By Kathleen Roeth – MoezArt Grandparent
In 1872, when Phileas Fogg made his bet with the members of the Reform Club that he could, indeed, travel completely around the entire world in 80 days, he wasted no time getting started on his journey. Whilst Phileas Fogg was gallivanting “Around the World in 80 Days”, he was also taking time to play a few games of Whist. “What’s that?” you ask – well, only a very popular card game for four players that was “all the rage” in his day. Four people play this game, with two partners sitting opposite each other. A standard deck of 52 cards was used, and the players took tricks. The game took a bit of time to play, which begs the question – when and where did Phileas Fogg have time to play Whist, and with whom did he play? Of course, there were boats and steamers, a trading ship, and a few trains, but surely the elephant would not have been an agreeable place to play a game of cards? And what other people would have joined him at that rocky game table, anyway? And the sail-powered sledge would surely have been too much of a challenge for any Whist player! Finding enough players for the game may have been easy in London, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and Liverpool, but were Suez, Calcutta, Kholby, Allahabad, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Yokohama, and Medicine Bow, Nebraska on the Whist list? Of course, Phileas did have his valet, Passepartout, with him – perhaps he joined a game or two. Hmmm and did the dear, rescued lady, Aouda, learn to play Whist in India? Well, of course, there was also Detective Fix. What better way for the Detective to keep track of the suspected bank robber, Phileas Fogg than joining him for a game of cards. If only that delayed warrant for his arrest would just show up… Well, it finally did show up, but that was after everyone was home in London. That does leave Detective Fix with lots of travel time and lots of opportunities to join in a few games of Whist! Perhaps we should fast forward a few years and check with Miss Nellie Bly? She may have some insight on the matter, since she made a similar trip around the world in 1889. She traveled by train, steamship, rickshaw, horse, and donkey. She even met Jules Verne in Amiens, where he told her “If you do it in 79 days, I shall applaud with both hands!” She completed her tour in 72 days, but left no mention of playing Whist!