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  | Home | Reading Room Around the World In Eighty Days


by Jules Verne

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Chapter II


"Faith," muttered Passepartout, somewhat flurried, "I've seen people

at Madame Tussaud's as lively as my new master!"

Madame Tussaud's "people," let it be said, are of wax, and are much

visited in London; speech is all that is wanting to make them human.

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 hair and whiskers were light, his forehead compact and unwrinkled,

his face rather pale, his teeth magnificent. His countenance possessed

in the highest degree what physiognomists call "repose in action,"

a quality of those who act rather than talk. Calm and phlegmatic,

with a clear eye, Mr. Fogg seemed a perfect type of that English

composure which Angelica Kauffmann has so skilfully represented on canvas.

Seen in the various phases of his daily life, he gave the idea of being

perfectly well-balanced, as exactly regulated as a Leroy chronometer.

Phileas Fogg was, indeed, exactitude personified, and this was betrayed

even in the expression of his very hands and feet; for in men, as well as

in animals, the limbs themselves are expressive of the passions.

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.

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.

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;

for, while the ancient sculptors are said to have known eighteen methods

of arranging Minerva's tresses, Passepartout was familiar with but one of

dressing his own: three strokes of a large-tooth comb completed his toilet.

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 had been

a sort of vagrant in his early years, and now yearned for repose;

but so far he had failed to find it, though he had already served

in ten English houses. 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.

His last master, young Lord Longferry, Member of Parliament,

after passing his nights in the Haymarket taverns, was too often

brought home in the morning on policemen's shoulders. Passepartout,

desirous of respecting the gentleman whom he served, ventured a mild

remonstrance on such conduct; which, being ill-received, he took his leave.

Hearing that Mr. Phileas Fogg was looking for a servant, and that his life

was one of unbroken regularity, that he neither travelled nor stayed

from home overnight, he felt sure that this would be the place he was after.

He presented himself, and was accepted, as has been seen.

At half-past eleven, then, Passepartout found himself alone in

the house in Saville Row. He begun its inspection without delay,

scouring it from cellar to garret. So clean, well-arranged,

solemn a mansion pleased him ; it seemed to him like a snail's shell,

lighted and warmed by gas, which sufficed for both these purposes.

When Passepartout reached the second story he recognised at once

the room which he was to inhabit, and he was well satisfied with it.

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.

He suddenly observed, hung over the clock, a card which, upon inspection,

proved to be a programme of the daily routine of the house.

It comprised all that was required of the servant, from eight in the morning,

exactly at which hour Phileas Fogg rose, till half-past eleven,

when he left the house for the Reform Club--all the details of service,

the tea and toast at twenty-three minutes past eight, the shaving-water

at thirty-seven minutes past nine, and the toilet at twenty minutes before ten.

Everything was regulated and foreseen that was to be done from

half-past eleven a.m. till midnight, the hour at which the

methodical gentleman retired.

Mr. Fogg's wardrobe 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. In short, the house

in Saville Row, which must have been a very temple of disorder

and unrest under the illustrious but dissipated Sheridan, was cosiness,

comfort, and method idealised. There was no study, nor were there books,

which would have been quite useless to Mr. Fogg; for at the Reform

two libraries, one of general literature and the other of law and politics,

were at his service. A moderate-sized safe stood in his bedroom,

constructed so as to defy fire as well as burglars; but Passepartout

found neither arms nor hunting weapons anywhere; everything betrayed

the most tranquil and peaceable habits.

Having scrutinised the house from top to bottom, he 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."



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