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Free Study Guide-Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne-Free Synopsis
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 11

Notes (continued)

We get a glimpse into the simple Passepartoutís mind - Up to his arrival at Bombay, he had entertained hopes that their journey would end there; but, now that they were plainly whirling across India at full speed, a sudden change had come over the spirit of his dreams. His old vagabond nature returned to him; the fantastic ideas of his youth once more took possession of him. He came to regard his masterís project as intended in good earnest, believed in the reality of the bet, and therefore in the tour of the world and the necessity of making it without fail within the designated period. Already he began to worry about possible delays, and accidents, which might happen on the way. He recognized himself as being personally interested in the wager, and trembled at the thought that he might have been the means of losing it by his unpardonable folly of the night before. Being much less cool-headed than Mr. Fogg, he was much more restless, counting and recounting the days passed over, uttering maledictions when the train stopped, and accusing it of sluggishness, and mentally blaming Mr. Fogg for not having bribed the engineer. The worthy fellow was ignorant that, while it was possible by such means to hasten the rate of a steamer, it could not be done on the railway.

The train entered the defiles of the Sutpour Mountains, which separate the Khandeish from Bundelcund, towards evening. The next day Sir Francis Cromarty asked Passepartout what time it was; to which, on consulting his watch, he replied that it was three in the morning. This famous timepiece, always regulated on the Greenwich meridian, which was now some seventy-seven degrees westward, was at least four hours slow. Sir Francis corrected Passepartoutís time, whereupon the latter made the same remark that he had done to Fix; and obstinately refused to alter his watch, which he kept at London time. It was an innocent delusion that could harm no one. Though the reference to the change in time as one travels is not taken too seriously by the reader here, at the end of the novel we understand the importance of these various references. Previously, even Fix had pointed out the error in Passepartoutís watchís time. Both Fogg and Passepartout think that they have reached England late but the reality is that they reach a day earlier as they had not realized that they had gained a day by travelling eastward.

When the train stops in the wilderness, we once again note the contrast between Sir Francis and Fogg. The general at once stepped out, while Phileas Fogg calmly followed him, and they proceeded together to the conductor. "Where are we?" asked Sir Francis. "At the hamlet of Kholby." "Do we stop here?" "Certainly. The railway isnít finished." "What! not finished?" "No. Thereís still a matter of fifty miles to be laid from here to Allahabad, where the line begins again.íí The fact is that though the papers announced the opening of the railway throughout, the papers were mistaken. "Yet you sell tickets from Bombay to Calcutta," retorted Sir Francis, who was growing warm. "No doubt," replied the conductor; "but the passengers know that they must provide means of transportation for themselves from Kholby to Allahabad." Sir Francis was furious. Passepartout would willingly have knocked the conductor down, and did not dare to look at his master. But, Fogg is calm and says quietly - "Sir Francis, we will, if you please, look about for some means of conveyance to Allahabad."

The reader almost claps when Fogg once again says that even this delay was foreseen. It is not that Fogg knew about the unfinished rail but he knew that some obstacle or other would sooner or later arise on his route. Nothing, therefore, was lost. Fogg is confident of reaching Calcutta by time. There was nothing to say to so confident a response.

Verne masters the art of first presenting a perspective through the people involved and then objectively, through a higher point of view. It was but too true that the railway came to a termination at this point. The papers were like some watches, which have a way of getting too fast, and had been premature in their announcement of the completion of the line. The greater part of the travelers were aware of this interruption, and, leaving the train, they began to engage such vehicles as the village could provide - four-wheeled palkigharis, wagons drawn by zebus, carriages that looked like perambulating pagodas, palanquins, ponies, and what not.

Fogg and Sir Francisís search proves futile for some time and then Passepartout finds an elephant. We notice that Fogg never rejects any outlandish idea. He has an open mind and is keen to have a look at the elephant immediately. An Indian came out of the hut, and, at their request, conducted them within the enclosure. The elephant, which its owner had reared, not for a beast of burden, but for warlike purposes, was half domesticated. The Indian had begun already, by often irritating him, and feeding him every three months on sugar and butter, to impart to him a ferocity not in his nature, this method being often employed by those who train the Indian elephants for battle. Happily, however, for Mr. Fogg, the animalís instruction in this direction had not gone far, and the elephant still preserved his natural gentleness.


We are indeed impressed by Verneís knowledge of India as well as all the other parts of the world that Fogg passes through. We wonder whether the character of Fogg is a reflection of his creator - Verne himself. Verne writes - " But elephants are far from cheap in India, where they are becoming scarce, the males, which alone are suitable for circus shows, are much sought, especially as but few of them are domesticated. When therefore Mr. Fogg proposed to the Indian to hire Kiouni, he refused point- blank. Mr. Fogg persisted, offering the excessive sum of ten pounds an hour for the loan of the beast to Allahabad. Refused. Twenty pounds? Refused also. Forty pounds? Still refused. Passepartout jumped at each advance; but the Indian declined to be tempted. Yet the offer was an alluring one, for, supposing it took the elephant fifteen hours to reach Allahabad, his owner would receive no less than six hundred pounds sterling."

Finally, Fogg buys the elephant at a very expensive price. "What a price, good heavens!" cried Passepartout, "for an elephant. Passepartout seems more concerned about his masterís money than Fogg himself. Passepartoutís discomfort at the spending of huge amounts of money never fails to amuse the reader. After the party purchases the elephant, they proceed to find a mahout who can control the elephant till Allahabad. They find a Parsee. The Parsee, who was an accomplished elephant driver, covered the elephantís back with a sort of saddle-cloth, and attached to each of his flanks some curiously uncomfortable howdahs. Thus, Sir Francis, Passepartout and Fogg seat themselves on an elephant and are off. The story is so remarkably written that the reader feels that he/ she too is travelling around the world.

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