They 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. 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. In this manner 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 before long Passepartout left his shop dressed in an old Japanese coat, and a sort of one-sided turban, faded from 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 teahouse 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," he thought, after 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 travel 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,
HONORABLE WILLIAM BATULCAR, PROPRIETOR,
PRIOR TO THEIR DEPARTURE TO THE
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 colors and without perspective, a company of jugglers.
This was the Honorable 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 Honorable Mr.