1062 THE FLEA AND THE PROFESSOR
But one evening, when he pulled the drawer out, she had gone ; she was not in the front drawer, nor in the back drawer, nor in the whole house—not to be seen, not to be heard. It was her clever trick. She never came back. She was tired of it, and he became tired of it, lost his good humour, could not talk or play tricks any more, and so nobody came ; the profits became poor, his clothes became poor ; he owned at last only a huge flea, an inheritance from his wife, and therefore he thought so much of it. So he trained it, taught it to do clever tricks, taught it to present arms, and fire a cannon.
The Professor was proud of the flea, and it was proud of itself ; it had learnt something and had human blood in it, and had been in the biggest towns, had been seen by princes and princesses, and had won their high admiration. It appeared printed in the newspapers and on placards. It knew that it was famous, and could maintain a Professor, yes, even a whole family.
Proud and famous it was, and yet, when it and the Professor travelled, they went fourth class on the railway; that travels just as quickly as the first. There was a tacit promise that they would never separate, never marry, the flea would remain a bachelor, and the Professor a widower. It comes to the same thing.
' Where one has the greatest success,' said the Professor, 1 one should not come twice.' He was a judge of character, and that is also an art.
At last he had travelled in all countries except savage countries, and so he decided to go there ; there, indeed, they ate Christian men, the Professor knew, but he was not really a Christian, and the flea was not really a man, so he imagined that they might venture to travel there and have good fortune.
They travelled by steamship and sailing ship ; the flea went through his tricks, and so they travelled free on the way and came to the country of the savages.
Here reigned a little Princess ; she was only eight years old, but she reigned. She had taken the power from her father and mother, for she had a will and was exceptionally charming and naughty. As soon as the flea had presented arms and fired the cannon, she was so enchanted