Summary of Chapter Twenty-Five: “In which a slight glimpse is had of San Francisco”
Fogg’s party disembarks on the San Francisco docks with its cargo arriving from all over the world. Passepartout is so happy to be in America he does some tumbling tricks on the dock and falls through the planks into the water. They have the whole day in the city before the train leaves for New York in the evening. They take a carriage ride to see the sights. The narrator comments that the city is not the Gold Rush city any more, but civilized and cultured. At the International Hotel, they feel they are in London. They are served breakfast there by black waiters.
Passepartout asks Fogg whether they should purchase rifles and guns for the train ride; he has heard tales of Indians attacking the trains. Fogg gives him permission. Fogg then runs into Fix, and Fix pretends surprise in seeing him. Fogg acts happy to see him and invites him to accompany them as they view the sights.
On Montgomery Street there is a crowd with people carrying placards and shouting for political candidates. The crowd becomes disorderly as they shout for Camerfield or Mandiboy. Soon a fight breaks out. Fogg, Fix, and Aouda decide to retire, but a big man tries to hit Fogg, and Fix rushes in to get hit instead. Fogg yells “Yankee” at the man, and he replies “Englishman!” The man is Colonel Stamp Proctor, and the two exchange names and vow to meet someday to have it out. Fix is getting battered by the crowd. His clothing and Fogg’s are torn.
They return to the hotel to change their clothes, and Passepartout has half a dozen revolvers. Passepartout sees that Fix has been accepted as part of their party, and is silent. Fogg vows to come back to America to find Proctor, for no Englishman should allow himself to be insulted.
As they board the train they ask what the disturbance in town was about. The porter says it was just an election for a justice of the peace.
Commentary on Chapter 25
Verne paints a satirical portrait of the wild Americans. After assuring us that San Francisco is now a civilized place, we witness an election rally for a justice of the peace that is more like a civil war. Fogg and Fix are both roughed up. Democracy in the wild west is not for the weak. Passepartout loads up on revolvers for the train ride to New York in case of attack.
Verne also has fun with the rivalry of Americans and British. Fogg as a gentleman cannot let his honor be smirched, even though no one in this place knows him. Ever mindful of his mission, he vows to come back at some other time to find Proctor and clear his honor. Although Passepartout had told Aouda that they were on the home stretch now, and the rest of the journey would be easy, they have to cross the whole American continent, and in some ways, America is the most primitive and unpredictable leg of the journey.