Around the World in 80 Days
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and which to their minds symbolise long life and prosperity.
As he was strolling along, Passepartout espied some violets among the shrubs.
"Good!" said he; "I'll have some supper."
But, on smelling them, he found that they were odourless.
"No chance there," thought he.
The worthy fellow had certainly taken good care to eat as
hearty a breakfast as possible before leaving the Carnatic;
but, as he had been walking about all day, the demands of hunger
were becoming importunate. He observed that the butchers stalls
contained neither mutton, goat, nor pork; and, knowing also that
it is a sacrilege to kill cattle, which are preserved solely for farming,
he made up his mind that meat was far from plentiful in Yokohama--
nor was he mistaken; and, in default of butcher's meat,
he could have wished for a quarter of wild boar or deer,
a partridge, or some quails, some game or fish, which, with rice,
the Japanese eat almost exclusively. But he found it necessary
to keep up a stout heart, and to postpone the meal he craved till
the following morning. Night came, and Passepartout re-entered
the native quarter, where he wandered through the streets,
lit by vari-coloured lanterns, looking on at the dancers,
who were executing skilful steps and boundings, and the astrologers
who stood in the open air with their telescopes. Then he came
to the harbour, which was lit up by the resin torches of the fishermen,
who were fishing from their boats.
The streets at last became quiet, and the patrol, the officers
of which, in their splendid costumes, and surrounded by their suites,
Passepartout thought seemed like ambassadors, succeeded the bustling crowd.
Each time a company passed, Passepartout chuckled, and said to himself:
"Good! another Japanese embassy departing for Europe!"
IN WHICH PASSEPARTOUT'S NOSE BECOMES OUTRAGEOUSLY LONG
The next morning poor, jaded, famished Passepartout said to
himself that he must get something to eat at all hazards, and the
sooner he did so the better. He might, indeed, sell his watch;
but he would have starved first. Now or never he must use the
strong, if not melodious voice which nature had bestowed upon him.
He knew several French and English songs, and resolved to try them
upon the Japanese, who must be lovers of music, since they were
for ever pounding on their cymbals, tam-tams, and tambourines, and
could not but appreciate European talent.
It was, perhaps, rather early in the morning to get up a
concert, and the audience prematurely aroused from their slumbers,
might not possibly pay their entertainer with coin bearing the
Mikado's features. Passepartout therefore decided to wait several
hours; and, as he was sauntering along, it occurred to him that he
would seem rather too well dressed for a wandering artist. The
idea struck him to change his garments for clothes more in harmony
with his project; by which he might also get a little money to
satisfy the immediate cravings of hunger. The resolution taken,
it remained to carry it out.
It was only after a long search that Passepartout discovered a
native dealer in old clothes, to whom he applied for an exchange.
The man liked the European costume, and ere long Passepartout
issued from his shop accoutred in an old Japanese coat, and a sort
of one-sided turban, faded with long use. A few small pieces of silver,
moreover, jingled in his pocket.
Good!" thought he. "I will imagine I am at the Carnival!"
His first care, after being thus "Japanesed," was to enter a tea-house
of modest appearance, and, upon half a bird and a little rice,
to breakfast like a man for whom dinner was as yet a problem to be solved.
"Now," thought he, when he had eaten heartily, "I mustn't lose my head.
I can't sell this costume again for one still more Japanese. I must
consider how to leave this country of the Sun, of which I shall not retain
the most delightful of memories, as quickly as possible."
It occurred to him to visit the steamers which were about to
leave for America. He would offer himself as a cook or servant,
in payment of his passage and meals. Once at San Francisco,
he would find some means of going on. The difficulty was,
how to traverse the four thousand seven hundred miles
of the Pacific which lay between Japan and the New World.
Passepartout was not the man to let an idea go begging,
and directed his steps towards the docks. But, as he approached
them, his project, which at first had seemed so simple, began to grow
more and more formidable to his mind. What need would they have
of a cook or servant on an American steamer, and what confidence would
they put in him, dressed as he was? What references could he give?
As he was reflecting in this wise, his eyes fell upon an immense
placard which a sort of clown was carrying through the streets.
This placard, which was in English, read as follows:
ACROBATIC JAPANESE TROUPE,
HONOURABLE WILLIAM BATULCAR, PROPRIETOR,
PRIOR TO THEIR DEPARTURE TO THE UNITED STATES,
LONG NOSES! LONG NOSES!
UNDER THE DIRECT PATRONAGE OF THE GOD TINGOU!
"The United States!" said Passepartout; "that's just what I want!"
He followed the clown, and soon found himself once more
in the Japanese quarter. A quarter of an hour later
he stopped before a large cabin, adorned with several
clusters of streamers, the exterior walls of which
were designed to represent, in violent colours
and without perspective, a company of jugglers.
This was the Honourable William Batulcar's establishment.
That gentleman was a sort of Barnum, the director of a troupe
of mountebanks, jugglers, clowns, acrobats, equilibrists,
and gymnasts, who, according to the placard, was giving
his last performances before leaving the Empire of the Sun
for the States of the Union.
Passepartout entered and asked for Mr. Batulcar, who straightway
appeared in person.
"What do you want?" said he to Passepartout, whom he at first
took for a native.
"Would you like a servant, sir?" asked Passepartout.
"A servant!" cried Mr. Batulcar, caressing the thick grey beard
which hung from his chin. "I already have two who are obedient
and faithful, have never left me, and serve me for their nourishment
and here they are," added he, holding out his two robust arms,
furrowed with veins as large as the strings of a bass-viol.
"So I can be of no use to you?"
"The devil! I should so like to cross the Pacific with you!"
"Ah!" said the Honourable Mr. Batulcar. "You are no more a Japanese
than I am a monkey! Who are you dressed up in that way?"
"A man dresses as he can."
"That's true. You are a Frenchman, aren't you?"
"Yes; a Parisian of Paris."
"Then you ought to know how to make grimaces?"
"Why," replied Passepartout, a little vexed that his nationality
should cause this question, "we Frenchmen know how to make grimaces,
it is true but not any better than the Americans do."
"True. Well, if I can't take you as a servant, I can as a clown.
You see, my friend, in France they exhibit foreign clowns,
and in foreign parts French clowns."
"You are pretty strong, eh?"
"Especially after a good meal."
"And you can sing?"
"Yes," returned Passepartout, who had formerly been wont
to sing in the streets.
"But can you sing standing on your head, with a top spinning
on your left foot, and a sabre balanced on your right?"
"Humph! I think so," replied Passepartout, recalling the exercises
of his younger days.
"Well, that's enough," said the Honourable William Batulcar.
The engagement was concluded there and then.
Passepartout had at last found something to do. He was engaged
to act in the celebrated Japanese troupe. It was not a very dignified
position, but within a week he would be on his way to San Francisco.
The performance, so noisily announced by the Honourable Mr. Batulcar,
was to commence at three o'clock, and soon the deafening instruments
of a Japanese orchestra resounded at the door. Passepartout,
though he had not been able to study or rehearse a part,
was designated to lend the aid of his sturdy shoulders
in the great exhibition of the "human pyramid," executed
by the Long Noses of the god Tingou. This "great attraction"
was to close the performance.
Before three o'clock the large shed was invaded by the spectators,