• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 A drama in mid-air
 Dr. Ox's hobby
 Master Zachary
 A winter among the ice-fields
 Fortieth French ascent of mont...
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: From the clouds to the mountain; : comprising narratives of strange adventures by air, land, and water
Title: From the clouds to the mountain
CITATION PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00027890/00001
 Material Information
Title: From the clouds to the mountain comprising narratives of strange adventures by air, land, and water
Physical Description: 285 p., 5 leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Verne, Jules, 1828-1905
Verne, Paul ( Author )
Alger, A. L ( Translator )
William F. Gill and Company ( Publisher )
Rand, Avery & Co ( Printer )
C.J. Peters & Son ( Stereotyper )
Publisher: William F. Gill and Company
Place of Publication: Boston
Manufacturer: Rand, Avery & Co. ; Stereotyped by C.J. Peters & Son
Publication Date: 1874
 Subjects
Subject: Ballooning -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Mountaineering -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1874   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1874
Genre: Children's stories   ( lcsh )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Jules Verne with a chapter by Paul Verne, brother of Jules Verne ; Translated by A.L. Alger ; in five parts.
General Note: Plates printed in sepia and black.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00027890
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002239219
notis - ALH9745
oclc - 60551108

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Preface
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Table of Contents
        Page 5
        Page 6
    A drama in mid-air
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
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    Dr. Ox's hobby
        Page 36a
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    Master Zachary
        Page 116a
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    A winter among the ice-fields
        Page 168
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    Fortieth French ascent of mont blanc
        Page 256
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    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text

































































































SThe car fell; but instinctively 1 clung to the cords."

Page 35.


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From the Clouds to the Mountains.


COMPRISING NARRATIVES OF


STRANGE ADVENTURES BY AIR, LAND, AND WATER,



BY JULES VERNE,
AUTIOB OF "TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA," "A TOUR
BOUND THE WORLD IN EGIITY DAYS," ETO.,


WITH A CHAPTER BY PAUL VERNE, BROTHER OF JULES VERNE.


TRANSLATED BY A. L. ALGER.


In Jibe Parts.







BOSTON:
WILLIAM F. GILL AND COMPANY,
1.1 WASHINGTON STREET.
1874.
































Entered according to Act of Congress, In the year 1874, by

WILLIAM F. GILL & CO.,

In the Ofice of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.





















STEBEOTIPED BY C. J. PETERS & SOf,
78 FEDERAL ST., BOSTON.

BOSTON:
PRESS OF RAND, AVERY, & CO., 117 FRANKLIN STREET.














EDITOR'S PREFACE.



THIS new volume by Jules Verne is made up of tales writ-
ten by him at very different dates. "Dr. Ox is quite
recent, having been suggested to the author of "Strange
Journeys by a most interesting experiment made in Paris
a few years since; but the other stories, entitled "Master
Zachary," A Winter in the Ice-Fields," and A Drama in
Mid-Air," were written more than twenty years ago, and are
consequently anterior to the series of works which have so
justly made the name of Jules Verne famous. We thought
it only right to include these stories in a complete edition of
Verne's works, as they assuredly reflect no discredit on him.
In them the reader may discover, may foresee, the germs of
more important works, such as Five Weeks in a Balloon,"
Captain Hatteras," and The Fur Country," which have
been so successful. They are interesting as being the only
collection of short stories ever published by Verne, and the
only one of his works which has never previously been
translated.
A story which has nothing fictitious in it, under the title
of The Fortieth French Ascent of Mont Blanc," concludes
the book. The story and the ascent were made by M. Paul
Verne, brother of M. Jules Verne. We have thought fit to







4 EDITOR'S PREFACE.

add to Jules Verne's Strange Journeys" this account of an
excursion made by his brother under most trying circum-
stances, and which ranks M. Paul Verne among our first
Alpine climbers.
From this medley results a volume of very varied elements,
strange, true, and false, which we hope may please many.











CONTENTS.

-4--


PART I.

A DRAMA IN MID-AIR. Narrating an Adventure in the
Infinite Space above the Clouds 7

PART II.

DR. Ox's HOBBY. Narrating the Adventure of Dr. Ox
in the Flemish City of Quiquendone 37

PART III.

MASTER ZACHARY. Narrating the Strange Story of the
Geneva Watchmaker 117

PART IV.

A WINTER AMONG THE ICE-FIELDS. Narrating, the Ad-
ventures of the Crew of "The Young Adventurer"
in the Polar Seas 168

PART V.

THE FORTIETH FRENCH ASCENT OF MONT BLANC.
Narrating the True Story of the Ascent of Mont
Blanc by Paul Verne, Brother of Jules Verne 256
















A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.




N September, 185-, I arrived in Frankfort-on-the-
Main. My passage through the chief cities of
Germany had been marked by a brilliant series of aeros-
tatic ascensions, but up to this time no native of the
Confederation had accompanied me in my car; and the
charming Parisian experiences of MM. Green, Eugene,
Godard, and Poitevin had been powerless to persuade
the grave Germans to dare aerial roads.
However, the news of my speedy ascent had scarcely
been announced in Frankfort, when three prominent
citizens requested permission to join me. We were to
rise two days later, from the Place de la Com6die. I
at once began to prepare my balloon. It was silk,
coated with gutta-percha, a substance impervious to
gas or acid, absolutely air and water tight; and its size
- three thousand cubic feet allowed of its rising to
the greatest heights.






8 A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.

The day for our ascent fell during the great Septem-
ber fair, which draws such crowds to Frankfort. My
gas, of prime quality and great ascensional force, had
been prepared under excellent conditions; and towards
eleven in the morning the balloon was filled, though only
three-quarters full, a necessary precaution; for, as we
rise, the atmospheric strata diminish in density; and
the fluid confined in the balloon, increasing in elasticity,
might easily burst it. I had calculated the exact
amount of gas required to raise my companions and
myself.
We were to start at noon. It was a magnificent
sight to see the impatient crowd as they pressed about
the lines, thronged the whole place, overflowed into
the neighboring streets, and hung out of every house
from basement to attic. The great gales of the few
previous days had died away. An overpowering heat
fell from a cloudless sky. Not. a breath stirred the air.
In such weather one might descend in the very spot
from which he rose.
I took three hundred pounds ballast, in bags. The
round car, four feet in diameter by three in depth, was
comfortably furnished. The net which held it stretched
symmetrically over the upper hemisphere of the balloon ;
the compass was in place, the barometer swung to the
hoop where the supporting ropes were joined, and the
anchor carefully cleared. We were ready to Start.
Among the people who pressed about the enclosure,






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


I noticed a pale and excited young man. His face
attracted me. He was often a looker-on at my ascents;
for I had already met him in several German cities.
With an uneasy air he greedily gazed at the curious
machine which hung motionless a few feet from the
ground, and spoke to no one in the crowd.
Twelve o'clock struck. It was the decisive moment.
My travelling companions were not in sight. I sent
to each one's house, and learned that one had gone to
Hamburg, one to Vienna, and the third to London.
Courage had failed them, at the last moment, to take
one of these excursions, which, thanks to the skill of
professional balloonists, are utterly free from danger.
As they were, in some sort, a part of the programme,
they feared lest they might be forced to carry it out,
and had fled the stage just as the curtain rose. Their
courage was evidently in inverse ratio to the square of
their speed in running away.
T:e crowd thus cheated showed much ill-humor. I
had no fear of going up alone. In order to balance
the specific gravity of the balloon, and the weight it
was to have carried, I replaced my companions by
sand-bags, and got into the car. The twelve men who
held the balloon by twelve ropes fixed to the equatorial
circle let them slip slightly through their fingers ; and
the balloon rose several feet. There was not a breath
of air; and the atmosphere, heavy as lead, seemed
impenetrable.







A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


All ready?" I cried.
The men made ready. A glance showed me that I
could start.
Attention! "
There was a movement in the crowd, which seemed
to enter the enclosure.
Let go! "
The balloon rose slowly; but I felt a shock which
threw me to the bottom of the car.
When I rose, I found myself face to face with an
unexpected traveller, the pale young man.
Sir, I salute you," said he with great gravity.
"' By what right ?" -
"Am I here? By the right given me by the im-
possibility of your sending me away."
I was confounded. His self-possession put me out
of countenance: I had no reply.
I stared at the intruder; but he took no notice of
my surprise.
"My weight disturbs your equilibrium, sir?" said
he. Allow me -
And, without waiting my consent, he threw out two
sand-bags.
Sir," said I, pursuing the only course left me,
"you have come, so be it. You must remain, so be it;
but the care of the balloon belongs to me alone."
"! Sir," he replied, "your courtesy is quite French.
It is a native of my own country. I morally press the






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


hand you refuse me. Take your own measures, and act
as seems good to you. I will wait till you are at
leisure -
'( Wait?"
To talk with you."
The barometer had fallen to twenty-six inches. We
were nearly six hundred feet above the city; but noth-
ing disturbed the horizontal position of the balloon,
for the mass of air in which it is enclosed moves with
it. A glassy heat bathed all objects beneath us, mak-
ing them unfortunately indistinct.
I again examined my companion.
He was a man of some thirty years of age, simply
dressed. His rudely-cut features betrayed indomita-
ble energy, and he seemed very strong. Giving him-
self up to the wonders of his silent ascent, he
remained motionless, trying to distinguish the objects
below, which were mingled in one vague whole.
"Confounded fog !" said he after a few moments'
pause.
I said nothing.
You are angry with me!" he added. Bah! I
could not pay my fare; so that I had to take you by
surprise."
Nobody asks you to leave, air."
"Well, don't you know that the very same thing
happened to Counts Laurencin and De Dampierre, when
they went up at Lyons, Jan. 15, 1784? A young






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR


merchant named Fontaine climbed into the car at the
risk of capsizing the balloon. He made the round
trip, and it killed nobody."
Reserve your explanations until we are on firm
ground again," I replied, piqued at the easy tone in
which he spoke.
"Pooh! Don't think of returning!"
Can you suppose that I shall delay descending?"
"Descending!" said he with surprise,- "de-
scending Let us think of ascending first."
And before I could prevent it two sand-bags were
thrown from the car without even being emptied.
"Sir!" I cried angrily.
I know your skill," sedately replied the stranger;
"and your fine ascents are famous. But, if experi-
ence is the sister of practice, it is at least cousin to
theory; and I have studied aerostatics thoroughly. It
has affected my brain," he added sadly, falling into a
brown study.
The balloon, having risen once more, was now sta-
tionary. The stranger consulted the barometer, and
said, -
Here we are, eight hundred feet high. Men below
look like insects. See! I verily believe they should
always be considered from this height, if we would
sanely judge their real proportions. The Place de la
Comudie has become a vast ant-hill. Look at the
crowd upon the quays and the fading Zeil. We are






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


just above the cathedral. The Main is nothing but a
white line cutting the town in twain; and that bridge
across it seems like a thread thrown from shore to
shore."
The atmosphere was growing chill.
There is nothing that I will not do for you, mine
host," said my companion. '" If you are cold, I will
take off my clothes and lend them to you."
"Thanks !" I replied dryly.
"Bah! Necessity knows no law. Give me your
hand. I am your fellow-countryman; you'll learn a
great deal from me; and my conversation will repay
you for the annoyance I've caused you."
I sat down without answering, on the opposite side
of the car. The young man drew a large book from
his coat-pocket. It was a work on aerostatics.
I own," said he, "the most curious collection of en-
gravings and caricatures on the subject of our aerial
craze. How the precious discovery has been at once
admired and scoffed at! Fortunately we no longer
live in an age when MongolfiBres try to make artificial
clouds with steam, and to produce electric gas by burn-
ing damp straw and wool."
Why decry the inventors' merit?" I replied; for I
had resigned myself to fate. Was it not grand to
prove by experience the possibility of rising through
the air?"
Well, sir, who denies the glory of the first navigat-






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


ors of the air? It required immense courage to trust
one's self to such frail wrappers containing nought but
heated air. But let me ask you, Has not aerostatic sci-
ence made a great advance since Blanchard's ascents,
nearly a century ago? Look here, sir! "
The stranger selected an engraving from his collec-
tion. Here," he said, is the first aerial voyage
undertaken by Pilatre des Rosiers and the Marquis d'Ar-
landes, four months after the discovery of the balloon.
Louis XVI. refused his consent to the voyage; and two
criminals sentenced to death were ordered to be the
first to try aerial roads. Pilatre des Rosiers was furi-
ous at this injustice, and by means of various in-
trigues succeeded in getting off. The car, which so
facilitates things, was not yet invented; and a circular
gallery ran round the lower and smaller part of the
MongolfiBre. The two aeronauts were obliged to cling
motionless to the edge of this gallery; for the damp
straw which encumbered it prevented any motion. A
chafing-dish with fire hung beneath the mouth of the
balloon. When the travellers wished to rise, they threw
straw on this brazier, at the risk of setting fire to the
machine; and the hot air gave the balloon new ascen-
sional force. The two bold navigators started Nov.
21, 1783, from the Gardens de la Muette, which the
dauphin had placed at their service. The balloon rose
majestically over Swan Island, crossed the Seine at the
BarriBre de la Conf6rence, and, taking its way between






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


the dome of the Invalides and the Military School, ap-
proached Saint Sulpice. Then the aeronauts fed the
flames, crossed the boulevard, and descended beyond
the Barriere d'Enfer. As it touched ground, the bal-
loon gave way, and buried Pilatre des Rosiers for a few
moments beneath its folds."
An evil omen," said I, much interested in these
details, which touched me nearly.
An omen of the catastrophe which afterwards cost
the unfortunate man his life," replied the stranger
sadly. "Have you never known a similar case?"
"Never."
"Pooh! Misfortunes often come without evil
omens," added my companion.
And he said no more.
Still we advanced towards the south; and Frankfort
had already fled beneath our feet.
"We may have a storm," said the young man.
"We will descend betimes," replied I..
"Bless my heart! We'd better ascend. We should
be more sure to escape it."
And two more sand-bags vanished in space.
The balloon rose rapidly, and stopped at twelve hun-
dred feet. A severe chill was felt, although the rays of
the sun, falling on the surface, dilated the gas within,
and gave it greater ascensional force.
Fear nothing," said the stranger. We have three
thousand, five hundred fathoms of respirable air. Be-
sides that, you needn't mind what I do."






16 A DRAMA IN MID-AIR1

I was about to rise; but a strong hand nailed me
to my seat.
Your name?" I asked.
My name? What's that to you?"
I ask you your name."
"My name is Erostratus, or Empedocles, as you
like."
This reply was by no means encouraging.
The stranger, besides, spoke with such singular sang-
froid, that I anxiously asked myself with whom I had
to deal.
Sir," he continued, nothing new has been discov-
ered since Dr. Charles's time. Four months after the
discovery of the balloon, that skilful man invented the
valve which permits the escape of gas when the balloon
is too full, or you wish to descend ; the car, which facil-
itates the management of the machine; the net, which
contains the outer covering of the balloon, and dis-
tributes the pressure equally; the ballast, which aids in
rising, and in making land; the gutta-percha coating,
which makes the tissue impervious; and the barometer,
which indicates the height attained. Finally, Charles
employed hydrogen, which, fourteen times lighter than
air, permits one to penetrate the highest atmospheric
strata, without exposing himself to the dangers of
aerial combustion. Dec. 1, 1783, three hundred thousand
spectators thronged about the Tuileries. Charles rose;
and the troops presented arms to him. He traversed






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


hine leagues, guiding his balloon in a way never sur-
passed by a professional balloonist. The king granted
him a pension of two thousand livres; for in those days
new inventions were encouraged."
The stranger seemed agitated and excited.
I sir," he went on, have studied; and I am con-
vinced that the early aeronauts could steer their balloons
at will. To say nothing of Blanchard, whose assertions
may be doubtful, Guyton Morveaux, with oars and rud-
der, gave his machine visible motion in a marked direc-
tion. Recently, at Paris, a watchmaker, M. Julien, has
made convincing trials at the Hippodrome; for, thanks
to a peculiar mechanism, his aerial apparatus, of oblong
shape, went directly against the wind. M. Petin united
four hydrogen balloons, and hopes, by means of hori-
zontal sails partially folded, to obtain a rupture of
equilibrium, which, bending the machine, will force it
to take an oblique course. People talk of motors meant
to overcome the resistance of the currents of air; for
example, a screw; but the screw moving in an active
medium would produce no result. .1, sir, I have dis-
covered the only way to steer a balloon; and not a
scientific body has come to my aid, not a town has filled
up my subscription-list, not a government has listened
to me. It is infamous!"
The stranger gesticulated violently, and the car swayed
wildly to and fro. I could with difficulty quiet him.
The balloon now came into a swifter current; and we
2*






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


advanced southwards, fifteen hundred feet above the
ground.
"There's* Darmstadt! said my companion, leaning
over the edge of the car. "Do you see the castle? Not
very distinct, is it? What can you expect? This heat
makes things swim before us; and it takes a well-
trained eye to recognize a place."
"You are sure that that is Darmstadt?" I asked.
"Perfectly ; and we are six leagues away from Frank-
fort."
"Then we must descend."
"Descend? You wouldn't descend on the house-
tops, would you?" sneered the stranger.
No, but in the environs."
Well. Let's get out of the way of the house-
tops !"
So saying, my comrade seized the sand-bags. I threw
myself upon him; but with one hand he threw me to the
floor, and the lightened balloon reached the height of
two thousand feet.
"Be calm," said he, "and remember that Brioschi,
Biot, Gay Lussac, Bixio, and Barral reached far greater
heights in the cause of science."
Sir, we must descend," I replied, trying to win him
by gentleness. "The storm is gathering round us. It
would not be prudent "-
Pooh, pooh! We will rise above it, and no longer
fear it," cried my companion. "What could be grander





A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


than to float above the clouds that are bruising the
earth! Is it not an honor thus to navigate aerial seas?
The most aristocratic people have travelled as we are
travelling. The Marchioness and Countess of Monta-
lembert, Countess de Podenas, Mademoiselle la Garde,
and the Marquis de Montalembert, started from the Fau-
bourg St. Antoine for these unknown shores; and the
Duke de Chartres displayed great address and presence
of mind in his ascent of July 15, 1784. At Lyons,
Counts de Laurencin and de Dampierre; at Nancy, M.
de Luynes; at Bordeaux, D'Arbalet des Granges; in
Italy, Chevalier Andriani; and in our own days the
Duke of Brunswick, have left the traces of their glory
in the air. To equal these great personages, we must
penetrate even higher into the celestial depths than they.
To approach the infinite is to understand it."
The rarefaction of the air considerably dilated the
hydrogen in the balloon; and I saw the lower part, left
open purposely, swell so much as to necessitate the
opening of the valve; but my companion seemed un-
willing to let me manage it as I wished. I therefore
resolved to draw the valve-cord secretly, while he
talked with great animation; for I feared to guess with
whom I had to deal. It would have been too terrible.
It was nearly quarter of one. We left Frankfort forty
minutes since; and thick clouds were scudding towards
us from the south, straight against the wind.
"Have you lost all hope of seeing your invention






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


triumph?" I asked him with very interested in-
terest.
"All hope," replied the stranger sullenly. "Wound-
ed by rebuffs, caricature, that ass's kick, has killed me.
It is an ever fresh torture reserved for innovators. See
these caricatures of all ages, which fill my portfolio !"
While my companion was turning over his papers,
I seized the valve-cord, without attracting his atten-
tion. I feared, however, lest he should notice the
whistling sound made by the escaping gas.
How many jests at Abbe Miolan said he. "He
was to go up with Janninet and Bredin. While they
were preparing, the Mongolfiere took fire, and the ig-
norant rabble tore it to tatters. Then this caricature
of curious animals called them Miaulant,* Jean
Minet,* and Gredin."t
I pulled the valve-cord, and the barometer began to
rise. It was time. Distant thunder was heard in the
south.
See this other picture," resumed the stranger,
without suspecting my manoeuvre. '' It is an immense
balloon, uniting in itself a ship, a fortress, a house, &c.
Caricaturists scarcely think their nonsense will one day
become true. This great vessel is complete; on the
left, the helm and the pilot's house; at the prow, pleas-
ure-houses, a vast portcullis, and cannon to attract
the attention of the inhabitants of the earth or the


* Equivalent to puss.


t Bow-wow.





A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


moon; at the stern, the observatory and balloon
launch; in the middle, the soldiers' quarters; to the
left, the ship's light; then upper galleries for walking;
the sails and pinions; above all, the cafes and general
provision shops. Admire this magnificent announce-
ment: 'Invented for the good of humanity. This
sphere starts immediately for the Levant; on its return,
will leave for the two poles and the farthest ends of the
earth. Passengers need have no fears. Every precau-
tion will be taken, the trip will be successful. There
will be an exact tariff of prices; but the rate will be
alike for the nearest or most remote point; that is to
say, a thousand louis for any of these excursions.
And we may say that the sum is very moderate, when
we consider the speed, the convenience, and the pleas-
ure to be enjoyed in this balloon, pleasures not to be
found below, for every one will find all he has ever im-
agined. This is so true, that in the same spot some
will be dancing, and others at rest; some will be feast-
ing, others fasting; the wise will find sages to con-
verse with; the fools will find fools. So pleasure will
be the soul of aerial society.' All this made people
laugh. But very shortly, if my days were not num-
bered, they should see that these airy projects were
realities."
We were descending visibly. He did not notice it.
"Then see this sort of balloon-game," he went on,
showing me several of the engravings from his large






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


collection. This game contains the whole history
of aerostatics. It is for the use of lofty spirits, and
is played with dice and counters of a fixed value, to be
won or lost, as the case may be."
But," I replied, you seem to have made a pro-
found study of the science of aerostatics."
Yes, sir; yes. From Phaeton, from Icarus, from
Architas, down, I have searched, examined, and
studied them all. Through me, aerostatic art would
render great services to the world, if God granted me
life. But it is not to be."
"Why ?"
Because my name is Empedocles or Erostratus."
Fortunately the balloon was still descending; but,
when you are to fall, the danger is as great at a hun-
dred feet as five thousand feet.
Do you remember the battle of Fleurus ?" resumed
my companion, who was growing more and more ex-
cited. 'Twas at that battle that Coutelle formed a
company of balloonists, by order from the govern-
ment. At the siege of Maubeuge, Gen. Jourdan so
profited by this new style of observation, that Cou-
telle went up twice a day with the general himself.
Signals passed between the balloonist and his men
below, by means of small red, white, and yellow flags.
Rifles and cannon were -often fired at them while as-
cending; but in vain. When Jourdan prepared to
invest Charleroi, Coutelle hastened to the neighbor-





A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


hood, rose from the plain of Jumetz, and remained
in the air seven or eight hours, with Gen. Morlot;
which doubtless contributed to win the battle of
Fleurus for us. And, in fact, Gen. Jourdan loudly
proclaimed the great benefit he had derived from these
aerostatic observations. But spite of the services
rendered at this time, and throughout the Belgian
campaign, the year which saw the dawn of the mili-
tary career of the balloon also saw its close. And .
the school at Meudon, founded by the government,
was closed by Bonaparte on his return from Egypt.
'And yet,' says Franklin, what can you expect from
.a new-born babe?' The child was born alive: it must
not be strangled."
The stranger buried his face in his hands, lost in
thought for some moments. Then, without raising his
head, he said, "In spite of my prohibition, sir, you
have opened the valve."
I dropped the cord.
"Fortunately," he added, we have three hundred
pounds' weight of ballast left."
What are your plans ?" said I.
"You have never crossed the sea?" he asked.
It's a pity," he continued, that the wind drives us
towards the Adriatic. It's a mere brook. But high-
er up we may find other currents."
And, without glancing at me, he lightened the bal-
loon by several sand-bags. Then, in a tone of men-






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


ace, he said, "I let you open the valve, because the
expanding gas threatened to burst the balloon. But
do not make another attempt." And he went on, as
follows: -
"You know the journey from Dover to Calais, made
by Blanchard and Jefferies? It was superb. The
7th of January, 1785, with a north-west wind, their
balloon was filled with gas on the Dover side. They
'had hardly risen, when a mistake in the poise forced
them to throw out their ballast, lest they should fall,
retaining only thirty pounds. It was too little; for,
the wind growing no fresher, they advanced, but very
slowly, towards the French coast. Besides, their tissue
being permeable, the balloon began to contract; and
at the end of an hour and a half the travellers per-
ceived that they were descending.
'What shall we do?' said Jefferies.
"' We are only three-quarters of the way across,'
said Blanchard, 'and at a slight elevation. By ris-
ing, we may encounter more favorable winds.'
'Let us throw out the rest of the sand.'
"The balloon gained slightly in ascensional power,
and soon fell again. The aeronauts then threw out
their books and instruments. Quarter of an hour
later, Blanchard said to Jefferies, -
"' The barometer?'
"' Is rising. We are lost, and with the French coast
in sight !'
*






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR. 25

"A loud noise was heard.
The balloon is torn !' said Jefferies.
No: the loss of gas has swollen the lower part of
the balloon. But we are still falling. We are lost !
Overboard with every thing 1'
Their provisions, their oars, and rudder, were cast
into the sea. They were not more than a hundred feet
above the surface.
"' We are rising,' said the doctor.
"'No: it is the rebound caused by the lessened
weight; and not a ship in sight, not a sail on the
horizon Into the sea with our clothes!'
The unhappy men stripped; but the balloon still
fell.
Blanchard,' said Jefferies, you shall cross alone:
you were persuaded to take me. I will sacrifice my-
self. I will throw myself into the water, and the
appeased balloon will rise.'
"'No, no! How fearful!'
The balloon contracted more and more ; and its con-
cavity, parachute-like, pressed the gas against the
walls, and forced it out.
Farewell, my friend!' said the doctor. Heaven
preserve you!'
He was about to fling himself over, when Blanchard
held him back.
"' There is still one resource,' he said: 'we can
cut the ropes that hold the car, and cling to the net.






A ,.RAMA IN MID-AIR.


Perhaps the balloon may rise. Let us prepare. But
stay the barometer falls; we rise; the wind in-
creases We are saved I'
The travellers were now in sight of Calais. Their
joy knew no bounds. A few moments later they
descended in the forest of Guines.
I have no doubt," added the stranger, "that, under
similar circumstances, you would follow the example of
Dr. Jefferies."
The clouds rolled below us in glaring masses. The
balloon threw great patches of shade upon the dark
storm-caps, and seemed wrapped in an aureole. The
thunder roared beneath the car. It was frightful.
"Let us descend I cried.
"Descend, when the sun is waiting for us above!
Down with the sand-bags! "
And the weight of the balloon was lessened by more
than fifty pounds.
At the height of three thousand five hundred feet we
remained stationary. The stranger talked incessantly.
I was completely prostrated, while he seemed to be in
his element.
"With a good wind we may go far," he cried.
"In the Antilles, there are currents of air which travel
at th'e rate of a hundred leagues an hour. At the
coronation of Napoleon, Garnerin let loose a balloon
illuminated with colored lights, at eleven in the even-
ing. The wind was north-north-east. The next day,






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


at dawn, the inhabitants of Rome saluted it as it passed
over St. Peter's dome. We must go farther and
higher."
I could scarcely hear. Every thing swam before me.
There was an opening in the clouds.
'"You see that city," said the stranger. "It is
Spires "
I leaned over the car, and saw a small black spot.
That was Spires. The broad Rhine, like a ribbon,
unrolled before us. Above our heads the sky was
deep blue. The birds had long since left us; for here
the rarity of the air was such that they could not have
flown an inch. We were alone in space: I was alone
with the stranger.
It is useless for me to tell you where I design taking
you," said he, throwing over the compass. Ah,
what a fine thing a fall is You know but few have
fallen victims to aerostation, from Pilitre des Rosiers
to Lieut. Gale; and such mishaps are always due to
carelessness. Pilatre des Rosiers left Boulogne with
Remain, June 13, 1785. He suspended to his gas
balloon a hot-air Mongolfibre, doubtless to obviate the
necessity of losing gas, or throwing out ballast. It was
like putting a foot-stove under a powder-magazine.
The imprudent pair reached the height of four hundred
feet, and were seized by contrary winds, which carried
them to the open sea. Pilatre tried to descend by
opening the safety-valve; but the cord was tangled in






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


the balloon, and tore it so badly, that it was empty in an
instant. It fell upon the Mongolfiere, whirled it away,
dragging with it the wretched couple, who were dashed
to pieces in a few moments. Terrible, wasn't it ?"
For Heaven's sake, let us descend! "
The clouds thickened round us; and frightful peals
of thunder, echoed back by the balloon, roared about
us.
You annoy me," cried the stranger, "and in fu-
ture you shall not know.whether we are rising or fall-
ing."
And the barometer joined the compass with a few
more sand-bags. We must have been five thousand
feet above the earth., A few icicles already hung to
the sides of the car, and a sort of fine snow chilled me
to the bone. Meanwhile a frightful storm raged at our
feet, though we were high above its reach.
"Don't be frightened," said the stranger. "Only
imprudent people meet with accidents. Olivari, who
perished at Orleans, went up in a paper MongolfiBre.
His car hung below the furnace, and, ballasted with
combustible matter, fell a prey to the flames: Olivari
fell, and was killed. Bittorf, at Mannheim, saw his
paper balloon take fire in mid-air : Bittorf fell, and was
killed. Mosment went up at Lille, on a slight plat-
form; a shock made him lose his balance: Mosment
fell, and was killed. Harris went up in an ill-built bal-
loon, whose valve was too big to be shut: Harris fell,






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


and was killed. Sadler staid up so long, that his bal-
last was exhausted; he was dragged over the city of
Boston, and dashed against the chimneys: Sadler fell,
and was killed. Coking descended with a parachute
he thought perfect: Coking fell, and was killed. I
adore these victims of imprudence; and I will die as
they did. Higher! higher! "
Every ghost of this fatal list passed before me. The
rarefaction of the air increased the expansion of the
gas, and the balloon still rose. I made an involuntary
effort to open the valve; and the stranger cut the cord
some feet above my head. I was lost.
Did you see Madame Blanchard fall? said he. I
saw her, I did Yes, I did I was at Tivoli July 6,
1819. Madame Blanchard went up in a small balloon to
save expense in filling it; and she was obliged to fill it
to the utmost extent, so that the gas escaped from be-
low, leaving a perfect trail of hydrogen as it passed.
She had with her, suspended from the car by a wire,
some fireworks, which she was to let off. She had often
performed the feat. On this occasion she also carried
a small parachute weighted by a firework, which was to
fall in silver rain. She was to drop this after lighting
it with a torch prepared expressly. She started. The
night was dark. Just as she lighted the fireworks, she
carelessly passed her torch through the column of hy-
drogen which hung about the balloon. My eyes were
riveted upon her. All at once a strange flash illumined
3*






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


the darkness. I thought it was some surprise given
by the skilful balloonist. The flame increased, disap-
peared suddenly, and re-appeared above the balloon in
the shape of an immense jet of burning gas. The
fatal glare made the boulevard and the whole Quartier
Montmartre as light as day. Then I saw the wretch
rise, twice try to close the valve, and put out the fire,
then seat herself in the car, and try to guide it in its de-
scent; for she did not fall. The gas burnt on for some
moments. The balloon, shrinking fast, descended; but
it was not a fall. The wind blew from the north-west, and
bore her towards Paris. The house, number 16, Rue de
Provence, at that time had very large gardens. There
she might fall without danger. But destiny willed it
otherwise. The balloon and car fell upon the roof of
the house, The shock was slight. Help !' cried the
unfortunate woman. I reached the street at that mo-
ment. The car slipped from the roof, and struck an
iron bar. By this shock Madame Blanchard was thrown
from her car, and dashed upon the sidewalk. Madame
Blanchard was killed."
These stories froze my blood with horror. The
stranger stood erect, bare-headed, with dishevelled hair
and haggard eyes.
I could no longer deceive myself. At last I saw the
horrid truth. I was alone with a madman !
He threw out the -rest of the ballast, and we must
have been carried up to the height of at least nine thou-






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


sand feet. The blood gushed from my mouth and
nose.
What can be more glorious than to die a martyr
to science? cried the maniac. They are canonized
by posterity."
But I heard no more. The madman gazed around,
knelt, and whispered in my ear, -
And Zambecarri's fate, have you forgotten that?
Listen! Oct. 7, 1804, the weather seemed to clear
slightly. For several days the wind and rain had not
ceased; but Zambecarri's announced ascent could not
be postponed. His enemies were jeering at him al-
ready. He must go to save science and himself from
public scorn. It was at Bologna. No one aided him
in filling his balloon.
At midnight he started, accompanied by Andreoli
and Grossetti. The balloon rose slowly; for the rain
had penetrated it, and the gas was escaping. The
three bold voyagers could only observe the state of the
barometer by the light of a dark-lantern. Zambecarri
had eaten nothing for twenty-four hours. Grossetti
was also fasting.
My friends,' said Zambecarri, I am freezing; I
am exhausted; I am dying.'
He fell lifeless to the bottom of the car: so did
Grossetti. Andreoli alone remained conscious. After
repeated efforts, he succeeded in rousing Zambecarri
from his stupor.






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


"'What has happened? Where are we going?
Which way is the wind? What time is it?'
'It is two o'clock.'
'Where is the compass?'
"' Out of order.'
Great Heavens! The lantern has gone out.'
'It cannot burn in this rarefied air,' said Zambe-
carni.
The moon had not risen, and the atmosphere was
filled with horrid darkness.
'I am cold, I am cold, Andreoli! What shall
we do?'
The unhappy men descended slowly through a bed
of whitish clouds.
'Hush!' said Andreoli. Do you hear?'
'What?' answered Zambecarri.
'A strange noise.'
'You are wrong.'
"'No!'
Can you imagine these travellers in the middle of the
night, listening to this strange sound? Are they to be
dashed against a rock? Are they to be beaten against
the house-tops?
'Do you hear? I should call it the noise of the
sea.'
"'Impossible!'
It is the roar of waves.'
'Too true.'






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


Light, light!'
After five vain attempts, Andreoli obtained one. It
was three o'clock. The noise of the waves grew more
violent. They almost touched the surface of the sea.
We are lost !' cried Zambecarri; and he seized a
large bag of ballast.
Help!' cried Andreoli.
The car touched the water, and the waves covered
them to the breast.
"' Into the sea with instruments, clothes, and
money!'
The aeronauts stripped to the skin. The lightened
balloon rose with frightful rapidity. Zambecarri was
seized with a fit of vomiting. Grossetti bled copiously.
The unhappy men could not speak, their breath was so
short. They were shivering with cold; and in an
instant they were covered with a coating of ice. The
moon seemed red as blood to them.
After having traversed these upper regions for half
an hour, the machine fell back into the sea. It was
four o'clock in the morning. The shipwrecked men
were half immersed in water; and the balloon, sail-like,
dragged them for hours.
At day-dawn they found themselves near Pesaro,
four miles from the coast. They were about to land,
when a breeze carried them out to sea.
They were lost. Terrified sloops fled at their
approach. Fortunately a better-taught sailor drew






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


near, took them on board, and they were landed at
Ferrada.
"A fearful voyage, wasn't it? But Zambecarri
was a brave and energetic man. Hardly recovered
from his sufferings, he recommended his ascents.
During one of them, he struck against a tree; his
spirit-lamp was upset upon his clothes; he was covered
with flames; and his machine was beginning to burn,
when he reached the ground half roasted alive.
"Finally, the 21st of September, 1812, he made
another ascent at Bologna. His balloon caught in a
tree, and his lamp again set fire to it. Zambecarri
fell, and was killed.
And, in presence of these facts, shall we hesitate?
No The higher we go, the more glorious will be our
death."
Every thing possible thrown over, we were carried to
inappreciable heights. The balloon swayed to and
fro. The least noise was echoed through the celestial
vaults. Our globe, the only object which struck my
eye throughout immensity, seemed about to be
crushed; and beneath us the starry sky was lost in
vast shadow.
I saw the stranger rise before me.
The hour is at hand," he said. "We must die;
we are rejected of men; they despise us. Let us
destroy them!"
Mercy I implored.






A DRAMA IN MID-AIR.


Cut those cords. Let us set this car loose in space.
The force of attraction will change its direction, and
we shall land in the sun."
Despair gave me strength. I threw myself upon the
madman; we locked arms, and a fearful struggle en-
sued; but I was thrown down, and, holding me with
one knee, the madman cut the cords which held the
car.
"One!" he cried.
"O God!"
"Two! Three!"
I made a superhuman effort. I rose, and repulsed the
madman violently.
The car fell; but instinctively I clung to the cords,
and hoisted myself into the net.
The madman had disappeared in space.
The balloon rose to incommensurable heights. A
horrid crack was heard. The gas, expanded to too
high a point, had burst its covering. I closed my eyes.
A few moments after, a damp warmth revived me. I
was in the midst of fiery clouds. The balloon whirled
on with fearful, giddy speed. Taken by the wind, it
made a hundred leagues an hour in its horizontal
course, and the lightning flashed around it.
However, my fall was not very rapid. When I again
opened my eyes, I saw the green country. I was two
miles away from the sea; and the whirlwind was hurry-
ing me on towards it, when a sudden shock caused me







86 A DRAMA IN MID-AIR,

to let go my hold. My hands opened, a rope slid
quickly through my fingers, and I was on the ground.
It was the anchor cable, which, sweeping along the
surface, had caught on a projecting rock; and my bal-
loon, relieved of its weight for the last time, was lost
beyond the sea.
When I recovered consciousness, I was in bed in a
peasant's hut in Harderwick, a small village of Gelder-
land, fifteen leagues from Amsterdam, on the shores of
the Zuyder-Zee.
A miracle had saved my life; but my voyage had
been one series of imprudences, committed by a mad-
man, against which I could not guard.
May this terrible tale, while instructing those who
read, never serve to dishearten the explorers of aerial
paths.













































"It was a pitched battle. Dr. Ox and his assistant, beaten and bruised, were being
dragged to jail." Page 112.













DR. OX'S HOBBY.





I.

HOW USELESS IT IS TO SEEK THE LITTLE TOWN OF
QUIQUENDONE, EVEN ON THE VERY BEST MAPS!

F you look for the little town of Quiquendone, on a
map of Flanders, ancient or modern, you will prob-
ably be unable to find it. Is Quiquendone a buried
city? No. A city of the future? Not much. It
exists in spite of the geographies, and has existed for
eight or nine hundred years. It can even reckon two
thousand three hundred and ninety-three souls, count-
ing one soul to each inhabitant. It lies thirteen miles
and a half to the north-west of Audenarde, and fifteen
miles and a quarter to the south-east of Brussels, in the
middle of Flanders. The Vaar, a small tributary of
the Scheldt, passes below its three bridges, still covered
with green roofs built in the middle ages, like those at
Tournay. There you may admire an old castle, whose






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


first stone was laid in 1197, by Count Baldwin, future
emperor of Constantinople, and a guildhall with oriel
windows, battlements, and belfry rising three hundred
and fifty-seven feet above the street. Every hour may
be heard a chime of five octaves, a veritable aerial
piano, whose fame far surpasses that of the celebrated
chimes in Brussels. Strangers, if any ever pass
through Quiquendone, will not leave the quaint town
without a visit to the stadtholders' hall, adorned with
a full-length portrait of William of Nassau, by Bran-
don; the roodloft of St. Magloire, a masterpiece of
sixteenth-century architecture; the well of wrought
iron, sunk in the midst of the great Place St. Ernuph,
whose rare workmanship is due to the artist black-
smith, Quentin Matsys; the tomb raised in ancient
times to the memory of Mary of Burgundy, daughter
of Charles the Bold, who now sleeps in the Church of
Notre Dame in Brussels, &c. Finally, the chief man-
ufacturing interest of Quiquendone is the'making of
whipped creams and barley-sugar on a large scale. It
has been handed down from father to son for several
centuries by the Van Tricasse family. And why does
not Quiquendone figure on the maps of Flanders?
Was it forgotten by the geographers? or was the omis-
sion intentional? I cannot say; but Quiquendone
certainly exists, with its narrow streets, fortified walls,
Spanish houses, its hall, and its burgomaster, so
much so, that it has recently been the scene of surpris-






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


ing phenomena, as extraordinary and incredible as
they are true, and which shall be faithfully reported in
the present account.
No one can speak or think ill of the natives of West-
ern Flanders. They are good, steady, saving, social,
even-tempered, and hospitable people, perhaps a little
heavy in conversation; but that is no reason why one
of the most interesting towns in their territory should
not appear on any modern map.
The omission is much to be regretted. If history,
or, in default of history, ancient chronicles, or, in de-
fault of chronicles, tradition, made mention of Quiquen-
done but no : neither atlas, hand-book, nor guide, say
one word concerning it. M. Joanne himself, that per-
sistent hunter-up of old towns, is silent. You can
imagine how injurious such oblivion might be to the
commerce and industry of the town. But we hasten to
add'that Quiquendone has neither commerce nor in-
dustry; and that she does without them the best way
in the world. Her barley-spgar and whipped creams
are consumed at home, and never exported. Nor do
the Quiquendonians need any aid. Their desires are
limited, their style of living modest. They are calm,
moderate, cold, phlegmatic; in a word, such Dutch,"
as you sometimes find between the Scheldt and the
North Sea.







DR. OX'B HOBBY.


II.

HOW BURGOMASTER VAN TRICASSE AND LAWYER NI-
KLAUSSE CONSULTED CONCERNING TOWN-AFFAIRS.

".You think so?" asked the burgomaster.
"I think so," replied the lawyer, after a few mo-
ments' pause.
We must not act lightly," added the burgomaster.
It's now ten years that we have discussed this im-
portant matter," answered Lawyer Niklausse; and I
must own, my worthy Van Tricasse, that I cannot yet
take it upon myself to decide."
I understand your hesitation," said the burgomas-
ter, after a good fifteen minutes' reflection,--' I under-
stand your hesitation, and I share in it. It would be
wiser not to decide without a more careful examination
of the question."
It is certain," replied Niklausse, that this office
of commissary-civil is perfectly useless in so peaceful
a town as Quiquendone." .
"Our predecessor," said Van Tricasse gravely,-
"our predecessor never said, never dared to say, a
thing was certain. Every affirmative is subject to
disagreeable conditions."
The lawyer nodded in assent, and was silent for
more than half ah hour. After this lapse of time,
during which neither lawyer nor burgomaster stirred a
finger, Niklausse asked Van Tricasse if his predeces-





DR. OX'S HOBBY. 41

sor some twenty years before had not also
thought of abolishing the office of commissary-civil,
which bled the town of Quiquendone every year of
thirteen hundred and seventy-five francs.
Truly," replied the burgomaster, raising his hand
to his clear brow iith quiet dignity, truly; but the
worthy man died before he dared decide on this sub-
ject, or on any other administrative measure. He
was a wise man. Why am I not more like him?"
Lawyer Niklausse was incapable of imagining any
contradiction to the burgomaster's question.
The man who dies without ever having decided a
single question," quoth Van Tricasse gravely, is
very near the perfection of this world."
So saying, the burgomaster pressed a muffled bell
which uttered a sigh, rather than a sound. Almost in-
stantly, light steps glided gently over the stairs. A
mouse would have made more noise in trotting over a
velvet carpet. The door turned on its well-oiled
hinges: a fair-haired girl with long braids entered.
It was Suzel Van Tricasse, the burgomaster's only
daughter. She gave her father his well-filled pipe,
and a small copper brazier, without a word, and disap-
peared as silently as she had entered.
The honorable burgomaster lighted his vast bowl,
and was soon lost in a blue cloud of smoke, leaving
Lawyer Niklausse deep in thought.
The room in which these two worthy men, charged






42 DR. OX'S HOBBY.

with the affairs of Quiquendone, were talking thus, was
a parlor richly ornamented with carvings in dark wood.
A high chimney-piece, an immense hearth, on which one
could have burnt an oak or roasted an ox, filled up one
side of the room; and opposite it was a lattice-win-
dow, through whose painted panes the sunbeams sifted
softly. In an ancient frame over the fire hung the
portrait of some good fellow, attributed to Hemling,
probably an ancestor of the Van Tricasses, who could
trace their family back to the fourteenth century, when
the Dutch and Guy de Dampierre were fighting against
the Emperor Rudolph of Hapsburg.
This parlor was part of the burgomaster's house, one
of the most pleasant in Quiquendone. Built in Dutch
taste, and with all the quaintness, caprice, and pictur-
esqueness of the pointed style of architecture, it was
considered one of the most curious relics of antiquity
in the city. A Chartreuse convent, or a school for deaf-
mutes, could not have been more silent than this estab-
lishment. Noise had no existence there: no one
walked, he glided; no one spoke, he murmured. And
yet there were women in the house; for, not counting
the burgomaster, it held his wife, Madame Brigitta Van
Tricasse, his daughter, Suzel Van Tricasse, and his
servant-maid, LotchU Janshen. We must also mention
the burgomaster's sister, Aunt Hermance, a spinster
still answering to the name of Aunty Nemance, given
her by her niece Suzel, when a child. But spite of all





DR. OX'S HOBBY.


these noisy, gossiping, discordant elements, the burgo-
master's house was silent as the desert.
The burgomaster was a man of fifty years, neither
stout nor thin, neither tall nor short, neither old nor
young, neither florid nor pale, neither gay nor sad,
neither contented nor forlorn, neither active nor lazy,
neither proud nor humble, neither good nor bad,
neither generous nor avaricious, neither brave nor
cowardly, neither too much nor too little, ne quid
nimis, a man moderate in all things; but by the in-
variable sloth of his movements, by his hanging lower
lip, stiffly-lifted upper lid, his forehead smooth as a
copper plate, and his slightly prominent muscles, a
physiognomist would easily have recognized in Van
Tricasse, phlegm personified. Never had rage or any
passion, never had any emotion, quickened the beat-
ing of this man's heart, or caused his face to flush;
never had his pupils contracted under the influence of
any irritation, howsoever fleeting. He was invariably
clad in good clothes, neither too large nor too small,
which never seemed to wear shabby. On his feet were
large square-toed shoes, with triple soles and silver
buckles, which wore so well as to drive his shoemaker
frantic. On his head was a large hat, of a style dating
from the separation of Flanders and Holland, which
made the venerable headpiece forty years old. But
what would you have? Passion wears out the body as
well as the soul, the clothes as well as the body; and






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


our worthy burgomaster, apathetic, indolent, and in-
different, was impassioned in nothing. He did not
work, and did not rust; for which very reason he
proved himself the fitting man to administer justice to
the city of Quiquendone and its tranquil citizens.
Nor was the burgomaster's house more silent than
the city itself. In this peaceful home the burgomaster
hoped to reach the most distant limits of human ex-
istence, after seeing good Madame Brigitta Van Tri-
casse his wife, laid snugly away in the grave, where
she could never find profounder rest than she had en-
joyed on earth for sixty years.
This deserves an explanation.
The Van Tricasse family might rightfully be called
the Jeannot family. For this reason: -
Every one knows that this typical being's knife is as
famous as its owner, and no less durable, thanks to
that incessantly-renewed and double operation, consist-
ing of replacing the handle when worn out, and the
blade when good for nothing. Such was the identical
operation practised for time immemorial in the Van
Tricasse family, to which Nature had lent her aid with
rather strange complacency. Since 1340, a widowed
Van Tricasse had married another of the name, younger
than he, who, in her turn a widow, consoled herself
with a junior Van Tricasse, who, left a widower, did
the same; and so on, without end of continuity. Each
one died in turn with mechanical regularity. Now,






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


worthy Madame Brigitta Van Tricasse was at present
enjoying her second husband, and, unless she failed in
all her duty, must precede her husband (ten years her
junior) into another world, making place for a new
Madame Van Tricasse; on which the honorable burgo-
master fully reckoned, that the family tradition might
not be broken.
Such was this peaceful and silent house, whose doors
never creaked, whose windows never rattled, whose
floors never cracked, whose chimneys never roared,
whose vanes never squeaked, whose furniture never
creaked, whose locks never clacked, and whose guests
made no more noise than ghosts. The God Harpo-
crates had certainly chosen it as his temple of silence.




HI.

HOW COMMISSARY PASSAUF MADE AN ENTRY AS NOISY
AS IT WAS UNEXPECTED.

IT was quarter of three when the interesting con-
versation above recorded began between the lawyer
and the burgomaster; it was quarter of four when Van
Tricasse lighted his huge pipe, which held quarter of a
pound of tobacco; and it was not till half-past five that
he finished smoking it.
During all this time the two parties never exchanged






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


a word. About six o'clock the lawyer took up the
thread as follows: -
"Then we will decide" -
To decide nothing," replied the burgomaster.
"I think, on the whole, you are right, Van Tricasse."
I think so too, Niklausse. We will make up our
minds about the commissary-civil when we are better
informed, later: we are not limited to a month."
No, nor to a year," said Niklausse, unfolding his
handkerchief, which he used with the utmost discre-
tion.
A fresh silence, which lasted a good hour, ensued.
Nothing troubled this new halt in the conversation, not
even the appearance of the house-dog, honest Lento,
who, no less phlegmatic than his master, made a polite
tour of the parlor. Worthy dog a model for all his
race. He might have been made of pasteboard, with
wheels at his feet, and made no less noise.
Towards eight o'clock, Lotch6 having brought in the
dim old lamp, the burgomaster said to the lawyer, -
"We have no other important business to settle,
Niklausse?"
No, Van Tricasse; none that I know of."
"But did I not hear," asked the burgomaster,
" that the tower at Audenarde Gate was in a danger-
ous state?"
You did indeed," replied the lawyer; and, to tell
the truth, I should not be surprised, if, some day or
other, it fell and crushed some one."





DR. OX'S HOBBY.


Oh! replied the burgomaster. Before such a
misfortune happens, I trust we shall have come to
some decision respecting the tower."
I trust so, Van Tricasse."
There are more urgent questions to be considered."
Doubtless," said the lawyer; the question of the
Shoe and Leather Dealers' Exchange, for instance."
"Is it still burning? asked the burgomaster.
Still burning, and has been for three weeks."
Did not we decide in council to let it burn?"
Yes, Van Tricasse, and that by your advice."
Was it not the safest and simplest way of getting
satisfaction for the fire?"
Undoubtedly."
"Well, let me see. Is that all? "
That is all," replied the lawyer, scratching his ear,
as if to assure himself that he had not forgotten any
thing important.
"By the by," said the burgomaster, "have you
heard that a flood threatened to overflow the lower
Quarter de St. Jacques?"
To be sure said the lawyer. "What a shame
that the flood did not occur above the Shoe and Leather
Dealers' Exchange It would have fought the flames,
and spared us the trouble of discussion."
What can you expect, Niklausse," replied the
worthy burgomaster: there are no such unreasonable
things as accidents. They have nothing in common;





DR. OX'S HOBBY.


and we cannot profit by one to diminish another, as we
would."
This fine remark from Van Tricasse required some
digestion by his friend and fellow-councillor.
"Well," added Lawyer Niklausse a few moments
later; but we have never even mentioned the most
important thing."
"What important thing? Is there any thing im-
portant ?" asked the burgomaster.
Of course; about lighting the streets."
Oh, yes said the burgomaster. If my memory
serves me rightly, you mean Dr. Ox's scheme for light-
ing the streets?"
Exactly."
Well?"
"It is progressing finely, Niklausse," said the bur-
gomaster. "They are laying the pipes; and the works
are being built."
Perhaps we've been a little hasty in this matter,"
said the lawyer, shaking his head.
Perhaps," said the burgomaster; but our excuse
is, that Dr. Ox pays all the expenses of his experiment.
It will not cost us a penny."
"That is, indeed, our excuse. Then we must
travel with our age. If the experiment succeeds,
Quiquendone will be the first city in Flanders ever
lighted with oxy what do you call it gas ?"
Oxyhydrogen gas."





DR. OX'S HOBBY.


Hurrah for the oxyhydrogen gas!"
Just then the door opened; and Lotch announced
that the burgomaster's supper was ready.
Lawyer Niklausse rose to take leave of Van Tricasse,
to whom so many decisions arrived at, and affairs dis-
cussed, had given quite an appetite. It was then de-
cided that a meeting of prominent citizens should be
held, to consider whether they should decide provision-
ally on the really urgent question of Audenarde Tower.
The two worthy officials then turned toward the
street-door, one showing the other out. The lawyer,
having reached the last step, lighted a small lantern,
which was to guide him through the dark streets of
Quiquendone, not yet illumined by Dr. Ox's gas.
The night was black; it was October; and a slight
fog overhung the town.
Lawyer Niklausse's preparations for departure con-
sumed a good half-hour; for, after lighting his lantern,
he had to put on his great cowhide clogs and his thick
sheepskin gloves; then he turned up his fur collar,
pulled his hat over his eyes, grasped his heavy hook-
handled umbrella, and prepared to start.
Just as Lotche, who was holding the light for her
master, was about to draw the bolts, an unexpected
noise was heard without.
Yes, incredible as it may appear, a real noise, such
as the city had not heard since the taking of the don-
jon by the Spanish, in 1513, a frightful noise, waked





DR. OX'S HOBBY.


the sleeping echoes of the old Van Tricasse mansion.
Some one was pounding on that door, hitherto virgin to
every brutal touch. Some one struck redoubled blows
with a blunt instrument, which must have been a knot-
ty stick, wielded by a sturdy hand. With the blows
were mingled cries and calls. These words were dis-
tinctly heard, -
"Monsieur Van Tricasse! Monsieur burgomaster!
Open, open quickly "
The burgomaster and the lawyer, quite confounded,
gazed at each other without a word. This surpassed
their wildest dream. The old castle culverin, which
had not been used since 1385, might have been fired
in the parlor without flooring" the dwellers in the
Van Tricasse mansion more completely. Excuse the
phrase for its suitability to the occasion.
Meanwhile the blows, the cries, the calls, increased.
LotchU, recovering herself, ventured to speak.
SWho's there ?" she asked.
"It's I! It's I!"
"Who are you?"
Commissary Passauf."
Commissary Passauf! The very man whose office
they had for ten years tried to suppress. What was
the matter ? Had the Burgundians invaded Quiquen-
done, as they did in the fourteenth century? No less
important an event could have so moved Commissary
Passauf, who would not yield a point in calmness and
phlegm to the burgomaster himself.






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


At a sign from Van Tricasse, for the good man
could not speak, the bolt was withdrawn, and the
door opened.
Commissary Passauf burst into the room like a
whirlwind. "What is the matter, Mr. Commissary?"
asked Lotch6, a brave girl, who never lost her head in
the most trying times.
"What is the matter!" answered Passauf, whose
big round eyes expressed lively emotion. The matter
is that I come from Dr. Ox's house, where there is a
party, and there" -
"There?" said the lawyer.
There I witnessed such a quarrel that-- Bur-
gomaster, they talked politics "
"Politics?" repeated Van Tricasse, his very wig
standing on end.
Politics," said Commissary Passauf, "a thing that
has not happened in Quiquendone for more than a hun-
dred years. Then the discussion grew fierce. Lawyer
Andre Schut and Dr. Dominic Custos took sides with
such violence, that I fear they'll call each other
out."
Call each other out!" cried the lawyer. A duel!
A duel in Quiquendone!" And what did Lawyer
Schut and Dr. Custos say ? "
These very words : Sir lawyer,' said the doctor
to his adversary, you go rather too far, it seems to me,
and don't stop to measure Your words.' "






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


Burgomaster Van Tricasse clasped his hands. The
lawyer turned pale, and let his lantern fall. The com-
missary shook his head. So highly provocative a
phrase, uttered by two prominent citizens!
"That Dr. Custos," muttered Van Tricasse, "is
decidedly a dangerous character, a crazy pate. Come,
gentlemen!"
And, upon this, Lawyer Niklausse and the commis-
sary returned to the parlor with Burgomaster Van Tri-
casse.




IV.

HOW DR. OX PROVED HIMSELF A PHYSIOLOGIST OF THE
FIRST ORDER AND A BOLD EXPERIMENTALIST.

WHO was this fellow known by the strange name of
Dr. Ox? An original, of course, but at the same time a
daring savant, a physiologist whose labors were known
and appreciated throughout scientific Europe, a lucky
rival of Davy, Dalton, Bostock, Menzies, Godwin,
Vierordt, and all those great minds who have raised
physiologyto the foremost rank among modern sciences.
Dr. Ox was a man of medium height and size, and
aged--but we will not be particular as to his age- or
nationality; for what matters it? Enough to know that
he was a strange being, hot-headed and impetuous, a






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


character from a Hoffman tale, and in singular contrast
with the people of Quiquendone. He had an impertur-
bable confidence in himself and his doctrines. Always
smiling, walking with head erect, shoulders thrown back,
easy and unrestrained, with wide expanded nostrils,
and large mouth drawing in great draughts of air, it
was a pleasure to look at him. He was alive, thor-
oughly alive, well balanced in every part, in fine run-
ning order, with quicksilver in his veins, and never
letting the grass grow under his feet. He was never
at rest, and overflowed in hasty words and superabun-
dant gestures.
Was this Dr. Ox rich, that he proposed to light
the whole town at his own expense?
Probably, since he allowed himself such extrava-
gance; and that is the only answer we can give to so
indiscreet a question.
Dr. Ox arrived five months before in Quiquendone,
together with his assistant, who answered to the name
of Gideon Ygene, a tall, thin, dry, but no less lively
fellow than his master.
And now, why had Dr. Ox agreed to light the town
at his own expense? Why had he chosen the peaceful
Quiquendonians, the Dutchest of all Dutch? and why
did he desire to endow their city with this unknown
light? Did he design some great physiological experi-
ment under this pretext, working in anima vili? Or
what was this strange creature's plan? We cannot
5*






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


tell, Dr. Ox having no other confidant than his assist-
ant Ygene, who, moreover, obeyed him blindly.
To all appearance, at least, Dr. Ox meant to light
the town, which needed it sadly, especially at night,"
as Commissary Passauf shrewdly remarked. So works
for the manufacture of gas had been built. The gas-
ometers were in working order; and the conduit pipes,
running under the streets, were soon to appear in the
shape of burners in all the public buildings, and even
in the houses of certain friends of progress.
Van Tricasse, in his quality of burgomaster, Nik-
lausse in his quality of town councillor, and some few
leading citizens, felt authorized to introduce the new
light into their own houses.
If the reader will remember, it was mentioned in the
burgomaster's and lawyer's lengthy conversation, that
Sthe city would be lighted, not by the combustion of
vulgar carburetted hydrogen, produced by the distilla-
tion of oil, but by a much more modern gas, twenty
times more brilliant, oxyhydrogen gas, produced by
a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen.
Now, the doctor, a skilful chemist and ingenious
experimentalist, knew a way of producing this gas in
large quantities and at a cheap rate, not by the use of
manganate of soda, according to M. Tessi4 du Motay's
method, but "simply by decomposing slightly acidulated
water, by means of a battery formed of new elements,
invented by himself; so that no costly substances, no





DR. OX'S HOBBY.


platina, no retorts, no fuel, no delicate apparatus, were
required to produce the two kinds of gas separately.
An electric current traversed large tubs of water; and
the liquid element was decomposed into its two prime
factors, oxygen and hydrogen. The oxygen passed
to one side; the hydrogen, in double proportion to its
former partner, passed to the other. They were col-
lected in separate tanks, a necessary precaution,
since their mixture would have produced a fearful
explosion, if they caught fire. Then pipes were to con-
vey them separately to the various burners, which would
be so prepared as to guard against all risk of an explo-
sion. A flame of remarkable brilliance would thus be
produced, a flame which would rival the electric light,
and which, as every one knows, according to Cassel-
mann's experiments, would equal that of eleven hun-
dred and seventy-one candles, not one more nor less.
The city of Quiquendone would certainly gain a su-
perb light by this generous project; but that was the
least part of Dr. Ox's and his assistant's plan, as will
be seen in the end.
The very day after Commissary Passauf had made
so startling an entry into the burgomaster's parlor,
Gideon Ygene and Dr. Ox were talking together in
their common laboratory on the ground-floor of the
principal building in the gas-works.
Well, Ygene, well!" cried Dr. Ox, rubbing his
hands. "You saw the good Quiquendonians at our re-






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


ception yesterday, the fellows who form the connecting
link between sponges and coralliginous excrescences.
You saw them disputing, and provoking each other by
word and gesture, morally and physically changed al-
ready. And this, is but the beginning. Wait until we
treat them to a strong dose! "
Indeed, master," answered Gideon Ygene, scratch-
ing his sharp nose with the tip of his forefinger, the
experiment promises well; and, if I had not been pru-
dent enough to close the stopcock, there's no knowing
what would have happened."
"You heard that Lawyer Schut and Dr. Custos?"
added Dr. Ox. "The phrase was no harm in itself;
but, from the mouth of a Quiquendonian, it was equal
to the whole list of insults uttered by Homeric heroes
before unsheathing their swords. Oh these Dutch!
You'll see what we'll make of them yet! "
We shall make ingrates of them," replied Gideon
Ygene, in the tone of a man who judges humanity at
its proper value.
"Bah!" cried the doctor, "what matter whether
they recognize our kindness, or not, if our experiment
succeeds?"
"Besides," said the assistant with a malicious smile,
"have you no fear of deranging the lungs of these
honest Quiquendonians by introducing such an exciting
element into their respiratory organs ?"
So much the worse for them!" replied Dr. Ox.






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


"It is in the interest of science. What should you
say if dogs or frogs refused to permit vivisection ?"
It is very probable, that, if we consulted frogs and
dogs, they might make some objection to the practice
of vivisection. But Dr. Ox evidently thought he had
found an irrefutable argument; for he heaved a sigh
of satisfaction.
"After all, master, you are right," replied Gideon
Ygene with an air of conviction. We could find no
better subjects than these people of Quiquendone."
We could not," said the doctor, emphasizing each
word.
"You have felt these creatures' pulses?"
"A hundred times."
And' what is their medium pulsation?"
Not fifty beats a minute. Just think! a town,
where, for a century, there has not been even the
shadow of a discussion; where the carters never swear,
the cabmen never wrangle; where the horses never run
away, the dogs never bite, and the cats never scratch, -
a town whose police-court never has a case from one
year's end to another, a town where no one cares
for any thing, for art or for commerce, a town where
policemen are mythical beings, and in which there has
not been a lawsuit for a hundred years, a town, in
fine, where, for three hundred years, a blow has nevei
been given, nor a box on the ear exchanged. You see,
Master Ygene, that. this cannot last, and we mus+
bring about a change."






0 DDR. OX'S HOBBY.

"Just so, just so!" replied the enthusiastic as-
sistant. And the air of the town, master, have you
analyzed it?"
"I have not failed to do so: ninety-nine parts
azote, one part oxygen, and carbonic-acid and watery
vapor in variable quantities. Those are the ordinary
proportions."
Good, doctor, good! said Master Ygene. "The
experiment will be grand, and it must be successful."
And, if it is successful," added Dr. Ox triumph-
antly, we will reform the world."





V.

HOW THE BURGOMASTER AND THE LAWYER VISITED
DR. OX, AND WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM.

LAWYER NIKLAUSSE and Burgomaster Van Tricasse
knew now what it was to pass a restless night. The
grave event which had taken place in Dr. Ox's house
really kept them awake. What would be the result of
it? They could not imagine. Would they have to
settle any thing? Would municipal authority, repre-
sented by them, be forced to interfere? Must they
issue arrests to prevent a renewal of the scandal?
All these doubts could not but disturb such tranquil





DR. OX'S HOBBY.


natures. The two worthies, therefore, before parting,
" decided to meet the next day.
The next day, then, before dinner, Burgomaster Van
Tricasse transported himself to Lawyer Niklausse's
house. He found his friend more calm. He himself
felt quite as usual.
Nothipg new?" inquired Van Tricasse.
Nothing new since yesterday," replied Niklausse.
And Dr. Dominic Custos ?"
I have heard no more about him than about Lawyer
Andre Schut."
After an hour's conversation, which could be put
into three lines, and which it would be foolish to re-
peat, the lawyer and the burgomaster resolved to pay
a visit to Dr. Ox, that they might draw something out
of him unawares.
Contrary to their custom, their decision once taken,
the two worthies set to work to carry it out at once.
They left the house, and proceeded towards Dr. Ox's
gas-works, on the outskirts of the town, near Aude-
narde Gate, the very one whose tower was falling to
decay.
The burgomaster and the lawyer did not take each
other's arm, but walked, passibus cequis, with slow and
solemn steps, which advanced them about thirteen
inches per second. This was their usual gait; for no
one, within the memory of man, had ever been known
to run through the streets of Quiquendone.





60 DR. OX'S HOBBY.

From time to time, at a calm and tranquil cross-
road, or at the corner of some quiet street, our two
worthies stopped to speak to some one.
Good-day, burgomaster !" said one.
Good-day, my friend !" replied Van Tricasse.
Nothing new, lawyer? asked another.
Nothing new," said Niklausse.
tut, by certain strange signs and inquisitive glances,
they guessed that last night's quarrel was known
throughout the town. The very road pursued by Van
.ricasse might tell the most obtuse Quiquendonian
that the burgomaster was bound on some important
errand. The Custos-Schut affair filled every mind;
but people were not yet ready to take sides. The
lawyer and the doctor were, on the whole, highly-esti-
mable folks. Lawyer Schut, never having had occa-
sion to plead, in a city where courts and judges only
existed in tradition, had never lost a case. As for
Dr. Custos, he was an honorable practitioner, who-
an example to all his brethren cured sick men of
every illness save mortal ones, a bad habit, unfor-
tunately followed by the members of every faculty in
every country.
On arriving-at Audenarde Gate, the lawyer and the
burgomaster wisely made a slight detour, to get out of
the line of fall" of the tower; then they considered
it attentively.
I think it will fall," said Van Tricasse.





DR. OX'S HOBBY.


I think so too," said Niklausse.
"Unless it is propped up," added Van Tricasse.
"But shall we prop it up ? That is the question."
Yes, that is the question," said Niklausse.
A few moments after, they presented themselves at
the gas-house door.
"Is Dr. Ox in? they asked.
Dr. Ox was always in for the great authorities of the
city; and they were -at once introduced into the cele-
brated physiologist's laboratory.
The two worthies may have waited a full hour before
the doctor made his appearance: at least, we are
forced to think so; for the burgomaster, for the first
time in his life, showed some impatience, in which his
comrade shared.
Dr Ox came at last, and excused himself for keep-
ing the gentlemen waiting; but a plan for a gasometer
to correct, a pipe to examine .
All was going on finely. The oxygen conduits were
already laid. Before many months the town would
be splendidly lighted. The two worthies could already
see the mouths of the burners which came out in the
doctor's room.
Then the doctor inquired the motive which procured
him the honor of a visit from the burgomaster and the
lawyer.
"IWhy, to see you, doctor, to see you!" answered
Van Tricasse. It's a long time since we've had that






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


pleasure. We rarely go out in our good town of Qui-
quendone. We count our steps, and are happy when
nothing disturbs our quiet life."
Niklausse stared at his friend. His friend had
never made such a long speech before,- at least, with-
out taking time, and punctuating his phrases by long
pauses. It seemed to him that Van Tricasse expressed
himself with unwonted fluency. Niklausse himself felt
an irresistible desire to talk.
As for Dr. Ox, he gazed attentively at the burgo-
master with his evil eyes.
Van Tricasse, who never argued until comfortably
installed in an easy-chair, had risen. Some strange
nervous excitement, quite foreign to his nature, pos-
sessed him. He did not yet gesticulate; but that
would soon follow. As for the lawyer, he rubbed his
legs, drawing long, deep breaths. His gaze grew
more and more animated; and he "decided," if need
be, to sustain his faithful friend, the burgomaster.
Van Tricasse rose, took several paces forwards, then
seated himself again opposite the doctor.
"And in how many months," he asked with slight
emphasis, -" in how many months do you say your
task will be completed?"
In three or four months, burgomaster," answered
Dr. Ox.
Three or four months I That's a very long time,"
said Van Tricasse.





DR. OX'S HOBBY.


Much too long," added Niklausse, who, no longer
able to sit still, had also risen.
"We require that space of time for preparation,"
said the doctor.' "The workmen, whom we have
chosen from the people of Quiquendone, are by no
means expeditious."
"How? Not expeditious!" cried the burgomaster,
who seemed to take the remark as a personal offence.
No, burgomaster," said Dr. Ox serenely. A
French workman could do as much in a day as ten of
your fellows: you know they are pure Flemish."
"Flemish !" cried Lawyer Niklausse, doubling his
fists. What do you mean by that, sir ?"
Simply what every one else means by it," said the
doctor, smiling.
"Well, sir," said the burgomaster, striding up and
down the room, "I don't like such insinuations. The
workmen of Quiquendone are as good as the workmen
of any city in the world, let me tell you; and we
sha'n't send to Paris, or to London either, for models.
As for your work, I beg you will hasten its completion.
Our pavements are torn up for the laying of the pipes;
and it hinders travel. Commerce will suffer; and I,
the chief officer of the town, don't care to be blamed,
however justly."
Brave burgomaster! He talked of commerce, of
travel; and these unaccustomed words did not stick in
his throat. What could have happened to him?






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


Besides," added Niklausse, the city can't be left
in darkness any longer."
"But," said the doctor, a town that has waited
eight or nine years" -
"All the more reason, sir," said the burgomaster,
emphasizing his words. Times have changed. This
is the age of progress, and we will not be left behind!
Our streets must be lighted in less than a month, or
you must pay a fine for every day's delay. And what
if some scuffle should occur in the darkness? "
"To be sure! cried Niklausse. It only takes a
spark to inflame a Fleming. Fleming, flame -
"And, by the way," said the burgomaster, cutting
his friend short, the chief of city police, Commissary
Passauf, reports that there was a discussion at your
rooms last night, sir. Was he wrong in saying that it
was a political discussion? "
"Quite right, burgomaster," answered Dr. Ox, who
could not repress a sigh of satisfaction.
And was there not a quarrel between Dr. Dominic
Custos and Lawyer Andr6 Schut ?"
"Yes, lawyer; but they exchanged no very serious
words."
Not very serious !" cried the burgomaster, not
very serious, when one man tells another that he does
not consider his words! What are you made of, sir?
Don't you know that in Quiquendone it takes very lit-
tle more to bring about most disagreeable results?





DR. OX'S HOBBY.


Why, sir, if you or any one else dared to use such lan-
guage to me" -
Or to me," said Niklausse.
Uttering these words with threatening tones, the
two worthies confronted Dr. Ox, with arms akimbo, and
hair erect, ready to attack him, if a sign less than a -
sign, a look gave them reason to think he had any
such intention.
But the doctor never winked.
"At any rate, sir," resumed the burgomaster, "I
make you responsible for whatever takes place in your
house. I am surety for the peace of the city; and I
will not have it disturbed. The events of yesterday
must not be renewed, or I shall do my duty, sir. Do
you understand me? Answer, sir! "
So saying, the burgomaster, wildly excited, raised
his voice to the pitch of passion. He was furious -
our worthy Van Tricasse; and he could have been
heard in the street. At last, quite beside himself, and
seeing that the doctor did not reply to his threats, he
said, -
Come, Niklausse !"
And, slamming the door with a violence that shook
the house, the burgomaster bore the lawyer off in his
train.
Gradually the worthy men grew calm. They walked
more slowly; their pace slackened; their color faded;
from scarlet they grew pink.


f 65






DR. OX'S BOBBY.


And, fifteen minutes after leaving the gas-works, Van
Tricasse said mildly to Niklausse, -
A nice man, that Dr. Ox. I am always glad to
see him "




VI.

HOW FRANTZ NIKLAUSSE AND SUZEL VAN TRICASSE
FORMED PLANS FOR THE FUTURE.

OUR readers know that the burgomaster had a daugh-
ter, Miss Suzel; but, bright as they may be, they have
not guessed that Lawyer Niklausse had a son, young
Frantz. And, had they guessed it, they could never
have dreamed that Frantz was engaged to Suzel. We
will add that the young folks were just made for each
other, and that they loved in the mode of Quiquendone.
You must not think that young hearts never throbbed
in this exceptional city; only they throbbed with a cer-
tain stupor. People married there as they do every-
where else; but they took their time about it. Lovers,
before taking on those solemn bonds, wished to study
one another; and the study lasted at least ten years, as
at school. People seldom graduated" sooner.
Yes, ten years ten years, they courted! Is that too
long when life-unions are to be made? Men study ten
years to become a doctor or an engineer, a lawyer or a






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


minister; and is it less difficult to become a husband?
Impossible, and, whether a question of right or of tem-
perament, we agree with the Quiquendonians in this
delay. When we see matches made in a few months,
in other cities, we shrug our shoulders, and hasten to
send our sons and daughters to Quiquendonian schools.
Within half a century, but one wedding had come off
in less than two years, and that had turned out badly.
Frantz Niklausse loved Suzel Van Tricasse; but he
loved her calmly, as one does love when he has ten years
before him in which to win the object of his affections.
Once a week, at a certain time, Frantz called for Suzel,
and took her to the banks of the Vaar. He took care
to bring his fishing-line; and Suzel never forgot her
embroidery, on which her pretty fingers wove the most
unnatural of blossoms.
We must here mention that Frantz was a youth of
twenty-two; that a light peach-down tinted his cheeks;
and that his voice hardly stretched from one octave to
another.
As for Suzel, she was pink and white. She was
seventeen, and had no dislike to fishing. A singular
pastime that to struggle with a barbel; but Frantz
enjoyed it. It suited his temperament. He could
wait patiently as possible, contented to watch, with a
dreamy eye, the cork trembling on the surface; and if,
after a sitting of six hours, a modest barbel took pity
on him, and consented to be caught, he was happy; but
he could restrain his emotion.






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


On the day in question, our two lovers were sitting
on the green bank. The clear Vaar rippled a few feet
below them. Suzel carelessly drove her needle through
the canvas; Frantz moved his line mechanically from
left to right, then let it stem the current from right to
left. The barbels made fanciful circles in the water
about the float, while the empty hook dangled lower
down.
From time to time, -
I think I've got a bite, Suzel," said Frantz, without
lifting his eyes.
Do you think so, Frantz?" answered Suzel, drop-
ping her work for a moment, to follow her lover's line
with an. anxious eye.
"Oh, no !" said Frantz. I thought I felt a little
twitch: I was mistaken."
There is a bite, Frantz," said Suzel in her sweet,
pure voice. But be sure you hook him in time. You're
always several seconds behindhand; and the barbel
takes advantage of it to escape."
"Would you like to take my line, Suzel?"
"With pleasure, Frantz."
Then give me your work. Let's see if I am more
skilful with the needle than the hook."
And the young girl took the line with trembling
hand; while the young man made the needle fly through
the canvas. And for hours they exchanged just such
sweet words, their hearts throbbing when the cork





DR. OX'S HOBBY.


bobbed. Oh, may they never forget those happy hours,
when, side by side, they listened to the rippling river !
On this occasion the sun sank very low on the hori-
zon; and, spite of the combined efforts of Frantz and
Suzel, there had not been a bite. The barbels had not
been compassionate ; and they laughed at the young pair,
who were too just to blame them for it.
"We may be more lucky next time, Frantz," said
Suzel, as the young angler stuck his virgin hook into
a bit of wood.
"I hope so, Suzel !" said Frantz.
Then the two, side by side, went home without a
word, as silent as their shadows, which fell before them.
Suzel saw herself tall, oh, so tall! in the oblique rays of
the setting sun. Frantz seemed thin, thin as the long
line in his hand.
They reached the burgomaster's house. Tufts of
green grass grew round the shining paving-stones; and
they were careful not to pull them up, because they
deadened the sound of footsteps.
Just before the door was opened, Frantz took courage
to say to his betrothed, -
"You know the happy day is coming, Suzel?"
It is really coming, Frantz said the young girl,
dropping her long lashes.
"Yes," said Frantz "in five or six years."
Good-by, Frantz !" said Suzel.
Good-by, Suzel! said Frantz.






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


And when the door was shut, the young man turned
with calm and lazy steps towards Lawyer Niklausse's
house.



VII.

HOW ANDANTE BECAME ALLEGRO, AND ALLEGRO VIVACE.

THE emotion caused by the Custos-Schut affair was
at an end.
The quarrel bore no fruits. It was to be hoped that
Quiquendone would return to its wonted apathy, which
had been stirred by a mysterious event.
Meanwhile the pipes to carry the oxyhydric gas into
the principal buildings made rapid progress. The con-
duits gradually grew below Quiquendone pavements.
But the burners were not yet ready; for they required
such delicate handling, that they had to be ordered
from abroad. Dr. Ox fairly multiplied himself; he and
his assistant, Ygene, lost not a moment, urged on the
workmen, watched the gasometer, and fed the huge
batteries which were decomposing the water night and
day under the influence of a powerful electric current.
Yes, the doctor was making his gas, although the pipes
were not yet laid, which, between ourselves, was rather
queer. But before long, at least, so they hoped, -
before long, Dr. Ox was to inaugurate his new light in
the town theatre.





DR. OX'S HOBBY.


For Quiquendone had a theatre, a fine building,
on my word, whose inner and outer architecture was
a mixture of all styles. It was at once Byzantine,
Roman, Gothic, Renaissance, with arched, Norman-
pointed windows, rose-windows, fantastic belfries, in a
word, a sample of every age, part Parthenon, part
Grand Caf4 Parisien, which is not surprising; for
begun by Burgomaster Ludwig Van Tricasse, in 1175,
it was not finished till 1837, by Burgomaster Natalis
Van Tricasse. It took seven hundred years to build it,
and it had been successively conformed to the taste of
each succeeding age. No matter: it was a fine build-
ing, whose Roman pillars and Byzantine arches were
not too much at variance with oxyhydric gas.
They played a little of every thing at the Quiquendone
Theatre, particularly opera and opera bouffe. But it
must be acknowledged that the composers would never
have recognized their own compositions, the movements
were so changed.
To tell the truth, every thing was done so slowly in
Quiquendone, that dramatic art was rather better
suited to the disposition of its people. Although the
doors were always opened at four, and closed at ten,
they had never in those six hours played more than two
acts. Robert le Diable," The Huguenots," or
"William Tell," usually occupied three evenings, so
slowly did they perform these masterpieces. Vivace in
the Quiquendone Theatre dragged like a regular adagio.






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


Allegro was long, long drawn out. A semi-demi-semi-
quaver was not equal to the breve of any other country.
The most rapid trills, done to suit the Quiquendonians,
seemed like common psalm-tunes. The easy quavers
rolled languidly forth in measured time, lest they should
wound some dilettante's ear. To give one example,
Figaro's rapid air, on his entry in the first act of The
Barber of Seville," lasted fifty-eight minutes, when the
actor was a fire-eater.
You may imagine how hard it was for foreign artists
to conform to this fashion; but, as they were well paid,
they never complained, but obeyed the bow of the
leader of the orchestra blindly; and he never beat more
than eight measures a minute.
And what applause these artists won! They en-
chanted, without fatiguing, their Quiquendonian hearers.
Every hand was clapped at somewhat distant intervals,
which the newspaper accounts translated as frenzied
applause; and once or twice, if the astonished hall did
not shake with bravos, it was only because they spared
neither stone nor lime in the twelfth century.
Besides, that they might not too much excite these
enthusiastic Flemish, the theatre was only opened once
a week, which permitted the actors to study their parts,
and the spectators to digest the beauties, of these dra-
matic masterpieces more thoroughly.
This had long been the state of affairs. Foreign
artists were in the habit of making an engagement with




DR. OX'S HOBBY.


the Quiquendonian director when they wished to -rest
from the fatigues of other campaigns; and it seemed as
if nothing could ever change their custom, when, a
fortnight after the Schut-Custos brawl, an unexpected
event cast the people into fresh confusion.
It was Saturday, the opera day. They were not
yet, as you might suppose, ready to introduce the new
gas. No: the pipes opened into the hall; but, for the
above-mentioned reason, the burners were not in place,
and wax candles shed their soft radiance over the
many spectators who crowded the theatre. The doors
had been opened to the public an hour before noon,
and at three the hall was half full. At one time there
was a line that stretched to the very end of St.
Ernuph's Place, to the apothecary Josse Liefrinck's
shop. This crowd presaged a fine performance.
You are going to the theatre to-night? the lawyer
said that very morning to the burgomaster.
I shall not fail to do so," answered Van Tricasse;
"and I shall take Madame Van Tricasse, and our
daughter Suzel, and our dear Aunty Nemance, who
raves about fine music."
"Miss Suzel will be there ?" asked the lawyer.
"To be sure, Niklausse."
"Then my son Frantz will be one of the first before
the door," said Niklausse.
An ardent youth," said the burgomaster solemnly,,
" a hot-headed fellow. We must keep an eye on that
young man." 7







DR. OX'S HOBBY.


He's in love, Van Tricasse, in love with your
pretty Suzel."
"Well, Niklause, he shall marry her. What more
does he want? Haven't we consented to the mar-
riage ?"
He wants nothing more, Van Tricasse, nothing
more, the dear fellow I say no more; but he won't
be the last to buy his ticket."
Oh, bright and ardent youth! cried the burgomas-
ter, smiling at his memories of the past. We've
been boys ourselves, my good lawyer. We, too, have
loved. We have joined the ranks in our day. To-
night, then, to-night! By the by, do you know what a
great artist this Fioravanti is? and what a reception
he has had here? He will long remember the plaudits
of Quiquendone."
This was the celebrated tenor Fioravanti, whose rare
talent, perfect method, and sympathetic voice, had
roused the amateurs of the city to the highest pitch of
enthusiasm.
For three weeks Fioravanti had played with immense
success in The Huguenots." The first act, given in
Quiquendonian style, had consumed an entire evening of
the first week in the month. Another evening of the
second week, prolonged by andante ad libitum, had
won the great singer a perfect ovation. His success
increased with the third act of Meyerbeer's master-
piece. But Fioravanti was best in the fourth act; and





DR. OX'S HOBBY.


this very evening the fourth act was to be played be-
fore an impatient public.
At four o'clock, therefore, the hall was filled. Boxes,
pit, and parterre were overflowing. Near the front
shone Burgomaster Van Tricasse, his wife and daugh-
ter, and good Aunty Nemance, her cap decked with
apple-green streamers ; then, not far away, Lawyer Nik-
lausse and his family, including the amiable Frantz.
There, too, were the families of Dr. Custos, Lawyer
Schut, Honor6 Syntax, the chief judge, and Sontman,
president of the insurance company, fat Banker Collaert,
mad over German music, tutor Rupp, and the academy
director, Jerome Resh, and the commissary-civil, and so
many other notabilities, that we could not name them
here without abusing the doctor's patience.
Generally the Quiquendonians waited for the curtain
to rise in silence, some reading the papers, some con-
versing in low tones, some slowly and quietly taking
their seats; and some casting sheepish glances at the
kindly beauties in the galleries; but on this occasion
it was evident, even before the curtain rose, that un-
wonted excitement reigned in the hall. People moved
about who never moved before. Fans fluttered with
unnatural rapidity. Excitement filled every breast.
They drew long breaths. Some eyes shone, we
must confess, quite as brightly as the candles, which
seemed to fill the hall with unwonted brilliance.
People really seemed to see better than usual, even







DR. OX'S HOBBY.


if there was no more light. Oh, if Dr. Ox's new
machine were only in working order! But it was not
in working order yet.
At last the musicians took their places. The first
violin stepped between the stands to give his colleagues
a modest la. The string, the wind instruments, and
the drums, were in tune. The leader only waited for
the tinkling bell to beat the first strain.
The bell rang. The fourth act began. The allegro
appassionato of the entr'acte was played as usual, with
slow majesty, which would have startled the illustrious
Meyerbeer, but whose grandeur was plain to every
Quiquendonian.
Soon the leader lost all control of his men. He
could not hold them back, calm and obedient as they
generally were. The wind-instruments seemed dis-
posed to hurry matters; and he had to use a strong
hand, for they ran away from the stringed instruments,
which, in point of harmony, produced a sad effect. The
bassoon himself, a son of Josse Liefrinck, the apothe-
cary, the most well trained of men, began to lose his
head.
Then Valentine began the recitative: -

"Son solo"-

But it was hurried. The leader and the whole orches-
tra followed her cantabile, perhaps imperceptibly to her.
When Raoul appeared at the back, there were but fifteen






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


minutes between Valentine's joining him, and her hiding
him in the side-room; while generally, according to
Quiquendone tradition, this recitative of thirty-seven
bars consumed thirty-seven minutes.
St. Bris, Nevers, Cavrannes, and the Catholic lords
then entered rather hurriedly. The composer marked
the score allegro pomposo. The orchestra and the
lords were allegro, but by no means pomposo; and,
in the conspirators' chorus and the blessing of the
swords, the allegro never sank. Singers and musicians
gave the reins to their fancy. The leader no longer
strove to hold them in; nor did the audience desire it:
they felt that he was carried away, that he really felt
the music, and that it corresponded to his inmost
aspirations.

"Wouldst thou, like me, thy country free
From nascent troubles and an impious war?"

They promised, they swore. Nevers had barely
time to protest, and to sing, that, among his ances-
tors there were soldiers, but never an assassin." He was
arrested. The police and the military rushed in, and
rapidly swore to "strike together." St. Bris raised
his voice in regular two-four time in the recitative
that calls the Catholics to vengeance. The three
monks, with white scarfs and bells, hastened in, quite
regardless of stage-directions, which recommend them
to "advance slowly." The spectators drew their
7*







DR. OX'S HOBBY.


swords and daggers, when the three monks blessed
them in the twinkling of an eye. The sopranos, tenors,
and basses attacked the allegro furioso with cries of
rage, and fled, howling, -

"At midnight,
No noise!
'Tis God's will:
Yes, at midnight."

Here the audience rose to their feet. Every one was
astir in boxes, pit, and gallery. It seemed as if the
listeners would leap upon the stage, Burgomaster Van
Tricasse at their head, to join the conspirators, and
crush the Huguenots, whose religious opinions they
really shared. They applauded, they cheered, they
shouted. Aunty N6mance arranged her apple-green
strings with a feverish hand. The lamps burned bril-
liantly.
Raoul, instead of slowly lifting the drapery, tore it
away with a superb gesture, and found himself face to
face with Valentine.
At last came the grand duet, and it was led off in
allegro vivace. Raoul did not wait for Valentine's
questions, nor she for his replies. The charming pas-
sage, -
"Danger grows,
And time flies,"

became one of those rapid two-four movements which






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


have made Offenbach so famous for his conspirators'
dances. The andante amoroso, -

"Thou hast spoken!
Yes, thou lovest me!"

became a vivace furioso; and the violoncello no longer
thought of imitating the singer's notes, as the score
requires. In vain Raoul cried, -

"Speak again, and prolong
My heart's delicious sleep."

Valentine could not prolong it. An unwonted fire
plainly consumed her. Her si's and do's, far beyond
reach, were alarmingly brilliant. She raged, she gesti-
culated, she was on fire.
The alarm began to ring, the bell tolled; but what
a boisterous bell! The ringer was beside himself. It
was a fearful tocsin, which struggled madly with the
transports of the orchestra.
Then the concluding phrase of that magnificent act, -

No more love, no more frenzy now,
0 heart o'erburdened with remorse !"

which the composer marked as allegro con moto, swept
into a wild prestissimo. It was like a lightning express.
The alarum revived. Valentine fell fainting. Raoul
threw himself from the window.
It was time. The orchestra, fairly drunk with excite-






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


ment, could continue no longer. The leader's bdton
had been broken to fragments on the prompter's box.
The violin-strings were broken, and the finger-boards
twisted. In his fury, the kettle-drummer had cracked
his kettle-drum. The bass was perched on the very top
of his lofty edifice. The first clarinet had swallowed
his reed, and the second hautboy crushed his keys be-
tween his teeth. The trombone was out of tune; and
the unhappy horn-player's hand stuck fast in the mouth-
piece of his horn.
And the aidience,- the puffing, panting, howling
audience Every face was as red as if its owner were
on fire. Hatless men and cloakless women pushed
and crowded to get out. They hustled each other in
the entries; they elbowed. each other at the doors; they
quarrelled, and they fought. They acknowledged no
authority, no burgomaster. All men were equal when
influenced by such supreme excitement.
And a few moments later, when the street was
reached, they all recovered their ordinary calm, and
went quietly home, with but a confused memory of past
events.
The fourth act of "The Huguenots," which usually
lasted six hours by the clock, began, on this occasion,
at half-past four, and was over at twelve minutes of
five. It had lasted eighteen minutes.






DR OX'S HOBBY\


VIII.

IN WHICH THE SOLEMN OLD GERMAN WALTZ BECOMES
ALMOST A CAN-CAN.

BUT although the audience recovered their ordinary
calm on leaving the theatre, although they went quietly
home, feeling only a fleeting surprise, they had, never-
theless, undergone a strange exaltation; and oppressed
and exhausted, as if they had over-eaten, they fell
heavily asleep.
The next day everybody had some slight memento
of the past. One had lost his hat in the crowd ; another,
his coat-tail, torn off in the melee; one, her fine kid
slipper ; another, her best mantilla. The good citizens'
memory revived, and with their memory a certain
sense of shame for their unnecessary effervescence. It
seemed to them an orgy, whose unconscious heroes they
had been. They did not speak of it: they were anx-
ious to forget it.
But the most astonished man in town was Burgo-
master Van Tricasse. The next morning, when he
woke, he could not find his wig. Lotche looked every-
where. It was not to be found. The wig remained on
the field of battle. How would it do to send Jean Mis-
trol, the town-crier, in search of it? No. Better sacri-
fice his wig than thus expose the disgrace of the city's
first magistrate.
Thus mused the worthy Van Tricasse, stretched be-






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


neath his blankets, sore of limb, heavy headed, his
tongue coated, and burning with fever. He felt no de-
sire to rise ; and his brain was busier this morning than
it had been for forty years. The honorable gentleman
went over in his mind last night's inexplicable occur-
rences. He compared them with events at Dr. Ox's
party. He sought the cause of the strange excitability,
which had thus, on two occasions, been exhibited by his
soundest fellow-citizens.
What ails us all?" he asked himself. What spirit
of folly has taken hold of my peaceful Quiquendone?
Are we all going mad? and, must the whole city be
turned into a vast asylum? For last night we were all
there, merchants, doctors, and lawyers; and, if my
memory serves me right, all yielded to this infernal folly.
It is inexplicable ; and I had eaten nothing, drunk noth-
ing, to excite me. No, an overdone slice of veal, a few
spoonfuls of spinage, the whites of a couple of eggs
beaten up, and two small glasses of ale, mixed with
water, for dinner, could not have affected my head. No !
There is some mystery here; and as, after all, I am
responsible for the actions of my electors, I will hold
a court of inquiry."
But the court of inquiry called by the town council
came to no conclusion. The facts were patent: the
causes escaped the wisdom of the magistrates. Besides,
they had all grown calm, and had forgotten their ex-
cesses. The very newspapers avoided all mention of







DR. OX'S HOBBY.


them; and the account of the performance in The
Quiquendone Memorial" made no allusion to their rap-
tures.
And so the town resumed its customary quiet. It be-
came, to all appearance, as thoroughly Flemish as it
was before; but still the people's character and temper-
ament were gradually modified. We might say, with Dr.
Dominic Custos, that they were growing nervous."
This requires an explanation. The incontestable
changes only occurred under certain conditions. When
the Quiquendonians walked along the streets, in the
fresh air, along the Vaar, they were as cold and method-
ical as ever. So they were when they kept at home;
some at their handicraft, and some mentally employed,
some doing nothing, and some thinking nothing. Their
private life was inert, peaceful, and vegetative as ever.
No quarrels, no reproaches, no acceleration of the ac-
tion of the heart, and no inflammation of the brain.
Their average pulse remained as it was, from fifty
to fifty-two beats a minute.
But mysterious phenomenon, which would have puz-
zled the wisest philosophers of the age, although the
Quiquendonians were unchanged at home, they were
visibly metamorphosed abroad.
For instance, did they meet in any public building,
there "was no standing it," as Commissary Passauf
said. On 'change, at the town-hall, at the theatre,
at town-meetings, and at scientific re-unions, new life







DR. OX'S HOBBY.


seemed to flow in their veins. Scarcely an hour passed,
ere argument grew hot. They waxed angry, and be-
came personal. Even in church the faithful could not
listen quietly to Minister Vantabel, who, moreover,
fidgeted in the pulpit, and admonished them more fierce-
ly than was his wont. At last this state of things led
to fresh brawls, more serious, alas than that of Dr. Cus-
tos and Lawyer Schut; and, if the authorities abstained
from interfering, it was only because the wranglers, on
returning home, regained their calm, and forgot all
offences given and received.
These strange circumstances did not strike those
minds unaccustomed to self analysis. One man only,
he whose office the town council had for thirty years
been trying to abolish, Michael Passauf, noticed that
the excitement, invisible at home, was soon revealed
abroad; and he wondered, with a certain trouble, what
would happen if this irritation should ever spread to
private houses, and if the epidemic--such was the
word he used should pervade the streets. Then fare-
well oblivion, farewell calm, no more pause in delirium,
but a continual rage, which would certainly set the Qui-
quendonians by the ears.
Then what will happen ?" thought Passauf, with
alarm. How put a stop to this mad fury? How
moderate this irritation? My office will be no sine-
cure then; and the town will have to double my
salary, if, indeed, I am not arrested myself for
breaking the peace, and disturbing public order."


84 *





DR. OX'S HOBBY.


Now, these very reasonable fears began to be real-
ized. From the exchange, the church, the theatre,
and the town-hall, the evil spread to private houses,
and all within a fortnight after that terrible perform-
ance of The Huguenots."
The first signs of the epidemic were declared in
Banker Collaert's house.
This wealthy person gave a ball, or at least a dan-
cing party, to the principal people in town. He had
issued, some months previous, a loan of thirty thou-
sand francs, three-fourths of which was a subscription;
and, in recognition of this financial success, he threw
his house open to his friends.
Every one knows what a real Flemish reception is,
the only refreshments being beer and sirup. Some
talk about the weather, harvest prospects, the fine
state of gardens, flower-culture, especially tulip-cul-
ture; now and then a slow and tedious dance, some-
thing like a minuet; sometimes a waltz,-- one of those
German waltzes that take about a turn and a half a
minute, during which the waltzers move at arm's-length,
- such is a ball in the best Quiquendonian society.
The polka, having been reduced to a quatre temps, was
vainly introduced: the dancers could never keep up
with the music, slowly as they might play; and so it
was given up.
These quiet parties, which afforded the young folks
such simple pleasure, had never produced any bad


" 85







* DR. OX'S HOBBY.


results. Why, then, were the sirups apparently changed
that night to strong wines, to sparkling champagne,
and fiery punch? Why did a strange intoxication take
hold of all the guests towards the middle of the feast?
Why did the minuet become a saltarello? Why did the
musicians play so fast? Why did the candles burn so
brightly? What electric current filled the banker's
parlors? Why were there such ardent pressures when
hands were clasped in the dance?
Alas! What CEdipus could answer these riddles?
Commissary Passauf, present at the party, snuffed the
storm from afar, but could not allay it, could not
escape it; and he felt his brain grow giddy. All his
faculties increased. He fell upon the sweets, and
emptied the dishes, as if he had long. been fed on
starvation diet.
Meanwhile the ball grew more and more lively. A
long murmur of delight escaped from every breast.
They danced in real earnest; their feet moved to and
fro with growing frenzy. Faces grew as red as Silenus.
Eyes shone like rubies. Spirits rose to the highest
pitch.
And when the orchestra struck up the waltz from Der
Freischiitz, when. this slow and thoroughly German
waltz was attacked with might and main by the musi-
cians, it was no longer a waltz, but a mad can-can, a
giddy whirl, a measure fit to be led by Mephistophiles
with a burning brand. Then a galop, a wild galop, wound





DR. OX'S HOBBY.


for an hour, without let or stop, through halls, parlors,
ante-rooms, up stairs and down stairs, from cellar to
garret, joined in by young men and maidens, fathers
and mothers, people of every age, size, and sex, the fat
banker Collaert and his wife, lawyers, magistrates, and
judges, Niklausse, Madame Van Tricasse, the burgo-
master, and Passauf himself, who never could remem-
ber who his partner was that night.
But she did not forget; and, from that day forth,
"she" saw the ardent commissary in her dreams,
holding her in a passionate embrace; and she" was
dear Aunty Nemance!



IX.

IN WHICH DR. OX AND HIS ASSISTANT YGENE ONLY SPEAK
A FEW WORDS.
"WELL, Ygene?"
"Well, master, all is ready. The pipes are laid."
"At last. We can now work at wholesale and on
the mass."


X.

IN WHICH WE SEE HOW THE EPIDEMIC SPREAD THROUGH-
OUT THE TOWN, AND THE EFFECT IT PRODUCED.

DuRING the ensuing month, the evil, far from de-
creasing, grew. From private houses it spread through






DR. OX'S BOBBY.


street after street. The city of Quiquendone was no
longer recognizable.
A still more curious phenomenon was, that not only
the animal, but the vegetable kingdom partook of this
influence.
In the ordinary run of affairs, epidemics are special.
Those that attack man spare beasts: those that
attack beasts spare vegetables. No one ever saw a
horse with the varioloid, or a man with the cattle-
plague; and sheep never take the potato-rot. But
here all natural laws seemed reversed. Not only were
the character, temperament, and ideas of the people of
Quiquendone affected, but all domestic animals, dogs,
cats, horses, cattle, goats, and sheep, felt the epidemic
influence as if the very air they breathed had been in-
fected. The plants themselves "made free," if we
may use such an expression.
For most singular symptoms were manifested in gar-
den and orchard. Creepers crept more boldly than
ever. Bushy plants grew bushier. Shrubs became
trees. Grain, hardly planted, thrust up little green
shoots, and grew an inch for every atom it had gained
before in the most favorable times. Asparagus grew
two feet tall. Artichokes were big as melons, melons
big as squashes, squashes big as pumpkins, pumpkins
big as the town-clock, which was nine good feet in
diameter. Cabbages grew to bushes, and mushrooms to
umbrellas. The fruits were not long in following the





DR. OX'S HOBBY.


vegetables' example. It took two to eat a strawberry,
and four to eat a pear. The clusters of grapes equalled
that famous cluster so beautifully painted by Poussin
in his Return of Envoys from the Promised Land."
The same with the flowers. Huge violets filled the
air with penetrating odors; exaggerated roses glowed
with deepest tints; lilacs formed an impenetrable
thicket in a few days; geraniums, daisies, dahlias,
camellias, and rhododendrons, invading the garden
walks, fairly choked each other out. And the tulips,
the joy of the Flemish heart, what emotions they
roused in amateurs Good Van Bistrom nearly fainted
one day, when he found in his garden a plain Tulipa
gesneriana, so monstrous, so enormous, so gigantic, that
it served as a nest for a whole family of robins.
The entire town ran after this phenomenal blossom,
and gave it the name of Tulipa Quiquendonia.
But, alas visibly as these plants, fruits, and flowers
grew, colossal proportions as these vegetables assumed,
overpowering as their scent and color were to eyes and
noses, they soon faded. The air that nourished them
consumed them quickly; and they died exhausted and
withered.
Such was the fate of the famous tulip, which fell,
after a few days of splendor.
The same was true of tame animals, from the house-
dog to the pig in his sty, from the caged canary to the
turkey in the poultry-yard.







DR. OX'S HOBBY.


It must here be said, that, in former days, these
creatures were no less phlegmatic than their masters.
Dogs and cats vegetated rather than lived. Never a
quiver of pleasure, never a movement of rage. Their
tails stirred no more than if they'd been made of
bronze. Not a bite nor a scratch had been known from
time immemorial. As for mad dogs, they were con-
sidered beasts of fiction, and ranked with griffins and
such in the Apocalyptic menagerie.
But, during the few months whose slightest incident
we have striven to reproduce, what a change! Dogs
and cats began to show their teeth and their claws.
There were several executions after repeated attacks.
For the first time a horse was seen to take the bit be-
tween his teeth, and gallop through the streets of Qui-
quendone, an ox to rush with lowered horns at his
master, an ass to kick up his heels and bray in St.
Ernuph Place in a way that had nothing animal"
about it, and a sheep, a very sheep, to defend his chops
most valiantly against the butcher's knife.
Burgomaster Van Tricasse was forced to issue cer-
tain edicts concerning domestic animals whose mad-
ness made the streets so insecure.
But, alas! if beasts were mad, man was not much
better. No age nor condition of life escaped the
plague.
Babies soon became unendurable, though once so
docile ;and Judge Honor6 Syntax was forced to take
the rod to his youthful progeny.






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


At school there was a regular revolt; and diction-
aries described strange tangents in the air. There was
no restraining the scholars; and the professors, them-
selves excited, dealt out extravagant punishments.
Phenomenon number two: the Quiquendonians,
hitherto so sober, who made whipped cream their chief
article of diet, now committed strange excesses in eating
and drinking. Their ordinary bill of fare no longer suf-
ficed. Every stomach became a yawning gulf, which
must be filled. Expenses were tripled. Instead of
two meals, they took six. Numerous indigestions en-
sued. Lawyer Niklausse could not satisfy his hunger.
Burgomaster Van Tricasse could not quench his thirst,
and he went about in a continual state of tipsiness.
Finally, more alarming symptoms set in, and were mul-
tiplied day by day.
Drunkards were a common sight, and among them
prominent citizens.
Disordered stomachs, neuralgias, and nervous trou-
bles filled up Dr. Custos's time, proving the high degree
of irritation to which people's nerves had been sub-
jected.
There were daily brawls and quarrels in the streets,
once deserted, now so thronged; for no one could keep
at home.
A new police-force was created to restrain these
breakers of the public peace.
A lock-up was arranged in the town-hall, and it was






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


filled night and day with rebels. Passauf was worn
out.
A marriage was concluded in less than two months,
- an unheard-of thing. Tutor Rupp's son espoused
Augustine de Rorere's pretty daughter, and that only
fifty-seven days after asking her hand in marriage.
Other marriages were decided, which would formerly
have hung by the hooks for years. The burgomaster
could not get over it; and he felt his daughter, lovely
Suzel, slipping through his fingers.
As for dear Aunty Nemance, she had ventured to
sound Passauf on the subject of a union, which seemed
to him to combine money, good family, happiness, and
youth.
Finally, to heap the measure, a duel was fought.
Yes, an actual duel, with horse-pistols, at seventy-five
paces And by whom? Our readers could never guess.
By Mr. Frantz Niklausse, the gentle fisherman, and
young Simon Collaert, son of the rich banker.
And the cause of the duel was the burgomaster's
own daughter, with whom Simon was desperately smit-
ten, and whom he would not yield to his bold rival.


XI.
HOW THE QUIQUENDONIANS TOOK A BOLD RESOLUTION.
You see what a pitiable state the people of Quiquen-
done had fallen into. No one would have known them.


I., \






DR. OX'S HOBBY.


The most peaceful people had grown quarrelsome. It
did not do to look sideways at them; for they called
you out at once. Some let their mustaches grow; and
certain ones, the most warlike, curled them fiercely.
Under these conditions, it was hard to maintain
public order ; for the police-force had never been trained
to such arduous duties. The burgomaster, that
worthy Van Tricasse we once knew so mild, so feeble,
and incapable of taking any resolution,--the burgo-
master was always in a rage. The whole house rang
with his voice. He issued twenty arrests a day, glut-
ting his agents, and ready to execute justice himself if
need be.
Oh, what a change! Calm and tranquil burgo-
master's house, peaceful Flemish home, where was your
boasted comfort now? What scenes went on there?
Madame Van Tricasse grew sour, whimsical, and
greedy. Her husband sometimes succeeded in drown-
ing her voice by crying louder than she, but never
silenced her. Her angry humor took offence at any
thing. Nothing suited her. The servants were good
for nothing. Delays in every thing. She blamed
Lotche, and even Aunty N6mance, her sister-in-law;
and she, with no less temper, answered sharply. Van
Tricasse, of course, took Lotche's part, as men are apt
to do. Hence arose great exasperation in Madame Van
Tricasse, giving rise to discussions, scenes, and cur-
tain-lectures without end.






DR. OX'S BOBBY.


What ails us?" cried the wretched burgomaster.
"What fire consumes us? Are we possessed with, a
devil? Ah, Madame Van Tricasse, Madame Van Tri-
casse! you will kill me, and thus destroy the family
tradition."
For the reader must remember, that, according to an
odd tradition, Van Tricasse must become a widower,
and marry again, or break the chain of succession.
Then, too, this state of mind produced other strange
effects, which we must not omit to mention here. This
extreme excitement, whose cause escapes us now,
brought on most unexpected physiological changes.
Talents hitherto ignored now shone forth. Artists
hitherto commonplace now appeared in a new light.
Men took to politics as well as to literature. Orators
were formed by eager argument, and inflamed an audi-
ence, once far from inflammatory, whenever they spoke.
From town-meetings, the movement passed to other
assemblies; and a club was founded in Quiquendone,
while twenty journals, "The Quiquendone Signal,"
"The Quiquendone Impartial," The Quiquendone
Radical," and The Quiquendone Excessive," in fiery
leaders, discussed a thousand social questions.
But to what purpose? you ask. To no purpose at
all. They discussed the leaning tower of Audenarde,
which some wanted to pull down, and some to prop up ;
the arrests issued by the town council, which some hot
heads tried to resist; street-sweepers, and bad drain-





DR. OX'S HOBBY.


age, &c. All well enough, if the ardent orators had
kept to municipal affairs. But, borne away by the cur-
rent, they were to go beyond, and, if Providence had
not intervened, would have urged, pushed, and hur-
ried their fellow-beings into all the dangers of war.
The fact was, that, eight or nine hundred years be-
fore, Quiquendone had pocketed an affront of the first
water; but she treasured it like some precious relic,
and there seemed some chance of its spoiling.
The cause of this affront was as follows: -
It is not generally known that Quiquendone is a near
neighbor of the little town of Virgamen. Their terri-
tories overlap.
Now, in 1185, some time before Count Baldwin
joined the crusaders, a cow from Virgamen, not be-
longing to an individual, but to the town, mind you,
sought pasture on Quiquendonian ground.
The wretched ruminant hardly took three mouthfuls ;
but the crime, the insult, was committed, and duly set
forth in an official report; for in those days lawyers
were learning to write.
"We will be revenged in due time," simply said
Natalis Van Tricasse, thirty-second predecessor of the
present burgomaster; and the Virgaminians will make
nothing by the delay."
The Virgaminians took warning. They waited, not
unreasonably thinking that the memory of the injury
would fade with time; and for several centuries they




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