Around the World in Eighty Days

автор: Jules Verne

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When Phileas Fogg meets Passepartout


London, 1872

Let me begin by introducing a mysterious English gentleman called Phileas Fogg.

Most people don't know very much about him, but because he does the same thing every day, some people think they know everything about him.

He is very handsome and he is a true gentleman. He is certainly rich, but no one knows how he made his money.

Has he ever been to another country? He can name a lot of countries on a world map and he knows the most incredible things about them. He probably travelled at one time, but some people insist that he has not left London for many years. Maybe he only travels in his head.

He is a very private man and he does not have many friends. The only time he speaks to other people is at the Reform Club, where he goes to read newspapers and play cards. He does not play to win. He plays for the enjoyment of the game. He often wins, but he does not keep the money. He gives it to charity. He likes to see his games as a challenge; a challenge that does not require any physical effort.

He has lunch at the Reform Club every day, in the same room, at the same table. He goes home at midnight. He lives in his house in Savile Row, a good address in central London. No one ever goes there, except his manservant, who must always be on time and be completely loyal to Phileas Fogg. In fact, this very morning, his manservant lost his job because the water he brought Phileas Fogg was too hot to shave with. And this is where our story begins.

Phileas Fogg was sitting in his armchair waiting for his new manservant at some time between eleven and half past eleven. At exactly half past eleven Mr Fogg goes to the Reform Club. He looked up at the hands of the large clock by the wall that counted every second with a loud tick.

There was a knock at the door and a young man of about thirty came in.

'You say that you are French, but your name is John?' asked Phileas Fogg, looking at him carefully.

'Jean, sir, not John,' said the young man. 'Jean Passepartout. I am an honest man, sir, and I must tell you that I haven't been a manservant all my life. I was a physical education teacher and a music teacher; then I became a singer. I once rode a horse in a circus, and for a time I worked for the fire brigade in Paris.'