Summary of Chapter Twenty-Four: “During which Mr. Fogg and party cross the Pacific Ocean”
We left Fogg and Aouda on the Tankadere firing a cannon and flying the flag half-mast as a signal to the American steamer as it leaves Shanghai. Thus, Fogg and Aouda are able to stop and board the steamer as it makes for Nagasaki and Yokohama on the way to San Francisco. When they get to Yokohama on November 14 they board the Carnatic, and find that Passepartout had been on it and is now in Yokohama. The San Francisco boat would leave that evening, so Fogg and Aouda lose no time in finding Passepartout. They try the French and English consulates first and then wander the streets, looking for their friend.
“Chance” (p. 127) leads Fogg to the circus. He did not recognize Passepartout in his long nose, but the servant spied the master, and they are reunited. Aouda tells their story to Passepartout as they voyage on the steamer to America. Passepartout does not divulge anything about Mr. Fix. He feels it is not time to reveal the secret, so he blames himself for being drunk and having smoked opium at a tavern and thus was unable to tell them about the ship leaving. Fogg hears this excuse with coldness but does not reprimand his servant. He gives him money to buy new clothes.
The American ship is called the General Grant, a large paddle-wheel steamer. She makes twelve miles an hour and can cross the ocean in twenty-one days. Fogg hopes to reach San Francisco by December 2, New York by the 11th, and London by the 20th, with time to spare till the deadline of the 21st.
There is a full ship of English, Americans, and Chinese. Fogg is calm as usual, and Aouda is becoming quite attached to him. She becomes friends with Passepartout who sees the state of her heart. He praises his master to her and tells her the worst part of the journey is over.
On the 23rd of November, Fogg is at the antipodes of London, in the Pacific, having spent 52 of his 80 days. He has only 28 days to get half way around the world. Yet he has finished two-thirds of the trip because of long necessary detours. The rest of the journey will be a straight one. No one yet knows Fix is on board.
Fix had finally received the arrest warrant in Yokohama when it was too late. The irony is that the warrant came from Bombay on the Carnatic, the ship Fix would have been on had he not sabotaged Fogg from getting on it. Fix decides he will have to wait until London to use it, so he is forced into following Fogg to America first. When he sees Passepartout, he decides to hide in his cabin, but he runs into him on deck and Passepartout beats Fix up.
Afterwards, Fix persuades Passepartout that he is on Fogg’s side now. He admits to all the things he did to ruin the journey, but now he wants him to get to London on time and will help him. Passepartout believes him but warns him if he betrays them, he will beat him up again. The ship reaches San Francisco on December 3, and Fogg is happy. He has neither gained nor lost a day.
Commentary on Chapter 24
This is a long and important chapter that explains what all the characters have been doing while they were apart. It reunites them for the second half of the journey, and reveals the new alliance between Fix and Passepartout going on in the background without Fogg’s knowledge. Though enemies, they have a common interest in getting Fogg to London on time.
The irony of Fix getting the warrant late because of his own tricks is comic justice. The beating from Passepartout satisfies the same sense of justice. Their alliance brings more suspense, however, especially since Fogg does not know about it.
The narrator brings up that it was “Chance, or perhaps a kind of presentiment” (p. 127) that led Fogg to the circus to find his servant. The narrative uses the words chance, accident, presentiment, and Fogg’s calculated “programme” interchangeably. Which is it exactly? We are left to guess whether Fogg is lucky or in complete control.
By now, it is clear Aouda is in love with Fogg, but he seems not to reciprocate, or gives no sign. Passepartout, being a man of feeling, is aware of what is going on, while his master is not.
Finally, there is a long passage on Passepartout’s joy in finding that his watch, which he has refused to change from London time, now matches the chronometer on the ship. The narrator explains that Passepartout is naïve, for there is actually a twelve hour difference in time as they pass the 180th meridian. Passepartout thinks the sun has caught up with his watch. The last sentence of the chapter, explaining that Fogg has neither lost nor gained a day will be seen to be ironic and false in the long run. The whole narrative hinges on time and what happens to it as one goes around the world.