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; 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 began 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."