The Thompson Travel Agency
Frontispiece of the original edition
|Author||Michel Verne (writing as Jules Verne)|
|Original title||L’Agence Thompson and Co|
|Translator||I. O. Evans|
|Publisher||J. Hetzel et Cie|
Published in English
The novel begins in London, where the impoverished French teacher Robert Morgand applies at the travel agency Baker & Company for the post of guide and interpreter on a tour of three archipelagos: the Azores, the Madeira Islands, and the Canary Islands. Because Morgand speaks fluent English, Spanish and Portuguese, he easily wins the job. In the following days, however, Morgand sees an advertisement for a rival agency, Thompson & Company, offering the same tour at a better price. Both travel agents compete until Morgan's employer Baker is forced to cancel its tour. The triumphant Thompson agency, however, also needs an interpreter, so Morgand immediately finds a job, though at far less pay.
Morgand begins his services on the steamer Seamew. On board are more than a hundred tourists as well as Mr. Thompson himself, the owner of the travel agency. During the voyage it becomes clear that Mr. Thompson, an irresponsible and money-obsessed businessman, has planned neither the ocean voyage nor the visits to land; everything has to be arranged on the spot. Problems build up, food spoils, and travelers become increasingly dissatisfied on the way from the Azores to Madeira. During the voyage, Morgand falls in love with a female passenger, a young American widow named Alice Lindsay. Their romance is threatened by her brother-in-law and rejected admirer, Jack Lindsay, who is pursuing Alice for her money. Meanwhile, Alice Lindsay's nineteen-year-old sister Dolly falls in love with a kindly French officer-on-leave, Roger de Sorgues.
The journey continues through Gran Canaria and Tenerife, where the travelers climb Mount Teide. During the return voyage to Britain, however, the engines of the Seamew fail, and the ship is forced to proceed at a much slower pace, driven by sail only. The ship is finally wrecked near Cape Verde, but the survivors make it to the shore and eventually to continental Africa, where they are captured by Bedouins who attempt to ransom them. In the ensuing adventures, Jack Lindsay is killed in battle, but the other survivors are finally rescued. The novel ends happily with a double wedding: Robert Morgand with Alice Lindsay, and Roger de Sorgues with Dolly. The voyage turns out well even for Mr. Thompson, who, despite his creditors and disgruntled passengers, cleverly manages to escape bankruptcy.
The novel was serialized in Le Journal from October 17, 1907 to December 25, 1907, and published by Hetzel et Cie in book form the same year. An English translation by I. O. Evans was published in two volumes (Package Holiday and End of the Journey) in 1965.
- Dehs, Volker; Jean-Michel Margot; Zvi Har’El. "The Complete Jules Verne Bibliography: X. Apocrypha". Jules Verne Collection. Zvi Har’El. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
- Evans, Arthur B. (March 2005). "A Bibliography of Jules Verne's English Translations". Science Fiction Studies. 1. XXXII (95): 105–141. Retrieved February 11, 2013.