that Mr. Fogg gets into trouble and obstacles in his hurried trip round the world. By the end of the second chapter, the reader understands the characters of both the master and the servant. Now, the reader waits to see the nature of the adventures that the two shall have together.
Phileas Fogg, reached the Reform Club, an imposing edifice in Pall Mall. He repaired at once to the dining room and took his place at the habitual table. His breakfast is minutely described. He then spent a considerable amount of time reading newspapers. Dinner passed as breakfast had done, and Mr. Fogg reappeared in the reading room. Mr. Fogg’s usual partners at whist appear and they all begin to discuss a famous robbery that had recently taken place at a bank in London. Phileas joins this conversation when he says that – ‘The Daily Telegraph says that he (the robber) is a gentleman.”
The affair, which formed the subject, was this – A package of banknotes, to the value of fifty-five thousand pounds, had been taken from the principal cashier’s table. When the money was not found even at five o’clock, the amount was passed to the account of profit and loss. As soon as the robbery was discovered, picked detectives hastened off to various ports, inspired by the proffered reward of two thousand pounds, and five per cent on the sum that might be recovered. There were real grounds for supposing that the thief did not belong to a professional band but was a gentleman. The papers and clubs were full of the affair, and everywhere people were discussing the probabilities of a successful pursuit; and the Reform Club was especially agitated, several of its members being Bank officials.
Ralph and Stuart, both whist players argue whether the thief would be caught or not. Stuart questions – ‘Where could he (the thief) go, then?’’ Ralph replies – “Oh, I don’t know that. The world is big enough.” It is here that Fogg once again joins the conversation, when he says – “It was once,”. Phileas Fogg is questioned as to what he means by ‘once’ and then the conversation proceeds in such a way that Mr. Fogg declares that it is possible to go around the world in eighty days. John Sullivan supports this conjecture and shows the group the estimate made by the Daily Telegraph that claims that a journey round the world can be done in eighty days. Mr. Stuart thinks that the journey may sound plausible theoretically but is not feasible practically. He dares Mr. Fogg to complete such a feat himself and in his excitement, he puts a wager of four thousand. Phileas Fogg insists that he can carry out the exercise and says – “A true Englishman doesn’t joke when he is talking about so serious a thing as a wager,” He bets twenty thousand pounds against anyone that he will make the tour of the world in eighty days or less. “We accept,” replied Messrs. Stuart, Fallentin, Sullivan, Flanagan, and Ralph, after consulting each other.
Mr. Fogg decides to take the train to Dover that very evening and tells his challengers that he would be back in the Reform Club, on Saturday, the 21 st of December.
A memorandum of the wager was at once drawn up and signed by the six parties. The party offered to suspend the game so that Mr. Fogg might make his preparations for departure but the latter is calm and insists on playing some more.
Jules Verne greatly emphasizes the accuracy with which Mr. Fogg goes about his every day activities. In the very starting of the third chapter, he writes – “… having shut the door of his house at half past eleven, and having put his right foot before his left five hundred and seventy-five times, and his left foot before his right five hundred and seventy-six times…” Mr. Fogg reached the Reform Club. The reader reads about Fogg’s slightly eccentric, yet accurate habits. We realize that he is a man of class and apparently has very good taste.
Mr. Fogg’s passion is the game of whist and this is one thing that cannot be carried out alone. His fellow whist players at the club join him. The conversation revolves around a recent robbery at the Bank of England. Jules Verne assures that the reader always remains interested in what he/ she is reading. We now hear about an interesting robbery and observe that in any discussion, Mr. Fogg always assumes a quiet and superior position.
Jules Verne maintains a ready account of life in England in the first few chapters. His characters are not represented in isolation, they are a part of a large, living civilization. He writes – ” Let it be observed that the Bank of England reposes a touching confidence in the honesty of the public. There are neither guards nor gratings to protect its treasures; gold, silver, banknotes are freely exposed, at the mercy of the first comer. A keen observer of English customs relates that, being in one of the rooms of the Bank one day, he had the curiosity to examine a gold ingot weighing some seven or eight pounds. He took it up, scrutinized it, passed it to his neighbor, he to the next man, and so on until the ingot, going from hand to hand, was transferred to the end of a dark entry; nor did it return to its place for half an hour. Meanwhile, the cashier had not so much as raised his head…”
It is interesting to note that the author writes that on the day of the robbery a well dressed gentleman of polished manners, and with a well to do air, had been observed going to and fro in the paying room where the crime was committed. In the previous two chapters, we have read about Mr. Fogg’s immaculate appearance, gentlemanly ways and mysterious source of wealth. When we read that a probable suspect for the robbery is a well-dressed man, we wonder whether Mr. Fogg is the high society robber. In this way, Mr. Verne manages to keep us curious.
A description of the well-dressed suspect of the robbery was easily procured and sent to the detectives. On this fact, a debate started amongst the whist players. Ralph would not concede that the work of the detectives was likely to be in vain, for he thought that the prize offered would greatly stimulate their zeal and activity. But Stuart was far from sharing this confidence; and, as they placed themselves at the whist table, they continued to argue the matter. Stuart and Flanagan played together, while Phileas Fogg had Fallentin for his partner. As the game proceeded the conversation ceased, excepting between the rubbers, when it revived again.
The main theme of the novel is introduced in this third chapter – the question of the plausibility of a journey around the world in eighty days. Fogg believes that it is entirely possible whereas the other whist players oppose this idea. Stuart claims that it might be possible to go around in eighty days, but that doesn’t take into account bad weather, contrary winds, shipwrecks, railway accidents, and so on.
“All included,” returned Phileas Fogg, continuing to play despite the discussion.
“But suppose the Hindoos or Indians pull up the rails,” replied Stuart; “suppose they stop the trains, pillage the luggage vans, and scalp the passengers!”
“All included,” calmly retorted Fogg; adding, as he threw down the cards, “Two trumps.” Mr. Fogg appears clam and rational throughout. He comes across, as a man who would not speak through his hat, who would be able to act out that which he said was possible. Indeed, his very character seems to be stand for the celebration of rationality and order. He is the new age man, a product of industrialization.
Mr. Fogg’s supreme confidence irritates Stuart, who bets a wager that Fogg himself will not be able to go around the world in eighty days. Fogg says in reply – “I should like nothing better.” He adds that he is ready to leave immediately and warns them that the feat will be carried out at their expense. We note that while Mr. Fogg is saying all this, he maintains a calm demeanor and is not agitated as Mr. Stuart is. He appears almost arrogant and continues playing the game of cards well. He is undoubtedly the unquestioned hero of the journey around the world.
Jules Verne explains that Fogg certainly did not bet to win, and had only staked the twenty thousand pounds, half of his fortune, because he foresaw that he might have to expend the other half to carry out this difficult, not to say unattainable, project. As for his antagonists, they seemed much agitated; not so much by the value of their stake, as because they had some scruples about betting under conditions so difficult to their friend.
The reader is left a little astonished at the pace at which the story travels. Mr. Fogg has agreed to the challenge and has promised to start his journey around the world. The man, who appeared to follow a strict schedule within the confines of his house and the club, is now about to set on a crazy tour around the world. This will surely come as a surprise to Passepartout and we see that it does.
Having won twenty guineas at whist, Phileas Fogg takes leave of his friends. Passepartout, who had studied the program of his duties, was surprised to see his master guilty of the inexactness of appearing at an unaccustomed hour; for, according to rule, he was not due in Savile Row until midnight. Passerpartout is even more surprised when he is told that they shall be starting for Dover and Calais in ten minutes.
On being told that they shall be going around the world, Passerpartout is completely taken aback as he had been expecting a very quiet life with his master. The servant is told that they shall be travelling very light and would have no need of heavy trunks. Passepartout tried to reply to his master, but could not. He went out, mounted to his own room, fell into a chair, and muttered: “That’s good, that is! And I, who wanted to remain quiet!” He mechanically set about making the preparations for departure. He thinks that perhaps they would go as far as Paris, and it would do his eyes good to see Paris once more. By eight o’clock Passepartout had packed the modest carpet-bag, containing the wardrobes of his master and himself; then, still troubled in mind, he carefully shut the door of his room, and descended to Mr. Fogg.
Mr. Fogg was quite ready. Under his was a red bound copy of Bradshaw’s Continental Railway Steam Transit and General Guide, with its timetables showing the arrival and departure of steamers and railways. He took the carpetbag, opened it, and slipped into it a goodly roll of Bank of England notes, which would pass wherever he might go.
Passepartout is told to take care of the carpetbag as it has twenty thousand pounds in it. Master and man then descended, the street door was double locked, and they took a cab and drove rapidly to Charing Cross. When they reached the station, they came across a beggar woman who asked them for alms. Mr. Fogg is very generous and gives her twenty guineas. Passerpartout’s master’s action touched his susceptible heart.
Two first class tickets for Paris having been speedily purchased, Mr. Fogg was crossing the station to the train, when he perceived his five friends of the Reform. He tells them that they will be able to assure themselves that he has really been around the world, by checking his passport. Fogg and his servant then seated themselves in a first class carriage. The night was dark, and a fine, steady rain was falling. Phileas Fogg, snugly ensconced in his corner, did not open his lips. Passepartout, not yet recovered from his stupefaction, clung mechanically to the carpetbag, with its enormous treasure.
Just as the train was whirling through Sydenham, Passepartout suddenly realized that he had left the gas in his room on. “Very well, young man,” returned Mr. Fogg, coolly; “it will burn at your expense.”
Passepartout had studied his master’s timetable carefully and so was very surprised to see him home early. As Jules Verne himself writes – ” Mr. Fogg repaired to his bedroom, and called out, “Passepartout!” Passepartout did not reply. It could not be he who was called; it was not the right hour. ‘Passepartout!” repeated Mr. Fogg, without raising his voice.
Passepartout made his appearance. “I’ve called you twice,” observed his master.
“But it is not midnight,” responded the other, showing his watch.”
Jules Verne emphasizes Fogg’s reputation of being precise with the surprised reaction of Passepartout. He cannot believe that his master is not on the time that he is ideally supposed to be at home.
When Fogg says that – “We are going to travel round the world’’, Passepartout opened wide his eyes, raised his eyebrows, held up his hands, and seemed about to collapse, so overcome was he with stupefied astonishment.
‘Around the world!’ he murmured. ‘In eighty days,” replied Mr. Fogg. “So we must not lose a moment”.
Later, the confused Passepartout thinks – Around the world in eighty days! Was his master a fool? No. Was this a joke, then? They were going to Dover; good! To Calais; good again! After all, Passepartout, who had been away from France five years, would not be sorry to set foot on his native soil again. He finds it hard to believe that they could really be attempting to go around the world and thinks that the journey will end at Calais. He is wrong.
Jules Verne describes at a racy pace the duo’s exit from the house and to the station. . The cab stopped before the railway station at twenty minutes past eight. Passepartout jumped off the box and followed his master, who, after paying the cabman, was about to enter the station, when a poor beggar-woman, with a child in her arms, her naked feet smeared with mud, her head covered with a wretched bonnet, from which hung a tattered feather, and her shoulders shrouded in a ragged shawl, approached, and mournfully asked for alms. Mr. Fogg is a humane and generous man and he helps the woman readily. He takes out some money for her. Despite his cold exterior, Fogg is a warm-hearted man who would go out of his way to help the needy.
The other Reform Club members are there at the station to see off Fogg. We wonder whether they have come to see him or are there just to see with their own eyes that he has really left London. Fogg is a scrupulous man and says – “Gentlemen, I am off; I am taking a passport with me, so that the various visas it will bear may enable you to check my itinerary when I return.”
Soon, Fogg and his newly acquired servant are off on their journey. Fogg seems cool and composed at all times. Passerpartout on the other hand often makes mistakes and appears more clumsily human! He remembers that he has left the gas of his room on. Fogg has a rational conclusion for every perturbing, perplexing question. He tells Passepartout calmly that the gas will burn at Passepartout’s own expense. Fogg is rational and just at all occasions. We can’t wait to know what will happen of their supposed attempt to roam the globe.
Phileas Fogg rightly suspected that his departure from London would create a lively sensation. The news of the bet spread through the Reform Club, and got into the papers throughout England. The boasted “tour of the world” was talked about, disputed and argued by many. Some took sides with Phileas Fogg, but the large majority shook their heads and declared against him. Those who did not support him declared, that the tour of the world could be made, but only theoretically. Numerous articles in papers debated the question of the possibility of such a journey. The ladies supported Fogg after seeing a picture of his handsome figure.
At last a long article appeared, on the 7 th of October, in the bulletin of the Royal Geographical Society, which treated the question from every point of view, and demonstrated the utter folly of the enterprise. It showed how Fogg would have to mathematically jump from trains to ships and so on to be able to accomplish the task at hand. It pointed out the many obstacles that would be faced. This article made a great deal of noise, and, being copied into all the papers, seriously depressed the advocates of the rash tourist.
England is the world of betting men, who are of a higher class than mere gamblers. Not only the members of the Reform, but the general public, made heavy wagers for or against Phileas Fogg, who was set down in the betting books as if he were a race-horse. Bonds were issued, and made their appearance on ‘Change. Though after the article, the value of Fogg stock declined. Lord Albemarle, an elderly paralytic gentleman, was now the only advocate of Phileas Fogg left. He felt that if the journey could be accomplished, an Englishman should complete it first. The Fogg party dwindled more and more, everybody was going against him, and the bets stood a hundred and fifty and two hundred to one; and a week after his departure an incident occurred which deprived him of backers at any price.The commissioner of police received the following telegraphic dispatch:- Suez. Rowan, Chief of Police, Scotland Yard, London. ‘Am shadowing bank thief, Phileas Fogg. Send without delay warrant for arrest Bombay. Detective Fix’
The effect of this dispatch was instantaneous. The polished gentleman disappeared to give place to the bank robber. His photograph was minutely examined, and it betrayed, feature by feature, the description of the robber which had been provided to the police. The mysterious habits of Phileas Fogg were recalled; his solitary ways, his sudden departure; and it seemed clear that, in undertaking a tour round the world on the pretext of a wager, he had no other end in view than to elude the detectives, and throw them off his track.
After Fogg left London, the news of his wager with the other Reform Club members and the fact that he was attempting to go around the world in eighty days spread around. It became a national pastime to discuss Fogg and his seemingly impossible endeavor. What is remarkable about Jules Verne and his description of the excitement caused by Fogg, is the fact that he is able to do it in such few words. In just a few paragraphs, the author manages to paint the picture of England as it was then as well as its favorite hobby of betting. The general consensus amongst the public is that a journey around the world in eighty days is possible, but only on paper. The newspapers took a great interest in analyzing the pros and cons of the matter. The Times, Standard, Morning Post, and Daily News, and twenty other highly respectable newspapers scouted Mr. Fogg’s project as madness; the Daily Telegraph alone hesitatingly supported him. People in general thought him a lunatic, and blamed his Reform Club friends for having accepted a wager which betrayed the mental aberration of its proposer. By describing such events at London, Verne manages to universalize Fogg’s lone effort. While the story primarily revolves around Fogg, the mention of those around him proceeds to add interest to the narrative.
Articles no less passionate than logical appeared on the question of Fogg’s effort, for geography is one of the pet subjects of the English; and the columns devoted to Phileas Fogg’s venture were eagerly devoured by all classes of readers. At first some rash individuals, principally of the gentler sex, espoused his cause, which became still more popular when the Illustrated London News came out with his portrait, copied from a photograph in the Reform Club. A few readers of the Daily Telegraph even dared to say, “Why not, after all? Stranger things have come to pass.”
But, some time later a rational article appeared in the bulletin of the Royal Geographical Society. Everything, it said, was against the travelers, and it highlighted every obstacle imposed alike by man and by nature in the attempted journey. It emphasized that a miraculous agreement of the times of departure and arrival, which was impossible, was absolutely necessary to Fogg’s success. He might, perhaps, reckon on the arrival of trains at the designated hours, in Europe, where the distances were relatively moderate; but when he calculated upon crossing India in three days, and the United States in seven, could he rely beyond misgiving upon accomplishing his task? There were accidents to machinery, the liability of trains to run off the line, collisions, bad weather, the blocking up by snow. Were not all these against Phileas Fogg? Would he not find himself, when travelling by steamer in winter, at the mercy of the winds and fogs? Is it not uncommon for the best ocean steamers to be two or three days behind time? But a single delay would suffice to fatally break the chain of communication; should Phileas Fogg once miss, even by an hour; a steamer, he would have to wait for the next, and that would irrevocably render his attempt vain.
Thus, the reader is aware of the hindrances in the path before the obstacles actually appear in route for Fogg. The novel sees travel around the world, but is basically based in England. The English sentiment is written about. Jules writes – ” to bet is in the English temperament”. Phileas Fogg bonds” were offered at par or at a premium, and a great business was done in them. But five days after the article in the bulletin of the Geographical Society appeared, the demand began to subside: “Phileas Fogg” declined. They were offered by packages, at first of five, then of ten, until at last nobody would take less than twenty, fifty, a hundred!
Only one staunch supporter of Fogg remained – Lord Albemarle. This noble lord, who was fastened to his chair, would have given his fortune to be able to make the tour of the world, if it took ten years; and he bet five thousand pounds on Phileas Fogg. When the folly as well as the uselessness of the adventure was pointed out to him, he contented himself with replying, “If the thing is feasible, the first to do it ought to be an Englishman.”
A surprising development takes place in this chapter. A detective sends a telegram that Fogg is the robber of the famous Bank of England robbery. Even the reader does not know what to make of it and Jules Verne successfully manages to create suspense here. We all wait with bated breath and wonder whether it could be possible that Fogg be a robber. After all, no one knows the source of his wealth, not even the reader. The idea of Fogg being a high-class thief is a very romantic one. We are eager to know what shall happen next and whether Fogg’s journey is merely a hoax to escape the police.
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 selfconceit.
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.
Verne must have had a very good knowledge of the routes of most ships and steamers. This wisdom is evident in his descriptions, of means of passage in the entire novel on the journey around the world. Mongolia was one of the fastest steamers belonging to the company, always making more than ten knots an hour between Brindisi and Suez, and nine and a half between Suez and Bombay. It is for the ship Mongolia that two men are seen waiting for at the wharf. These two are surrounded by many natives and strangers who were sojourning at this once straggling village now, thanks to the enterprise of M. Lesseps, a fast growing town.
The reader is introduced to another major character in the novel – Detective Fix. He will prove to be a major hindrance in Fogg’s plans, as we shall soon see. Many other detectives besides Fix were sent out to trace the robber who stole fifty five thousand pounds from the Bank of England.
It was Fix’s task to narrowly watch every passenger who arrived at Suez, and to follow up all who seemed to be suspicious characters, or bore a resemblance to the description of the criminal, which he had received two days before from the police headquarters at London. Fix is impatient. He is eager to catch hold of the criminal and he has a gut feeling that the robber is on the ship Mongolia. Fix is represented as a cocky man who thinks himself to be very rational, but is not so. He jumps to conclusions readily and is too hasty in assuming that the robber would have to be on this ship only. As Jules Verne himself writes – “So you say, consul,” asked he for the twentieth time, “that this steamer is never behind time?”
“No, Mr. Fix,” replied the consul. “She was bespoken yesterday at Port Said, and the rest of the way is of no account to such a craft. I repeat that the Mongolia has been in advance of the time required by the company’s regulations, and gained the prize awarded for excess of speed.”
“Does she come directly from Brindisi?”
Directly from Brindisi; she takes on the Indian mails there, and she left there Saturday at five p.m. Have patience, Mr. Fix; she will not be late. But really, I don’t see how, from the description you have, you will be able to recognize your man, even if he is on board the Mongolia.”
“A man rather feels the presence of these fellows, consul, than recognizes them. You must have a scent for them, and a scent is like a sixth sense which combines hearing, seeing, and smelling. I’ve arrested more than one of these gentlemen in my time, and, if my thief is on board, I’ll answer for it; he’ll not slip through my fingers.”
“I hope so, Mr. Fix, for it was a heavy robbery.” “A magnificent robbery, consul; fifty-five thousand pounds! We don’t often have such windfalls. Burglars are getting to be so contemptible nowadays! A fellow gets hung for a handful of shillings!”
“Mr. Fix,” said the consul, “I like your way of talking, and hope you’ll succeed; but I fear you will find it far from easy. Don’t you see, the description which you have there has a singular resemblance to an honest man?”
“Consul,” remarked the detective, dogmatically, “great robbers always resemble honest folks. Fellows who have rascally faces have only one course to take, and that is to remain honest; otherwise they would be arrested off-hand. The artistic thing is, to unmask honest countenances; it’s no light task, I admit, but a real art.”
The detective betrays his overconfidence in this conversation. We realize even more his foolishness when it is compared with Fogg’s rationality.
Little by little the scene on the quay became more animated; sailors of various nations, merchants, ship brokers, and porters bustled to and fro as if the steamer were immediately expected. The weather was clear, and slightly chilly. The minarets of the town loomed above the houses in the pale rays of the sun. A jetty pier, some two thousand yards along, extended into the roadstead. A number of fishingsmacks and coasting boats, some retaining the fantastic fashion of ancient galleys, were discernible on the Red Sea. Jules Verne is excellent in lively portraits and it is a treat to read his short, yet animated descriptions.
Fix gets even more impatient when the steamer does not come in at the stipulated time. It was now half past ten.
“The steamer doesn’t come!” he exclaimed, as the port clock struck.
“She can’t be far off now,” returned his companion.
“How long will she stop at Suez?”
“Four hours; long enough to get in her coal. It is thirteen hundred and ten miles from Suez to Aden, at the other end of the Red Sea, and she has to take in a fresh coal supply.”
“And does she go from Suez directly to Bombay?”
“Without putting in anywhere.”
“Good!” said Fix. “If the robber is on board he will no doubt get off at Suez, so as to reach the Dutch or French colonies in Asia by some other route. He ought to know that he would not be safe an hour in India, which is English soil.”
“Unless,” objected the consul, “he is exceptionally shrewd. An English criminal, you know, is always better concealed in London than anywhere else.”
Fix can only think of the robber that he may be able to catch. He thinks – If the robber had indeed left London intending to reach the New World, he would naturally take the route via India, which was less watched and more difficult to watch than that of the Atlantic. But Fix’s reflections were soon interrupted by a succession of sharp whistles, which announced the arrival of the Mongolia. The porters rushed down the quay, and a dozen boats pushed off from the shore to go and meet the steamer. Soon her gigantic hull appeared passing along between the banks, and eleven o’clock struck as she anchored in the road. She brought an unusual number of passengers, some of who remained on deck to scan the picturesque panorama of the town, while the greater part disembarked in the boats, and landed on the quay.
Passerpartout approaches Fix to help him. He wishes to know where the consulate is. When Fix sees Fogg’s passport, he feels that he has found the robber, as the face and figure of Fogg is very much like the description of the probable robber given out by the English police. When he learns that the passport belongs to the master of the bearer, he explains that the person desirous of the visa should personally approach the consul. After inquiring about of the directions to the Consulate Passepartout leaves to deliver this message to his master Phileas Fogg. It is in Fix’s interest that Fogg come himself to the consulate, that Fix might be able to arrest him.
The detective passed down the quay, and made his way to the consul’s office. He told the Consul that he thought that the robber was on the Mongolia. The consul said that the robber might not come to the consulate, as it was not necessary to get the passport countersigned. But, Fix feels otherwise and says that he hopes that the Consul will not visa the passport. “Why not? If the passport is genuine I have no right to refuse.” Fix wants to keep the robber here till he can get the warrant.
Two strangers enter the Consul’s room as Fix and the Consul are conversing, one of who was the servant whom Fix had met on the quay and the other, who was his master, held out his passport with the request that the consul would do him the favor to visa it. The consul took the document and carefully read it, whilst Fix observed from afar. The consul just asked a few questions before agreeing to visa Fogg’s passport. The consul proceeded to sign and date the passport. Mr. Fogg paid the customary fee, coldly bowed, and went out, followed by his servant. The consul feels that Fogg looks like an honest man and doubts that descriptions can be totally trusted – even if Fogg does look like the robber, he may not be one. Fix decides to find out by getting Passepartout to talk, as he believes that a Frenchman cannot resist opening his mouth. Fix starts off in search of Passepartout.
Meanwhile Mr. Fogg, after leaving the consulate, repaired to the quay, gave some orders to Passepartout and went off to the Mongolia.
In his cabin, Fogg fed the journey dates into an itinerary divided into columns, indicating the month, the day of the month, and the day for the stipulated and actual arrivals at each principal point – Paris, Brindisi, Suez, Bombay, Calcutta, Singapore, Hong Kong, Yokohama, San Francisco, New York, and London from the 2 nd of October to the 21 st of December. This methodical record thus contained an account of everything needed, and Mr. Fogg always knew whether he was behind or in advance of his time. On this Friday, October 9 th , he noted his arrival at Suez, and observed that he had as yet neither gained nor lost. He sat down quietly to breakfast in his cabin, never once thinking of inspecting the town, being one of those Englishmen who are wont to see foreign countries through the eyes of their domestics.
Fix is excited that he has got the robber and immediately leaves for the Consulate, where he is at once admitted to the presence of that official. Fix is a detective who knows how to go about his work, the only problem being that he is too hasty to assume that he does have the right robber at hand. Fix and the Consul have the following conversation – “Consul,” said he, without preamble, “I have strong reasons for believing that my man is a passenger on the Mongolia.” And he narrated what had just passed concerning the passport. “Well, Mr. Fix,” replied the consul, “I shall not be sorry to see the rascal’s face; but perhaps he won’t come here that is, if he is the person you suppose him to be. A robber doesn’t quite like to leave traces of his flight behind him; and, besides, he is not obliged to have his passport countersigned.” “If he is as shrewd as I think he is, consul, he will come.”
‘To have his passport visaed?”
“Yes. Passports are only good for annoying honest folks, and aiding in the flight of rogues. I assure you it will be quite the thing for him to do; but I hope you will not visa the passport.”
Fix is a persistent man who often uses all his nudging skills to get his work done. In this case, he tries to urge the Consul to keep Fogg at the consulate till Fix can obtain a warrant to arrest Fogg.
Fix says – “Still, I must keep this man here until I can get a warrant to arrest him from London.”
The consul replies -“Ah, that’s your lookout. But I cannot–”
Their conversation is interrupted by the entrance of Fogg with Passerpartout. Fix moves to the side of the room and devours the stranger with his eyes from there.
Fogg and the consul have an amiable and official conversation. The consul comes across as a reasonable man who minds his own business and who is not unnecessarily suspicious. The consul informs Fogg that a passport and a visa is not required for an Englishman travelling to Bombay. To this Fogg replies that he required a visa endorsement in order to prove that he had come by the Suez. The consul visas the passport without any hesitancy, as it is legally right. Fix of course would have been angry to see his suspected robber move away without any difficulty.
Later when Fix refers to the resemblance between Fogg and the description of the bank robber received by him, the consul remarks all descriptions are not to be trusted completely. Detective Fix then remarks, “The servant seems to me less mysterious than the master; besides, he’s a Frenchman, and can’t help talking. Excuse me for a little while, consul.” Throughout the story we see how Fix does not hesitate in resorting to unscrupulous methods in order to prevent Fogg from taking his journey around the world. Fix gets friendly with Passepartout with the sole purpose of getting information on Fogg. Later, he even gets Passepartout intoxicated with opium so that the man is unable to inform his master about the departure time of a particular ship. Fix may be a detective and on the side of the law, but we see how he resorts to unfair means.
Meanwhile, Fogg continues in his calm, unruffled manner. He seems to be a celebration of all that a civilized man is supposed to denote. He goes to his cabin and takes up his note-book, which contained the following memoranda: –“Left London, Wednesday, October 2 nd , at 8.45 p.m. ‘Reached Paris, Thursday, October 3 rd , at 7.20 a.m. ‘Left Paris, Thursday, at 8.40 a.m.
“Reached Turin by Mont Cenis, Friday, October 4 th , at 6.35 a.m. ‘Left Turin, Friday, at 7.20 a.m.
“Arrived at Brindisi, Saturday, October 5 th , at 4 p.m. “Sailed on the Mongolia, Saturday, at 5 p.m. “Reached Suez, Wednesday, October 9 th , at 11 a.m. “Total of hours spent, 158½; or, in days, six days and a half.”
Through these entries we realize just how methodical a man Fogg really is. He even had a space in this intricate column for setting down the gain made or the loss suffered on arrival at each locality.
So far, Fogg has succeeded in jumping mathematically from trains to ships. We are curious to know whether Fogg can continue his journey with such efficiency.
Fix soon rejoined Passepartout, who was lounging and looking about on the quay. Fix gets Passepartout talking. Passepartout admits that his master and he have been journeying at a frantic pace and that he never gets a chance to sightsee. Fix offers to take Passepartout to the right shops for shoe and shirt shopping. They go off together and Fix points out that Passepartout’s watch is slow. The valet replies that his watch is a family watch, come down from the time of his great-grandfather and that it doesn’t vary five minutes in the year. To this Fix points out that he had kept London time, which was two hours behind that of Suez. He then advises him to regulate his watch at noon in each country. Passepartout refuses to regulate his watch and returns the watch to its fob with a defiant gesture.
After a few minutes silence, Fix resumes the conversation and learns that Fogg was making a journey round the world and that he was a rich man. He also gets to know that Passepartout did not believe that his master was merely making such a journey for the sake of a bet. The effect of these replies upon the already suspicious and excited detective may be imagined. The hasty departure from London soon after the robbery; the large sum carried by Mr. Fogg; his eagerness to reach distant countries; the pretext of an eccentric and foolhardy bet all confirmed Fix in his theory. He continues to pump poor Passepartout, and learns that he really knew little or nothing of his master, who lived a solitary existence in London, was said to be rich, though no one knew whence came his riches, and was mysterious and impenetrable in his affairs and habits. Fix felt sure that Phileas Fogg would not land at Suez, but was really going on to Bombay.
When Passepartout spoke to Fix about the gas burner that was burning at his expense, Fix didn’t pay any attention to Passepartout’s trouble about the gas. He was not listening, but was cogitating a project. Passepartout and he had now reached the shop, where Fix left his companion to make his purchases, after recommending him not to miss the steamer, and hurried back to the consulate. Now that he was fully convinced, Fix had quite recovered his equanimity.
Fix tries to persuade the Consul that he has found the robber. He reports in a few words the most important parts of his conversation with Passepartout. He then proceeds to the telegraph office, from where he sends the dispatch, which we have seen, to the London police office. A quarter of an hour later Fix, with a small bag in his hand, advances on board the Mongolia; and the noble steamer rides out at full steam upon the waters of the Red Sea.
Fix as we have seen is a shrewd detective who gets his information by snooping around. Now, he approaches Passepartout with the sole intention of obtaining information regarding Fogg. Detective Fix manages to divulge a lot of information from Passepartout regarding his master Fogg. We wonder why Passepartout reveals information so readily and easily. We see that Passepartout is a simpleton and loves to talk. He easily trusts people and it is only much later, that he realizes the truth about Fix.
Fix continues the probing – “You are in a great hurry, then?” “I am not, but my master is. By the way, I must buy some shoes and shirts. We came away without trunks, only with a carpetbag.” “I will show you an excellent shop for getting what you want.”
“Really, monsieur, you are very kind.”
And they walked off together, Passepartout chatting volubly as they went along. “Above all,” said he; “don’t let me lose the steamer.”
“You have plenty of time; it’s only twelve o’clock.” Passepartout pulled out his big watch. “Twelve!” he exclaimed; “why, it’s only eight minutes before ten.” “Your watch is slow.” Passepartout is a loveable simpleton. When he is told to regulate his watch, his pride prevents him from doing so. He says – “I regulate my watch? Never!”
When Fix tells him that his watch then will not agree with the sun, he replies in a typical stubborn French vein – “So much the worse for the sun, monsieur. The sun will be wrong, then!”
The words of Passepartout that convince Fix that Fogg is indeed the robber are as follows in the conversation between them-“You left London hastily, then?”
“I rather think so! Last Friday at eight o’clock in the evening, Monsieur Fogg came home from his club, and three-quarters of an hour afterwards we were off.”
“But where is your master going?” “Always straight-ahead. He is going round the world.” “Round the world?” cried Fix.
“Yes, and in eighty days! He says it is on a wager; but, between us, I don’t believe a word of it. That wouldn’t be common sense. There’s something else in the wind.”
“Ah! Mr. Fogg is a character, is he?” “I should say he was.”
“Is he rich?” “No doubt, for he is carrying an enormous sum in brand new banknotes with him. And he doesn’t spare the money on the way, either: he has offered a large reward to the engineer of the Mongolia if he gets us to Bombay well in advance of time.”
“And you have known your master a long time?” “Why, no; I entered his service the very day we left London.”
Jules Verne manages to show how coincidences and convenient assumptions lead to false conclusions. After hearing Passepartout talk about Fogg, Fix hastily assumes that Fogg and none else could be the robber. Fogg’s story does sound a little fishy but as we learn for a fact later, Fogg is a gentleman and certainly not a robber. Fix on the other hand is not too popular with the readers. We do not like his presumptuous air and his questionable ways of obtaining information. He is obviously using the innocent and extremely likeable Passepartout.
After the conversation with Passepartout, Fix goes back to the Consul with the conviction that he has found his robber. “Consul,” said he, “I have no longer any doubt. I have spotted my man. He passes himself off as an odd stick who is going round the world in eighty days.” “Then he’s a sharp fellow,” returned the consul, “and counts on returning to London after putting the police of the two countries off his track.” “We’ll see about that,” replied Fix.
“But are you not mistaken?” “I am not mistaken.”
“Why was this robber so anxious to prove, by the visa, that he had passed through Suez?” “Why? I have no idea; but listen to me.” This chapter ends with Fix sure in the feeling that he will get a warrant for Fogg’s arrest and will catch hold of him in India. He too gets aboard the Mongolia, with the thought of keeping a tab on Fogg’s movements.
Jules Verne proceeds at a fast pace. No one episode is dwelt upon for too long. There is constant progression in the story and the reader never gets a chance to complain of boredom. The chapters are short and succeed in giving the required scenario; no more, no less.
The distance between Suez and Aden is thirteen hundred and ten miles, and the regulations of the company allow the steamers, one hundred and thirty-eight hours in which to traverse it. The Mongolia seemed likely, to reach her destination considerably within that time. Verne describes the nature of the passengers on board who were mostly bound for India – either Bombay or Calcutta. What with the military men, a number of rich young Englishmen on their travels, and the hospitable efforts of the purser, the time passed quickly on the Mongolia.
The journey on the Mongolia is described. There are a lot of parties on board, which only cease when there are minor storms on the Red Sea. Phileas Fogg in the meantime was least bothered about the course of the ship and never really went up to the deck to see the various sights of the Red Sea. He passed his time by having four hearty meals every day, regardless of the most persistent rolling and pitching on the part of the steamer; and he played whist indefatigably, for he had found partners as enthusiastic in the game as himself.
As for Passepartout, he, too, had escaped seasickness, and took his meals conscientiously in the forward cabin. He rather enjoyed the voyage, for he was well fed and well lodged, took a great interest in the scenes through which they were passing, and consoled himself with the delusion that his master’s whim would end at Bombay. He was pleased, on the day after leaving Suez, to find on deck the obliging person (Fix) with whom he had walked and chatted on the quays. Fix tells Passepartout that he is an agent for the Provinces and that he has made the journey to Bombay often. He casually asks how Fogg is and learns that Passepartout hopes that this mad trip around the world will end at Bombay.
After this meeting, Passepartout and Fix got into the habit of chatting together, the latter making it a point to gain the worthy man’s confidence. He frequently offered him a glass of whiskey or pale ale in the steamer bar room, which Passepartout never failed to accept with graceful alacrity, mentally pronouncing Fix, the best of good fellows.
Meanwhile, the Mongolia was pushing forward rapidly. The Mongolia had still sixteen hundred and fifty miles to traverse before reaching Bombay, and was obliged to remain four hours at Steamer Point to coal up. But this delay, as it was foreseen, did not affect Phileas Fogg’s program; besides, the Mongolia, instead of reaching Aden on the morning of the 15 th , when she was due, arrived there on the evening of the 14 th , a gain of fifteen hours.
Mr. Fogg and his servant went ashore at Aden to have the passport validated again; Fix, followed them. The visa procured, Mr. Fogg returned on board to resume his former habits; while Passepartout, according to custom, sauntered about among the mixed population of Somalis, Banyans, Parsees, Jews, Arabs, and Europeans who comprised the twenty-five thousand inhabitants of Aden. At six p.m. the Mongolia slowly moved out of the roadstead, and was soon once more on the Indian Ocean. The steamer rolled but little, the ladies, in fresh toilets, reappeared on deck, and the singing and dancing were resumed. The trip was being accomplished most successfully, and Passepartout was enchanted with the congenial companion, which chance had secured him in the person of the delightful Fix.
On October 20 th , they came in sight of the Indian coast. A range of hills lay against the sky in the horizon, and soon the rows of palms, which adorn Bombay, came distinctly into view. The steamer hauled up at the quays of Bombay. Fogg was in the act of finishing the thirty third rubber of the voyage, and his partner and himself having, by a bold stroke, captured all thirteen of the tricks, concluded this fine campaign with a brilliant victory.
The Mongolia was due at Bombay on the 22 nd ; she arrived on the 20 th . This was a gain to Phileas Fogg of two days since his departure from London, and he calmly entered the fact in the itinerary, in the column of gains.
Jules Verne gives here a description of the ship’s journey and the people who were aboard. The greater part of the passengers from Brindisi were bound for India, some for Bombay, others for Calcutta by way of Bombay, the nearest route thither, now that a railway crosses the Indian peninsula. Verne’s knowledge of India too is diverse and is on display here. He writes – “Among the passengers were a number of officials and military officers of various grades, the latter being either attached to the regular British forces or commanding the Sepoy troops, and receiving high salaries ever since the central government has assumed the powers of the East India Company: for the sub-lieutenants get 280 pounds, brigadiers, 2,400 pounds, and generals of divisions, 4,000 pounds.”
The journey on the Mongolia was quite enjoyable. The best of fare was spread upon the cabin tables at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the eight o’clock supper, and the ladies scrupulously changed their toilets twice a day; and the hours were whirled away, when the sea was tranquil, with music, dancing, and games.
But the Red Sea is full of caprice, and often boisterous, like most long and narrow gulfs. When the wind came from the African or Asian coasts the Mongolia, with her long hull, rolled fearfully. Then the ladies speedily disappeared below; the pianos were silent; singing and dancing suddenly ceased. Yet the good ship continued straight on, unrestrained by wind or wave, towards the straits of Babel-Mandeb.
Verne adds a casual touch by actually asking the reader what we presume Mr. Fogg was doing all this time? The author adds that it might be thought that, in his anxiety, he would be constantly watching the changes of the wind, the disorderly raging of the billows–every chance, in short, which might force the Mongolia to slacken her speed, and thus interrupt his journey. But, if Fogg did think of these possibilities, he did not betray the fact by any outward sign.
Always the same impassible member of the Reform Club, whom no incident could ruffle, as unvarying as the ship’s chronometers, and seldom having the curiosity even to go upon the deck, he passed through the memorable scenes of the Red Sea with cold indifference. He did not care to recognize the historic towns and villages, which along its borders raised their picturesque outlines against the sky. He betrayed no fear of the dangers of the Arabic Gulf, which the old historians always spoke of with horror, and upon which the ancient navigators never ventured without propitiating the gods by ample sacrifices.
Fogg passed the time by playing whist. He played with a few companions who were as enthusiastic about the game of whist as he was himself – a tax collector, on the way to his post at Goa; the Rev. Decimus Smith, returning to his parish at Bombay; and a brigadier general of the English army, who was about to rejoin his brigade at Benares. They played whist by the hour together in absorbing silence.
Passepartout meets Fix on the Mongolia. He is pleasantly surprised at finding the gentleman who guided him at the Suez on board. Passepartout when he learns that Fix too is bound for Bombay, he questions him about India. Fix answers him with caution so as not to give his game away. Fix hints that perhaps Fogg’s tour may conceal some secret errand or a diplomatic mission. To this Passepartout replies, “Faith, Monsieur Fix, I assure you I know nothing about it, nor would I give half a crown to find out.” After this conversation, Passepartout and Fix meet for many more such conversations. Fix humors the simple servant by treating him to drinks often. Passepartout never suspects that Fix is doing all this for a selfish reason and not for the sake of mere companionship.
On the 13th, Mocha, surrounded by its ruined walls whereon date trees were growing, was sighted, and on the mountains beyond were espied vast coffee fields. Passepartout was ravished to behold this celebrated place, and thought that, with its circular walls and dismantled fort, it looked like an immense coffee cup and saucer. The following night they passed through the Strait of Babel Mandeb, which means in Arabic ‘ The Bridge of Tears’, and the next day they put in at Steamer Point, northwest of Aden harbor, to take in coal. This matter of fuelling steamers is a serious one at such distances from the coalmines; it costs the Peninsular Company some eight hundred thousand pounds a year. In these distant seas, coal is worth three or four pounds sterling a ton. Thus, Verne is able to provide realistic pictures of the journey that the ship transcribes.
Unlike Fogg, Passepartout takes keen interest in the scenes around him. He is a Frenchman with a taste for adventure. He gazed with wonder upon the fortifications of Aden, which make this place the Gibraltar of the Indian Ocean, and the vast cisterns where the English engineers were still at work, two thousand years after the engineers of Solomon.
“Very curious, very curious,” said Passepartout to himself, on returning to the steamer. “I see that it is by no means useless to travel, if a man wants to see something new.”
After the ship leaves Aden, the sea was favorable, the wind being in the northwest, and all sails aided the engine. The steamer manages to make it earlier to Bombay than expected. So far, Fogg seems to be on a winning spree. Not only does the ship reach two days earlier, Fogg also does well in the game of whist and wins a great deal of money. He seems to prove right the maxim that calmness and stability of mind lead to success. Fogg is undoubtedly the hero of the novel, but the question is that how long will his luck last.
Verne writes about the land that Fogg and Passepartout have arrived to – India. Verne explains that British India, properly so called, only embraces seven hundred thousand square miles. He writes in the present tense that a considerable portion of India is still free from British authority; and there are certain ferocious rajahs in the interior that are absolutely independent.
Verne goes on to write how the means of transportation within the Indian subcontinent have changed and become more modern and reliable. Formerly one was obliged to travel in India by the old cumbrous methods of going on foot or on horseback, in palanquins or unwieldy coaches; now fast steamboats ply on the Indus and the Ganges, and a great railway, with branch lines joining the main line at many points on its route, traverses the peninsula from Bombay to Calcutta in three days. The passengers of the Mongolia went ashore at half past four p.m.; at exactly eight the train would start for Calcutta.
Mr. Fogg bid goodbye to his whist partners, left the steamer, gave his servant several errands to do and himself went to the passport office. Having transacted his business at the passport office, Phileas Fogg repaired quietly to the railway station, where he ordered dinner. After which Mr. Fogg quietly continued his dinner. Fix too had gone on shore shortly after Mr. Fogg, and his first destination was the headquarters of the Bombay police. He found that the passport had not reached the office. Fix was disappointed, and tried to obtain an order of arrest from the director of the Bombay police but was refused as the matter concerned the London office. Fix decided then to keep Fogg in sight and he was sure that the latter would remain in Bombay only. Passepartout however, had no sooner heard his master’s orders on leaving the Mongolia than he saw at once that they were to leave Bombay as they had done Suez and Paris, and that the journey would be extended at least as far as Calcutta, and perhaps beyond that place.
Passepartout went around the city. It happened to be the day of a Parsee festival. He watched the ceremonies with staring eyes and gaping mouth. His curiosity drew him farther off than he intended to go. He espied the splendid pagoda on Malabar Hill. He was ignorant that it is forbidden for Christians to enter certain Indian temples, and that even the faithful must not go in without taking off their shoes. The wise policy of the British Government severely punishes a disregard of the practices of the native religions.
Passepartout, however, went in like a simple tourist, and was soon lost in admiration of the splendid Brahmin ornamentation, which everywhere met his eyes. He suddenly found himself sprawling on the sacred flagging. He looked up to behold three enraged priests, who tore off his shoes, and began to beat him with savage exclamations. Somehow, he managed to escape. Five minutes before eight, Passepartout, hatless, shoeless, rushed breathlessly into the station.
Fix by then had seen that Mr. Fogg was really going to leave Bombay. He had resolved to follow the supposed robber to Calcutta, and further, if necessary.
Passepartout did not observe the detective, but Fix heard him relate his adventures to Mr. Fogg. Fix was on the point of entering another carriage, when an idea struck him, which induced him to alter his plan. “No, I’ll stay,” he muttered. “An offence has been committed on Indian soil. I’ve got my man.’’ Just then the locomotive started and the train passed out into the dark night.
Verne must have had a good knowledge of the Indian country. He writes – ” Everybody knows that the great reversed triangle of land, with its base in the north and its apex in the south, which is called India, embraces fourteen hundred thousand square miles, upon which is spread unequally a population of one hundred and eighty millions of souls. The British Crown exercises a real and despotic dominion over the larger portion of this vast country, and has a governor general stationed at Calcutta, governors at Madras, Bombay, and in Bengal, and a lieutenant governor at Agra.”
Verne relates the history of the British rule in India. The recounting of the antecedents of a place serves to make a credible narrative. Even though Fogg breezes through most places at a very fast pace, the author manages to present the essence of each country to us. It is all the more remarkable that Verne manages to do this is such few words. He writes – ” The celebrated East India Company was all powerful from 1756, when the English first gained a foothold on the spot where now stands the city of Madras, down to the time of the great Sepoy insurrection. It gradually annexed province after province, purchasing them of the native chiefs, whom it seldom paid, and appointed the governor general and his subordinates, civil and military. But the East India Company has now passed away, leaving the British possessions in India directly under the control of the Crown. The aspect of the country, as well as the manners and distinctions of race, is daily changing.”
The reader also gets a comprehensive picture of the route that Fogg will be taking while traversing the vast Indian sub continent. This railway does not run in a direct line across India. The distance between Bombay and Calcutta, as the bird flies, is only from one thousand to eleven hundred miles; but the deflections of the road increase this distance by more than a third. The general route of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway is as follows: leaving Bombay, it passes through Salcette, crossing to the continent opposite Tannah, goes over the chain of the Western Ghauts, runs thence northeast as far as Burhampoor, skirts the nearly independent territory of Bundelcund, ascends to Allahabad, turns thence eastwardly, meeting the Ganges at Benares, then departs from the river a little, and, descending southeastward by Burdivan and the French town of Chandernagor, has its terminus at Calcutta.
Fogg is a curious man – he is very brisk about his business of getting the right ship and train so that he may complete his journey in the stipulated time. But, as far as enjoying a particular place is concerned, he is completely indifferent. As for the wonders of Bombay its famous city hall, its splendid library, its forts and docks, its bazaars, mosques, synagogues, its Armenian churches, and the noble pagoda on Malabar Hill, with its two polygonal towers he cared not a straw to see them. He would not deign to examine even the masterpieces of Elephanta, or the mysterious hypogea, concealed southeast from the docks, or those fine remains of Buddhist architecture, the Kanherian grottoes of the island of Salcette.
Fogg is not a man any one can easily fool, as we see in the following comic episode – Among the dishes served up to him at the railway station, the landlord especially recommended a certain giblet of “native rabbit,” on which he prided himself. Mr. Fogg accordingly tasted the dish, but despite its spiced sauce, found it far from palatable. He rang for the landlord, and, on his appearance, said, fixing his clear eyes upon him, “Is this rabbit, sir?” “Yes, my lord,” the rogue boldly replied, “rabbit from the jungles.” “And this rabbit did not mew when he was killed?” “Mew, my lord! What, a rabbit mew! I swear to you–” “Be so good, landlord, as not to swear, but remember this: cats were formerly considered, in India, as sacred animals. That was a good time.’ ‘For the cats, my lord?” “Perhaps for the travelers as well!”
As for Fix, he went to the authorities in Bombay and made himself known as a London detective, told his business at Bombay, and the position of affairs relative to the supposed robber, and nervously asked if a warrant had arrived from London. The reader heaves a sigh of relief to know that the warrant has not arrived. Fix of course is most frustrated. Fix did not insist on getting permission to retain Fogg when he saw that it was not forthcoming. He resigned himself to await the arrival of the important document; but he was determined not to lose sight of the mysterious rogue as long as he stayed in Bombay. He did not doubt for a moment, any more than Passepartout, that Phileas Fogg would remain there, at least until it was time for the warrant to arrive. In the meanwhile, Passerpartout realizes that his master is not going to be stopping at Bombay. He began to ask himself if this bet that Mr. Fogg talked about was not really in good earnest, and whether his fate was not in truth forcing him, despite his love of repose, around the world in eighty days!
Having purchased the usual quota of shirts and shoes, the valet took a leisurely promenade about the streets, where crowds of people of many nationalities Europeans, Persians with pointed caps, Banyas with round turbans, Sindes with square bonnets, Parsees with black mitres, and long-robed Armenians were collected. On that day was a Parsee festival. These descendants of the sect of Zoroaster the most thrifty, civilized, intelligent, and austere of the East Indians, among whom are counted the richest native merchants of Bombay were celebrating a sort of religious carnival, with processions and shows, in the midst of which Indian dancing girls, clothed in rose colored gauze, looped up with gold and silver, danced airily, but with perfect modesty, to the sound of viols and the clanging of tambourines.
Passepartout does not realize that he is committing a grave crime when he enters a holy temple with his shoes on. The priests, for upsetting the sanctity of the praying place, attack him. But, the agile Frenchman was soon upon his feet again, and lost no time in knocking down two of his long-gowned adversaries with his fists and a vigorous application of his toes. He then, rushed out of the pagoda as fast as his legs could carry him, and escaped the third priest by mingling with the crowd in the streets. When he manages to reach his master at the station just in time for the train to leave and tells him what had transpired, all that Fogg says coldly is – “I hope that this will not happen again”. Poor Passepartout, quite crestfallen, followed his master without a word.
Fix had been planning to follow Fogg to Calcutta but at the last moment he changes his mind and does not. Another plan is brewing in his head but we will learn of it only later. For now, Fogg and Passepartout are seated in a train that speeds it’s way to Calcutta.
The train started punctually. Among the passengers were a number of officers, government officials, and opium and indigo merchants. Passepartout rode in the same carriage with his master, and a third passenger occupied a seat opposite to them. This was Sir Francis Cromarty, one of Mr. Fogg’s whist partners on the Mongolia. Sir Francis knew a lot about India but Fogg was not interested in knowing anything from the former. Sir Francis Cromarty had observed the oddity of his travelling companion although the only opportunity he had for studying him had been while he was dealing the cards, and between two rubbers and questioned himself whether a human heart really beat beneath this cold exterior, and whether Phileas Fogg had any sense of the beauties of nature. The brigadier general was free to mentally confess that, of all the eccentric persons he had ever met, none was comparable to this product of the exact sciences. Phileas Fogg had not concealed from Sir Francis his design of going round the world and the general only saw in the wager a useless eccentricity and a lack of sound common sense. In the way this strange gentleman was going on, he would leave the world without having done any good to himself or anybody else.
The course of the train is described along with the scanty conversation that Fogg has with Comarty. Comarty warns Fogg that the latter might get into trouble because of Passepartout’s entering the holy pagoda at Bombay. Fogg feels that his servant’s mistake cannot harm him in any way. Passepartout, on waking and looking out, could not realize that he was actually crossing India in a railway train. The land through which the train passes is described here.
At half past twelve the train stopped at Burhampoor, where Passepartout was able to purchase some Indian slippers, ornamented with false pearls, in which, he proceeded to encase his feet. The travelers made a hasty breakfast and started off for Assurghur, after skirting for a little the banks of the small river Tapty, which empties into the Gulf of Cambray, near Surat.
Passepartout was now plunged into absorbing reverie. He worried about the wager and whether Fogg would be able to complete his mission. He realizes that this is not a jest and that his master is serious about traversing the globe.
The train stopped, at eight o’clock, in the midst of a glade some fifteen miles beyond Rothal, where there were several bungalows, and workmen’s cabins. The conductor, passing along the carriages, shouted, “Passengers will get out here!” Phileas Fogg looked at Sir Francis Cromarty for an explanation; but the general could not tell what meant a halt in the midst of this forest of dates and acacias. Passepartout, not less surprised, rushed out and speedily returned, crying: “Monsieur, no more railway!” They learn that the rail has not been lain from this place till Allahabad and so the passengers will have to find their own way to Allahabad and from there they can once again board a train to Calcutta. While Sir Francis and Passepartout are very angry, Fogg is calm and looks for a means of transport.
Passepartout finds an elephant and they all go to have a look at it. They soon reach a small hut, near which, enclosed within some high palings, was the animal in question. Kiouni this was the name of the beast could doubtless travel rapidly for a long time, and, in default of any other means of conveyance, Mr. Fogg resolved to hire him. But, the mahout was unwilling to hire out the elephant even at a high price. Phileas Fogg, without getting in the least flurried, then proposed to purchase the animal outright, and at first offered a thousand pounds for him. Sir Francis Cromarty took Mr. Fogg aside, and begged him to reflect before he went any further; to which that gentleman replied that he was not in the habit of acting rashly, that a bet of twenty thousand pounds was at stake, that the elephant was absolutely necessary to him, and that he would secure him if he had to pay twenty times his value. At two thousand pounds the Indian yielded.
They found a guide easily. A young Parsee, with an intelligent face, offered his services, which Mr. Fogg accepted, promising a generous reward as to stimulate his zeal. The elephant was led out and equipped. Phileas Fogg paid the Indian with some banknotes, which he extracted from the famous carpet bag. Then Fogg offered to carry Sir Francis to Allahabad, which the brigadier gratefully accepted. Provisions were purchased at Kholby, and, while Sir Francis and Mr. Fogg took the howdahs on either side, Passepartout got astride the saddle cloth between them. The Parsee perched himself on the elephant’s neck, and at nine o’clock they set out from the village, the animal marching off through the dense forest of palms by the shortest cut.
In this chapter, Fogg’s and Passepartout’s journey by train is described. One of their companions is Sir Francis, who was with them on the ship too. He was now on his way to join his corps at Benares. Verne manages to create miniature life size pictures of the characters that Fogg comes across in his journey. He writes about Sir Francis that he was a tall, fair man of fifty, who had greatly distinguished himself in the last Sepoy revolt. He made India his home, only paying brief visits to England at rare intervals; and was almost as familiar as a native with the customs, history, and character of India and its people.
But Phileas Fogg, who was not travelling, but only describing a circumference, took no pains to inquire into these subjects; he was a solid body, traversing an orbit around the terrestrial globe, according to the laws of rational mechanics. He was at this moment calculating in his mind the number of hours spent since his departure from London, and, had it been in his nature to make a useless demonstration, would have rubbed his hands for satisfaction. Verne successfully contrasts Sir Francis with Fogg – one who is more of a sociological creature and the other who is more didactic and rational.
We get a view of the passing Indian landscape – An hour after leaving Bombay the train had passed the viaducts and the Island of Salcette, and had got into the open country. At Callyan they reached the junction of the branch line, which descends towards southeastern India by Kandallah and Pounah; and, passing Pauwell, they entered the defiles of the mountains, with their basalt bases, and their summits crowned with thick and verdant forests. Phileas Fogg and Sir Francis Cromarty exchanged a few words from time to time, and now Sir Francis, reviving the conversation, observed, “Some years ago, Mr. Fogg, you would have met with a delay at this point which would probably have lost you your wager.”
“How so, Sir Francis?” “Because the railway stopped at the base of these mountains, which the passengers were obliged to cross in palanquins or on ponies to Kandallah, on the other side.” “Such a delay would not have deranged my plans in the least,” said Mr. Fogg. “I have constantly foreseen the likelihood of certain obstacles.”
“But, Mr. Fogg,” pursued Sir Francis, “you run the risk of having some difficulty about this worthy fellow’s adventure at the pagoda.”
We note how unsurprised and rational Fogg appears at all occasions. Whenever challenged with a proposition or faced with a new idea, he calmly inquires more about it without showing any signs of excitement or agitation.
Meanwhile, Passepartout – his feet comfortably wrapped in his travelling-blanket, was sound asleep and did not dream that anybody was talking about him. He is a gentle source of comedy throughout the novel – his blustering ways, his innocence, his agility as a ex-circus man, his sincerity, his follies are all characteristics that endear him to the reader. Sir Francis tells Fogg that the Government is very severe upon that kind of offence and that it takes particular care that the religious customs of the Indians should be respected. He warns Fogg of the dangers of punishment if Passepartout were caught. “Very well, Sir Francis,” replied Mr. Fogg; “if he had been caught he would have been condemned and punished, and then would have quietly returned to Europe. I don’t see how this affair could have delayed his master.” Fogg’s reply as usual is unruffled and confident. He seems to be able to anticipate all problems and find solutions to all of them too.
During the night, the train left the mountains behind, and passed Nassik, and the next day proceeded over the flat, well-cultivated country of the Khandeish, with its straggling villages, above which rose the minarets of the pagodas. Numerous small rivers water this fertile territory along with limpid streams, mostly tributaries of the Godavery. The Indian land is portrayed as a wild and exotic one – such a description was typical of the English writing about India. Verne writes – ” The locomotive, guided by an English engineer and fed with English coal, threw out its smoke upon cotton, coffee, nutmeg, clove, and pepper plantations, while the steam curled in spirals around groups of palm trees, in the midst of which were seen picturesque bungalows, viharis (sort of abandoned monasteries), and marvelous temples enriched by the exhaustless ornamentation of Indian architecture. Then they came upon vast tracts extending to the horizon, with jungles inhabited by snakes and tigers, which fled at the noise of the train; succeeded by forests penetrated by the railway, and still haunted by elephants which, with pensive eyes, gazed at the train as it passed. The travelers crossed, beyond Milligaum, the fatal country so often stained with blood by the sectaries of the goddess Kali. Not far off rose Ellora, with its graceful pagodas, and the famous Aurungabad, capital of the ferocious Aureng-Zeb, now the chief town of one of the detached provinces of the kingdom of the Nizam. It was thereabouts that Feringhea, the Thuggee chief, king of the stranglers, held his sway. These ruffians, united by a secret bond, strangled victims of every age in honor of the goddess Death, without ever shedding blood; there was a period when this part of the country could scarcely be traveled over without corpses being found in every direction. The English Government has succeeded in greatly diminishing these murders, though the Thuggees still exist, and pursue the exercise of their horrible rites.”
We get a glimpse into the simple Passepartout’s mind – Up to his arrival at Bombay, he had entertained hopes that their journey would end there; but, now that they were plainly whirling across India at full speed, a sudden change had come over the spirit of his dreams. His old vagabond nature returned to him; the fantastic ideas of his youth once more took possession of him. He came to regard his master’s project as intended in good earnest, believed in the reality of the bet, and therefore in the tour of the world and the necessity of making it without fail within the designated period. Already he began to worry about possible delays, and accidents, which might happen on the way. He recognized himself as being personally interested in the wager, and trembled at the thought that he might have been the means of losing it by his unpardonable folly of the night before. Being much less cool-headed than Mr. Fogg, he was much more restless, counting and recounting the days passed over, uttering maledictions when the train stopped, and accusing it of sluggishness, and mentally blaming Mr. Fogg for not having bribed the engineer. The worthy fellow was ignorant that, while it was possible by such means to hasten the rate of a steamer, it could not be done on the railway.
The train entered the defiles of the Sutpour Mountains, which separate the Khandeish from Bundelcund, towards evening. The next day Sir Francis Cromarty asked Passepartout what time it was; to which, on consulting his watch, he replied that it was three in the morning. This famous timepiece, always regulated on the Greenwich meridian, which was now some seventy-seven degrees westward, was at least four hours slow. Sir Francis corrected Passepartout’s time, whereupon the latter made the same remark that he had done to Fix; and obstinately refused to alter his watch, which he kept at London time. It was an innocent delusion that could harm no one. Though the reference to the change in time as one travels is not taken too seriously by the reader here, at the end of the novel we understand the importance of these various references. Previously, even Fix had pointed out the error in Passepartout’s watch’s time. Both Fogg and Passepartout think that they have reached England late but the reality is that they reach a day earlier as they had not realized that they had gained a day by travelling eastward.
When the train stops in the wilderness, we once again note the contrast between Sir Francis and Fogg. The general at once stepped out, while Phileas Fogg calmly followed him, and they proceeded together to the conductor. “Where are we?” asked Sir Francis. “At the hamlet of Kholby.” “Do we stop here?” “Certainly. The railway isn’t finished.” “What! not finished?” “No. There’s still a matter of fifty miles to be laid from here to Allahabad, where the line begins again.’’ The fact is that though the papers announced the opening of the railway throughout, the papers were mistaken. “Yet you sell tickets from Bombay to Calcutta,” retorted Sir Francis, who was growing warm. “No doubt,” replied the conductor; “but the passengers know that they must provide means of transportation for themselves from Kholby to Allahabad.” Sir Francis was furious. Passepartout would willingly have knocked the conductor down, and did not dare to look at his master. But, Fogg is calm and says quietly – “Sir Francis, we will, if you please, look about for some means of conveyance to Allahabad.”
The reader almost claps when Fogg once again says that even this delay was foreseen. It is not that Fogg knew about the unfinished rail but he knew that some obstacle or other would sooner or later arise on his route. Nothing, therefore, was lost. Fogg is confident of reaching Calcutta by time. There was nothing to say to so confident a response.
Verne masters the art of first presenting a perspective through the people involved and then objectively, through a higher point of view. It was but too true that the railway came to a termination at this point. The papers were like some watches, which have a way of getting too fast, and had been premature in their announcement of the completion of the line. The greater part of the travelers were aware of this interruption, and, leaving the train, they began to engage such vehicles as the village could provide – four-wheeled palkigharis, wagons drawn by zebus, carriages that looked like perambulating pagodas, palanquins, ponies, and what not.
Fogg and Sir Francis’s search proves futile for some time and then Passepartout finds an elephant. We notice that Fogg never rejects any outlandish idea. He has an open mind and is keen to have a look at the elephant immediately. An Indian came out of the hut, and, at their request, conducted them within the enclosure. The elephant, which its owner had reared, not for a beast of burden, but for warlike purposes, was half domesticated. The Indian had begun already, by often irritating him, and feeding him every three months on sugar and butter, to impart to him a ferocity not in his nature, this method being often employed by those who train the Indian elephants for battle. Happily, however, for Mr. Fogg, the animal’s instruction in this direction had not gone far, and the elephant still preserved his natural gentleness.
We are indeed impressed by Verne’s knowledge of India as well as all the other parts of the world that Fogg passes through. We wonder whether the character of Fogg is a reflection of his creator – Verne himself. Verne writes – ” But elephants are far from cheap in India, where they are becoming scarce, the males, which alone are suitable for circus shows, are much sought, especially as but few of them are domesticated. When therefore Mr. Fogg proposed to the Indian to hire Kiouni, he refused pointblank. Mr. Fogg persisted, offering the excessive sum of ten pounds an hour for the loan of the beast to Allahabad. Refused. Twenty pounds? Refused also. Forty pounds? Still refused. Passepartout jumped at each advance; but the Indian declined to be tempted. Yet the offer was an alluring one, for, supposing it took the elephant fifteen hours to reach Allahabad, his owner would receive no less than six hundred pounds sterling.”
Finally, Fogg buys the elephant at a very expensive price. “What a price, good heavens!” cried
Passepartout, “for an elephant.
Passepartout seems more concerned about his master’s money than Fogg himself. Passepartout’s discomfort at the spending of huge amounts of money never fails to amuse the reader. After the party purchases the elephant, they proceed to find a mahout who can control the elephant till Allahabad. They find a Parsee. The Parsee, who was an accomplished elephant driver, covered the elephant’s back with a sort of saddle-cloth, and attached to each of his flanks some curiously uncomfortable howdahs. Thus, Sir Francis, Passepartout and Fogg seat themselves on an elephant and are off. The story is so remarkably written that the reader feels that he/ she too is travelling around the world.