Verniana — Jules Verne Studies/Etudes Jules Verne — Volume 12 (2020–2022) — 1–12
Submitted July 25, 2020 Published November 29, 2020
Proposé le 25 juillet 2020 Publié le 29 novembre 2020

Hong Kong in the First Manuscript of Around the World: Wherein Phileas Fogg declares his love, is detained by the police and marries Aouda

William Butcher


The rough draft of Around the World in Eighty Days contains nearly three chapters about Hong Kong, including some of the most dramatic episodes in the novel. In these chapters, which disappeared before publication, Phileas Fogg and the beautiful Aouda meet more than once in her hotel bedroom to talk about their respective feelings, and to conclude on the advisability of getting married immediately.


Dans le brouillon du Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours se trouvent trois chapitres situés à Hongkong, destinés à rester inédits. Ces épisodes, parmi les plus dramatiques du roman, mettent en scène des rendez-vous de Fogg et de la belle Aouda dans sa chambre d’hôtel, où l’on parle de sentiments, et qui culminent dans la décision de se marier sans plus tarder.


The rough draft of Around the World in Eighty Days contains nearly three chapters about Hong Kong that disappeared before publication. Extracts from these chapters, apparently unread for 141 years, were published in my Jules Verne inédit; they appear for the first time in English here [1].

The Hong Kong pages in their published form have always seemed to me thin, even disappointing. The reason is that almost all of the chapters xvii-xix of the first manuscript disappeared before the second and final manuscript.

In this crucial deleted section, a first scene brings Phileas Fogg and Aouda together to talk about their respective feelings; in another, which involves a preliminary physical contact, they discuss a common future, interrupted, however, by the gentleman’s detention; and in a third, an important ceremony is arranged. The very next day in fact, Phileas Fogg marries Princess Aouda, in order to be able to leave Hong Kong; the new couple spend their honeymoon on the South China Sea.


1. Sabatier, “View of Hong Kong”, from a water-colour by Alfred de Trévise (TdM 60.1 129) [2].


From the first page of the unknown section (TM1 xvii 26 xviii) [3], the margin presents multiple points of interest. An initial category consists of text in the margin. At each place throughout the manuscript where Fogg disembarks, Verne places a marker, in large red letters, in this case: “Hong Kong. Arrival/Tuesday 6 November. Three o’clock in the afternoon” (26) [4].

Opposite the description of the colony, moreover, appear the words “government house 60 1 130” [5] (xvii 26 xviii), Verne’s abbreviated reference to his source. Similarly, next to the scene where Fix and Jean, who is renamed Passepartout in the published book, chat in the opium den, Verne writes “60 1 159”. [6] Both are references to « Voyage en Chine et au Japon » (“Journey to China and Japan”), by Marquis Alfred de Moges (TdM 60.1 129–75), with drawings mostly by Sabatier, adapted from water colours by Hippolyte Mortier, Marquis de Trévise.


2. Gustave Doré, “A Tankadere (Chinese boat woman)”, adapted from Trévise (TdM 60.1 133) 3. Pierre-Eugène Grandsire, “A flower boat (restaurant, pleasure place) in Shanghai” (TdM 60.1 144)


4. Edmond Morin, “Opium smokers” (TdM 60.1 157)


Verne’s early essay, Salon of 1857 (1857), reveals that his inspiration often comes from images as much as from text. Although the famous artist, Doré, never illustrated the novelist, he drew four of the illustrations in Moges’s article.


5. “ — pilote … Fix rien” (“ — pilot… Fix nothing”) (part of TM1 xvii 26 xviii)


Opposite the arrival at the Hong Kong Club, thirdly, is the basic outline of the pages to be written:

“ — pilot/ — Carnatic6 o’c. morning < — Fogg/ — repair/ — tomorrow morning/ — [nothing to be done]> <16 [hour from] xxxxx/ — be in Yok. the 13th/ — delay only because the latter charters [relating to] the Hong boat connection/ — therefore her affairs ie Aouda’s>/ — arrival at 1 o’clock/ — club hotel. 2 o’clock/ — search for relative/ — Jean to the Carnatic 3 places/ — return to the hotel/ — search/ — nothing/ — return to the club/ — nothing/ — tears/ — to Europe// — Jean boat/ — preparation/ — will speak [Aouda]/ — my God, his master/ — but his watch/ — I have time// — Fix/ — Fix nothing”) [7] ( xvii 26 xviii).


We observe Verne’s change of mind, when he crosses out a very brief version, before starting a more detailed summary. The words “her affairs ie Aouda’s” — which Fogg takes an interest in only because his connection is delayed — is the first sign of a revolution to come in the relationship between the young Indian woman and the Briton, especially as he says not only that he “will speak”, but “I have time”, invariably the announcement of a generous action on his part. In the ensuing scene, the “tears” must correspond to Aouda’s feelings when thinking of Fogg’s imminent departure. But, reading between the lines, an even earlier sign may be their first contact, thanks to the purchase of the mantle: “Fogg found it inexpensive and threw it over the young woman’s shoulders” [8] (TM1 xiii 18 xiv). The outline ends with the mysterious presence of Fix.

The marginal entries having whet our appetite, it is now possible to proceed to the plat de résistance, the main text of chapters xvii to xix. [9] In this draft, three paragraphs present the Hong Kong of 1872. The political correctness that has invaded us since the transfer of sovereignty in 1997 can already b seen in the published version of the novel, revised by the publisher Jules Hetzel, which says that Great Britain only has “possession” [10] (xix) of the colony, whereas in the manuscript Verne emphasises that it is “a British territory” (xviii 26 xix), duly “ceded to Britain” (xviii 26 xix). Similarly, just as Hong Kong school teachers now obligatorily teach “we are all Chinese”, the remarks in the manuscript about the presence of a large non-indigenous population fail to survive as far as the book.

But what seems most interesting is the growing rapprochement between Fogg and Aouda. Pending the publication of a complete transcription of these key pages, I can only cite some key extracts.

“But by not completely forgetting me when the seas are between us”

In a preliminary scene, the first without a chaperone, the Briton is highly romantic, revealing a hitherto unsuspected passion for the beautiful widow. He starts by talking about the memory of him she should preserve should they ever separate. This leads to a more intimate scene, destined, however, to be abruptly and offhandedly interrupted:

“Now, madam, I shall make sure of one thing, namely that the relatives you possess have not forgotten their relatives. I shall tell your whole story, and I think that”
“I assure you, Mr Fogg, and really, I do not know [how] I could acknowledge all that you have done for me.”
“But by not forgetting me completely, when the seas are between us.”
“Oh! I would be [very] ungrateful, sir, and [see], tears are coming to my eyes when I think that in”
“Yes! Yes, that is possible.”
And Fogg went out [11] (xvii 26 xviii).


6. « Maintenant… Fogg sortit » (“Now… Fogg went out”) (part of TM1 xvii 26 xviii)


7. « Fogg revenait … et sortit » (“Fogg returned … and went out”) (part of TM1 xvii 26 xviii)


Since it turns out that Aouda’s relatives no longer live in Hong Kong, Fogg, slightly moved, now has only two possibilities, as Jean tells him, rather bluntly: “either leave her in Hong Kong, or bring her to Europe” (26) [12]. Still without a chaperone, the gentleman therefore extracts a tearful confession from the woman, consoles her, and then…:

Fogg returned to the Hotel du Club deep in thought. It can be said that he saw less than ever of what was going on around him.
He was back at the club at about 4.30 and had Aouda asked if she could receive him.
Received by the young woman, he told her what the situation was, and more; she was alone without relatives.
Aouda did not answer, what could she answer. Could she not [see] the poor woman that she was detrimental to this eccentric character, carried away on his swift journey.
“Sir,” she said, “I shall try to find a place here, that is all, and I will ask you to provide me with recommendations.”
“I do not know anyone. I am as much an outsider in this town as you are.”
Moment of silence.
“Sir, I do not wish to be either importunate...”
“Madam, you know that I have no time to lose. So I do not have time to seek universal salvation for you here. On the other hand, I cannot leave you alone. There is only one [thing] to do. Please accompany me to Europe, and when my journey is over, I will take you back to Bombay.”
“[Let’s go back], sir.”
Fogg took her hand.
“Don’t cry; why tears of despair.” No tears of despair, but of gratitude, sincere perhaps because the young woman had become attached to this man whom she recognised xxxx to xxxx so well, and to whom she owed her life.
“Is it agreed?”
Aouda was perhaps going to respond more than she wanted, when there came a knock on the door.
A hotel retainer came to tell him that he was requested at the office.
Fogg squeezed Aouda’s hand, and went out [13] (TM1 26).

“He went upstairs with Aouda”

This intemperate interruption is the police, who accuse Fogg of kidnapping Aouda and forbid him to leave Hong Kong. The consequences are soon seen. Once again Fogg and Aouda go back up alone to her room, for a long late-night tête-à-tête, off-stage; and the next day, accompanied by Jean and Fix, they take part in a mysterious ceremony, again unseen and quickly wrapped up:


8. « Fogg remonta … oui » (“Fogg went up … yes”) (part of TM1 xvii 27 xviii)


Fogg went up to his room, and stayed there thinking until dinner [14]. When dinner came, he went downstairs with Aouda to the dining room, and talked about nothing, and was as usual.
When dinner was over, he went back upstairs with Aouda, and told her that he had an important communication to share with her, that his journey was in danger of running late, but that there might be a way to [be free of] all this.
For an hour, Fogg and the young woman conversed in this way, and no doubt they agreed on an important point, for around nine o’clock, Fogg went out, and asked for Jean; the two crossed town, and after many comings and goings, went to a house which was [precious for him].
There Jean and Fogg were admitted, and there was another, and there was another [sic] hour-long discussion, which ended with these words:
“At nine o’clock, everything will be ready.”
<“But we need to find a 2nd person.”Not the case,” said Jean, “I like yes”> [15] (xvii 27 xviii)

« Madame Ph. Fog »

What is this event that requires two witnesses? The answer is given in the closing scene. The slight confusion at the end of the previous passage must be due to Verne’s hesitation as to when to bring Fix in. The next scene starts by turning the spotlight on Fix:


9. « En ce moment … partirent » (“At this moment … left”) (part of TM1 xvii 28 xviii)


At this moment, a palanquin arrived; and Fogg got out, he was then followed by the young woman to whom he offered his hand.
Jean introduced Fix. Fogg greeted Fix. Fix, pale, returned the greeting, and the four went in.
Half an hour later, when [sic] Fix came out, with pursed lips, but like a man who has made his decision.
Fogg made a gesture to Fix to thank him. Fix acknowledged Fogg’s gesture, and Fogg and Aouda climbed back into the palanquin and moved off to the trot of their coolies.
But two hours later, they returned to the magistrate’s house xxxxxx, and requested an audience.
They were admitted.
“Sir,” said Fogg, “I am Mr Ph. Fogg.”
“[And the].”
“One of your xxxxxx has come to ask that xxxx.”
“This is Madam Ph. Fog [sic].”
The magistrate greeted the young lady.
“Well, sir, this is better. It is more regular, it is more appropriate even, and it removes any difficulty. I think you acted well.”
“I think so too.”
Upon which, [they] left [16] (xvii 28 xviii).

At this point we are left a little in the dark, frustrated by Verne’s technique of playing with the point of view. But given the existence of the words, “Madam Ph. Fog”, it is likely that the hardened bachelor has finally tied the knot, albeit without a visible ceremony.


10. « On comprend… aucunement » (“It should be understood… in any way”) (part of TM1 xviii 28 xix)


Fortunately, the margin contains a first confirmation that at least the religious ceremony, with two witnesses, has been performed: “by presenting the Reverend’s signed marriage certificate. I am coming to tell you that she is a married woman: she is my wife” (28) [17].

A new confirmation soon arrives, in the form of an explanation of the unromantic reason for the nuptials:

It should be understood that Fogg had hardly any other way of arranging everything than making the charming Aouda his wife ... his fortune. The young woman had no trepidation about giving her hand to a man for whom she felt more than for others and gratitude. And this was how Phileas Fogg had perhaps become the happiest of men without knowing showing it in any way [18] (xviii 28 xix).

No sentiment as regards Aouda is expressed in this brief foray into Fogg’s thoughts, just a solution to his difficulty with the police and hence a way of saving “his fortune”. Nor is Aouda overwhelmed by passion; she accepts Fogg’s offer partly because she feels more for him than for the — non-existent — competition.

What about the honeymoon? It takes place that very night, in the only cabin of the chartered boat on the China Sea, which nevertheless contains a frustrating surprise: “Around midnight, Fogg and Aouda went down to the aft bedroom. Fix had got there before them” (xx 32) [19].

“Do you want me”

In his private life, Verne is unromantic: love is usually accompanied by an ulterior motive. A similar dislocation is observed in the novels: for the hero to finally resign himself to marriage, there must be an alibi, some advantage to be gained.


11. « Voulez-vous de moi » (“Do you want me”) (part of TM1 xxxiv [48] xxxv)


In the early correspondence with Hetzel, Verne tells him that writing love scenes is not his strong point, and even invites Hetzel to help in that respect. This admission has been taken at face value by generations of critics. However, at the beginning of the relationship, Verne bends over backwards to flatter his publisher, and so we are not necessarily obliged to accept his harsh self-appraisal. In any case, it is far from clear that love scenes are necessary in adventure stories set in faraway places: Verne’s best novels often have no women at all; and love scenes are often absent from other writers in his genre.

The Hong Kong chapters have disappeared when Verne writes the second, and final, draft of Around the World, and the wedding takes place after the return to London, preceded by a very brief, and rather conventional, love scene. The summary in note form of the closing chapter in the first manuscript indeed contains the words “Do you want me” and “ ‘I love you’/‘I too’ “ (TM1 xxxiv [48] xxxv), meaning that the radical transformation of the plot must have already taken place. It is not clear then how this eversion of the story happens, and whether in particular Hetzel is involved in it. However, given the nature of the changes in the reason for the marriage, from a decidedly utilitarian one to a convectional one, a change accompanied by the deletion of the intimate, unchaperoned scenes, suspicion must fall on the publisher, especially given his many other deletions of chapters from Verne’s best-known works. (Verne very rarely deleted substantial sections from his novels without pressure from the publisher.)


12. «  -- Je vous aime”/“ – et moi » (“ ‘I love you’/‘I too’ “) (part of TM1 xxxiv [48] xxxv)


Another, circumstantial reason to believe Hetzel may be responsible is that, in the other manuscripts, he often intervenes more intensively in the scenes he has had a hand in writing. In other words, since his pencil interventions are clearly visible beside the brief love scene at the end of the second manuscript, the likelihood of his involvement in its writing in the first place is increased.

A final reason is in Hetzel’s frequent interventions to bring Verne’s heroes back safe and sound, marry them off and have them settle down. More generally, where the writer likes to follow his playwright training and close the novel down shortly after the goal has been reached, Hetzel often prefers a radically expanded ending.

It is clear in sum that in his first conception, Verne attached much greater importance to the stay in Hong Kong, decisive for the happiness of the gentleman. The planned conclusion of the novel at this stage must have been all the more concise. In contrast, in the published ending, the love scene and marriage in London, more or less “Hetzelised”, happen not through self-interest, but out of pure. ethereal feelings.

The rediscovery of these chapters contributes to our understanding, not only of the structure of Verne’s most popular novel, but of his attitude towards love.



  1. This article is a translation of part of chapter 13 of my Jules Verne inédit: Les manuscrits déchiffrés (The Unexpurgated Verne) (ENS Éditions et Institut d’histoire du livre, Lyon, 2015), slightly adapted and updated. ^
  2. References to pages of the periodical Le Tour du monde (henceforth: TdM) are abbreviated: here 1860, 1st semester, p. 129. ^
  3. References to pages of the first manuscript of Verne’s Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours are abbreviated: here chapter 27 in the manuscript, sheet 26, chapter 28 in the published versions. ^
  4. « Hongkong. Arrivée/mardi 6 novembre. Trois heures soir ». ^
  5. Meaning page 130 of TdM, 1860, 1st semester. ― Page 130 reads: « L’île de Hong-Kong a été cédée à la Grande-Bretagne par le traité de Nankin… Quinze années ont suffi au génie colonisateur de la Grande-Bretagne… pour faire de ce lieu, inconnu jusque-là, le port le plus fréquenté de ces mers. Des docks, des hôpitaux, des magasins pour l’armée et pour la marine ont été établis ; une belle cathédrale gothique a été construite … Aujourd’hui, une large rue macadamisée… Toute la partie qui borde le quai est occupée par les entrepôts et les marchandises… L’hôtel du gouverneur, government house, s’élève au-dessus de la ville ». (In quotations from both Verne’s manuscripts and his sources, italics indicate text also found in the published book; italics in the quotations are not reproduced.) ^
  6. TdM 60.1 159 indeed contains a strong condemnation of the opium trade. ^
  7. « — pilote/ — Carnatic6 h. matin < — Fogg/ — réparation/ — demain matin/ — [rien à faire]>/<16 [heure de] xxxxxx/ — être à Yok. le 13/ — retard uniquement car celui-là [afférant] le bateau de Hong en correspondance/ — donc ses affaires cad. celles d’Aouda>/ — arrivée à 1 heure/ — hôtel club. 2 heures/ — recherche du parent/ — Jean au Carnatic 3 places/ — revenir à l’hôtel/ — rechercher/ — rien/ — retour au club/ — rien/ — pleurs/ — en Europe// — Jean bateau/ — préparation/ — parlera [Aouda]/ — diable, son [maître]/ — mais la montre/ — j’ai le temps// — Fix/ — Fix rien ». (The symbols < and > indicate inserted text; /, a line break.) ^
  8. « Fogg la trouva bon marché et la jeta sur les épaules de la jeune femme ». ^
  9. Among other details, the discussion between Fix and Jean as to Fogg’s honesty is reversed, because it is the detective, rather than the valet, who is questioned on this topic in the manuscript (TM1 xviii 29). ^
  10. Underlining indicates text absent from the manuscript but present in the published book. ^
  11. « — Maintenant, madame, je vais m’assurer d’une chose, c’est que les parents que vous avez n’ont point oublié leurs parents. Je raconterai toute votre histoire, et je pense que
    — Je vous assure, monsieur Fogg, et vraiment, je ne sais [comment] je pourrais reconnaître tout ce que vous avez fait pour moi.
    — Mais en ne m’oubliant pas tout à fait, quand les mers seront entre nous.
    — Oh ! monsieur, je serais [bien] ingrate, et [voyez], les larmes me viennent aux yeux en pensant que dans
    — Oui ! oui, il se peut.
    Et Fogg sortit ». ^
  12. « ou la laisser à Hongkong, ou l’amener en Europe ». ^
  13. « Fogg revenait fort pensif à l’hôtel du Club. On peut affirmer qu’il vit moins que jamais ce qui se passait autour de lui.
    Il était de retour au club, vers 4h.½ et fit demander à Aouda si elle pouvait le recevoir.
    Reçu par la jeune femme, il lui fit entendre ce qui était, et encore quoi ; elle était seule sans parents.
    Aouda ne répondit pas, que pouvait-elle répondre. Ne pouvait-elle [voir] la pauvre femme qu’elle était inique pour cet excentrique personnage, emporté dans son voyage rapide.
    — Monsieur, dit-elle, je chercherai à me placer ici, voilà tout, et je vous prierai de me recommander.
    — Je ne connais personne. Je suis aussi étranger que vous à cette ville.
    Moment de silence.
    — Monsieur, je ne veux être ni ennuyeuse…
    — Madame, vous savez que je n’ai pas de temps à perdre. Je n’ai donc pas le temps de chercher pour vous ici la salvation universelle. D’un autre côté, je ne puis vous laisser seule. Il n’y a qu’une [chose] à faire. Veuillez m’accompagner jusqu’en Europe, et mon voyage terminé, je vous ramènerai à Bombay.
    — [Revenons], monsieur.
    Fogg lui prit la main.
    — Ne pleurez pas ; pourquoi des larmes de désespoir.
    Pas de larmes de désespoir, mais de reconnaissance, sincères peut-être car la jeune femme s’était attachée à cet homme qu’elle reconnaissait xxxx au xxxx si bien, et auquel elle devait la vie.
    — Est-il convenu ?
    Aouda allait peut-être répondre plus qu’elle ne voulait, quand on frappa à la porte.
    Un domestique de l’hôtel venait le prévenir qu’on le demandait au bureau.
    Fogg serra la main d’Aouda, et sortit». ^
  14. The rest of chapter xvii, as well as the beginning of chapter xviii, is lightly crossed out in pencil, not reproduced here. ^
  15. « Fogg remonta dans sa chambre, et y resta à réfléchir jusqu’au dîner. Le dîner venu, il descendit avec Aouda dans la salle à manger, et parla de rien, et fut comme d’habitude.
    Puis le dîner fini, il remonta avec Aouda, et lui dit qu’il avait une importante communication à lui faire, que son voyage menaçait d’être en retard, mais qu’il y avait peut-être un moyen d’[acquitter] tout cela.
    Pendant une heure, Fogg et la jeune femme causaient ainsi, et sans doute ils furent d’accord sur un point important, car vers neuf heures, Fogg sortit, demanda Jean, et tous deux traversèrent la ville, et après bien des allées et venues, allèrent dans une maison qui se trouvait [précieuse pour lui].
    Là Jean et Fogg furent introduits, et il y eut encore, et il y eut encore [sic] une conférence d’une heure, qui se termina par ces mots.
    — À neuf heures, tout sera préparé.
    < — Mais il faudrait nous procurer une 2e personne.
    — Pas l’affaire, dit Jean j’aime oui> ». ^
  16. « En ce moment, un palanquin arrivait ; et Fogg en descendit, puis il fut suivi par la jeune femme à laquelle il offrit la main.
    Jean présenta Fix. Fogg salua Fix. Fix blêmi rendit le salut, et les quatre personnages entrèrent.
    Une demi-heure après quand [sic] Fix sortit, les lèvres pincées, mais en homme qui a pris son parti.
    Fogg salua Fix en le remerciant. Fix rendit le salut de Fogg, et Fogg et Aouda remontèrent dans le palanquin et s’éloignèrent au trot de leurs coolies.
    Mais deux heures après, ils revenaient à la maison du magistrat xxxxxx, et demandaient une audience.
    Ils furent reçus.
    — M. dit Fogg, je suis M. Ph. Fogg.
    — [Et la].
    — Un de vos xxxxxxx est venu demander que xxxx.
    — Oui.
    — C’est madame Ph. Fog [sic].
    Le magistrat salua la jeune dame.
    — Eh bien, Monsieur, cela vaut mieux. C’est plus régulier, c’est même plus convenable, et cela lève toute difficulté. Je pense que vous avez bien fait.
    — Je le crois aussi.
    Et là-dessus, partirent [sic] ». ^
  17. « en présentant l’acte de mariage signé du révérend. Je viens vous dire que c’est une femme mariée : c’est ma femme ». ^
  18. « On comprend que Fogg n’avait guère d’autre moyen de tout arranger que de faire de la charmante Aouda sa femme ... sa fortune. La jeune femme n’avait eu aucune peur à accorder sa main à un homme pour lequel elle sentait plus que de l’autrui [sic] et de la reconnaissance. Et voilà comment Phileas Fogg était peut-être devenu le plus heureux des hommes sans le savoir paraître aucunement. » ^
  19. « Vers minuit, Fogg et Aouda descendirent dans la chambre d’arrière. Fix les y avait déjà précédés ». ^



William Butcher ( and ( has taught at the École nationale d’administration and researched at Oxford. His publications since 1980 include Jules Verne: The Biography, Salon de 1857, Jules Verne inédit: Les manuscrits déchiffrés, as well as a dozen critical editions, notably for Oxford UP and Gallimard. ^