Summary of Chapter Seventeen: “Showing what happened on the voyage from Singapore to Hong Kong”
Fix and Passepartout meet often on deck, and he wonders why Fix is always on the same ship they are. He could not guess that Fogg is being tracked as a criminal. He decides the Reform Club members have sent a spy to watch Fogg’s progress.
When the Rangoon docks at Singapore to get more coal, Fogg is happy to note in his journal that he is half a day ahead of time. He walks on shore with Aouda, while Fix follows them and Passepartout sees him, laughing and thinking he knows what is going on. The Rangoon heads again for the high seas, six days from Hong Kong. They must get there by November 6 for a steamer to Yokohama.
Now the weather turns bad, but the steamer uses sails to help the speed and make use of wind. Passepartout is impatient with every delay, but Fogg is philosophical. Passepartout begins goading and teasing Fix about his plans, and Fix decides the servant knows he is a detective. He wonders if Fogg also knows? Meanwhile, Fogg is indifferent to what goes on around him. Passepartout does not understand why Fogg does not fall in love with Aouda when she is so plainly interested in him.
Commentary on Chapter Seventeen
Passepartout seems to be more observant to what happens on the ground, while Fogg is described as “in orbit around the world,” (p. 90) indifferent to small movements. Fix is nothing to him, nor does it seem, is the beautiful lady. While Passepartout now notices every tiny thing that delays them, like the weather or the steam valves not charged enough, Fogg is above it all. Passepartout thinks the journey is having no effect on his master, while he himself exists in a perpetual reverie with heightened stimulation. Fix is nervous about being discovered and ponders what to do about it, but he does not realize that Passepartout is mistaken about his purpose.