"A true Englishman doesn't joke when he is talking about so serious a thing as a wager," replied Phileas Fogg, solemnly.
With this we're off to the one of the best adventure stories... And no matter how often I read this book, I still get excited about whether they will make it back to the Reform Club in time.
Anyway, while Phileas Fogg is of course the originator of the bet and the driving force behind the trip. Having meticulously planned the route and conveyances that would allow him to circumnavigate the world, of course nothing goes to plan...
Verne's writing is fantastic in this one, because it is both funny, sensitive, and informative, and you just want to be on that trip.
But the absolute best part of the book is Fogg's man Passepartout.
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.
He is the absolute hero of the story even though the original meeting between Fogg and Passepartou indicates that he had other plans for his time in Fogg's employment:
"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 quitted 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."
Such a great read.