Certainly Phileas Fogg was an Englishman, but it was more doubtful whether he was a Londoner. He was never seen on 'Change, nor at the Bank, nor in the counting-rooms of the "City"; no ships ever came into London docks of which he was the owner; he had no public employment; he had never been entered at any of the Inns of Court, either at the Temple, or Lincoln's Inn, or Gray's Inn. Nor had he ever pleaded in the Court of Chancery, or in the Exchequer, or the Queen's Bench, or the Ecclesiastical Courts. He certainly was not a manufacturer; nor was he a merchant or a gentleman farmer. His name was strange to the scientific and learned societies, and he never was known to take part in the sage deliberations of the Royal Institution or the London Institution, the Artisan's Association, or the Institution of Arts and Sciences. He belonged, in fact, to none of the numerous societies which swarm in the English capital.
Phileas Fogg was a member of the Reform, and that was all. The way in which he got admission to this exclusive club was simple enough.
He was recommended by the Barings, with whom he had an open credit. His checks were regularly paid at sight from his account current, which was always flush.
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 go for the information. He was not lavish, nor, on the contrary, avaricious; for, whenever be knew that money was needed for a noble, useful, or benevolent purpose, he supplied it quietly and sometimes anonymously. 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.
Had he traveled? It was likely, for 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.
It was at least certain that Phileas Fogg had not been away from London for many years. Those who were honored by a better acquaintance with him than the rest, declared that nobody could pretend to have ever seen him anywhere else. His sole pastimes were reading the papers and playing whist. He often won at this game, which, as a quiet 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, unwearying struggle, congenial to his tastes.
Phileas Fogg was not known to have either wife or children, which may happen to the most honest people; neither relatives nor near friends, which is certainly more unusual. He lived alone in his house in Saville Row, where none ever entered. A single servant sufficed to serve him. 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. He went home at exactly midnight, only to retire at once to bed. He never used the cosy 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 Ionic columns, and illumined by blue painted windows. When he breakfasted or dined all the resources of the club - its kitchens and pantries, its buttery and dairy - aided to crowd his table with their most succulent foods.