Chapter 25


It was just dawning when the butler woke up due to milord's loud snoring. He rubbed his eyes and suddenly remembered that today all slavery would be over. With some bewilderment he looked at the floor where one of the hamsters obviously was holding a speech. The butler shook his head, gripped the protesting hamster and put him into the suitcase. With a start he looked about him: Where were the other hamsters? He looked under the beds, ransacked the wardrobe, but the hamsters were not there. The clock said that it was 5.00 a.m. McClown decided to begin the breakfast preparations for the hotel guests. Nothing wrong to have a little time left for preparing the escape later on. Very cautiously, not to wake up His Lordship and start unfruitful discussions, he opened the door and went into the neighbouring kitchen. First of all he filled the water kettle, put it onto the stove and got tea and tea filter from the cupboard. He angrily noticed that the teapot was still dirty. So he walked over to the sink. Standing in front of it, he did not believe his eyes.

"Why, did your party go down the sink?" The butler almost toppled over with laughter. "Did you have some fun after all?" He took the frustrated hamsters and cautiously carried them to their chamber. Again and again he had to stifle a giggle. He opened the door and put the hamsters into the suitcase with the mayor who still was holding a speech. Then he walked back to the kitchen, giggling. "If he had said another word, I would have gone for him", Goldi roared and waved his tiny fist. "Let's not talk about it any more", Topple proposed. "We're really a shame for all hamsters." "That's it", Flecki yawned. "Let's have some sleep. Today we've made fools enough of ourselves." While the hamsters went to sleep, the butler prepared breakfast in the kitchen. He was glad that there were only few guests at the hotel just now. Only three guests were to be served breakfast, the butler thought, and made coffee for Room No. 4. That was the room of the funny professor who walked about in the surrounding landscape all day long or was reading books in his room. Then there was Room No. 8, holding a couple who always were out all the day and gave McClown no trouble. However, it was close to vacation time and he well knew that lots of people would be coming soon. No, they must be off, the earlier the better. The kitchen clock showed 6.00 a.m. by now. There was a prickling in his stomach and he wondered how he might take the suitcases outside without being noticed. He had no idea and that troubled him. And if they simply left the luggage behind? No, never, the butler thought with grim face, never he would leave the poor little hamsters behind. "You don't look very happy, Sir Frido - good morning", he heard the voice of the porter who had just entered the kitchen to check how things were going. Against McClown Lachlan McFish was quite polite because he regarded him as a kind of fellow sufferer. On the other hand he badgered Lord McShredder as much as possible. "Please remember to take the garbage out so that the collectors can take it away today." "I will", McClown mumbled and put the coffee powder he just had spilt into the filter. Suddenly he had an idea. The garbage! He went to the back part of the kitchen and found the two dustbins which were to be emptied today. He looked in and saw that there still was room enough - room enough for the suitcases.

As unobstrusively as possible he left the kitchen and made for the room where milord was still snoring loud and peacefully. Frido McClown took one suitcase after the other and carried it into the kitchen. The porter had left, and with pounding heart the butler stuffed the suitcases into the dustbins. Then he fetched the small green bucket which was filled with leftovers and distributed them in the bins so that the suitcases were no longer visible. When he looked at the clock again he saw with some shock that it was almost 7.00 a.m. He hurried to lay the breakfast tables, carried the dustbins out and finally woke up His Lordship and told him where he had left the trunks. "McClown, I see that you learned something from me", His Lordship whispered a short time later when they were sitting over their breakfast. He again and again looked about him to check if someone was listening. "It's 7.25 a.m. now. When we have finished our breakfast you'll quickly clean away the dishes and go back into the kitchen. It will take us 10 minutes to reach the bus stop where the bus for Corran is leaving at 7.47 a.m."

"Yes, Sir", the butler excitedly replied and stuffed the last piece of toast into his mouth. "I'm cleaning away the dishes now." "Very good, McClown", McShredder said. "I'm going to my room to put on my painter’s gear. Then I'll leave the house and wait for you." After the butler had taken the dishes to the kitchen, he threw another glance at the clock. It was 7.35 a.m. now, the time had come! He took the small green bucket and faked taking vegetable remains to the dustbins. The porter had just entered the kitchen, probably to check whether all ingredients for lunch were there, the butler thought and quickly went outdoors. His Lordship was standing there with a thoughtful face. The dustbins! Where were the dustbins with the suitcases? The suitcases were not that important, but where were the poor hamsters?

"Congratulations, McClown, the garbage collectors just fetched our luggage."
"Where to?" The butler was close to tears.
"Well, McClown, I guess they are taken to the incinerator near Glasgow."
"Can we overtake them, Sir?"

Lord McShredder pondered.

"Now, McClown, take the wheelchair and speed up. First of all we have to get the bus!"


His Lordship sat down in the wheelchair and the butler pushed. There was no question that milord had to be pushed along. First he was no longer very fast, second the road was quite steep so that they were very quick. With racing speed they took a right-hand bend and the centre of Strontian already came into sight. The butler panted while pushing over the uneven road and looked back again and again. Nobody followed them. A lord in painter's gear, a butler in cook's gear, racing through the town centre like hell. What a picture, the butler thought and saw with relief that the bus stop was only a few steps ahead. The bus was already waiting. His Lordship left the wheelchair and boarded the bus. Exhaustedly he fell into a seat. The driver helped the butler to get the wheelchair into the bus. Then he returned to his driver's seat and turned to McClown: "Need a ticket, Sir?" The butler shook his head. He needed no ticket, he needed the suitcase with the hamsters. Then the bus set moving..