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
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
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
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, LAST REPRESENTATIONS,
PRIOR TO THEIR DEPARTURE TO THE
UNITED STATES, OF 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 colours
and without perspective, a company
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
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?"
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
"A man dresses
as he can."
You are a Frenchman, aren't
"Yes; a Parisian
"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."
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
after a good meal."
"And you can
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.
so noisily announced by the
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,
comprising Europeans and natives,
Chinese and Japanese, men, women
and children, who precipitated
themselves upon the narrow benches
and into the boxes opposite the
stage. The musicians took up
a position inside, and were vigorously
performing on their gongs, tam-tams,
flutes, bones, tambourines, and
The performance was much like
all acrobatic displays; but it
must be confessed that the Japanese
are the first equilibrists in
One, with a fan and some bits
of paper, performed the graceful
trick of the butterflies and
the flowers; another traced in
the air, with the odorous smoke
of his pipe, a series of blue
words, which composed a compliment
to the audience; while a third
juggled with some lighted candles,
which he extinguished successively
as they passed his lips, and
relit again without interrupting
for an instant his juggling.
Another reproduced the most singular
combinations with a spinning-top;
in his hands the revolving tops
seemed to be animated with a
life of their own in their interminable
whirling; they ran over pipe-stems,
the edges of sabres, wires and
even hairs stretched across the
stage; they turned around on
the edges of large glasses, crossed
bamboo ladders, dispersed into
all the corners, and produced
strange musical effects by the
combination of their various
pitches of tone. The jugglers
tossed them in the air, threw
them like shuttlecocks with wooden
battledores, and yet they kept
on spinning; they put them into
their pockets, and took them
out still whirling as before.
It is useless
to describe the astonishing
performances of the
acrobats and gymnasts. The turning
on ladders, poles, balls, barrels, &c.,
was executed with wonderful precision.
But the principal attraction
was the exhibition of the Long
Noses, a show to which Europe
is as yet a stranger.
The Long Noses form a peculiar
company, under the direct patronage
of the god Tingou. Attired after
the fashion of the Middle Ages,
they bore upon their shoulders
a splendid pair of wings; but
what especially distinguished
them was the long noses which
were fastened to their faces,
and the uses which they made
of them. These noses were made
of bamboo, and were five, six,
and even ten feet long, some
straight, others curved, some
ribboned, and some having imitation
warts upon them. It was upon
these appendages, fixed tightly
on their real noses, that they
performed their gymnastic exercises.
A dozen of these sectaries of
Tingou lay flat upon their backs,
while others, dressed to represent
lightning-rods, came and frolicked
on their noses, jumping from
one to another, and performing
the most skilful leapings and
As a last scene,
a "human pyramid" had
been announced, in which fifty
Long Noses were to represent
the Car of Juggernaut. But, instead
of forming a pyramid by mounting
each other's shoulders, the artists
were to group themselves on top
of the noses. It happened that
the performer who had hitherto
formed the base of the Car had
quitted the troupe, and as, to
fill this part, only strength
and adroitness were necessary,
Passepartout had been chosen
to take his place.
The poor fellow really felt
sad when--melancholy reminiscence
of his youth!--he donned his
costume, adorned with vari-coloured
wings, and fastened to his natural
feature a false nose six feet
long. But he cheered up when
he thought that this nose was
winning him something to eat.
He went upon the stage, and
took his place beside the rest
who were to compose the base
of the Car of Juggernaut. They
all stretched themselves on the
floor, their noses pointing to
the ceiling. A second group of
artists disposed themselves on
these long appendages, then a
third above these, then a fourth,
until a human monument reaching
to the very cornices of the theatre
soon arose on top of the noses.
This elicited loud applause,
in the midst of which the orchestra
was just striking up a deafening
air, when the pyramid tottered,
the balance was lost, one of
the lower noses vanished from
the pyramid, and the human monument
was shattered like a castle built
It was Passepartout's
fault. Abandoning his position,
the footlights without the aid
of his wings, and, clambering
up to the right-hand gallery,
he fell at the feet of one of
the spectators, crying, "Ah,
my master! my master!"
then let us go to the steamer,
Mr. Fogg, Aouda,
and Passepartout passed through
the lobby of the
theatre to the outside, where
they encountered the Honourable
Mr. Batulcar, furious with rage.
He demanded damages for the "breakage" of
the pyramid; and Phileas Fogg
appeased him by giving him a
handful of banknotes.
At half-past six, the very
hour of departure, Mr. Fogg and
Aouda, followed by Passepartout,
who in his hurry had retained
his wings, and nose six feet
long, stepped upon the American