It seems as if all hope is lost, because none of the other steamers would be able to carry him to England on time. Passepartout blames himself, as usual, and is distraught. Mr. Fogg only says that they will talk about the best course of action tomorrow, and takes them to a hotel for the night.
Mr. Fogg goes searching at the harbor and finds a trading ship, and gets on to speak to its captain. The captain, Captain Speedy, says the ship is on the way to Bordeaux, and absolutely refuses to carry them to Liverpool instead. No amount of money will convince him. Mr. Fogg changes his tone and instead asks him to carry them to Bordeaux for two thousand dollars apiece. That he agrees to, and Fogg goes back to the hotel to fetch the rest of his party.
As the ship passes Long Island and enters the Atlantic Ocean, it is revealed that Fogg himself is now the captain, not Captain Speedy. As soon as Fogg got on board, he had bribed the crew to join his side, imprisoned Captain Speedy in his cabin, and set core for Liverpool. Fogg expertly manages the craft, indicating that he had been a sailor. The ship makes good progress, and Passepartout is delighted by his master's brilliance. Fix, however, is extremely perplexed by the entire situation, and assumes that Fogg is actually steering the ship towards some location where he, as a robber, will be safe.
A storm strikes for two days, but Fogg continues to make headway. A wrench gets thrown in the plan, though, when the ship's engineer comes to tell Fogg that they do not have enough coal to make it all the way to Liverpool on full steam. Fogg tells them to keep the coal burning on full blast, and as it is about to run out, he calls Captain Speedy back up on deck and offers to buy the ship so that he can burn parts of it in order to keep the engines running.
He offers him sixty thousand dollars, and Speedy accepts it since the ship is old and he will still have parts of it left after Fogg finishes with it. Fogg explains that he stands to lose twenty thousand pounds if he does not make it back to London in a few days' time. Speedy is still astonished, but pays Fogg the highest compliment he can give, saying that he has something of the Yankee about him.
They burn enough of the wood from the ship to make it to Queenstown, Ireland, and from there they instead get on a train to Dublin, and in Dublin board rapid boats intended for mail that would get them to Liverpool twelve hours quicker than the steamer would. As soon as they make it there, however, Fix whips out the warrant he has been carrying and arrests Fogg in Queen Victoria's name.
Fogg is locked up in the Custom House, imprisoned, and Passepartout and Aouda are shocked. Even though he has surely lost his wager, Fogg, sitting in the Custom House, remains calm. While sitting there, he realizes his watch is two hours too fast, and that if he got on an express-train immediately he could make it to London in time. Another hour and a half of waiting passes, and suddenly the door slams open and Fix, Passepartout, and Aouda rush towards him. Fix, out of breath, says that there was a misunderstanding, and the real robber was arrested three days ago. Fogg is free.
The most recent express train has just left, but Fogg orders a special train with an offer to reward the engineer for taking him to London. The journey could have been completed in time on clear rails throughout, but forced delays mean that Fogg gets into the station in London having lost his wager by five minutes.
Fogg returns quietly to his home, realizing that he is ruined. A room is made up for Aouda in his house as well. Passepartout keeps a close eye on his master to make sure he is okay, and wonders why Fogg does not curse him, since he caused so many delays along the way. He tells Aouda that she should talk to him, but she does not know what sort of influence she could have.
Mr. Fogg remains at home all day for the first time, seeing no point in going to the Reform Club. That evening, he decides he must talk to Aouda, and finds himself alone with her. He asks her to pardon him for taking her to England, for when he rescued her he was rich and had a fortune that he could use to keep her safe and provide for her comfort. Aouda instead asks him to forgive her for following him and possibly delaying him.
She asks him what he will do now, and begins to suggest that he seek help from his friends and family. Fogg calmly tells her that he has neither. All at once, Aouda rises and takes his hand, asking if he would like a kinswoman and a friend at the same time and if he will have her as his wife. Mr. Fogg stands as well, a certain light in his eyes, and declares that he loves Aouda and is entirely hers. They summon Passepartout, who is elated at the news, and he is sent to notify Reverend Samuel Wilson to arrange a wedding for the following day, Monday.
Chapter XXXVI shifts to talking about the whole of London, who, after the arrest of the real bank robber, James Strand, realized that Fogg really was an honorable man pursuing a trip around the world, and everyone waits in suspense to see if he will make it. The members of the Reform Club are anxious, and at twenty minutes past eight on the designated evening, with only twenty minutes remaining in the wager, it appears he will not make it. They muse over whether or not he will appear, wondering why they never received any telegrams from him. Suddenly, though, at the very last second before the wager will be lost... Phileas Fogg bursts into the club, announcing that he has made it.
The final chapter backtracks to explain how this happened. Passepartout had set out to speak to the reverend about the wedding at five minutes past eight. The reverend is not at home, so he waits to speak to him; after he eventually does, he rushes out of the house in a hurry and back to Fogg's home. He has realized that tomorrow is Sunday, not Monday, which means today is Saturday, the day Fogg must return to London by in order to win the bet. They had gained a day by crossing the International Date Line traveling constantly eastward. After realizing this, Fogg rushes to the Reform Club just in time to win.
Fogg marries Aouda two days later, a rich man again. Passepartout remarks that with all this in mind, they could have actually made the tour of the world in seventy-eight days instead of eighty. Fogg agrees, but says it was worth the delays because it was how he had met and saved his new wife, Aouda, and this is what he has truly gained from the journey.
As predicted, Fogg's antics reach their peak on the journey from New York to England. He and the rest of the group had certainly done some outlandish things before this, but commandeering a ship is the most drastic one yet. As Fogg steers the ship toward its new destination, clearly an experienced sailor, readers are reminded just how little they know about Fogg's backstory. Interestingly enough, these details about his past life are not integral to his character. This is a man who is very much focused on what lies immediately ahead of him, rather than behind him.
More so than any of his other feats, this one is morally questionable. For so long readers have tried to believe that Fogg is a good man and not the criminal that Fix repeatedly makes him out to be, but stealing a ship and imprisoning its captain is certainly a criminal act. He is only pardoned for it because he has the money he needs to get him out of the sticky situation; however, this does not change what he did in the first place. Was Fogg right to do this as a means to an end? Should morality be important, even in desperate times? These are both questions this situation poses.
But Fogg is an admirable character in other ways. At the beginning of the novel, readers knew very little about him, and it was hard to pin down his motives for going on such a strange and nearly impossible journey. Because there was so much money at stake, it was easy to assume that he was doing it to double his fortune. Now, though, he has spent nearly as much money along the way, and winning would not gain him very much. Because of this, it is clear that he took this wager for the honor of it, and not because he was greedy for a larger fortune.
When Fix arrests Fogg immediately upon reaching England, his persistence pays off and he does his duty. His uncertainty, though, is clear, because spending so much time with Fogg while chasing him around the world has softened him to the strange man, and he is no longer completely sure of his guilt. His final act in the novel, however, shows that he truly has come to respect Fogg, when he rushes to notify him of his innocence so that he can get to London on time.
As previously discussed, there has been a frequent motif of time throughout this story, and on more than one occasion talk has focused on Passepartout's watch and the fact that he has kept it on London time throughout the entire journey. At last this motif is explained: time was extremely important because they crossed the international date line, so while their watch was on London time, it was actually a day ahead. Verne was dropping clues every now and then throughout the story; not enough to give it away, but enough to get readers thinking about the significance of time in a world with so many different time zones.
At the beginning of the trip, we predicted that as with most literature concerning long journeys, the experience would change Fogg in some way. By the end, it is clear that it has. Fogg, once separated from everyone else by the emotional wall he put up around himself, has let his guard down at last. Falling in love with Aouda has softened him, and he finally shows some concrete and touching emotion when he declares he loves her, and that she was the most important thing he gained from this trip. Though she was not given very much of a voice throughout her time with the group, Aouda's tenderness and strength of character has become a perfect complement to Fogg's harder personality.
It is interesting that Fogg needed to go all the way around the world in order to get what he really needed in his life: a sense of closeness to others. In London, Fogg lived a very lonely life, despite being part of a social club. He never really connected with anyone else, and as such, he was always missing something. Over the course of his madcap trip around the world, he has gained not only a wonderful and compassionate wife in Aouda, but also a lifelong friend in Passepartout, his servant who has showed him the utmost devotion. If he had remained in London, the strict dynamic between master and servant would never have been challenged, and Fogg never would have opened up. Whether or not he had ultimately won the bet, Fogg needed this journey, because he never would have changed for the better had he remained in London.