Monday, August 29, 2011

Around the World in 80 Days

And here I continue my reviews of Verne's novels with the classic Around the World in 80 Days.
It starts detailing the character and nature of one Phileas Fogg, an eminently respectable gentleman of the most exact and regular habits. He is wealthy, although no one knows where he gained his fortune, and he has no living family. He usually spends his day at the Reform Club, a society composed of other wealthy and respectable gentlemen like himself, although none are quite as machine-like. He spends his time at the Reform Club reading the daily papers, and playing whist, at which he is very proficient. He has just hired a French servant, to replace his old one(the other servant being discharged for preparing his shaving water several degrees Fahrenheit off). The new servant, named Passepartout, is very pleased with his new master, because he has always wanted to settle down quietly. That is, until Mr. Fogg returns home earlier than usual, bearing the news that he and his servant are going to travel around the world in 80 days, on a wager. They bring little luggage, Mr. Fogg bringing only a carpetbag full of bank notes, as they will buy what they need on the way.
 So they travel to India. They ride an elephant and rescue a young Indian girl who speaks English. She travels with them. It turns out she had relatives in China, and since they are headed in that direction already anyways, she goes with them.
In China, Passepartout is separated from Fogg and the girl, so he manages to work for food until he bumps into them again. The Indian girl continues with them, as her relative apparently moved, and is no longer in China.
 Throughout all this, they are pursued by a London detective, who is absolutely convinced that Phileas Fogg is the bank robber he was hired to catch.
They sail to America, where they get into a street fight. After that, their train is waylaid by Indians, but they manage to escape.
But all this had delayed them somewhat, and by the time they in England again, it remains to be seen if they'll make it in time or not.
And then the detective manages to procure a warrant, and Fogg is put in jail until he can be tried.
But it turns out that the real bank robber was captured weeks before, and that Fogg had been detained for naught.
Despite their best efforts, it seems that they are late. Fogg does not bother going back to the Reform Club that evening as it would be useless. The next morning, he proposes to the girl, and they resolve to be wed at once. But Passepartout, on going to procure a preacher, discovers that by some freak incident of time, they were actually one day early, but they have mere minutes to reach the Reform Club before they really do run out of time.
 Meanwhile, back at the Club, Fogg's friends are watching the clock slowly tick towards the time when the money is theirs. Just as the last seconds roll past, Fogg bursts in. And so he has, indeed, been around the world in eighty days.

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