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The Magician FiK-Fv.—Pa^tf 138.












104 & 106 Fourth Avenue




All rights reserved.





I. A Fortune Realized, i

II. The Cascabel Family, ii

III. The Sierra Nevada 21

IV. A Great Resolution 33

V. On the Road, 45

VI. The Journey Continued, 56

VII. Through Cariboo 64

VIII. Knaves' Village 72

IX. Can't Pass Through ! 79

X. Kayette 90

XI. Sitka, 103

XII. From Sitka to Fort Yukon, . . ... 117

XIII. Cornelia Cascabel has an Idea, . . . .127

XIV. From Fort Yukon to Port Clarence, . . 142

XV. Port Clarence I55

XVI. Farewell to the New Continent, ... 167


I. Behring's Strait, 181

II. Between two Currents, 196

III. Adrift, . 210

IV. From thjc ;6th of November to the 2d of Pecember, 222















Li.\KiiuK Islands, ........ 237

In Winter Quartkrs 254

.\ Good Trick of Mrs. Cascabel's, .... 265

The Country of the Iakouts, .... 278

Right on to the Obi 292

From the Obi to the Ural Mountains, 302

The Ural Mountains, 318

A Journey's End which is not the End, 330

An Endless Day 343

A Denouement Warmly Applauded by the Spec-
tators, 354

Conclusion 369





HAS nobody got any more coppers to give me? Come,
children, search your pockets!"

"Here you are, father!" replied the little girl.

And she drew out of her pocket a square-cut piece of
greenish paper, all crumpled and greasy.

This paper bore the almost illegible inscription ''United
States Fractional Currency,'' encircling the respectable-look-
ing head of a gentleman in a frock-coat, and likewise the
figure 10 repeated six times, — which represented ten cents,
say about ten French sous.

"How did you come by that?" inquired the mother.

' 'It's the remnant of the takings at the last performance,"
answered Napoleona.

"Gave me everything, Sander?"

"Yes, father."

"Nothing left, John?"


"Why, how much more do you want, Ccesar?" asked
Cornelia of her husband.

"Two cents is all we want to make up a round sum,"
replied Cascabel.

"Here they are, boss," said Clovy, jerking up a small


copper coin that he had just worked out from the depths
of his waistcoat pocket.

"Well done, Clovy!" exclaimed the little girl.

"That's right! now we're all square," cried Mr. Cascabel.

And they were indeed "all square," to use the words of
the honest showman. The total in hands amounted to
nearly two thousand dollars, say ten thousand francs. Ten
thousand francs! Is not such a sum a fortune, when it has
been earned out of the public through one's own talents only?

Cornelia put her arms around her husband's neck ; the
children embraced him in their turn.

"Now," said Mr. Cascabel, "the question is to buy a
chest, a beautiful chest with secret contrivances, to lock uj)
our fortune in it."

"Can't we really do without it?" suggested Mrs. Casca-
bel, somewhat alarmed at this expenditure.

"Cornelia, we cannot!"

"Perhaps a little box might do us? — "

"That's woman all over!" sneered Mr. Cascabel. "A
little box is meant for jewels! A chest, or at least a safe,
that's the thing for money! And as we have a long way to
go with our ten thousand francs — "

"Well then, go and buy your safe, but take care you get
a good bargain," interrupted Cornelia.

The "boss of the show" opened the door of that "superb
and consequential" wagon, his itinerant dwelling-house; he
went down the iron step fastened to the shaft, and made for
the streets that converge toward the center of Sacramento.

February is a cold month in California, although this State
lies in the same latitude as Spain. Still, wrapped up in his
warm overcoat lined with imitation sable, and with his fur
cap drawn down to his ears, Mr. Cascabel little cared about
the weather, and trippetl it lightly. A safe! being the
owner of a safe had been liis life-long dream; that dream
was on the point of being realized at last!

•'Just the Thing." — Page 5.


Nineteen years before, the land now occupied by the
town of Sacramento was but a vast barren phiin. In the
middle stood a small fort, a kind of block-house erected by
the early settlers, the first traders, with a view to protect
their encampments against the attacks of the Far West In-
dians. But since that time, after the Americans had taken
California from the Mexicans, who were incapable of de-
fending it, the aspect of the country had undergone a singu-
lar transformation. The small fort had made way for a
town, — one of the most important in the United States,
although fire and flood had, more than once, destroyed the
rising city.

Now, in this year 1867, Mr. Cascabel had no longer to
dread the raids of Indian tribes, or even the attacks of that
lawless mob of cosmopolitan banditti who invaded the prov-
ince in 1849 on the discovery of the gold mines which lay
a little farther to the northeast, on the Grass Valley plateau,
and of the famous Allison ranch mine, the quartz of which
yielded twenty cents' worth of the precious metal for every
two pound weight.

Yes, those days of unheard-of strokes of fortune, of
unspeakable reverses, of nameless sorrows, were over. No
more gold-seekers, not even in that portion of British Colum-
bia, the Cariboo, to which thousands of miners flocked, about
1863. No longer was Mr. Cascabel exposed, on his travels,
to being robbed of that little fortune which he had earned,
well might it be said, in the sweat of his body, and that he
carried in the pocket of his overcoat. In truth, the purchase
of a safe was not so indispensable to the security of his
fortune as he claimed it to be ; if he was so desirous to
get one, it was with an eye to a long journey through certain
Far West territories that were less safe than California,
— his journey homeward toward Europe.

Thus easy in his mind, Mr. Cascabel Avended his way
through the wide, clean streets of the town. Here and


there were splendid squares, overhung with beautiful,
though still leafless, trees, hotels and private dwellings built
with much elegance and comfort, public edifices in the
Anglo-Saxon style of architecture, a number of monumental
churches, all giving an air of grandeur to this, the capital
town of California. On all sides bustled busy looking men,
merchants, ship-owners, manufacturers, some awaiting the
arrival of vessels that sailed up and down the river whose
waters flow to the Pacific, others besieging Folsom depot,
from which numerous trains steamed away to the interior of
the Confederacy.

It was toward High Street that Mr. Cascabel directed his
steps, whistling a French march as he went along. In
this street he had already noticed the store of a rival of
Fichet & Huret, the celebrated Parisian safe-makers.
There did William J. Morlan sell "good and cheap," —
at least, relatively so, — considering the excessive price
that is charged for everything in the United States of

William J. Morlan was in his store when Mr. Cascabel
came in.

"Mr. Morlan," said the latter, "your humble servant.
I'd like to buy a safe."

William J. Morlan knew Cffisar Cascabel: was there a
man in Sacramento who did not? Had he not been, for
three weeks past, the delight of the population? So, the
worthy manufacturer made answer:

".\ safe, Mr. Cascabel? — Pray accept all my congratula-

"What for?"

"Because buying a safe is a sure sign that a man has a
few sackfuls of dollars to make safe in it."

"Right you are, Mr. Morlan."

"Well, take this one;" and the merchant's finger pointed
to a huge safe, worthy of a site in the offices of Rothschild

" A Few Wokds hy Ourselves." — Page 7.


Brothers or other such bankers, people who have enough
and to spare.

"Come — not so fast!" said ]\Ir. Cascabel. "I could take
lodging's in there for myself and family! — A real gem, to be
sure; but for the time being, I've got something else to
lodge in it! — Say, Mr. Morlan, how much money could be
stored inside that monster?"

"Several millions in gold."

"Several millions? — Well then — I'll call again — some
other day, when I have them ! No, sir, what I want is a
really strong little chest that I can carry under my arm and
hide away down in my wagon when I am on the road."

"I have just the thing, Mr. Cascabel."

And the manufacturer exhibited a small coffer supplied
with a safety lock. It was not over twenty pounds in
weight, and had compartments inside, after the manner of
the cash or deed boxes used in banking-houses.

"This, moreover, is fireproof," added he, "and I war-
rant it as such on the receipt I give you."

"Very good I — can't be better!" answered Mr. Cascabel.
"That will do me, so long as you guarantee the lock is all

"It is a combination lock," interrupted William J. Mor-
lan. "Four letters — a word of four letters, to be made out
of four alphabets, which gives you well-nigh four hundred
thousand combinations. During the time it would take a
thief to guess them, you might hang him a million times at
your ease!"

"A million times, Mr. Morlan? That's wonderful in-
deed! And what about the price? You'll understand, a
safe is too dear when it costs more than a man has to put
m It !

"Quite so, Mr. Cascabel. And all I'll ask you for this
one is six and a half."

"Six and a half dollars?" rejoined Cascabel. "I don't


care for that 'six and a half.' Come, Mr. Morlan, we must
knock tlie corners off that sum ! Is it a bargain at five dol-
lars straight?"

"I don't mind, because it is you, Mr. Cascabel."

The purchase was made, the money was paid down, and
W. J. Morlan offered to the showman to have his safe
brought home for him, so as not to trouble him with such a

"Come, come, Mr. Morlan! A man like your humble
servant who juggles with forty-pounders!"

"Say — what is the exact weight of your forty-pounders,
eh?" inquired Mr. Morlan with a laugh.

"Just fifteen pounds, but — mum's tlie word!"

Thereupon William J. Morlan and his customer parted,
delighted with each other.

Half an hour later, the happy possessor of the safe reached
Circus Place where his wagon stood, and laid down, not
without a feeling of complacency, "the safe of the Casca-
bel firm."

Ah ! how admired was that safe in its little world ! What
joy and pride all felt at having it! And how the hinges
were worked with the opening and the shutting of it!
Young Sander would have dearly liked to dislocate himself
into it — just for fun. But that was not to be thought of; it
was too small for young Sander!

As to Clovy, never had he seen anything so beautiful,
even in dreamland.

"I guess, that lock's no easy job to open," exclaimed
he, "unless it's mighty easy if it doesn't slnit right!"

"Never a truer word did you speak," answered Mr. Cas-

Then, in that authoritative tone of voice that brooks no
arguing, apd with one of those significant gestures which
forbid of any delaying:

"Now, children, off you go, the shortest cut," said he,


"and fetch us a breakfast — Ai ! Here is a dollar you can
spend as you like — It's I will stand the treat to-day!"

Good soul! As though it were not he who "stood the
treat" every day! But he was fond of this kind of joking,
which he" indulged in with a good genial chuckle.

In a trice, John, Sander, and Napoleona were off, accom-
panied by Clovy, who carried on his arm a large straw basket
for the provisions.

"And now we are alone, Cornelia, let us have a few
words," said the boss.

"What about, Caesar?"

"What about? Why, about the word we are going to
choose for the lock of our safe. It is not that I don't trust
the children — Good Lord! They are angels! — or that poor
fellow Clovy, who is honesty itself! None the less, that
must be kept a secret."

"Take what word you like, " answered the wife; "I'll
agree to anything you say."

"You have no choice?"

"I haven't."

"Well, I should like it to be a proper name."

"Yes! — I got it — your own name, Caesar."

"That can't be! Mine is too long! It must be a word
of four letters only."

"Well then, take one letter off! Surely you can spell
Caesar without an ;- ! We are free to do as we like, I dare

"Bravo, Cornelia! That's an idea! — One of those ideas
you often hit on, wifie! But if we decide on cutting one
letter out of a name, I'd rather cut out four, and let it be
out of yours!"

"Out of my name?"

"Yes! And we'd keep the end of it — e 1 i a. Indeed, I
rather think it would be more select that way; so, it will be
just the thing!"


"Ah! Caesar!"

"It will please you, wont it, to have your name on the
lock of our safe?"

"It will, since it is in your heart already!" answered
Cornelia, with loving emphasis.

Then, her face beaming with pleasure, she gave a hearty
kiss to her good-natured husband.

And that is how, in consequence of this arrangement, any
one, unacquainted with the name Elia, would be baffled in
his attempts to open the safe of the Cascabel family.

Half an hour after, the children were back with the pro-
visions, ham and salt beef, cut in appetizing slices, not for-
getting a few of those wonderful outgrowths of Californian
vegetation, heads of cabbage grown on tree-like stalks, pota-
toes as large as melons, carrots half a yard long and
"equaled only," Mr. Cascabel was fond of saying, "by those
leeks that you make people swallow, without having the
trouble of growing them?" As to drink, the only puzzle
was which to choose among the varieties that nature and art
offer to American thirsty lips. On this occasion, not to
mention a jugful of beer with a head on it, each one was to
have his share of a good bottle of sherry, at dessert.

In the twinkling of an eye, Cornelia, aided by Clovy, her
usual help, had prepared breakfast. The table was laid in
the second compartment of the van, styled the family par-
lor, where the temperature was maintained at the right
degree by the cooking-stove set up in the next room. If,
on that day, — as on every day indeed, — father, mother, and
children ate with remarkably keen appetite, the fact was
but too easily accounted for by the circumstances.

Breakfast over, Mr. Cascabel, assuming the solemn tone
that he gave to his utterances when he spoke to the public,
expressed himself as follows:

"To-morr6w, children, we shall have bidden farewell to
this noble town of Sacramento, and to its noble citizens,


with all of whom we have every reason to be satisfied, what-
ever he their com])lexion, red, black or white. But, Sacra-
mento is in California, and California is in America, and
America is not in Europe. Now, home is home, and Europe
is France ; and it is not a day too soon, that France should see
us once more 'within its walls,' after a prolonged absence of
many a year. Have we made a fortune? Properly speak-
ing, we have not. Still, we have in hands a certain quan-
tity of dollars that will look uncommonly well in our safe,
when we have changed them into French gold or silver. A
portion of this sum will enable us to cross the Atlantic Ocean
on one of those swift vessels that fly the three-colored flag
once borne by Napoleon from capital to capital. — Your
health, Cornelia! "

Mrs. Cascabel acknowledged with a bow this token of
good feeling which her husband often gave her, as though
he meant to thank her for having presented him with Alcides
and Hercules in the persons of his children.

Then, the speaker proceeded :

"I likewise drink 'safe home' to us all! May favorable
winds swell our sails!"

He paused to pour to each one a last glass of his excel-
lent sherry.

"But then, — Clovy may say to me, perhaps, — once our
passage-money paid, there will be nothing left in the safe?"

"No such thing, boss, — unless the passage-money added
on to the railway fares — "

"Railways, railroads, as the Yankees say!" cried Mr. Cas-
cabel. "Why, you simpleton, you thoughtless fellow, we
shan't use them! I quite intend saving the traveling ex-
penses from Sacramento to New York by covering the dis-
tance on our own wheels! A few hundred leagues! I
guess it would take more than that to frighten the Cascabel
family, accustomed as it is to disport itself from one world's
end to the other!"


"Of course!" John chimed in. " '

••And how glad we shall be to see France again:" ex-
claimed Mrs. Cascabel.

"Our old France that you don't know, my children,"
continued Mr. Cascabel, " since you were born in America,
our beautiful France that you shall know at last. Ah, Cor-
nelia, what pleasure it will be for you, a child of Provence,
and for me, a son of Normandy, after twenty years'

"It will, Ciesar, it will!"

"Do you know, Cornelia? If I were to be offered an engage-
ment now, even at Barnum's theater, I should say no! Put-
ting off our journey home, never! I'd rather go on all
fours! — It's homesick we are, and what's needed for that
ailment is a trip home! — I know of no other cure!"

Caesar Cascabel spoke truly. His wife and he no longer
cherished but one thought: returning to France; and what
bliss it was to be able to do so, now that there was no lack
of money !

"So then, we start to-morrow!" said Mr. Cascabel.

"And it may be our last trip!" remarked Cornelia.

"Cornelia," her husband said with dignity, "the only last
trip I know of is the one for which God issues no return

"Just so, Caesar, but before that one, shan't we have a
rest, when we have made our fortune?"

"A rest, Cornelia? Never! I don't want any of your
fortune, if fortune means doing nothing! Do you think you
have a right to lay those talents idly by, that nature has so
freely lavished on you? Do you imagine I could live with
folded arms and run the risk of letting my joints grow stiff?
Do you see John giving up his work as an equilibrist,
Napoleona ceasing to dance on the tight rope with or with-
out a pole, Sander standing no more on top of the human
pyramid, and Clovy himself no longer receiving his half-


dozen slaps on his cheeks per minute, to the great gratifica-
tion of the public? No, Cornelia! Tell me that the sun's
light will be put out by the rain, that the sea will be drunk
by the fishes, but do not tell me that the hour of rest will
ever strike for the Cascabel family!"

And now, there was nothing more to do but to make the
final arrangements for setting out, next morning, as soon as
the sun would peep over tlic horizon of Sacramento.

This was done in the course of the afternoon.

Needless to say the safe was placed out of the way, in the
furthest compartment of the wagon.

"In this room," said Mr. Cascabel, "we shall be able to
watch it night and day!"

"Really, Caesar, I think that was a good idea of yours,"
remarked Cornelia, "and I don't begrudge the money we
spent on the safe."

"It may be rather small, perhaps, wifie, but we shall buy
a bigger one, if our treasure takes larger proportions!"



CASCABEL! — A name, you might say, "pealed and
chimed on all the tongues of fame," throughout the
five parts of the globe, and "other localities," proudly
added the man who bore that patronymic so honorably.

Caesar Cascabel, a native of Pontorson, right in the heart
of Normandy, was a master in all the dodges, knacks, and
trickeries of Norman folks. But, sliarp and knowing as he
was, he had remained an honest man, and it were not right
to confound him with the too often suspicious members of
the juggling confraternity; in him, humbleness of birth and
professional irregularities were fully redeemed by the private
virtues of the head of the family circle.


At this period, Mr. Cascabel looked his age, forty-five, not
a day more or less. A child of the road in the full accepta-
tion of the word, his only cradle had been the pack that his
father shouldered as he tramped along from fairs to markets
throughout Normandy. His mother having died shortly
after his coming into the world, he had been very oppor-
tunely adopted by a traveling troupe on the death of his
father, a few years after. With them he spent his youth in
tumbles, contortions and somersaults, his head down and
his feet in the air. Then he became in turn a clown, a
gymnast, an acrobat, a Hercules at country fairs, — until the
time when, the father of three children, he appointed him-
self manager of the little family he had brought out con-
jointly with Mrs. Cascabel, ;/^<f Cornelia Vadarasse, all the
way from Martigues in Provence (France).

An intelligent and ingenious man, if on the one hand his
muscle and his skill were above the common, his moral
worth was in no way inferior to his physical abilities. Trub,
a rolling stone gathers no moss; but, at least, it rubs against
the rough knobs on the road, it gets polished, its angles are
smoothed off, it grows round and shiny. Even so, in the
course of the twenty-five years that he had been rolling
along, Caesar Cascabel had rubbed so hard, had got so thor-
oughly polished and rounded off, that he knew about all
that can be known of life, felt surprised at nothing, won-
dered at nothing. By dint of roughing it through Europe
from fair to fair, and acclimatizing himself quite as readily
in .America as in the Dutch or the Spanish Colonies, he well-
nigh understood all languages, and spoke them more or less
accurately, "even those he did not know," as he used to
say, for it was no trouble to him to express his meaning by
gestures whenever his power of speech failed liim.

Caesar Cascabel was a trifle above the middle height; his
body was muscular; his limbs were "well oiled"; his lower
jaw, somewhat protruding, indicated energy; his head


The Boss of tjie Si;o\v. — Page 12.


was large, and shagged over with bushy hair, his skin mar-
l)led l)y the sun of every clime, tanned by the scjualls of
every sea ; lie wore a mustache cut short at the ends, and
half-length wiiiskers shaded his ruddy cheeks; his nose was
rather full; he had blue eyes glowing with life and very
keen, with a look of kindness in them; his mouth would
have boasted tliirt} -tliree teeth still, had he got one put in,
l]efore the i)ublic, he was a real Frederic Lemaitre, a trage-
dian with grand gestures, affected poses, and oratorical sen-
tences, but in private, a very simple, very natural man,
who doted on his wnfe and children.

Blessed with a constitution that could stand anything,
although his advancing years now forbade him all acrobatic
performances, he was still wonderful in those displays of
strength that "require biceps." He was possessed, more-
over, of extraordinary talent in that branch of the show-
man's profession, the science of the engastrimuth or ven-
triloquism, a science which goes back a good many cen-
turies if, as Bishop Eustachius asserts, the pythoness of
Kdon was nothing more than a ventriloquist. At his will
his vocal apparatus slipped down from his throat to his
stomach. You wonder if he could have sung a duet, all by
himself? Well, you had better not have challenged him to!

To give one last stroke to this picture, let us notice that
Caesar Cascabel had a weakness for the great conquerors of
history in general, and for Napoleon in particular. Yes!
He did love the hero of the first Empire just as much as he
hated his "tormentors," those sons of Hudson Lowe, those
abominable John Bulls. Napoleon! That was "the man
for him!" AVherefore he had never consented to perform
before the Queen of England, "although she had requested
him to do so through her first Steward of the Household,"
a statement he had made so earnestly and so repeatedly that
he had eventually acquired a belief in it, himself.

And still, Mr. Cascabel was no circus manager; no Fran-


coni was he with a troupe of horsemen and women, of

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