Summary of Chapter 33: “In which Phileas Fogg shows himself equal to the occasion”
The Henrietta puts to sea but not with Captain Speedy at the bridge. Mr. Fogg is at the helm with Speedy in his cabin under lock and key. Fogg had bribed the crew to sail to Liverpool. He had been a sailor and knows what to do. The boat must go 3,000 miles in nine days. At first all goes well, and Passepartout is delighted. The crew loves Passepartout and his good humor and everyone works hard. Passepartout, however, is distrustful of Fix, who is very confused at the hijacking of the boat. Fix does not know where the vessel is going, and believes it is part of the robber’s plan.
Passing Newfoundland, the cold increases and the wind shifts. Fogg has to furl the sails and increase the steam to keep on his course. A storm threatens the stability of the ship for two days, but Fogg knows how to navigate and stay on course. He does not decrease the steam but forces the ship to cross the waves. They are half way across the sea. The engineer tells Fogg that they are running out of coal, but he pushes on. On the 18th of December the coal is gone. Fogg sends for Captain Speedy. Speedy calls Fogg a pirate; Fogg tells the Captain he has to burn the boat for fuel to finish the journey. He buys the boat for $60,000. Fix is furious that almost 20,000 pounds have been spent. Speedy is happy, and calls Fogg “Captain.”
They begin to tear the boat apart, burning all the wood until the Henrietta is a flat hulk. With only 24 hours left and no more wood, they see the Irish coast. Queenstown is a port where steamers stop to leave mail. The mail goes to Dublin by express train and from Dublin to Liverpool by rapid boat. This is where Fogg can gain 12 hours by going to Queenstown instead of Liverpool directly.
They make Ireland and disembark. Fix wants to arrest Fogg but hesitates. They all take the train to Dublin and then on to Liverpool. This is where Fogg is finally arrested. It is almost noon on December 21, and he is 6 hours from London and the finish line.
Commentary on Chapter 33
The exciting last leg of the trip reveals that Fogg is a sailor among other things. He is also a wild and bold man (compared by Speedy to a true Yankee!) coming up with the idea of burning the boat around them for fuel. Again, it is Fogg’s money that talks, but his imagination and daring stagger everyone. He and Passepartout manage to charm the crew into mutiny, and the kidnapped Captain Speedy is finally pacified with enough money. Fogg has a shot for the finish line, but Fix finally arrests him as soon as he sets foot in England. Here is the final and major obstacle that has been waiting to happen, that Fogg had no idea was coming.
Again, it is Passepartout’s fault that he did not warn Fogg. It seems a little far-fetched that he would keep such a secret, but one can only assume the servant has a different way of calculating than the master. Though not trusting Fix, he made a deal that Fix would aid Fogg to get to England on time. Passepartout of course does not know about the arrest warrant. He thinks Fogg will clear himself in England, and they will laugh it off as a joke. Even if he does clear himself, there is no way he can get to the Reform Club on time now.