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Minor Characters (continued)
Jules Verne adds to his narrative-a host of colorful characters who are sprinkled through the journey around the world. One such character is William Batulcar. When Passepartout is roaming around Yokohama and is on the lookout for some food as well as work he reads a placard which says-‘Honorable William Batulcar’s Troupe of Japanese Acrobats'. Passepartout follows the poster bearer to Batulcar’s establishment. Batulcar was a sort of American Barium, the manager of a troupe of buffoons, jugglers clowns, acrobats and gymnasts, who were giving their last performances before leaving the Empire of the Sun for the States of the Union.
On meeting Batulcar Passepartout asks him whether he is in need of a servant. Batulcar replies that his servants are his two sturdy arms, lined with veins as large as the strings of a double bass. Batulcar hires Passepartout as a Jack-of-all-work in the celebrated Japanese troupe. It was not a very gratifying position but Passepartout’s aim was that within a week he would be on his way to San Francisco with this very troupe. The pyramid of which Passepartout is a part, at the performance totters and the structure collapses like a house of cards. It is Passepartout’s fault and the Honorable Batulcar is furious. He claims damages for the ‘breakage’ of the pyramid. His wrath is only soothed by Fogg, who throws a handful of bank notes at him.
Colonel Stamp Proctor
Aouda, Fogg and Fix start sauntering the streets of San Francisco together. In Montgomery Street, they see large groups of people, including poster bearers shouting political slogans. The general commotion became more violent after some time and the two opposing parties clashed. Fogg and Fix were try their best to protect Aouda when a huge fellow with a red goatee raises a dread fist over Fogg. This was Colonel Stamp Proctor and he had a ruddy complexion and broad shoulders. He seemed to be the leader of the party. Luckily for Fogg, Fix takes the blow instead. Fogg calls this offender a Yankee and the both yell that they will meet again. They do meet again on an American train and nearly have a duel with each other too. But the duel is interrupted by the invasion of the Sioux on the train that they are fighting in.
Colonel Proctor is conspicuous in a crowd because of his loud love of voice and hectoring manner.
When he meets Fogg for the second time on the train he is downright rude and sarcastic to him and that is instigation to the latter’s anger. Luckily the duel is interrupted by the attack of the Sioux and a bloody fight is prevented. After the encounter with the Sioux, Colonel Proctor who had fought bravely was hurt quite badly. He was struck down by a bullet in the groin.
Elder William Hitch, Mormon missionary
While traveling in a train in America, Passepartout notices a tall man who boards the train for Elko station. He was tall, very dark, with black moustache, black stockings, a black silk hat, a black waistcoat, black trousers, a white tie and dog skin gloves. He looked like a parson, and was going from one end of the train to the other sticking by means of wafers on the door of each car, a manuscript notice. Passepartout drew near and read one of these notices, which was to the effect that Elder William Hitch, Mormon missionary, taking advantage of his presence on train No. 48 would give a lecture on Mormonism in car No. 117 from eleven to twelve o’clock and that he invited all gentlemen to hear him who cared to learn about the mysteries of the religion of the ‘Latter Day Saints.’
Passepartout is attracted to Elder William Hitch’s lecture and goes and attends it along with thirty others. The Elder starts presenting a long retrospective account, which tries the patience of all the listeners. He is a fanatic and his audience dwindles away. Passepartout is the last to leave. With the example of the Elder William Hitch, Verne demonstrates his in depth knowledge of other kinds of religion.
Fort Kearney Captain
He is the Captain in command of Fort Kearney. The passenger train stops at Fort Kearney after having been attacked by the Sioux. About a hundred of the Captain’s men had taken up a defensive position in case the Sioux should attempt a direct attack upon the station. When Fogg and the Captain meet, the former questions the latter whether he will follow the Indians. The Captain thinks that is too dangerous to undertake a fight with the Sioux. But, when Fogg insists that he will follow the Sioux alone in order to rescue prisoners, the Captain agrees to send with Fogg-thirty volunteers. The captain too seems to be a gallant and large hearted man. He is impressed by Fogg’s bravery and enthusiasm and in turn, the reader is quite impressed with the Captain. We believe him to be a gentleman. He gets worried when Fogg and the other men do not return one whole night. He is genuinely concerned about his men. Even though this commander does not plays a key role in the story he definitely has a positive impact.
Mudge could be considered an equivalent of John Bunsby. John Bunsby had transferred Fogg and his group across the seas to Shanghai, when they had missed their ship. Similarly Mudge uses a unique means of transport to take Fogg and the others from Fort Kearney to Omaha Station. He uses a sledge with sails on it used to catch the wind. The sledge that Mudge used glided over the surface of the plain as lightly as a boat on the surface of the water. When the breeze came skimming along the ground, it felt as though the sledge was lifted up by its sails as by wide spreading wings. Mudge was at the helm, keeping a straight course correcting by a shift of the stern-oar, any sheering the machine showed signs of making. Every bit of canvas was taut and the sledge was traveling at an approximate speed of forty miles an hour. It was in Mudge’s interest to get to Omaha Station within the time agreed for Mr. Fogg had held out a handsome reward The skillful pilot, Mudge manages to make his passengers reach Omaha on time. Mudge was paid liberally by Fogg, while Passepartout gave him a friend’s handgrip. The sledge that Mudge uses makes his character interesting. While he may not have a huge role in the story he stands out because of the sledge with sails!
In contrast to John Bunsby, Speedy is not portrayed as the heroic sailor. He is shown as vain and greedy. In the collage that Vern creates, Speedy can be considered as a character with negative shades. When Fogg reaches New York, the ship that he had hoped to aboard in order to go to Liverpool had already left. So he is in desperate need of alternate means of transport. It is then that Fogg sees a screw steamer. Andrew Speedy is the captain of this screw steamer called Henrietta. He says he is from Cardiff. He was a man of fifty, a sort of sea dog with a growl, who seemed anything but easy to tackle. He had large bulging eyes, an oxidized copper complexion, red hair and a bull like neck, and nothing of the man of the world. Andrew Speedy is about to guide his ship to Bordeaux, but Fogg wants to go to Liverpool. Finally Fogg makes Speedy agree to taking him and his group to Bordeaux, after paying a large sum of money. After the ship has traversed but little of its course, Fogg takes over as Captain and Andrew Speedy is locked up in his cabin. The reader does not question Fogg’s action as Speedy had been projected as not so nice a person. Fogg uses the wood on the ship to provide the fuel and after they reach Queenstown Harbor, Fogg pays Speedy generously for the breakdown of the ship. The incident with Speedy shows how determined Fogg is to complete his journey around the world in the stipulated time.
Clergyman-Reverend Samuel Wilson
The Clergyman plays a small but crucial role in this saga of a journey around the world. Fogg, Passepartout and Aouda are all disappointed that they have not reached England in time. But they do not realize the time gap and the fact that they have actually reached a full day earlier. It is the Clergyman who is the source of this enlightenment. When Passepartout is asked to inform the Clergyman about Aouda and Fogg’s marriage, the next day that is Monday he comes across a surprisingly positive piece of information. The clergyman refuses to hold the marriage the next day as it is Sunday not Monday. It is then that our tiny group of travelers realizes the mistake they have made and Fogg rushes to the Reform Club. The clergyman is the last minor character of importance in the novel.