Summary of Chapter 32: “In which Phileas Fogg engages in a direct struggle with bad fortune”
Another steamer is not due to leave New York until December 14, Fogg learns by consulting his Bradshaw schedule of steamers. Passepartout adds up all the trouble he has caused Fogg since the beginning of the trip and feels he will be the cause of his master’s ruin. Fogg does not reprimand him, but keeps his attention focused ahead.
They cross the Hudson on a ferry to a hotel where Fogg sleeps well but the others, little. On the 12th, there are nine days, 13 hours, and 45 minutes left. He had counted on going on the China, the boat that left, because it was fast. Now he looks at other boats and picks a trading vessel, the Henrietta, to approach.
Andrew Speedy of Cardiff is the captain going to Bordeaux. Fogg tries to hire and then buy the boat to take him to Liverpool. The captain refuses. Finally, he agrees to take them at two thousand dollars apiece, eight thousand total. Thinking he does not have to go out of his way, Speedy agrees to take them to Bordeaux.
Commentary on Chapter 32
Fogg’s “coolness” (p.177) is still directing the journey. He always has a plan B. Speedy does not yet know of Fogg’s determination, however, to get to his goal, no matter what they agree upon at the moment. Fix meanwhile is worried that Fogg is using up all the money from the Bank of England robbery. It is interesting that the chapter title refers to Fogg hitting bad fortune for the first time. He has had continual challenges, sometimes called “chance” “luck” or obstacles. Fogg reacts the same whether it is called good or bad fortune; he continues driving forward, making all kinds of strange deals. Fortunately, the money still holds out.