IN WHICH A CONVERSATION TAKES PLACE WHICH SEEMS LIKELY TO COST PHILEAS
Phileas Fogg, having shut the door of his house at half-past eleven,
and having put his right foot before his left five hundred and
seventy-five times, and his left foot before his right five hundred and
seventy-six times, reached the Reform Club, an imposing edifice in Pall
Mall, which could not have cost less than three millions. He repaired
at once to the dining-room, the nine windows of which open upon a
tasteful garden, where the trees were already gilded with an autumn
colouring; and took his place at the habitual table, the cover of which
had already been laid for him. His breakfast consisted of a side-dish,
a broiled fish with Reading sauce, a scarlet slice of roast beef
garnished with mushrooms, a rhubarb and gooseberry tart, and a morsel
of Cheshire cheese, the whole being washed down with several cups of
tea, for which the Reform is famous. He rose at thirteen minutes to
one, and directed his steps towards the large hall, a sumptuous
apartment adorned with lavishly-framed paintings. A flunkey handed him
an uncut Times, which he proceeded to cut with a skill which betrayed
familiarity with this delicate operation. The perusal of this paper
absorbed Phileas Fogg until a quarter before four, whilst the Standard,
his next task, occupied him till the dinner hour. Dinner passed as
breakfast had done, and Mr. Fogg re-appeared in the reading-room and
sat down to the Pall Mall at twenty minutes before six. Half an hour
later several members of the Reform came in and drew up to the
fireplace, where a coal fire was steadily burning. They were Mr.
Fogg's usual partners at whist: Andrew Stuart, an engineer; John
Sullivan and Samuel Fallentin, bankers; Thomas Flanagan, a brewer; and
Gauthier Ralph, one of the Directors of the Bank of England—all rich
and highly respectable personages, even in a club which comprises the
princes of English trade and finance.
"Well, Ralph," said Thomas Flanagan, "what about that robbery?"
"Oh," replied Stuart, "the Bank will lose the money."
"On the contrary," broke in Ralph, "I hope we may put our hands on the
robber. Skilful detectives have been sent to all the principal ports
of America and the Continent, and he'll be a clever fellow if he slips
through their fingers."
"But have you got the robber's description?" asked Stuart.
"In the first place, he is no robber at all," returned Ralph,
"What! a fellow who makes off with fifty-five thousand pounds, no
"Perhaps he's a manufacturer, then."
"The Daily Telegraph says that he is a gentleman."
It was Phileas Fogg, whose head now emerged from behind his newspapers,
who made this remark. He bowed to his friends, and entered into the
conversation. The affair which formed its subject, and which was town
talk, had occurred three days before at the Bank of England. A package
of banknotes, to the value of fifty-five thousand pounds, had been
taken from the principal cashier's table, that functionary being at the
moment engaged in registering the receipt of three shillings and
sixpence. Of course, he could not have his eyes everywhere. Let it be
observed that the Bank of England reposes a touching confidence in the
honesty of the public. There are neither guards nor gratings to
protect its treasures; gold, silver, banknotes are freely exposed, at
the mercy of the first comer. A keen observer of English customs
relates that, being in one of the rooms of the Bank one day, he had the
curiosity to examine a gold ingot weighing some seven or eight pounds.
He took it up, scrutinised it, passed it to his neighbour, he to the
next man, and so on until the ingot, going from hand to hand, was
transferred to the end of a dark entry; nor did it return to its place
for half an hour. Meanwhile, the cashier had not so much as raised his
head. But in the present instance things had not gone so smoothly.
The package of notes not being found when five o'clock sounded from the
ponderous clock in the "drawing office," the amount was passed to the
account of profit and loss. As soon as the robbery was discovered,
picked detectives hastened off to Liverpool, Glasgow, Havre, Suez,
Brindisi, New York, and other ports, inspired by the proffered reward
of two thousand pounds, and five per cent. on the sum that might be
recovered. Detectives were also charged with narrowly watching those
who arrived at or left London by rail, and a judicial examination was
at once entered upon.
There were real grounds for supposing, as the Daily Telegraph said,
that the thief did not belong to a professional band. On the day of
the robbery a well-dressed gentleman of polished manners, and with a
well-to-do air, had been observed going to and fro in the paying room
where the crime was committed. A description of him was easily
procured and sent to the detectives; and some hopeful spirits, of whom
Ralph was one, did not despair of his apprehension. The papers and
clubs were full of the affair, and everywhere people were discussing
the probabilities of a successful pursuit; and the Reform Club was
especially agitated, several of its members being Bank officials.
Ralph would not concede that the work of the detectives was likely to
be in vain, for he thought that the prize offered would greatly
stimulate their zeal and activity. But Stuart was far from sharing
this confidence; and, as they placed themselves at the whist-table,
they continued to argue the matter. Stuart and Flanagan played
together, while Phileas Fogg had Fallentin for his partner. As the
game proceeded the conversation ceased, excepting between the rubbers,
when it revived again.
"I maintain," said Stuart, "that the chances are in favour of the
thief, who must be a shrewd fellow."
"Well, but where can he fly to?" asked Ralph. "No country is safe for
"Where could he go, then?"
"Oh, I don't know that. The world is big enough."
"It was once," said Phileas Fogg, in a low tone. "Cut, sir," he added,
handing the cards to Thomas Flanagan.
The discussion fell during the rubber, after which Stuart took up its
"What do you mean by `once'? Has the world grown smaller?"
"Certainly," returned Ralph. "I agree with Mr. Fogg. The world has
grown smaller, since a man can now go round it ten times more quickly
than a hundred years ago. And that is why the search for this thief
will be more likely to succeed."
"And also why the thief can get away more easily."
"Be so good as to play, Mr. Stuart," said Phileas Fogg.
But the incredulous Stuart was not convinced, and when the hand was
finished, said eagerly: "You have a strange way, Ralph, of proving that
the world has grown smaller. So, because you can go round it in three
"In eighty days," interrupted Phileas Fogg.
"That is true, gentlemen," added John Sullivan. "Only eighty days, now
that the section between Rothal and Allahabad, on the Great Indian
Peninsula Railway, has been opened. Here is the estimate made by the
From London to Suez via Mont Cenis and
Brindisi, by rail and steamboats ................. 7 days
From Suez to Bombay, by steamer .................... 13 "
From Bombay to Calcutta, by rail ................... 3 "
From Calcutta to Hong Kong, by steamer ............. 13 "
From Hong Kong to Yokohama (Japan), by steamer ..... 6 "
From Yokohama to San Francisco, by steamer ......... 22 "
From San Francisco to New York, by rail ............. 7 "
From New York to London, by steamer and rail ........ 9 "
Total ............................................ 80 days."
"Yes, in eighty days!" exclaimed Stuart, who in his excitement made a
false deal. "But that doesn't take into account bad weather, contrary
winds, shipwrecks, railway accidents, and so on."
"All included," returned Phileas Fogg, continuing to play despite the
"But suppose the Hindoos or Indians pull up the rails," replied Stuart;
"suppose they stop the trains, pillage the luggage-vans, and scalp the
"All included," calmly retorted Fogg; adding, as he threw down the
cards, "Two trumps."
Stuart, whose turn it was to deal, gathered them up, and went on: "You
are right, theoretically, Mr. Fogg, but practically—"
"Practically also, Mr. Stuart."
"I'd like to see you do it in eighty days."
"It depends on you. Shall we go?"
"Heaven preserve me! But I would wager four thousand pounds that such
a journey, made under these conditions, is impossible."
"Quite possible, on the contrary," returned Mr. Fogg.
"Well, make it, then!"
"The journey round the world in eighty days?"
"I should like nothing better."
"At once. Only I warn you that I shall do it at your expense."
"It's absurd!" cried Stuart, who was beginning to be annoyed at the
persistency of his friend. "Come, let's go on with the game."
"Deal over again, then," said Phileas Fogg. "There's a false deal."
Stuart took up the pack with a feverish hand; then suddenly put them
"Well, Mr. Fogg," said he, "it shall be so: I will wager the four
thousand on it."
"Calm yourself, my dear Stuart," said Fallentin. "It's only a joke."
"When I say I'll wager," returned Stuart, "I mean it."
"All right," said Mr. Fogg; and, turning to the others, he continued: "I have a
deposit of twenty thousand at Baring's which I will willingly risk upon
"Twenty thousand pounds!" cried Sullivan. "Twenty thousand pounds,
which you would lose by a single accidental delay!"
"The unforeseen does not exist," quietly replied Phileas Fogg.
"But, Mr. Fogg, eighty days are only the estimate of the least possible
time in which the journey can be made."
"A well-used minimum suffices for everything."
"But, in order not to exceed it, you must jump mathematically from the
trains upon the steamers, and from the steamers upon the trains again."
"I will jump—mathematically."
"You are joking."
"A true Englishman doesn't joke when he is talking about so serious a
thing as a wager," replied Phileas Fogg, solemnly. "I will bet twenty
thousand pounds against anyone who wishes that I will make the tour of
the world in eighty days or less; in nineteen hundred and twenty hours,
or a hundred and fifteen thousand two hundred minutes. Do you accept?"
"We accept," replied Messrs. Stuart, Fallentin, Sullivan, Flanagan, and
Ralph, after consulting each other.
"Good," said Mr. Fogg. "The train leaves for Dover at a quarter before
nine. I will take it."
"This very evening?" asked Stuart.
"This very evening," returned Phileas Fogg. He took out and consulted
a pocket almanac, and added, "As today is Wednesday, the 2nd of
October, I shall be due in London in this very room of the Reform Club,
on Saturday, the 21st of December, at a quarter before nine p.m.; or
else the twenty thousand pounds, now deposited in my name at Baring's,
will belong to you, in fact and in right, gentlemen. Here is a cheque
for the amount."
A memorandum of the wager was at once drawn up and signed by the six
parties, during which Phileas Fogg preserved a stoical composure. He
certainly did not bet to win, and had only staked the twenty thousand
pounds, half of his fortune, because he foresaw that he might have to
expend the other half to carry out this difficult, not to say
unattainable, project. As for his antagonists, they seemed much
agitated; not so much by the value of their stake, as because they had
some scruples about betting under conditions so difficult to their
The clock struck seven, and the party offered to suspend the game so
that Mr. Fogg might make his preparations for departure.
"I am quite ready now," was his tranquil response. "Diamonds are
trumps: be so good as to play, gentlemen."