He was served by the gravest waiters, in dress coats, and shoes with swan-skin soles, who presented the viands in special porcelain, and on the finest linen. Club decanters, of a lost mould, contained his sherry, his port, and his cinnamon-spiced claret; while his beverages were refreshingly cooled with ice, brought at great cost from the American lakes.
If to live in this style is to be eccentric, it must be confessed that there is something good in eccentricity.
The mansion in Saville Row, though not sumptuous, was exceedingly comfortable. The habits of its occupant were such as to demand but little from the sole servant, but Phileas Fogg required him to be almost superhumanly prompt and regular. On this very 2nd of October he had dismissed James Forster, because that luckless youth had brought him shaving-water at eighty-four degrees Fahrenheit instead of eighty-six; and he was awaiting his successor, who was due at the house between eleven and half-past eleven.
Phileas Fogg was seated squarely in his armchair, his feet close together like those of a grenadier on parade, his hands resting on his knees, his body straight, his head erect. He was steadily watching a complicated clock which indicated the hours, the minutes, the seconds, the days, the months and the years. At exactly half-past eleven Mr. Fogg would, according to his daily habit, quit Saville Row, and go to the Reform.
A rap at this moment sounded on the door of the cosy apartment where Phileas Fogg was seated, and James Forster, the dismissed servant, appeared.
"The new servant," said he.
A young man of thirty advanced and bowed.
"You are a Frenchman, I believe," asked Phileas Fogg, "and your name is John?"
"Jean, if monsieur pleases," replied the newcomer, Jean Passepartout, a surname which has clung to me because I have a natural aptness for going out of one business into another. I believe I'm honest, monsieur, but, to be outspoken, I've had several trades. I've been an itinerant singer, a circus-rider, when I used to vault like Leotard, and dance on a rope like Blondin. Then I got to be a professor of gymnastics, so as to make better use of my talents; and then I was a sergeant fireman at Paris, and assisted at many a big fire. But I left France five years ago, and, wishing to taste the sweets of domestic life, took service as a valet here in England. Finding myself out of place, and hearing that Monsieur Phileas Fogg was the most exact and settled gentleman in the United Kingdom, I have come to monsieur in the hope of living with him a tranquil life, and forgetting even the name of Passepartout."
"Passepartout suits me," responded Mr. Fogg. "You are well recommended to me. I hear a good report of you. You know my conditions?"
"Good! What time is it?"
"Twenty-two minutes after eleven," returned Passepartout, drawing an enormous silver watch from the depths of his pocket.
"You are too slow," said Mr. Fogg.
"Pardon me, monsieur, it is impossible -"
"You are four minutes too slow. No matter. It's enough to mention the error. Now from this moment, twenty-nine minutes after eleven, A.M., this Wednesday, the 2nd of October, you are in my service."
Phileas Fogg got up, took his hat in his left hand, put it on his head with an automatic motion, and went off without a word.
Passepartout heard the street door shut once. It was his new master going out. He heard it shut again. It was his predecessor, James Forster, departing in his turn. Passepartout remained alone in the house in Saville Row.
In Which Passepartout Is Convinced That He Has at Last Found His Ideal
"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.