Summary of Chapter 37: “In which it is shown that Phileas Fogg gained nothing by his tour around the world, unless it were happiness”
Passepartout had been sent by Fogg at 5 minutes past 8 p.m. the day after their arrival to engage the clergyman for Fogg’s marriage on Monday. The clergyman was not at home, and Passepartout waits until thirty-five past eight to go home, but then, he runs at full speed. He rushes into Fogg’s house and gasps that the marriage cannot happen tomorrow, because it will be Sunday. Passepartout informs them that today is Saturday. They arrived 24 hours ahead of time, but now there is only 10 minutes to the real deadline.
Fogg jumps into a cab and rushes to the Club. He had gone around the world in 80 days and won the bet! How could he have miscalculated the time? He had actually arrived on Friday, the 20th because he had gained a day traveling eastward, just as he would have lost a day going west.
He won the 20,000 pounds, but that was not important to him as he had spent nineteen thousand. He takes the last 1,000 pounds and divides it between Passepartout and Fix, minus the cost of gas left burning in Passepartout’s room.
Fogg marries Aouda with Passepartout giving the bride away. Passepartout the next day knocks on his master’s door with the news that he has found out they could have gone around the world in 78 days.
Fogg says he knows, but only if they had not gone through India, and then he would not have found Aouda.
Commentary on Chapter 37
The surprise ending depends upon the fact which Verne explains at length in this chapter—the party crossed the International Date Line and gained a day, so they arrived on the 20th, though they had taken the full 80 days and expected they would get back on the 21st. They gained four minutes every degree of latitude they crossed. Fogg has seen the sun pass the meridian 80 times, while the people of London only saw it pass 79 times. This paradox solves the riddle of the dual ending—how Fogg thought he failed when he won. Time has been the one unyielding force for the entire trip, and yet, at the end, it appears to be somewhat relative, depending upon location. Fogg has been able to beat time and show that his calculation ultimately was correct. Ironically, what he did not foresee helped him to win.