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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
The railway between New York and San Francisco is described along with the politics of it. The long artery, which has to be traversed in seven days to reach New York, is outlined. Then the train carriages are interestingly detailed.
Passepartout and Fix are now distanced from each other. Passepartout is reserved and suspicious of Fix’s trickery. For some time, the train journey is absolutely smooth and nothing extraordinary happens. The landscape that they are passing through is outlined. The travelers observe nature around them. There are vast prairies, mountains standing out on the horizon, and creeks with their seething, foaming waters. At three o’clock in the afternoon, a herd of ten or twelve thousand head of buffalo block the way. The train had to be stopped till the animals move out of the way. Passepartout was furious at the delay and wanted the engine driver to go at full speed, through these obstructing beasts. But the engine driver was sensible in not taking such a drastic step.
The march of the bisons lasted three hours; after which the train started and then entered the territory of Utah, the curious land of Great Salt Lake and the Mormons.
In this Chapter, a part of the journey on the Pacific Express is covered. Verne does have a very wide bank of knowledge and here we see how he describes the American railway system. He includes the role of history in his narrative. We learn that Fogg will have to travel seven days, before reaching New York. Unlike the other chapters, in this chapter ordinary actions are described such as passengers resting at bedtime. In the immediately preceding chapters, there was much happening and life seemed extraordinary. In this chapter, we return partly to the every day, routine life. The train moves through vivid scenery, which all the passengers watch animatedly.
The only extraordinary incident in this chapter is the presence of a large number of bisons that obstruct the train’s journey. They are on the tracks and are so many that the train has to be stopped. This was a genuine problem for many a train in America. We see how impatient Passepartout can be. He is comical in most of his emotions and expressions. He curses the animals and wants the train driver to run over them. On the other hand Fogg is as calm as always and does not betray any impatience in the frustrating situation. The two characters-the master and the valet have absolutely opposing mindsets.
The train driver is rational and does a wise thing in not bulldozing his way through the beasts. The train does move on finally and the passengers are once more on their way to New York.