Around the World in Eighty Days | Study Guide

Jules Verne

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Around the World in Eighty Days | Chapter 4 : In which Phileas Fogg takes his servant Passepartout completely by surprise | Summary



Phileas Fogg returns home much earlier than scheduled. He tells Passepartout they will be "going around the world" and instructs Passepartout to pack one overnight bag, telling him exactly what clothes and toiletries to include. Fogg adds a large wad of money to the bag for the expenses of their journey. They take a cab to the train station. Fogg gives money to a woman begging in the street outside the station. Once inside Passepartout purchases two first-class train tickets to Paris and rejoins his employer. On the platform they encounter Fogg's five friends. Phileas repeats the exact date and time he will return to the Reform Club's card room. As the train speeds away, Passepartout remembers he didn't turn off the gas heating his room, and Fogg tells him, "You'll be paying the bill!"


Phileas Fogg is one of the few people who could prepare for an 80-day trip in 10 minutes. As he stated to his whist partners at the club, "I'm always ready," so it is no surprise when he enters his home at exactly 7:40 p.m. and calls for Passepartout. The valet's surprise at Fogg's untimely arrival is exacerbated by the need to pack for an 80-day trip around the world in so short a time, a demand coming from someone Passepartout was told was a homebody. It's interesting to see how Passepartout handles the sudden reversal, knowing he has quit the service of many other adventurous gentlemen because he seeks a quiet, regimented life. If Phileas Fogg can overturn his schedule on Passepartout's first day, then how regimented and mechanical is he?

Twice in this chapter Phileas Fogg breaks character and shows compassion. The first time occurs when Passepartout ignores him after he arrives home so unexpectedly. Fogg not only remains calm and unperturbed with his new servant but shows understanding for the man's confusion. This contrasts with firing his servant James Forster that morning for a two-degree mistake in heating his shaving water. The second time happens at the train station when Phileas Fogg gives the 20 guineas he won at whist that night to a beggar woman. Yet, Fogg's character proves to be full of contradictions when he tells Passepartout he will have to pay the bill for the wasted gas. Fogg's motivation and principles are somewhat revealed here: They do not center on money or emotions but on some other system of principles.

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