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HOME > Classical Novels > The Little Match Man > CHAPTER XI A CURIOUS COSTUME
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The day after that we arrived in China.

Far out at sea we spied the land—all green hills with pagodas everywhere.

In the morning, not feeling Fiam move, I looked for him in his box, but it was empty, and he had disappeared. I was very anxious. There was no trace anywhere of my little friend except an odor of saki. I was afraid he had fallen on the ground and that some one had picked him up. Every time I saw a lighted pipe or cigarette my heart beat and I ran to see if the burning match could be Fiam. I couldn’t bear to leave the ship until I had found him. I actually ransacked my pockets ten times in succession. I looked in every corner of my valise, all over the floor and in every crack of the deck and in my slippers—nothing. I was afraid he had run away and I could have cried from grief.

“What have you lost?” asked one of the stewards, [94] seeing me bending over searching on the floor and stairs.

“I am looking for a match,” I answered.

“Here is one.”

Startled, I turned quickly, but he handed me an entirely fresh box of matches.

“No, thank you,” I said. “Mine is double.”

He gazed at me in amazement and left me. If he had been the doctor he might, perhaps, have ordered ice on the head; but as he was only the steward he returned soon and gave me the bill for my meals.

I drew out my purse to pay him, and on opening it I saw a lot of papers. I looked between them feverishly. Just guess! Fiam was among the postage stamps, but in what a state!

While still wet............
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