Summary of Chapter 34: “In which Phileas Fogg at last reaches London”
Fogg is in prison, and Aouda is in shock. Passepartout explains everything to her, but she weeps. Passepartout again blames himself and weeps too. They remain near Fogg’s cell.
Fogg, however, is as outwardly calm as ever, though inwardly, he is not resigned. He waits for something. He puts his watch on the table keeping his eye on it. Fogg suddenly realizes that his watch is two hours fast. He calculates whether he could take an express to London. At two-thirty he is released by a repentant Fix who says the real criminal was caught, and Fogg is free to go. It was all a mistake.
Fogg walks out the door and knocks Fix down. Fix does not object. They find they are too late for the express train, so Fogg orders a special train. The train has several delays and arrives in London at ten minutes to nine, five minutes too late. He has lost.
Commentary on Chapter 34
Even in prison, Fogg is calculating how he can get to London on time. Each time he is stopped, some new avenue opens up giving him a chance. The precise punch to Fix’s face “with the only rapid motion he had ever made in his life” (p.188) is poetic justice, and even Fix does not object. He has been dragged around the world for nothing and made to look exceedingly foolish. Whether Fix or Passepartout, however, was the greater threat to Fogg’s success is difficult to determine. Finally, Fogg has to realize that he has lost by only 5 minutes. Yet there are three chapters to go; it is not over yet.