فصل 01

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کتاب های ساده

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فصل 01

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CHAPTER ONE

When Phileas Fogg meets Passepartout

London, 1872

Let me begin by introducing a mysterious English gentleman called Phileas Fogg.

Most people don’t know very much about him, but because he does the same thing every day, some people think they know everything about him.

He is very handsome and he is a true gentleman. He is certainly rich, but no one knows how he made his money.

Has he ever been to another country? He can name a lot of countries on a world map and he knows the most incredible things about them. He probably travelled at one time, but some people insist that he has not left London for many years. Maybe he only travels in his head.

He is a very private man and he does not have many friends. The only time he speaks to other people is at the Reform Club, where he goes to read newspapers and play cards. He does not play to win. He plays for the enjoyment of the game. He often wins, but he does not keep the money. He gives it to charity. He likes to see his games as a challenge; a challenge that does not require any physical effort.

He has lunch at the Reform Club every day, in the same room, at the same table. He goes home at midnight. He lives in his house in Savile Row, a good address in central London. No one ever goes there, except his manservant, who must always be on time and be completely loyal to Phileas Fogg. In fact, this very morning, his manservant lost his job because the water he brought Phileas Fogg was too hot to shave with. And this is where our story begins.

Phileas Fogg was sitting in his armchair waiting for his new manservant at some time between eleven and half past eleven. At exactly half past eleven Mr Fogg goes to the Reform Club. He looked up at the hands of the large clock by the wall that counted every second with a loud tick.

There was a knock at the door and a young man of about thirty came in.

‘You say that you are French, but your name is John?’ asked Phileas Fogg, looking at him carefully.

‘Jean, sir, not John,’ said the young man. ‘Jean Passepartout. I am an honest man, sir, and I must tell you that I haven’t been a manservant all my life. I was a physical education teacher and a music teacher; then I became a singer. I once rode a horse in a circus, and for a time I worked for the fire brigade in Paris.’

‘I found out that a certain Mr Fogg was looking for a manservant. “He is a very clever, careful man,” they told me. “You won’t find a quieter man in all of England. He does the same thing every day.” And so I came here to ask about the job, in the hope of finally being able to live a quiet life.’

‘Yes, someone at the Reform Club told you this I believe - probably the same person who told me about you. Do you understand what type of person I’m looking for?’

‘Yes, sir. I do, and I think I’m perfect for the job.’

‘Well then, what time is it now?’

‘Eleven twenty-two, Mr Fogg,’ Passepartout replied, taking his pocket-watch out of a small side pocket.

‘Exactly four minutes late,’ noted Phileas Fogg, looking at his own watch. ‘So, let’s say you started working for me as from - eleven twenty-six.’

Phileas Fogg stood up from his armchair, picked up his hat, and went out of the door without saying another word. From this brief introduction, Passepartout was able to make note of his employer. He was about forty years old, an elegant man with an attractive, gentle face. He was tall, with blond hair and a moustache. He was the sort of person who remained incredibly calm, even under pressure. He had gentle eyes that fixed you with a firm stare. He never seemed upset or worried. He was a typical Englishman. It was always difficult to guess an Englishman’s true feelings.

And our Frenchman? Passepartout had an attractive face and he was incredibly strong. He had blue eyes, and untidy, curly brown hair. He was a sweet person who understood the meaning of true friendship and loyalty.

It was just after half past eleven and Passepartout, who was now alone in his new home, decided to look around. After looking in all the different rooms, he finally came to his own bedroom. Above the fireplace there was an electric clock; it was the same electric clock that Phileas Fogg had in his room. The two clocks ticked at the exact same second. Below the clock there was a piece of paper listing the details of Mr Fogg’s day.

‘Not bad at all,’ thought Passepartout. ‘A man who is as regular as clockwork! This is just what I was looking for.’

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