Summary of Chapter Four: “In which Phileas Fogg astounds Passepartout, his servant”
Phileas Fogg leaves the Reform Club at twenty-five minutes past seven, having won twenty guineas at whist. Passepartout is surprised to see his master before midnight, his usual time for coming home, according to the schedule. Fogg announces they are leaving for Dover in ten minutes to travel around the world. Passepartout is astonished and complains about having to pack the trunks. Fogg tells him they will take a single carpetbag with a few items and buy the rest as they need it.
Passepartout collapses into a chair, worrying that he had been looking for peace, and now things were changing. They would travel! Perhaps he would get to see Paris again, his home that he has not seen for five years. He packs the one bag, and by 8:00 p.m. man and master are ready. Fogg has with him a Bradshaw schedule of trains and steamships and puts twenty thousand pounds from his safe into the carpetbag for expenses. He tells Passepartout never to let the bag out of his sight.
Outside the railway station, they see a beggar woman with a child in her arms. Fogg gives her the twenty guineas he won at whist, and Passepartout feels his eyes tear up at his master’s kindness. Two train tickets to Paris are purchased, and then they spot the five members of the Reform Club waiting to see them off.
Fogg tells the members they can examine his passport with the visa stamps when he gets back to prove he has been around the world. They say they trust his word as a gentleman. Fogg pledges to return on December 21, 1872, at a quarter before 9 p.m. The rain begins to fall as the train pulls out. Suddenly Passepartout remembers he has not turned out the gas in his room. Fogg tells him he will have to pay the bill when they return.
Commentary on Chapter Four
In this chapter we see the seeds of a shift in both main characters that will develop throughout the trip. Passepartout becomes more serious and Fogg becomes more human. Passepartout remembers leaving on the gas, and Fogg stops to give a beggar woman his winnings at whist. Passepartout has been the wanderer wanting to settle down. Fogg has been stationary and suddenly decides to travel. There is a feeling of expectation and adventure, for Fogg has not cut himself any slack to win the bet. He takes the least amount of time, assuming there will be no delays, and he leaves in the worst season. It is significant, however, that he only takes exactly what he needs: money and schedules. He is racing against nature and time. He attempts to prove that man can master time and the elements with his scientific mind.