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Full text of "Works of Jules Verne"


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A DANGEROUS MOMENT 

The "Victoria" was flying almost above the troop of horsemen who 
were riding with loose reins after Joe. The doctor in the front of the 
car held the ladder extended, ready to launch it at the proper moment. 
Joe still kept about fifty feet ahead of his pursuers. The "Victoria" 
passed them. 

"Attention! " cried Samuel to Kennedy. 

"I am ready." 

"Joe, look out !" cried the doctor in a ringing voice, as he threw 
down the ladder, whose lowest rounds dragged up the dust as they fell. 

At the doctor's summons, Joe, without checking his horse, turned 
round. The ladder was close to him, and in a moment he had caught 
it.— Page 367. 



Vol. 1. 



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WORKS 



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EDITED BY 



CHARLES F. HORNE. Ph.D. 

Professor of English, College of the City of New York; 
Author of "The Technique of the Novel," etc. 



^. 




Vincent Parke and Company 



NEW YORK 



t • • • 

• • • • 



LONDON 



V ' ; 



Copyright, 1911, 
BY Vincent Parkk and Company. 



JULES VERNE 



f' 



■*^ HE expander of horizons," is what a 
TT^ ^ noted critic called Jules Verne. He 
if' was the prophet, the foreseer and 
AfaigiiT-.- foreteller of our great mechanical 



-v«* 



Vv»- 



age. He belongs to-day not to France, but to the 
world. Widely as his works have been read in his 
own country, their popularity has been yet wider 
in America and England. Much as he has been 
honored at home, even higher glory has been ac- 
corded liim, we are told, in far Japan. His books 
have been translated not only into all the usual 
languages, but into Hebrew, Japanese, Polish and 
even Arabic. 

Verne was a universal 
teacher, both of youth and 
age. From him the whole 
world garnered knowledge 
without effort; for all lis- 
tened with pleasure while he 
spun his tales. He was a su- 
preme master of imagination, 




vn 



Jules Verne 



JULES VERNE 

and without imagination man is nothing; for all 
greatness is but a phase of imagination. It is the 
creative force of the world. Under Verne's guid- 
ance his readers travel in every land, examine every 
mode of life and labor, view all the strangest won- 
ders of the universe. 

The educators of youth have been swift to recog- 
nize the high value of the masterworks of tliis 
mighty magician. His simpler tales are used as 
text-books in our American schools, both in French 
and English. And the conscience of the moralist 
can here approve the eager pleasure of the reader, 
and bid youth continue to bask in this glorious 
light of wonder and adventure. There is not an 
evil nor uncleanly line in all the volumes. Never 
did anyone lay aside one of Verne's books without 
being a better, broader, nobler human being be- 
cause of their perusal. 

Surely the time is ripe when a definitive edition 
of the master's works should be given to American 
readers. Jules Verne died in 1905; and, though 
he left behind him in the hands of his Paris pub- 
lishers an unusually large number of unissued 
works, the last of these has now been given to the 
public. Moreover we can now estimate his work 
calmly, unconfused by the tumultuous and very 
varying opinions pronounced upon it by the French 
critics of his own day. 

viii 



JULES VERNE 




Verne's Home 



Their obituary reviews of 
his work differed widely as to 
its value. On the one hand, 
the noted critic, Morel, in the 
authoritative "Nouvelle Re- 
vue" declared Verne to be the 
leading educator and perhaps 
the most read author of the 
new twentieth century. At the 
other extreme were the un- 
signed assaults of those who 
could only make a mock of 
v/hat was too open and too honest for them to com- 
prehend. 

Verne was no intricate analyst, elaborating such 
subtleties of thought and ethics as only subtle folk 
can understand. He spoke for the great mass of 
men, giving them such tales as they could follow, 
upholding always such a standard of courage and 
virtue, simple and high, as each of us can honor for 
himself and be glad to set before his children. 

It is not only "boy's literature" that began with 
Verne. One might almost say that man's litera- 
ture, the story that appeals to the business man, 
the practical man, began then also. The great 
French "Encyclopedic Universelle" sums up his 
books by saj^ing, "They instruct a little, entertain 
much, and overflow with life." 



?^:.:¥^ 



IX 



JULES VERNE 

Jules Verne was the establisher of a new species 
of story-telling, that which interweaves the most 
stupendous wonders of science with the simplest 
facts of human life. Our own Edgar Allan Poe 
had pointed the way; and Verne was ever eager to 
acknowledge liis indebtedness to the earlier master. 
But Poe died; and it was Verne who went on in 
book after book, fascinating his readers with clev- 
erly devised mysteries, instructing and astonishing 
them with the new discoveries of science, inspir- 
ing them with the splendor of man's destiny. 
When, as far back as 1872, his earl 5^ works were 
"crowned" by the French Academy, its Perpetual 
Secretary, M. Patin, said in his official address, 
"The well-worn wonders of fairyland are here re- 
placed by a new and more marvelous world, created 
from the most recent ideas of science." 

More noteworthy still is Verne's position as the 
true, the astonishingly true, prophet of the discov- 
eries and inventions that were to come. He was 
far more than the mere creator of that sort of 
scientific fairyland of which Secretary Patin spoke, 
and with which so many later writers, Wells, Hag- 
gard and Sir Conan Doyle, have since delighted us. 
He himself once keenly contrasted his own methods 
with those of Wells, the man he most admired 
among liis many followers. Wells, he pointed out, 
looked centuries ahead and out of pure imagination 



JULES VERNE 

embodied the unknowable that some day might 
perchance appear. "Wliile I," said Verne, "base 
my inventions on a groundwork of actual fact." 
He illustrated tliis by instancing his submarine, the 
Nautilus. "This," said he, "when carefully con- 
sidered, is a submarine mechanism about which 
there is nothing wholly extraordinary, nor beyond 
the bounds of actual scientific knowledge. It rises 
and sinks by perfectly well-known processes. . . . 
Its motive force even is no secret; the only point 
at which I have called in the aid of imagination is 
in the application of this force, and here I have 
purj)osely left a blank, for the reader to form liis 
own conclusion, a mere technical hiatus." 

So it comes that Verne's prophecies already 
spring to realization on every side. He foresaw 
and in his vivid way described not only the sub- 
marine, but also, in his "Steam-house," the auto- 
mobile, in liis "Robur the Conqueror," the aero- 
plane. Navigable balloons, huge aerial machines 
heavier than air, the telephone, moving pavements, 
stimulation by oxygen, compressed air, compressed 
food, all were existant among liis clear-sighted 
visions. And to-day as we read those even bolder 
prophecies, accounts that excited only the laughter 
of his earlier critics, it is with ever-increasing won- 
der as to wliich will next come true. 

His influence has been tremendous, not only 



XI 



JULES VERNE 



upon story-telling, but upon life. One French 
commentator cries with profound admiration that 
Verne "wholly changed the conversation of the 
drawing-rooms." Another, with perhaps broader 
understanding, declares that he revolutionized the 
thought of the young men of Iiis earlier days. "He 
taught us that the forces of nature, enemies to man 
in his ignorance, stood ready to be our servants 
once we had learned to master and control them." 
For a writer so much read, Jules Verne has been 
very little talked about. His personality became 
submerged in his work. Moreover he was not a 
Parisian, not a member of the mutual admiration 
club which exists perforce in every artistic center, 
where the same little circle of able men constantly 
meeting, and writing one about the other, impress 
all their names upon the public. Verne early with- 
drew from the turmoil and clamor of the French 
capital to dwell in peace at Amiens. To ignore 
Paris, to withdraw deliberatelv from its already 

won caresses! Could anv 
crime have been more heinous 
in Parisian eyes? It explains 
the rancor of at least some of 
the French critics in their at- 
titude toward our author. 

Known thus only through 
his books, yet by them known 




Verne's Tower Workroom 



Xll 



JULES VERNE 




so universall}^ Verne has al- 
ready become a myth. Leg- 
ends have gathered around 
his form. In Germany writers 
have ponderously explained 
— and believed — that he was 
not a Frenchman at all, but a -^ 
Jew, a native of Russian Po- 
land. They gave him a birth- 
place, in the town of Plock, 
and a name, Olshewitz, of 
which Vergne or Verne was The saim Michel 

only a French translation, since both words mean 
the alder tree. In Italy about 1886 the report 
became widespread that he was dead, or rather that 
he had never lived, that he was only a name used 
in common by an entire syndicate of authors, wlio 
contributed their best works and best efforts to 
popularize the series of books whose profits they 
shared in common. Even in France itself men 
learned to say, for the sake of the antithesis, that 
tliis, the greatest of all wnters of travel, had gained 
all his knowledge out of books and never himself 
had traveled beyond Amiens. 

Lest to American readers also, the man, the 
truly lovable man, Verne, should become wholly 
lost behind his books, let us make brief record of 
liim here. He was born in Nantes, the chief city of 



XUl 



JULES VERNE 

Brittany, on February 8, 1828. His father was 
a lawyer in good circumstances, and Jules' early 
training was also for the law. The chief pleasure 
of his youth lay in a battered old sailing boat, in 
which he and his brother Paul, taking turns at 
being captain, played all the stories of the sea, and 
explored every reach of the River Loire, even down 
to the mighty ocean. That sloop still echoes through 
his every book. 

Sent to Paris to complete his studies, Jules soon 
drifted away from the law. He became part and 
parcel of all the Bohemian life of Paris, a student, 
artist, author, poet, clerking all day that he might 
live and dream and scribble all the night. A typi- 
cal "son of the boulevards," they called him in 
those days. He became a close friend of the 
younger Dumas, and was introduced to his friend's 
yet more celebrated father, the Alexander Dumas 
of romance. The father guided and advised him; 
the son collaborated with him in his first literary 
success — if literarj^ it can be called — a little one act 
comedy in verse, "Broken Straws," produced at the 
"Gymnase" in 1850. Then came librettos for comic 
operas, short stories for little-known story papers; 
and young Verne was fairly launched upon a ca- 
reer of authorship. 

In 1857 he journeyed eighty miles to Amiens, 
so the story is told, to act as best man at the wed- 



XIV 



JULES VERNE 

ding of a friend. Before tliis he had long vowed 
himself to a single life. Art, he said, and woman 
were two different mistresses, and no man could 
truly serve both. But at Amiens he arrived late, 
the bridal party was already gone, and no one was 
left to receive the laggard but a sister of the bride, 
a young widow who had stayed at home to keep 
from casting her gloom upon the festivity. Within 
the hour both Jules and the young widow, Mme. 
de Vianne, had abandoned all their former views, 
and recognized each other as life companions. This 
sounds like another legend; but it seems well 
vouched for. Verne married Mme. de Vianne "with- 
in the year. 

In 1860 or shortly after, Verne met the one other 
person who was most to influence liis life, the great 
Parisian publisher, Hetzel, who had issued the 
works of Hugo, of Georges Sand, and of DeMus- 
set. Hetzel, who had been in exile in Brussels, 
returned to Paris in 1860: and our author soon be- 
gan writing for him. The two became warm friends. 

Verne's first full length novel or story was issued 
by Hetzel in 1863. This epoch-making book was 
"Five Weeks in a Balloon." In it the vounsf au- 
thor attained for the first time his characteristic 
vein of explorations into unknown regions, inter- 
mingling the new science with adventures and hero- 
ism as old as man. 

XV 



JULES VERNE 



The book was a tremendous success. The whole 
world read, and was delighted. Hetzel started a 
"Magazine of Education and Recreation," which 
was chiefly supported by Verne's writings. Author 

and publisher made a twen- 
ty year contract, under 
which Verne was to pro- 
duce two books a year; and 
being thus assured of finan- 
cial independence, Verne in 
1870 withdrew with his wife 
to her native Amiens. There 
he lived in quietude for 
over thirty-five years, until 
his death. 

The legend that he never 
quitted Amiens at all is, 
however, false. Twice at 
least he journeyed to the British Isles, and once, 
though before his retirement to Amiens, to 
America and once to Scandinavia. Moreover 
his youthful love for sailing clung to him. In 
a little ten ton boat, he cruised much in sum- 
mer along the French coast; and later in life 
he owned a handsome hundred foot steam yacht, 
the "Saint Michel," in which he visited Mediterra- 
nean Africa, Malta and much of the European 
coast. 




Verne's Tombstone 



XVI 



JULES VERNE 

Chiefly, however, Verne's later life was devoted 
to his books, and to the civic world of Amiens. He 
was a member of the town council, an active and 
earnest member, who won the devoted regard of 
his fellow townsmen. 

He and the grand cathedral of Amiens were the 
city's twin celebrities, their pictures standing side 
by side in shop-windows and decorating postal 
cards. The Verne homestead was on one of the 
principal boulevards, a handsome house with, at 
its rear, a tow^er, the topmost room of wliich formed 
a secluded den where the writer worked. 

In this tower room, he continued steadily pro- 
ducing his stories. As far back as 1872 he had been 
a candidate for the celebrated French Academy, 
with strong chances of election. But the Academy, 
while it crowned Ms individual books, refused mem- 
bership to their author, though after that first can- 
didacy he in the course of liis later life watched the 
entire membership of the Academy pass and be 
renewed twice over. His friends, especially his 
Amiens townfolk, declared that his exclusion was 
due to Parisian jealousy, and that the Academy 
lost far more honor than the author by ignoring 
him. "Paris," said one of them, "had nothing 
worthy of this great man. He sought a place for 
work; Paris offers its great men only lounging 
places." 

xvii 



JULES VERNE 

Yet, in no spirit of unfciirness, we must admit 
that Jules Verne's claim upon the Academy rather 
decreased with added years. Most of his later books 
by no means equal his earlier ones. A man over 
seventy may well be pardoned if he no longer 
writes with the fresh fanc}'^ and confident vigor of 
thirty-five. To present all Verne's later work to 
American readers would be fair neither to the 
fame of the author nor to the pocket of the public. 
Therefore a labor of selection has been necessary. 
All the works that have made Jules Verne beloved, 
all that present his imaginary inventions, his pro- 
phecies of the future, every work that honest critics 
have thought worth preserving, is included in this 
edition. It presents not only those books crowned 
by the French Academy, but all those crowned by 
the verdict of that final judge, that best of judges 
when long years run full, that judge to whom all 
our work must be submitted in the end, the general 
public. 

To them this work is dedicated. 



XVIIl 



CONTENTS 
Volume Onk 

PAGB 

Jui.Es Verne in 

Introduction 1 

A Drama in the Air 3 

The Watch's Soul 21 

A Winter in the Ice . . . . . .63 

The Pearl of Lima 107 

The Mutineers 159 

Five Weeks in a Balloon 179 



II^IvUSTRATlONS 



Voi,ume; One 






PAGB 


A Dangerous Moment 


Frontispiece 


The Uprising . . . . , 


176 


A Mysterious Rivai. . . , . 


. 304 



Til 




INTRODUCTION TO VOLUME ONE 

N this volume are included Verne's first master- 
piece, " Five Weeks in a Balloon," and also all 
such of his earlier stories as he himself 
thought worth preserving. These he gathered 
in later years, and had some of them reissued 
by his Paris publishers. 

"A Drama in the ^Air," was, as Verne himself tells us, 
his first published story. It appeared soon after 18^0 in a 
little-known local magazine called the " Musee des Families.''' 
The tale, though somewhat amateurish, is very character- 
istic of the master's later style. In it we can see, as it were, 
the germ of all that was to follow, the interest in the new 
advances of science, the dramatic story, the carefully col- 
lected knowledge of the past, the infusion of instruction 
amid the excitement of the tale. 

Similarly we find " A Winter in the Ice " to be a not un- 
worthy predecessor of " The Adventures of Captain Hat- 
teras " and all the author's other great books of adventure 
in the frozen world. Here, at the first attempt, a vigorous 
and imp. ^ssive story introduces ns to the northland, thor- 
oughly imderstood, accurately described, vividly appreciated 
and pictured forth in its terror and its mystery. 

" The Pearl of Lima " opens the way to all those stories 
of later novelists wherein some ancient kingly race, some 
forgotten civilization of Africa or America, reasserts itself 
in the person of some spectacular descendant, tragically 
matching its obscure and half-demonic pozvers against the 
might of the modern world. " The Mutineers " inaugurates 
our author's favorite geographical device. It describes a 
remarkable and little-knozvn country by having the char- 
^acters of the story travel over it on some anxious errand, 
tracing their progress step by step. 



2 INTRODUCTION 

Thus, of these five early tales, " The Watch's SouV is 
the only one differing sharply from Verne's later work. It 
is allegorical, supernatural, depending not upon the scientific 
marvels of the material world, but upon the direct inter- 
position of supernal powers. 

" Five Weeks in a Balloon," the last and by far the most 
important story in this volume, is Verne's first complete and 
accepted masterpiece. This book, published in i86^ with- 
out preliminary display, made the author instantly a central 
^figure in the literary world. Like Byron he awoke one 
morning and found himself famous. 

Verne told his friends that before writing this book, he 
had no knowledge whatever of practical ballooning. In- 
deed the balloon was, to his view, quite a secondary part of 
the tale. Always an omnivorous reader of works of travel, 
he conceived the idea of writing into one book the descrip- 
tions of parts of Africa gathered from the accounts of the 
great explorers. These men he regarded as heroes of the 
highest type, zvorthy of the most distinguished honor; and 
he sought to honor them. 

As he worked over the tale, the possibilities of scientific 
and even more of dramatic interest to be gained from the 
balloon, appealed to him more and more. To his friends he 
confided thut he had conceived an idea or rather a combina- 
tion of ideas by the publication of which he hoped he might 
achieve real fame. 

He was right. " Five Weeks in a Balloon " was unique 
in the literature of the day. Its success was as immediate 
and tremendous as it was deserved. The book is painstak- 
ingly accurate in its following of the descriptions of the ex- 
plorers, a truly valuable piece of geographical work. It is 
almost inspired in its deductions as to the probable character 
of the unknown land beyond their travels, its descriptions 
of that mysterious heart of Africa zvhich even yet is largely 
unexplored. In the handling of the fortunes of the balloon 
and the balloonists, the elements of drama and suspense, the 
book is an acknowledged masterpiece. 




A Drama in the Air 



N the month of September, 185 — , I arrived 
at Frankfort-on-the-Main. My passage 
through the principal German cities had been 
brilliantly marked by balloon accents; but as 
yet no German had accompanied me in my 
car, and the fine experiments made at Paris 
by MM, Greene, Eugene Godard, and Poitevin had not 
tempted the grave Teutons to essay aerial voyages. 

But scarcely had the news of my approaching ascent 
spread through Frankfort, than three of the principal 
citizens begged the favor of being allowed to ascend with 
me. Two days afterwards we were to start from the Place 
de la Comedie. I began at once to get my balloon ready. 
It was of silk, prepared with gutta percha; and its volume, 
which was three thousand cubic yards, enabled it to ascend 
to the loftiest heights. 

The day of the ascent was that of the great September 
fair, which attracts so many people to Frankfort. Lighting 
gas, of perfect quality and great lifting power, had been 
furnished me, and about eleven o'clock the balloon was 
filled; but only three-quarters filled, — an indispensable pre- 
caution, for, as one rises, the atmosphere diminishes in 
density, and the fluid enclosed within the balloon, acquiring 
more elasticity, might burst its sides. My calculations told 
me exactly the quantity of gas necessary to carry up my com- 
panions and myself. 

We were to start at noon. The impatient crowd which 
pressed around the enclosed square, overflowing into the 
contiguous streets, and covering the houses from the ground- 
floor to the slated gables, presented a striking scene. 

I carried three hundred pounds of ballast in bags; the car, 
quite round, four feet in diameter, was comfortably ar- 
ranged; the hempen cords which supported it stretched 
symmetrically over the upper hemisphere of the balloon; the 

3 



4 A DRAMA IN THE AIR 

compass was in place, the barometer suspended in the circle 
which united the supporting cords, and the anchor put in 
order. All was now ready for the ascent. 

Among those who pressed around the enclosure, I re- 
marked a young man with a pale face and agitated features. 
The sight of him impressed me. He was an eager spectator 
of my ascents, whom I had already met in several German 
cities. With an uneasy air, he closely watched the curious 
machine, as it lay motionless a few feet above the ground; 
and he remained silent among those about him. 

Twelve o'clock came. The moment had arrived, but my 
traveling companions did not appear. 

I sent to their houses, and learnt that one had left for 
Hamburg, another for Vienna, and the third for London. 
Their courage had failed them at undertaking one of those 
excursions which, thanks to the improvement in aeronautics 
are free from all danger. As they formed, in some sort, a 
part of the programme of the day, the fear had seized them 
that they might be forced to execute it faithfully, and they 
had fled far from the scene at the instant when the balloon 
was being filled. Their heroism was evidently in inverse 
ratio to their speed — in decamping. 

The multitude, half deceived, showed not a little ill humor. 
I did not hesitate to ascend alone. In order to re-establish 
the equilibrium between the specific gravity of the balloon 
and the weight which had thus proved wanting, I replaced 
my companions by more sacks of sand, and got into the car. 
The twelve men who held the balloon by twelve cords, let 
these slip a little between their fingers, and the balloon rose 
several feet higher. There was not a breath of wind, and 
the atmosphere was so laden that it seemed to forbid the 
ascent. 

"Is everything ready?" I cried. 

The men put themselves in readiness. A last glance told 
me that I might go. " Attention ! " 

There was a movement in the crowd, which seemed to be 
invading the enclosure. f 

"Let go!" • 

The balloon rose slowly, but I experienced a shock which 
threw me to the bottom of the car. 

When I got up, I found myself face to face with an un- 
expected fellow-voyager, — the pale young man. 



I 



A DRAMA IN THE AIR 5 

" Monsieur, I salute you," said he, with utmost coohiess. 

" By what right " 

"Am I here? By the right which the impossibihty of 
your getting rid of me confers." 

I was amazed ! His calmness put me out of countenance, 
and I had nothing to reply. I looked at the intruder but 
he took no notice of my astonishment. 

" Does my weight disarrange your equilibrium, mon- 
sieur? " he asked. "You will permit me — " and without 
waiting consent, he picked up two bags and threw them into 
space. 

" Monsieur," said I, taking the only course now possible, 
" you have come ; very well, you will remain ; but to me 
alone belongs the management of the balloon." 

" Monsieur," said he, " your urbanity is French all over: 
it comes from my own country. I morally press the hand 
you refuse me. Make all precautions, and act as seems 
best to you. I will wait till you have done " 

"For what?" 

" To talk with you." 

The barometer had fallen to twenty-six inches. We were 
nearly six hundred yards above the city; but nothing be- 
trayed the horizontal displacement of the balloon, for the 
mass of air in which it is enclosed goes forward with it. A 
sort of confused glow enveloped the objects spread out un- 
der us, and fortunately obscured their outline. 

I examined my companion afresh. He was a man of 
thirty years, simply clad. The sharpness of his features 
betrayed an indomitable energy, and he seemed very muscu- 
lar. Indifferent to the astonishment he created, he remained 
motionless, trying in the meantime to distinguish the objects 
below us. 

"Miserable mist!" said he, after a few moments. 

I did not reply. 

" You owe me a grudge? " he went on. " Bah ! I could 
not pay for my journey, and it was necessary to take you 
by surprise." 

" Nobody asks you to descend, monsieur ! " 

" Eh, do you not know, then, that the same thing hap- 
pened to the Counts of Laurencin and Dampierrc, when 
they ascended at Lyons, on the 15th of January, 1784? A 
young merchant, named Fontaine, scaled the gallery, at the 



6 A DRAMA IN THE AIR 

risk of capsizing the machine. He accomplished the 
journey, and nobody died of it ! " 

" Once on the ground, we will have an explanation," re- 
plied I, piqued at the light tone in which he spoke. 

" Bah ! Do not let us think of our return." 

" Do you think, then, I shall not hasten to descend? " 

"Descend!" said he, in surprise. "Descend? Let us 
begin by first ascending." 

And before I could prevent it, two more bags had been 
thrown out of the car, without even having been emptied. 

" Monsieur ! " cried I, in a rage. 

" I know your ability," replied the unknown quietly, " and 
your fine ascents are famous. But if Experience is the 
sister of Practice, she is also a cousin of Theory, and I have 
studied the aerial art long. It has got into my head ! " he 
added sadly, falling into a silent reverie. 

The balloon, having risen some distance farther, now be- 
come stationary. The unknown consulted the barometer 
and said, " Here we are, at eight hundred yards. Men are 
like insects. See ! I think we should always contemplate 
them from this height, to judge correctly of their propor- 
tions. The Place de la Comedie is transformed into an im- 
mense ant-hill. Observe the crowd which is gathered on the 
quays ; and the mountains also get smaller and smaller. We 
are over the Cathedral. The Main is only a line, cutting 
the city in two, and the bridge seems a thread thrown be- 
tween the two banks of the river." 

The atmosphere became somewhat chilly. 

" There is nothing I would not do for you, my host," 
said the unknown. "If you are cold, I will take off my 
coat and lend it to you." 

" Thanks," said I dryly. 

" Bah ! Necessity makes law. Give me your hand. I 
am your fellow-countryman; you will learn something in 
my company, and my conversation will indemnify you for 
the trouble I have given you." 

I sat down, without replying, at the opposite extremity 
of the car. The young man drew a voluminous manuscript 
from his coat. It was an essay on ballooning. 

" I possess," said he, " the most curious collection of en- 
gravings and caricatures extant concerning aerial manias. 
How people admired and scoffed at the same time at this 



A^ DRAMA IN THE AIR 7 

precious discovery! We are happily no longer in the age 
in which Montgolfier tried to make artificial clouds with 
steam, or a gas having electrical properties, produced by 
ihe combustion of moist straw and chopped-up-wool." 

" Do you wish to depreciate the talent of the inventors? " 
I asked, for I had resolved to enter into the adventure. 
" Was it not good to have proved by experience the pos- 
sibility of rising in the air? " 

" Ah, monsieur, who denies the glory of the first aerial 
navigators? It required imxmense courage to rise by means 
of those frail envelopes which only contained heated air. 
But I ask you, has the aerial science made great progress 
since Blanchard's ascensions, that is, since nearly a century 
ago? Look here, monsieur." 

The unknown took an engraving from his portfolio. 

" Here," said he, " is the first aerial voyage undertaken 
by Pilatre des Rosiers and the Marquis d'Arlandes, four 
months after the discover)^ of balloons. Louis XVI. re- 
fused to consent to the venture, and two men who were con- 
demned to death were the first to attempt the aerial ascent. 
Pilatre des Rosiers became indignant at this injustice, and, 
by means of intrigues, obtained permission to make the ex- 
periment. The car, which renders the management easy, 
had not then been invented, and a circular gallery was placed 
around the lower and contracted part of the Montgolfier 
balloon. The two aeronauts must then remain motionless 
at each extremity of this gallery, for the moist straw which 
filled it forbade theni all motion. A chafing-dish with fire 
was suspended below the orifice of the balloon; when the 
aeronauts wished to rise, they threw straw upon this brazier, 
at the risk of setting fire to the balloon, and the air, more 
heated, gave it fresh ascending power. The two bold travel- 
ers rose, on the 21st of November, 1783, from the Muette 
Gardens, which the dauphin had put at their disposal. The 
balloon went up majestically, passed over the Isle of Swans, 
crossed the Seine at the Conference barrier, and, drifting be- 
tween the dome of the Invalids and the Military School, ap- 
proached the Church of Saint Sulpice. Then the aeronauts 
added to the fire, crossed the Boulevard, and descended be- 
yond the Enfer barrier. As it touched the soil, the balloon 
collapsed, and for a few moments buried Pilatre des Rosiers 
under its folds." 



8 A DRAMA IN THE AIR 

" Unlucky augury," I said, interested in the story, which 
affected me nearly. 

" An augury of the catastrophe which was later to cost 
this unfortunate man his life," replied the unknown sadly. 
" Have you never experienced anything like it? " 

" Never." 

" Bah ! Misfortunes sometimes occur un foreshadowed ! " 
added my companion. He then remained silent. 

We were drifting southward, and Frankfort had already 
passed from beneath us. 

" Perhaps we shall have a storm," said the young man. 

" We shall descend before that," I replied. 

" Better to ascend. We shall escape it more surely." And 
two more bags of sand were hurled into space. 

The balloon rose rapidly, and stopped at twelve hundred 
yards. I became colder; and yet the sun's rays, falling up- 
on the surface, expanded the gas within, and gave it a 
greater ascending force. 

" Fear nothing," said the unknown. " We have still 
three thousand five hundred fathoms of breathing air. Be- 
sides, do not trouble yourself about what I do." 

I would have risen, but a vigorous hand held me to my 
seat. " Your name? " I asked. 

" My name? What matters it to you? " 

" I demand your name ! " 

" My name is Erostratus or Empedocles, whichever you 
choose ! " 

This reply was far from reassuring. The unknown, be- 
sides, talked with such strange coolness that I anxiously 
asked myself whom I had to deal with. 

" Monsieur," he continued, " nothing original has been 
imagined since the physicist Charles. Four months after 
the discovery of balloons, this man had invented the valve 
which permits the gas to escape when the balloon is too 
full, or when you wish to descend; the car, which aids the 
management of the machine ; the netting, which holds the 
envelope of the balloon, and divides the weight over its whole 
surface; the ballast, which enables you to ascend, and to 
choose the place of your landing; the india-rubber coating, 
which renders the tissue impermeable ; the barometer, which 
shows the height attained. Lastly, Charles used hydrogen, 
which, fourteen times lighter than air, permits you to pene- 



A DRAMA IN THE AIR 9 

trate to the highest atmospheric regions, and does not ex- 
pose you to the dangers of a combustion in the air. On the 
1st of December, 1783, three hundred thousand spectators 
were crowded around the Tuilleries. Charles rose, and the 
soldiers presented arms to him. He traveled nine leagues 
in the air, conducting his balloon with an ability not sur- 
passed by modern aeronauts. The king awarded him a 
pension of two thousand livres; for then they encouraged 
new inventions." 

The unknown now seemed to be under the influence of 
considerable agitation. 

" See, there is Darmstadt," said he, leaning over the car. 
"Do you perceive the chateau? Not very distinctly, eh? 
What would you have? The heat of the storm makes the 
outline of objects waver, and you must have a skilled eye 
to recognize localities." 

"Are you certain it is Darmstadt? " I asked 

" I am sure of it. We are now six leagues from Frank- 
fort." 

" Then we must descend." 

" Descend ! You would not go down on the steeples," 
said the unknown, with a chuckle. 

" No, but in the surburbs of the city." 

" Well, let us avoid the steeples ! " 

So speaking, my companion seized some bags of ballast. 
I hastened to prevent him; but he overthrew me with one 
hand, and the unballasted balloon ascended to two thousand 
yards. 

" Rest easy," said he, " and do not forget that Brioschi, 
Biot, Gay-Lussac, Bixio, and Barral ascended to still 
greater heights to make their scientific experiments." 

" Monsieur, we must descend," I resumed, trying to per- 
suade him by gentleness. " The storm is gathering around 
us. It would be more prudent " 

" Bah ! We will mount higher than the storm, and then 
we shall no longer fear it! " cried my companion. " What 
is nobler than to overlook the clouds which oppress the 
earth? Is it not an honor thus to navigate on aerial billows? 
The greatest men have traveled as we are doing. The 
Marchioness and Countees de Montalembert, the Countess 
of Podenas, Mademoiselle la Garde, the Marquis de Mon- 
talembert, rose from the Faubourg Saint-Antoine for these 



10 A DRAMA IN THE AIR 

unknown regions, and the Duke de Chartres exhibited much 
skill and presence of mind in his ascent on the 15th of July, 
174. At Lyons, the Counts of Laurencin and Dampierre; 
at Nantes, M. de Luynes; at Bordeaux, D'Arbelet des 
Granges ; in Italy, the Chevalier Andreani ; in our own time, 
the Duke of Brunswick, — have all left traces of their glory 
in the air. To equal these great personages, we must pene- 
trate still higher than they into the celestial depths! To 
approach the infinite is to comprehend it ! " 

The rarefaction of the air was fast expanding the hydro- 
gen in the balloon, and I saw its lower part, purposely left 
empty, swell out, so that it was absolutely necessary to open 
the valve; but my companion did not seem to intend that I 
should manage the balloon as I wished. I then resolved 
to pull the valve-cord secretly, as he was excitedly talking; 
for I feared to guess with whom I had to deal. It would 
have been too horrible ! It was nearly a quarter before one. 
We had been gone forty minutes from Frankfort; heavy 
clouds were coming against the wind from the south, and 
seemed about to burst upon us. 

" Have you lost all hope of succeeding in your project? " 
I asked with anxious interest. 

" All hope ! " exclaimed the unknown in a low voice. 
" Wounded by slights and caricatures, these asses' kicks have 
finished me! It is the eternal punishment reserved for in- 
novators ! Look at these caricatures of all periods, of which 
my portfolio is full." 

While my companion was fumbling with his papers, I 
had seized the valve-cord without his perceiving it. I 
feared, however, that he might hear the hissing noise, like a 
water-course, which the gas makes in escaping. 

" How many jokes were made about the Abbe Miolan ! 
said he. " He was to go up with Janninet and Bredin. 
During the filling their ballon caught fire, and the ignorant 
populace tore it in pieces ! Then this caricature of * curious 
animals ' appeared, giving each of them a punning nick- 
name." 

I pulled the valve-cord, and the barometer began to as- 
cend. It was time. Some far-off rumblings were heard in 
the south. 

" Here is another engraving," resumed the unknown, not 
suspecting what I was doing. " It is an imemnse balloon 



A" DRAMA IN THE AIR ii 

carrying a ship, strong castles, houses, and so on. The 
caricaturists did not suspect that their folhes would one day 
become truths. It is complete, this large vessel. On the 
left is its helm, with the pilot's box; at the prow are pleas- 
ure-houses, an immense organ, and a cannon to call the at- 
tention of the inhabitants of the earth or the moon; above 
the poop there are the observatory and the balloon long- 
boat; in the equatorial circle, the army barrack; on the left, 
the funnel; then the upper galleries for promenading, sails, 
pinions; below, the cafes and general storehouse. Observe 
this pompous announcement : ' Invented for the happiness 
of the human race, this globe will depart at once for the 
ports of the Levant, and on its return the programme of its 
voyages to the two poles and the extreme west will be an- 
nounced. No one need furnish himself with anything; 
everything is foreseen, and all will prosper. Thus pleasure 
will be the soul of the aerial company.' All this provoked 
laughter; but before long, if I am not cut off, they will see 
it all realized." 

We were visibly descending. He did not perceive it! 

" This kind of ' game at balloons,' " he resumed, spreading 
out before me some of the engravings of his valuable col- 
lection, " this game contains the entire history of the aero- 
static art. It is used by elevated minds, and displayed with 
dice and counters, with whatever stakes you like, to be paid 
or received according to where the player arrives." 

" Why," said I, " you seem to have studied the science of 
aerostation profoundly." 

" Yes, monsieur, yes ! From Phaeton, Icarus, Architas. 
I have searched for, examined, learnt everything. I could 
render immense services to the world in this art, if God 
granted me life. But that will not be! " 

"Why?" 

" Because my name is Empedocles, or Erostratus." 

Meanwhile, the balloon was happily approaching the 
earth ; but when one is falling, the danger is as great at a 
hundred feet as at five thousand. 

" Do you recall the battle of Fleurus? " resumed my com- 
panion, whose face became more and more animated. " It 
was at that battle that Contello. by order of the Government, 
organized a company of ballonists. At the siege of Man- 
benge General Jourdan derived so much service from this 



12 A DRAMA IN THE AIR 

new method of observation that Contello ascended twice a 
day with the general himself. The communications between 
the aeronaut and his agents who held the balloon were made 
by means of small white, red, and yellow flags. Often the 
gun and cannon shot were directed upon the balloon when he 
ascended, but without result. Where General Jourdan was 
perparing to invest Charleroi, Contello went in the vicinity, 
ascended from the plain of Jumet, and continued his ob- 
servations for seven or eight hours with General Morlot, 
and this no doubt aided in giving us the victory of Fleurus. 
General Jourdan publicly acknowledged the help which the 
aeronautical observations had afforded him. Well, despite 
the services rendered on that occasion and during the Bel- 
gian campaign, the year which had seen the beginning of 
the military career of balloons saw also its end. The school 
of Meudon, founded by the Government, was closed by 
Buonaparte on his return from Egypt. And now, what 
can you expect from the new-born infant? as Franklin said. 
The infant was born alive; it should not be stifled! " 

The unknown bowed his head in his hands for some mom- 
ents; then rousing himself, he said, "Despite my prohibi- 
tion, monsieur, you have opened the valve." 

I dropped the cord. 

" Happily," he resum^ed, " we have still three hundred 
pounds of ballast." 

" What is your purpose? " said I. 

" Have you ever crossed the seas ? " he asked. 

I turned pale. 

"It is unfortunate," he went on, "that we are being 
driven towards the Adriatic. That is only a stream; but 
higher up we may find other currents." 

And, without taking any notice of me, he threw over sev- 
eral bags of sand; then, in a menacing voice, he said, " I let 
you open the valve because the expanding gas threatened to 
burst the balloon ; but do not do it again ! " 

Then he went on, " You remember the voyage of Blanch- 
ard and Jeffries from Dover to Calais? It was magnificent ! 
On the 7th of January, 1785, there being a north-west wind, 
their balloon was inflated with gas on the Dover coast. A 
mistake of equilibrium, just as they were ascending, forced 
them to throw out their ballast so that they might not go 
down again, and they only kept thirty pounds. It was too 



A DRAMA IN THE AIR 13 

little ; for, as the wind did not freshen, they only advanced 
very solwly towards the French coast. Besides, the per- 
meability of the tissue served to reduce the inflation little by 
little, and in an hour and a half the aeronauts perceived that 
they were descending, 

"'What shall we do?' said Jeffries. 

" * We are only one quarter of the way over/ replied 
Blanchard, * and very low down. On rising, we shall per- 
haps meet more favorable winds.' 

" * Let us throw out the rest of the sand.' 

" The balloon acquired some ascending force, but it soon 
began to descend again. Towards the m.iddle of the transit 
the aeronauts threw over their books and tools. A quarter 
of an hour after, Blanchard said to Jeffries, ' The bar- 
ometer? ' 

" * It is going up ! We are lost, and yet there is the 
French coast.' 

" A loud noise was heard. 

" * Has the balloon burst ? ' asked Jeffries. 

" * No. The loss of the gas has reduced the inflation of 
the lower part of the balloon. But we are still descending. 
We are lost ! Out with everything useless ! ' 

" Provisions, oars, and rudder were thrown into the sea. 
The aeronauts were only one hundred yards high. 

" 'We are going up agin," said the doctor. 

" ' No. It is the spurt caused by the diminution of the 
weight, and not a ship in sight, not a bark on the horizon ! 
To the sea with our clothing ! ' 

" The unfortunates stripped themselves, but the balloon 
continued to descend. 

" * Blanchard,' said Jeffries, * you should have made this 
voyage alone ; you consented to take me ; I will sacrifice my- 
self ! I shall drop into the water, and the balloon, relieved 
of my weight, will mount again.' 

"*No, no! It is frightful!' 

" The balloon became less and less inflated, and as it 
doubled up its concavity pressed the gas against the sides, 
and hastened its downward course. 

" ' Adieu,' said the doctor * God preserve you ! ' 

" He was about to throw himself over, when Blanchard 
held him back. 

" * There is one more chance,' said he. * We can cut the 



14 A DRAMA IN THE AIR 

cords which hold the car, and chng to the net ! Perhaps the 
balloon will rise. Let us hold ourselves ready. But — the 
barometer is going down! The wind is freshening! We 
are saved ! ' 

" The aeronauts perceived Calais. Their joy was de- 
lirious. A few moments more, and they had fallen in the 
forest of Guines. I do not doubt," added the unknown, 
" that, under similar circumstances, you would have fol- 
lowed Doctor Jeffries' example ! " 

The clouds rolled in glittering masses beneath us. The 
balloon threw large shadows on them, and was surrounded 
as by an aureola. The thunder rumbled below the car. All 
this was terrifying. " Let us descend ! " I cried. 

"Descend, when the sun is up there, waiting for us? 
Out with more bags ! " 

And more than fifty pounds of ballast were cast over. 

At a height of three thousand five hundred yards we re- 
mained stationary. The unknown talked unceasingly. I 
was in a state of complete prostration, while he seemed to 
be in his element. " With a good wind, we shall go far," 
he cried. " In the Antilles there are currents of air which 
have a speed of a hundred leagues an hour. When Na- 
poleon was crowned, Garnerin sent up a balloon with 
colored lamps, at eleven o'clock at night. The wind was 
blowing north-north-west. The next morning, at daybreak, 
the inhabitants of Rome greeted its passage over the dome of 
St Peter's. We shall go farther and higher ! " 

I scarcely heard him. Everything whirled around me. 
An opening appeared in the clouds. 

" See that city," said the unknown. " It is Spires ! " 

I leaned over the car and perceived a small blackish mass. 
It was Spires. The Rhine, which is so large, seemed an un- 
rolled ribbon. The sky was a deep blue over our heads. 
The birds had long abandoned us, for in that rarefied air 
they could not have flown. We were alone In space, and I 
in the presence of this unknown ! 

" It is useless for you to know whither I am leading you," 
he said, as he threw the compass among the clouds. " Ah! 
a fall is a grand thing ! You know that but few victims of 
ballooning are to be reckoned, from Pilatre des Rosiers to 
Lieutenant Gale, and that the accidents have always been 
the result of imprudence Pilatre des Rosiers set out with 



A DRAMA IN THE AIR 15 

Romain of Boulogne, on the 13th of June, 1785. To his 
gas balloon he had affixed a Montgolfier apparatus of hot 
air, so as to dispense, no doubt, with the necessity of losing 
gas or throwing out ballast. It was putting a torch under 
a powder-barrel. When they had ascended four hundred 
yards, and were taken by opposing winds, they were driven 
over the open sea. Pilatre, in order to descend, essayed to 
open the valve, but the valve-cord became entangled in the 
balloon, and tore it so badly that it became empty in an 
instant. It fell upon the Montgolfier apparatus, overturned 
it, and dragged down the unfortunates, who were soon 
shattered to pieces! It is frightful, is it not? " 

I could only reply, " For pity's sake let us descend! " 

The clouds gathered around us on every side, and dread- 
ful detonations, which reverberated in the cavity of the 
balloon, took place beneath us. 

" You provoke me," cried the unknown, " and you shall 
no longer know whether we are rising or falling ! " 

The barometer went the way of the compass, accompanied 
by several more bags of sand. We must have been 5000 
yards high. Some icicles had already attached themselves 
to the sides of the car, and a kind of fine snow seemed to 
penetrate to my very bones. Meanwhile a frightful tempest 
was raging under us, but we were above it. 

" Do not be afraid," said the unknown. " It is only the 
imprudent who are ^ost. Olivari, who perished at Orleans, 
rose in a paper Montgolfier ; ' his car, suspended below 
the chafing-dish, and ballasted with combustible materials, 
caught fire; Olivari fell, and was killed! Mosment rose, 
at Lille, on a light tray; an oscillation disturbed his equili- 
brium; Mosment fell, and was killed! Bittorf, at Manu- 
heim, saw his balloon catch fire in the air; and he, too, fell, 
and was killed ! Harris rose in a badly constructed balloon, 
the valve of which was too large and would not shut; Harris 
fell, and was killed ! Sadler, deprived of ballast by his long 
sojourn in the air, was dragged over the town of Boston 
and dashed against the chimneys; Sadler fell, and was killed! 
Cokling descended with a convex parachute which he pre- 
tended to have perfected; Cokling fell, and was killed! 
Well, I love them, these victims of their own imprudence, 
and I shall die as they did. Higher ! still higher ! " 

All the phantoms of this necrology passed before my 



i6 A DRAMA IN THE AIR 

eyes. The rarefaction of the air and the sun's rays added 
to the expansion of the gas, and the balloon continued to 
mount. I tried to open the valve, but the unknown cut the 
cord several feet above my head. I was lost. 

" Did you see Madame Blanchard fall ? " said he. " I 
saw her; yes, I! I was at TivolJ, on the 6th of July, 1819. 
Madame Blanchard rose in a small-sized balloon, to avoid 
the expense of filling, and she was forced to inflate it en- 
tirely. The gas leaked out below, and left a regular train 
of hydrogen in its path. She carried with her a sort of 
pyrotechnic aureola, suspended below her car by a wire, 
which she was to set off in the air. This she had done 
many times before. On this day she also carried up a sm.all 
parachute ballasted by a firework contrivance, that would 
go off in a shower of silver. She was to start this con- 
trivance after having lighted it with a port-fire made on pur- 
pose. She set out; the night was gloomy. At the mo- 
ment of lighting her fireworks she was so imprudent as to 
pass the taper under the column of hydrogen which was 
leaking from the balloon. My eyes were fixed upon her. 
Suddenly an unexpected gleam lit up the darkness. I 
thought she was preparing a surprise. The light flashed 
out, suddenly disappeared and reappeared, and gave the 
summit of the balloon the shape of an immense jet of ignited 
gas. This sinister glow shed itself over the Boulevard and 
the whole Montmarrte quarter. Then I saw the unhappy 
woman rise, try twice to close the appendage of the balloon, 
so as to put out the fire, then sit down in her car and try to 
guide her descent; for she did not fall. The combustion of 
the gas lasted for several minutes. The balloon, becoming 
gradually less, continued to descend, but it was not a fall. 
The wind blew from the north-west and drove it towards 
Paris. There were then some large gardens just by the 
house No. 16, Rue de Provence. Madame Blanchard es- 
sayed to fall there without danger; but the ballon and the 
car struck on the roof of the house with a light shock. 
' Save me ! ' cried the wretched woman. I got into the 
street at this moment. The car slid along the roof, and en- 
countered an iron cramp. Madame Blanchard was thrown 
out of her car and precipitated upon the pavement She was 
killed!" 

These stories froze me v;ith horror. The unknown was 

V. I Verne i 



A DRAMA IN THE AIR 17 

standing with bare head, disheveled hair, haggard eyes! 
There was no longer any illusion possible. I recognized 
the horrible truth. I was in the presence of a madman ! 

He threw out the rest of the ballast, and we must have 
now reached a height of at least nine thousand yards. 
Blood spurted from my nose and mouth ! 

" Who are nobler than the martyrs of science? " cried the 
lunatic. " They are canonized by posterity." 

But I no longer heard him. He bent down to my ear and 
muttered, " And have you forgotten Zambecarri's catas- 
trophe? Listen. On the 7th of October, 1804, the clouds 
seemed to lift a little. On the preceding days, the wind and 
rain had not ceased; but the announced ascension of 
Zambecarri could not be postponed. His enemies were al- 
ready bantering him. It was necessary to ascend to save the 
science and himself from becoming a public jest. It was 
at Boulogne. No one helped him to inflate his balloon. 
He rose at midnight, accompanied by Andreoli and 
Grossetti. The balloon mounted slowly, for it had been 
perforated by the rain, and the gas was leaking out. The 
three intrepid aeronauts could only observe the state 
of the barometer by aid of a dark lantern. Zambecarri 
had eaten nothing for twenty-four hours. Grossetti was 
also fasting. 

" * My friends,' said Zambecarri, * I am overcome by cold, 
and exhausted. I am dying.' 

" He fell inanimate in the gallery. It was the same with 
Grossetti. Andreoli alone remained conscious. After long 
efforts, he succeeded in reviving Zambecarri. 

"'What news? Whither are we going? How is the 
wind? What time is it? ' 

" * It is two o'clock.' 

" * Where is the compass? ' 

" * Upset ! ' 

" * Great God ! The lantern has gone out ! ' 

" * It cannot burn in this rarefied air," said Zambecarri. 

" The moon had not risen and the atmosphere was plunged 
in murky darkness. " * I am cold, Andreoli. What shall 
I do?' 

" They slowly descended through a layer of whitish 
clouds. * Sh ! ' said Andreoli. * Do you hear? ' 

" ' What ? ' asked Zambecarri. 



i8 A DRAMA IN THE AIR 

" * A strange noise/ 

" * You are mistaken. Consider these travelers, in the 
middle of the night, listening to that unaccountable noise! 
Are they going to knock against a tower? Are they about 
to be precipitated on the roofs? 'Do you hear? One 
would say it was the sea.' 

"'Impossible!' 

" * It is the groaning of the waves! ' 

" ' It is true.' 

" * Light! light! ' After five fruitless attempts, Andreoli 
succeeded in obtaining light. It was three o'clock. 

" The voice of violent waves was heard. They were al- 
most touching the surface of the sea ! ' We are lost ! ' cried 
Zambecarri, seizing a bag of sand. 

"'Help! 'cried Andreoli. 

" The car touched the water, and the waves came up to 
their breasts. ' Throw out the instruments, clothes ! ' 

" The aeronauts completely stripped themselves. The 
balloon, relieved, rose with frightful rapidity. Zambecarri 
was taken with vomiting. Grossetti bled profusely. The 
unfortunate men could not speak, so short was their breath- 
ing. They were taken with cold, and they were soon crusted 
over with ice. The moon looked as red as blood. 

" After traversing the high regions for a half-hour, the 
balloon again fell into the sea. It was four in the morning. 
They were half submerged in the water, and the balloon 
dragged them along, as if under sail, for several hours. 

" At daybreak they found themselves opposite Pesaro, 
four miles from the coast. They were about to reach it, 
when a gale blew them back into the open sea. They were 
lost! The frightened boats fled at their approach 
Happily, a more intelligent boatman accosted them, hoisted 
them on board, and they landed at Ferrada. 

"A frightful journey, was it not? But Zambecarri was 
a brave and energetic man. Scarcely recovered from his 
sufferings, he resumed his ascensions. During one of them 
he struck against a tree; his spirit-lamp was broken on his 
clothes ; he was enveloped in fire, his balloon began to catch 
the flames, and he came down half consumed. 

"At last, on the 21st of September, 1812, he made an- 
other ascension at Boulogne. The balloon clung to a tree, 
and his lamp again set it on fire. Zambecarri fell, and was 



A DRAMA IN THE AIR 19 

killed! And in presence of these facts, we would still hesi- 
tate ! No. The higher we go, the more glorious will be our 
death!" 

The balloon being now entirely relieved of ballast and of 
all it contained, we were carried to an enormous height. It 
vibrated in the atmosphere. The least noise resounded in 
the vaults of heaven. Our globe, the only object which 
caught my view in immensity, seemed ready to be annihi- 
lated, and above us the depths of the starry skies were lost 
in thick darkness. 

I saw my companion rise up before me. 

" The hour is come ! " he said. " We must die. We are 
rejected of men. They despise us. We will not endure it. 
Let us crush them ! " 

"Mercy!" I cried. 

" Let us cut these cords ! Let this car be abandoned in 
space. The attractive force will change its direction, and 
we shall approach the sun ! " 

Despair galvanized me. I threw myself upon the mad- 
man, we struggled together, and a terrible conflict took 
place. But I was thrown down, and while he held me under 
his knee, the madman was cutting the cords of the car. 
"One!" he cried. 

" My God 1 " 

"Two! Three!" 

I made a superhuman effort, rose up, and violently re- 
pulsed the madman. 

"Four!" The car fell, but I instinctively clung to the 
cords and hoisted myself into the meshes of the netting. 

The madman disappeared in space! 

The balloon rose to an immeasurable height. A hor- 
rible cracking was heard. The gas, too much dilated, had 
burst the balloon. I shut my eyes 

Some instants after, a damp warmth revived me. I was 
in the midst of clouds on fire. The balloon turned over 
with dizzy velocity. Taken by the wind, it made a hundred 
leagues an hour in a horizontal course, the lightning flashing 
around it. 

Meanwhile my fall was not a very rapid one. When I 
opened my eyes, I saw the country. I was two miles from 
the sea, and the tempest was driving me violently towards 
it, when an abrupt shock forced me to loosen my hold. My 



20 A DRAMA IN THE AIR 

hands opened, a cord slipped swiftly between my fingers, 
and I found myself on the solid earth ! 

It was the cord of the anchor, which, sweeping along the 
sm-face of the ground, was caught in a crevice; and my bal- 
loon, unballasted for the last time, careered off to lose itself 
beyond the sea. 

When I came to myself, I was in bed in a peasant's cot- 
tage, at Harderwick, a village of La Gueldre, fifteen leagues 
from Amsterdam, on the shores of the Zuyder-Zee. 

A miracle had saved my life, but my voyage had been a 
series of imprudences, committed by a lunatic, and I had not 
been able to prevent them. 

May this terrible narrative, though instructing those who 
read it, not discourage the explorers of the air. 



THE END 



The Watch's Soul 

OR 

Master Zacharius 




The Watch's Soul 

CHAPTER I 
A winter's night 

TNjj^ HE city of Geneva is situated at the western ex- 
\ tremity of the lake to which it gives — or owes 
p — its name. The Rhone, which crosses the 
city on emerging from the lake, divides it 
into two distinct quarters, and is itself divi- 
ded, in the center of the city, by an island 
rising between its two banks. This topographical situation 
is often to be observed in the great centers of commerce 
or industry. Doubtless the earliest inhabitants were se- 
duced by the facilities of transportation afforded by the 
rapid arms of the rivers, — >" those roads which advance 
of themselves," as Pascal says. In the case of the Rhone, 
they are roads which run. At the period when new and 
regular buildings had not as yet been erected on this island, 
anchored like a Dutch galiot in the midst of the river, the 
wonderful mass of houses huddled the one against the 
other offered to the eye a confusion full of charms. The 
small extent of the island had forced some of these build- 
ings to perch upon piles, fastened pell-mell in the strong 
currents of the Rhone. These big timbers, blackened by 
time and worn by the waters, looked like the claws of an 
immense crab, and produced a fantastic effect. Some yel- 
lowed nets, real spiders' webs stretched amid these vener- 
able substructures, shivered and trembled in the shade as 
if they had been the foliage of these old oaks, and the river, 
engulfing itself in the midst of this forest of piles, foamed 
with melancholy groans. 

One of the habitations on the island struck the observer 
by its strange appearance of extreme age. It was the resi- 
dence of the old clockmaker. Master Zacharius, his daugh- 
ter Gerande, Aubert Thun, his apprentice, and his old 
servant, Scholastique. 

What an original personage was this Zacharius! His 
age seemed incalculable. The oldest inhabitants of Geneva 
could not have told how long his lean head had wavered on 
his shoulders, nor the first day on which he had been seen 

23 



24 THE WATCH'S SOUL 

walking along the streets of the town, his long white locks 
floating waywardly in the wind. This man did not live. 
He oscillated after the manner of the pendulums of his 
clocks. His features, dry and cadaverous, affected somber 
tints. Like the pictures of Leonardo di Vinci, he had put 
black in the foreground. 

Gerande occupied the best room in the old house ; whence, 
through a narrow window, her gaze rested sadly upon the 
snowy summits of the Jura. But the bedroom and shop 
of the old man were in a sort of cellar, situated on a level 
with the river; the flooring rested on the piles themselves. 
From an immemorial period Master Zacharius had not 
been known to emerge thence, except at meal-time, and 
when he went forth to regulate the different clocks of the 
city. He passed the rest of the time at a bench covered 
with numerous clockmaking instruments, which, for the 
most part, he had himself invented. 

For he was a man of talent. His works were very popu- 
lar throughout France and Germany. The most indus- 
trious workmen in Geneva freely admitted his superiority, 
and that he was an honor to the city. They pointed him 
put, saying, " To him is due the glory of having invented 
the escapement! " 

Indeed, it is from this invention, which the labors of 
Zacharius will later make clear, that is to be dated the 
birth of the real science of clockmaking. 

One winter's evening old Scholastique was serving sup- 
per, in which, according to ancient usage, she was aided 
by the young apprentice. Though carefully prepared 
dishes were offered to Master Zacharius in fine blue-and- 
white porcelain, he ate nothing. He scarcely replied to the 
soft questionings of Gerande, who was visibly affected by 
the gloomy silence of her father; and the garrulousness of 
Scholastique herself only struck his ear like the grumblings 
of the river, to which he no longer paid attention. After 
this silent repast the old clockmaker left the table without 
embracing his daughter, nor did he, as usual, bid the rest 
*' good-evening." He disappeared through the narrow 
door which conducted to his retreat, and the staircase fairly 
creaked under his heavy tread. 

Gerande, Aubert, and Scholastique remained silent for 
some moments. The weather was gloomy; the clouds 



A WINTER'S NIGHT 25 

dragged themselves heavily along the Alps, and threatened 
to dissolve in rain; the severe temperature of Switzerland 
filled the soul with melancholy, while the midland winds 
prowled among the hills and whistled drearily. 

" Do you know, my dear demoiselle," said Scholastique 
at last, " that our master has kept wholly to himself for 
some days ? Holy Virgin ! I see he has not been hungry, 
for his words have remained in his stomach, and the Devil 
himself would be adroit to force one out of him!" 

" My father has some secret trouble which I cannot even 
guess," replied Gerande, a sad anxiety betraying itself in 
her countenance. 

" Mademoiselle, do not permit so much sadness to over- 
shadow your heart. You know the singular habits of Mas- 
ter Zacharius. Who can read his secret thoughts in his 
face ? Something annoying has no doubt happened to him, 
but he will have forgotten it by to-morrow, and will repent 
having made his daughter anxious." 

It was Aubert who spoke thus, glancing at Gerande's 
lovely eyes. Aubert was the first apprentice whom Master 
Zacharius had ever admitted to the intimacy of his labors, 
for he appreciated his intelligence, discretion, and goodness 
of heart; and this young man had attached himself to 
Gerande with that mysterious faith which presides over 
heroic denouements. 

Gerande was eighteen years of age. The oval of her 
face recalled that of the artless Madonnas, whom venera- 
tion still displays at the street corners of the antique towns 
of Brittany. Her eyes betrayed an infinite simplicity. 
She was beloved as the most delicate realization of a poet's 
dream. Whilst, night and morning, she read her Latin 
prayers in her iron-clasped missal, Gerande also discovered 
a hidden sentiment in Aubert Thun's heart, and compre- 
hended what a profound devotion the young workman had 
for her. Indeed, the whole world in his eyes was con- 
densed in this old house of the clockmaker, and he passed 
all his time near the young girl, when, the hours of work 
over, he left her father's workshop. 

Old Scholastique saw all this, but said nothing. Her 
loquacity exhausted itself in preference on the evils of the 
times, and the little worries of the household. Nobody 
tried to stop its course. It was with her as with the musi- 



26 THE WATCH'S SOUL 

cal snuff-boxes which they made at Geneva; once wound 
up, unless you broke her, she would play all her airs 
through. 

Finding Gerande absorbed in a melancholy silence, 
Scholastique left her old wooden chair, fixed a taper on 
the end of a candlestick, lit it, and placed it near a small 
waxen Virgin, sheltered in her niche of stone. It was the 
family custom to kneel before this protecting Madonna of 
the domestic hearth, and to beg her kindly watchfulness 
during the coming night; but on this evening, Gerande re- 
mained silent in her seat. 

" Well, well, dear demoiselle," said the astonished 
Scholastique, " supper is over, and it is time to go to bed. 
Why do you tire your eyes by sitting up late? Ah, Holy 
Virgin ! It is much better to sleep, and to get a little com- 
fort from happy dreams! In these detestable times in 
which we hve, who can promise herself a fortunate day? '* 

"Ought we not to send for a doctor for my father?" 
asked Gerande. 

" A doctor ! " cried the old domestic. " Has Master 
Zacharius ever listened to their fancies and pompous say- 
ings ? He might accept medicines for the watches, but not 
for the body ! " 

" What shall we do ? " murmured Gerande. " Has he 
gone to work, or has he retired? " 

" Gerande," answered Aubert, softly, " some mental 
trouble annoys your father, and that is all." 

" Do you know what it is, Aubert ? " 

" Perhaps, Gerande." 

" Tell us, then," cried Scholastique, eagerly, prudently 
extinguishing her taper. 

" For several days, Gerande," said the young apprentice, 
" something absolutely incomprehensible has been going 
on. All the watches which your father has made and sold 
for some years have suddenly stopped. Very many of 
them have been brought back to him. He has carefully 
taken them to pieces; the springs were in good condition, 
and the wheels well set. He has put them together yet 
more carefully; but, despite his skill, they have refused 
to go." 

" The devil's in it! " cried Scholastique. 

"Why say you so?" asked Gerande. "It seems very 



A WINTER'S NIGHT 27 

natural to me. All things are limited in the world. The 
infinite cannot be fashioned by the hands of men." 

" It is none the less true," returned Aubert, " that there 
is in this something very mysterious and extraordinary. 
I have myself been helping Master Zacharius to search for 
the cause of this derangement of his watches; but I have 
not been able to find it, and more than once I have de- 
spairingly let my tools fall from my hands." 

" But why undertake so vain a task? " resumed Scholas- 
tique. " Is it natural that a little copper instrument should 
go of itself, and mark the hours? We ought to have kept 
to the sun-dial ! " 

" You will not talk thus, Scholastique," said Aubert, 
" when you learn that the sun-dial was invented by Cain." 

" O Lord ! what are you telling me ? " 

" Do you think," asked Gerande, simply, " that we might 
pray to God to give life to my father's watches? " 

" Without doubt," replied Aubert. 

" Good ! These will be useless prayers," grumbled the 
old servant, " but Heaven will pardon them for their good 
intent." 

The taper was relighted. Scholastique, Gerande, and 
Aubert knelt down together upon the flags of the room. 
The young girl prayed for her mother's soul, for a bless- 
ing for the night, for travelers and prisoners, for the good 
and the wicked, and more earnestly than all for the un- 
known misfortunes of her father. Then the three devout 
souls rose with somewhat of confidence in their hearts, for 
they had laid their sorrow in God's bosom. 

Aubert repaired to his own room ; Gerande sat pensively 
by the window, whilst the last lights were disappearing 
from the city streets. The terrors of this winter's night had 
increased. Sometimes, with the whirlpools of the river, 
the wind engulfed itself among the piles, and the whole 
house shivered an dshook; but the young girl, absorbed in 
her sadness, thought only of her father. After hearing 
what Aubert told her, the malady of Master Zacharius took 
fantastic proportions in her mind ; and it seemed to her as 
if his dear existence, become purely mechanical, moved now 
with pain and effort on its exhausted pivots. 

Suddenly the shutters, impelled by the squall, struck 
against the windows of the room. The young girl leaned 



28 THE WATCH'S SOUL 

out of the window to draw to the shutter shaken by the 
wind, but she feared to do so. It seemed to her that the 
rain and the river, confounding their tumultous waters, 
were submerging the frail house, the planks of which were 
creaking in every direction. She would have flown from 
her chamber, but she saw below the flickering of a light 
which appeared to come from Master Zacharius's retreat, 
and in one of those momentary calms, during which the 
elements keep a sudden silence, her ear caught plaintive 
sounds. She tried to shut her window, but could not. 
The wind violently repelled her, like a villain who was in- 
troducing himself into a dwelling. 

Gerande thought she would go mad from terror. What 
was her father doing? She opened the door, and it es- 
caped from her hands, and shook loudly under the attack 
of the tempest. Gerande then found herself in the dark 
supper-room, succeeded in gaining, on tiptoe, the staircase 
which led to her father's shop, and, pale and fainting, 
glided down. 

The old watchmaker was upright in the middle of the 
room, which was filled with the groans of the river. His 
bristling hair gave him a sinister aspect. He was talking 
and gesticulating, without seeing or hearing anything. Ge- 
rande arrested her steps on the threshold 

"It is death!" said Master Zacharius, in a thick voice; 
" it is death ! Why should I live longer, now that I have 
dispersed my existence over the earth? For I, Master 
Zacharius, am really the creator of all the watches that I 
have fashioned ! It is a part of my very soul that I have 
shut up in each of these boxes of iron, silver, or gold! 
Every time that one of these accursed watches stops, I feel 
my heart cease beating, for I have regulated them with its 
pulsations ! " 

As he spoke in this strange way, the old man cast his 
eyes on his bench. There lay all the pieces of a watch that 
he had carefully taken apart. He took up a sort of hollow 
cyliiider, called a barrel, in which the spring is enclosed, 
and removed the steel spiral, which, instead of relaxing 
itself, according to the laws of its elasticity, remained 
coiled on itself, like a sleeping viper. It seemed knotted, 
like those impotent old men whose blood has long been 
congealed. Master Zachari'vs vainly essayed to uncoil it 



A WINTER'S NIGHT 29 

with his thin fingers, the outHnes of which were exaggerated 
on the wall ; but he tried in vain, and soon, with a terrible 
cry of anguish and rage, he threw it through the peephole 
into the boiling Rhone. 

Gerande, her feet riveted to the floor, stood breathless 
and motionless. She wished to approach her father, but 
could not. Giddy hallucinations took possession of her. 
Suddenly she heard, in the shade, a voice murmur in her 
ears, " Gerande, dear Gerande! grief still keeps you awake! 
Go in again, I beg of you; the night is cold." 

" Aubert ! " whispered the young girl. " You ! " 

" Ought I not to be disturbed by what disturbs you ? '* 

These soft words sent the blood back into the young girl's 
heart. She leaned on Aubert's arm, and said to him, " My 
father is very ill, Aubert! You alone can cure him, for 
this disorder of the mind would not yield to his daughter's 
consolings. His mind is attacked by a very natural de- 
lusion, and in working with him, repairing the watches, you 
will bring him back to reason. Aubert," she continued, 
" it is not true, is it, that his life confounds itself with that 
of his watches ? " 

Aubert did not reply. 

** Then it must be a calling reproved of God — that of 
my father ? " 

" I know not," returned the apprentice, warming the 
cold hands of the girl with his own. " But go back to your 
room, my poor Gerande, and with sleep recover hope ! " 

Gerande slowly returned to her chamber, and remained 
there till daylight; sleep did not weigh down her eyelids. 
Meanwhile, Master Zacharius, always mute and motionless, 
gazed at the river as it railed turbently at his feet. 



CHAPTER II 

THE PRIDE OF SCIENCE 

The severity of a Geneva merchant in business matters 
has become proverbial. He is rigidly honorable, and ex- 
cessively just. What must, then, have been the shame of 
Master Zacharius, when he saw these watches, which he 
had so carefully constructed, returning to him from every 
direction ? 



30 THE WATCH'S SOUL 

It was certain that these watches had suddenly stopped, 
and without any apparent reason. The wheels were in a 
good condition and firmly fixed, but the springs had lost 
all elasticity. Vainly did the watchmaker try to replace 
them; the wheels remained motionless. These unaccount- 
able derangements were greatly to the old man's discredit. 
His noble inventions had many times brought upon him 
suspicions of sorcery, which now seemed confirmed. 
These rumors reached Gerande, and she often trembled for 
her father, when she saw the malicious glances directed to- 
wards him. 

Yet on the morning after this night of anguish, Master 
Zacharius seemed to resume work with some confidence. 
The morning sun inspired him with some courage. Aubert 
hastened to join him in the shop, and received an affable 
" good-day." 

" I am getting on better," said the old man. " I don't 
know what strange troubles of the head attacked me yester- 
day, but the sun has quite chased them away, with the 
clouds of the night." 

" In faith, master," returned Aubert, " I don't like the 
night for either of us ! " 

" And thou art right, Aubert. If you ever become a 
superior man, you will understand that day is as necessary 
to you as food. A man of merit owes himself to the 
homage of the rest of mankind who recognize his 
worth." 

" Master, it seems to me that the pride of science has 
possessed you." 

" Pride, Aubert ! Destroy my past, annihilate my pres- 
ent, dissipate my future, and then it will be permitted to 
me to live in obscurity! Poor boy, who comprehends not 
the sublime things to which my art is wholly devoted! 
Art thou not but a tool in my hands? " 

" Yet, Master Zacharius," resumed Aubert, " I have 
more than once merited your praise for the manner in 
which I adjusted the most delicate pieces of your watches 
and clocks." 

" No doubt, Aubert ; thou art a good workman, such as 
I love; but when thou workest, thou thinkest thou hast in 
thy hands but copper, silver, gold; thou dost not perceive 
these metals, which my genius animates, palpitating like 



THE PRIDE OF SCIENCE 31 

living flesh! Thus thou wouldst not die, with the death 
of thy works ! " 

Master Zacharius remained silent after these words; 
but Aubert essayed to keep up the conversation. " In- 
deed, master," said he, " I love to see you work so unceas- 
ingly! You will be ready for the festival of our corpora- 
tion, for I see that the work on this crystal watch is going 
forward famously." 

" No doubt, Aubert/' cried the old watchmaker, " and it 
will be no slight honor for me to have been able to cut and 
shape the crystal to the durability of a diamond! Ah, 
Louis Berghen did well to perfect the art of diamond-cut- 
ting, which has enabled me to polish and pierce the hardest 
stones ! " 

Master Zacharius was holding several small watch pieces 
of cut crystal, and of exquisite workmanship. The wheels, 
pivots, and box of the watch were of the same material, 
and he had employed remarkable skill in this very difficult 
task. " Would it not be fine," said he, his face flushing, 
" to see this watch palpitating beneath its transparent en- 
velope, and to be able to count the very beatings of its 
heart?" 

" I will wager, sir," replied the young apprentice, " that 
it will not vary a second in a year." 

" And you would wager on a certainty ! Have I not 
imparted to it all that is purest of myself? And does my 
heart itself vary? " 

Aubert did not dare to lift his eyes to his master's trans- 
figured face. 

" Tell me frankly," said the old man, sadly. " Have 
you never taken me for a fool? Do you not think me 
sometimes subject to dangerous folly? Yes; is it not? 
In my daughter's eyes and yours, I have often read my 
condemnation. Oh!" he cried, as if in pain, "to be not 
understood by those whom one most loves in the world! 
But I will prove victoriously to thee, Aubert, that I am 
right! Do not bow thy head, for thou wilt be stupefied. 
The day on which thou understandest how to listen to and 
comprehend me, thou wilt see that I have discovered the 
secrets of existence, the secrets of the mysterious union of 
the soul with the bodv ! " 

As he spoke thus, Master Zacharius appeared superb in 



32 THE WATCH'S SOUL 

his vanity. His eyes glittered with a supernatural fire, 
and his pride illumined every feature. And truly, if ever 
vanity was excusable, it was such vanity as that of Master 
Zacharius ! 

The watchmaker's art, indeed, down to his time, had re- 
mained almost in its infancy. From the day when Plato, 
four centuries before the Christian era, invented the night 
watch, a sort of clepsydra which indicated the hours of the 
night by the sound and playing of a flute, the science had 
continued nearly stationary. The masters paid more at- 
tention to the arts than to mechanics, and it was the period 
of beautiful watches of iron, copper, wood, silver, which 
were richly engraved, like one of Cellini's ewers. They 
made a masterpiece of chasing, which measured time very 
imperfectly, but was still a masterpiece. When the artist's 
imagination was not directed to the perfection of modeling, 
it sought to create clocks with moving figures and melodious 
sounds, which were put in operation in a very diverting 
fashion. Besides, who troubled himself, in those days, 
with regulating the advance of the hours? The delays of 
the law were not as yet invented; the physical and astro- 
nomical sciences had not as yet established their calcula- 
tions on scrupulously exact measurements; there were 
neither establishments which were shut at a given hour, 
nor trains which departed at a precise moment. In the 
evening the curfew bell sounded; and at night the hours 
were cried amid the universal silence. Certainly people 
did not live so long, if existence is measured by the amount 
of business done; but they lived better. The mind was 
enriched with the noble sentiments born of the contempla- 
tion of masterpieces. They built a church in two centu- 
ries, a painter painted but few pictures in the course of 
his life, a poet only composed one great work; but these 
were so many masterpieces. 

When the exact sciences began at last to make some prog- 
ress, watch and clock making followed in their path, though 
it was always arrested by an insurmountable difficulty, — 
the regular and continuous measurement of time. 

It was in the midst of this stagnation that Master 
Zacharius invented the escapement, which enabled him to 
obtain a mathematical regularity by submitting the move- 
ment of the pendulum to a constant force. This invention 

V. 1 Verne 



THE PRIDE OF SCIENCE 33 

had turned the old man's head. Pride, swelhng in his 
heart, hke mercury in the thermometer, had attained the 
height of transcendent folly. By analogy he had allowed 
himself to be drawn to materialistic conclusions, and as he 
constructed his watches, he fancied that he had surprised 
the hitherto undiscovered secrets of the union of the soul 
with the body. 

So it was that, on this day, perceiving that A'ubert lis- 
tened to him attentively, he said to him in a tone of simple 
conviction, "Dost thou know what life is, my child? 
Hast thou comprehended the action of those springs which 
produce existence? Hast thou examined thyself? No; 
and yet, with the eyes of science, thou mightst have seen 
the intimate relation which exists between God's work and 
my own, for it is from his creature that I have copied the 
combinations of the wheels of my clocks." 

" Master," replied Aubert, eagerly, *' can you compare 
a copper or steel machine with that breath of God which is 
called the soul, which animates our bodies, as the breeze 
lends motion to the flowers? What mechanism could be 
so adjusted as to inspire us with thought? " 

" That is not the question," responded Master Zacharius, 
gently, but with all the obstinacy of a blind man walking 
towards an abyss, " In order to understand me, thou 
must recall the object of the escapement which I have in- 
vented. When I saw the irregular working of clocks, I 
understood that the movements shut up in them did not 
suffice, and that it was necessary to submit them to the 
regularity of some independent force. I then tliought that 
the balance-wheel might accomplish this, and I succeeded 
in regulating the movement! Now, was it not a sublime 
idea that came to me, to return to it its lost force by the 
action of the clock itself, which it was charged with regu- 
lating?" 

Aubert assented by a motion. 

" Now, Aubert," continued the old man, growing ani- 
mated, "cast thine eyes upon thyself! Dost thou not un- 
derstand that there are two distinct forces in us, that of the 
soul and that of the body, that is, a movement and a regu- 
lator? The soul is the principle of life; that is, then, the 
movement. Whether it is produced by a w^eight, by a 
spring, or by an immaterial influence, it is none the less 



34 THE WATCH'S SOUL 

at the heart. But without the body this movement would 
be unequal, irregular, impossible! Thus the body regu- 
lates the soul, and, like the balance-wheel, it is submitted to 
regular oscillations. And this is so true, that one falls ill 
when one's drink, food, sleep — in a word, the functions of 
the body — are not properly regulated ! As in my watches, 
the soul renders to the body the force lost by its oscilla- 
tions. Well, what produces this intimate union between 
soul and body, if not a marvelous escapement, by which 
the wheels of the one work into the wheels of the other? 
This is what I have divined, applied; and there are no 
longer any secrets for me in this life, which is, after all, 
but an ingenious mechanism ! " 

Master Zacharius was sublime to see in this hallucina- 
tion, which transported him to the ultimate mysteries of 
the infinite. But his daughter Gerande, standing on the 
threshold of the door, had heard all. She rushed into her 
father's arms, and he pressed her convulsively to his breast. 

"What is the matter with thee, my daughter?" he 
asked. 

"HI had only a spring here," said she, putting her 
hand on her heart, " I would not love you as I do, my 
father." 

Master Zacharius looked intently at Gerande, and did 
not reply. Suddenly he uttered a cry, carried his hand 
eagerly to his heart, and fell fainting on his old leathern 
chair. 

" Father, what is the matter?" 

" Help ! " cried Aubert. " Scholastique ! " 

But Scholastique did not come at once. Someone was 
knocking at the front door; she had gone to open it, and 
when she returned to the shop, before she could open her 
mouth, the old watchmaker, having recovered his senses, 
spoke : " I divine, my old Scholastique, that you bring me 
still another of those accursed watches which have 
stopped." 

" O Lord, it is true enough ! " replied Scholastique, hand- 
ing a watch to Aubert. 

" My heart could not be mistaken ! " said the old man, 
with a sigh. 

Aubert carefully adjusted the watch, but it would not go. 



CHAPTER III 

A STRANGE VISIT 

Poor Gerande would have lost her life with that of her 
father, had it not been for the thought of Aubert, who still 
attached her to the world. The old watchmaker was, little 
by little, passing away. His faculties evidently grew more 
feeble, as he concentrated thera on a single thought. By 
a sad association of ideas, he referred everything to his 
monomania, and human existence seemed to have departed 
from him. Moreover, certain malicious rivals revived 
the hostile rumors which had spread concerning his labors. 

The news of the strange derangements which his watches 
betrayed had a prodigious effect upon the master clockma- 
kers of Geneva. What signified this sudden inertia of 
their wheels, and why these strange relations which they 
seemed to have with the old man's life? These were the 
kind of mysteries which people never contemplate without a 
secret terror. In the various classes of the town, from the 
apprentices to the great lords who used his watches, there 
was no one who could not himself judge of the singularity 
of the fact. The citizens wished, but in vain, to penetrate 
to Master Zacharius. He fell very ill; and this enabled 
his daughter to withdraw him from incessant visits, which 
thereupon degenerated into reproaches and recriminations. 

Medicines and physicians were powerless in presence of 
this organic wasting away, the cause of which could not be 
discovered. It sometimes seemed as if the old man's heart 
had ceased to beat; then the pulsations were resumed with 
an alarming irregularity. 

A custom existed, in those days, of submitting the works 
of the masters to the judgment of the people. The heads 
of the various corporations sought to distinguish themselves 
by the novelty or the perfection of their productions, and 
it was among these that the condition of Master Zacharius 
excited the most lively, because most interested, commiser- 
ation. His rivals pitied him the more willingly, the less 
he was to be feared. They never forgot the old man's suc- 
cess, when he exhibited his magnificent clocks with moving 
figures, his striking watches, which provoked the general 
admiration, and commanded such high prices in the cities 
of France, Switzerland, and Germany. 

Meanwhile, thanks to the constant and tender care of 

35 



36 THE WATCH'S SOUL 

Gerande and A'ubert, his strength seemed to return a Httle, 
and in the tranquihty in which his convalescence left him, 
he succeeded in detaching himself from the thoughts which 
had absorbed him. As soon as he could walk, his daughter 
lured him away from the house, which was still besieged 
with dissatisfied intruders. Aubert remained in the shop, 
vainly adjusting and readjusting the rebel watches; and the 
poor boy, completely mystified, sometimes covered his face 
in his hands, fearful that he, like his master, might go mad. 

So it came about that the old watchmaker at last per- 
ceived that he was not alone in the world. As he looked 
upon his young and lovely daughter, himself old and 
broken, he reflected that after his death she would be left 
alone, without support. Many of the young mechanics of 
Geneva had already sought to win Gerande's love ; but none 
of them had succeeded in gaining access to the impenetrable 
retreat of the watchmaker's household. It was natural, 
then, that during this lucid interval the old man's choice 
should fall on Aubert Thun. Once struck with this 
thought, he remarked to himself that this young couple 
had been brought up with the same ideas and the same be- 
liefs, and the oscillations of their hearts seemed to him, as 
he said one day to Scholastique, " isochronal." 

The old servant, literally delighted with the word, though 
she did not understand it, swore by her holy patron saint 
that the whole town should hear it within a quarter of an 
hour. Master Zacharius found it difficult to calm her, but 
made her promise to keep on this subject a silence which 
she never was known to observe. 

So, though Gerande and Aubert were ignorant of it, 
all Geneva was soon talking of their speedy union. But 
it happened also that, while the worthy folk were gossiping, 
a strange chuckle was often heard, and a voice saying, 
" Gerande will not wed Aubert." 

If the gossipers turned round, they found themselves 
facing a little old man who was quite a stranger to them. 

How old was this singular being? No one could have 
told. People conjectured that he must have existed for 
several centuries, and that was all. His big flat head rested 
upon shoulders the width of which was equal to the height 
of his body; this was not above three feet. This person- 
age would have figured well on a pendulum fulcrum, for 



A STRANGE VISIT 37 

the dial would have naturally been placed on his face, and 
the balance-wheel would have oscillated at its ease in his 
chest. His nose might readily be taken for the style of a 
sun-dial, for it was small and sharp; his teeth, far apart, 
resembled the gearing of a wheel, and ground themselves 
between his lips ; his voice had the metallic sound of a bell, 
and you could hear his heart beat like the tick-tick of a 
clock. This little man, whose arms moved like the needles 
on a dial, walked with jerks, without ever turning round. 
If anyone followed him, it was found that he walked a 
league an hour, and that his course was nearly circular. 

This strange being had not long been seen wandering, 
or rather circulating, around the town; but it had already 
been observed that, every day, at the moment when the sun 
passed the meridian, he stopped before the Cathedral of 
Saint Pierre, and resumed his course after the twelve 
strokes of midday had sounded. Excepting at this precise 
moment, he seemed to become a part of all the conversations 
in which the old watchmaker was talked of, and people 
asked each other, in terror, what relation could exist be- 
tween him and Master Zacharius. It was remarked, too, 
that he never lost sight of the old man and his daughter 
while they were taking their promenades. 

One day Gerande perceived this monster looking at her 
with a hideous smile. She clung to her father with a 
frightened motion. 

" Wliat is the matter, my Gerande ? " asked Master 
Zacharius. 

" I do not know," replied the young girl. 

" But thou art changed, my child. Art thou going to 
fall ill in thy turn? Ah, well," he added, with a sad smile, 
"then I must take care of thee, and I will do it tenderly." 

" O father, it will be nothing. I am cold, and I imag- 
ine that it is " 

"What, Gerande?" 

" The presence of that man, who always follows us," 
she replied in a low tone. 

Master Zacharius turned towards the little old man. 
" Faith, he goes well," said he, with a satisfied air, " for 
it is just four o'clock. Fear nothing, my child; it is not 
a man, it is a clock! " 

Gerande looked at her father in terror. How could 



38 THE WATCH'S SOUL 

Master Zacharius read the hour on this strange creature's 
visage ? 

" By the by," continued the old watchmaker, paying no 
further attention to the matter, "I have not seen Aubert 
for several days." 

" He has not left us, however, father," said Gerande, 
whose thoughts turned into a gentler channel. 

" What is he doing, then? " 

" He is working." 

" Ah ! " cried the old man. " He is at work repairing 
my watches, is he not? But he will never succeed; for it 
is not repairs they need, but a resurrection ! " 

Gerande remained silent. 

" I must know," added the old man, " if they have 
brought back any more of those damned watches, upon 
which the Devil has imposed an epidemic!" 

After these words Master Zacharius fell into absolute 
taciturnity, till he knocked at the door of his house, and 
for the first time since his convalescence descended to his 
shop, while Gerande sadly repaired to her chamber. 

At this moment when Master Zacharius crossed the 
threshold of his shop, one of the many clocks suspended 
on the wall struck five o'clock. Usually the bells of these 
clocks — admirably regulated as they were — struck simul- 
taneously, and this rejoiced the old man's heart; but on 
this day the bells struck one after another, so that for a 
quarter of an hour the ear was deafened by the successive 
noise. Master Zacharius suffered terribly; he could not 
remain still, but went from one clock to the other, and beat 
the measure for them, as an orchestra leader who has no 
longer control over his musicians. 

When the last had ceased striking, the door of the shop 
opened, and Master Zacharius shuddered from head to 
foot to see before him the little old man, who looked fixedly 
at him and said, " Master, may I not speak with you a few 
moments? " 

"Who are you?" asked the watchmaker, abruptly. 

" A colleague. I am charged with regulating the sun." 

" Ah, you regulate the sun ! " replied Master Zacharius, 
eagerly, without wincing. " I can scarcely compliment you 
upon it. Your sun goes badly, to make ourselves agree with 
it, we have to keep advancing and retarding our clocks ! " 



A STRANGE VISIT 39 



tt 



And, by the Devil's cloven foot," cried this weird per- 
sonage, " you are right, my master ! My sun does not al- 
ways indicate midday at the same moment as your clocks; 
but some day it will be known that this is because of the in- 
equality of the movement of the earth's transfer, and a 
mean midday will be invented which will regulate this ir- 
regularity ! " 

" Shall I live till then ? " asked the old man, with glis- 
tening eyes. 

" Without doubt," replied the little old man, laughing. 
" Can you believe that you will ever die ? " 

"Alas! lam very ill." 

** Ah, let us talk of that. By Beelzebub ! that will lead 
to just what I wish to speak to you about." 

Saying this, the strange being leaped upon the old leather 
chair, and carried his legs one under the other, after the 
fashion of the bones which the painters of funeral hang- 
ings cross beneath skulls. Then he resumed, in an ironical 
tone, " See, Master Zacharius, what is going on in this 
good town of Geneva? They say that your health is fail- 
ing, that your watches have need of a doctor! " 

"Ah, you believe that there is an intimate relation be- 
tween their existence and mine?" cried Master Zacharius. 

" Why, I imagine that these watches have faults, even 
vices. If these wantons do not preserve a regular con- 
duct, it is right that they should bear the consequences of 
their irregularity. It seems to me that they have need of 
reforming a little ! " 

" What do you call faults ? " asked Master Zacharius, 
reddening at the sarcastic tone in which these words were 
uttered. " Have they not a right to be proud of their 
ongm? 

" Not too proud, not too proud," replied the little old 
man. " They bear a celebrated name, and an illustrious 
signature is graven on their cases, it is true, and theirs is 
the exclusive privilege of being introduced among the 
noblest families; but for some time they have become de- 
ranged, and you can do nothing about it, Master Zacharius ; 
and the stupidest apprentice in Geneva could prove it to 
you!" 

" To me, to me ! " cried Master Zacharius, with a flush 
of outraged pride. 



40 THE WATCH'S SOUL 

"To you, Master Zacharius — ^you, who cannot restore 
life to your watches ! " 

" But it is because I have a fever, and so have they also ! " 
replied the old man, as a cold sweat broke out upon him. 

" Very well, they will die with you, since you are pre- 
vented from imparting a little elasticity to their springs." 

"Die! No, for you yourself have said it! I cannot 
die, — I, the first watchmaker in the world ; I, who, by means 
of these pieces and diverse wheels, have been able to regu- 
late the movement with absolute precision! Have I not 
subjected time to exact laws, and can I not dispose of 
it like a despot? Before a sublime genius had disposed 
regularly these wandering hours, in what vast waste was 
human destiny plunged? At what certain moment could 
the acts of life be connected with each other? But you, 
man or devil, whatever you may be, have never considered 
the magnificence of my art, which calls every science to its 
aid! No, no! I, Master Zacharius, cannot die, for, as I 
have regulated time, time would end with me! It would 
return to the infinite, whence my genius has rescued it, and 
it would lose itself irreparably in the gulf of chaos! No, 
I can no more die than the Creator of this universe, sub- 
mitted to its laws! I have become his equal, and I have 
partaken of his power! If God has created eternity, Mas- 
ter Zacharius has created time ! " 

The old watchmaker now resembled the fallen angel, 
defiant in the presence of the Creator. The little old man 
seemed to breathe into him this impious transport. 

" Well said, master," he replied. " Beelzebub had less 
right than you to compare himself with God ! Your glory 
must not perish! So your servant desires to give you 
the method of controlling these rebellious watches." 

"What is it? what is it?" cried Master Zacharius. 

"You shall know on the day after that on which you 
have given me your daughter's hand." 

"My Gerande?" 

"Herself!" 

" My daughter's heart is not free," replied Master 
Zacharius, who seemed neither astonished nor angry. 

"Bah! She is not the least beautiful of watches; but 
she will end by stopping also " 

" My daughter, — my Gerande ! No ! " 



A STRANGE VISIT 41 

" Well, return to your watches, Master Zacharius. Ad- 
just and readjust them. Get ready the marriage of your 
daughter and your apprentice. Temper your springs with 
your best steel. Bless Aubert and the pretty Gerande. 
But remember, your watches will never go, and Gerande 
will not wed Aubert ! " 

Thereupon the little old man disappeared so quickly 
that Master Zacharius could not hear six o'clock strike 
In his breast. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE CHURCH OF ST. PIERRE 

Master Zacharius became more feeble in mind and 
body every day. An unusual excitement, indeed, impelled 
him to continue his work more eagerly than ever, nor 
could his daughter entice him from it. From morning 
till night discontented purchasers besieged the house, and 
they got access to the old watchmaker himself, who knew 
not which of them to listen to. 

" This watch is too slow, and I cannot succeed in regu- 
lating it," said one. 

" This," said another, " is absolutely obstinate, and 
stands still, as did Joshua's sun." 

" If it is true," said most of them, " that your health 
has an influence on that of your watches. Master Zacharius, 
get well as soon as possible." 

The old man gazed at these people with haggard eyes, 
and only replied by shaking his head, or by a few sad 
words : " Wait till the first fine weather, my friends. The 
season Is coming which revives existence in wearied bodies. 
The sun must come to warm us all ! " 

"A fine thing, if my watches are to be ill through the 
winter ! " said one of the most angry. " Do you know, 
Master Zacharius, that your name is Inscribed in full on 
their faces? By the Virgin, you do little honor to your 
signature ! " 

It happened at last that the old man, abashed by these 
reproaches, took some pieces of gold from his old trunk, 
and began to buy back the damaged watches. At news 
of this, the customers came In a crowd, and the poor watch- 



42 THE WATCH'S SOUL 

maker's money fast melted away; but his honesty remained 
intact, Gerande warmly praised his delicacy, which was 
leading him straight towards ruin ; and Aubert soon offered 
his own savings to his master. 

Scholastique alone refused to listen to reason on the sub- 
ject; but her efforts failed to prevent the unwelcome vis- 
itors from reaching her master, and from soon departing 
with some valuable object. Then her chattering was heard 
in all the streets of the neighborhood, where she had long 
been known. She eagerly denied the rumors of sorcery 
and magic on the part of Master Zacharius, which gained 
currency; but as at bottom she was persuaded of their 
truth, she said her prayers over and over again to redeem 
her pious falsehoods. 

It had been noticed that for some time the old watch- 
maker had neglected his religious duties. Time was, 
when he had accompanied Gerande to church, and had 
seemed to find in prayer the intellectual charm which it 
imparts to thoughtful minds, as it is the most sublime exer- 
cise of the imagination. This voluntary neglect of holy 
practices, added to the secret habits of his life, had in 
some sort confirmed the accusations leveled against his 
labors. So, with the double purpose of drawing her father 
back to God and to the world, Gerande resolved to call re- 
ligion to her aid. She thought that it might give some 
vitality to his dying soul; but the dogmas of faith and 
humility had to combat, in the soul of Master Zacharius, an 
insurmountable pride, and came into collision with that 
vanity of science which connects everything with itself, 
without rising to the infinite source whence first principles 
flow. It was under these circumstances that the young 
girl undertook her father's conversion, and her influence 
was so effective that the old watchmaker promised to at- 
tend high mass at the Cathedral on the following Sunday. 

Old Scholastique could not contain her joy, and at last 
found irrefutable arguments against the gossiping tongues, 
which accused her master of impiety. She spoke of it to 
her neighbors, her friends, her enemies, to those whom she 
knew not as well as to those whom she knew. 

" In faith, we scarcely believe what you tell us, dame 
Scholastique," they replied ; " Master Zacharius has al- 
ways acted in concert with the devil ! " 



THE CHURCH OF ST. PIERRE 43 



(( 



You haven't counted, then," replied the old servant, 
"the fine bells which strike for my master's clocks? How 
many times they have struck the hours of prayer and the 
mass ! " 

" No doubt," they would reply, " But has he not in- 
vented machines which go all by themselves, and which 
actually do the work of a real man? " 

" Could a child of the devil," exclaimed dame Scholas- 
tique, wrathfully, " have executed the fine iron clock of 
the chateau of Andermatt, which the town of Geneva was 
not rich enough to buy? A pious motto appeared at eacli 
hour, and a Christian who obeyed them would have gone 
straight to Paradise! Is that the work of the devil?" 

This masterpiece, made twenty years before, had car- 
ried Master Zacharius's fame to its acme; but even then 
there had been accusations against him of sorcery. At 
least, the old man's visit to the Cathedral w^ould reduce 
malicious tongues to silence. 

The Sunday so ardently anticipated by Gerande at last 
arrived. The weather was fine, and the temperature in- 
spiriting. The people of Geneva were passing quietly 
through the streets, gayly chatting about the return of 
spring. Gerande, tenderly taking the old man's arm, di- 
rected her steps towards the Cathedral, while Scholastique 
followed behind with the prayer-books. People looked 
curiously at them as they passed. The old watchmaker 
permitted himself to be led like a child, or rather like a 
blind man. The faithful of Saint Pierre were .almost 
frightened when they saw him cross the threshold, and 
shrank back at his approach. 

The chants of high mass were already resounding 
through the church. Gerande advanced to her accustomed 
bench, and kneeled with profound and simple reverence. 
Master Zacharius remained standing beside her. 

The ceremonies continued with the majestic solemnity 
of that pious age, but the old man had no faith. He did 
not implore the pity of Heaven with cries of anguish of 
the " Kyrie " ; he did not, with the " Gloria in Excelsis," 
sing the splendors of the celestial heights; the reading of the 
Testament did not draw him from his materialistic revery, 
and he forgot to join in the homage of the " Credo." This 
proud old man remained motionless, as insensible and si- 



44 THE WATCH'S SOUL 

lent as a stone statue; and even at the solemn moment 
when the bell announced the miracle of transubstantiation, 
he did not bow his head, but gazed directly at the sacred 
hsot which the priest raised above the heads of the faith- 
ful. Gerande looked at her father, and a flood of tears 
moistened her missal. 

At this moment the clock of Saint Pierre struck half 
past eleven. Master Zacharius turned quickly towards 
this ancient clock which he had regulated and which still 
spoke. It seemed to him as if its face was gazing steadily 
at him; the figures of the hours shone as if they had been 
engraved in lines of fire, and the hands darted forth elec- 
tric sparks from their sharp points. 

The mass ended. It was customary for the " Angelus " 
to be said at noon, and the priests, before leaving the altar, 
waited for the clock to strike the hour of twelve. In a 
few moments this prayer would ascend to the feet of the 
Virgin. But suddenly a harsh noise was heard. Master 
Zacharius uttered a piercing cry. 

The large hand of the clock, having reached twelve, had 
abruptly stopped, and the clock did not strike the hour. 

Gerande hastened to her father's aid. He had fallen 
down motionless, and they carried him outside the church. 
" It is the death-blow ! " murmured Gerande, sobbing. 

When he had been borne home, Master Zacharius lay 
upon his bed utterly crushed. Life seemed only to still 
exist on the surface of his body, like the last whiflfs of 
smoke about a lamp just extinguished. 

When he came to his senses, Aubert and Gerande were 
leaning over him. At this supreme moment the future 
took in his eyes the shape of the present. He saw his 
daughter alone, without support. " My son," said he to 
Aubert, " I give my daughter to thee." 

So saying, he stretched out his hand towards his two 
children, who were thus united at his death-bed. 

But soon Master Zacharius lifted himself up in a par- 
oxysm of rage. The words of the little old man recurred 
to his mind. " I do not wish to die ! " he cried ; " I cannot 
die ! I, Master Zacharius, ought not to die ! My books, — 
my accounts! " 

He sprang from his bed towards a book in which the 
names of his customers, and the articles which had been 



THE CHURCH OF ST. PIERRE 45 

sold to them, were inscribed. He seized it and rapidly 
turned over its leaves, and his emaciated thumb fixed itself 
on one of the pages. 

" There ! " he cried, " there I this old iron clock, sold to 
Pittonaccio! It is the only one that has not been returned 
to me! It still exists, — it goes, — it lives! Ah, I wish for 
it, — I must find it! I will take such care of it that death 
will no longer seek me ! " And he fainted away. 

Aubert and Gerande knelt by the old man's bedside, and 
prayed together. 



CHAPTER V 

THE HOUR OF DEATH 

Several days passed, and Master Zacharius, though al- 
most dying, rose from his bed and returned to active life, 
under a supernatural excitement. He lived by pride. 
But Gerande did not deceive herself; her father's body and 
soul were forever lost. 

The old man got together his last resources, without 
thought of those who were dependent upon him. He be- 
trayed an incredible energy, walking, ferreting about, and 
mumbling strange, incomprehensible words. One morning 
Gerande went down to his shop. Master Zacharius was 
not there. She waited for him all day. Master Zacharius 
did not return. 

" Where can he be? " Aubert asked himself. An Inspira- 
tion suddenly came to his mind. He remembered the last 
words which Master Zacharius had spoken. The old man 
only lived now in the old iron clock that had not been re- 
turned ! Master Zacharius must have gone in search of it. 
Aubert spoke of this to Gerande. 

" Let us look at my father's book," she replied. 

They descended to the shop. The book was open on the 
bench. All the watches or clocks made by the old man, 
and which had been returned to him out of order, were 
stricken out, excepting one. " Sold to M. Pittonaccio, an 
iron clock, with bell and moving figures; sent to his cha- 
teau at Andermatt." 

It was this " moral " clock of which Scholastique had 
spoken with so much enthusiasm. 



46 THE WATCH'S SOUL 

" My father is there ! " cried Gerande. 

" Let us hasten thither," repHed Aubert. " We may still 
save him! " 

" Not for this life," murmured Gerande, " but at least 
for the other." 

*' By the grace of God, Gerande ! The chateau of An- 
dermatt stands in the gorge of the * Dents-du-Midi,' 
twenty hours from Geneva. Let us go ! " 

That very evening Aubert and Gerande, followed by the 
old servant, set out on foot by the road which skirts Lake 
Leman. At last, late the next day, they reached the her- 
mitage of Notre-Dame, which is situated at the base of the 
Dents-du-Midi, six hundred feet above the Rhone. They 
were nearly dead with fatigue. The hermit received the 
wanderers as night was falling. They could not have gone 
another step, and here they must needs rest. 

The hermit could give them no news of Master Zach- 
arius. They could scarcely hope to find him still living 
amid these sad solitudes. The night was dark, the wind 
howled amid the mountains, and the avalanches roared and 
thundered down from the summits of the broken crags. 

Aubert and Gerande, crouching before the hermit's 
hearth, told him their melancholy tale. Their mantles, 
covered with snow, were drying in a corner; and without, 
the hermit's dog barked lugubriously, and mingled his voice 
with that of the tempest. 

" Pride," said the hermit to his guests, " has lost an an- 
gel created for good. It is the obstacle against which the 
destinies of man strike. You cannot oppose reasoning to 
pride, the principal of all the vices, since, by its very nature, 
the proud man refuses to listen to it. It only remains, 
then, to pray for your father ! " 

All four knelt down, when the barking of the dog re- 
doubled, and someone knocked at the door of the hermit- 
age. "Open, in the name of the devil!" 

The door yielded under the blows, and a disheveled, hag- 
gard, ill-clothed man appeared. 

" My father ! " cried Gerande. It was Master Zach- 
arius. 

"Where am I?" said he. "In eternity! Time is 
ended, — the hours no longer strike, — the hands have 
stopped ! " 



THE HOUR OF DEATH 47 

" Father ! " returned Gerande, with so piteous an emo- 
tion that the old man seemed to return to the world of the 
living. 

"Thou here, Gerande?" he cried; "and thou, Aubert? 
Ah, my dear betrothed ones, you are going to be married 
in our old church ! " 

" Father," said Gerande, seizing him by the arm, " come 
home to Geneva, — come with us ! " 

" Do not abandon your children ! " cried Aubert. 

" Why return ? " replied the old man, sadly, " to those 
places which my life has already quitted, and where a part 
of myself is forever buried? " 

" Your soul is not dead ! " said the hermit, solemnly. 

" My soul ? O no, — its wheels are good ! I perceive 
it beating regularly " 

" Your soul is immaterial, — your soul is immortal ! " 
replied the hermit, sternly. 

" Yes, — like my glory ! But it is shut up in the cha- 
teau of Andermatt, and I wish to see it again! " 

The hermit crossed himself; Scholastique became almost 
inanimate. Aubert held Gerande in his arms. 

" The chateau of Andermatt is inhabited by one who is 
damned," said the hermit, " one who does not salute the 
cross of my hermitage." 

" My father, go not thither ! " 

" I want my soul ! My soul is mine " 

" Hold him ! Hold my father ! " cried Gerande. 

But the old man had leaped across the threshold, and 
plunged into the night, crying, " Mine, mine, my soul ! " 

Gerande, Aubert, and Scholastique hastened after him. 
They went by difficult paths, across which Master Zacharius 
sped like a tempest, urged by an irresistible force. The 
snow raged round them, and mingled its white flakes with 
the froth of the tumbling torrents. 

The chateau of Andermatt was a ruin even then. A thick, 
crumbling tower rose above it, and seemed to menace with 
its downfall the old gables which reared themselves below. 
The vast piles of jagged stones frowned gloomily to the 
right. Several dark halls appeared amid the debris, with 
caved-in ceilings, now become the abode of vipers. 

A low and narrow postern, opening upon a ditch choked 
with rubbish, gave access to the chateau. No doubt some 



4-8 THE WATCH'S SOUL 

margrave, half lord, half brigand, had inherited it; to the 
margrave had succeeded bandits or counterfeiters, who 
had been hung on the scene of their crime. The legend 
went that on winter nights, Satan came to lead his diabolical 
dances on the slope of the deep gorges in which the shadow, 
of these ruins was engulfed. 

But Master Zacharius was not dismayed by their sin- 
ister aspect. He reached the postern. No one forbade 
him to pass. A spacious and gloomy court presented itself 
to his eyes. He passed along the kind of inclined plane 
which conducted to one of the long corridors, the arches of 
which seemed to banish daylight from beneath their heavy 
springings. His advance was unresisted. Gerande, Au- 
bert, and Scholastique closely followed him. 

Master Zacharius, as if guided by an irresistible hand, 
seemed sure of his way, and strode along with rapid step. 
He reached an old worm-eaten door, which fell before his 
blows, while the bats described oblique circles around his 
head. 

An immense hall, better preserved than the rest, was 
soon reached. High sculptured panels, on which larves, 
ghouls, and other strange figures seemed to agitate them- 
selves confusedly, covered its walls. Several long and 
narrow windows shivered beneath the bursts of the tem- 
pest. 

Master Zacharius, on reaching the middle of this hall, 
uttered a cry of joy. On an iron support, fastened to the 
wall, stood the clock in which now resided his entire life. 
This unequaled masterpiece represented an ancient Roman 
church, with its heavy bell-tower, where there was a com- 
plete chime for the anthem of the day, the " Angelus," 
the mass, and vespers. Above the church door, which 
opened at the hour of the ceremonies, was placed a " rose," 
in the center of which two hands moved, and the archivolt 
of which reproduced the twelve hours of the face sculp- 
tured in relief. Between the door and the rose, just as 
Scholastique had said, a maxim, relative to the employ- 
ment of every moment of the day, appeared on a copper 
plate. Master Zacharius had regulated this succession of 
devices with a really Christian solicitude; the hours of 
prayer, of work, of repast, of recreation, and of repose 
followed each other according to the religious discipline, 

V. I Verne 



THE HOUR OF DEATH 49 

and were infallibly to insure salvation to him who scrupu- 
lously observed their commands. 

Master Zacharius, intoxicated with joy, went forward 
to take possession of the clock, when a frightful roar of 
laughter resounded behind him. He turned, and by the 
light of a smoky lamp recognized the little old man of 
Geneva. " You here? " cried he. 

Gerande was afraid. She drew closer to Aubert. 

" Good day. Master Zacharius," said the monster. 

"Who are you?" 

" Signor Pittonaccio, at your service ! You have come 
to give me your daughter! You have remembered my 
words, — ' Gerande will not wed Aubert." 

The young apprentice rushed upon Pittonaccio, who 
escaped from him like a shadow. 

"Stop, Aubert!" cried Master Zacharius. 

" Good night," said Pittonaccio ; and he disappeared. 

"My father, let us fly from this hateful place!" cried 
Gerande. "My father!" 

Master Zacharius was no longer there. He was pursu- 
ing the phantom of Pittonaccio across the rickety corri- 
dors. Scholastique, Gerande, and Aubert remained, 
speechless and fainting, in the large gloomy hall. The 
young girl had fallen upon a stone seat; the old servant 
knelt beside her and prayed; Aubert remained erect 
watching his betrothed. Pale lights wandered in the 
darkness, and the silence was only broken by the movements 
of the little animals which range among old wood, and 
the noise of which marks the hours of " the clock of 
death." 

When daylight came, they ventured upon the endless 
staircase which wound beneath these ruined masses; for 
two hours they wandered thus, without meeting a living 
soul, and hearing only a far-off echo responding to their 
cries. Sometimes they found themselves buried a hundred 
feet below the ground, and sometimes they reached places 
whence they could overlook the surrounding mountains. 

Chance brought them at last back again to the vast hall, 
which had sheltered them during this night of anguish. 
It was no longer empty. Master Zacharius and Pittonac- 
cio were talking there together, the one upright and rigid 
as a corpse, the other crouching over a marble table. 



so THE WATCH'S SOUL 

Master Zacharius, when he perceived Gerande, went 
forward and took her by the hand, and led her towards 
Pittonaccio, saying, " Behold your lord and master, my 
daughter. Gerande, behold your husband ! " 

Gerande shuddered from head to foot. 

" Never! " cried Aubert, " for she is my betrothed." 

" Never ! " responded Gerande, like a plaintive echo. 

Pittonaccio began to laugh. 

" You wish me to die, then ? " exclaimed the old man. 
" There, in that clock, the last which goes of all which 
have gone from my hands, my life is shut up; and this 
man tells me, * When I have thy daughter, this clock shall 
belong to thee.' And this man will not adjust it. He can 
break it, and plunge me into chaos. Ah, my daughter, you 
no longer love me ! " 

" My father ! " murmured Gerande, recovering con- 
sciousness. 

" li you knew what I have suffered, far away from 
this principle of my existence!" resumed the old man. 
" Perhaps its springs were left to wear out, its wheels to get 
clogged. But now, in my own hands, I can nourish this 
health so dear, for I must not die, — I, the great watch- 
maker of Geneva. Look, my daughter, how these hands 
advance with certain step. See, five o'clock is about to 
strike. Listen well, and look at the maxim which is about 
to be revealed." 

Five o'clock struck with a noise which resounded sadly 
in Gerande's soul, and these words appeared in red letters : 

"you must eat of the fruits of the tree of 

SCIENCE." 

Aubert and Gerande looked at each other stupefied. 
These were no longer the pious sayings of the Catholic 
watchmaker. The breath of Satan must have passed 
there. But Zacharius paid no attention to this, and re- 
sumed : " Dost thou hear, my Gerande ? I live, I still 
live! Listen to my breathing, — see the blood circulating 
in my veins! No, thou wouldst not kill thy father, and 
thou wilt accept this man for thy husband, so that I 
may become immortal, and at last attain the power of 
God ! " ' , . . . ... 



THE HOUR OF DEATH 51 

At these blasphemous words old Scholastique crossed 
herself, and Pittonaccio laughed aloud with joy. 

" And then, Gerande, thou wilt be happy with him. See 
this man, — he is Time ! Thy existence will be regulated 
with absolute precision. Gerande, since I gave thee life, 
give life to thy father! " 

" Gerande," murmured Aubert, " I am thy betrothed." 

" He is my father! " replied Gerande, fainting. 

** She is thine ! " said Master Zacharius. " Pittanaccio, 
thou wilt keep thy promise ! " 

" Here is the key of the clock," replied the horrible 
man. 

Master Zacharius seized the long key, which resembled 
an uncoiled snake, and ran to the clock, which he hastened 
to wind up with fantastic rapidity. The creaking of the 
spring jarred upon the nerves. The old watchmaker wound 
and wound the key, without stopping a moment, and it 
seemed as if the movement were beyond his control. He 
wound more and more quickly, with strange contortions, 
until he fell from sheer weariness. 

* There it is, wound up for a century ! " he cried. 

Aubert rushed from the hall as if he were mad. After 
long wandering, he found the outlet of the hateful chateau, 
and hastened into the open air. He returned to the hermi- 
tage of Notre-Dame, and talked so desperately to the holy 
recluse, that the latter consented to return with him to the 
chateau of Andermatt. 

Master Zacharius had not left the hall. He ran every 
moment to listen to the regular beating of the old clock. 
Meanwhile the clock had struck, and to Scholastique's 
great terror, these words had appeared on the silver face: 

" MAN OUGHT TO BECOME THE EQUAL OF GOD." 

The old man had not only not been shocked by these 
impious maxims, but read them deliriously, and was pleased 
with these thoughts of pride, while Pittonaccio kept close 
by him. 

The marriage-contract was to be signed at midnight. 
Gerande, almost unconscious, saw or heard nothing. The 
silence was only broken by the old man's words, and the 
chuckling of Pittonaccio. 



52 THE WATCH'S SOUL 

Eleven o'clock struck. Master Zacharius read in a loud 
voice : 

" MAN SHOULD BE THE SLAVE OF SCIENCE, AND SACRIFICE 
TO IT RELATIVES AND FAMILY." 

" Yes ! " he cried, " there is nothing but science in this 
world!" 

The hands slipped over the face of the clock with the 
hiss of a serpent, and the movement beat with accelerated 
strokes. Master Zacharius no longer spoke. He had 
fallen to the floor, he rattled, and from his oppressed bosom 
came only these half-broken words, "Life — science!" 

The scene had now two new witnesses, the hermit and 
Hubert. Master Zacharius lay upon the floor; Gerande 
was praying beside him, more dead than alive. Of a sud- 
den a dry, hard noise was heard, proceeding from the 
striking-apparatus. 

Master Zacharius sprang up. " Midnight! " he cried. 

The hermit stretched out his hand towards the old watch- 
maker, — and midnight did not sound. 

Master Zacharius uttered a terrible cry, when these 
words appeared: 

" WHOEVER SHALL ATTEMPT TO MAKE HIMSELF THE 
EQUAL OF GOD SHALL BE FOREVER DAMNED !" 

The old clock burst with a noise like thunder, and the 
spring, escaping, leaped across the hall with a thousand 
fantastic contortions ; the old man rose, ran after it, trying 
in vain to seize it, and exclaiming, " Aly soul, — my soul ! " 

The spring bounded before him, first on one side, then 
on the other, and he could not reach it. 

At last Pittonaccio seized it, and, uttering a horrible 
blasphemy, ingulfed himself in the earth. 

Master Zacharius fell over. He was dead. 

The old watchmaker was buried in the midst of the 
peaks of Andermatt. 

Then Aubert and Gerande returned to Geneva, and dur- 
ing the long life which God accorded to them, they imposed 
it on themselves to redeem by prayer the soul of the cast- 
away of science. 

THE END 



A Winter Amid the Ice 

OR 

The Cruise of the Jeune Hardie 




A Winter Amid the Ice 



CHAPTER I 

THE BLACK FLAG 

(^ •^^ HE cure of the ancient churcH of Dunkirk 
i-r^ % ^^^^ ^^ ^^^ o'clock on the 12th of May, 18 — , 
I X to perform, according to his custom, low mass 
_ _^ j^ for a few pious sinners. 

Attired in his priestly robes, he was ready 
for the altar, when a man entered the sacristy, 
at once joyous and frightened. He was a sailor of some 
sixty years, but still vigorous and sturdy, with an open, hon- 
est countenance. 

" Monsieur the cure," said he, " stop a moment, please." 
" What do you want so early in the morning, Jean Corn- 
butte ? " asked the cure. 

" Want? Why, to embrace you in my arms, i' faith! " 
" Well, after the mass at which you are going to be pres- 
ent " 

" The mass ? " returned the old sailor, laughing. " Do 
you think you are going to say your mass now, and that I 
■will let you do so? " 

" And why should I not say my mass ? " asked the cure. 

" Explain yourself. The third bell has sounded " 

" Whether it has or not," replied Jean Cornbutte, " it will 
sound many times to-day, monsieur, for you have promised 
me that you will bless, with your own hands, the marriage 
of my son Louis and my niece Marie! " 

" He has arrived, then," said the cure joyfully. 
" It Is nearly the same thing," replied Cornbutte, rubbing 
his hands. " Our brig was signaled from the lookout at 
sunrise, — our brig, which you yourself christened by the 
good name of the ' Jeiine-Hardie ' ! " 

" I congratulate you with all my heart, Cornbutte," said 
the cure. " I remember our agreement. The vicar will 
take my place, and I will put myself at your disposal against 
your dear son's arrival." 

55 



56 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

" And I promise you that he will not make you fast long," 
replied the sailor, " You have published the banns, and you 
will only have to absolve him from the sins he may have 
committed between sky and water, in the Northern Ocean. 
It is a grand idea, the marriage celebrated the very day he 
arrives, and my son Louis shall leave his ship to go at once 
to the church." 

" Go, then, and arrange everything, Cornbutte," 

" I fly, monsieur the cure. Good-morning!" 

The sailor hastened with rapid steps to his house, which 
stood on the quay, whence could be seen the Northern Ocean, 
of which he seemed so proud. 

Jean Cornbutte had amassed a comfortable sum at his 
calling. After having long commanded the vessels of a rich 
ship-owner of Havre, he had settled down in his native town, 
where he had caused the brig Jeune-Hardie to be constructed 
at his own expense. Several successful voyages had been 
made in the North, and the ship always found a good sale 
for its cargoes of wood, iron, and tar. Jean Cornbutte 
then gave up the command of her to his son Louis, a fine 
sailor of thirty, who, according to all the coasting captains, 
was the boldest mariner in Dunkirk. 

Louis Cornbutte had gone away deeply attached to Marie, 
his father's niece, who found the time of his absence very 
long and wear}^ Marie was scarcely twenty. She was a 
pretty Flemish girl, with some Dutch blood in her veins. 
Her mother, when she was dying, had confided her to her 
brother, Jean Cornbutte. The brave old sailor loved her as 
a daughter, and saw in her proposed union with Louis a 
source of real and durable happiness. 

The arrival of the ship, already signaled off the coast, 
completed an important business operation, from which Jean 
Cornbutte expected large profits. The Jeune-Hardie, which 
had left three months before, came last from Bodoe, on the 
west coast of Norway, and had made a quick voyage thence. 

On returning home, Jean Cornbutte found the whole 
house alive. Marie, with radiant face, had assumed her 
wedding-dress. ** I hope the ship will not arrive before we 
are ready ! " she said. 

" Hurry, little one," replied Jean Cornbutte, " for the 
wind is north, and she sails well, 3^ou know." 

" Have our friends been told, uncle? " asked Marie. 



THE BLACK FLAG 57 

" They have." 

" The notary, and the cure? " 

" Rest easy. You alone are keeping us waiting." 

At this moment Clerbaut, an old crony, came in. " Well, 
old Cornbutte," cried he, " here's luck ! Your ship has ar- 
rived at the very moment that the government has decided 
to contract for a large quantity of wood for the navy! " 

" What is that to me? " replied Jean Cornbutte. " What 
care I for the government? " 

'* You see, Monsieur Clerbaut," said Marie, " one thing 
only absorbs us, — Louis's return." 

" I don't dispute that," replied Clerbaut. " But — in short 
— this purchase of wood " 

" And you shall be at the wedding," replied Jean Corn- 
butte, interrupting the merchant, and shaking his hand as 
if he would crush it. 

" This purchase of wood " 

" And with all our friends, landsmen and seamen, Cler- 
baut. I have already informed everybody, and I shall in- 
vite the whole crew of the ship." 

"And shall we go and await them on the pier?" asked 
Marie. 

" Indeed we will," replied Jean Cornbutte. " We will 
defile, two by two, with the violins at the head." 

Jean Cornbutte's invited guests soon arrived. Though 
it was very early, not a single one failed to appear. All 
congratulated the honest old sailor whom they loved. 
Meanwhile Marie, kneeling down, changed her prayers to 
God into thanksgivings. She soon returned, lovely and 
decked out, to the company ; all the women kissed her, while 
the men vigorously grasped her by the hand. 

It was a curious sight to see this joyous group taking its 
way, at sunrise, towards the sea. The news of the ship's 
arrival had spread through the port, and many heads, in 
nightcaps, appeared at windows and half-opened doors. 
Compliments and pleasant nods came from every side. 

The party reached the pier in the midst of a concert of 
praise and blessings. The weather was magnificent, and 
the sun seemed to take part in the festivity. A fresh north 
wind made the waves foam; and some fishing-smacks, their 
sails trimmed for leaving port, streaked the sea with their 
rapid wakes between the breakwaters. 



58 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

The two piers of Dunkirk stretch far out into the sea. 
The wedding-party occupied the whole width of the north- 
ern pier, and soon reached a small house situated at its ex- 
tremity, inhabited by the harbor-master. The wind fresh- 
ened, and the Jeune-Hardie ran swiftly under her topsails, 
mizzen, brigantine, gallant, and royal. Jean Cornbutte, spy- 
glass in hand, responded merrily to the questions of his 
friends. 

"See my ship!" he cried; "clean and steady as if she 
had been rigged at Dunkirk! Not a bit of damage done, 
— not a rope wanting ! " 

" Do you see your son, the captain? " asked one. 

" No, not yet. Why, he's at his business ! " 

" Why doesn't he run up his flag? " asked Clerbaut. 

" I scarcely know. He has a reason for it, I have no 
doubt." 

" Your spy-glass, uncle ? " said Marie, taking it from him. 
" I want to be the first to see him." 

" But he is my son, mademoiselle ! " 

" He has been your son for thirty years," answered the 
young girl, laughing, " and he has only been my betrothed 
for two I " 

The Jeune-Hardie was now entirely visible. Already the 
crew were preparing to cast anchor. The upper sails had 
been reefed. The sailors who were among the rigging 
might be recognized. But neither Marie nor Jean Corn- 
butte had yet been able to wave their hands at the captain 
of the ship. 

" There's the mate, Andre Vasling," cried Clerbaut. 

" There's Fidele, the carpenter," said another. 

" And our friend Penellan," said a third, saluting the 
sailor named. 

The Jeune-Hardie was only three cables' lengths from 
the shore, when a black flag ascended to the gaff of the 
brigantine. There was mourning on board the boat. A 
shudder of terror seized the party and the heart of the 
young girl. 

The ship sadly swayed into port, and an icy silence reigned 
on its deck. Soon it had passed the end of the pier. Marie, 
Jean Cornbutte, and all their friends hurried towards the 
quay at which she was to anchor, and in a moment found 
themselves on board. 



THE BLACK FLAG 59 

" My son ! " said Jean Cornbutte. 

The sailors, with uncovered heads, pointed to the mourn- 
ing flag. Marie uttered a cry of anguish, and fell into old 
Cornbutte's arms. 

Andre Vasling had brought back the Jcune-Hardie, but 
Louis Cornbutte, Marie's betrothed, was not on board. 



CHAPTER n 

JEAN cornbutte's PROJECT 

As soon as the young girl, confided to the care of the 
sympathizing friends, had left the ship, Andre Vasling, the 
mate, apprised Jean Cornbutte of the dreadful event which 
had deprived him of his son, narrated in the ship's journal 
as follows : — 

" Near the Maelstrom, on the 26th of April, bad weather 
and south-west winds. Perceived signals of distress made 
by a schooner to the leeward. This schooner, deprived of 
its mizzen-mast, was running towards the whirlpool, under 
bare poles. Captain Louis Cornbutte, seeing that this ves- 
sel was hastening into danger, resolved to board her. De- 
spite the remonstrances of his crew, he had the long-boat 
lowered into the sea, and got into it, with the sailor Cour- 
tois and the helmsman Pierre Nouquet The crew watched 
them until they disappeared in the fog. Night came on. 
The sea became more and more boisterous. The Jeune- 
Hardie was in danger of being engulfed by the Maelstrom. 
She was obliged to fly before the wind. For several days 
she hovered near the place of the disaster. The long-boat, 
the schooner. Captain Louis, and the two sailors did not 
reappear. Andre Vasling then called the crew together, took 
command of the ship, and set sail for Dunkirk." 

After reading this dry narrative, Jean Cornbutte wept 
for a long time; if he had any consolation, it was that his 
son had died in attempting to save his fellow-men. Then 
the poor father left the ship, the sight of wliich made him 
wretched, and returned to his desolate home. 

The sad news soon spread throughout Dunkirk. The 
many friends of the old sailor came to bring him their sin- 
cere sympathy. Then the sailors of the Jeune-Hardic gave 
a more particular account of the event, and Andre Vasling 



« 
« 



6o A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

told Marie, at great length, of the devotion of her betrothed 
to the last. 

When he ceased weeping, Jean Cornbutte, the next day 
after the ship's arrival, said, " Are you very sure, Andre, 
that my son has perished? " 

Alas, yes. Monsieur Jean," replied the mate. 
And you made all possible search for him? " 
All, Monsieur Cornbutte. But it is unhappily but too 
certain that he and the two sailors were sucked down in 
the whirlpool of the Maelstrom." 

" Would you like, Andre, to keep the second command 
of the ship?" 

" That will depend upon the captain. Monsieur Jean." 

" I shall be the captain," replied the old sailor. " I am 
going to discharge the cargo with all speed, make up my 
crew, and sail in search of my son." 

" Your son is dead ! " said Andre obstinately. 

" It is possible, Andre," replied Jean Cornbutte sharply, 
" but it is also possible that he saved himself. I am going 
to rummage all the ports of Norway, and when I am fully 
convinced that I shall never see him again, I will return here 
to die ! " 

Andre Vasling, seeing that this decision was irrevocable, 
did not insist further, but went away. 

Jean Cornbutte at once told his niece of his intention, and 
he saw a few rays of hope glisten across her tears. It had 
not seemed to the young girl that her lover's death could 
be doubtful; but when this new hope entered her heart, she 
embraced it without reserve. 

The old sailor determined that the Jeune-Hardie should 
put to sea without delay. The solidly built ship had no 
need of repairs. Jean Cornbutte gave his sailors notice 
that if they wished to re-embark' no change in the crew 
would be made. He alone replaced his son in the command 
of the brig. None of the comrades of Louis Cornbutte 
failed to respond to his call, and there were hardy tars 
among them, — Alaine Turquiette, Fidele Misonne, the car- 
penter, Penellan the Breton, who replaced Pierre Nouquet 
as helmsman, and Gradlin, Aupic, and Gervique, courageous 
and well-tried mariners. 

Jean again offered Andre Vasling his old rank 
on board. The first mate was an able ofificer, who had 



JEAN CORNBUTTE'S PROJECT 6i 

proved his skill in bringing the Jeune-Hardie into port. 
Yet, from what motive could not be told, Andre made some 
difficulties and asked time for reflection. 

" As you will, Andre," replied Cornbutte. " Only re- 
member that if you accept, you will be welcome." 

Jean had a devoted sailor in Penellan the Breton, who 
had long been his fellow-voyager. In times gone by, little 
Marie was wont to pass the long winter evenings in the 
helmsman's arms, when he was on shore. He felt a fath- 
erly friendship for hep and she had for him an affection 
quite filial. Penellan hastened the fitting out of the ship 
with all his energy, all the more because, according to his 
opinion, Andre Vasling had not perhaps made every effort 
possible to find the castaways, although he was excusable 
from the responsibility which weighed upon him as captain. 

Within a week the Jeune-Hardie was ready to put to 
sea. Instead of merchandise, she was completely provided 
with salt meats, biscuits, barrels of flour, potatoes, pork, 
wine, brandy, coffee, tea, and tobacco. 

The departure was fixed for the 22nd of May. On the 
evening before, Andre Vasling, who had not yet given his 
answer to Jean Cornbutte, came to his house. He was 
still undecided, and did not know which course to take. 

Jean was not at home, though the house door was open. 
Andre went into the passage, next to Marie's chamber, where 
the sound of an animated conversation struck his ear. He 
listened attentively, and recognized the voices of Penellan 
and Marie. 

The discussion had no doubt been going on for some time, 
for the young girl seemed to be stoutly opposing what the 
Breton sailor said. 

'* How old is my uncle Cornbutte? " said Marie. 

" Something about sixty years," replied Penellan. 
Well, is he not going to brave danger to find his son? " 
Our captain is still a sturdy man," returned the sailor. 
" He has a body of oak and muscles as hard as a spare spar. 
So I am not afraid to have him go to sea again ! " 

" My good Penellan," said Marie, " one is strong when 
one loves ! Besides, I have full confidence in the aid of 
Heaven. You understand me, and will help me." 

"No!" said Penellan. "It is impossible, Marie. Who 
knows whither we shall drift, or what we must suffer? How 



«( 



{( 



62 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

many vigorous men have I seen lose their lives in these 
seas ! " 

" Penellan," returned the young girl, " if you refuse me, 
I shall believe that you do not love me any longer." 

Andre Vasling guessed the young girl's resolution. He 
reflected a moment, and his course was determined on. 

" Jean Cornbutte," said he, advancing towards the old 
sailor, who now entered, " I will go with you. The cause 
of my hesitation has disappeared, and you may count upon 
my devotion." 

" I have never doubted you, Andre Vasling," replied Jean 
Cornbutte, grasping him by the hand. " Marie, my child! " 
he added, calling in a loud voice. 

Marie and Penellan made their appearance. 

" We shall set sail to-morrow at daybreak, with the out- 
going tide," said Jean. " My poor Marie, this is the last 
evening that we shall pass together." 

" Uncle ! " cried Marie, throwing herself into his arms. 
Marie, by the help of God, I will bring your lover back." 
Yes, we will find Louis," added Andre Vasling. 

" You are going with us, then? " asked Penellan quickly. 

" Yes, Penellan, Andre Vasling is to be my first mate," 
answered Jean. 

" Oh, oh ! " ejaculated the Breton, in a singular tone. 

" His advice will be useful, for he is able and enterpris- 

" And yourself, captain," said Andre. " You will set us 
all a good example, for you have still as much vigor as ex- 
perience." 

" Well, my friends, good-by till to-morrow. Go on 
board and make the final arrangements. Good-by, Andre; 
good-by, Penellan." 

The mate and the sailor went out together, and Jean and 
Marie remained alone. Many bitter tears were shed during 
that sad evening. Jean Cornbutte, seeing Marie so 
wretched, resolved to spare her the pain of separation by 
leaving the house on the morrow without her knowledge. 
So he gave her a last kiss that evening, and at three o'clock 
next morning was up and away. 

The departure of the brig had attracted all the old sail- 
or's friends to the pier. The cure, who was to have blessed 
Marie's union with Louis, came to give a last benediction 



JEAN CORNBUTTE'S PROJECT 63 

on the ship. Rough grasps of the hand were silently ex- 
changed, and Jean went on board. 

The crew were all there. Andre Vasling gave the last 
orders. The sails were spread, and the brig rapidly passed 
out under a stiff northwest breeze, whilst the cure, upright 
in the midst of the kneeling spectators, committed the vessel 
to the hands of God. "Whither goes this ship? She fol- 
lows the perilous route upon which so many castaways have 
been lost! She has no certain destination. She must ex- 
pect every peril, and be able to brave them without hesitat- 
ing. God alone knows where it will be her fate to anchor. 
May God guide her! " 



CHAPTER III 

A RAY OF HOPE 

At that time of the year the season was favorable, and 
the crew might hope promptly to reach the scene of the ship- 
wreck. 

Jean Cornbutte's plan was naturally traced out. He 
counted on stopping at the Faroe Islands, whither the north 
wind might have carried the castaways; then, if he was con- 
vinced that they had not been received in any of the ports of 
that locality, he would continue his search beyond the North- 
ern Ocean, ransack the whole western coast of Norway as 
far as Bodoe, the place nearest the scene of the shipwreck; 
and, if necessary, farther still. 

Andre Vasling thought, contrary to the captain's opin- 
ion, that the coast of Iceland should be explored ; but Penel- 
lan observed that, at the time of the catastrophe, the gale 
came from the west; which, while it gave hope that the 
unfortunates had not been forced towards the gulf of the 
Maelstrom, gave ground for supposing that they might have 
been thrown on the Norwegian coast. 

It was determined, then, that this coast should be fol- 
lowed as closely as possible, so as to recognize any traces 
of them that might appear. 

The day after sailing, Jean Cornbutte, intent upon a map, 
was absorbed in reflection, when a small hand touched his 
shoulder, and a soft voice said in his ear, " Have good cour- 
age, uncle." 



64 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

He turned, and was stupefied. Marie embraced him. 

" Marie, my daughter, on board! " he cried. 

" The wife may well go in search of her husband, when 
the father embarks to save Iiis child." 

" Unhappy Marie ! How wilt thou support our fatigues ! 
Dost know thy presence may retard our search? " 

" No, uncle, for I am strong." 

" Who knows whither we shall be forced to go, Marie ? 
Look at this map. We are approacJiing places dangerous 
even for us sailors, hardened though we are to the difficul- 
ties of the sea. And thou, frail child? " 

" But, uncle, I come from a family of sailors. I am used 
to stories of combats and tempests. I am with you ;..:id my 
old friend Penellan!" 

"Penellan! It was he who concealed you on board? " 

" Yes, uncle ; but only when he saw that I was deter- 
mined to come without his help." 

" Penellan ! " cried Jean. Penellan entered. 

" It is not possible to undo what you have done, Pent • " 
but remember that you are responsible for Marie's lit\'. 

" Rest easy, captain," replied Penellan. "The httle o 
has force and courage, and will be our guardian Jiir 
And then, captain, you know it is my theory, that all in : - 
world happens for the best." 

The young girl was installed in a cabin, which the ziUc.r:. 
soon got ready for her, and which they made as com-oiL- 
able as possible. 

A week later the Jeime-Hardie stopped at the Faroe Is- 
lands, but the most minute search was fruitless. No wreck, 
or fragments of a ship had come upon these coasts. The 
brig resumed its voyage, after a stay of ten days, about the 
loth of June. The sea was calm, and the winds were favor- 
able. The ship sped rapidly towards the Norwegian coast, 
which it explored without better result. 

Jean Cornbutte determined to proceed to Bodoe. Per- 
haps he would there learn the name of the shipwrecked 
schooner to succor which Louis and the sailors had sacri- 
ficed themselves. 

On the 30th of June the brig cast anchor in that port. 

The authorities of Bodoe gave Jean Cornbutte a bottle 

found on the coast, which contained a document bearing 

these words : " This 26th April, on board the Frooern, after 
V. I V©m« 



A RAY OF HOPE 65 

being accosted by the long-boat of the Jeiine-Hardie, we 
were drawn by the currents towards the ice. God have pity 
on us ! " 

Jean Cornbutte's first impulse was to thank Heaven. He 
thought himself on his son's track. The Frooern was a 
Norwegian sloop of which there had been no news, but which 
had evidently been drawn northward. 

Not a day was to be lost. The Jciine-Hardie was at once 
put in condition to brave the perils of the polar seas. Fidele 
Misonne, the carpenter, carefully examined her, and as- 
sured himself that her solid construction might resist the 
shock of the ice-masses. 

Penellan, who had already engaged in whale-fishing in 
the arctic waters, took care that woolen and fur coverings, 
many sealskin moccasins, and wood for the making of 
sledges with which to cross the ice-fields were put on board. 
The amount of provisions was increased, and spirits and 
charcoal were added; for it might be that they would have 
to winter at some point on the Greenland coast. They also 
procured, with much difficulty and at a high price, a quantity 
of lemons, for preventing or curing the scurvy, that terrible 
disease which decimates crews in the icy regions. The 
ship's hold was filled with salt meat, biscuits, brandy, etc., 
as the steward's room no longer sufficed. They provided 
themselves, also, with a large quantity of " pemmican," an 
Indian preparation which concentrates much nutrition within 
a small volume. 

By order of the captain, some saws were put on board 
for cutting the ice-fields, as well as picks and wedges for 
separating them. The captain determined to procure some 
dogs to be used for drawing the sledges on the Greenland 
coast. 

The whole crew was engaged in these preparations, and 
displayed great activity. The sailors Aupic, Gervique, and 
Gradlin zealously obeyed Penellan's orders; and he admon- 
ished them not to accustom themselves to woolen garments, 
though the temperature in this latitude, situated just beyond 
the polar circle, was very low. 

Penellan, though he said nothing, narrowly watched every 
action of Andre Vasling. This man was Dutch by birth, 
came from no one knew whither, but was at least a good 
sailor, having made two voyages on board the Jcune-Hardie. 



66 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

Penellan would not as yet accuse him of anything, unless it 
was that he kept near Marie too constantly, but he did not 
let him out of his sight. 

Thanks to the energy of the crew, the brig was equipped 
by the i6th of July, a fortnight after its arrival at Bodoe. 
It was then the favorable season for attempting explora- 
tions in the Arctic Seas. The thaw had been going on for 
two months, and the search might be carried farther north. 
The Jeune-Hardie set sail, and directed her way towards 
Cape Brewster, on the eastern coast of Greenland, near the 
70th degree of latitude. 



CHAPTER IV 

IN THE PASSES 

About the 23rd of July a reflection, raised above the sea, 
announced the presence of the first icebergs, which, emerg- 
ing from Davis's Straits, advanced into the ocean. From 
this moment a vigilant watch was ordered to the look-out 
men, for it was important not to come into collision with 
these enormus masses. 

The crew was divided into two watches. The first was 
composed of Fidele Misonne, Gradlin, and Gervique; and 
the second of Andre Vasling. Aupic, and Penellan. These 
watches were to last only two hours, for in those cold regions 
a man's strength is diminished one-half. Though the Jeune- 
Hardie was not yet beyond the 63rd degree of latitude, the 
thermometer already stood at nine degrees centigrade below 
zero. 

Rain and snow often fell abundantly. On fair days, 
when the wind was not too violent, Marie remained on 
deck, and her eyes became accustomed to the uncouth scenes 
of the Polar Seas. 

On the 1st of August she was talking with her uncle, 
Penellan, and Andre Vasling. The ship was then entering 
a channel three miles wide, across which broken masses of 
ice were rapidly descending southwards. 

" When shall we see land ? " asked the young girl, 

" In four days at the latest," replied Jean Cornbutte. 

** But shall we find there fresh traces of Louis? " 

"Perhaps so, my daughter; but I fear that we are still 



IN THE PASSES 67 

far from the end of our voyage. It is to be feared that the 
Frooern was driven farther northward." 

" That may be," added Andre VasHng, " for the squall 
which separated us from the Norwegian coast lasted three 
days, and in three days a ship makes good headway when 
it is no longer able to resist the wind." 

" Permit me to tell you, Monsieur Vasling," replied Penel- 
lan, " that that was in April, that the thaw had not then be- 
gun, and that therefore the Frooern must have been soon 
arrested by the ice." 

" And no doubt dashed into a thousand pieces," said the 
mate, " as her crew could not manage her." 

" But these ice-fields," returned Penellan, " gave her an 
easy means of reaching land, from which she could not have 
been far distant." 

" Let us hope so," said Jean Cornbutte, interrupting the 
discussion' which was daily renewed between the mate and 
the helmsman. " I think we shall see land before long." 

"There it is!" cried Marie. "See those mountains!" 

** No, my child," replied her uncle. " Those are moun- 
tains of ice, the first we have met with. They would shat- 
ter us like glass if we got entangled between them. Penel- 
lan and Vasling, overlook the men." 

These floating masses, more than fifty of which now ap- 
peared at the horizon, came nearer and nearer to the brig. 
Penellan took the helm, and Jean Cornbutte, mounted on 
the gallant, indicated the route to take. 

Towards evening the brig was entirely surrounded by 
these moving rocks, the crushing force of which is irresis- 
tible. It was necessary, then, to cross this fleet of moun- 
tains, for prudence prompted them to keep straight ahead. 
Another difficulty was added to these perils. The direction 
of the ship could not be accurately determined, as all the 
surrounding points constantly changed position, and thus 
failed to afford a fixed perspective. The darkness soon in- 
creased with the fog. Marie descended to her cabin, and 
the whole crew, by the captain's orders, remained on deck. 
They were armed with long boat-poles, with iron spikes, to 
preserve the ship from collision with the ice. 

The ship soon entered a strait so narrow that often the 
ends of her yards were grazed by the drifting mountains, 
and her booms seemed about to be driven in. They were 



68 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

even forced to trim the mainyard so as to touch the shrouds. 
Happily these precautions did not deprive the vessel of any 
of its speed, for the wind could only reach the upper sails, 
and these sufficed to carry her forward rapidly. Thanks to 
her slender hull, she passed through these valleys, which 
were filled with whirlpools of rain, whilst the icebergs 
crushed against each other wath sharp cracking and splitting. 

Jean Cornbutte returned to the deck. His eyes could not 
penetrate the surrounding darkness. It became necessary 
to furl the upper sails, for the ship threatened to ground, 
and if she did so she was lost. 

"Cursed voyage!" growled Andre Vasling among the 
sailors, who, forward, were avoiding the most menacing 
ice-blocks with their boat-hooks. 

" Truly, if we escape we shall owe a fine candle to Our 
Lady of the Ice! " replied Aupic. 

" Who knows how many floating mountains we have got 
to pass through yet? " added the mate. 

" And who can guess what we shall find beyond them? " 
replied the sailor. 

" Don't talk so much, prattler," said Gervique, " and look 
out on your side. When we have got by them, it'll be time 
to grumble. Look out for your boat-hook ! " 

At this moment an enormous block of ice, in the narrow 
strait through which the brig was passing, came rapidly 
down upon her, and it seemed impossible to avoid it, for it 
barred the whole width of the channel, and the brig could 
not heave-to. 

" Do you feel the tiller? " asked Cornbutte of Penellan. 

" No, captain. The ship does not answer the helm." 

" Ohe, boys ! " cried the captain to the crew ; " don't be 
afraid, brace your hooks against the gunwale." 

The block was nearly sixty feet high, and if it threw itself 
upon the brig she would be crushed. There was an unde- 
finable moment of suspense, and the crew retreated back- 
ward, abandoning their posts despite the captain's orders. 

But at the instant when the block was not more than half 
a cable's length from the Jeune-Hardie, a dull sound was 
heard, and a veritable waterspout fell upon the bow of the 
vessel, which then rose on the back of an enormous billow. 

The sailors uttered a cry of terror; but when they looked 
before them the block had disappeared, the passage was 



IN THE PASSES '69 

free, and beyond an immense plain of water, illumined by 
the rays of the declining sun, assured them of an easy navi- 
gation. 

" All's well ! " cried Penellan. " Let's trim our topsails 
and mizzen ! " 

An incident very common in those parts had just oc- 
curred. When these masses are detached from one another 
in the thawing season, they float in a perfect equilibrium; 
but on reaching the ocean, where the water is relatively 
warmer, they are speedily undermined at the base, which 
melts little by little, and which is also shaken by the shock 
of other ice-masses. A moment comes when the center of 
gravity of these masses is displaced, and then they are com- 
pletely overturned. Only, if this block had turned over two 
minutes later, it would have fallen on the brig and carried 
her down in its fall. 



CHAPTER V 

LIVERPOOL ISLAND 

On the 3rd of August the brig confronted immovable and 
united ice-masses. The passages were seldom more than a 
cable's length in width, and the ship was forced to make 
many turnings, which sometimes placed her heading the 
wind. 

Penellan watched over Marie with paternal care, and, 
despite the cold, prevailed upon her to spend two or three 
hours every day on deck, for exercise had become one of 
the indispensable conditions of health. 

Marie's courage did not falter. She even comforted the 
sailors with her cheerful talk, and all of them became warmly 
attached to her. Andre Vasling showed himself more at- 
tentive than ever, and seized every occasion to be in her 
company; but the young girl, with a sort of presentiment, 
accepted his services with some coldness. It may be easily 
conjectured that Andre's conversation referred more to the 
future than to the present, and that he did not conceal the 
sHght probability there was of saving the castaways. He 
was convinced that they were lost, and the young girl ought 
thenceforth to confide her existence to someone else. 

Marie had not as yet comprehended Andre's designs, for. 



70 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

to his great disgust, he could never find an opportunity to 
talk long with her alone. Penellan had always an excuse 
for interfering, and destroying the effect of Andre's words 
by the hopeful opinions he expressed. 

Marie, meanwhile, did not remain idle. Acting on the 
helmsman's advice, she set to work on her winter garments ; 
for it was necessary that she should completely change her 
clothing. The cut of her dresses was not suitable for these 
cold latitudes. She made, therefore, a sort of furred pan- 
taloons, the ends of which were lined with seal-skin; and her 
narrow skirts came only to her knees, so as not to be in con- 
tact with the layers of snow with which the winter would 
cover the ice-fields. A fur mantle, fitting closely to the 
figure and supplied with a hood, protected the upper part of 
her body. 

In the intervals of their work, the sailors, too, prepared 
clothing with which to shelter themselves from the cold. 
They made a quantity of high seal-skin boots, with which 
to cross the snow during their explorations. They worked 
thus all the time that the navigation in the straits lasted. 

Andre Vasling, who was an excellent shot, several times 
brought down aquatic birds with his gun ; innumerable flocks 
of these were always careering about the ship. A kind of 
eider-duck provided the crew with very palatable food, 
which relieved the monotony of the salt meat. 

At last the brig came in sight of Cape Brewster. A long- 
boat was put to sea. Jean Cornbutte and Penellan reached 
the coast, which was entirely deserted. 

The ship at once directed its course towards Liverpool 
Island, discovered in 1821 by Captain Scoresby, and the 
crew gave a hearty cheer when they saw the natives run- 
ning along the shore. Communication was speedily estab- 
lished with them, thanks to Penellan's knowledge of a few 
words of their language, and some phrases which the natives 
themselves had learnt of the whalers who frequented those 
parts. 

These Greenlanders were small and squat; they were not 
more than four feet ten inches high; they had red, round 
faces, and low foreheads; their hair, flat and black, fell over 
their shoulders; their teeth were decayed, and they seemed 
to be affected by the sort of leprosy which is peculiar to 
ichthyophagous tribes. 



LIVERPOOL ISLAND 71 

In exchange for pieces of iron and brass, of which they 
are extremely covetous, these poor creatures brought bear 
furs, the skins of sea-calves, sea-dogs, sea-wolves, and all 
the animals generally known as seals. Jean Cornbutte ob- 
tained these at a low price, and they were certain to become 
most useful. 

The captain then made the natives understand that he 
was in search of a shipwrecked vessel, and asked them if 
they had heard of it. One of them immediately drew some- 
thing like a ship on the snow, and indicated that a vessel of 
that sort had been carried northward three months before : 
he also managed to make it understood that the thaw and 
breaking up of the ice-fields had prevented the Greenlanders 
from going in search of it; and, indeed, their very light 
canoes, which they managed with paddles, could not go to 
sea at that time. 

This news, though meager, restored hope to the hearts of 
the sailors, and Jean Cornbutte had no difficulty in persuad- 
ing them to advance farther in the polar seas. 

Before quitting Liverpool Island, the captain purchased 
a pack of six Esquimaux dogs, which were soon acclimatized 
on board. The ship weighed anchor on the morning of the 
1 0th of August, and sailed north under a brisk wind. 

The longest days of the year had now arrived; that is, 
the sun, in these high latitudes, did not set, and reached the 
highest point of the spirals which it described above the 
horizon. This total absence of night was not, however, 
very apparent, for the fog, rain, and snow sometimes en- 
veloped the ship in real darkness. 

Jean Cornbutte, who was resolved to advance as far as 
possible, began to take measures of health. The space be- 
tween decks was securely enclosed, and every morning care 
was taken to ventilate it with fresh air. The stoves were 
installed, and the pipes so disposed as to yield as much heat 
as possible. The sailors were advised to wear only one 
woolen shirt over their cotton shirts, and to hermetically 
close their seal cloaks. The fires were not yet lighted, for 
it was important to reserve the wood and charcoal for the 
most intense cold. Warm beverages, such as coffee and 
tea, were regularly distributed to the sailors morning and 
evening ; and as it was important to live on meat, they shot 
ducks and teal, which abounded in these parts. 



72 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

Jean Cornbutte also placed at the summit of the main- 
mast a " crow's nest," a sort of cask open at one end, in 
which a look-out remained constantly, to observe the ice- 
fields. 

Two days after the brig had lost sight of Liverpool Island 
the temperature became suddenly colder under the influence 
of a dry wind. Some indications of winter were perceived. 
The ship had not a moment to lose, for soon the way would 
be entirely closed to her. She advanced across the straits, 
among which lay ice-plains thirty feet thick. 

On the morning of the 3rd of September the Jeune-Hardie 
reached the head of Gael-Hamkes Bay. Land was then 
thirty miles to the leeward. It was the first time that the 
brig had stopped before a mass of ice which offered no out- 
let, and which was at least a mile wide. The saws must 
now be used to cut the ice. Penellan, Aupic, Gradlin, and 
Turquiette were chosen to work the saws, which had been 
carried outside the ship. The direction of the cutting was 
so determined that the current might carry off the pieces 
detached from the mass. The whole crew worked at this 
task for nearly twenty hours. They found it very painful 
to remain on the ice, and were often obliged to plunge into 
the water up to their middle; their seal-skin garments pro- 
tected them but imperfectly from the damp. 

Moreover, all excessive toil in those high latitudes is soon 
followed by an overwhelming weariness ; for the breath soon 
fails, and the strongest are forced to rest at frequent inter- 
vals. At last the navigation became free, and the brig was 
towed beyond the mass which had so long obstructed her 
course. 

CHAPTER VI 

THE QUAKING OF THE ICE 

For several days the Jeune-Hardie struggled against for- 
midable obstacles. The crew were almost all the time at 
work with the saws, and often powder was used to blow up 
the enormous blocks of ice which closed the way. 

On the 1 2th of September the sea consisted of one solid 
plain, without outlet or passage, surrounding the vessel on 
all sides, so that she could neither advance nor retreat. The 
temperature remained at an average of sixteen degrees be- 



THE QUAKING OF THE ICE 73 

low zero. The winter season had come on, with its suf- 
ferings and dangers. The Jeune-Hardie was at this time 
near the 21st degree of longitude west and the 76th 
degree of latitude north, at the entrance of Gael-Hamkes 
Bay. 

Jean Cornbutte made his preliminary preparations for 
wintering. He first searched for a creek whose position 
would shelter the ship from the wind and breaking up of 
the ice. Land, which was probably thirty miles west, could 
alone offer him secure shelter, and he resolved to attempt to 
reach it. 

He set out on the 12th of September, accompanied by 
Andre Vasling, Penellan, and the two sailors Gradlin and 
Turquiette. Each man carried provisions for two days, for 
it was not likely that their expedition would occupy a longer 
time, and they were supplied with skins on which to sleep. 

Snow had fallen in great abundance and was not yet 
frozen over; and this delayed them seriously. They often 
sank to their waists, and could only advance very cautiously, 
for fear of falling into crevices. Penellan, who walked in 
front, carefully sounded each depression with his iron- 
pointed staff. 

About five in the evening the fog began to thicken, and 
the little band were forced to stop. Penellan looked about 
for an iceberg which might shelter them from the wind, and 
after refreshing themselves, with regrets that they had no 
warm drink, they spread their skins on the snow, wrapped 
themselves up, lay close to each other, and soon dropped 
asleep from sheer fatigue. 

The next morning Jean Cornbutte and his companions 
were buried beneath a bed of snow more than a foot deep. 
Happily their skins, perfectly impermeable, had preserved 
them, and the snow itself had aided in retaining their heat, 
which it prevented from escaping. 

The captain gave the signal of departure, and about noon 
they at last descried the coast, which at first they could 
scarcely distinguish. High ledges of ice, cut perpendicu- 
larly, rose on the shore; their variegated summits, of all 
forms and shapes, reproduced on a large scale the phe- 
nomena of crystallization. Myriads of aquatic fowl flew 
about at the approach of the party, and the seals, lazily lying 
on the ice, plunged hurriedly into the depths. 



74 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

" I' faith ! " said Penellan, " we shall not want for either 
furs or game ! " 

" Those animals," returned Cornbutte, " give every evi- 
dence of having been already visited by men; for in places 
totally uninhabited they would not be so wild." 

" None but Greenlanders frequent these parts," said An- 
dre Vasling. 

" I see no trace of their passage, however ; neither any 
encampment nor the smallest hut," said Penellan, who had 
climbed up a high peak. " O captain ! " he continued, 
" come here! I see a point of land which will shelter us 
splendidly from the northeast wind." 

" Come along, boys ! " said Jean Cornbutte. 

His companions followed him, and they soon rejoined 
Penellan. The sailor had said what was true. An elevated 
point of land jutted out like a promontory, and curving 
towards the coast, formed a little inlet of a mile in width at 
most. Some moving ice-blocks, broken by this point, floated 
in the midst, and the sea, sheltered from the colder winds, 
was not yet entirely frozen over. 

This was an excellent spot for wintering, and it only re- 
mained to get the ship thither. Jean Cornbutte remarked 
that the neighboring ice-field was very thick, and it seemed 
very difficult to cut a canal to bring the brig to its destina- 
tion. Some other creek, then, must be found ; it was in vain 
that he explored northward. The coast remained steep and 
abrupt for a long distance, and beyond the point it was 
directly exposed to the attacks of the east wind. The cir- 
cumstance disconcerted the captain all the more because An- 
dre Vasling used strong arguments to show how bad the 
situation was. Penellan, in his dilemma, found it difficult 
to convince himself that all was for the best. 

But one chance remained — to seek a shelter on the south- 
ern side of the coast. This was to return on their path, but 
hesitation was useless. The little band returned rapidly in 
the direction of the ship, as their provisions had begun to 
run short. Jean Cornbutte searched for some practicable 
passage, or at least some fissure by which a canal might be 
cut across the ice-fields, all along the route, but in vain. 

Towards evening the sailors came to the same place where 
they had encamped over night. There had been no snow 
during the day, and they could recognize the imprint of their 



THE QUAKING OF THE ICE 75 

bodies on the ice. They again disposed themselves to sleep 
with their furs. 

Penellan, much disturbed by the bad success of the ex- 
pedition, was sleeping restlessly, when, at a waking moment, 
his attention was attracted by a dull rumbling. He listened 
attentively, and the rumbling seemed so strange that he 
nudged Jean Cornbutte with his elbow. 

"What is that? " said the latter, whose mind, according 
to a sailor's habit, was awake as soon as his body. 

" Listen, captain." 

The noise increased, with perceptible violence. 

" It cannot be thunder, in so high a latitude," said Corn- 
butte, rising. 

" I think we have come across some white bears," replied 
Penellan. 

" The devil ! We have not seen any yet." 

** Sooner or later, we must have expected a visit from 
them. Let us give them a good reception." 

Penellan, armed with a gun, lightly crossed the ledge 
which sheltered them. The darkness was very dense; he 
could discover nothing; but a new incident soon showed him 
that the cause of the noise did not proceed from around 
them. 

Jean Cornbutte rejoined him, and they observed with ter- 
ror that this rumbling, which awakened their companions, 
came from beneath them. 

A new kind of peril menaced them. To the noise, which 
resembled peals of thunder, was added a distinct undulating 
motion of the ice-field. Several of the party lost their bal- 
ance and fell. 

" Attention ! " cried Penellan. 

" Yes ! " someone responded. 

" Turquiette ! Gradlin ! where are you? " 

" Here I am ! " responded Turquiette, shaking off the 
snow with which he was covered. 

" This way, Vasling," cried Cornbutte to the mate. 
"And Gradlin?" 

" Present, captain." 
But we are lost ! " shouted Gradlin, in fright. 
No! " said Penellan. " Perhaps we are saved! " 

Hardly had lie uttered these words when a frightful crack- 
ing noise was heard. The ke-h^"ld broke clear through, 



*( 



ye A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

and the sailors were forced to cling to the block which was 
quivering just by them. Despite the helmsman's words, 
they found themselves in a most perilous position, for an ice- 
quake had occurred. The ice masses had just " weighed 
anchor," as the sailors say. The movement lasted nearly 
two minutes, and it was to be feared that the crevice would 
yawn at the very feet of the unhappy sailors. They anx- 
iously awaited daylight in the midst of continuous shocks, 
for they could not, without risk of death, move a step, and 
had to remain stretched out at full length to avoid being 
engulfed. 

As soon as it was daylight a very different aspect pre- 
sented itself to their eyes. The vast plain, a compact mass 
the evening before, was now separated in a thousand places, 
and the waves, raised by some submarine commotion, had 
broken the thick layer which sheltered them. 

The thought of his ship occurred to Cornbutte's mind. 

" My poor brig! " he cried. " It must have perished! " 

The deepest despair began to overcast the faces of his 
companions. The loss of the ship inevitably preceded their 
own deaths. 

" Courage, friends," said Penellan. " Reflect that this 
night's disaster has opened us a path across the ice, which 
will enable us to bring our ship to the bay for wintering! 
and, stop ! I am not mistaken. There is the Jeime-Hardie, 
a mile nearer to us! " 

All hurried forward, and so imprudently, that Turquiette 
slipped into a fissure, and would have certainly perished, 
had not Jean Cornbutte seized him by his hood. He got 
off with a rather cold bath. 

The brig was indeed floating tw^o miles away. After in- 
finite trouble, the little band reached her. She was in good 
condition; but her rudder, which they had neglected to lift, 
had been broken by the ice. 



CHAPTER VII 

SETTLING FOR THE WINTER 

Penellan was once more right ; all was for the best, and 
this ice-quake had opened a practicable channel for the ship 
to the bay. The sailors had only to make skillful use of the 
currents to conduct her thither. 



SETTLING FOR THE WINTER ^*j 

On the 19th of September the brig was at last moored in 
her bay for wintering, two cables' lengths from the shore, 
securely anchored on a good bottom. The ice began the 
next day to form around her hull; it soon became strong 
enough to bear a man's weight, and they could establish a 
communication with land. 

The rigging, as is customary in arctic navigation, re- 
mained as it was ; the sails were carefully furled on the yards 
and covered with their casings, and the " crow's-nest " re- 
mained in place, as much to enable them to make distant 
observations as to attract attention to the ship. 

The sun now scarcely rose above the horizon. Since the 
June solstice, the spirals which it had described descended 
lower and lower; and it would very soon disappear al- 
together. 

The crew hastened to make the necessary preparations. 
Penellan supervised the whole. The ice was soon thick 
around the ship, and it was to be feared that its pressure 
might become dangerous ; but Penellan waited until, by rea- 
son of the going and coming of the floating ice-masses and 
their adherence, it had reached a thickness of twenty feet; 
he then had it cut around the hull, so that it united under the 
ship, the form of which it assumed; thus enclosed in a mould, 
the brig had no longer to fear the pressure of the ice, which 
could make no movement. 

The sailors then elevated along the wales to the height of 
the nettings, a snow wall five or six feet thick, which soon 
froze as hard as a rock. This envelope did not allow the 
interior heat to escape outside. A canvas tent, covered with 
skins and hermetically closed, was stretched over the whole 
length of the deck, and formed a sort of walk for the 
sailors. 

They also constructed on the ice a storehouse of snow, in 
which articles which embarrassed the ship were stowed away. 
The partitions of the cabins were taken down, so as to form 
a single vast apartment forward, as well as aft. This single 
room, besides, was more easy to warm, as the ice and damp 
found fewer corners in which to take refuge. It was also 
less difficult to ventilate it, by means of canvas funnels which 
opened without. 

Each sailor exerted great energy in these preparations, 
and about the 25th of September they were completed. 
Andre Vasling had not shown himself the least active In 



78 A' WINTER AMID THE ICE 

this task. He devoted himself with especial zeal to the 
young girl's comfort, and if she, absorbed in thoughts of her 
poor Louis, did not perceive this, Jean Cornbutte did not 
fail soon to remark it He spoke of it to Penellan; he 
recalled several incidents which completely enlightened him 
regarding his mate's intentions; Andre Vasling loved Marie, 
and reckoned on asking her uncle for her hand, as soon as 
it was proved beyond doubt that the castaways were irrevoc- 
ably lost; they would return then to Dunkirk, and Andre 
Vasling would be well satisfied to wed a rich and pretty girl, 
who would then be the sole heiress of Jean Cornbutte. 

But Andre, in his impatience, was often imprudent. He 
had several times declared that the search for the castaways 
was useless, when some new trace contradicted him, and 
enabled Penellan to exult over him. The mate, therefore, 
cordially detested the helmsman, who returned his dislike 
heartily. Penellan only feared that Andre might sow seeds 
of dissension among the crew, and persuaded Jean Cornbutte 
to answer him evasively on the first occasion. 

The sky, always gloomy, filled the soul with sadness. 'A 
thick snow, lashed by violent winds, added to the horrors 
of their situation. The sun would soon altogether disap- 
pear. Had the clouds not gathered in masses above their 
heads, they might have enjoyed the moonlight, which was 
about to become really their sun during the long polar night ; 
but, wnth the west winds, the snow did not cease to fall. 
Every morning it was necessary to clear off the sides of the 
ship, and to cut a new stairway in the ice to enable them to 
reach the ice-field. Penellan had a hole cut in the ice, not 
far from the ship. Every day the new crust which formed 
over its top was broken, and the water which was drawn 
thence, from a certain depth, was less cold than that at the 
surface. 

All these preparations occupied about three weeks. It 
was then time to go forward with the search. The ship 
was imprisoned for six or seven months, and only the next 
thaw could open a new route across the ice. It was wise, 
then, to profit by this delay, and extend their explorations 
northward. 



CHAPTER VIII 

PLAN OF THE EXPLORATIONS 

On the 9th of October, Jean Cornbutte held a council to 
settle the plan of his operations, to which, that there might 
be union, zeal, and courage on the part of everyone, he 
admitted the whole crew. Map in hand, he clearly ex- 
plained their situation. 

The eastern coast of Greenland advances perpendicularly 
northward. The discoveries of the navigators have given 
the exact boundaries of those parts. In the extent of five 
hundred leagues, which separates Greenland from Spitz- 
bergen, no land has been found. An island (Shannon 
Island) lay a hundred miles north of Gael-Hamkes Bay, 
where the Jeune-Hardic was wintering. 

If the Norwegian schooner, as was most probable, had 
been driven in this direction, supposing that she could not 
reach Shannon Island, it was here that Louis Cornbutte 
and his comrades must have sought for a winter asylum. 

This opinion prevailed, despite Andre Vasling's opposi- 
tion; and it was decided to direct the explorations on the 
side towards Shannon Island. If Louis Cornbutte and his 
comrades were still in existence, it was not probable that 
they would be able to resist the severities of the arctic win- 
ter. They must therefore be saved beforehand, or all hope 
would be lost. Andre Vasling knew all this better than any- 
one. He therefore resolved to put every possible obstacle 
in the way of the expedition. 

The preparations for the journey were completed about 
the 20th of October. It remained to select the men who 
should compose the party. The young girl could not be 
deprived of the protection of Jean Cornbutte or of Penellan; 
neither of these could, on the other hand, be spared from 
the expedition. 

The question, then, was whether Marie could bear the 
fatigues of such a journey. She had already passed through 
rough experiences without seeming to suffer from them, for 
she was a sailor's daughter, used from infancy to the fatigues 
of the sea, and even Penellan was not dismayed to see her 
struggling in the midst of this severe climate, against the 
dangers of the polar seas. 

It was decided, therefore, after a long discussion, that she 
should go with them, and that a place should be reserved 

79 



8o A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

for her, at need, on the sledge, on which a little wooden 
hut was constructed, closed in hermetically. As for Marie, 
she was delighted, for she dreaded to be left alone without 
her two protectors. 

The expedition was thus formed : Marie, Jean Cornbutte, 
Penellan, Andre Vasling, Aupic, and Fidele Misonne were 
to go. Alaine Turquiette remained in charge of the brig, 
and Gervique and Gradlin stayed behind with him. New 
provisions of all kinds were carried; for Jean Cornbutte, 
in order to carry the exploration as far as possible, had 
resolved to establish depots along the route, at each seven 
or eight days' march. When the sledge was ready it was 
at once fitted up, and covered with a skin tent. The whole 
weighed some seven hundred pounds, which a pack of five 
dogs might easily carry over the ice. 

On the 22nd of October, as the captain had foretold, a 
sudden change took place in the temperature. The sky 
cleared, the stars emitted an extraordinary light, and the 
moon shone above the horizon, no longer to leave the 
heavens for a fortnight. The thermometer descended to 
twenty-five degrees below zero. The departure was fixed 
for the following day. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE HOUSE OF SNOW 

On the 23rd of October, at eleven in the morning, in a fine 
moonlight, the caravan set out. Jean Cornbutte followed 
the coast, and ascended northward. The steps of the travel- 
ers made no impression on the hard ice. Jean was forced to 
guide himself by points which he selected at a distance; 
sometimes he fixed upon a hill bristling with peaks; some- 
times on a vast iceberg which pressure had raised above the 
plain. 

At the first halt, after going fifteen miles, Penellan pre- 
pared to encamp. The tent was erected against an ice-block. 
Marie had not suffered seriously with the extreme cold, for 
luckily the breeze had subsided, and was much more bear- 
able; but the young girl had several times been obliged to 
descend from her sledge to avert numbness from imped- 
ing the circulation of her blood. Otherwise, her little hut, 

y. I Verne 



THE HOUSE OF SNOW 8i 

hung with skins, afforded her all the comfort possible under 
the circumstances. 

When night, or rather sleeping-time, came, the little hut 
was carried under the tent, where it served as a bed-room 
for Marie. The evening repast was composed of fresh 
meat, pemmican, and hot tea. Jean Cornbutte, to avert 
danger of the scurvy, distributed to each of the party a 
few drops of lemon-juice. Then all slept under God's pro- 
tection. 

But the sailors soon began to suffer one discomfort — that 
of being dazzled. Ophthalmia betrayed itself in Aupic 
and Misonne. The moon's light, striking on these vast 
white plains, burnt the eyesight, and gave the eyes insup- 
portable pain. There was thus produced a very singlar ef- 
fect of refraction. As they walked, when they thought they 
were about to put foot on a hillock, they stepped down 
lower, which often occasioned falls, happily so little serious 
that Penellan made them occasions for bantering. Still, he 
told them never to take a step without sounding the ground 
with the ferruled staff with which each was equipped. 

About the ist of November, ten days after they had set 
out, the caravan had gone fifty leagues to the northward. 
Weariness pressed heavily on all. Jean Cornbutte was pain- 
fully dazzled and his sight sensibly changed. Aupic and 
Misonne had to feel their way : for their eyes, rimmed with 
red, seemed burnt by the white reflection. Marie had been 
preserved from this misfortune by remaining within her hut, 
to which she confined herself as much as possible. Penellan, 
sustained by an indomitable courage, resisted all fatigue. 
But it was Andre Vasling who bore himself best, and upon 
whom the cold and dazzHng seemed to produce no effect. 
His iron frame was equal to every hardship; and he was 
secretly pleased to see the most robust of his companions 
becoming discouraged, and already foresaw the moment 
when they would be forced to retreat to the ship again. 

On the I St of November it became absolutely necessary 
to halt for a day or two. As soon as the place for the 
encampment had been selected, they proceeded to arrange 
it. It was determined to erect a house of snow, which 
should be supported against one of the rocks of the pro- 
montory. Misonne at once marked out the foundations, 
which measured fifteen feet long by five wide. Penellan, 



82 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

Aupic, and Misonne, by aid of their knives, cut out great 
blocks of ice, which they carried to the chosen spot and 
set up, as masons would have built stone walls. The sides 
of the foundation were soon raised to a height and thick- 
ness of about live feet; for the materials were abundant, 
and the structure was intended to be sufficiently solid to 
last several days. The four walls were completed in eight 
hours; an opening had been left on the southern side, and 
the canvas of the tent, placed on these four walls, fell over 
the opening and sheltered it. It only remained to cover 
the whole with large blocks, to form the roof of this tem- 
porary structure. 

After three more hours of hard work, the house was 
done; and they all went into it, overcome with weariness 
and discouragement. Jean Cornbutte suffered so much that 
he could not walk, and Andre Vasling so skillfully ag- 
gravated his gloomy feelings, that he forced from him a 
promise not to pursue his search farther in those frightful 
solitudes. Penellan did not know which saint to invoke. 
He thought it unworthy and craven to give up the search 
for reasons which had little weight, and tried to upset them ; 
but in vain. 

Meanwhile, though it had been decided to return, rest 
had become so necessary that for three days no prepara- 
tions for departure were made. On the 4th of November, 
Jean Cornbutte began to bury on a point of the coast the pro- 
visions for which there was no use. A stake indicated the 
place of the deposit, in the improbable event that new ex- 
plorations should be made in that direction. Every day 
since they had set out similar deposits had been made, so 
that they were assured of ample sustenance on the return, 
without the trouble of carrying them on the sledge. 

The departure was fixed for ten in the morning, on the 
5th. The most profound sadness filled the little band. 
Marie with difficulty restrained her tears, when she saw her 
uncle so completely discouraged. So many useless suffer- 
ings! so much labor lost! Penellan himself became fero- 
cious in his ill-humor; he consigned everybody to the nether 
regions, and did not cease to wax angry at the weakness 
and cowardice of his comrades, who were more timid and 
tired, he said, than Marie, who would have gone to the end 
of the world without complaint 



THE HOUSE OF SNOW 83 

Andre Vasling could not disguise the pleasure which this 
decision gave him. He showed himself more attentive than 
ever to the young girl, to whom he even held out hopes that 
a new search should be made when the winter was over; 
knowing well that it would then be too late ! 



CHAPTER X 

BURIED ALIVE 

The evening before the departure, just as they were about 
to take supper, Penellan was breaking up some empty casks 
for firewood, when he was suddenly suffocated by a thick 
smoke. At the same instant the snow-house was shaken as 
if by an earthquake. The party uttered a cry of terror, and 
Penellan hurried outside. 

It was entirely dark. A frightful tempest — for it was 
not a thaw — was raging, whirlwinds of snow careered 
around, and it was so exceedinly cold that the helmsman 
felt his hands rapidly freezing. He was obliged to go in 
again, after rubbing himself violently with snow. 

" It is a tempest," said he. " May heaven grant that our 
house may withstand it, for, if the storm should destroy it, 
we should be lost ! " 

At the same time with the gusts of wind a noise was 
heard beneath the frozen soil ; icebergs, broken from the 
promontory, dashed away noisily, and fell upon one another ; 
the wind blew with such violence that it seemed sometimes 
as if the whole house moved from its foundation; 
phosphorescent lights, inexplicable in that latitude, flashed 
across the whirlwinds of the snow. 

" Marie ! Marie ! " cried Penellan, seizing the girl's hands. 

" We are in a bad case ! " said Misonne. 

" I know not if we shall escape," replied Aupic. 

" Let us quit this snow-house ! " said Andre Vasling. 

" Impossible! " returned Penellan. " The cold outside is 
terrible; perhaps we can bear it by staying here." 

" Give me the thermometer," demanded Vasling. 

Aupic handed it to him. It showed ten degrees below 
zero inside the house, though the fire was lighted. Vasling 
raised the canvas which covered the opening, and pushed it 
aside hastily; for he would have been lacerated by the fall 



84 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

of ice which the wind hurled around, and which fell in a 
perfect hail-storm. 

" Well, Vasling," said Penellan, "will you go out, then? 
You see that we are more safe here." 

"Yes," said Jean Cornbutte; "and we must use every 
effort to strengthen the house in the interior." 

" But a still more terrible danger menaces us," said 
Vasling. 

"What? "asked Jean. 

" The wind is breaking the ice against which we are 
propped, just as it has that of the promontory, and we shall 
be either driven out or buried ! " 

" That seems doubtful," said Penellan, " for it is freezing 
hard enough to ice over all liquid surfaces. Let us see what 
the temperature is." 

He raised the canvas so as to pass out his arm, and with 
difficulty found the thermometer again, in the midst of the 
snow ; but he at last succeeded in seizing it, and, holding the 
lamp to it, said, " Thirty-two degrees below zero ! It is the 
coldest we have seen here yet ! " 

" Ten degrees more," said Vasling, " and the mercury will 
freeze ! " 

A mournful silence followed this remark. 

About eight in the morning Penellan essayed a second 
time to go out to judge of their situation. It was neces- 
sary to give an escape to the smoke, which the wind had 
several timse repelled into the hut. The sailor wrapped 
his cloak tightly about him, made sure of his hood by fasten- 
ing it to his head with a handkerchief, and then raised the 
canvas. 

The opening was entirely obstructed by a resisting snow. 
Penellan took his staff, and succeeded in plunging it into 
the compact mass; but terror froze his blood when he per- 
ceived that the end of the staff was not free, and was checked 
by a hard body ! 

" Cornbutte," said he to the captain, who had come up to 
him, " we are buried under this snow ! " 

" What say you ? " cried Jean Cornbutte. 

" I say that the snow is massed and frozen around us and 
over us, and that we are buried alive ! " 

" Let us make an effort to clear the snow away," replied 
the captain. 



BURIED ALIVE 85 

The two friends buttressed themselves against the ob- 
stacle which obstructed the opening, but they could not 
move it. The snow formed an iceberg more than five feet 
thick, and had become literally a part of the house. Jean 
could not suppress a cry, which awoke Misonne and Vasling. 
An oath burst from the latter, whose features contracted. 
At this moment the smoke, thicker than ever, poured into 
the house, for it could not find an issue. 

" Malediction ! " cried Misonne. " The pipe of the stove 
is sealed up by the ice ! " 

Penellan resumed his staff, and took down the pipe, after 
throwing snow on the embers to extinguish them, which 
produced such a smoke that the light of the lamp could 
scarcely be seen; then he tried with his staff to clear out 
the orifice, but he only encountered a rock of ice ! A fright- 
ful end, preceded by a terrible agony, seemed to be their 
doom! The smoke, penetrating the throats of the unfor- 
tunate party, caused an insufferable pain, and air would soon 
fail them altogether. 

Marie here rose, and her presence, which inspired Corn- 
butte with despair, imparted some courage to Penellan. He 
said to himself that it could not be that the poor girl was 
destined to so horrible a death. 

"Ah!" said she, "you have made too much fire. The 
room is full of smoke! " 

" Yes, yes," stammered Penellan. 

" It is evident," resumed Marie, " for it is not cold, and it 
is long since we have felt too much heat." 

No one dared to tell her the truth. 

" See, Marie," said Penellan bluntly, " help us get break- 
fast ready. It is too cold to go out. Here is the chafing- 
dish, the spirit, and the coffee. Come, you others, a little 
pemmican first, as this wretched storm forbids us from hunt- 
ing." 

These words stirred up his comrades. 

" Let us first eat," added Penellan, " and then we shall 
see about getting off." 

Penellan set the example and devoured his share of the 
breakfast. His comrades imitated him, and then drank a 
cup of boiling coffee, which somewhat restored their spirits. 
Then Jean Cornbutte decided energetically that they should 
at once set about devising means of safety. 



86 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

Andre Vasling now said, "If the storm is still raging, 
which is probable, we must be buried ten feet under the ice, 
for we can hear no noise outside." 

Penellan looked at Marie, who now understood the truth, 
and did not tremble. The helmsman first heated, by the 
flame of the spirit, the iron point of his staff, and success- 
fully introduced it into the four walls of ice, but he could 
find no issue in either. Cornbutte then resolved to cut out 
an opening in the door itself. The ice was so hard that it 
was difficult for the knives to make the least impression on 
it. The pieces which were cut off soon encumbered the 
hut. After working hard for two hours, they had only 
hollowed out a space three feet deep. 

Some more rapid method, and one which was less likely 
to demolish the house, must be thought of; for the farther 
they advanced the more violent became the effort to break 
off the compact ice. It occurred to Penellan to make use 
of the chafing-dish to melt the ice in the direction they 
wanted. It was a hazardous method, for, if their imprison- 
ment lasted long, the spirit, of which they had but little, 
would be wanting when needed to prepare the meals. 
Nevertheless, the idea was welcomed on all hands, and was 
put in execution. They first cut a hole three feet deep by 
one in diameter, to receive the water which would result 
from the melting of the ice; and it was well that they took 
this precaution, for the water soon dripped under the action 
of the flames, which Penellan moved about under the mass 
of ice. The opening widened little by little, but this kind 
of work could not be continued long, for the water covering 
their clothes, penetrated to their bodies here and there. 
Penellan was obliged to pause in a quarter of an hour, and 
to withdraw the chafing-dish in order to dry himself. 
Misonne then took his place, and worked sturdily at the 
task. 

In two hours, though the opening was five feet deep, 
the points of the staffs could not yet find an issue through 
the ice. 

" It is not possible," said Jean Cornbutte, " that snow 
could have fallen in such abundance. It must have been 
gathered on this point by the wind. Perhaps we had better 
think of escaping in some other direction." 

"I don't know," replied Penellan; "but if it were only 



BURIED ALIVE 87 

for the sake of not discouraging our comrades, we ougHt to 
continue to pierce the wall where we have begun. We must 
find an issue ere long." 

" Will not the spirit fail us? " asked the captain. 

" I hope not. But let us, if necessary, dispense with 
coffee and hot drinks. Besides, that is not what most 
alarms me." 

" What is it, then, Penellan? " 

" Our lamp is going out, for want of oil, and we are fast 
exhausting our provisions." 

The time for rest had come, and when Penellan Had 
added one more foot to the opening, he lay down beside his 
comrades. 

CHAPTER XI 

A CLOUD OF SMOKE 

The next day, when the sailors awoke, they were sur- 
rounded by complete darkness. The lamp had gone out. 
Jean Cornbutte roused Penellan to ask him for the tinder- 
box, which was passed to him. Penellan rose to light the 
fire, but in getting up, his head struck against the ice ceiling. 
He was horrified, for on the evening before he could still 
stand upright. The chafing-dish being lighted up by the 
dim rays of the spirit, he perceived that the ceiling was a 
foot lower than before. 

Penellan resumed work with desperation. 

Marie, by the light which the chafing-dish cast upon Penel- 
lan's face, saw that despair and determination were strug- 
gling in his rough features for the mastery. She went to 
him, took his hands, and tenderly pressed them. 

" She cannot, must not die thus ! " he cried. 

He took his chafing-dish, and once more attcked the nar- 
row opening. He plunged in his staff, and felt no resist- 
ance. Had he reached the soft layers of the snow? He 
drew out his staff, and a bright ray penetrated to the house 
of ice! 

" Here, my friends ! " he shouted. 

He pushed back the snow with his hands and feet. With 
the rays of light, a violent cold entered the cabin and seized 
upon everything moist, to freeze it in an instant. Penellan 
enlarged the opening with his cutlass, and at last was able to 



88 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

breathe the free air. He fell on his knees to thank God, 
and was soon joined by Marie and his comrades. 

A magnificent moon lit up the sky, but the cold was so 
extreme that they could not bear it. They re-entered their 
retreat ; but Penellan first looked about him. The promon- 
tory was no longer there, and the hut was now in the midst 
of a vast plain of ice. Penellan thought he would go to the 
sledge, where the provisions were. The sledge had disap- 
peared ! 

The cold forced him to return. He said nothing to his 
companions. It was necessary, before all, to dry their cloth- 
ing, which was done with the chafing-dish. The ther- 
mometer, held for an instant in the air, descended to thirty 
degrees below zero. 

An hour after, Vasling and Penellan resolved to venture 
outside. They wrapped themselves up in their still wet 
garments, and went out by the opening, the sides of which 
had become as hard as a rock. 

" We have been driven towards the northeast," said 
Vasling, reckoning by the stars. 

" That would not be bad," said Penellan, " if our sledge 
had come with us." 

"Is not the sledge there?" cried Vasling. "Then we 
are lost ! " 

" Let us look for it," replied Penellan. 

They went around the hut, which formed a block more 
than fifteen feet high. An immense quantity of snow had 
fallen during the whole of the storm, and the wind had 
massed it against the only elevation which the plain pre- 
sented. The entire block had been driven by the wind, in 
the midst of the broken icebergs, more than twenty-five 
miles to the northeast, and the prisoners had suffered the 
same fate as their floating prison. The sledge, supported 
by another iceberg, had been turned another way, for no 
trace of it was to be seen, and the dogs must have perished 
amid the frightful tempest. 

Andre Vasling and Penellan felt despair taking posses- 
sion of them. They did not dare to return to their com- 
panions. They did not dare to announce this fatal news to 
their comrades in misfortune. They climbed upon the block 
of ice in which the hut was hollowed, and could perceive 
nothing but the white immensity w5iich encompassed them 



A CLOUD OF SMOKE 89 

on all sides. Already the cold was beginning to stiffen their 
limbs, and the damp of their garments was being trans- 
formed into icicles which hung about them. 

Just as Penellan was about to descend, he looked towards 
Andre. He saw him suddenly gaze in one direction, then 
shudder and turn pale. 

" What is the matter, Vasling?" he asked. 

" Nothing," replied the other. " Let us go down and 
urge the captain to leave these parts, where we ought never 
to have come, at once ! " 

Instead of obeying, Penellan ascended again, and looked 
in the direction which had drawn the mate's attention. A 
very different effect was produced on him, for he uttered a 
shout of joy, and cried, " Blessed be God ! " 

A light smoke was rising in the northeast. There was 
no possibility of deception. It indicated the presence of 
human beings. Penellan's cries of joy reached the rest 
below, and all were able to convince themselves with their 
eyes that he was not mistaken. 

Without thinking of their want of provisions or the 
severity of the temperature, wrapped in their hoods, they 
were all soon advancing towards the spot whence the smoke 
arose in the northeast. This was evidently five or six miles 
off, and it was very difficult to take exactly the right direc- 
tion. The smoke now disappeared, and no elevation served 
■as a guiding mark, for the ice-plain was one united level. It 
was important, nevertheless, not to diverge from a straight 
line. 

" Since we cannot guide ourselves by distant objects," 
said Jean Cornbutte, " we must use this method. Penellan 
will go ahead, Vasling twenty steps behind him, and I 
twenty steps behind Vasling. I can then judge whether 
or not Penellan diverges from the straight line." 

They had gone on thus for half an hour, when Penellan 
suddenly stopped and listened. The party hurried up to 
him. " Did you hear nothing? " he asked. 

" Nothing! " replied Misonne. 

" It is strange," said Penellan. " It seemed to me I heard 
cries off to one side from this direction." 

" Cries? " repHed Marie. " Perhaps we are near our des- 
tination, then." 

" That is no reason," said Andre Vasling. " In these 



90 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

high latitudes and cold regions sounds may be heard to a 
great distance." 

" However that may be," replied Jean Cornbutte, " let us 
go forward, or we shall be frozen." 

" No ! " cried Penellan. " Listen ! " 

Some feeble sounds — quite perceptible, however — were 
heard. They seemed to be cries of distress. They were 
twice repeated. They seemed like cries for help. Then 
all became silent again. 

" I was not mistaken," said Penellan. " Forward! " 

He began to run in the direction whence the cries had 
proceeded. He went thus two miles, when, to his utter 
stupefaction, he saw a man lying on the ice. He went up 
to him, raised him, and lifted his arms to heaven in despair. 

Andre Vasling, who was following close behind with the 
rest of the sailors, ran up and cried, " It is one of the -cast- 
aways ! It is our sailor Courtois ! " 

" He is dead ! " replied Penellan. " Frozen to death ! " 

Jean Cornbutte and Marie came up beside the corpse, 
which was already stiffened by the ice. Despair was written 
on every face. The dead man was one of the comrades of 
Louis Cornbutte! 

" Forward! " cried Penellan. 

They went on for half an hour in perfect silence, and 
perceived an elevation which seemed to be land. 

" It is Shannon Island," said Jean Cornbutte. 

A mile farther on they saw smoke escaping from a snow- 
hut, closed by a wooden door. They shouted. Two men 
rushed out of the hut, and Penellan recognized one of them 
as Pierre Nouquet. " Pierre ! " he cried. 

Pierre stood still as if stunned, and unconscious of what 
was going on around him. Andre Vasling looked at Pierre 
Nouquet's companion with anxiety mingled with a cruel joy, 
for it was not Louis Cornbutte. 

" Pierre ! it is I " cried Penellan. " We are your 
friends! " 

Pierre Nouquet recovered his senses, and fell into his old 
comrade's arms. 

" And my son — and Louis ! " cried Jean Cornbutte, in an 
accent of the most profound despair. 



CHAPTER XII 

THE RETURN TO THE SHIP 

At this moment a man, almost dead, dragged himself out 
of the hut and along the ice. It was Louis Cornbutte. 

"My son!" 

"My beloved!" 

These two cries were uttered at the same time, and Louis 
Cornbutte fell fainting into the arms of his father and 
Marie, who drew him towards the hut, where their tender 
care soon revived him. 

" My father! Marie! " cried Louis; " I shall not die with- 
out having seen you ! " 

" You will not die ! " replied Penellan, " for all your 
friends are near you." 

Andre Vasling must have hated Louis Cornbutte bitterly 
not to extend his hand to him, but he did not. 

Pierre Nouquet was wild with joy. He embraced every- 
body; then he threw some wood into the stove, and soon a 
comfortable temperature was felt in the cabin. 

There were two men there whom neither Jean Cornbutte 
nor Penellan recognized. 

They w^ere Jocki and Herming, the only two sailors of 
the crew^ of the Norwegian schooner who were left. 

" My friends, we are saved ! " said Louis. " My father ! 
Marie! You have exposed yourselves to so many perils! " 

" We do not regret it, my Louis," replied the father. 
" Your brig, the Jeiinc-Hardic, is securely anchored in the 
ice sixty leagues from here. We will rejoin her all to- 
gether." 

" When Courtois comes back he'll be mightily pleased." 
said Pierre Nouquet. 

A mournful silence followed this, and Penellan apprised 
Pierre and Louis of their comrade's death by cold. 

" My friends," said Penellan, " we will wait here until 
the cold decreases. Have you provisions and wood?" 

" Yes ; and we will burn what is left of the Froocni." 

The Frooern had indeed been driven to a place forty 
miles from where Louis Cornbutte had taken up his win- 
ter quarters. There she was broken up by the icebergs 
floated by the thaw, and the castaways were carried, with a 
part of the debris of their cabin, on the southern shores of 
Shannon Island. 

91 



92 A -WINTER AMID THE ICE 

They were then five in number — Louis Cornbutte, Cour- 
tois, Pierre Nouquet, Jocki, and Herming. As for the rest 
of the Norwegian crew, they had been submerged with the 
long-boat at the moment of the wreck. 

When Louis Cornbutte, shut in among the ice, realized 
what must happen, he took every precaution for passing 
the winter. He was an energetic man, very active and 
courageous; but, despite his firmness, he had been subdued 
by this horrible climate, and when his father found him he 
had given up all hope of life. He had not only had to 
contend with the elements, but with the ugly temper of the 
two Norwegian sailors, who owed him their existence. 
They were like savages, almost inaccessible to the most 
natural emotions. When Louis had the opportunity to 
talk to Penellan, he advised him to watch them carefully. 
In return, Penellan told him of Andre Vasling's conduct. 
Louis could not believe it, but Penellan convinced him that 
after his disappearance Vasling had always acted so as to 
secure Marie's hand. 

The whole day was employed in rest and the pleasures 
of reunion. Misonne and Pierre Nouquet killed some sea- 
birds near the hut, whence it was not prudent to stray far. 
These fresh provisions and the replenished fire raised the 
spirits of the weakest. Louis Cornbutte got visibly better. 
It was the first moment of happiness these brave people 
had experienced. They celebrated it with enthusiasm in 
this wretched hut, six hundred leagues from the North 
Sea, in a temperature of thirty degrees below zero! 

This temperature lasted till the end of the moon, and it 
was not until about the 17th of November, a week after 
their meeting, that Jean Cornbutte and his party could 
think of setting out. They only had the light of the stars 
to guide them; but the cold was less extreme, and even 
some snow fell. 

Before quitting this place a grave was dug for poor 
Courtois. It was a sad ceremony, which deeply affected 
his comrades. He was the first of them who would not 
again see his native land. 

Misonne had constructed, with the planks of the cabin, 
a sort of sledge for carrying the provisions, and the sailors 
drew it by turns. Jean Cornbutte led the expedition by 
the ways already traversed. Camps were established with 



THE RETURN TO THE SHIP 93 

great promptness when the times for repose came. Jean 
Cornbutte hoped to find his deposits of provisions again, 
as they had become well-nigh indispensable by the addi- 
tion of four persons to the party. He was therefore very 
careful not to diverge from the route by which he had come. 

By good fortune he recovered his sledge, which had 
stranded near the promontory where they had all run so 
many dangers. The dogs, after eating their straps to 
satisfy their hunger, had attacked the provisions in the 
sledge. These had sustained them, and they served to 
guide the party to the sledge, where there was a con- 
siderable quantity of provisions left. The little band re- 
sumed its march towards the bay. The dogs were har- 
nessed to the sleigh, and no even of interest attended 
the return. 

It was observed that Aupic, Andre Vasling, and the 
Norwegians kept aloof, and did not mingle with the others; 
but, unbeknown to themselves, they were narrowly watched. 
This germ of dissension more than once aroused the fears 
of Louis Cornbutte and Penellan. 

About the 7th of December, twenty days after the dis- 
covery of the castaways, they perceived the bay where the 
Jeune-Hardie was lying. What was their astonishment to 
see the brig perched four yards in the air on blocks of ice! 
They hurried forward, much alarmed for their compan- 
ions, and were received with joyous cries by Gervique, 
Turquiette, and Gradlin. All of them were in good health, 
though they too had been subjected to formidable dangers. 

The tempest had made itself felt throughout the polar 
sea. The ice had been broken and displaced, crushed one 
piece against another, and had seized the bed on which the 
ship rested. Though its specific weight tended to carry it 
under water, the ice had acquired an incalculable force, and 
the brig had been suddenly raised up out of the sea. 

The first moments were given up to the happiness in- 
spired by the safe return. The exploring party were re- 
joiced to find everything in good condition, which assured 
them a supportable though it might be a rough winter. 
The ship had not been shaken by her sudden elevation, and 
was perfectly tight. When the season of thawing came, 
they would only have to slide her down an inclined plane, 
to launch her, in a word, in the once more open sea. 



94 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

But a bad piece of news spread gloom on the faces of 
Jean Cornbutte and his comrades. During the terrible 
gale the snow storehouse on the coast had been quite de- 
molished ; the provisions which it contained were scattered, 
and it had not been possible to save a morsel of them. 
When Jean and Louis Cornbutte learned this, they visited 
the hold and steward's room, to ascertain the quantity of 
provisions which still remained. 

The thaw would not come until May, and the brig could 
not leave the bay before that period. They had therefore 
five winter months before them to pass amid the ice, during 
which fourteen persons were to be fed. Having made his 
calculations, Jean Cornbutte found that he would at most 
be able to keep them alive till the time for departure, by 
putting each and all on half rations. Hunting for game 
became compulsory in order to procure food in larger quan- 
tity. 

For fear that they might again run short of provisions, it 
was decided to deposit them no longer in the ground. All 
of them were kept on board, and beds were disposed for 
the newcomers in the common lodging. Turquiette, Ger- 
vique, and Gradlin, during the absence of the others, had 
hollowed out a flight of steps in the ice, which enabled them 
easily to reach the ship's deck. 



CHAPTER XIII 

THE TWO RIVALS 

Andre Vasling had been cultivating the good-will of 
the two Norwegian sailors. Aupic also made one of their 
band, and held himself apart, with loud disapproval of all 
the new measures taken ; but Louis Cornbutte, to whom his 
father had transferred the command of the ship, and who 
had become once more master on board, would listen to no 
objections from that quarter, and in spite of Marie's advice 
to act gently, made it known that he intended to be obeyed 
on all points. 

Nevertheless, the two Norwegians succeeded two days 
after, in getting possession of a box of salt meat. Louis 
ordered them to return it to him on the spot, but Aupic 



THE TWO RIVALS 95, 

took their part, and Andre Vasling declared that the pre- 
cautions about food could not be any longer enfoiced. 

It was useless to attempt to show these men that these 
measures were for the common interest, for they knew it 
well, and only sought a pretext to revolt. 

Penellan advanced towards the Norwegians, who drew 
their cutlasses; but, aided by Misonne and Turquiette, he 
succeeded in snatching the weapons from their hands, and 
gained possession of the salt meat. Andre Vasling and 
Aupic, seeing that matters were going against them, did 
not interfere. Louis Cornbutte, however, took the mate 
aside, and said to him: 

" Andre V^asling, you are a wretch ! I know your whole 
conduct, and I know what you are aiming at, but as the 
safety of the whole crew is confided to me, if any man of 
you thinks of conspiring to destroy them, I will stab him 
with my own hand ! " 

" Louis Cornbutte," replied the mate, " it is allowable 
for you to act the master; but remember that absolute 
obedience does not exist here, and that here the strongest 
alone makes the law." 

Marie had never trembled before the dangers of the 
polar seas; but she was terrified by this hatred, of which 
she was the cause, and the captain's vigor hardly reassured 
her. 

Despite this declaration of war, the meals were par- 
taken of in common and at the same hours. Hunting fur- 
nished some ptarmigans and white hares; but this resource 
would soon fail them, with the approach of the terrible 
cold weather. This began at the solstice, on the 22d of 
December, on which day the thermometer fell to thirty- 
five degrees below zero. The men experienced pain in 
their ears, noses, and the extremities of their bodies. They 
were seized with a mortal torpor combined with headache, 
and their breathing became more and more diflicult. 

In this state they had no longer any courage to go hunt- 
ing or to take any exercise. They remained crouched 
around the stove, which gave them but a meager heat; and 
when they went away from it, they perceived that their 
blood suddenly cooled. 

Jean Cornbutte's health was seriously impaired, and he 
could no longer quit his lodging. Symptoms of scurvy 



96 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

manifested themselves in him, and his legs were soon 
covered with white spots. Marie was well, however, and 
occupied herself tending the sick ones with the zeal of a 
sister of charity. The honest fellows blessed her from the 
bottom of their hearts. 

The 1st of January was one of the gloomiest of these 
winter days. The wind was violent, and the cold insup- 
portable. They could not go out, except at the risk of 
being frozen. The most courageous were fain to limit 
themselves to walking on deck, sheltered by the tent. 
Jean Cornbutte, Gervique, and Gradlin did not leave their 
beds. The two Norwegians, Aupic, and Andre Vasling, 
whose health was good, cast ferocious looks at their com- 
panions, whom they saw wasting away. 

Louis Cornbutte led Penellan on deck, and asked him 
how much firing was left. 

" The coal was exhausted long ago," replied Penellan, 
" and we are about to burn our last pieces of wood." 

" If we are not able to keep off this cold, we are lost," 
said Louis. 

" There still remains a way — " said Penellan, " to 
burn what we can of the brig, from the barricading to the 
water-line; and we can even, if need be, demolish her 
entirely, and rebuild a smaller craft." 

" That is an extreme means," replied Louis, " which it 
will be full time to employ when our men are well. For^" 
he added in a low voice, " our force is diminishing, and 
that of our enemies seems to be increasing. That is ex- 
traordinary." 

"It is true," said Penellan; "and unless we took the 
precaution to watch night and day, I know not what would 
happen to us." 

" Let us take our hatchets," returned Louis, " and make 
our harvest of wood." 

Despite the cold, they mounted on the forward barri- 
cading, and cut off all the wood which was not indispensably 
necessary to the ship ; then they returned with this new pro- 
vision. The fire was started afresh, and a man remained 
on guard to prevent it from going out. 

Meanwhile Louis Cornbutte and his friends were soon 
tired out. They could not confide any detail of the life in 
common to their enemies. Charged with all the domestic 

V. I Verne 



THE TWO RIVALS 97 

cares, their powers were soon exhausted. The scurvy be- 
trayed itself in Jean Cornbutte, who suffered intolerable 
pain. Gervique and Gradlin showed symptoms of the 
same disease. Had it not been for the lemon-juice, with 
which they were abundantly furnished, they would have 
speedily succumbed to their sufferings. This remedy was 
not spared in relieving them. 

But one day, the 15th of January, when Louis Cornbutte 
was going down into the steward's room to get some 
lemons, he was stupefied to find that the barrels in which 
they were kept had disappeared. He hurried up and told 
Penellan of this misfortune. A theft had been committed, 
and it was easy to recognize its authors. Louis Corn- 
butte then understood why the health of his enemies con- 
tinued so good ! His friends were no longer strong enough 
to take the lemons away from them, though his life and that 
of his comrades depended on the fruit; and he now sank, 
for the first time, into a gloomy state of despair. 



CHAPTER XIV 

DISTRESS 

On the 20th of January most of the crew had not the 
strength to leave their beds. Each, independently of his 
woolen coverings, had a buffalo-skin to protect him against 
the cold ; but as soon as he put his arms outside the clothes, 
he felt a severe pain which obliged him quickly to cover 
them again. 

Meanwhile, Louis having lit the stove fire, Penellan, 
Misonne, and Andre Vasling left their beds and crouched 
around it. Penellan prepared some boiling coffe, which 
gave them some strength, as well as Marie, who joined 
them in partaking of it. 

Louis Cornbutte approached his father's bedside; the 
old man was almost motionless, and his limbs were help- 
less from disease. He muttered some disconnected words, 
which carried grief to his son's heart. 

"Louis," said he, " I am dying! I suffer! Save me! " 

Louis took a decisive resolution. He went up to the 
mate, and, controlling himself with difiiculty, said : " Do 
you know where the lemons are, Vasling?" 



98 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

" In the steward's room, I suppose," returned the mate, 
without stirring. 

" You know very well they are not, as you have stolen 
them!" 

" You are master, Louis Cornbutte, and may say and do 
anything." 

" For pity's sake, Andre Vasling, my father is dying ! 
You can save him, — answer!" 

" I have nothing to answer," replied Andre Vasling. 

"Wretch! " cried Penellan, throwing himself, cutlass in 
hand, on the mate. 

" Help, friends ! " shouted Vasling, retreating. 

Aupic and the two Norwegian sailors jumped from their 
beds and placed themselves behind him. Turquiette, Penel- 
lan, and Louis prepared to defend themselves. Pierre 
Nouquet and Gradlin, though suffering much, rose to 
second them. 

" You are still too strong for us," said Vasling. " We 
do not wish to fight on an uncertainty." 

The sailors were so weak that they dared not attack the 
four rebels, for, had they failed, they would have been lost. 
"Andre Vasling!" said Louis, in a gloomy tone, "if my 
father dies, you will have murdered him; and I will kill 
you like a dog! " 

Vasling and his confederates retired to the other end of 
the cabin, and did not reply. 

It was then necessary to renew the supply of wood, and, 
in spite of the cold, Louis went on deck and began to cut 
away a part of the barricading, but was obliged to retreat in 
a quarter of an hour, for he was in danger of falling, 
overcome by the freezing air. As he passed, he cast a 
glance at the thermometer left outside, and saw that the 
mercury was frozen. The cold, then, exceeded forty-two 
degrees below zero. The weather was dry, and the wind 
blew from the north. 

On the 26th the wind changed to the northeast, and the 
thermometer outside stood at thirty-five degrees. Jean 
Cornbutte was in agony, and his son had searched in vain 
for some remedy with which to relieve his pain. On this 
day, however, throwing himself suddenly on Vasling, he 
managed to snatch a lemon from him which he was about to 
suck. Vasling made no attempt to recover it. He seemed 



DISTRESS 99 

to be awaiting an opportunity to accomplish his wicked 
designs. 

The lemon-juice somewhat relieved old Cornbutte, but it 
was necessary to continue the remedy. Marie begged Vas- 
ling on her knees to produce the lemons, but he did not 
reply, and soon Penellan heard the wretch say to his ac- 
complices: "The old fellow is dying. Gervique, Gradlin, 
and Nouquet are not much better. The others are daily 
losing their strength. The time is near when their lives 
will belong to us ! " 

It was then resolved by Louis Cornbutte and his adhe- 
rents not to wait, and lose the little strength still remaining 
to them. They determined to act the next night, and to 
kill these wretches, so as not to be killed by them. 

The temperature rose a little. Louis Cornbutte ventured 
to go out with his gun in search of some game. He pro- 
ceeded some three miles from the ship, and, deceived by 
the effects of the mirage and refraction, he went farther 
than he intended. It was imprudent, for recent tracks of 
ferocious animals were to be seen. He did not wish, how- 
ever, to return without some fresh meat, and continued on 
his route; but he then experienced a strange feeling which 
turned his head. It was what is commonly called " white 
vertigo." 

The reflection of the ice hillocks and fields affected him 
from head to foot, and it seemed to him that the dazzling 
color penetrated him and caused an irresistible nausea. His 
eye was attacked. His sight became uncertain. He thought 
he should go mad with the glare. Without fully under- 
standing this terrible effect, he advanced on his way, and 
soon put up a ptarmigan, which he eagerly pursued. The 
bird soon fell, and in order to reach it Louis leaped from 
an ice-block and fell heavily; for the leap was at least ten 
feet, and the refraction made him think it was only two. 
The vertigo then seized him, and, without knowing why, 
he began to call for help, though he had not been injured 
by the fall. The cold began to take him, and he rose with 
pain, urged by the sense of self-preservation. 

Suddenly, without being able to account for it, he smelt 
an odor of boiling fat. As the ship was between him and 
the wind, he supposed that this odor proceeded from her, 
and could not imagine why they should be cooking fat, 



loo A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

this being a dangerous thing to do, as it was likely to 
attract the white bears. 

Louis returned towards the ship, absorbed in reflections 
which soon inspired his excited mind with terror. It 
seemed to him as if colossal masses were moving on the 
horizon, and he asked himself if there was not another ice- 
quake. Several of these masses interposed themselves be- 
tween him and the ship, and appeared to rise about its sides. 
He stopped to gaze at them more attentively, when to his 
horror he recognized a herd of gigantic bears. 

These animals had been attracted by the odor of grease 
which had surprised Louis. He sheltered himself behind 
a hillock, and counted three, which were scaling the blocks 
on which the Jeune-Hardie was resting. 

A terrible anguish oppressed his heart. How resist these 
redoubtable enemies? Would Andre Vasling and his con- 
federates unite with the rest on board in the common peril? 
Could Penellan and the others, half -starved, benumbed 
with cold, resist these formidable animals, made wild by 
unassuaged hunger? Would they not be surprised by an 
unlooked-for attack? 

Louis made these reflections rapidly. The bears had 
crossed the blocks, and were mounting to the assault of 
the ship. He might then quit the block which protected 
him; he went nearer, clinging to the ice, and could soon 
see the enormous animals tearing the tent with their paws, 
and leaping on the deck. He thought of firing his gun to 
give his comrades notice; but if these came up without 
arms, they would inevitably be torn to pieces, and nothing 
showed as yet that they were even aware of their new 
danger. 

CHAPTER XV 

THE WHITE BEARS 

After Louis Cornbutte's departure, Penellan Had care- 
fully shut the cabin door, which opened at the foot of the 
deck steps. He returned to the stove, which he took it 
upon himself to watch, while his companions regained their 
berths in search of a little warmth. 

It was then six in the evening, and Penellan set about 
preparing supper. He went down into the steward's room 



THE WHITE BEARS loi 

for some salt meat, which he wished to soak in the boiHng 
water. When he returned, he found Andre Vasling in his 
place, cooking some pieces of grease in a basin. 

" I was there before you," said Penellan roughly; "why 
have you taken my place? " 

" For the same reason that you claim it," returned Vas- 
ling : " because I want to cook my supper." 

" You will take that off at once, or we shall see ! " 

" We shall see nothing," said Vasling ; " my supper shall 
be cooked in spite of you." 

" You shall not eat it, then," cried Penellan, rushing 
upon Vasling, who seized his cutlass, crying, " Help, Nor- 
wegians ! Help, Aupic ! " 

These, in the twinkling of an eye, sprang to their feet, 
armed with pistols and daggers. The crisis had come. 

Penellan precipitated himself upon Vasling, to whom, no 
doubt, was confided the task to fight him alone; for his 
accomplices rushed to the beds where lay Misonne, Tur- 
quiette, and Nouquet. The latter, ill and defenceless, was 
delivered over to Herming's ferocity. The carpenter seized 
a hatchet, and, leaving his berth, hurried up to encounter 
Aupic. Turquiette and Jocki, the Norwegian, struggled 
fiercely. Gervique and Gradlin, suffering horribly, were 
not even conscious of what was passing around them. 

Nouquet soon received a stab in the side, and Herming 
turned to Penellan, who was fighting desperately. Andre 
Vasling had seized him round the body. 

At the beginning of the affray the basin had been upset 
on the stove, and the grease running over the burning coals, 
impregnated the atmosphere with its odor. Marie rose 
with cries of despair, and hurried to the bed of old Jean 
Cornbutte. 

Vasling, less strong than Penellan, soon perceived that 
the latter was getting the better of him. They were too 
close together to make use of their weapons. The mate, 
seeing Herming, cried out, " Help, Herming! " 

" Help, Misonne! " shouted Penellan, in his turn. 

But Misonne was rolling on the ground with Aupic, who 
was trying to stab him with his cutlass. The carpenter's 
hatchet was of little use to him. for he could not wield it, 
and it was with the greatest difficulty that he parried the 
lunges which Aupic made with his knife. 



•I02 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

Meanwhile blood flowed amid the groans and cries. Tur- 
quiette, thrown down by Jocki, a man of immense strength, 
had received a wound in the shoulder, and he tried in vain 
to clutch a pistol which hung in the Norwegian's belt. The 
latter held him as in a vice, and it was impossible for him 
to move. 

As Vasling was being held by Penellan close against the 
door, Herming rushed up. He was about to stab the 
Breton's back with his cutlass, but the latter felled him to the 
earth with a vigorous kick. His effort to do this enabled 
Vasling to disengage his right arm; but the door, against 
which they pressed with all their weight, suddenly yielded, 
and Vasling fell over. 

Of a sudden a terrible growl was heard, and a gigantic 
bear appeared on the steps. Vasling saw him first. He 
was not four feet away from him. At the same moment 
a shot was heard, and the bear, wounded or frightened, 
retreated. Vasling, who had succeeded in regaining his 
feet, set out in pursuit of him, abandoning Penellan. 

Penellan then replaced the door, and looked around him. 
Misonne and Turquiette, tightly garrotted by their antago- 
nists, had been thrown into a corner, and made vain efforts 
to break loose. Penellan rushed to their assistance, but was 
overturned by the two Norwegians and Aupic. His ex- 
hausted strength did not permit him to resist these three 
men, and at a heavy blow he sank unconscious. Then, at 
the cries of the mate, his accomplices hurried on deck, think- 
ing that Louis Cornbutte was to be encountered. 

Andre Vasling was struggling with a bear, which he had 
already twice stabbed with his knife. The animal, beating 
the air with his heavy paws, was trying to clutch Vasling; 
he retiring little by little on the barricading, was apparently 
doomed, when a second shot was heard. The bear fell. 
Andre Vasling raised his head and saw Louis Cornbutte 
in the ratlines of the mizzen-mast, his gun in his hand. 
Louis had shot the bear in the heart, and he was dead. 

Hate overcame gratitude in Vasling's breast; but before 
satisfying it, he looked around him. Aupic's head was 
broken by a paw-stroke, and he lay lifeless on deck. Jocki, 
hatchet in hand, was with difficulty parrying the blows of 
the second bear which had just killed Aupic. The animal 
had received two wounds, and still struggled desperately. 



THE WHITE BEARS 103 

A third bear was directing his way towards the ship's prow. 
Vasling paid no attention to him, but, followed by Herming, 
went to the aid of Jocki; but Jocki, seized by the beast's 
paws, was crushed, and when the bear fell under the shots 
of the other two men, he held a corpse in his shaggy arms. 

" We are only two, now," said Vasling, with gloomy fero- 
city, " but if we yield, it will not be without vengeance! " 

Herming reloaded his pistol without replying. Before 
all, the third bear must be got rid of. Vasling looked forward, 
but did not see him. On raising his eyes, he perceived him 
erect on the barricading, clinging to the ratlines and trying 
to reach Louis. Vasling let his gun fall, which he had 
aimed at the animal, while a fierce joy glittered in his eyes. 
** Ah," he cried to the bear, " you owe me that vengeance ! " 

Louis took refuge in the top of the mast. The bear 
kept mounting, and was not more than six feet from Louis, 
when he raised his gun and pointed it at the animal's heart. 

Vasling raised his weapon to shoot Louis if the bear fell. 

Louis fired, but the bear did not appear to be hit, for he 
leaped with a bound towards the top. The whole mast 
shook. 

Vasling uttered a shout of exultation. 

" Herming," he cried, " go and find Marie! Go and find 
my betrothed ! " 

Herming descended the cabin stairs. 

Meanwhile the furious beast had thrown himself upon 
Louis, who was trying to shelter himself on the other side 
of the mast; but at the moment that his enormous paw 
was raised to break his head, Louis, seizing one of the 
backstays, let himself slip down to the deck, not without 
danger, for a ball hissed by his ear when he was half-way 
down. Vasling had shot at him, and missed him. The 
two adversaries now confronted each other, cutlass in hand. 

The combat was about to become decisive. To glut his 
vengeance, and to have the young girl witness her lover's 
death, Vasling had deprived himself of Herming's aid. He 
could now reckon only on himself. 

Louis and Vasling seized each other by the collar, and 
held each other with iron grip. One of them must fall. 
They struck each other violently. Tlie blows were only 
half parried, for blood soon flowed from both. Vasling 
tried to clasp his adversary about the neck with his arm. 



104 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

to bring him to the ground. Louis, knowing that he who 
fell was lost, prevented him, and succeeded in grasping his 
two arms ; but in doing this he let fall his cutlass. 

Pietous cries now assailed his ears; it was Marie's voice. 
Herming was trying to drag her up. Louis was seized with 
a desperate rage. He stiffened himself to bend Vasling's 
loins; but at this moment the combatants felt themselves 
seized in a powerful embrace. The bear, having descended 
from the mast, had fallen upon the two men. Vasling was 
pressed against the animal's body. Louis felt his claws en- 
tering his flesh. The bear was strangling both of them. 

** Help ! help ! Herming ! " cried the mate. 

" Help ! Penellan ! " cried Louis. 

Steps were heard on the stairs. Penellan appeared, 
loaded his pistol, and discharged it in the bear's ear; he 
roared; the pain made him relax his paws for a moment, 
and Louis, exhausted, fell motionless on the deck; but the 
bear, closing his paws tightly in a supreme agony, fell, 
dragging down the wretched Vasling, whose body was 
crushed under him, 

Penellan hurried to Louis Cornbutte's assistance. No 
serious wound endangered his life; he had only lost his 
breath for a moment. 

" Marie ! " he said, opening his eyes. 

" Saved ! " replied Penellan. " Herming is lying there 
with a knife- wound in his stomach." 

" And the bears " 

" Dead, Louis ; dead, like our enemies ! But for those 
beasts we should have been lost. Truly, they came to our 
succor. Let us thank Heaven ! " 

Louis and Penellan descended to the cabin, and Marie fell 
into their arms. 



CHAPTER XVI 

CONCLUSION 

Herming, mortally wounded, had been carried to a berth 
by Misonne and Turquiette, who had succeeded in getting 
free. He was already at the last gasp of death; and the 
two sailors occupied themselves with Nouquet, whose wound 
was not, happily, a serious one. 



CONCLUSION 105 

But a greater misfortune had overtaken Louis Cornbutte. 
His father no longer gave any signs of life. Had he died 
of anxiety for his son, delivered over to his enemies? Had 
he succumbed in presence of these terrible events? They 
could not tell. But the poor old sailor, broken by disease, 
had ceased to live ! 

At this unexpected blow, Louis and Marie fell into a 
said despair; then they knelt at the bedside and wept, as 
they prayed for Jean Cornbutte's soul. Penellan, Misonne, 
and Turqulette left them alone in the cabin, and went on 
deck. The bodies of the three bears were carried forward. 
Penellan decided to keep their skins, which would be of no 
little use; but he did not think for a moment of eating 
their flesh. Besides, the number of men to feed was now 
much decreased. The bodies of Vasling, Aupic, and Jockl, 
thrown into a hole dug on the coast, were soon rejoined by 
that of Herming. The Norwegian died during the night, 
without repentance or remorse, foaming at the mouth with 
rage. 

Jean Cornbutte was buried on the coast. He had left 
his native land to find his son, and had died in these ter- 
rible regions! His grave was dug on an eminence, and 
the sailors placed over it a simple wooden cross. 

From that day, Louis Cornbutte and his comrades passed 
through many other trials; but the lemons, which they 
found, restored them to health. Gervique, Gradlln, and 
Nouquet were able to rise from their berths a fortnight after 
these terrible events, and to take a little exercise. 

Soon hunting for game became more easy and its results 
more abundant. The water-birds returned in large num- 
bers. After the equinox, the sun remained constantly above 
the horizon. The eight months of perpetual daylight had 
begun. This continual sunlight, with the increasing though 
still quite feeble heat, soon began to act upon the ice. 

Great precautions were necessary in launching the ship 
from the lofty layer of ice which surrounded her. She 
was therefore securely propped up, and it seemed best to 
await the breaking up of the ice ; but the lower mass, rest- 
ing on a bed of already warm water, detached itself little by 
little, and the ship gradually descended with it. Early in 
April she had reached her natural level. 

In May the thaw became very rapid. The snow which 



io6 A WINTER AMID THE ICE 

covered the coast melted on every hand, and formed a 
thick mud, which made it well-nigh impossible to land. 
Small heathers, rosy and white, peeped out timidly above 
the lingering snow, and seemed to smile at the little heat 
they received. The thermometer at last rose above zero. 

Twenty miles off, the ice masses, entirely separated, floated 
towards the Atlantic Ocean. Though the sea was not quite 
free around the ship, channels opened by which Louis Corn- 
butte wished to profit. 

On the 2 1 St of May, after a parting visit to his father's 
grave, Louis at last set out from the bay. The hearts of 
the honest sailors were filled at once with joy and sadness, 
for one does not leave without regret a place where a friend 
has died. The wind blew from the north, and favored 
their departure. The ship was often arrested by ice-banks, 
which were cut with saws, icebergs not seldom confronted 
her, and it was necessary to blow them up with powder. 
For a month the way was full of perils, which sometimes 
brought the ship to the verge of destruction; but the crew 
were sturdy, and used to these dangerous exigencies. 
Penellan, Pierre Nouquet, Turquiette, Fidele Misonne, did 
the work of ten sailors, and Marie had smiles of gratitude 
for each. 

The Jcune-Hardie at last passed beyond the ice in the 
latitude of Jean-Mayen Island. About the 25th of June she 
met ships going northward for seals and whales. She had 
been nearly a month emerging from the Polar Sea. 

On the 1 6th of August she came in view of Dunkirk. 
She had been signaled by the look-out, and the whole popu- 
lation flocked to the jetty. The sailors of the ship were 
soon clasped in the arms of their friends. The old cure 
received Louis Cornbutte and Marie with patriarchal arms, 
and of the two masses which he said on the following day, 
the first was for the repose of Jean Cornbutte's soul, and the 
second to bless these two lovers, so long united in mis- 
fortune. 



THE END 



The Pearl of Lima 

OR 

Martin Paz 




The Pearl of Lima 

CHAPTER I 

THE " PLAZA MAYOR " 

HE sun had just sunk behind the snowy peaks 
of the Cordilleras, and, although the beautiful 
Peruvian sky was being covered by the veil of 
night, the atmosphere was clear and refreshing 
in its balmy coolness. It was just the hour 
when a European might enjoy the climate, and 
with open veranda luxunate in the grateful breeze. 

The stars were beginning to appear and the promenaders 
betook themselves to the streets of Lima, where, protected 
merely by their light capes, they discussed the most trivial 
topics with the most profound gravity. The general direc- 
tion of the throng was toward the grand square, the Plaza 
Mayor, the forum of the ancient " City of the Kings." 

The same cool atmosphere which tempted the population 
to an evening stroll had the effect of bringing out the var- 
ious hawkers, who threaded their way amidst the crowds 
shouting aloud the praises of their different wares. The 
women, wearing mantles which effectually concealed their 
faces, glided, as it were, between the groups of smokers. 
A few ladies there were in evening dress, with their coiffure, 
composed of their own luxuriant hair, gracefully adorned 
with natural flowers; but these were lounging back in the 
iwide barouches. The Indians were seen making their sullen 
way without once lifting their eyes, and indicating neither 
by gesture nor by word the rancorous envy that was gnaw- 
ing at their spirit, a contrast altogether with the half-breeds, 
who, repudiated as themselves, protested more openly 
against their civil wrongs. 

As for the Spaniards, those haughty descendants of 
Pizarro, they held their heads aloft as though they were 
still entitled to the homage of the days of old, when their 
ancestors had founded the city of the kings. They enter- 
tained supreme contempt alike for the Indians whom they 
had conquered, and for the half-breeds who had sprung 
from their own connection with the people of the New 
World. Like every other subjugated race, the Indians 

109 



no THE PEARL OF LIMA 

chafed at their condition, and regarded with common an- 
tipathy not only the conquerors who had overturned the 
ancient empire of the Incas, but also the half-breeds, that 
upstart race, as arrogant as vulgar. With regard to these 
half-breeds, it may be asserted that they were Spaniards 
as far as their scorn of the Lidians could make them so, 
while they were thorough Indians in the detestation in which 
they held the Spaniards. The two sentiments were about 
equally developed, and united in embittering their lives. 

It was a party of the young half-breeds that was now 
seen clustering near the fine fountain that adorns the center 
of the Plaza Mayor. Each of them was wearing a " pon- 
cho," which consisted simply of an oblong piece of cotton, 
with an aperture in the middle to admit the head of the 
wearer, and nearly all of them were arrayed in loose 
trousers, gay with stripes of a thousand colors; on their 
heads they had broad-brimmed hats made of straw from 
Guayaquil. They gesticulated violently as they talked. 

" You are right, Andre," said a little man named Milla- 
flores, speaking in a most obsequious tone. 

This Millaflores was a hanger-on, a sort of parasite of 
Andre Certa, a young half-breed, and the son of a wealthy 
merchant who had been killed in one of the late insurrec- 
tions. Inheriting an ample fortune, Andre had sought by a 
lavish prodigality to surround himself with a bevy of friends 
from whom he exacted nothing more than the most servile 
deference. 

" And what good, I should like to know," said Andre, 
raising his voice higher and higher as he spoke, " what good 
ever comes of these changes of government, and these ever- 
lasting pronunicamentos that are constantly agitating Peru. 
As long as there is no equality established, it matters little 
whether it be Gambarra or Santa Cruz that rules us." 

" Well said ! well said, indeed ! " shrieked little Millaflores, 
who, in spite of the passing of a law for universal equality, 
could never be an equal to any man of spirit. 

" Here am I," continued Andre Certa, *' the son of a 
merchant, and how is it that I am not allowed a carriage 
drawn by anything better than mules ! Whose ships were 
they but mine that brought prosperity into the land? And 
isn't an aristocracy of wealth far more than a match for 
all the empty titles of the grandees of Spain? " 



THE " PLAZA MAYOR " 1 1 1 

" Disgraceful ! " chimed in the voice of one of the young 
half-breeds; "utterly disgraceful! Just look there! there 
goes Don Fernando! see him how he drives along in his 
chariot drawn by horses! Don Fernando d'Aguillo! he 
can scarcely afford to buy a dinner for his coachman, and 
yet look at the air with which he lords it about the Plaza ! 
Look, there's another of them! the Marquis Don Vegal!" 

A splendid carriage at that moment turned into the Plaza, 
and proved in truth to belong to the Marquis Don Vegal, 
Chevalier of Alcantara, of Malta, and of Charles IIL The 
nobleman had come out only to relieve the tedium of the 
evening, and with no thought of ostentation or display. As 
he sat with his head bent in anxious care, he paid no re- 
gard to the envious sneers with which the groups of half- 
breeds greeted him while his carriage and four dashed 
through the crowd. 

" I hate that man," growled Andre Certa. 

" Ah ! you will not need to hate him long," replied one 
of the young men. 

" Perhaps not," said Andre. " These lordlings have seen 
nearly the last of their luxuries, and have pretty well ex- 
hausted all their jewels and family plate." 

"Yes, indeed; no one knows that better than yourself, 
'familiar as you are with old Samuel the Jew." 

"True; the old Jew's ledger shows plenty of credit and 
lots of debt, and his strong box is full to the hasp with the 
debris of the fine fortunes of the old aristocrats But the 
day isn't far off, and a jolly day it will be, when these 
Spaniards will all be beggars, like their own Caesar de 
Bazan." 

" Capital, Andre," put in Millaflores; " and then you will 
mount upon your own millions, and double them besides. 
But when do you marry old Samuel's daughter? Sarah is 
a true child of Lima, a Peruvian to the very tips of her 
fingers; nothing of the Jewess about her except her name." 

" Oh, within a month," said Andre. " In another month 
there will not be a fortune in the land to compete with 
mine." 

" But why," was the inquiry of one of the admiring 
group, " why don't you marry the daughter of some 
Spaniard who can boast a noble lineage?" 

" Because I despise the race as much as I hate it," replied 



112 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

Andre; but he did not think it necessary to confess that his 
acquaintancesliip had been ignominiously rejected in every 
aristocratic circle to which he had endeavored to get an in- 
troduction. 

At this instant Andre was unceremoniously jostled by a 
tall man with grisly hair, whose thick-set limbs indicated 
more than an ordinary amount of physical strength. 

The man was an Indian, a native of the mountains; he 
wore a shirt of the coarsest serge, that, opening at the neck, 
■revealed the shaggiest of bosoms; his short linen trousers 
were gaudy with green stripes, and his stone-colored stock- 
ings were fastened at the knee with crimson garters ; a pair 
of glittering ear-rings hung far below the border of his hat. 

After jostling Andre, the man stood and stared at him. 

" You vile Indian ! " exclaimed the assaulted half-breed, as 
he raised his hand to strike him. 

His companions held him back, and Millaflores cried, 
" Andre, Andre ! mind what you are about ! " 

" What does the wretched slave mean by daring to jostle 
me ? " exclaimed Andre furiously. 

" Never mind, he's only an idiot; it is Sambo ! " 

The Indian continued steadily staring at the man whom 
he had intentionally affronted. Andre, beside himself with 
rage, laid his hand upon the dagger which he carried in his 
belt, and was upon the point of attacking his aggressor, 
when a shrill cry, like the note of the Peruvian linnet, re- 
echoed above the tumult of the crowd, and in a moment 
Sambo had disappeared. 

"Miserable coward!" ejaculated the furious Andre. 

Millaflores gently begged him to control his passion, and 
leave the Plaza. The group of young men began to retire 
towards the lower end of the promenade. 

The Plaza Mayor was still the scene of bustling anima- 
tion. Night had come on, and gliding about with their 
identity completely disguised by their mantles, the women 
of Lima truly deserved their name of the " tapadas," — the 
" concealed." The noise and tumult seemed ever to be in- 
creasing. The horse-guards, sentineled at the central gate- 
way of the Viceroy's palace, had as much as they could do 
to retain their places undisturbed by the thronging of the 
busy crowd. Industry of every sort appeared to have found 
a general rendezvous, and the whole place was well-nigh 

y. I Verne 



THE " PLAZA MAYOR " 113 

given up to the ex:hibition of articles for sale. The lower 
story of the palace, and the very basement of the cathedral 
had been converted into shops, and the entire locality was 
thus transformed into a vast bazaar for all the varied pro- 
ducts of the tropics. 

Louder and louder waxed the noise; when all at once 
the bell from the cathedral tower tolled out the Angelus, 
and the tumult w^as completely hushed. The clamor of 
business was replaced by the whisperings of prayer. The 
ladies paused upon the promenade, and began to tell their 
beads. 

During the interval of the suspended traffic, and while 
the mass of the people was still in the attitude of devotion, ', 
a young girl, accompanied by an old duenna, was trying to 
make her way through the thickest of the crowd. Angry 
remonstrances met the ears of both as their movements in- 
terrupted the prayers of those they passed. The girl 
wanted to stand and wait, but the undaunted duenna 
dragged her resolutely on. First some one w^ould say, 
"What are these daughters of the devil doing? " and then 
another would ask, "Who is this cursed ballet-girl?" till 
at last, overwhelmed by confusion, the girl refused to ad- 
vance a step 

At that instant a muleteer was proceeding to take lier 
by the shoulder and force her on to her knees; but he had 
scarcely raised his hand for the purpose, when he was seized 
by a strong arm from behind, and felled to the ground. 
The incident, though it was quick as lightning, caused some 
confusion for a moment. 

" Make your escape, young lady," said a voice, gently 
and respectfully, close to the girl's ear. 

Pale with terror she cast a glance behind her, and saw a 
tall young Indian standing w'ith folded arms and looking 
defiantly at the muleteer before him. 

" Alas, alas ! " cried the duenna, " we have got into 
trouble," and hurried the girl away. 

Bruised by his fall the muleteer rose to his feet, but not 
deeming it prudent to demand satisfaction from an oppo- 
nent of such resolute bearing as the young Indian, he retired 
towards his mules, muttering angry but useless threats as 
he went. 



CHAPTER II 

AN INDIAN RIVAL 

The town of Lima nestles as it were in the valley of the 
Rimac, at about nine miles from the mouth of the river. 
From east to west Lima is about two miles long, but not 
more than a mile and a quarter wide from the bridge to 
the walls. These walls, which are about twelve feet high, 
and ten feet thick at their base, are constructed of a peculiar 
kind of bricks, known as " adobes," dried in the sun. 

This is the ancient " City of the Kings," founded in 1534 
by Pizarro on the feast of the Epiphany, It has never 
ceased to be the scene of revolution. Formerly it was the 
chief emporium of America in the whole Pacific, to which 
it was opened by the port of Callao. The climate makes 
Lima one of the most agreeable places of residence in the 
New World. The wind never deviates from one of two 
directions; either it blows from the south-west, and brings 
with it the refreshing influence which it has gained in 
traversing the Pacific, or it comes from the south-east, in- 
vigorating and cheering with the coolness which it has 
gathered from the snowy summits of the Cordielleras. The 
nights, too, at Lima are delightful as elsev^^here in the 
tropics; the dew which rises is a bountiful source of nutri- 
ment to a soil that is ever exposed to the rays of a cloudless 
sun. 

On the evening in question, the girl, still attended by her 
duenna, arrived from the great square at the bridge of the 
Rimac without further misadventure. Her excitement was 
still intense, and made her start at every sound which 
brought to her imagination either the ringing of the mule- 
teer's bells, or the whistle of an Indian. 

The girl was Sarah, the daughter of Samuel the Jew, and 
she was now about to enter the house of her father. She 
was dressed in a dark-colored skirt plaited round the bottom 
in such close folds as to oblige her to take the very shortest 
steps, giving her that graceful movement which is so gen- 
erally characteristic of the young women of Lima. The 
skirt was trimmed with lace and flowers, and was partially 
concealed by a silk mantle, the hood of which enveloped her 
head; stockings of fine texture, and pretty little satin slippers 
were visible below her becoming dress; bracelets of con- 
siderable value encircled her wrists, and her whole appear- 

114 



AN INDIAN RIVAL 115 

ance afforded a charming illustration of what the Spaniards 
express so pointedly by their term " donayre." 

Millaflores had only declared the truth when he had said 
that Sarah had nothing Jewish about her but her name; 
she was undeniably a type of the sefioras whose beauty has 
commanded such universal homage. 

The old duenna was a Jewess, with avarice and cupidity 
stamped indelibly upon her features ; she was a devoted ser- 
vant to Samuel, who knew what she was worth, and re- 
munerated her accordingly. 

Just at the moment that they entered the suburb of San 
Lazaro, a man, dressed as a monk, with his cowl over his 
head, passed them with a keen and scrutinizing look of in- 
quiry. He was very tall, and had one of those commanding 
figures which seem at once to indicate repose and benevo- 
lence. It was Farther Joachim di Camarones. As he 
passed the girl he gave her a kindly smile of recognition ; 
she glanced hastily at her companion, and merely acknowl- 
edge his greeting by a gentle movement of her hand. 

" Has it come to this? " said the old woman, in a tone of 
annoyance, " isn't it enough to be insulted by these Christ- 
ian dogs, and here you must be bowing and smiling to one 
of their priests ! I suppose some day we shall see you take 
up a rosary, and go off to their fine services in church." 

The girl colored as she replied, " You are indulging in 
strange conjectures." 

" Strange ! not more strange, I think, than your behavior. 
What would my master say if he knew all that has passed 
this evening? " 

" It's no fault of mine, I should suppose," rejoined the 
girl, " if a brutal muleteer insults me in the street." 

" I know very well what I mean," grumbled the old 
woman ; " I wasn't alluding to any muleteer." 

" Then," inquired Sarah, " do you blame that young In- 
dian for taking my part against the crowd? " 

" Ah I ah ! but it isn't the first time the young fellow has 
crossed your path." 

Fortunately for her, the maiden's face was covered by 
her mantilla, otherwise the evening shades would not have 
been deep enough to conceal the girl's flush of excitement 
from the inquisitive eye of the old domestic 

" But never mind the Indian now," continued the old 



ii6 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

crone ; " I will keep my eye on that business. What troubles 
me most now is that rather than interrupt those Christians 
at their prayers, you should acutally stand still and wait 
while they knelt, and I really believe you were going to 
kneel too Ah ! senora, if your father were to know that I 
could allow you to insult your faith like that, he would not 
be long in sending me adrift." 

The girl however, heard nothing of the reproof The 
very mention of the Indian had turned her thoughts into a 
sweeter channel. She recalled what was to her a provi- 
dential interference on her behalf, and could not divest her- 
self of a belief that her deliverer was still not far behind, 
following in the shade. There was a certain fearlessness in 
her character that became her marvelously. Proud she was 
with the pride of a Spaniard, and if she felt her interest 
awakened by the young Indian, it was chiefly because he, 
too, was proud, and had not sought a glance of her eye as 
an acknowledgment for his protection. 

In truth, she was not far wrong in her surmise that the 
Indian was not out of sight. After his interference in her 
defence, he had resolved to make her retreat entirely secure ; 
and accordingly, when the observers were dispersed, he 
proceeded to follow her without being perceived. 

A well-built man was Martin Paz, his figure being nobly 
set off by the costume that he wore as an Indian of the 
Mountains. Below the wide brim of his straw hat clustered 
massive locks of thick black hair which harmonized per- 
fectly with his dark complexion. His eyes were at once 
brilliant and soft, and a well-formed nose rose above lips 
so small as to be quite rare in any of his race. He was of 
the lineage of the courageous Manco-Capac, and in his veins 
coursed the ardent blood that was capable of great achieve- 
ments 

Martin Paz was attired In a poncho of many hues ; from 
his girdle was suspended one of those Malay daggers which 
are ever formidable in a practiced hand, and seem to be 
welded to the arm that wields them Had he been in North 
America, by the wild borders of Lake Ontario, he would, 
to a certainty, have been a chief of those wandering tribes 
who fought so heroically against their English foes. 

Martin was quite aware not only that Sarah was the 
daughter of the wealthy Jew, but also, that she was be- 



*t 



((I 



AN INDIAN RIVAL 117 

trotfied to the rich half-breed, Andre Certa; he knew that 
her birth, her social position, and her fortune, alike pro- 
hibited her from ever having any relations with himself; 
but overlooking all impossibilities, he gave free license to his 
infatuation 

Plunged in his own reflections, he was hastening on his 
way, when he was suddenly accosted by two other Indians. 

" Martin Paz," said one of them, " don't you intend to go 
to-night and meet our brothers in the mountains ? " 

" I shall be there," was Martin's curt reply. 

"The schooner Annunciation," went on the other, *'has 
been seen off the heights of Callao. No doubt she will land 
at the mouth of the Rimac, and our boats should be there to 
disembark her cargo. Come, you must ! " 

" I know my own duty," said Martin. 
We speak to you here in Sambo's name." 
Yes," said Martin, " and I answer you in my own." 
How shall we account for your being here in San La- 
zaro at this extraordinary hour of the night? " 

" I go where I please," was the only answer. 

" In front of the Jew's house, too ! " 

" Such of my brethren as are offended at it may meet 
me, and tell me of it this very night upon the hills." 

The eyes of the three men flashed, but no more was said. 
The two retreated towards the bank of the Rimac, and the 
sound of their footsteps was soon lost in the distance. 

Martin Paz had come quite alone to the residence of the 
Jew. Like all the houses in Lima it was only two storys 
high. The basement was built of bricks, and upon this was 
raised another story composed of plaited canes, plastered 
over and painted to match the walls below. This is a con- 
trivance which is best adapted to resist the convulsions of 
the frequent earthquakes. The roof was flat, and being 
covered with flowers, it made a most fragrant and agree- 
able resort. 

A broad gateway between two lodges gave access to a 
courtyard within, but according to the custom of the place, 
those lodges had no windows opening into the road. 

The church clock had struck eleven, and there was the 
deepest silence all around. And why is it that the Indian 
lingers here before the walls? Only because a dim shadow 
has been seen moving amidst those flowers, of which night 



ii8 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

only hides the form, without depriving them of their de- 
lightful odors. 

With an involuntary impulse Martin lifts his hands in 
ardent admiration. The dim figure starts and shrinks away 
as if in terror. Martin Paz withdraws his gaze from the 
roof to find himself face to face with Andre Certa. 

" And for how long have the Indians been accustomed 
to pass their nights thus? " asked Andre, hot with rage. 

" Ever since Indians have trodden the soil of their an- 
cestors," sternly answered Martin Paz, without moving an 
inch. Andre advanced towards him. 

" Wretch ! " he angrily exclaimed, " will you not leave the 
place?" 

" No ! " cried Martin Paz, and in an instant daggers 
flashed in the right hands of both. They were of equal 
height, and seemed of equal strength. Quickly Andre 
raised his arm, but still more quickly it dropped; his poig- 
nard had met that of his antagonist, and he fell to the ground 
wounded in the shoulder. 

" Help, help ! " he shouted. 

The gate of the Jew's house was quickly opened. Some 
half-breeds ran out hastily from an adjacent building; a 
part of them set out in pursuit of the Indian, who had at 
once made off, while the others attended the wounded man. 

" Who is he? " asked a bystander. " If he is a sailor, he 
had better be carried off to the Hospital of St. Esprit; if he 
is an Indian, let him be taken to St. Anne's." 

But at this point an old man approached, and having 
given a glance at the wounded Andre, said, " Take him 
into my house ! " and then muttered to himself, " what 
strange piece of business is this? " 

It was Samuel the Jew, who had thus recognized in the 
wounded man the intended husband of his daughter. 

Meanwhile Martin Paz, favored by the darkness of the 
night and by his own fleetness, succeeded in escaping the 
hot pursuit of those who followed him. He was flying for 
his life. Could he only reach the open country, he would 
be safe; but the gates of the town, which were closed every 
night at eleven, would not be opened until four. 

He reached the bridge, which he had crossed not long 
before. The half-breeds, with some soldiers who had 
joined them, pressed him closely from behind; an armed 



AN INDIAN RIVAL 119 

guard made its appearance right in front. Martin, unable 
either to advance or to retreat, bounded over the parapet, 
and leaped into the rapid stream that was dashing along 
its rocky bed. The soldiers rushed to the bank below the 
bridge to catch the fugitive as he reached the shore; but 
their effort was in vain. Martin Paz was nowhere to be 
seen. 

CHAPTER III 
THE Jew's anger 

Once safely lodged in the house of Samuel, and placed 
upon a couch that was quickly prepared for him, Andre 
Certa recovered his consciousness, and grasped the hand of 
the Jew. The surgeon who had been summoned was soon 
in attendance, and pronounced the wound to be unimpor- 
tant, the shoulder having received the blow in such a way 
that the poignard had merely made a flesh wound ; and there 
was no doubt that in a few da3^s Andre would be con- 
valescent. 

When Andre found himself alone with Samuel he said 
to him, " I think you ought to block up the doorway that 
leads up to the terrace on the roof." 

" Why? " rejoined the Jew. " What is there to be afraid 
of?" 

" I don't think," continued Andre, " that it is right for 
Sarah to expose herself to the gaze of those Indians. It 
was from no burglar, it was simply from a rival that I re- 
ceived the cut that might have caused me serious injury: 
it was only by a miracle that I escaped." 

" Ah! by the holy Bible! " shrieked the Jew, " you must 
be mistaken. My daughter will make you an accomplished 
wife, and I have always taken care that she shall do nothing 
that will damage your reputation." 

Andre Certa lifted himself on to his elbow, and said sig- 
nificantly, " Are you not rather forgetting that I am to pay 
for Sarah's hand the price of no less than a hundred thou- 
sand piastres? " 

" By no means," said the Jew with a greedy grin, " and I 
am quite ready to give you a receipt when I get the hard 
cash." And as he spoke he took from his portfolio a paper, 
of which Andre took no notice. 



120 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

" There will be no bargain between us, Master Samuel, 
until Sarah becomes my wife; and that she won't be, if there 
is to be any difficulty about a rival. You know my object; 
I want to be a match for those haughty aristocrats, who 
now treat me with such vile contempt" 

" And that is in your reach, Andre. Once married you 
will find the haughtiest Spaniards coming to your recep- 
tions." 

"Where has your daughter been this evening?" asked 
Andre. 

" To the synagogue with old Ammon, her companion." 

" Why do you make your daughter attend those serv- 
ices? " said Andre. " What good can they be to her? " 

" I am a Jew," replied the father, " and Sarah would not 
be my daughter if she did not fulfil the offices of our re- 
ligion." 

A villainous rascal was Samuel the Jew. Trading in 
commodities of any kind, however questionable, he was 
worthy to be a direct descendant of the Iscariot who be- 
trayed his Master for thirty silver shekels. He had settled 
in Lima some ten years previously. Equally to please his 
taste and to serve his interests he had chosen a residence 
on the outskirts of the suburb of San Lazaro, where he ap- 
plied himself to the most unscrupulous practices. Gradu- 
ally his home assumed more and more of luxury, till at 
length he had a mansion sumptuous in its furniture, a numer- 
ous retinue of servants, and such splendid equipages as only 
belonged to men of unbounded affluence. 

When Samuel first took up his abode in Lima his daugh- 
ter was eight years of age. Already graceful and captivat- 
ing in her manner, she was the very idol of the Jew. Her 
beauty increased with her age, and attracted universal ad- 
miration, and before long it was generally understood that 
Andre Certa, the rich half-breed, was desperately smitten 
with her; what would have appeared inexplicable was that 
the sum of a hundred thousand piastres should be the price 
of Sarah's hand, but that part of the contract was a secret. 
Besides, it was a part of old Samuel's nature to make a 
profit out of sentimental emotions just as though they were 
marketable products. Banker, usurer, broker, and ship- 
owner, he had a faculty for doing business with everyone 
who came in his way. The schooner Annunciation, which 



THE JEW'S ANGER 121 

tKat very night was seeking to land at the mouth of the 
Rimac, was his property. 

Eagerly devoted as he was to the transactions of busi- 
ness, this man, with the persistence of his race, found time 
to fulfil the religious offices of his creed with the most punc- 
tilious regularity, and his daughter had been strictly trained 
in the same faith; consequently, after Andre, in the course 
of their conversation, had let it be seen how much the fact 
displeased him, the old man sat for a time pensive and silent. 
Andre at length broke the silence. 

" You must be aware," he said, " that the motive under 
which I contemplate marrying your daughter will compel 
her to become a Catholic." 

" True," answered Samuel in a mournful tone, " but, by 
the holy Bible, as sure as Sarah is my daughter, Sarah will 
be a Jewess still ! " 

At this moment the door was opened, and the steward of 
the household entered. 

*' Has the assassin been arrested? " asked the Jew. 

" We believe him dead," replied the steward. 

" Dead ! " exclaimed Andre, with a gesture of delight. 

" So 'tis thought; he found himself upon the bridge witK 
us pursuing him from behind, and a guard of soldiers just 
in front, and in order to escape, he jumped over the parapet 
and flung himself into the stream." 

" But what makes you think that he did not reach one of 
the banks? " asked Samuel. 

" Because the melting of the snow has swollen the stream 
into a torrent," replied the steward. " Besides, we hurried 
to each side of the river, but the man was never seen. The 
sentinels have been left to watch the banks." 

" Well," said the old man, " if he is drowned, he has only 
executed just sentence upon himself But did you recog- 
nize who he was? " 

" Yes, it was Martin Paz, the Indian of the mountains." 

" You mean the man who has now been so long watching 
my daughter? " 

" Of that I know nothing," said the servant indifferently. 

The Jew then desired that Ammon, the old duenna, 
should be sent to him, and the steward retired. 

"Strange!" exclaimed the old man. "These Indians 
have so many secret conspiracies; it ought to be knowai 



122 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

how long this fellow has been carrying on his game." 

By this time the duenna had entered the room, and stood 
waiting her master's pleasure. 

" Does my daughter know anything of what has occurred 
to-night ? " he inquired. 

" I only know," was Ammon's reply, " that when I was 
roused by the clamor in the house, I hurried to the sefiora's 
room, and found her motionless with fright." 

" Go on," he said impatiently, " tell me all." 

" I pressed her to tell me the cause of her alarm; but she 
could not be induced to speak, and insisted upon going to 
bed; she would not allow me to attend her, and I was 
obliged to leave her to herself." 

" This Indian, do you often meet him? " 

" I can hardly say often," she replied, " but I must ac- 
knowledge that I know him very well by sight about the 
streets of San Lazaro, and this very evening he came to 
the sefiora's assistance in the Plaza Mayor," 

" To her assistance ! what do you mean? " 

After the duenna had detailed the incident, the old Jew 
muttered wrath fully, " Is it true, then, that Sarah wanted to 
kneel down amongst those hateful Christians? " And then 
raising his voice, he threatened that Ammon should quit 
his service. 

" Oh ! forgive me, master, forgive me," was her depre- 
cating cry. 

"Out of my sight!" shouted Samuel harshly, and the 
duenna retreated in abashed confusion. 

" There is no time to lose, you see," said Andre Certa, 
" it is high time that this marriage of ours should come off. 
But I want rest now, and shall be glad to be left alone." 

The old man slowly retired ; but before going to his own 
bed he wished to satisfy himself about the condition of his 
daughter, and accordingly he entered her apartment as 
gently as he could. 

Sarah was sleeping very restlessly on a bed that was 
hung round with the richest of silk draperies. An elaborate 
lamp hung from the decorated boss upon the ceiling, and 
threw a soft light upon her face, whilst the window was 
opened just enough to admit the delicious perfume of the 
aloes and magnolias that were planted outside. With lav- 
ish luxury and consummate taste, articles of precious value 



THE JEW'S ANGER 123 

were arranged about the chamber, and it might have been 
imagined that the mind of the sleeper was reveling amidst 
their beauties. 

Her father came close to her side and bent down to watch 
her slumber. She was evidently agitated by some painful 
dream, and once the name of Martin Paz escaped her lips. 
The old man went to his room. 

At break of day Sarah arose in eager haste. She sum- 
moned Liberta, an Indian attached to her service, and bade 
him saddle a horse for himself and a mule for her. 

It was no long task for her to array herself in such a 
toilette as suited her design. A broad-brimmed hat, and 
her loosely-flowing tresses of black hair sheltered her face 
from observation, and the better to conceal the thoughts by 
which she was preoccupied, she placed a small perfumed 
cigarette between her lips. 

She was no sooner mounted than she started off with 
her attendant across the country in the direction of Callao. 
The harbor was all alive with excitement, the coastguards 
having had to keep watch all night long upon the schooner, 
whose uncertain tackings indicated a fraudulent design. 
At one moment it would seem as though the vessel was 
waiting near the river's mouth for some suspicious-looking 
boats; but before they came alongside she was off again to 
avoid the long-boats belonging to the harbor. Many were 
the surmises about her destination. Some said that she had 
brought a body of Columbian troops, and intended to take 
possession of Callao, and to avenge the insult offered to the 
BoHvian soldiers who had been ignominiously expelled from 
Peru. Others maintained that she was merely a schooner 
driving a contraband trade in European wool. 

To Sarah these speculations were all indifferent. She 
had only come to the port as a pretext, and now returned 
to Lima, which she reached at the point nearest to the river. 
Following the banks of the stream she went as far as the 
bridge, whence she noticed the groups of soldiers and half- 
breeds gathered along shore. 

Liberta had made the girl acquainted with the events of 
the night. In obedience to her orders he now inquired 
further particulars from some of the soldiers, and learnt that 
although Martin Paz was doubtless drowned, his body had 
not yet been recovered. 



124 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

Ready to faint, Sarah had to gather up all her strength 
of mind to avoid giving way to bitter grief. Amongst the 
people who were wandering up and down the bank she 
caught sight of a wild-looking Indian, whom she immedi- 
ately recognized as Sambo. Passing close beside him, she 
heard him mournfully exclaim, "Alas! alas! they have 
killed the son of Sambo! My son is dead! " 

The girl presently recovered her self-possession, and mak- 
ing a sign to Liberta to follow her, and not troubling herself 
as to whether she was observed or not, she directed her way 
to the church of St. Anne, and having left her mule in Li- 
berta's care, she entered the Catholic house of prayer, and 
after she had asked for Father Joachim, she knelt upon the 
flagstones and prayed for the soul of Martin Paz. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE MARQUIS DON VEGAt 

Excepting Martin Paz there was scarcely another man 
in all the world to whom the torrent of the Rimac would not 
have proved a sure destruction. But his strength of body 
was amazing, and his strength of will resistless ; and he was, 
moreover, greatly aided by that imperturbable sang froid 
which is characteristic of the free Indians of the New World. 

Knowing intuitively that the soldiers would reckon on 
capturing him below the bridge, where the stream was too 
powerful to be combated, he put forth all his energy, and 
succeeded in stemming the torrent the other way. He 
found the resistance less in the side-currents, and contrived 
to reach the bank, where he concealed himself behind a 
cluster of mangroves. 

But what would happen next? Soon the soldiers would 
change their tactics and explore the river upwards ; and then 
what would be his chance of escape? His determination 
was soon taken; he would re-enter the town and find a 
refuge there. 

To elude the observation of any of the residents who 
might be out late, it would perhaps have been best to take 
the wider streets. But he could not resist the impression 
that he was watched, and he dared not hesitate. All at once 
he caught sight of a house still brilliantly lighted up; the 



THE MARQUIS DON VEGAL 125 

gateway was open to allow the carriages to pass out, and the 
very elite of the Spanish aristocracy were thence returning 
to their own homes. 

Without being seen he entered the house, and the gates 
were almost immediately closed behind him. He hurried 
on, ascending a cedar staircase adorned with costliest tapes- 
try, and after passing through apartments still brilliantly 
illuminated, but absolutely empty, he found a place of con- 
cealment in a dark chamber beyond. 

Before long the lamps were all extinguished, and silence 
reigned throughout the house. Martin ventured from his 
hiding-place to reconnoiter the situation. He found that 
the window of the room opened on to a garden below; 
escape seemed to him to be quite practicable, and he was on 
the point of leaping down when he was startled by a voice 
behind him : " Stop, seiior, you have forgotten to take the 
diamonds that I left on the table." 

He looked back. There stood a haughty-looking man 
pointing to a jewel case that lay before him. 

Thus assailed, Martin approached the Spaniard, who was 
still standing without moving a muscle, and drawing a dag- 
ger, which he pointed towards his own heart, he said, with 
a voice trembling with agitation, " Repeat your words, and 
you find me dead at your feet ! " 

Dumb with amazement, the Spaniard gazed steadily at 
the Indian, and felt an involuntary sympathy rising up 
within him. He went to the window and shut it gently; 
then, turning to the Indian, who had let his dagger fall to 
the ground, he asked him who he was, and whence he had 
come. 

" I am Martin Paz. I was escaping the pursuit of the 
soldiers. I had wounded a half-breed with my dagger. I 
was defending myself. The man I struck is betrothed to 
the girl I love. It rests with you to save me, or to sur- 
render me, as you think best." 

The Spaniard stood in silent thought. After a while he 
said, " To-morrow I am going to the baths of Chorillos. 
If it will answer your purpose, go with me. For a time, 
at least, you will be safe, and you will not have to complain 
of any lack of hospitality from the Marquis Don Vegal." 

Martin Paz bent his head in tacit assent. 

" But now," continued Don Vegal, " you had better take 



126 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

a few hours* rest. No one in the world will suspect your 
hiding place." 

The Spaniard retired to his own apartment. Martin was 
deeply touched by the generosity with which he had met, 
and, relying on the good faith of the marquis, resigned him- 
self to a peaceful slumber. 

Next morning, at daybreak, the marquis gave his orders 
for starting, but previously arranged to have an interview 
with Samuel the Jew. First of all, however, he went to the 
early morning mass. The Peruvian aristocracy w^ere al- 
ways constant in their attendance at this service. From its 
earliest foundation Lima had always been pre-eminently 
CathoHc. Besides its numerous churches, it counted at that 
time no less than twenty-two convents, seventeen monas- 
teries, and four pensions for ladies who had not actually 
taken the veil. To each of these separate establishments 
was attached its own chapel, so that altogether there could 
not be less than a hundred places of worship, in which about 
eight hundred secular and regular priests, and three hun- 
dred nuns, besides lay brotherhoods and sisterhoods, de- 
voted themselves to the offices of religion. 

As he entered St. Anne's the eye of the marquis was at- 
tracted by the kneeling figure of a girl, who was weeping as 
she prayed. So great was her agitation, that he could not 
repress his sympathy, and was about to address her in some 
words of kind encouragement, when Father Joachim whis- 
pered, " Do not disturb her, marquis, I pray you ! " 

And then he beckoned to the girl, who followed him into 
a dim and empty chapel. Don Vegal made his way to the 
altar and attended mass, but could not dismiss from his 
memory the image of the girl who had so strangely arrested 
his attention. 

Upon his return home he found Samuel the Jew await- 
ing his commands. Samuel seemed to have entirely forgot- 
ten the incidents of the past night; the prospect of gain had 
made him quite oblivious of all besides, and gave a keen vi- 
vacity to the expression of his face. " I await your lord- 
ship's commands," he said. 

" I must have thirty thousand piastres within an hour." 

" Thirty thousand ! " cried the Jew. " How is it possi- 
ble? By our holy David, I should have more difficulty in 
finding them than you seem to think." 



THE MARQUIS DON VEGAL 127 

Without taking any notice of what the usurer was saying, 
the marquis explained that, besides his vahiable cases of 
jewels, he had a piece of land near Cusco that he would sell 
at a price far below its real value. 

" Land ! " exclaimed Samuel. " Why, it's land that ruins 
us! We can't get any labor to till the land since the In- 
dians have withdrawn to the mountains. Land! why, its 
produce does not pay its expenses ! " 

" But, tell me," said the marquis, " at how mucH do you 
value the diamonds alone? " 

The old man drew from his pocket a small pair of jewel- 
er's scales, and proceeded to weigh the gems with an air of 
minute precision, at the same time, according to his habit, 
keeping up a running current of depreciation. 

" Diamonds ! yes, they are diamonds ; but see how badly 
set ! One might as well bury his money in the ground. Look 
here ! what a stone ! no purity about it. I can assure your 
lordship that I shall find it very difficult to get a customer 
at all for this costly purchase. Perhaps if I send them to 
the States, the Northerners will buy them in order to get 
rid of them to some English purchaser. No doubt they will 
make a good profit out of them, but then the loss would all 
fall upon me. Upon my word, your lordship, you must 
be satisfied with ten thousand piastres. It seems a little, 
but " 

" I have already told you that ten thousand piastres are of 
no use to me," said the marquis, with an air of profound con- 
tempt. 

" Not one half-real more. I could not afford it," rejoined 
the inflexible Jew. 

*' Then take the caskets ; only let me have the sum I ask, 
and give it me at once. Thirty thousand I must have, and 
you shall have a bond upon this house of mine. Substan- 
tial, is it not?" 

" Ah, your lordship, but there are so many earthquakes 
here. One never knows who may be alive and who may 
be dead from one moment to another, nor yet which houses 
may stand, or which may fall." 

And all the time the Jew was talking he kept stamping 
with his foot upon the inlaid floor, as if to test its real sta- 
bility. He paused for an instant, and then resumed, " How- 
ever, to oblige your lordship, it shall be as you wish; al- 



128 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

though just now I am indisposed to part with ready cash', 
as I am marrying my daughter to the young squire, Andre 
Certa. Do you know him? " 

" Not at all. But lose no time : our bargain is made. 
Take the caskets, and give me the gold." 

"Would your lordship wish for a receipt?" asked 
Samuel. 

The marquis condescended to give no reply, and left the 
room. 

" Arrogant Spaniard ! " muttered the Jew, and gnashed 
his teeth in wrath. " Would that I could crush your pride 
as I can ruin your estate ! By Solomon ! 'tis clever practice 
to make one's interests and one's wishes agree so well." 

After leaving the Jew, the marquis had gone to Martin 
Paz. He found him in a state of the gloomiest dejection. 

" Well ! how now ? " he said kindly. 

" Ah, sefior ! the daughter of that Jew is the girl I love." 

" A Jewess ! " exclaimed the marquis, in a tone of ab- 
horrence which he could ill disguise; but compassionating 
the sorrow of the Indian, he only said, " Now then, it is 
time to start; we will talk about these things as we go 
along." 

Within an hour Martin Paz, after changing his clothes, 
left the town in company with the Marquis Don Vegal, who 
took no other attendants. 

The sea-baths of Chorillos are two leagues distant from 
Lima. It is a parish inhabited by Indians, and has a pretty 
church. During the warm season it is a favorite resort of 
all the elite of Lima, for the public gaming-tables, which 
are forbidden in the city, are here kept open throughout 
the summer. The ladies especially show a remarkable en- 
thusiasm for this amusement, and during the season many 
a wealthy knight has seen his large fortune pass away into 
the hands of his fair opponents. 

Just at that time Chorillos was almost deserted, and Don 
Vegal and Martin Paz, in their retired cottage on the sea- 
shore, were free to contemplate in peaceful solitude the wide 
expanse of the Pacific. 

The Marquis Don Vegal, a scion of one of the most an- 
cient Spanish families in Peru, was the only surviving rep- 
resentative of that noble lineage of which he was so justly 
proud. Traces of the deepest melancholy were ever visible 

V. I Verne 



THE MARQUIS DON VEGAL 129 

on his countenance, and although, 'during a considerable 
portion of his life, he had been engaged in political affairs, 
the perpetual revolutions, instigated as they had been by 
motives of mere personal aggrandizement, so disgusted him 
fwith the outer world, that he withdrew from it altogether, 
and passed his time in a seclusion from which only matters 
of the strictest etiquette could ever induce him to emerge. 

Little by Httle his fortune, once so immense, was dwin- 
dling away; he could with difficulty obtain credit for ad- 
vances of capital, so that not only had his estates fallen into 
a condition of great neglect, but he had been obliged to 
mortgage them very heavily. The prospect of ultimate ruin 
stared him in the face, but in spite of the hopeless aspect of 
his affairs he never flinched for a moment. The heedless- 
ness, characteristic of the Spanish race, together with the 
weariness induced by his objectless life, combined to make 
him utterly indifferent to the future. He had no domestic 
ties to bind him to the world; a beloved wife and charming 
little daughter, the sole objects of his affection, had been 
snatched from him by a melancholy fate; and he was con- 
tented passively to take his chance and await the chapter of 
events. 

But cold and deadened as he had deemed his heart to be, 
his contact with Martin Paz had done something to awaken 
him from his habitual lethargy. The fiery temperament 
of the Indian did something towards rekindling the smoul- 
dering ashes of the Spaniard's sensitiveness. The marquis 
was worn out by his association with his fellow-countrymen, 
in whom he had no confidence; he was disgusted with the in- 
solent half-breeds who were ever encroaching upon the 
prerogatives of his own order; and so he seemed to turn for 
relief to that primitive race which had fought so valiantly 
to defend its soil against the soldiers of Pizarro. 

According to the information which the marquis received, 
it was currently reported that the Indian was dead. Worse 
than death, however, it appeared to Don Vegal that Martin 
Paz should ally himself in matrimony to a Jewess, and ac- 
cordingly he resolved to rescue him doubly by allowing the 
daughter of Samuel to be married without interference to 
Andre Certa. He could not do otherwise than observe the 
depression which weighed upon Martin, and he hoped to 
divert him from his melancholy by avoiding the topic en- 



I30 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

tirely, and by calling his attention to indifferent matters. 

One day, however, distressed at noticing the saddened 
preoccupation of his guest, he could not resist asking him, 
" How is it that the innate nobility of your nature does not 
revolt against what must be so deep a degradation? Re- 
member your ancestor, the redoubtable Manco-Capac; his 
patriotism exalted him to the highest rank of heroes, and no 
one with a noble part to play should condescend to an ig- 
noble passion. Do you not burn to regain the independence 
of your soil? " 

" Ah, senor," said the Indian, " we never lose sight of 
that glorious enterprise, and the day is not far off when my 
brethren will rise en masse to accomplish it ! " 

"I understand to what you refer," replied the marquis; 
*' you are thinking of that secret war which you are plan- 
ning in the retirement of the mountains; you are going to 
descend in full array, and at a concerted signal pounce upon 
the town below. Yes, you may come, but you will come, 
as you have always come, only to be vanquished. You have 
not the faintest chance of making good your hold amidst 
the continual revolutions of which Peru must be the scene, — 
revolutions which elevate the half-breeds to the detriment 
alike of Indians and of Spaniards." 

" Nay, but we will save our country ! " was Martin's eager 
remonstrance. 

" Save it? yes, you may; if only you comprehend your 
proper part. But listen to me for a moment. I would speak 
to you as tenderly as though you were my son. I tell you, 
although I own it with the deepest sorrow, that we Spaniards 
are degenerate sons of a once powerful race : our energy is 
gone, and we entirely lack the vigor to regain the supremacy 
we have lost. But it rests with you to prevail; and prevail 
you can if you will only crush the mischievous spirit of 
Americanism which is refusing to tolerate the settlement of 
foreigners as colonists amongst us. Be sure of this: there 
is only one policy that can save the old Peruvian Empire; 
you must have a European immigration. The intestine war 
which you are contemplating can effect no good at all ; it will 
only trample out every grade but the one you want to ex- 
tinguish. Nothing can be done except you frankly stretch 
out the hand of welcome to the laboring population of the 
Old World."^ 



THE MARQUIS DON VEGAL 131 

" Indians, senor," replied Martin Paz, " must ever be the 
sworn foes of strangers, let them come whence they will. 
Indians will never tolerate the claims of foreigners to plant 
their footsteps upon their soil or to breathe their mountain 
air. My control over them is of such a character that it 
would not last a moment longer than I should denounce 
death to every oppressor of their liberty. It must be borne 
in mind, too," he continued, in a tone of mournful despon- 
dency, " that I am myself a fugitive with not three hours to 
live if I were to venture into the streets of Lima." 

" Lima ! " exclaimed the marquis, " you must promise me 
at least that you will not trust yourself in Lima ! " 

" Were I to pledge myself to that," said Martin, " I should 
be disguising the true intention of my heart." 

Don Vegal sat and mused in silence. There was no room 
to doubt that the Indian's passion was growing more in- 
tense from day to day, and the marquis knew that if he 
should presume to enter Lima he would to a certainty be ex- 
posing himself to an immediate death. What could he do 
but resolve by any and all means at his command to hurry 
on the marriage of the young Jewess to Andre Certa. 

To convince himself of the true state of affairs the mar- 
quis rose betimes one morning and made his way from Cho- 
rillos back into the town. He was there informed that 
Andre Certa had so far recovered from his wound that he 
was about again, and that his approaching marriage was the 
subject of general gossip. 

Desirous of seeing the maiden who had so completely 
captivated Martin Paz, the Marquis Don Vegal directed his 
steps towards the Plaza Mayor at the evening hour, when 
the throng was invariably very great, and on his way en- 
countered his old friend. Father Joachim. The monk was 
extremely astonished at being informed that Martin Paz was 
still alive, and nothing could exceed the eagerness with 
which he undertook to keep a watch on behalf of the young 
Indian, and to acquaint the marquis with any intelligence 
which might be of interest to him. 

While the two were conversing, the attention of the mar- 
quis was arrested by a young girl enveloped in a black man- 
tle, who was reclining on the low seat of a barouche. 

"Who is that handsome young lady?" he inquired of 
Father Joachim. 



132 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

" That is old Samuel's daughter, the girl who is on the 
point of marrying Andre Certa," said the monk. 

" That the daughter of a Jew ! " involuntarily exclaimed 
Don Vegal; but he restrained further expression of his as- 
tonishment, shook hands with his friend, and retraced his 
way to Chorillos. 

His surprise bewildered him still more when he came to 
consider that perchance she was not really a Jewess ; he had 
recognized her as the girl whom he had seen kneeling in 
prayer within the Church of St Anne. 



CHAPTER V 

THE PLOT BETRAYED 

All this time, however, a very unusual agitation was going 
on amongst the Indians; those of them who resided in the 
town keeping up a vigorous communication with those who 
habitually made their homes amongst the mountains. They 
seemed for a time to have shaken off the dullness of their 
native apathy. No longer lounging wrapped in their pon- 
chos and basking in the sunshine, they were ever and again 
hurrying to and fro in the direction of the open country; 
they greeted one another significantly as they met; they 
were ever making mysterious signs of mutual recognition, 
and continually held their meetings in out-of-the-way, 
second-rate hotels, where they could carry on their confer- 
ences without any risk of being observed. 

This unusual commotion was for the most part obvious 
in one of the loneliest quarters of the town. At the corner 
of a street there was a dejected tenement, only one story 
high, the miserable appearance of which could not fail to 
attract observation. It was a kind of tap-room, of the 
low^est description, kept by an old Indian woman, who 
found her customers entirely among the most abject of the 
poor, who bought her beer made from fermented maize, or, 
failing that, contented themselves with a decoction of 
sugar-canes. 

It was only at certain hours that there was any gathering 
of Indians at that spot, the signal of meeting being a long 
pole displayed on the roof of the building. But whenever 
notice was given there was soon a motley assemblage of 



THE PLOT BETRAYED 133 

the lowest class of the natives; there were cabriolet- 
drivers, muleteers, and carmen hurrying to the, place of 
rendezvous, without loitering for a moment outside. The 
hostess was all on the alert, and, leaving the care of her 
counter to the charge of a servant-maid, hastened herself to 
give her best attention to her habitual guests. 

A few days after the disappearance of Martin Paz there 
was a concourse larger than usual collected in the large 
room of the inn. The apartment was dim with clouds of 
tobacco-smoke, and it was with much difficulty that any- 
one of the habitues of the place could be distinguished 
from another. Altogether there were about fifty Indians 
congregated around the long table, some of whom were 
chewing a kind of tea-leaf mixed with a morsel of fragrant 
earth, while others w^ere drinking fermented liquor from 
huge cans; but none of them seemed so much absorbed in 
their own doings as to prevent them from attending to the 
speech in which an old Indian was addressing them. 

This Indian was no other than Sambo, and the whole 
assembly appeared to be following him with an eager in- 
terest. He looked with a keen scrutiny round the circle 
of his audience, and, after a brief pause, continued his 
appeal. 

" The Children of the Sun can now discuss their own 
affairs quite unmolested. No perfidious spy can overhear 
them here. All round about are friends who, disguised as 
wandering street-singers, attract the passers-by, and prevent 
all interruption, so that now we may enjoy an uncontrolled 
and ample liberty. 

And while he spoke the notes of a mandolin were heard 
thrumming in the thoroughfare hard by. Certified as to 
their security, the whole gathering of Indians prepared to 
pay a yet closer attention to the words of Sambo, who 
manifestly enjoyed their largest confidence. One of the 
party, however, interrupted him by asking abruptly : " Can 
Sambo give us any tidings of Martin Paz? " 

"None whatever," he replied; "nor can I tell you 
whether he is alive or dead : the Great Spirit alone knows 
that. But I am expecting some of our brethren back who 
have been exploring the river down to its very mouth, and 
they perchance will have something to relate about the 
lost body of your chief." 



134 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

" Ay, he might be a good leader," said an Indian named 
Manangani, with the fierce, bold manner that belonged to 
him; "but why was he wanting in his duty, and absent 
from his post on the very night that the schooner arrived 
with our arms ? " 

The question elicited no reply. Sambo hung his head in 
silence. 

" Are our brethren aware," continued Manangani, " that 
there was an exchange of shots that night between the 
schooner and the coastguards, and do they know that the 
capture of the Annunciation would have been fatal to our 
enterprise? " 

A murmur of assent ran through the assembly. 

Sambo now took up the conversation, saying that all who 
would wait to judge the matter would be welcome. 

" And who knows," he said, " whether my son shall not 
some day reappear? Be patient still. Even now the arms 
which we received from Sechura are in our keeping; safe 
they are in the mountain recesses of the Cordilleras, and 
ready to fullfil their work when you are prepared to do 
your duty." 

" And what shall hinder us ? " exclaimed a young Indian ; 
" our weapons are sharpened, and we only bide our time." 

" The hour will come," said Sambo ; " but do our breth- 
ren know on whom the blow ought first to fall ? " 

The voice of one of the party was heard protesting that 
the first to perish ought to be the half-breeds who had 
treated them so insolently, chastising them like restive 
mules. 

" Not so," declared another ; " the first that we should 
strike should be the appropriators of the soil we tread." 

" Mistaken are ye altogether ! " shouted Sambo, with a 
voice raised in eagerness. " You must let your blows fall 
first in another quarter. It is not those of whom you speak 
that have dared for three centuries to plant their foot upon 
our ancestral soil ; rich as they are, it is not they who have 
dragged the descendants of Manco-Capac to the tomb. 
No; rather 'tis the haughty Spaniards who are the true 
conquerors, and who have reduced you to the condition of 
being their very slaves. Their riches may have gone, but 
their authority survives, and they it is who, in spite of any 
emancipation that should give liberty to Peru, still trample 



THE PLOT BETRAYED 135 

our natural rights beneath their feet. Let us forget what 
we are, just that for once we may remember what our 
fathers were." 

" True ! true ! " was the shout that burst forth from many 
a voice in the excited company. 

Then ensued a few moments of silent consideration, when 
Sambo proceeded to make inquiries of some of the con- 
spirators and to satisfy himself that their allies in Cusco 
^nd throughout Bolivia were ready to rise as one man. 

His enthusiasm soon again broke out in speech. " And 
our brethren on the mountains, brave Manangani, only 
let them cherish in their souls a hatred such as yours, and 
arm themselves with your courage, too, and they shall fall 
upon Lima as an avalanche might come crashing down 
from the Cordilleras." 

" Sambo shall not need to complain," said Manangani ; 
" their firmness will not fail them at the proper time. Go 
but a few yards beyond the town and you shall find groups 
of eager Indians fired with the passion of revenge. In the 
gorges of San Cristoval and the Amancaes many a one be- 
neath his poncho wears his poignard hanging in his belt, 
and only waits to have the rifle trusted to his hand. Never 
will they forget to exact the vengeance that is due from 
the Spaniards for their defeat of Manco-Capac." 

" Good ! " replied Sambo ; " it is the God of hatred that 
inspires your lips. My brethren shall soon know what 
their chiefs have decided. All that Gambarra wants now 
is to consolidate his power; Bolivar has retired; Santa Cruz 
has been chased away, and we can act in perfect safety. 
Wait but a few days and our adversaries will be taking 
their pleasure at the coming festival of the Amancaes. 
Then will be our time ; then must we set ourselves in motion, 
and the summons must be heard even to the remotest vil- 
lage of Bolivia." 

Three Indians at this moment entered the room. Sambo 
received them with the eager inquiry: 

"Well, what news? Is he found?" 

" No," replied one of the three ; " the body is nowhere to 
be found. Though we have searched every foot of the 
river bank, and sent the most skillful of our divers down to 
search the depths, we find no trace of Sambo's son. Doubt- 
less he has perished in the waters of the Rimac." 



136 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

" Have they then killed him? Is he lost? Woe, woe to 
them if they have slain my son!" Then, repressing his 
passion, he added, " Let my brothers now go quietly away. 
Go ye away to your place, but be on your guard and ready 
for the call." 

All the Indians gradually took their departure, leaving 
Sambo and Manangani alone behind. 

" Do you know," asked Manangani, " what was the 
motive that took your son that night to the quarter of San 
Lazaro? Are you sure of him?" 

" Sure of him ! " said Sambo, re-echoing the words, with 
a flash of indignant wrath in his eyes beneath which Manan- 
gani involuntarily recoiled, " sure of him ! If Martin Paz 
should be a traitor to his friends, I would first slay every 
soul to whom he had given his friendship; nay, I would 
not spare them to whom he had yielded his dearest love; 
and then I would kill him; and, last of all, I would kill 
myself. Perish everything beneath the sun rather than 
dishonor shall befall our race." 

His fervid speech was interrupted by the hostess bringing 
in a letter addressed to him. 

"Who gave you this?" he asked. 

" I cannot tell," replied the woman ; " it was left, appar- 
ently by design, as if forgotten by one of the men who 
have been drinking at one of the tables," 

"Have any but Indians been in here?" he inquired. 

" None whatever but Indians," was her prompt reply. 

As soon as the woman had gone he unfolded the docu- 
ment and read it aloud : " A young girl has been praying 
for Martin Paz. She cannot forget one who has imperiled 
his life for the sake of hers. Has Sambo any tidings of 
his son? If he has news of him, let him bind a scarlet 
band around his arm. There are eyes ever on the watch 
to see him pass." 

Crumbling up the paper, he exclaimed : " Unhappy fool ! 
to be entangled by the fascinations of a pretty girl ! " 

"Who is she?" inquired Manangani. 

" No Indian maid," said Sambo, " some dainty damsel 
full of airs. Ah, Martin Paz, you are beside yourself ! I 
know you not ! " 

" Do you mean to do what the woman asks ? " 

" No ! " said the Indian vehemently, " let her abandon 



THE PLOT BETRAYED [137 

all hope of setting eyes upon my son again, and let her die 
in ignorance ! " And while he spoke he angrily tore the 
paper into fragments. 

" It must have been an Indian who brought the letter," 
observed Manangani. 

" Not one of our party. It is known well enough that 
I am often here, but I shall not come again. Now do 
you return to the mountains. I will keep watch in the 
town. The feast day comes, and we shall see whether it 
be a festival of rejoicing for the oppressors or the op- 
pressed." With this parting direction the two Indians each 
departed on his own way. 

The plot of the Indians had been deeply laid, and the 
time for its execution was adroitly chosen. The population 
of Peru was reduced to a comparatively small number of 
Spaniards and half-breeds. From the forests of Brazil, 
from the mountains of Chili, from the plains of La Plata, 
the hordes of Indians had been summoned, and would find 
it an easy task to cover the whole territory which was to 
be the theater of revolution. Once let the larger towns, 
Lima, Cusco, and Puno, fall into their hands, and victory 
was all their own. There was no fear of the Columbian 
troops, who had recently been driven out by the Peruvian 
government, returning to assist their adversaries in the hour 
of their necessity. 

And it can hardly be doubted that this revolutionary 
movement would have resulted in entire success if its in- 
tention had been confided to none but Indian breasts : 
among them there was no fear of treachery. 

But they knew not that there was a man who already 
had obtained a private audience with Gambarra, and had 
apprized him that the schooner Annunciation had been 
unlading firearms of every description into the canoes and 
pirogues of the Indians at the mouth of the Rimac; they 
knew not that that man had gone to claim a reward from 
the Peruvian Government for the very service of exposing 
their own proceedings. 

A double game was this. The man who for a large 
payment had chartered his ship to Sambo for the convey- 
ance of the arms, had gone at once to the president and 
betrayed the existence of the conspiracy. 

The man was Samuel the Jew. 



CHAPTER VI 
THE Jew's secret 

As soon as he was restored to health, Andre Certa, still 
believing in the death of Martin Paz, began to hurry on his 
marriage. His intended bride continued to regard him 
with the most complete indifference; but this did not occa- 
sion him any concern; he regarded her solely as a costly 
article for which he had to pay the handsome price of 
100,000 piastres. 

It must be alleged that Andre had no confidence at all 
in the Jew, and he was right in entertaining mistrust. If 
the contract had been void of honesty, so were the con- 
tractors void of principle. Accordingly Andre was now 
anxious for a private interview with Samuel, and for that 
purpose took him for a day to Chorillos, where he also 
hoped to have the chance of trying a little gambling before 
his marriage. 

The gaming-tables had been opened at the baths a few 
days after the marquis's arrival, and ever since they had 
been the means of keeping up an incessant traffic along the 
road to Lima. Some came on foot, who returned with 
the luxury of a carriage; while others came only fairly to 
exhaust the remnant of a shattered fortune. 

Neither Don Vegal nor Martin Paz took any share in 
the play; the restlessness of the young Indian was caused 
by a far nobler game. After their evening walks Martin 
would take leave of the marquis, and, going to his own 
room, would lounge with his elbows on the window-sill, and 
spend hours in silent reverie. 

The marquis ever and again recalled to his recollection 
the young girl whom he had seen praying in the Catholic 
church, but he did not venture to entrust the secret to his 
guest, although he took occasion little by little to acquaint 
him with the essentials of the Christian faith. He hesi- 
tated to allude to the girl, because he was fearful of reviv- 
ing the very interest that he was anxious to allay. It was 
necessary that the Indian should renounce every hope of 
obtaining the hand of Sarah. Only let the police, he 
thought, abandon their search for Martin, and his protector 
did not doubt that in the course of time he could procure 
him an introduction into the first circle of Peruvian society. 

But Martin Paz would not surrender himself to despair 

138 



THE JEW'S SECRET 139 

without assuring himself of the hopelessness of his chance. 
He resolved at all risks to know the actual destiny of the 
young Jewess. Screened from suspicion by his Spanish 
attire, he thought he might enter into the gambling-halls, 
and so hear the conversation of those who habitually fre- 
quented them. Andre Certa was a person of sufficient note 
to make his marriage, as it drew near, a topic of consider- 
able talk. 

One evening, therefore, instead of turning his steps to- 
wards the seashore, the Indian bent his way towards the 
high cliffs on which the principal houses in Chorillos were 
built, and entered a house that was approached by a large 
flight of stone steps. This was the gambling-house. 

The day had been trying to more than one of the people 
of Lima. Some of them, worn out by the fatigue of the 
preceding night, were reposing on the ground, covered with 
their ponchos. The other gamblers were seated before a 
large table covered with green baize, and divided into four 
compartments by two lines that cut each other at right 
angles in the middle. Each of these compartments was 
marked with either the letter A., or the letter S., the initial 
letters of the Spanish words " asar," and " suerte," hazard 
and chance. The players put their money upon whichever 
of the letters they chose, a croupier held the stakes, and 
threw two dice upon the table, and the combined readings 
of the points determined whether A. or S. was the winner. 

At this particular moment there was a general animation, 
and one half-breed could be noticed persevering against ill- 
luck with a feverish determination. 

" Two thousand piastres ! " he exclaimed. 

The croupier shook the dice, and a muttered curse fell 
from the player's lips. 

" Four thousand piastres ! " he said. 

But again he lost. 

Protected by the shadows of the hall, Martin Paz caught 
a glimpse of the player's face. It was Andre Certa, and 
close beside him stood the Jew Samuel. " There," said 
Samuel, " that's play enough. The luck is all against you 
to-day." 

" Curse the luck I " said Andre impetuously, " it does not 
matter to you." 

The Jew whispered in the young man's ear : " It may 



140 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

not matter to me; but to you it matters much, and you 
should desist from the practice for the few days before 
your marriage." 

" Eight thousand piastres ! " was the only reply that 
Andre made, as he laid his stake upon the S. 

" A. wins," was the immediate decision of the dice, and 
the half-breed's blaspheming oaths were hardly covered by 
the croupier's summons, " Make your game, gentlemen ; 
make your game." 

Taking a roll of notes from his pocket, Andre was on 
the point of hazarding a still larger sum; he was placing 
them on the table, and the croupier was already shaking his 
dice box. 

The Jew bent his head again towards the ear of Andre, 
and said : " You will have nothing left to-night to close 
our bargain. Everything will then be broken off." 

Andre shrugged his shoulders, and uttered an ejaculation 
of rage ; but he took up the money he had staked, and went 
out of the room. 

" You may go on now," said Samuel, addressing the 
croupier; "you may ruin that gentleman if you like, but 
not until after his marriage." 

The croupier bowed obsequiously. The Jew was the 
originator and proprietor of the gaming-house. Wherever 
there was gold to be won, he was sure to be found. 

Following the young half-breed out, he overtook him 
upon the stone steps, and telling him that he had matters of 
great importance to communicate to him, asked where they 
might converse in uninterrupted security. 

** Where you please ! " said Andre, with abrupt dis- 
courtesy. 

" Let me advise you, sefior," said Samuel, " not to let 
your bad temper interfere with your future advantage. 
My secret is not to be revealed within the best closed doors ; 
no, nor yet in the most secluded wilderness. It is a secret 
for which you think you are paying me a good high price, 
but let me assure you it is well worth keeping." 

While they were thus talking they came to the spot where 
the bathing-houses were erected ; but they had no idea how 
they were being overlooked and overheard by Martin Paz, 
who had glided after them like a serpent. 

" Let us take a boat," said Andre, " and put out to sea." 



THE JEW'S SECRET 141 

He then loosened a light boat from its moorings on the 
shore, and flinging some money to its owner, he made 
Samuel get in, and pushed off into the open water. 

No sooner did Martin Paz observe the boat leave the 
shore than, concealed by a projecting rock, he hastily un- 
dressed, and taking the precaution to fasten on his belt, to 
which he attached a poignard, he swam with all his strength 
in the same direction. By this time the sun had sunk be- 
low the horizon, and the obscurity of twilight enveloped 
both sea and sky. 

One thing Martin had forgotten. He did not call to 
mine, that ihe waters of these latitudes were infested with 
snarks of the most ferocious kind; but, plunging recklessly 
into the fatal flood, he made good his way till he was near 
enough to the boat just to catch the voices of the two as 
they spoke. 

" But what proof am I to give the father of the girl's 
identity?" were the first words he heard Andre say. 

"Proof! why, you must detail the circumstances under 
which he lost his child." 

"What were the circumstances?" asked Andre. 

" Listen, and you shall hear," replied the Jew. 

Martin Paz could only by an effort keep his position 
within ear-shot of the boat, and what he heard he failed to 
comprehend. 

The Jew proceeded to say : " It was in Chili, at Concep- 
tion, that Sarah's father lived. He is a nobleman that 
you already know, and his wealth was according to his 
rank. He was obliged, by business of a pressing nature, 
to come to Lima. He came alone, leaving behind his wife 
and a little daughter only five months old. In every re- 
spect the climate of Peru was agreeable to him, and he sent 
for his lady to join him there. Bringing with her only a 
few trusty servants, she embarked on the San Jose, of Val- 
paraiso. On that ship it chanced that I was myself a pas- 
senger. The San Jose was bound to put into harbor at 
Lima; but just off the point of Juan Fernandez she was 
exposed to a terrific hurricane, which disabled her, and 
laid her upon her beam-ends. The whole of the crew, and 
the passengers, betook themselves to the long-boat. The 
marchioness refused to enter the boat, but clasping her 
infant in her arms, resolved at all hazards to remain where 



142 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

she was. I remained with her. The long-boat made off, 
but before it had proceeded a hundred fathoms from the 
ship, it was swallowed up in the angry waters. The two 
of us remained alone. The storm came on with increasing 
fury. As I had not my property on board, I was not 
reduced to a condition of absolute despair. The San Jose, 
with five feet of water in her hold, drove upon the rocks 
and was dashed to pieces. The lady with her child was 
thrown into the sea. It was my fortune to be able to rescue 
the little girl, although I saw the mother perish before my 
eyes; and with the child in my arms, I contrived to reach 
the shore." 

"Are these details all correct?" asked Andre. 

"Yes, to the most minute particular. The father will 
not deny them. Ah! I did a good day's work when I 
earned that 100,000 piastres which you are going to pay 
me. 

Perplexed beyond measure, Martin could not suppress 
the ejaculation, "What does all this mean?" 

" Here," said Andre, " here is your money." 

" Thanks ! " replied Samuel, eagerly pocketing the cash, 
" and here is your receipt. I guarantee to return you twice 
the sum if you do not find yourself a member of one of the 
noblest Spanish families." 

Martin Paz was more bewildered than ever. He could 
give no meaning to what he heard. The boat began to 
move in his direction, and he was about to dive below the 
water to elude observation when he saw a huge black mass 
rolling onwards towards him. 

It was a tintorea, a shark of the most voracious kind. 

Although the Indian dived immediately, he was soon 
obliged to come to the surface to take breath. As he rose 
he was struck by the tail of the shark, and felt the slimy 
scales against his breast. In order to grasp its prey, the 
animal, according to its habit, rolled over on its back, and 
displayed its monstrous jaw armed with its triple rows of 
teeth; but in an instant, Martin, catching a glimpse of its 
white belly, made a desperate effort, and plunged in his 
dagger to its very hilt. 

The waves around him were all red with blood ; he made 
another dive, and, rising about ten fathoms away, had 
entirely lost sight of the boat. A few more strokes, and he 



THE JEW'S SECRET 143 

regained the shore, hardly conscious of the hairbreadth 
escape he had had from the most terrible of deaths. 

Next day he was gone from Chorillos, and Don Vegal, 
harassed by misgivings, hurried with all speed to Lima, in 
the hope of finding him. 



CHAPTER Vn 

THE BRIDE DISAPPEARS 

Quite an event was the approaching marriage of Andre 
Certa with the daughter of the affluent Jew. The ladies 
had no time for repose; the necessity of inventing new 
fashions and for preparing elaborate costumes to grace the 
occasion occupied every thought and taxed every resource. 

The mansion of the Jew was especially the scene of 
bustle, as he was resolved to give a most sumptuous enter- 
tainment in honor of Sarah's wedding. The frescoes which 
decorated the walls in Spanish fashion were restored at a 
large expense; hangings of the most costly quality were 
hung at every window and over every door ; handsome 
furniture, carved of fragrant wood, diffused a pleasant 
odor throughout the spacious rooms, while plants of the 
rarest and loveliest growth, the products of the most lux- 
uriant regions of the tropics, adorned the balconies and 
terraces at every turn. 

The maiden herself, however, was the victim of despair. 
Sambo had no longer any hope, otherwise he would have 
worn the red token on his arm. Her servant Liberta had 
been sent to keep a watch upon the old Indian, but he had 
been unable to discover anything. 

Could the girl only have been free to follow the dictates 
of her heart she would not have hesitated an instant to have 
sought a refuge in the nearest convent, and to have made 
her vows for all her future life. Attracted as she was with 
the doctrines of the Catholics as they had been irresistibly 
expounded to her by the eloquence of Father Joachim, she 
would have surrendered herself with the most genuine of 
zeal to the influences of that faith which was winding itself 
so sympathetically around the longings of her heart. 

The monk, anxious to avoid every suspicion of scandal, 
and being better read in his breviary than in the passions 



144 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

of human nature, allowed Sarah to believe in the death of 
Martin Paz. The girl's conversion seemed to him the mat- 
ter of supreme importance, and presuming that this would 
be secured by her marriage with Andre, he tried to recon- 
cile her to the union, without at all knowing the conditions 
under which it was concluded. 

At length the day arrived, a day so full of congratula- 
tions to one party, so heavy in misgivings to the other. 
Andre Certa had issued his invitation to well-nigh the whole 
town, but had the mortification of finding that, under some 
pretext or other, all the superior families had excused 
themselves. 

The hour struck at which the marriage contract had to 
be signed, and expectation rose to its height, when all be- 
came aware that the bride had not appeared. 

The annoyance and alarm of the old Jew were intense. 
The frown that lowered on the brow of Andre Certa was 
the witness of mingled anger and amazement. Embar- 
rassment seized every guest; and the whole scene was 
brought out in singular distinctness by the thousands of wax 
hghts, whose rays were reflected from the countless mirrors. 

Meanwhile, outside in the general thoroughfare, there 
was a man pacing up and down in a state of the wildest 
excitement. That man was the Marquis Don Vegal. 



CHAPTER Vni 

THE RESCUE 

Throughout this period Sarah, a prey to the bitterest 
anguish, remained in the solitude of her own room. Noth- 
ing could induce her to quit it. Once, half stifled by her 
emotion, she sought relief by going to the balcony that 
overhung the garden below. 

At that very instant she caught sight of a man wending 
his way through the groves of magnolias, and recognized 
her servant Liberta. To all appearance he was stealthily 
watching someone who did not see him. At one moment 
he was concealing himself behind a statue, at the next he 
was crouching on the grass. 

Then all at once the girl mrned pale. There was Liberta 
struggling with a tall man w^ho had thrown him to the 

V. I Verne 



THE RESCUE 145 

ground, and who was pressing his hand over his mouth so 
that he could only utter a feeble groan. She was about to 
cry out, when she saw the two men rise together from the 
ground, and deliberately make a survey of each other. 

" You ! you ! is it you ? " said Liberta. 

There had risen to her vision what appeared to be a 
phantom from another world, and as Liberta now followed 
the man who had felled him to the earth, she recognized 
Martin Paz, and was unable to do more than re-echo the 
words she had heard, " You! you ! is it you? " 

Gazing at her intently, Martin addressed her -with, an 
earnest appeal. 

"Does the bride hear the revelry of the bridal feast? 
Are not the guests speeding to the hall, that they may 
rejoice in the beauty of her charms? The victim, is she 
prepared for the sacrifice? Is it with these pale cheeks, 
and trembling lips, that she is going to surrender herself to 
the bridegroom? " 

She scarcely understood him, but he continued his pathetic 
address, " Why should the maiden weep ? There is peace 
there; far away from the house of her father; far away 
from the home where she drops her tears of bitterness; there 
is peace there." 

And drawing himself to his full height, he stood pointing 
W'ith his finger to the summits of the Cordilleras, as if show- 
ing that there was a refuge in the mountains to which she 
might escape. 

The girl felt herself constrained by an irresistible impulse. 
There were voices close to her very chamber; she heard 
the sound of approaching footsteps; her father was on his 
way, perchance the man to whom she was betrothed was 
coming too. Suddenly Martin Paz extinguished the lamp 
that hung above her head, and his whistle, just as on that 
evening on the Plaza-Mayor, resounded shrilly through the 
gathering shades of night. 

The door burst open. Samuel and Andre Certa hurried 
in. The darkness was all bewildering. The servants has- 
tened to bring some lanterns ; but the room was empty. 

" Death and fury! " shrieked the half-breed. 

" Where is she? " exclaimed the Jew. 

" For this," said Andre, with the coarsest insolence, " I 
hold you responsible." 



146 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

A cold sweat came over the old man, and uttering a cry 
of anguish, he rushed away, followed by his servants. 

All this time Martin Paz had been flying, at fullest speed, 
along the streets of the town. Summoned by his well- 
known signal, at about two hundred paces from Samuel's 
house, there were several Indians ready at his call. 

" Away to our mountains ! " he cried. 

" To the Marquis Don Vegal's ! " came from a voice close 
behind. The Indian turned, and found the marquis stand- 
ing by his side. 

" Will you not trust the maiden to me? " said Don Vegal. 

Martin bowed his head in token of assent, and said in a 
smothered voice : " To the house of Don Vegal ! " 

Thus yielding her to the marquis, Martin had every 
confidence that the girl would be in safety, and from a feel- 
ing of what was owing to propriety, he resolved that he 
would not himself pass the night under the marquis's roof. 

He made his way in another direction; his head was hot, 
and a fevered blood was throbbing in his veins ; but he had 
hardly gone a hundred yards, when a party of half a dozen 
men threw themselves across his path, and in spite of his 
obstinate resistance, secured his arms, and blindfolded him. 
He raised a cry of desperation, supposing that he had fallen 
into the hands of his foes. 

It did not take many minutes to convey him to a neigh- 
boring resort, and on the bandage being removed from his 
eyes, he saw that he was in a low room of the tavern where 
his associates had organized their scheme of revolution. 

Sambo, who had been present at the rescue of the young 
girl, was there; Manangani and some others were standing 
round him. Martin's eyes flashed angrily. 

" No pity had my son for me," said Sambo. " Shame 
that for so long he should permit me to believe that he was 
dead." 

" Is it fair," asked Manangani, " that on the very eve of 
a revolution, Martin Paz, our chief, should betake himself 
to the quarters of the enemy." 

Not a word fell from the lips of the prisoner in reply to 
either one or the other. 

" Why should it be tolerated," demanded Manangani, 
"that our interests should be sacrificed to a woman? " and 
as he spoke he approached nearer to Martin, holding a 



THE RESCUE 147 

poignard in his hand. Martin Paz did not even glance at 
him, but still stood perfectly unmoved. 

" Let us speak first," said Sambo, " and act afterwards. 
If my son is disloyal to his brethren, I shall know how to 
exact a proper vengeance. Let him be on his guard ! That 
Jew's daughter is not concealed so closely as to elude our 
grasp. He must think betimes. Let him once be con- 
demned to die, and there will not be a stone in the town 
on which he could rest his head ; let him, on the other hand, 
be the deliverer of his country, and he may crown that head 
with perpetual glory ! " 

Although Martin Paz did not break his silence, it was 
obvious that a mighty struggle was going on within his soul : 
Sambo had succeeded in stirring the depths of that ardent 
nature. 

For all the projects of insurrection Martin Paz was in- 
dispensable. His was an influence over the Indians of the 
town which none but himself enjoyed; he bent them at his 
will; he had but to give the word, and they were prepared 
to follow him to death. 

By Sambo's order the bonds were removed from his arms, 
and he stood at liberty. The old Indian looked at him 
steadily, and bade him once more listen. " To-morrow," 
he said, " is the feast of the Amanacaes. While the festival 
is at its height, our brethren will fall like an avalanche upon 
the unarmed and unsuspecting men of Lima. Now take 
your choice. There is the way to the mountains: there is 
the way to the town. You are free ! " 

" To the mountains ! to the mountains ! " shouted Martin ; 
" and death to our foes ! " 

And the first rays of the rising sun cast a ruddy glow 
into the council-chamber of the Indian chiefs in the heart 
of the Cordilleras. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE FESTIVAL 

And now the great annual fete of the Amanacaes had ar- 
rived. It was the 24th of June. On foot, on horseback, in 
carriages, the bulk of the population made its way to the 
well-known spot about half a league from the town. In- 



148 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

dians and half-breeds were wont alike to share the mutual 
recreation; kinsmen and acquaintances marched gayly to 
the festive scene. Each group carried its own stock of 
provisions, and many of them were headed by a musician, 
who accompanied the popular melodies which he sung with 
the notes of his guitar. Starting through the fields of maize 
and indigo, they entered the banana-groves beyond, and 
traversed the charming avenues of willows which led them 
to the woods, where the aromatic odor of citrons and oranges 
mingled with the wild perfume of the hills. All along the 
route the itinerant vendors hawked a liberal supply of beer 
and brandy, which served to excite the merriment, and at 
times to stimulate the boisterousness of the pleasure-seeking 
multitude. Equestrians made their horses prance in the very 
middle of the crowd, vying with one another in displaying 
their speed and dexterity. 

The festival derives its name from the little flowers that 
grow on the mountains. There is a universal license, yet 
it is exceedingl}^ rare for the noise of a quarrel to be heard 
mingling with the thousand demonstrations of general joy. 
A few lancers here and there, wearing their flashing 
cuirasses, are more than sufficient to preserve order among 
the teeming crowds. 

But whilst the festive crowd was enjoying the fair pros- 
pect, a bloody tragedy had been prepared below the snowy 
summits of the Cordilleras. Whilst the homes of Lima were 
being deserted by their occupants, a great number of Indians 
were wandering about the streets. They had been usually 
accustomed to join the general festivity, but on this occasion 
they went to and fro in the town, silent and preoccupied. 
Every now and then a busy chief would give them some 
secret order, and pass quickly on his way. Little by little 
they concentrated all their force upon the richest quarters of 
the town. 

Thus the day of rejoicing passed on, and as the sun began 
to sink into the west, the time arrived in which the aristo- 
crats in their turn went out to join the general throng. The 
costliest of dresses were seen in the handsomest of carriages 
which lined the avenues on either side of the road that led to 
the Amancaes, and pedestrians, horses, and vehicles were 
mingled in inextricable confusion. 

The cathedral clock now tolled the hour of five. 



THE FESTIVAL 149 

Up from the town there rose a mighty cry. At a con- 
certed signal, masses of armed Indians from many a by- 
way and many a house, rushed out and filled the streets. 
The wealthiest districts were almost in a moment invaded 
by troops of the revolutionary tribe, not a few of whom 
were brandishing lighted torches high above their heads. 

" Death to the Spaniards ! Death and destruction to the 
tyrants! " were the watch-words of the rebels. Forthwith 
from the surrounding heights came trooping in a multitude 
of other Indians, hurrying to aid their brethren in the general 
uproar. 

Imagination can scarcely realize the alarming aspect of 
the town at this moment. The revolutionists had pene- 
trated in all directions. At the head of one party, Martin 
Paz was waving a black flag, and whilst some detachments 
were assaulting the houses that were doomed to pillage, he 
led his troops towards the Plaza-Mayor. Close beside him 
was the ferocious Manangani, bellowing out his infuriated 
orders. 

But forewarned of the revolt, the soldiers of the Govern- 
ment had ranged themselves in a line along the front of 
the president's palace, and a general fusillade startled the 
insurgents as they approached. Taken thoroughly by sur- 
prise at this reception, and seeing many of their number 
fall, the Indians, frantic with excitement, made a tremen- 
dous rush upon the troops, and great was the melee that 
ensued. Both Martin Paz and Manangani performed 
prodigies of valor, and it was only marvelous how they 
escaped with their lives. It was of all things most essential 
that the palace should be taken, and that they should establish 
themselves within its walls. 

" Forward ! " cried Martin Paz, as again and again he 
urged his followers to the assault. 

Although they had been routed in many quarters, the 
besiegers nevertheless succeeded in causing the battalion 
of soldiers that guarded the front of the palace to beat a 
retreat, and Manangani had already placed his foot upon 
the flight of steps when he was brought to a sudden stand. 
The reserve troops behind had unmasked two pieces of 
artillery, and were preparing to open fire. 

There was not a moment to lose; the battery must be 
captured before it could be brought into action. 



150 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

" We two must do It," shouted Manangani vehemently. 

But Martin did not hear him ; he was attending to a negro, 
who was whispering in his ear that the house of the Marquis 
Don Vegal was being plundered, and that there was every 
chance that the marquis himself would be assassinated. 

Martin Paz began to retreat. To no purpose did Man- 
angani rally him to the attack, and all at once the roar of the 
cannon was heard, and the Indians were swept down on 
every side. 

" Follow me ! " shouted Martin, and gathering a handful 
of companions around him, he succeeded in effecting a pas- 
sage back through the line of soldiers. 

It was a retreat that had all the evil consequences of an 
act of treachery. The Indians believed themselves aban- 
doned by their chief, and in vain did Manangani urge them 
to renew the fight. A heavy fusillade threw them into 
utter disorder, and their rout was soon complete. Flames 
at a little distance attracted some of the fugitives to the 
work of pillage, but the soldiers pursued them with their 
swords, and killed them in considerable numbers. 

Meanwhile Martin Paz had reached the residence of Don 
Vegal, and found it the scene of a furious struggle. Sambo 
was there taking the lead in the work of destruction. He 
had a double motive to urge him on ; not only was he eager 
to plunder the Spaniard, but he was anxious to get posses- 
sion of Sarah as a pledge of his son's fidelity. 

The gate and the walls of the great courtyard were thrown 
down, and revealed the marquis, sword in hand, supported 
by his servants, and making a vigorous defence against the 
mob that was assailing him. His determined attitude and 
indomitable courage gave a certain sublimity to his appear- 
ance; he stood foremost In the fray, and his own arm had 
laid low the corpses that were on the ground before him. 

But altogether hopeless seemed the struggle he was mak- 
ing against the numbers of Indians, which were now re- 
cruited by the arrival of those who had been vanquished on 
the Plaza-Mayor. He was all but succumbing to the su- 
perior force of his opponents, when, like a thunderbolt, 
Martin Paz fell upon the insurgents in the rear, compelling 
them to face about, and then making his way through a 
shower of bullets to the marquis's side, he protected him 
with his own body from the blows which assailed him. 



THE FESTIVAL 151 

" Well done ! well done ! my friend ! " shouted Don Vegal, 
clasping his defender's hand, 

" Well done ! well done ! Martin Paz," repeated another 
voice that went to his very soul. 

He recognized Sarah; her words gave redoubled vigor 
to his arm, and a veritable circle of bleeding figures lay 
stretched around him. 

Sambo's troops meanwhile were forced to yield. Twenty 
times did the modern Brutus make his unsuccessful assaults 
upon his son, and twenty times did Martin Paz withhold 
his hand, which was able, if he would, to strike down his 
father. 

Covered with blood, Manangani suddenly took his stand 
at Sambo's side, and spurred him on to vengeance. " Your 
oath !" he cried. " Remember your oath ! You have sworn 
to avenge the traitor's guilt upon his kinsman, upon his 
friends, upon himself! The time has come! See, here are 
the soldiers, and Andre Certa is with them ! " 

" Come on, then," said Sambo, with the laugh of a maniac ; 
" come on now ! " 

Then leaving the courtyard, the two together made their 
way towards a body of troops who were hastening to the 
scene; they were aimed at by the advancing corps, but not 
in the least intimidated, Sambo made his way straight up to 
Andre Certa. 

" You are Andre Certa," he said. " Your bride is in Don 
Vegal's house, and Martin Paz is going to carry her off to 
yonder mountains." 

He said no more, and both the Indians disappeared. In 
this way Sambo had prevailed to bring the two mortal antag- 
onists face to face. The soldiers were misled by the pres- 
ence of Martin Paz, and rushed onwards to attack tlie house. 

Maddened with fury was Andre Certa. As soon as he 
caught sight of Martin he made a dash upon him. The 
young Indian, as he recognized the half-breed, howled out 
a challenge of defiance, and quitted the flight of steps which 
he had so valiantly defended. 

Here then stood the rivals : foot to foot, breast to breast, 
face to face. Keen was the survey that each took of the 
other. Neither friend nor enemy ventured to approach; all 
alike looked on in terror, and with bated breath. Andre 
first made a desperate lunge at Martin Paz, who had dropped 



152 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

his dagger; but, just in time to escape the blow, Martin had 
grasped Andre's uphfted arm. Andre tried in vain to dis- 
engage it, and Martin, wresting the poignard from his ad- 
versary's hand, plunged it into his very heart. 

Martin threw himself into the arms of the marquis, who 
shouted impetuously, " Now quick, off, off to the mountains ; 
wait no further bidding, but fly ! " 

At this instant old Samuel made his appearance, and fling- 
ing himself upon Certa's body, drew out a small pocketbook 
which the dead man had upon him. The action did not 
however escape the observation of Martin, who, turning 
upon the Jew, snatched the book from his hands, and turn- 
ing over the leaves, extracted a paper, which, with an ex- 
clamation of joy, he handed to the marquis. 

The marquis looked confounded as he slowly read the 
words, " Received of Senor Andre Certa the sum of 100,000 
piastres: which I undertake to restore, if Sarah, whom I 
saved from the wreck of the San Jose, should not prove to 
be the daughter and sole heiress of the Marquis Don Vegal." 

" Daughter ! my daughter ! " exclaimed the bewildered 
Spaniard, and hurried towards the apartment where Sarah 
was concealed. 

The girl had gone. Father Joachim was there, covered 
in blood, and could only utter a few disjointed words, 
" Sambo . . . carried off . . . Rio Madeira ! " 



CHAPTER X 

UNITED IN DEATH 

" Off/' said Martin Paz, " let us be off ! " 

And without saying a word, the marquis quickly followed 
the Indian's lead. His daughter! Yes, at all hazards he 
must find his daughter. 

Mules were brought without delay, and the two men 
mounted. They had buckled on large gaiters below their 
knees, and put on broad-brimmed straw hats to shade their 
heads; they carried pistols in their holsters, and their rifles 
were slung to their sides. Martin had fastened his lasso 
around him, attaching one end to the harness of his mule. 

Well enough did he know every plain and every pass of 
that mountain-chain, and had no doubt as to the district 



UNITED IN DEATH 153 

into which Sambo would attempt to convey the maiden; 
his betrothed he longed to call her; but did he dare thus 
to think of Don Vegal's daughter? 

One thought, one aim, occupied alike the Indian and the 
Spaniard, as they penetrated the gorges of the Cordilleras, 
darkened by the plantations of pines and cocoa-trees. They 
had left behind the cedars, the cotton-trees, and the aloes; 
they had passed beyond the fields planted with luzerne and 
maize. To traverse the mountains at this season was a 
perilous undertaking. The melting of the snow beneath the 
rays of the summer sun had swollen the streams to cataracts, 
and continually immense masses came rolling down from the 
peaks above into the chasms below. 

But neither by day nor night did the father and the lover 
permit themselves to rest. They had reached the point, the 
very highest in the chain, and, worn out with fatigue, seemed 
ready to fall into that condition of despair which deprives 
men of all power to act. It required almost a superhuman 
effort to go on; but turning to the eastern declivity of the 
mountain-range, they fell upon traces of the fugitives, and 
with rekindled energy began the descent. 

Reaching the almost boundless virgin forests that cover 
the regions between Brazil and Peru, they made their way 
through woods that might have proved inextricable had 
not the practiced sagacity of Martin stood them in good 
stead. Nothing escaped his observation ; and the ashes of an 
extinguished fire, some vestiges of footsteps, some twigs 
broken off from the branches, and the character of certain 
fragments in the path — all attracted his experienced eye. 

Don Vegal feared that his ill-fated daughter had been 
conveyed on foot over the crags and through the thickets, 
but the Indian pointed out to him some indications in the 
stony ground which were undoubtedly the impressions of 
an animal's feet ; and, above all, the branches had been broken 
back in the same direction, and that at a height which could 
only be reached by a person that was mounted. The mar- 
quis too gladly yielded his conviction, and rejoiced to think 
that for Martin Paz there was no obstacle insurmountable, 
and no peril that he could not overcome. 

At length one evening, postively worn out by fatigue, 
they made a halt. They had just come to the banks of 
a river. It was the upper stream of the Madeira, which 



154 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

the Indian knew perfectly well. Enormous mangroves 
overhung the water and connected themselves with the trees 
on the farther bank by creepers hanging in fanciful festoons. 

The question at once arose about the fugitives. Had 
they gone up the stream, or followed it farther down? or 
had they contrived by any means to go straight across? 
It was all important to decide, and Martin took unbounded 
pains to follow up some footprints for a distance along the 
rocks till he came to a glade which was somewhat less 
dense than the surrounding woods. There he observed 
such indentations in the soil, as left him no doubt that a 
group of people had crossed the river at that very spot. 

" To-morrow," he said, " perhaps our journey may be 



over." 



" Nay, let us go on now," said the marquis. 

" We must cross the river," replied Martin. 

" Well, why not swim across at once? " 

And without delay they proceeded to undress, and tying 
up their clothes in a bundle, that Martin proposed to carry 
over on his head, they made their way into the stream as 
noiselessly as possible, that they might not disturb any of 
the alligators that are abundant in all the rivers both of 
Peru and Brazil. 

On arriving safely at the farther bank Martin Paz made 
it his first care to search for the track which the Indians 
must have made, but after a long search amidst the fallen 
leaves, and along the pebbly shore, he was able to discover 
nothing. Remembering, however, that the strength of the 
current had very probably made them drift away from 
a straight course, they reascended the bank for a considerable 
distance, when they came upon footprints so decided that 
they could not be mistaken. 

It was manifestly the place where Sambo had effected 
his passage over the Madeira with his troop, which had 
been largely increased on its way. The truth was that the 
Indians of the mountains and the plains, who had been 
impatiently expecting the success of their insurrection, now 
learned that it had miscarried through treachery; burning 
with rage, and finding that there was a victim on whom to 
vent their wrath, they had joined themselves to the old 
Indian's retinue. 

The young girl had little consciousness of what was go- 



UNITED IN DEATH 155 

ing on around her. She went forwards because there w^ere 
hands that urged her forwards,. Had they left her in the 
middle of the wilderness she would not have stirred a step 
to escape death. The memory of the young Indian would 
now and then flit across her mind, yet she was little other- 
wise than an inanimate burden upon the neck of the mule 
that carried her. Beyond the river, when two of the men 
dragged her along on foot, she left a trace of blood, marking 
every spot on which she trod. 

It did not occur to Sambo, and therefore gave him no 
uneasiness, that the dotted crimson streak was an index to 
point out the way they went. He was approaching the limit 
of his flight, and soon the rushing cataracts of the river were 
heard with their deafening roar. 

The party halted at an insignificant village, comprising 
about a hundred huts, made of canes and clay. As they 
entered, a multitude of women and children greeted them 
with boisterous acclamations; but all their delight was 
changed to rage as soon as they heard of the supposed treach- 
ery of Martin Paz. 

Without quailing in any way before her enemies, Sarah 
surveyed them with a languid gaze. Though they insulted 
her with the vilest gestures, and assailed her ears with 
obloquy and savage threats, she was passive and unmoved. 

"Where is my husband?" demanded one of the angry 
crones ; " he has been killed through you." 

" My brother too," added another, " he has not come back 
again ; my brother has lost his life for you ! " 

Then the general chorus rose aloud, " Die ! you shall die ! 
and your flesh shall be given piecemeal to us all! " 

And as they shouted, they brandished their knives aloft, 
waved torches of burning fire, took up stones of prodigious 
weight, and heaped repeated menaces on her head. 

" Stop! " cried Sambo, " let us hear the judgment of the 
chiefs!" 

In obedience to his order they stayed their demonstrations 
of revenge, and contented themselves with casting angry 
glances at the girl, who had sunk down for rest, bespattered 
as she was with blood, upon the stony margin of the stream. 

Just below the village, the Rio Madeira, after being pent 
up between narrow confines, made its escape in a roaring 
cataract, which precipitated itself in a mighty volume to a 



156 THE PEARL OF LIMA 

depth of more than a hundred feet. The sentence passed 
on Sarah was that she should be cast into the flood imme- 
diately above the point from which the rapid made its 
start. At the first dawn of morning she was to be tied to 
a canoe of bark, and left to the mercy of the current of the 
Madeira. 

That the execution of the sentence was deferred till the 
morrow, was not for the purpose of giving respite to the 
condemned victim, but only that she might be reserved for 
a niglit of terror and alarm. 

The publication of the verdict was a signal for universal 
joy, and a frantic outburst of delight spread all around. 

The night was spent in the wildest orgies. The Indians 
became intoxicated with their draughts of burning brandy; 
they danced in derisive revelry around the passive girl; 
they rushed about with disheveled hair, and scoured the 
wilderness around, waving aloft great flaming pine-branches. 
Thus they continued till the early twilight of the morning; 
and thus, with yet frantic frenzy, they saluted the first rays 
pf the rising sun. 

The fatal hour arrived, and no sooner was the girl 
liberated from the stake to which she had been secured, 
than a hundred arms were voluntarily outstretched to bear 
her to the scene of punishment. The name of Martin Paz 
escaped her lips, and the outcry of hatred and revenge 
waxed louder than before. In order to reach the highest 
level of the stream, they had to clamber by the roughest 
paths up the rocks that overhung the bed of the river, so 
that when she arrived Sarah was besprinkled once again 
with blood. They found the bark canoe in readiness at 
about a hundred yards above the waterfall, and having 
laid their prisoner down they lashed her in her place with 
cords that cut deeply into her very flesh. 

The cry of the multitude went up as the cry of one man — 
" Vengeance ! " 

Whirling round and round, the canoe was carried rapidly 
along. At this moment, upon the opposite bank, were seen 
two men, Martin Paz and Don Vegal. 

" My daughter ! my daughter ! " shouted the father as he 
fell upon his knees. 

The canoe swept onwards nearer to the fall. Mounted 
upon a rock, Martin Paz unwound his long lasso, which 



UNITED IN DEATH 157 

whistled round his head, and at the very instant when the 
canoe was being sucked into the eddy of the cataract, the 
long leather lash was uncoiled, and caught the canoe in its 
sliding noose. 

" Death and destruction! " howled the horde of Indians, 
beside themselves with rage. 

Martin Paz raised his tall figure to its fullest height, and 
gently drew the canoe, which had been hovering over the 
abyss, nearer and nearer to himself. 

Suddenly an arrow came whizzing through the air, and 
Martin Paz, falling forwards into the frail bark that carried 
Sarah, was swallowed up with her in the whirlpool of the 
cataract. Within a moment another arrow had pierced Don 
Vegal's heart. 

It was bliss to Sarah to know that she and Martin Paz 
were joined in eternal nuptials, and the last thouglit of the 
maiden was that he was thus baptized into the faith which 
in her heart she loved. 



THE END 



The Mutineers 

OR 

A Tragedy of Mexico 




The Mutineers 

CHAPTER I 

FROM GUAJAN TO ACAPULCO 

N the 1 8th of October, 1825, the Asia, a higK- 
built Spanish ship, and the Constanzia, a brig 
of eighteen guns, cast anchor off the island of 
Guajan, one of the Mariannas. The crews of 
these vessels, badly-fed, ill-paid, and harassed 
with fatigue during the six months occupied 
by their passage from Spain, had been secretly plotting a 
mutiny. 

The spirit of insubordination more especially exhibited 
itself on board the Constanzia, commanded by Captain Don 
Orteva, a man of iron will, whom nothing could bend. The 
brig had been impeded in her progress by several serious 
accidents, so unforseen that they could alone, it was evident, 
have been caused by intentional malice. The Asia, com- 
manded by Don Roque de Guzuarte, had been compelled 
consequently to put into port with her. One night the 
compass was broken, no one knew how; on another the 
shrouds of the foremast gave way as if they had been cut, 
and the mast with all its rigging fell over the side. Lastly, 
during important maneuvers, on two occasions the rudder- 
ropes broke in the most unaccountable manner. 

Don Orteva had especially to keep an eye on two men 
of his crew — his lieutenant Martinez and Jose the captain of 
the maintop. Lieutenant Martinez, who had already com- 
promised his character as an officer by joining in the cabals 
of the forecastle, had in consequence been several times 
under arrest, and during his imprisonment, the midshipman 
Pablo had done duty as lieutenant of the Constanzia. 

Young Pablo was one of those gallant natures whose 
generosity prompts them to dare anything. He was an 
orphan who, saved and brought up by Captain Orteva, would 
readily have given his life for that of his benefactor. 

The evening before they were to leave Guajan, Lieutenant 
Martinez went to a low tavern, where he met several petty 
officers, and seamen of both ships. 

161 



i62 THE MUTINEERS 

" Comrades ! " exclaimed Martinez, " thanks to the acci- 
dents which so opportunely happened, the ship and the brig 
were compelled to put into port, and I have been enabled to 
come here that I might discuss secretly with you some im- 
portant matters ! " 

" Bravo ! " replied the party of men, with one voice. 

*' Speak, lieutenant," exclaimed several of the sailors, 
" and let us hear your plans." 

" This is my scheme," answered Martinez. " As soon as 
we shall have made ourselves masters of the two vessels, we 
will steer a course for the coast of Mexico. You must know 
that the new Confederation possesses no ships of war; she 
will, therefore, be eager to buy our ships without asking 
questions, and not only shall we regularly receive our pay 
for the future, but the price we obtain for Ihe ships will be 
fairly divided among us." 

"Agreed!" 

"And what shall be the signal for acting in concert on 
board the two ships ? " asked Jose the topman. 

" A rocket fired from the Asia," answered Martinez ; 
" that shall be the moment for action. We are ten to one, 
and the officers of the ship and the brig will be made prison- 
ers before they will have time to know what is happening." 

" When shall we look out for the signal ? " asked one 
of the boatswain's mates of the Constanzia. 

" In a few days hence, when we shall be off the island of 
Mindanao." 

" But the Mexicans, will they not receive our ships with' 
cannon shots?" inquired Jose in a hesitating tone. " If I 
mistake not, the Confederation has issued a decree to pro- 
hibit any Spanish ships from entering her harbors, and 
instead of gold it will be iron and lead they will be sending 
on board us ! " 

" Don't trouble yourself about that, Jose. We will let 
them know who we are from a distance," answered 
Martinez. 

" How is that to be done? " 

" By hoisting the Mexican colors at the gaffs of our 
ships;" and saying this. Lieutenant Martinez displayed be- 
fore the eyes of the mutineers, a green, white, and red flag. 

The exhibition of this emblem of Mexican independence 
was rceived with gloomy silence. 



GUAjAN TO ACAPULCO 163 

"Do you already regret the flag of Spain?" cried the 
lieutenant in a mocking tone. " Very well, let those who 
feel such regrets at once separate from us, and pleasantly 
continue the voyage under the orders of Captain Don Roque, 
or Commander Don Orteva. As for us, who do not wish 
any longer to obey them, we shall soon find the means of 
rendering them helpless." 

" We'll stick by you," cried the whole party with one 
accord. 

During this time Don Orteva was sadly troubled with 
sinister forebodings. He was well aware how completely 
fallen was the Spanish navy; that insubordination had 
greatly contributed to its destruction. On the other hand 
his patriotism would not allow him to reflect calmly on the 
successive reverses which had overtaken his country, to 
which, as it seemed to him, the revolt of the Mexican States 
had put the finishing stroke. He was frequently in the habit 
of conversing with the midshipman Pablo on these serious 
matters, and he especially took a satisfaction in talking to 
him of the former supremacy of the Spanish navy in every 
part of the ocean. 

" My boy," said he one day, " we have no longer dis- 
cipline among our sailors. There are, especially, signs of 
mutiny on board this vessel; and it is possible — indeed I 
have a foreboding — that some abominable treason will de- 
prive me of life! But you will avenge me, will you not? 
You will at the same time avenge Spain; for will not the 
blow which strikes me, be really aimed at her? " 
I swear it. Captain Orteva ! " answered Pablo. 
Do not make yourself the enemy of anyone on board the 
brig, but remember when the day comes, my boy — that un- 
happy time — the best mode of serving one's country is first 
to watch, and then to chastise, the wretched beings who 
would betray her." 

*' I promise you that I will die! " answered the midship- 
man, " yes, that I will die, should it be necessary, to punish 
the traitors ! " 

Pablo went below. Martinez remained alone on the poop 
and turned his eyes toward the Asia, which was sailing to 
leeward of the brig. The evening was magnificent, and 
presaged one of those lovely nights in the tropics which are 
both fresh and calm. 



t( 



i64 THE MUTINEERS 

The lieutenant endeavored to ascertain in the gloom who 
were the men on watch. He recognized Jose and those 
sailors with whom he had held the meeting at the island of 
Guajan. Martinez immediately approached the man at the 
helm. He spoke two words to him in a low voice, and that 
was all. But it might have been observed that the helm was 
put a little more a-weather than before, so that the brig 
sensibly drew nearer the larger ship. 

Contrary to the usual custom on board ship, Martinez 
paced up and down on the lee side, in order that he might 
obtain an uninterrupted view of the Asia. Restless and 
agitated, he kept turning a speaking-trumpet round and 
round in his hand. 

Suddenly a report was heard on board the ship. 

At this signal Martinez leaped on to the hammock- 
nettings, and in a loud voice, " All hands on deck ! " he cried. 
" Brail up the courses ! " 

At that moment Don Orteva, followed by his officers, came 
out of his cabin, and addressing himself to the lieutenant, 
" Why was that order given? " 

At this moment some fresh reports were heard from on 
board the Asia. 

Don Orteva, turning to the few men who remained near 
him, " Stand by me, my brave lads ! " he cried. And advanc- 
ing towards Martinez, " Seize that officer! " he exclaimed. 

" Death to the commander ! " replied Martinez. 

Pablo and two officers drew their swords and held their 
pistols in their hands. Some seamen, led by the honest 
boatswain Jacopo, were rushing to their support, but, quickly 
stopped by the mutineers, were disarmed and rendered in- 
capable of giving assistance. 

The marines and the crew, drawn up across the entire 
width of the deck, advanced towards their officers. The 
men who had remained staunch to their duty, driven into 
a corner of the poop, had but one course to take — it was 
to throw themselves on the mutineers. Don Orteva pointed 
the muzzle of his pistol at Martinez. 

At that moment a rocket was seen to rise from the deck 
of the Asia. 

" Our friends have succeeded ! " cried Martinez. 

The bullet from Don Orteva's pistol was lost in space. 
The captain crossed swords with the lieutenant, but, over- 



GUAJAN TO ACAPULCO 165 

whelmed by numbers and severely wounded, he was borne to 
the deck. His officers in a few seconds shared his fate. 

Bkie lights were now let off in the rigging of the brig, 
and replied to by others from the Asia. The mutiny had 
at the same moment broken out and proved triumphant 
on board the ship. Lieutenant Martinez was master of the 
Constanzia, and his prisoners were thrust pell mell into the 
main cabin. 

*' To the yard-arm with them ! " shouted several of the 
most savage. 

" Trice them up, trice them up ! Dead men tell no tales ! " 

Lieutenant Martinez, at the head of these bloodthirsty 
mutineers, was rushing towards the main cabin, but the rest 
of the crew strongly objected to so cruel a massacre, and the 
officers were saved. 

" Bring Don Orteva up on deck," cried Martinez. 

His orders were obeyed; and the captain was bound to 
the rail of the brig, concealed by the mainsail. While there 
he was heard to shout out to his lieutenant, " Oh, you 
scoundrel ! You base traitor ! " 

Martinez, losing all control over himself, leaped on the 
poop with an axe in his hand. Being prevented from reach- 
ing the captain, with a single vigorous stroke he cut the main 
sheet. The main boom, forced violently by the wind, struck 
the hapless Don Orteva on the head, and he fell lifeless on 
the deck. 

A cry of horror rose from the crew of the brig. 

** His death was accidental ! " exclaimed Lieutenant 
Martinez. "Heave the body overboard!" 

The two vessels, keeping close together, ran towards the 
coast of Mexico. The next morning an island was seen 
abeam. The boats of the Asia and Constanjsia were lowered, 
and the officers, with the exception of the midshipman Pablo 
and Jacopo the boatswain, who had both submitted to 
Martinez, were landed on its desert shore. But a few days 
subsequently they were all happily taken off by an English 
whaler and conveyed to Manilla. 

Some weeks after the events which have been described, 
the two vessels anchored in the Bay of Monterey, on the 
coast of Old California. Martinez, going on shore, in- 
formed the military governor of the port of his intentions. 
He offered to carry to Mexico the two Spanish vessels with 



i66 THE MUTINEERS 

their stores and guns, and to place their crews at the com- 
mand of the Confederation. In return, all he asked was that 
the Mexican government should pay the whole of the wages 
due to them since they quitted Spain. 

In reply to these overtures, the governor said that he had 
not sufficient authority to treat with him. He recommended 
Martinez to sail for Mexico, where he could himself easily 
settle the matter. The lieutenant followed this advice, and 
leaving the Asia at Monterey, after a month devoted to 
pleasure on shore, he again sailed in the Constanzia. Pablo, 
Jacopo, and Jose formed part of the crew of the brig, which 
with a fair wind under all sail, made the best of her way for 
the port of Acapulco. 



CHAPTER II 

FROM ACAPULCO TO CIGUALAN 

Of the four ports which Mexico possesses on the side of 
the Pacific Ocean, namely, San Bias, Zacatula, Tehuantepec, 
and Acapulco, the last offers the greatest accommodation to 
shipping. The town, it is true, is badly built and unhealthy, 
but the anchorage is secure, and the harbor can easily con- 
tain a hundred vessels. Lofty cliffs shelter the ships at an- 
chor from every wind, and form so tranquil a basin, that a 
stranger arriving by land looks down upon what he may sup- 
pose to be a lake surrounded by mountains. 

Acapulco was at this time protected by three forts flank- 
ing it on the right side, while the entrance was defended by 
a battery of seven guns which could, when necessary, cross 
their fire at a right angle with those of Fort San Diego. 
That fort, armed with thirty pieces of artillery, completely 
commanded the harbor, and would inevitably have sent to the 
bottom any craft which might have attempted to force an 
entrance into the port. 

The town had therefore nothing to fear, notwithstanding 
which, a universal panic seized the inhabitants three months 
after the events which have just been related. 

It happened thus: A ship was signaled approaching the 
port. So completely did the people of Acapulco doubt the 
intentions of the stranger, that nothing would make them 
believe that she came as a friend. That which the new 



ACAPULCO TO CIGUALAN 167 

Confederation mostly feared, and not without reason, was to 
be again brought under the dominion of Spain. This was 
because, notwithstanding that a treaty of commerce had been 
signed with Great Britain, and a charge d'affaires had ar- 
rived from London, which court had acknowledged the Re- 
public, the Mexican Government did not possess a single 
ship to protect their coast. However that might be, the 
strange vessel was evidently some hardy adventurer, which 
the northwesterly gales, blustering on their shores from the 
autumnal equinox to the spring, had probably driven hither 
with shivered canvas. 

If this was not the case, the people of Acapulco could not 
tell what to think, and at all events they were making every 
possible preparation to resist the expected attack of the 
stranger, when the suspicious vessel ran up to her peak the 
flag of Mexican independence ! 

Having got to about half cannon-shot from the port, the 
Constanzia, whose name could be clearly read on her counter, 
suddenly came to an anchor, her sails were furled, and a 
boat, which was at once lowered, pulled rapidly towards 
the harbor. 

Lieutenant Martinez, having disembarked from her, pro- 
ceeded at once to the governor, to whom he explained the cir- 
cumstances which brought him to the place. The latter 
highly approved of the resolution taken by the lieutenant to 
join the Mexicans, and assured him that General Guadalupe, 
President of the Confederation, would certainly agree to 
purchase the two vessels. 

No sooner was the news known in the town than the 
people broke out into transports of joy. The whole popula- 
tion turned out to admire the first vessel of the Mexican 
navy, and saw in their new possession, with this proof of 
the disorganization prevailing in the Spanish service, the 
means of more completely defeating all fresh attempts which 
might be made by their former and much hated oppressors 
to overcome them. 

Martinez returned on board the brig. Some hours after- 
wards the Constanz'm was anchored in the port, and her crew 
were quartered among the inhabitants of Acapulco. When, 
however, Martinez called over the roll of his followers, 
neither Pablo nor Jacopo answered to their names. They 
had both disappeared ! 



i68 THE MUTINEERS 

The following day two horsemen set out from Acapulco 
on the deserted and mountainous road for Mexico City. 
The horsemen were Martinez and Jose. The sailor was well 
acquainted with the road. He had on numerous occasions 
climbed these mountains of Anahuac. So well did he know 
it, that although an Indian guide had offered his services 
they had been declined. 

" Let us ride faster ! " said Martinez, sticking his spurs 
into his horse's flanks. " I have my doubts about this dis- 
appearance of Pablo and Jacopo. Can they mean to make 
the bargain for themselves, and rob us of our shares? " 

" By St. Jago 1 they won't be very far wrong there," 
sulkily repiled the seaman. " It will be a case of thieves rob- 
bing thieves, such as we are." 

" How many days will it take us to reach Mexico? " 

" Four or five, lieutenant — a mere walk ; but not so fast ; 
you surely see what a steep hill there is before us." 

In reality they had reached the first slopes which form 
the sides of the mountains rising above the wide plains. 

" Our horses are not shod," said the seaman, pulling up, 
" and their hoofs will soon be worn out on these granite 
rocks." 

" Let us push on," exclaimed Martinez, setting the ex- 
ample. " Our horses come from the farms of Southern 
Mexico, and in their journeys across the Savannahs they are 
unaccustomed to these inequalities in the ground. Let us 
profit therefore by the evenness of the road, and make the 
best of our way out of these vast solitudes, which are not 
formed to put us in good spirits." 

" Does Lieutenant Martinez feel any remorse-? " asked 
Jose, shrugging his shoulders. 

"Remorse! No." 

Martinez fell back into perfect silence, and the two 
travelers made their steeds move on at a rapid trot.. The 
sun had sunk beneath the horizon when they reached the 
village of Cigualan. The village is composed of a few huts 
inhabited by poor Indians, who are generally known as tame 
Indians — that is to say, they cultivate the soil. 

The two Spaniards were received with but scant hos- 
pitality. The Indians recognized them as belonging to the 
nation of their ancient oppressors, and showed themselves 
but little inclined to render them assistance. This was in 



ACAPULCO TO CIGUALAN 169 

consequence of the fact, that two other travelers had a short 
time before passed through the village, and had laid violent 
hands on the small amount of available food which they 
could discover. The lieutenant and his comrade paid no 
attention to these circumstances, which indeed appeared to 
them nothing extraordinary. 

In a short time they secured food, and dined, as men do 
after a long journey, with sharp appetites. The repast 
finished, they stretched themselves on the ground with their 
daggers in their hands ; they then, notwithstanding the hard- 
ness of their couches, and the incessant biting of the mos- 
quitos, overcome by fatigue, quickly fell asleep. 

During the night Martinez frequently started up and, in 
an agitated voice, repeated the names of Jacopo and Pablo, 
whose disappearance so completely occupied his mind. 



CHAPTER III 

FROM CIGUALAN TO CUERNAVACA 

The next morning at daybreak, the horses were saddled 
and bridled. The travelers, taking a worn-away path which 
wound like a serpent before them, directed their course 
towards the east, where the sun was just then seen ascend- 
ing above the mountain tops. 

"When shall we get over the mountains, Jose?" 

" By to-morrow evening, lieutenant, and from their sum- 
mit — although too far off it is true — we shall perceive the 
end of our journey, that golden town of Mexico. Do you 
know what I am thinking of, lieutenant? " 

Martinez did not reply. 

" I ask myself what can have become of the officers of 
the ship and brig which we abandoned on the desert island." 

Martinez trembled. " I do not know," he answered 
sullenly. 

" I most heartily hope that all those great persons have died 
of hunger," continued Jose, " or perhaps when we landed 
them, some of them may have tumbled into the sea, and there 
is on those shores a kind of shark — the tintorea, who 
never lets anybody escape him. Holy Mary ! should Captain 
Don Orteva have come to life he may have the chance of 
being swallowed up by a fish. But, happily, his head was 



lyo THE MUTINEERS 

struck by the mainboom, and by the noise it made must have 
been completely crushed." 

" Hold your tongue ! " replied Martinez. 

The sailor rode on with closed mouth. " See what cur- 
ious scruples this man has," said Jose to himself; he then 
added in his usual voice, " On my return I shall settle down 
in this charming country of Mexico, where one can enjoy, 
without stint, these beautiful ananas and bananas, and where 
one can eat off plates of gold and silver." 

" Was it for this you mutinied? " asked Martinez. 

"Why not, lieutenant? it was an affair of dollars." 

" Ah ! " exclaimed Martinez with disgust. 

"And you, why did you mutiny? " inquired Jose. 

" I ! It was an affair of wounded honor. The lieutenant 
wished to be revenged on his captain." 

" Ah ! " exclaimed Jose with contempt. 

There was not much difference between these two men 
whatever were their motives. 

" Hold ! " cried Martinez, pulling up short, " what do I 
see down there? " 

Jose rode towards the edge of the cliff ." I can see no 
one," he replied. 

" I saw a man suddenly disappear," repeated Martinez. 

" Imagination ! " 

" I did see him," replied the lieutenant impatiently. 

" Very well, look for him at your leisure," and Jose con- 
tinued to ride on. 

Martinez proceeded towards a clump of mangroves, the 
branches of which, taking root as they touched the ground, 
formed an impenetrable thicket. The lieutenant dismounted. 
It was a perfect solitude. Suddenly he perceived a spiral 
form moving about in the shade. It was a small species of 
serpent, the head held fast under a piece of rock, while the 
hinder part twisted about as if it had been galvanized. 

" There has been someone here," cried the lieutenant. 
Guilty and superstitious, he looked around in every direc- 
tion. He began to tremble. " Who, who can they be ?" he 
murmured. 

" Well! what is the matter? " asked Jose, who had now 
rejoined him. 

" It is nothing," answered Martinez ; " let us go on. 

The evening approached. Martinez followed some paces 



>» 



CIGUALAN TO CUERNAVACA 171 

behind his guide Jose, and the latter, not without difficulty, 
found his way in the midst of the increasing darkness. 

Looking out for a practicable path, swearing now at a 
stump against which he ran, now at the branch of a tree 
which struck him, threatening to put out the excellent cigar 
he was smoking, the lieutenant let his horse follow that of 
his companion. Useless remorse agitated him, and he gave 
himself up to the melancholy forebodings with which he was 
oppressed. 

The night had now completely set in. The travelers 
pushed forward. They traversed without stopping, the little 
villages of Contepec and Iguala, and at length arrived at 
the town of Tasco. Here, little as they relished their food, 
their hunger was satisfied, and fatigue made even Martinez 
and Jose sleep until an hour after sunrise the next morning. 

The lieutenant was the first to awake. "Let us start, 
Jose," he cried out. 

The two Spaniards hastened to the stable, ordered their 
horses to be saddled, filled their saddle-bags with cakes of 
maize, grenadas, and dried meat, for among the mountains 
they would run a great risk of finding nothing to eat. The 
bill paid, they mounted their beasts and took the road once 
more. 

" Have we nothing to fear among these solitudes? " asked 
Martinez. 

" Nothing, excepting it may be a Mexican dagger ! " 

" That is true," answered Martinez, " the Indians of these 
elevated regions are still attached to the use of the dagger." 

" Yes, indeed," replied the seaman, laughing. " What a 
number of words they have to designate their favorite 
arm — estoqe, verdugo, puna, anchillo, beldoque, navaja. 
The names come as quickly to their lips as the dagger does to 
their hands. Very well ! so much the better. Holy Mary! 
at least we shall not have to fear those invisible balls from 
long carbines. I do not know anything more provoking 
than not to be able to discover the wretch who has killed 
one!" 

"Who are the Indians who inhabit these mountains?" 
asked Martinez. 

" Indeed, lieutenant, who can count the different races 
which have mukiplied so rapidly in this El Dorado of 
Mexico? Just consider the various crosses, which I have 



172 THE MUTINEERS 

studied carefully, with the intention of some day making 
an advantageous marriage. We here find the Mestisa, born 
of a Spaniard and an Indian woman ; the Castisa, of a Cas- 
tilian woman and a Spaniard; the Mulatto, of a Spanish 
woman and a Negro; the Monisque, born of a Mulatto 
woman and a Spaniard ; the Albino, of a Monisque woman 
and a Spaniard; the Tintinclaire, of a Tornatras man and a 
Spanish woman; the Lovo, born of an Indian woman and a 
Negro; the Caribujo, of an Indian woman and a Lovo; the 
Barsino, born of a Coyote and a Mulatto woman; the Grifo, 
born of a Negress and a Lovo; the Albarazado, born of a 
Coyote and an Indian woman ; the Chanesa, born of a Metis 
and an Indian man; the Mechino, born of a Lovo and a 
Coyote!" 

Jose spoke the truth ; the mixture of races in this country 
causes wonderful difficulties to anthropological students. 
Notwithstanding this learned conversation of the seaman, 
Martinez continually fell again into his previous taciturnity ; 
he indeed sometimes pushed on ahead of his companion, 
whose presence seemed to annoy him. 

In a short time two torrents crossed the road before them. 
The lieutenant pulled up at the first, disappointed on seeing 
that its bed was dry, for he had reckoned on watering his 
horse at it. 

" Here we are, In a fix, lieutenant, without food and with- 
out water ! " exclaimed Jose. " Never mind ; follow me. 
We will look among these rocks and cliffs for the tree which 
is called the ' ahuehuelt,' which advantageously takes the 
place of the wisps of straw which decorate the fronts of inns. 
Under its shade one can always enjoy a cool draught, and, 
in a word, it is not only what some call water, but it is the 
wine of the desert." 

The horsemen hunted about, and before long discovered 
the tree in question, but the promised fountain had been 
emptied, and they discovered it must have been visited only 
a short time previously. 

" It Is singular," observed Jose. 

" It is indeed singular," said Martinez, growing pale. 
" Let us push forward." 

The country now assumed an extremely rugged aspect. 
Gigantic peaks rose up before them, their basaltic summits 
stopping the clouds wafted by the winds from the Pacific. 



CIGUALAN TO CUERNAVACA 173 

Doubling a large rock there appeared high above them the 
Fort of Cochicalcho, built by the ancient Mexicans on a spot 
elevated nineteen thousand feet above the sea. The 
travelers directed their course towards the base of this vast 
cone, which was crowned by tottering rocks and crumbling 
ruins. 

After having dismounted and fastened their horses to 
the trunk of a tree, Martinez and Jose, wishing to ascertain 
the direction of their road, climbed up to the summit of the 
cone, assisted by the ruggedness of the sides. 

Night now coming on made the outline of objects appear 
very indistinct, and assume the most fantastic forms. The 
old fort did not ill-resemble an enormous bison, crouching 
down, its head immovable; but as Martinez looked at the 
figure, his disordered imagination made him fancy that he 
saw the body of the monstrous animal move. He did not, 
however, say anything lest he should lay himself open to 
the railleries of the unscrupulous Jose. The latter hastily 
made his way round a part of the hill, and after he had dis- 
appeared for some time behind some broken fragments, he 
summoned his companion with the loudness of his " Saint 
lagos ! " and " Saint Marias ! " 

All of a sudden, an enormous night-bird, uttering a hoarse 
shriek, slowly rose on its outstretched wings. 

Martinez stopped short; a vast mass of rock was seen to 
shake about thirty feet above him, then a portion of the 
mass became detached, and, shattering everything in its pass- 
age with the rapidity of a cannon-ball, came crashing down- 
wards, and was engulfed in the abyss below. 

" Santa Maria ! " cried the seaman. " Hello, lieutenant, 
what has happened? " 

"Jose!" 

" Here ! " The two Spaniards joined each other. 

" What a fearful avalanche descended on us ! " exclaimed 
the seaman. Martinez followed him without saying a word, 
and the two soon regained the lower plateau. 

Here a large furrow marked the passage of the rock. 

"Santa Maria!" exclaimed Jose. "Look here! Our 
two horses have disappeared — crushed dead ! " 

" It is too true ! " said Martinez. 

" See here ! " The tree to which the two animals had been 
fastened had been indeed carried away with them. 



174 THE MUTINEERS 

" If we had been under it! " philosophically observed the 
seaman, with a shrug of his shoulder, 

Martinez was seized with a violent feeling of terror. 
" The serpent ! — ^the fountain ! — ^the avalanche ! " he mur- 
mured. 

Then he turned his haggard eyes on Jose. 

" How is it that you do not speak to me of Captain 
Orteva? " he cried, his lips contracted with anger. 

Jose drew back. " Oh, do not talk nonsense, lieutenant ! 
Let us give the finishing stroke to our poor steeds and then 
push on. It will not do to stop here while the old mountain 
is combing her hair." 

The two Spaniards proceeded on their road without say- 
ing a word, and in the middle of the night they arrived at 
Cuernavaca ; but it was impossible to procure horses, so the 
next morning they directed their course on foot towards the 
heights of Popocatepetl. 

CHAPTER IV 

FROM CUERNAVACA TO POPOCATEPETL; 

The temperature was cold and the country was devoid 
of vegetation. These inaccessible heights belonged to the 
icy zones, known as the cold territory. Already the fir trees 
of the foggy regions showed their withered outlines among 
the last oaks of these lofty elevations, and springs became 
more and more rare among the rugged rocks, consisting 
chiefly of porphyry and granite. 

After six long hours the lieutenant and his companion 
began to drag themselves forward with difficulty, tearing 
their hands against rough masses of rock, and cutting their 
feet on the sharp stones in their path. At length fatigue 
compelled them to sit down. Jose occupied himself in pre- 
paring something to eat " What a cursed idea not to have 
taken the ordinary road ! " he murmured. 

They both, however, hoped to find at Aracopistla — a vil- 
lage completely shut in among the mountains — the means 
of transport to enable them to reach the end of their journey. 
But, after all, they might deceive themselves, and meet with 
the same want of accommodation and hospitality which they 
had encountered at Cuernavaca. They must, however, at 
all events, get there. 



CUERNAVACA TO POPOCATEPETL 175 

The road was fearfully parched and dry; on every side 
fathomless precipices were to be seen in the sides of the 
mountains, and rocks appeared ready to fall on the heads of 
the travelers. To regain the chief road it was necessary 
to cross a portion of these muontains at a height of five 
thousand four hundred feet, near a rock known by the In- 
dians as the " smoking rock," for it still exhibited signs of 
recent volcanic action. Dark chasms yawned on every side. 
Since the last journey of the seaman Jose some fresh out- 
breaks had completely changed the appearance of these 
solitudes, so that he could not recognize them ; thus he com- 
pletely lost himself among the inaccessible cliffs. He stopped 
to listen to some rumbling sounds which came issuing forth 
here and there from the cliffs. 

** I can do no more ! " at length cried Jose, sinking to the 
ground with fatigue. 

"Push on!" cried Martinez with feverish impatience. 

Some claps of thunder reverberated amid the gorges of 
Popocatepetl. " Now may Satan take me, for I may count 
myself among the lost souls!" 

" Rise up and push on," roughly exclaimed Martinez. 

He compelled Jose to get up, and the sailor stumbled for- 
ward. " And not a human being to guide us," murmured 
Jose. 

" So much the better," observed the lieutenant gruffly as 
he moved forward. 

" You do not know, then, that every year a thousand 
murders are committed in Mexico, and how many in the 
environs nobody can calculate ! " said Jose. 

" So much the better," answered Martinez. 

Large drops of rain began to fall on the rocks around 
them, brightened by the last fading light in the sky. 

" The points we lately saw so clearly around us, where 
are they now? " asked the lieutenant. 

" Mexico is on the left, Puebla on the right," replied 
Jose, " if we could see anything, but nothing can now be 
distinguished." 

It became fearfully dark. " Before us should be the 
mountain of Icetacihualt, and in the ravine at its base a good 
road; but what if we should not reach it! " 

" Push on ! " cried the lieutenant. 

The thunder claps were now repeated with extreme 



176 THE MUTINEERS 

violence among the mountains. The rain and the wind, 
which had hitherto been silent, increased the loudness of 
the echoes. Jose went swearing on at every step. Lieuten- 
ant Martinez, pale and silent, gazed with sinister looks at his 
companion, whom he regarded as an accomplice he would 
gladly get rid of. 

Suddenly a flash of lightning illuminated the obscurity. 
The seaman and the lieutenant were on the edge of an 
abyss. 

Martinez hurried up to Jose, and after the last clap of 
thunder he said to him, " Jose, I am afraid ! " 

" Do you dread the storm? " 

" I do not dread the storm in the sky, Jose ; but I fear 
the storm which agitates my breast ! " 

"Oh, you are still thinking of Don Orteva! Come on, 
lieutenant! you make me laugh," answered Jose. He, how- 
ever, did not laugh, as Martinez surveyed him with his 
haggard eyes, 

A terrible clap of thunder burst over them. 

" Hold your tongue ! hold your tongue ! " cried Martinez, 
who appeared to be no longer master of himself. 

" The night is a favorable one for preaching to me ! " 
replied the seaman. " H you have any fear, lieutenant, shut 
up your eyes and your ears.'* 

*' It seems to me," cried Martinez, " that I see the captain 
< — Don Orteva — with his head crushed — there, there ! " 

A dark shadow, illuminated the next moment by a flash 
of lightning, arose within twenty feet of the lieutenant and 
his companion. 

At the same instant Jose saw close to him Martinez, his 
countenance pale and distorted with passion, his hand grasp- 
ing a dagger. 

*' What is there ! " he cried out. 

A flash of lightning environed them both. 

" What ! Kill me ! " cried Jose. The next moment he 
fell, a corpse, and Martinez fled in the midst of the tempest, 
his bloody weapon in his hand. 

A few moments afterwards two men hung over the dead 
body of the seaman, saying, " This is one of them! " 

Martinez fled like a madman across the dark solitudes; 

his head uncovered, regardless of the rain, which came down 

in torrents. 
y. I Verne 










,t .loV 



i-vi) 



' every ster 

iii acconipi*ce he wo a, 

red the obscurii 
on the edge - 



:* the last clap 

.,-4 I " 



. but I f ea r- 
Orteva! Come oi. 

THE UPRISING 

Don Orteva, turned to the few men who remained near him, 
"Stand by me, my brave lads !" he, cried. And advancing toward 
Martinez, "Seize that officer !" he exclaimed. 

"Death to the commander !" replied Martinez. * * * * 
The bullet from Don Orteva' s pistol was lost in space. The 
captain crossed swords with the lieutenant, but, overwhelmed by 
numbers and severely wounded, he was borne to the deck. — Page 164. 



there ! 
t by : 
•..1 ujc j-icutenar 

«e to him Mar 



m the 
his 

A Is 



Vol. 1, 



.CUERNAVACA TO POPOCATEPETL 177 

" Kill ! kill ! " he shrieked out, stumbling over the slippery 
rocks. 

Suddenly he heard a hoarse sound in the depths beneath 
his feet. He stopped, knowing that it was the roaring of a 
torrent. 

It was the little river Ixtolucca, which rushed on five hun- 
dred feet below him. Some paces off, over the torrent, was 
thrown a bridge formed of ropes. It was secured on both 
sides by some piles driven into the rock. The bridge 
oscillated in the wind like a thread extended in space. 

Clinging to the ropes, Martinez made his way across the 
bridge, and by a great effort he reached the opposite bank. 

There, a shadow rose before him. 

Martinez retreated, without saying a word, towards the 
bank he had just left. 

There, another human form appeared. 

Martinez fell upon his knees in the middle of the bridge, 
his hands clasped in despair. 

" Martinez, I am Pablo ! " said a voice. 

" Martinez, I am Jacopo ! " said another voice. 

" You are a traitor ! You shall die ! " 

" You are a murderer ! You shall die ! " 

Two loud blows were heard, the piles which secured the 
ropes at the extremity of the bridge fell beneath the ax. A 
horrible shriek rent the air, and Martinez, his hands ex- 
tended, was precipitated into the abyss. 

A league higher up, the midshipman and the boatswain 
rejoined each other, after having passed by a ford the river 
Ixtolucca. 

I have avenged Don Orteva ! " said Jacopo. 
And I," replied Pablo, " have avenged Spain ! " 

It was thus that the navy of the Mexican Confederation 
had its origin. The two Spanish ships, delivered up by the 
traitors, were taken possession of by the new Republic, and 
became the nucleus of that small fleet which fought unsuc- 
cessfully for Texas and California, against the fleet of the 
United States of America. 



THE END. 






Five Weeks in a Balloon 




Five Weeks in a Balloon 



CHAPTER I 

RECEPTION OF DR. FERGUSON 

N the 14th of January, 1862, there was a very- 
large attendance of the members of the 
Royal Geographical Society of London, 3 
Waterloo Place. The President, Sir Fran- 
cis M , made an impromptu communica- 
tion to his colleagues in a speech frequently 
interrupted by applause. This rare specimen of oratory 
ended at length with some grandiloquent phrases, in which 
patriotism was displayed in well-rounded sentences, thus : 
" England has always appeared at the head of all other 
nations in the way of geographical discovery. (Hear, 
hear.) Doctor Samuel Ferguson, one of her glorious 
children, will not disgrace the land of his birth. (No, no.) 
If his attempt succeed (It will, it will!) it will bind to- 
gether in a complete form the isolated maps of the African 
continent. If it fail (Never, never!) it will remain at 
least on record as one of the boldest conceptions of the 
human mind." (Loud applause.) 

" Hurrah, hurrah ! " shouted the assembly, quite elec- 
trified by these stirring words. 

" Hurrah for the undaunted Ferguson ! " cried one of 
the members, more enthusiastic than the rest. 

The enthusiasm then rose to a high pitch. The name 
of Ferguson was in every mouth, and there is no reason to 
believe that it lost anything in its emancipation from the 
British throat. The whole assembly was in a ferment. 

Yet there were present in that assembly a number of 
individuals grown old in travel : bold explorers, whose 
wandering disposition had led them to all parts of the 
world. All of them, either physically or morally, had es- 
caped shipwreck, fire, the tomahawk of the Indian, the 
club of the savage, the stake, or Polynesian cannibals. 
But nothing could still the throbbing of their breasts dur- 

181 



1 82 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

ing Sir F. M.'s speech; it was without doubt the greatest 
oratorical success of the Royal Geographical Society within 
the memory of man. 

In England, enthusiasm is not by any means confined to 
words. It can produce money more quickly than the ma- 
chinery of the Royal Mint. A sum of £2,500 was imme- 
diately voted and placed at Doctor Ferguson's disposal. 
The subscription was in proportion to the importance of 
the undertaking. 

One of the members of the Society asked the President 
.whether Doctor Ferguson might not be officially presented. 

" The doctor awaits the pleasure of the meeting," re- 
plied Sir Francis M . 

"Let him come in!" they cried; "admit him! It is 
right that we should become acquainted with a man of such 
extraordinary daring." 

" Perhaps," said an old apoplectic commodore, " this 
incredible suggestion is nothing but a hoax after all." 

" I do not suppose that there is any such person," said 
a malicious member. 

" We must invent him then," replied a joking associate. 

" Request Doctor Ferguson to be good enough to come 
in," said Sir Francis M , quietly. 

The doctor accordingly made his appearance, and was 
greeted with thunders of applause. He did not, however, 
appear to be in the least elated by his reception. He was 
a man of about forty years of age, of no remarkable ex- 
terior. His sanguine temperament displayed itself in the 
ruddiness of his complexion. His face was impassive, 
with regular features and a prominent nose. This was 
like the prow of a vessel — the nose of a man destined for 
discovery. His eyes were soft, and, being more intelligent 
than bold, imparted a great charm to his face. His arms 
were long, and his feet were planted upon the floor with 
the firmness of a practical pedestrian. A certain quiet self- 
possession pervaded the doctor's whole appearance, and no 
one could believe him capable of the most innocent hoax. 

The shouts and plaudits never for one moment ceased 
until Doctor Ferguson intimated his desire for silence by 
a gesture. He advanced towards the arm-chair prepared 
for his reception, then, standing perfectly upright, with a 
determined expression of countenance he pointed the fore- 



RECEPTION OF DOCTOR FERGUSON 183 

finger of his left hand towards the ceiling, and uttered the 
word " Excelsior ! " 

Never had an unexpected popular measure of Messrs. 
Cobden or Bright — never had a demand by Lord Palmer- 
ston for an extra vote to arm the English coast defenses 
met wath equal success. The doctor was at once sublime, 
powerful, unassuming, and prudent. He had struck the 
key-note of the situation. 

"Excelsior!" 

The old commodore, completely "brought up in the 
wind " by this extraordinary man, moved that the entire 
speech of Doctor Ferguson be entered in the Proceedings 
of the Royal Geographical Society. 

Now, who was this Doctor Ferguson, and to what enter- 
prise was he about to devote himself ? The father of Fer- 
guson was a captain in the English merchant service, and 
had accustomed his son, from his earliest years, to the dan- 
gers and risks of his own profession. The brave lad, who 
knew not what fear meant, soon displayed an adventurous 
spirit and desire for information, and a remarkable pred- 
ilection for scientific research. He also showed a won- 
derful aptitude for getting out of scrapes, and he was 
never embarrassed, not even when using a fork for the 
first time, in which attempt children are not generally suc- 
cessful. 

As he grew older, his imagination became stimulated by 
tales of hairbreadth escapes and records of maritime dis- 
covery. He followed diligently the routes of those trav- 
elers who made the first part of the nineteenth century 
famous in history. He longed for the glories of Mungo 
Park, of Bruce, Caille, and Levaillant, and even of Sel- 
kirk and Robinson Crusoe, which were to him in no way 
inferior. How many happy hours had he passed in the 
Island of Juan Fernandez? He sometimes approved of 
the ideas of the shipwrecked sailor, sometimes he denied 
the propriety of his plans and projects. He would himself 
have acted differently, to better effect perhaps, or at least 
as well, at any rate. 

However, one thing was certain: he would never have 
quitted that pleasant island, where he would have been as 
happy as a king without subjects — no, not if they had of- 
fered to make him First Lord of the Admiralty ! 



i84 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

I leave my readers to judge how these tendencies devel- 
oped themselves during the adventurous days passed in all 
quarters of the globe. His father, an educated man, did 
not fail to further consolidate this quickness of intelligence 
by some serious study — hydrography, physics, and mechan- 
ics, with a trifle of botany, medicine, and astronomy 
thrown in. At the death of the worthy captain, Samuel 
Ferguson, then twenty-two years old, had already been 
round the world. He joined a regiment of Bengal En- 
gineers, and distinguished himself on several occasions. 
But a soldier's life did not suit him. He did not like his 
commanding officer, and obedience was irksome, so he ob- 
tained his discharge, and, sometimes hunting, sometimes 
botanising, he made his way towards the North of India, 
and crossed it from Calcutta to Surat. Just a pleasant 
walk — nothing more. 

From Surat he went to Australia, and in 1845 took part 
in Captain Stuart's expedition to discover that Caspian Sea 
which is supposed to exist in the interior of New Holland. 
In 1850 Samuel Ferguson returned to England, and more 
than ever possessed by the desire of discovery, in 1853 he 
accompanied Captain M'Clure in the expedition that tra- 
versed the American Continent from Behring's Strait to 
Cape Farewell. 

Despite hardships and change of climate, Ferguson's con- 
stitution remained unimpaired. He lived at ease in the 
midst of the greatest privations. He was the type of a per- 
fect traveler, whose appetite can be controlled at will, whose 
limbs can adapt themselves equally to a bed whether it be 
long or short, who can sleep at any hour of the day, and 
awake at any hour of the night. So there was nothing very 
astonishing in finding our indefatigable traveler engaged, 
during the years 1855 to 1857, ^^ exploring the west of 
Thibet, in company with the brothers Schlagintweit, whence 
he brought back many curious ethnographical records. 

During these several expeditions Samuel Ferguson was 
the most active and interesting correspondent of the Daily 
Telegraph, a penny journal, whose circulation is 140,000 
copies a day, and scarcely suffices for millions of readers. 
Thus the doctor was very well known, although he was not 
a member of any scientific institution, neither of the Royal 
Geographical Society of London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, or 



RECEPTION OF DOCTOR FERGUSON 185 

St. Petersburg; nor of the Travelers' Club; nor even of the 
Polytechnic Institution, presided over by his friend Kock- 
burn, the statistician. This gentleman proposed to him one 
day the following problem, with the intention to pay him a 
compliment: " Given the number of miles traversed by the 
doctor round the world, how much farther had the head 
moved than the feet in consequence of the difference in the 
length of radii." But Ferguson kept aloof from such 
learned people, and being rather of the acting and not of the 
talking disposition, he found his time better employed in 
exploration than in argument, in discovery rather than dis- 
cussion. 

It has been related that an Englishman came to Geneva 
with the intention to view the Lake. He got into one of 
those old carriages in which people sit at the sides like in 
an omnibus. Now it happened that this Englishman w^as 
seated with his back to the Lake. The carriage peacefully 
accomplished its round without his ever turning his head; 
and he returned home, charmed with the Lake of Geneva! 

But Doctor Ferguson had turned round, and more than 
once during his travels, and to such purpose that he had 
seen nearly everything. In this, as in other things, he 
obeyed the dictates of his nature, and we have reason to 
believe that he was somewhat of a fatalist, but of a very 
orthodox pattern, relying upon himself as well as upon 
Providence. He used to say that he was impelled rather 
than attracted to his expeditions, and ran about the world 
something like a locomotive which does not direct its own 
course, but is directed by the route it follows. 

"I do not pursue my way," the doctor would remark; 
" my way pursues me." 

It is not astonishing, therefore, that he received the 
plaudits of the Royal Society without any show of emotion. 
He was superior to that, and being neither proud nor vain, 
he perceived nothing extraordinary in the proposition he had 
made to the President, and did not appear to notice the great 
effect he had produced. 

After the meeting was dissolved the doctor was conducted 
to the Travelers' Club in Pall Mall, where a splendid ban- 
quet was prepared in his honor, the dimensions of the vari- 
ous dishes being proportionate to the importance of the 
guest, and the sturgeon, which was a prominent figure in 



i8t> FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

this magnificent repast, was only three inches shorter than 
Samuel Ferguson himself. 

Numerous toasts were proposed to the healths of those 
celebrated travelers who had distinguished themselves on 
the soil of Africa, and duly honored. They drank to 
their healths in alphabetical order. To Abbadie, Adams, 
Adamson, Anderson, Arnaud, Baikie, Baldwin, Barth, 
Batouder, Beke, Beltram de Berba, Bimbachi, Bolognesi, 
Bolwick, Bolzoni, Bonnemain, Brisson, Browne, Bruce, 
Brun-Rollet, Burchell, Burckhardt, Burton, Caillaud, Caille, 
Campbell, Chapman, Clapperton, Clot-Bey, Colomieu, Cour- 
vall, Cumming, Cuny, Debono, Decken, Denham, Desa- 
vanchers, Dicksen, Dickson, Dochard, Du Chaillu, Duncan, 
Durand, Duroule, Duveyrier, Erhard, d'Escayrac de Lau- 
teur, Ferret, Fresnel, Galinier, Galton, Geoffroy, Golberry, 
Hahn, Halm, Harnier, Hecquart, Heuglin, Hornemann, 
Houghton, Imbert, Kaufmann, Knoblecher, Krapf, Kum- 
mer, Lafargue, Laing, Lajaille, Lambert, Lamiral, Lam- 
priere, John Lander, Richard Lander, Lefebvre, Lejean, Le- 
vaillant, Livingstone, Maccarthy, Maggiar, Maizan, Malzac, 
Moffat, Mollieu, Monteiro, Morrisson, Mungo Park, Nei- 
mans, Overweg, Panet, Partarrieau, Pascal, Pearse, Peddie, 
Peney, Petherick, Poncet, Prax, Raffenel, Rath, Rebmann, 
Richardson, Riley, Ritchie, Rochet d'Hericourt, Rongawi, 
Roscher, Ruppel, Saugnier, Speke, Steidner, Thibaud, 
Thompson, Thornton, Toole, Tousny, Trotter, Tuckey, Tyr- 
witt, Vaudey, Veyssiere, Vincent, Vinco, Vogel, Wahlberg, 
Warrington, Washington, Werne, Wild, and lastly to Doc- 
tor Samuel Ferguson, who, by his unheard-of project, was 
about to bind together the works of all these travelers, and 
complete the series of African discoveries. 



CHAPTER II 

AN ARTICLE IN THE " TELEGRAPH " 

In its issue of the next day, the Daily Telegraph pub- 
lished the following article : 

" Africa is about to yield the secret of its vast solitudes 
at last. A modern QEdipus will find the key to the problem 
which the learned of sixteen centuries have not been able to 
solve. Formerly, to seek the sources of the Nile — fontes 



AN ARTICLE IN THE " TELEGRAPH " 187 

Nili queer ere — was regarded as the act of a madman; a chi- 
mera, in fact. 

" Doctor Barth, by following as far as Soudan the route 
traversed by Denham and Clapperton ; Doctor Livingstone, 
by extending his undaunted researches from the Cape of 
Good Hope to the basin of the Zambezi; Burton and Speke, 
by the discovery of the Great Inland Lakes, have opened up 
three routes to modern civilization. To the point of in- 
tersection of these routes, no traveler has hitherto been able 
to penetrate; it is in the very heart of Africa. It is to that 
point that all our efforts should be directed. 

" The works of these hardy pioneers of science are now 
about to be supplemented by the spirited attempt of Dr. 
Samuel Ferguson, whose wonderful expeditions have so 
often been appreciated by our readers. This hardy ex- 
plorer proposes to cross the continent of Africa from east 
to west in a balloon. If we have been correctly informed, 
the point of departure of this extraordinary enterprise will 
be the island of Zanzibar upon the eastern coast. Where 
the point of arrival will prove to be — Heaven alone can tell ! 

" This exploit was yesterday proposed officially to the 
members of the Royal Geographical Society, and a sum of 
£2,500 was voted to defray the expenses of the expedition. 
We will keep our readers duly informed upon the various 
events in connection with the projected enterprise, which is 
without precedent in geographical annals." 

This article, as was intended, had an enormous circula- 
tion. It first aroused a tempest of incredulity, and Doctor 
Ferguson was looked upon as a visionary, an invention of 
Barnum, who, having exhausted the United States, was 
about to do the British Isles ! 

A quizzical notice appeared in Geneva in the February 
number of the Proceedings of the Geographical Society, 
which gently rallied the Royal Society in London, the 
Travelers' Club, and the wonderful sturgeon. But Mr. 
Petermann, in his Mitheilungen, published in Gotha, shut 
up the Geneva paper completely. Mr. Petermann was ac- 
quainted with Dr. Ferguson, and bore testimony to the 
hardihood of his (Petermann's) courageous friend. 

Soon, however, doubt was no longer possible. Prepara- 
tions for the expedition were being made in London. 
Firms at Lyons had received orders for striped taffetas for 



i88 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

the balloon, and the English Government had placed a 
transport, the Resolute, commanded by Captain Penney, at 
the disposal of Dr. Ferguson. Encouragement and good 
wishes were showered from all sides. The details of the 
enterprise appeared in the Transactions of the Geo- 
graphical Society of Paris. A very remarkable article was 
published in the Nouvelles yinnales des Voyages de la 
Geographie, de I'Histoire, et de I'Archeologie, by M. V. A. 
Malte-Brun. A particular account was published in the 
Zeitschrift fiir Allegemaine Erdkunde, by Dr. W. Koner, 
demonstrating the possibility of the journey, its chances of 
success, the nature of the obstacles to be encountered, and 
the immense advantages of locomotion by means of bal- 
loons. He found fault only with the place of departure, 
and hinted that Masuah, a small port of Abyssinia, whence 
James Bruce started in his search for the sources of the 
Nile, would be preferable. In all other respects, he ap- 
plauded unreservedly the wonderful energy of Dr. Fergu- 
son, and the stout brain and heart that could conceive and 
execute such an enterprise. 

The North American Review was rather annoyed 
that so much honor was likely to fall to the lot of a 
" Britisher." It accordingly ridiculed the whole proceed- 
ing, and suggested that the doctor should go over to Amer- 
ica while he was about it. 

In fact, not to go further into detail, there was not a 
scientific periodical, from the Journal of the Church Mis- 
sionary Society, to the Algerine and Colonial Review; 
from the Annals of the Society for tlie Propagation of the 
Gospel, to the Church Mission Intelligencer, which did 
not discuss the subject in all its bearings. Some consider- 
able bets were made in London, and in England generally. 
I. Upon the actual existence of Dr. Ferguson. 2. Upon 
the journey itself, which some said would never be entered 
upon, some declaring the contrary. 3. Whether it would 
succeed or fail. 4. On the probabilities of the Doctor's re- 
turn. Immense sums were betted on those issues, as freely 
as at Epsom Races. 

Thus believers, skeptics, the ignorant, and the learned, 
all had their attention fixed on the doctor. He was the 
lion of the day, without his even suspecting that he carried 
a name. He willingly gave information respecting the ex- 



AN ARTICLE IN THE " TELEGRAPH " 189 

pedltion. He was easily accessible, and the most unaffected 
man in the world. Many a bold adventurer called upon him 
with the object of being permitted to share the glory and 
perils of the undertaking, but the doctor always declined, 
without giving any reason for his refusal. Many patentees 
came to him to propose their plans to direct the course of 
balloons; he would accept none of them. To those who 
inquired whether he had discovered anything of that nature 
for himself, he refused explanation, and turned to the com- 
pletion of his arrangements with greater diligence than ever. 



CHAPTER III 

THE doctor's friend 

Doctor Ferguson possessed a friend. Not another self, 
an alter ego — friendship cannot exist between two people of 
like disposition. But if Dick Kennedy and Samuel Fer- 
guson possessed different qualities, tastes, and tempera- 
ments, they possessed the same heart, and that did not em- 
barrass them in the least. Quite the contrary ! 

Dick Kennedy was a Scotchman, in the true acceptation 
of the term. He was honest, resolute, and obstinate. He 
lived at Leith, a suburb of " Auld Reekie." He was some- 
thing of a fisherman, but above all and everything an in- 
defatigable sportsman, which was the less astonishing in a 
Scot somewhat accustomed to roam the Highlands. He 
was quoted as a wonderful shot with the rifle, for not only 
could he split a bullet on the blade of a knife, but could 
divide it into two such equal parts that, when weighed, there 
was no perceptible difference between them. 

In appearance Kennedy resembled Halbert Glendinning, 
as pictured by Walter Scott in the " Monastery." He was 
more than six feet high, of graceful and easy bearing. He 
appeared to be gifted with Herculean strength. His face 
was bronzed by exposure to the sun, his eyes were black and 
piercing. He possessed a naturally fearless temperament, 
and, in fact, everything about him prepossessed one in his 
favor. 

The two friends had become acquainted in India, where 
they were serving in the same regiment. While Dick used 
to hunt the tiger and the elephant, Samuel was occupied in 



190 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

the pursuit of plants or insects. Each was an adept in his 
own line, and many a rare plant became the prey of the 
doctor, which cost as much to obtain as a pair of ivory 
tusks. These young people had never any occasion to save 
each other's life, nor to render any service whatever to each 
other. But a strong friendship existed between them. 
Fate might part them perhaps, but Friendship would al- 
ways unite them again. Since their return to England they 
had frequently been separated in consequence of the long 
expeditions undertak-en by the doctor, but upon his return 
he never failed to spend some weeks with his friend the 
Scotchman. 

Dick talked of the past, Samuel prepared for the future. 
The one looked ahead, the other looked back. Ferguson 
was of a restless disposition, Kennedy was perfectly con- 
tented. For two years after his travels in Thibet the doctor 
did not speak of any new expeditions. Dick thought that 
his friend's taste for traveling, and his appetite for adven- 
ture, had been satisfied. He was delighted. That kind of 
thing is sure to end badly some day or other, he thought, 
whatever experience one has had of people; one cannot' 
travel with impunity among cannibals and wild beasts. 
Kennedy, therefore, begged Samuel to " put the drag on " 
a bit, he having already done quite enough for science, and 
too much for human gratitude. 

To this request the doctor made no reply, he remained 
buried in thought. Then he went to work again at his 
secret calculations, passing whole nights in working out his 
figures, and experimentalising upon curious machines of 
which no one knew anything. People, therefore, fancied 
that he had conceived some very grand notion in his busy 
brain. 

" I wonder what he is thinking about," said Kennedy, 
when his friend had left him and returned to London in 
January. He made the discovery one morning in the 
columns of the Daily Telegraph. 

" Good Heavens ! " he cried, " the idiot, to think of cross- 
ing Africa in a balloon! This was all that was necessary 
to complete his vagaries ! That is, then, what he has been 
thinking of these two years ! " 

If the reader will kindly substitute for the foregoing notes 
of exclamation certain hard blows of Kennedy's fist ap- 



THE DOCTOR'S FRIEND 191 

plied to his own head, he will have some slight idea of the 
gentle exercise indulged in by Dick as he spoke. 

When his housekeeper, old Elspeth, gently suggested that 
perhaps there might yet be nothing in it after all, he cried, 
" Why, don't you think I know the man ? Is it not he all 
over? Going to travel through the air, indeed! He will 
be jealous of the eagles now! But, by Jove, this shall not 
be if I can prevent it. If you only leave him to himself, 
he will be setting off some fine morning tip to the moon! " 
The same evening, Kennedy, half angry, half uneasy, took 
the train at the General Railway Station, and next morning 
arrived in London. 

Three-quarters of an hour afterwards a cab left him at 
the door of the doctor's house in Greek Street, Soho; as- 
cending the steps he knocked loudly five times. 

Ferguson himself opened the door. "Why, Dick?" he 
exclaimed, apparently not much surprised at his friend's 
appearance. 

" Yes, Dick himself," replied Kennedy. 

** My dear Dick, how is it that you are up in town [when 
the hunting is going on? " 
Yes, I am in London." 
And why have you come up? " 
To prevent a foolish action." 



it 

tt 

"A foolish action? " echoed the doctor. 
Is this true ? " asked Kennedy, holding out the article in 



the Daily Telegraph for his friend's inspection. 

" Ah ! that is what you are driving at. How very indis- 
creet these newspapers are. But take a chair, Dick, old 
fellow." 

" No, I shan't," said Dick. " Then you are quite de- 
termined to undertake this journey? " 

" Quite. My arrangements are being made, and I- 



u 



Your arrangements! I should like to knock your ar- 
rangements to pieces." The worthy Scot was waxing very 
angry. 

" Calm yourself, my dear Dick," said the doctor. " I can 
understand your irritation. You are vexed because I have 
not sooner made you acquainted with my new plans." 

" He talks of new plans, indeed ! " 

" I have been very busy," continued Samuel, without 
noticing the interruption ; " there has been so much to do. 



192 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

But rest assured I should not have gone without writing to 
you " 

" Ah ! you are making a fool of me now." 

" Because I had intended to get you to accompany me." 

The Scot gave a bound that would have done credit to a 
chamois. "Ah, that, indeed," said he; "then I suppose 
you wish us both to be shut up in Bedlam together.? " 

" I have positively counted upon you, my dear Dick, and 
have chosen you to the exclusion of everybody else." 

Kennedy remained in a state of stupefaction. " When 
you have listened to me for about ten minutes," continued 
the doctor, quietly, " you will thank me." 

"Are you serious?" 

"Perfectly." 

" And suppose I refuse to go with you? " 

" But you will not refuse." 

"Yet if I do?" 

" I shall go alone, that's all." 

" Look here ; let us sit down," said the Scot, " and talk 
this business over calmly. If you are not joking, it is worth 
our while to discuss it." 

" Well, then, let us discuss it at breakfast, if you have 
no objection, my dear Dick." 

The two friends accordingly sat down, a great plate of 
sandwiches, and an enormous teapot between them. " My 
dear Sam," said the sportsman, " your project is a foolish 
one; it is impossible. There is nothing tangible nor prac- 
ticable in it." 

" We shall see, after we have attempted it." 

" But that is not the point. It is not necessary to try it." 

" Why not, if you please? " 

" Why, look at the dangers and obstacles of all kinds 
involved in it." 

" Obstacles," replied Ferguson seriously, " are only in- 
vented to be overcome; as for danger, who can ever escape 
it? Life is made up of dangers. It is, perhaps, very dan- 
gerous to sit down at this table, or to put on one's hat ; we 
must, however, look upon what is likely to happen as having 
already happened, and see only the present in the future; 
for the future is merely the present a little farther off." 

" What ! " cried Kennedy, shrugging his shoulders, " so 
you are still a fatalist.'' " 

V. I Verne 



THE DOCTOR'S FRIEND 193 

" !?[lways, but in the good sense of the term. We need 
not, therefore, worry ourselves about the fate in store for 
us ; let us not forget the proverb, * He that is born to be 
hanged will never be drowned. ' " 

There was obviously no direct reply to be made to this, 
but that fact did not prevent Kennedy from producing a 
series of arguments easy to imagine, but too long to repeat 
here. " But, after all," he said, after about an hour's dis- 
cussion, " if you really must cross Africa, and if it is neces- 
sary for your happiness to do so, why don't you go by the 
ordinary routes? " 

"Why?" replied the doctor with animation, "because 
all such attempts have failed. Because from Mungo Park 
murdered on the Niger, till the time when Vogel disap- 
peared in the Wada'i ; from Oudney dead at Murmur, Clap- 
perton at Sackatou, to the time when Maizan was cut to 
pieces; from the period that Major Laing was killed by 
the Touaregs to the massacre of Roscher in the beginning 
of the year i860, such a number of victims have had their 
names written in the record of African martyrdom. Be- 
cause, to fight against the elements, against hunger, thirst, 
fever, and wild animals, and tribes even more ferocious, is 
impossible. Because that which cannot be accomplished 
one way must be accomplished in another. Finally, be- 
cause when one is unable to pass through a place, one must 
pass either at the side of it or over it." 

"If it were only a question of getting across," replied 
Kennedy ; " but to pass over the top " 

" Well," said the doctor, with the greatest coolness, 
"what have I to fear? You will confess that I have taken 
precautions to guard against a fall from my balloon. If, 
however, such a thing did happen, I should only then be in 
the normal condition of travelers; but my balloon will not 
fail me, so we need not speak of that." 

" On the contrary, we must consider that point." 

" Not so, my dear Dick ; I have quite made up my mind 
not to part from it until we have reached the western coast 
of Africa. With it everything is possible, without it I fall 
into all the dangers and difficulties of former expeditions. 
With my balloon I need fear neither heat nor cold, torrent 
nor tempest, simoom nor unhealthy climates, wild beasts 
nor men. If I feel too hot, I can ascend; if I feel cold, I 



194 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

can come down again ; is there a mountain, I can pass over 
it ; a precipice, I can clear it ; a river, I can cross it ; a storm, 
I can go above it ; a torrent, I can skim over it like a bird ; 
I can travel without fatigue ; I can stop without having need 
to repose; I can overlook new cities; I can fly with the 
rapidity of a hurricane. Sometimes high up in the air, 
sometimes within a few feet of the earth, and the whole 
of Africa will be mapped out beneath my eyes in the great 
atlas of the world." 

The brave Kennedy was impressed, notwithstanding that 
the prospects spread before his mind's eyes made him feel 
somewhat giddy. He gazed at Samuel with admiration, 
not unmixed with fear, and felt as if he were already sus- 
pended in space. 

" Let us see about this, my dear Samuel. Have you dis- 
covered any means to direct the balloon? " 

" Not one. It is a Utopian idea altogether." 

" But you will nevertheless go? " 

" Where Providence may will, but all the same from east 
to west 1 " 

"Why so?" 

" Because I count upon the trade-winds to assist me ; 
their direction is invariable." 

" Oh, indeed," muttered Kennedy ; " the trade-winds, 
certainly — they might for once in a way — there is some- 
thing " 

" Something! No, my dear friend, there is everything 
in it. The Government have placed a transport at my dis- 
posal. It has also been agreed that three or four vessels 
shall proceed to the western side about the anticipated time 
of my arrival there. In three months, at farthest, I shall 
be at Zanzibar, where I shall set about the inflation of my 
balloon, and we shall start from there." 

"We!" exclaimed Dick. 

"Have you then any objection to make? Speak, friend 
Kennedy." 

"One objection! I have a thousand. But, between 
ourselves, tell me if you count upon seeing the country; if 
you intend to ascend and descend at will, you must expend 
a quantity of gas, and there are no other means of pro- 
ceeding. It is this fact which has hitherto prevented any 
long journeys through the air." 



THE DOCTOR'S FRIEND 195 

** My dear Dick, I shall only tell you one thing. I shall 
not lose an atom of gas — not a particle." 

" And you will descend when you please? " 

" I will descend when I please." 

"And how will you manage this? " 

" That is my secret, friend Richard. Have faith in me, 
and my motto may be yours — * Excelsior ! ' " 

" Agreed. ' Excelsior ' be it," replied the hunter, who 
did not understand a word of Latin. But he made up his 
mind to offer all the opposition in his power to the departure 
of his friend. He pretended to be of his opinion, and con- 
tented himself with watching. As for the doctor, he went 
to inspect his preparations. 



CHAPTER IV 

AFRICAN EXPLORATION 

The direction which Dr. Ferguson intended to follow in 
his balloon had not been chosen at hap-hazard. He had 
seriously considered his point of departure, and it was not 
without reason that he had resolved to ascend from the 
island of Zanzibar. 

This island, situated close to the east coast of Africa, is 
in the 6th degree of South latitude, or 430 geographical 
miles below the equator. The last expedition which went 
by way of the great lakes to discover the source of the Nile 
started from Zanzibar. 

But perhaps it may be as well to mention what expedi- 
tions Doctor Ferguson was hoping to connect together. 
There were two principal ones — that of Doctor Barth in 
1849, and that of Lieutenants Burton and Speke in 1858. 

Doctor Barth was a native of Hamburg, who obtained 
permission for himself and for his countryman, Overweg, 
to join the English expedition under Richardson, who was 
charged with a mission into the Soudan. This immense 
district is situated between the 15th and loth degrees of 
North latitude ; that is to say, that to arrive there it is neces- 
sary to travel more than 1,500 miles into the interior of 
Africa. Up to the period mentioned the country was only 
known from the expeditions of Denham, Clapperton, and 
Gudney, between the years 1822 and 1824. 



196 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

Richardson, Earth, and Overweg, desirous of pushing 
their researches farther, went to Tunis and TripoH, hke their 
predecessors, and penetrated to Mourzouk, the capital of 
Fezzan. They then quitted the direct line of march and 
made a detour to the west, towards Ghat, guided, and not 
without difficulty, by the Touaregs, After undergoing a 
thousand perils and attacks, their caravan arrived, in Octo^ 
ber, at the great oasis of the Asben. Here Doctor Barth 
separated himself from his companions and made an ex- 
cursion to the town of Aghades. Rejoining the expedition, 
it marched again on the 12th December, and having reached 
the province of Damaghou, the three travelers separated. 
Barth took the route to Kano, where he eventually arrived 
in safety, thanks to his indomitable patience and the pay- 
ment of considerable tribute. 

In spite of a severe attack of fever, he quitted Kano on 
the 7th of March, accompanied only by one servant. The 
principal aim of his journey was to explore Lake Tchad, 
from which he was distant 350 miles. He advanced, there- 
fore, in an easterly direction, and reached Zouricolo, in the 
Bornou, which town is the capital of the great central em- 
pire of Africa. 

It was there that he heard of Richardson's death caused 
by fatigue and privation. Passing on, he reached Kouka, 
the capital of Bornou, situated on the Lake. At length, 
after a further period of three weeks, on the 14th of April, 
twelve months and a half after quitting Tripoli, he arrived 
at the town of Ngornou. 

We find him once more in company with Overweg, start- 
ing on the 29th March, 1851, to visit the kingdom of 
Adamaon, at the south side of the Lake. He succeeded in 
reaching Yola, a little below the 9th degree of North lati- 
tude. That was the extreme southerly point reached by 
this intrepid traveler. 

In August he returned to Kouka, thence he reached In 
succession Mandara, Berghimi, and Kanem, attaining his 
eastern limit at Mazena in 17*' 20' W. long. 

In November, 1852, after the death of Overweg, his 
latest companion, he plunged into the west, visited Sockoto, 
crossed the Niger, and finally arrived at Timbuctoo, where 
he was obliged to languish for eight tedious months, ex- 
posed to incessant annoyance by the sheik, to ill-treatment. 



AFRICAN EXPLORATION 197 

and wretchedness. But the presence of a Christian in the 
town could not be tolerated longer, and the Foullaunes 
threatened to beset him. 

So the doctor departed on the 17th March, 1854, and 
sought refuge on the frontier, where he remained thirty- 
three days in terrible destitution. He returned to Kano in 
November, and thence to Kouka. Here he struck the 
former route of Denham, after four months' detention. 
About the end of the year 1855 he got back to Tripoli, and 
reached London on the 6th September, the sole survivor 
of his party. Such was the extraordinary journey of Barth. 

Doctor Ferguson had noted carefully that Barth did not 
penetrate beyond 4° N. lat. and 17° W. long. 

Now let us see what Burton and Speke accomplished in 
Eastern Africa. 

The various expeditions which ascended the Nile were 
all unable to reach its source, apparently shrouded in mys- 
tery. According to the account of the German doctor, 
Ferdinand Werne, the expedition projected in 1840, under 
the auspices of Mehamet Ali, was stopped at Gondokoro 
between the 4th and 5th parallels of N. lat. 

In 1855 Brun-Rollet, a Savoyard, Sardinian consul in 
the Soudan in the place of Vauday, who had been killed, 
quitted Karthoum, and, in the disguise of a merchant deal- 
ing in gum and ivory, he reache'd Belenia just beyond 4°, 
and returned to Karthoum sick. He died there in 1857. 

Neither Doctor Beney, chief of the Egyptian Medical 
Service, who in a small steamer reached to one degree be- 
low Gondokoro, and returned to die of exhaustion at 
Karthoum; nor the Venetian Miani, who, by avoiding the 
cataracts below Gondokoro, touched the second parallel ; nor 
the Maltese merchant, Andrea Debono, who pushed on 
farther still, was able to pass that insurmountable barrier. 

In 1859, M. Guillaume Lejean, sent out by the French 
Government, reached Karthoum by way of the Red Sea, 
and embarked on the Nile with a crew of twenty-one men 
and twenty soldiers, but he could not get beyond Gondokoro, 
and incurred the greatest danger from the negro tribes, then 
in full revolt. The expedition under the direction of M. 
Escayrac de Lauture made an equally vain attempt to reach 
these famous sources. 

That fatal barrier always stopped would-be explorers. 



198 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

The people sent by Nero had in his time reached the 9th 
degree of latitude, so in 1800 years we have only gained 
five or six degrees, or about 300 to 360 geographical miles. 

Many travelers have attempted to reach the sources of 
the Nile from the west side of the continent. During the 
years 1768-72, the Scotchman, Bruce, departing from 
Masuah, a port of Abyssinia, sailed up the Tigris, visited 
the ruins of Axum, actually beheld the sources of the Nile 
where they did not exist, and returned without obtaining 
any other remarkable success. 

In 1844, Doctor Krapf, an Anglican missionary, estab- 
lished a station at Monbez on the coast of Zanguebar, and 
discovered, in company with the Reverend Mr. Rebmann, 
two mountains at a distance of 300 miles from the coast. 
These are Kilimandjaro and Kenia, that Heuglin and 
Thornton ascended together. 

In 1845, Maizan, a Frenchman, disembarked alone at 
Bazamaye, opposite Zanzibar, and got as far as Deje la 
Mhora, where he was put to death with cruel tortures. 

In 1859, in the month of August, Roscher, of Hamburg, 
a young traveler, set out with a caravan of Arab merchants, 
and reached Lake Nyassa, where he was murdered in his 
sleep. 

Finally, in 1857, Lieutenants Burton and Speke, both 
officers of the Bengal army, were dispatched by the Geo- 
graphical Society of London, to explore the great African 
Lakes. On the 17th of June they quitted Zanzibar, and 
directed their course to the west. 

After four months of incredible suffering, their baggage 
pillaged, their porters worn out and dispirited, they arrived 
at Kazeh, the meeting center for merchants and caravans. 
They were in the true land of the moon. There they col- 
lected many valuable documents respecting the manners, 
government, religion, and the fauna and flora of the 
country. 

Thence they journeyed towards the first of the great 
lakes, Tanganyika, situated between the 3° and 8° of South 
latitude. They reached it on the 14th of February, 1858, 
and made themselves acquainted with the various tribes 
along its banks, who were chiefly cannibals. Leaving the 
lake on the 20th May, they re-entered Kazeh on the 20th 
June. Here Burton, quite knocked up, remained ill for 



AFRICAN EXPLORATION 199 

several months, and during that time Speke traveled north- 
wards more than 300 miles, as far as Lake Onkereone, 
which he sighted on the 13th August, but could only see 
the opening of it in 2° 30' longtitude. He then returned 
to Kazeh on the 25th, and with Burton retraced his steps 
to Zanzibar, which they reached in March of the following 
year. These two intrepid travelers then came back to Eng- 
land, and the Geographical Society of Paris bestowed upon 
them its annual prize. 

Doctor Ferguson had also carefully noted that they had 
not passed either the 2° of South latitude nor the 29° longi- 
tude East. 

He therefore set himself to the task of joining the dis- 
coveries of Burton and Speke to those of Doctor Barth, and 
to pass over a tract of country extending to more than 
twelve degrees. 



CHAPTER V 

THE MAP OF AFRICA 

Doctor Ferguson kept pressing forward the prepara- 
tions for his departure; he personally directed the construc- 
tion of his balloon, following out certain modifications, 
respecting which he maintained an absolute silence. 

For some time previously, he had been applying himself 
to the study of Arabic, and of various patois, and thanks 
to his arrangement of the dialects, he made rapid progress. 

In the meantime, his friend never left him for a moment; 
'he was doubtless apprehensive that the doctor would take 
flight, and he still brought to bear upon the subject his 
most persuasive arguments, which had no effect whatever 
upon Samuel Ferguson, who would endeavor to escape 
under cover of the most moving entreaties, by which he 
appeared little touched himself. Dick felt that he was 
slipping through his fingers. 

The unfortunate Scot was really to be pitied; he could 
never think of the azure vault of Heaven without a fit of 
the "blues"; he realized, when asleep, the giddy suspen- 
sion, and every night he felt as if he were falling from an 
immense height. 

We ought to state that, while under these terrible night- 



200 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

mares, he fell out of bed once or twice. His first notion 
[was to exhibit a great contusion on his head. 

" There," he said, with a smile, " look at that, and only 
caused by a fall of three feet. Now, what do you think? " 

This insinuation, full of sadness though it was, had no 
effect upon the doctor. 

" We shall not fall out," he said slyly. 

" But suppose we do? " 

" We shall not, I tell you." 

This was decisive, and Kennedy had nothing to say. 

What particularly aggravated Dick was that the doctor 
appeared completely to ignore his (Dick's) individuality, 
and looked upon him as fated to become his aerial compan- 
ion. There was not a shadow of doubt about that. 

Samuel was accustomed to make a shameful abuse of 
the first person plural. 

" We " go. " We " shall be ready. " We " shall leave. 
And then the adjective .(possessive) — "Our" balloon. 
" Our " boat. " Our " undertaking. And again in the 
plural — " Our " preparations. " Our " discoveries. " Our" 
ascents. 

Dick shuddered at all this, although determined not to 
stir, but he did not wish to thwart his friend. Let us con- 
fess, indeed, that, without saying anything about it, he had 
caused some clothes and his best rifles to be forwarded to 
him secretly from Edinburgh. 

One day, having gone so far as to confess that, with 
good luck, one might have a chance of success, he pre- 
tended to agree with the doctor, but in order to delay the 
journey, he quoted a number of the most wonderfully varied 
and hairbreadth escapes. He fell back upon the use and 
expediency of the journey. Was it really a necessity to 
discover the sources of the Nile? Would their work really 
prove of benefit to the human race? Suppose, after all, 
the tribes of Africa should be civilized, how much better off 
will they be then ? Was it by any means certain, moreover, 
that they were not already as civilized as Europe? Per- 
haps so. And, in the first place, why couldn't they wait a 
little longer? Surely Africa could be crossed one day in 
a less dangerous fashion? In a month, in six months, be- 
fore the year was out, some explorer would indubitably 
present himself. 



THE MAP OF AFRICA 301 

These insinuations produced an effect the very opposite 
to the speaker's wishes, and the doctor quivered with im- 
patience. 

" Do you wish, then, you unhappy man, that this glory 
shall be shared with someone else? Is it, then, necessary 
to fib about it; to enlarge upon obstacles which are not 
serious; to repay, by cowardly hesitation, what has been 
done for me by the Government and the Royal Society? " 

" But," replied Kennedy, who was very much addicted 
to the use of this word. 

" But ! " echoed the doctor, " do not you know that my 
journey ought to contribute to the success of enterprises 
already undertaken? Are you not aware that fresh expedi- 
tions are advancing into the center of Africa? " 

" Still " 

" Listen to me, Dick. Just look at this map." 

Dick regarded it with a resigned expression. 

" Follow up the course of the Nile " 

" I am following it," replied the Scot resignedly. 

"Have you reached Gondokoro?" 

" I am there." And Kennedy thought how easy it would 
be to make a similar voyage — on a map. 

" Now," said the doctor, *' place one of the points upon 
that town which the bravest travelers have with difficulty 
passed." 

" I have fixed it." 

" And now look on the coast line for the island of 
Zanzibar in the 6th degree of south latitude." 

" I have got it." 

" Follow now this parallel and you arrive at Kazet." 

" All right." 

" Now go up by the 33rd degree of longitude as far as 
the commencement of Lake Onkereone, at the spot where 
Lieutenant Speke halted." 

" I am there. I shall be in the lake in a minute." 

" Now do you know what is the natural deduction from 
the information gathered from the tribes on the borders of 
the lake?" 

" I have not the faintest notion." 

" It is that this lake, whose lower end is in 2** 30' lati- 
tude, ought to extend equally two and a half degrees above 
the equator." 



202 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

"Really?" 

" Now, from this northern extremity runs a stream which 
ought to flow into the Nile, if it be not the Nile itself." 

" That is extremely interesting." 

" Now place the other point of that compass on this 
(extremity of the lake" 

" It is done," said Ferguson. 

" How many degrees do you make it between the 
points.? " 

" Scarcely two." 

" Do you know how far that is, Dick? " 

*' Haven't an idea ! " 

" It is but 120 miles; a mere nothing." 

"Well, scarcely nothing, Samuel." . 

" Now, do you know what is actually taking place at this 
moment? " 

" No, upon my life, I don't. 

" Well, the Geographical Society considers it very im- 
portant that this lake, discovered by Speke, should be ex- 
plored. Under its direction. Lieutenant, now Captain, 
Speke has joined with Captain Grant of the Indian Army; 
they have been put at the head of a numerous caravan, and 
with ample funds. They have been commissioned to go up 
the lake, and to return as far as Gondokoro. They have 
been subsidized to the amount of £5,000, and the Governor 
of the Cape has placed Hottentot soldiers under their or- 
ders. They left Zanzibar at the end of October, i860. 
During this time, John Petherick, H. M. Consul at Kar- 
thoum, has received from the Foreign Office about £700. 
He has orders to provide a steamer, and, with a plentiful 
supply of provisions, to proceed to Gondokoro, there to 
await the arrival of Captain Speke's party, and to assist 
them if necessary." 

" That is a well-conceived plan," said Kennedy. 

" You can now perceive that we have no time to lose if 
we would participate in this expedition. And that is not 
all; while they are marching on foot to discover the sources 
of the Nile, other travelers are bravely penetrating into the 
very heart of Africa." 

"On foot?" exclaimed Kennedy incredulously. 

" Yes," replied the doctor, without noticing the insinua- 
tion. " Doctor Krapf proposes to push towards the west 



THE MAP OF AFRICA 203 

by the Djob, a river below the Equator. Baron Decken has 
left Monbaz, and revisited the mountains Kenia and Kili- 
mandjaro, and is still advancing towards the interior." 

"Also on foot?" 

** Either on foot or with mules." 

" All the same as far as I am concerned," replied 
Kennedy. 

" Finally," continued the doctor, " M. Heuglin, the 
Austrian vice-consul at Karthoum, is about to organize a 
very important expedition, of which the chief aim will be 
the search for the explorer Vogel, who, in 1853, was sent 
into the Soudan to join forces with Dr. Barth. In 1856 he 
quitted Bornou, resolved to explore the unknown region 
which extends between Lake Tchad and Darfour. Since 
then he has not been heard of. Letters arrived in i860 at 
Alexandria stating that he had been assassinated by the 
orders of the King of Wadai, but subsequent communica- 
tions addressed by Dr. Hartmann to Vogel's father, that, 
according to the report of a fellatah of Bornou, Vogel was 
only kept a prisoner at Wara; all hope, therefore, is not 
lost. A committee has been formed under the presidency 
of the Regent of Saxe-Coburg Gotha. My friend Peter- 
mann is the secretary. A national subscription has been 
set on foot to support the expedition, to which several 
savants have already attached themselves. M. Heuglin left 
Masuah in June, and while he searches for Vogel, he has 
instructions to explore the country lying between the Nile 
and Lake Tchad, that is to say, to connect the discoveries 
of Speke and Barth, and then Africa will have been crossed 
from east to west ! " 

" Well," said the Scot, " as that is all so nicely arranged 
I don't see what there is for us to do." 

Doctor Ferguson made no reply to this beyond a shrug 
of his shoulders. 



CHAPTER VI 

A RARE SERVANT 

Doctor Ferguson had a man-servant who rejoiced in the 
name of Joe. An excellent fellow, entirely devoted to his 
master, and serving him with a boundless attention. Some- 



204 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

times he even anticipated his orders, and carried them out 
with the greatest intelligence. Never grumbling, and al- 
ways in good humor, people said that, had he been made on 
purpose, he could not have been better. 

Ferguson placed himself in Joe's hands entirely and 
rightly. Rare and honest Joe ! A servant who orders your 
dinner exactly to your taste, who packs your portmanteau 
and never forgets the shirts and socks, who keeps your keys 
and your secrets, and never give up either. 

But what a master the doctor was to Joe! With what 
respect and confidence he welcomed his decisions! When 
Ferguson had spoken, it would be folly to reply. All that 
he thought was right; everything he said was correct; all 
that he ordered to be done, feasible; all he undertook was 
possible; all that he accomplished, magnificent! You 
might have cut Joe in pieces, which would have been, 
doubtless, very unpleasant, but he would not have changed 
his opinion respecting his master. Thus, when the doctor 
broached the project of crossing Africa in a balloon, Joe 
looked upon the feat as already accomplished; no obstacles 
existed for him. As soon as the doctor had resolved to set 
out, he would be there with his faithful servant of course; 
for the brave lad, without ever having mentioned the sub- 
ject, knew very well that he would be of the party. He 
would, besides, be able to render important service, in con- 
sequence of his activity and intelligence. If it had been 
necessary to appoint a professor of gymnastics to the 
monkeys in the Zoological Gardens, who are pretty lively 
now, Joe would certainly have obtained the situation. To 
jump, climb, to impel himself through the air, to execute a 
thousand almost impossible antics, was child's play to Joe. 

If Ferguson was the head and Kennedy the arm, Joe was 
certainly the right hand. He had already traveled a great 
deal with his master, and possessed some smattering of 
science suitable to his position, but he distinguished him- 
self above all by a philosophic calmness, and a charming 
talent for looking on the bright side. Everything to him 
was easy, logical, and natural, and consequently he never 
complained nor swore. 

Besides these attributes he possessed a most astonishing 
range of vision. He, equally with Moestlin, Kepler's 
teacher, enjoyed the curious faculty of being able to see 



A RARE SERVANT 205 

the moons of Jupiter with the naked eye, and to count 
fourteen stars in the Pleiades, which last are of the ninth 
magnitude. He was not proud of this at all; on the con- 
trary, he would salute you respectfully, and, on occasion, 
he could make use of his eyes to some purpose. 

With the confidence Joe displayed towards the doctor, it 
is not astonishing that frequent discussions would arise be- 
tween Kennedy and the worthy domestic, with all due re- 
gard to their relative positions. 

One doubted, the other had faith ; one represented a clear- 
sighted prudence, the other, blind confidence. So the doctor 
was situated between skepticism and belief, and, I am bound 
to add, he paid no attention to either. 

" Well, Mr. Kennedy," said Joe. 

"Well, my lad." 

" The time is approaching. It seems that we are about 
to set off to the moon." 

" You mean the land of the moon, which is not quite so 
far, but quite sufficiently dangerous; so be easy in your 
mind." 

"Dangerous! with a man like Doctor Ferguson?" 

" I do not wish to dissipate your delusions, my good Joe, 
but his enterprise is simple madness. He will never enter 
upon it." 

" Not go ? Then you haven't seen the balloon in the 
workshop of Messrs. Mitchell, in the Borough? " 

" I shall take very good care not to go to see it." 

" Then you will lose a splendid sight, sir. What a 
beautiful thing it is ; what a lovely shape, and what a charm- 
ing car! How jolly we shall all be in it! " 

" Then you have really made up your mind to accom- 
pany your master.? " 

" I ! " replied Joe decisively. " I would go wherever 
he pleased. As if I should ever let him go alone when we 
have been round the world together. Who would there be 
to assist him when he was fatigued if I were not there? 
Whose strong hand to help him over a precipice? Who 
would nurse him if he were to fall ill? No, Mr. Richard, 
Joe will aways be at his post beside the doctor, or rather, 
I should say, all round him." 

" You are a brave fellow." 

" Besides, you will come with us," said Joe. 



2o6 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" Oh, of course," said Kennedy, " that is to say, I shall 
accompany you with the view to stop you at the last mo- 
ment from putting such folly into execution. I will follow 
the doctor as far as Zanzibar in the hope that he may even 
then be dissuaded from his mad project." 

" With all due respect to you, Mr. Kennedy, you will 
not have the slightest effect. My master is not one of your 
hair-brained sort. He has been pondering over this under- 
taking for a long time, and once his resolution is taken, the 
devil himself cannot compel him to change his mind." 

" That remains to be proved," said Kennedy. 

" Don't you flatter yourself with any such idea," con- 
tinued Joe. " Besides, it is very important that you should 
come too. A sportsman like yourself will be in his very 
element in Africa. So you see for every reason you will 
not regret your journey." 

" No, certainly. I shall not regret it if this idiotic 
scheme can ever be carried out." 

" By-the-bye," said Joe, " do you know that this is the 
day to be weighed ? " 

" What do you mean by weighed? " 

" Well, weighed — you and I and my master." 

"What, like jockeys?" 

" Yes, like jockeys. Only be assured you will not be 
obliged to train if you are too stout. They will take you as 
you are." 

" I shall certainly not allow myself to be weighed," said 
the Scot with some warmth. 

" But, sir, it is necessary for the balloon that you should." 

" Well, the balloon must do without, that's all." 

" Oh, very well, and if in consequence of wrong estimates 
the balloon should not be able to take us " 

" Oh, I don't mean that, of course." 

"Well, shall we, Mr. Kennedy? My master will be 
coming to look for us in a moment." 

" I shall not go," said Kennedy. 

" I am sure you would not wish to annoy him." 

" I cannot help that." 

"Capital," cried Joe, laughing; "you only say that be- 
cause he is not here, but when he comes in and says to you, 
* Dick,' (begging your pardon, sir) ' Dick, I want to know 
exactly what you weigh,' you will go, take my word for it." 



A RARE SERVANT 207 

" I tell you I shall not." 

At this moment the doctor entered the study where this 
conversation had been carried on. He looked towards 
Dick, who did not feel quite at his ease. 

" Dick," said the doctor, " come with Joe, will you, I 
want to ascertain what you two weigh." 

" But " began Kennedy. 

" You needn't take off your hat — come along." 

And Kennedy went accordingly. 

They presented themselves at the workshop of Messrs. 
Mitchell, where a steel-yard had been got ready. It was 
absolutely necessary that the doctor should know the weight 
of his companions, so as to be able to ascertain the floating 
power of his balloon. He requested Dick to get upon the 
platform of the scales; he did so without resisting, but he 
muttered, " Very well, but this commits me to nothing." 

" One hundred and fifty-three pounds," said the doctor, 
writing the weight on his note-book. 

"Am I too heavy?" said Kennedy. 

"Oh dear no, Mr. Kennedy," said Joe; "besides, I am 
so light that it will equalize the matter." 

As he said this, Joe took his place with alacrity on the 
machine. He was very nearly upsetting the whole thing in 
his excitement, and he posed himself after the attitude of 
the Duke of Wellington as Achilles in Hyde Park, and was 
very grand even without the buckler " One hundred and 
twenty pounds," wrote the doctor. 

" Ha, ha! " cried Joe, with a radiant satisfaction. Why 
he smiled he never could have explained. 

"Now it is my turn," said Ferguson; and he entered 
135 lbs. on his own account. "We three," he added, "do 
not weigh more than 400 lbs." 

" But, sir," said Joe, " if it were necessary I could starve 
myself a little, and come down twenty pounds or so." 

" There will be no necessity for that, my lad," replied 
the doctor; " you may eat as much as you like, and here is 
half-a-crown, so that you may indulge your tastes a little." 



CHAPTER VII 

THE MYSTERIOUS APPARATUS 

Doctor Ferguson had been occupied for a long time in 
the details of his expedition. One can quite understand 
that the balloon, the wonderful vehicle destined to transport 
him through the air, was the object of his solicitude. 

To begin with, and so as not to have the balloon too 
large, he resolved to inflate it with hydrogen gas, which is 
14^ times lighter than the atmospheric air. This gas is 
easily made, and by its use has been the means of obtain- 
ing the best aerostatic observations. 

The doctor, after careful calculation, found that, with the 
indispensable articles of the journey, clothes, &c., it would 
be necessary to carry a weight of 4,000 lbs. He must 
therefore provide an ascensional power capable of lifting 
this weight, and also ascertain what its capacity would be. 

A weight of 4,000 lbs. is represented by a displacement 
of 44,877 cubic feet of air; in other words, that amount of 
air weighs about 4,000 lbs. 

By giving to his balloon the capacity of 44,877 cubic 
feet of air, and filling it, in lieu of air, with hydrogen gas 
(which, being 143^ times lighter than air, would not weigh 
more than 275 lbs.), there would remain a difference in 
the equilibrium to the amount of 3,724 lbs. This is the 
difference between the weight of the gas in the balloon and 
the weight of the exterior air, which difference constitutes 
the ascensional power of the balloon. 

Now, if we were to introduce the said 44,877 cubic feet 
of gas into the balloon it would be completely filled, and 
that would never do, because the higher the balloon rises 
into the atmosphere, the less dense is the air, and the gas 
would very quickly burst the covering. So a balloon is 
usually filled to the extent of two-thirds its capacity. 

But the doctor, following out an idea of his own, resolved 
to fill the balloon only half full, and, inasmuch as he was 
obliged to carry 44,877 cubic feet of hydrogen, to make his 
balloon almost double the usual size. 

He designed it of an elongated form, which appeared to 
be the best. The horizontal diameter was fifty feet, the 
vertical diameter seventy-five. He thus obtained a spheroid 
capable of containing (in round numbers) 90,000 cubic feet 
of gas. 

y, I Verne 2O8 



THE MYSTERIOUS APPARATUS 209 

If Dr. Ferguson had been able to make use of two 
balloons, his chances of success would have been increased, 
and if one happened to burst in the air, he could, by casting 
out ballast, save himself by means of the other. But the 
maneuvering of two balloons would have been very difficult 
when it was necessary to preserve an equal ascending power 
in both. 

After much reflection, Ferguson, by an ingenious con- 
trivance, united the utility of two balloons without their in- 
convenience; he constructed two of unequal size and en- 
closed one within the other. The exterior balloon, in 
which he adhered to the dimensions given above, contained 
a smaller one of the same shape, only forty-five and sixty- 
eight feet respectively, of horizontal and vertical diameter. 
The capacity of this interior balloon then was only 67,000 
cubic feet. It floated in the fluid surrounding it. A valve 
opened from one balloon to the other, and admitted of com- 
munication between them. 

This arrangement had this advantage — viz., that if it 
were at any time necessary to let the gas escape, it could be 
let off from the larger balloon. Even if they were obliged 
to empty it altogether, the smaller one would remain intact ; 
they could then detach the exterior covering — a useless 
drag on them — and the second balloon by itself would not 
ofYer the same resistance to the wind as a partially-filled 
balloon. 

Furthermore, if by accident the outer balloon were in- 
jured, the other would be intact. Both balloons were 
made with striped taffetas from Lyons, coated with gutta- 
percha. This resinous-gummy substance is perfectly water- 
proof, and is unaffected by acids or gas. The taffetas were 
placed side by side double, stretching upwards to the top, 
where almost all the weight was. 

This envelope could retain the gas for an unlimited 
period. It weighed half a pound to nine square feet. Now 
as the surface of the exterior balloon was about 11,600 
square feet, its envelope weighed 650 lbs. The envelope 
of the second balloon had a surface of 9,200 cubic feet, and 
weighed only 510 lbs.; altogether they weighed 1,160 lbs. 

The netting to hold the car was made of the strongest 
hempen cord; the valves became objects of the most minute 
care, as if they had been the rudder of a ship. The car was 



2IO FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

of circular form, and fifteen feet in diameter, of osier, 
strengthened by a light iron covering, and fastened to the 
lower part by elastic springs, with a view to break the force 
of concussion. Its weight, including the net, did not exceed 
280 pounds. 

The doctor caused to be made also four chests of sheet- 
iron about one-eighth of an inch thick. These were joined 
together by tubes furnished with taps. He added a coil 
about two inches wide, which terminated in two straight 
branches of unequal lengths, of which the greater was twen- 
ty-five feet high, and the shorter fifteen feet only. The 
chests were fitted into the car so as to occupy the least pos- 
sible space. The large tap, not easily fitted, was packed 
separately, as well as a large galvanic battery. This ap- 
paratus had been so ingeniously contrived that it only 
weighed 700 pounds, and contained as much as twenty-five 
gallons of water in one case alone. 

The instruments prepared for the journey were two 
barometers, two thermometers, two compasses, a sextant, 
two chronometers, an artificial horizon, and an instrument 
to take the levels of distant and inaccessible objects. He 
had access to the Greenwich Observatory. He, however, 
did not propose to make any experiments in physics, he 
wished merely to become acquainted with his intended route, 
and to determine the position of the principal rivers, moun- 
tains, and towns. 

He provided three grapnels of well-tested iron, also a 
silken ladder, tough and tight, about fifty feet in length. 

He also estimated the weight of his provisions; they con- 
sisted of tea, coffee, biscuits, salt meat, and pemmican, a 
preparation which, in a very small compass, contains a great 
deal of nourishment. Besides a reserve of brandy, he stowed 
away two tanks of water. 

The consumption of these viands would, by degrees, di- 
minish the weight of the balloon. For it is very necessary 
to know that in the air a balloon is sensible of the least dif- 
ference of weight. An almost inappreciable loss is sufficient 
to make a considerable difference in displacement. 

The doctor had not forgotten a tent, which could cover 
up part of the car; neither rugs, which composed all their 
bed-clothes during the journey; nor the rifles and ammuni- 
tion. 



THE MYSTERIOUS APPARATUS 211 

The following is the statement of his different calcula- 
tions : 

Ferguson I35 lbs. 

Kennedy I53 

Joe 120 " 

Weight of first balloon 650 

Weight of second balloon 510 

Car and netting .280 

Grapnels, instruments, guns, rugs, tent, and various utensils. 190 " 

Meat, pemmican, biscuits, tea, coffee, and brandy 386 " 

Water 400 " 

Apparatus 700 

Weight of hydrogen 276 " 

Ballast 200 " 

Total 4,000 lbs. 

Such was the detail of the 4,000 pounds that Doctor Fer- 
guson proposed to raise. He only carried 200 pounds of 
ballast, " merely for a contingency," said he, for, thanks 
to his arrangements, he did not anticipate to be obliged to 
use it. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE FAREWELL DINNER 

About the loth of February the preparations were near 
completion; the balloons, enclosed one within the other, 
were entirely finished; they had been subjected to a tre- 
mendous pressure, and this " proving " raised high opinions 
as to their powers of endurance, and bore witness to the care 
brought to bear upon their construction. 

Joe was beside himself with joy; he was perpetually mov- 
ing between Greek Street and the workshop of the Messrs. 
Mitchell — always busy, but always in good spirits ; volun- 
teering information on all sides, delighted above all things 
to accompany his master. I am of opinion that, to show 
the balloon, to explain the doctor's ideas, even to let him be 
seen at a window or during his walk through the streets, 
gained this worthy lad many a half-crown. He did not 
intend this altogetlier, but he certainly had the right to profit 
a little by the admiration and curiosity of his contemporaries. 

On the 1 6th February the Resolute cast anchor at Green- 
wich. She was a screw steamer of 800 tons, a fast sailer, 
and had been commissioned to revictual the expedition to 



212 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

the Arctic Regions under Sir James Ross. Captain Penney 
was a good-natured man, and was particularly interested in 
the doctor's journey, which he saw the value of some 
time before. Penney was more of a savant than a sailor, 
but that did not mihtate against his carrying four carronades 
on board, which, however, had never done any harm, and 
only made the least warlike of reports. 

The hold of the Resolute was fitted up for the reception 
of the balloon. It was put on board most carefully on the 
1 8th February, and stowed away at the bottom of the vessel 
so as to avoid the chance of accident. The car and its ac- 
cessories, the grapnels, the ropes, the provisions, the water- 
tanks (which were to be filled on arrival), were all stowed 
under the eyes of Ferguson himself. They also put on 
board ten tons of sulphuric acid, and ten tons of old iron, 
for the manufacture of hydrogen gas. This was a more 
than sufficient quantity, but it was necessary to guard against 
possible loss. The apparatus for developing the gas, includ- 
ing about thirty barrels, was placed in the hold. 

These various preparations were completed by the evening 
of the 1 8th February. Two well-arranged cabins had been 
prepared for the doctor and Kennedy. The latter, all the 
time vowing that he would not go, came on board with a 
perfect armory of guns and rifles, two excellent double- 
barreled breech-loaders, and a carbine, tested by Purday, 
Moore, and Dickson, of Edinburgh. With such a weapon 
the sportsman would have no difficulty to lodge a bullet in 
the eye of a chamois at 2,000 yards. Added to these he had 
two Colt's " six-shooters " with the latest improvements ; his 
powder-flask, shot-pouch, lead, and bullets in sufficient quan- 
tity did not exceed the weight laid down by the doctor. 

The three travelers went on board on the 19th February 
and were received with great distinction by the captain and 
officers. The doctor was quite self-possessed but unusually 
preoccupied with his expedition. Dick was much moved, 
but tried not to betray his feelings. Joe jumped about, mak- 
ing absurd remarks, and was at once installed as the wag 
of the forecastle, where a berth had been reserved for him. 
On the 20th, a grand farewell dinner was given in honor 
of Doctor Ferguson and his friend Kennedy, by the Royal 
Geographical Society. Captain Penney and his officers had 
also been invited, who were very cheerful, and had their 



THE FAREWELL DINNER 213 

healths proposed in flattering terms. Healths were drank 
in sufficient number to ensure for each guest an existence of 
centuries. Sir Francis M presided, with repressed emo- 
tion, but in a very dignified manner. 

To the unutterable confusion of Dick Kennedy, he came 
in for a large share of the festive compliments. After 
having drunk to " the bold Ferguson, the glory of England," 
they found it necessary to toast " the no less courageous 
Kennedy, his brave companion." 

Dick blushed deeply, which was put down to modesty; 
the applause was redoubled. Dick blushed still more. 

A telegram from the Queen was received at dessert. She 
presented her compliments to the travelers, and her good 
wishes for the success of their enterprise. 

This incident necessitated a new toast to the " Health of 
Her Most Gracious Majesty." 

At midnight, after the most touching farewells and warm 
grasps of the hand, the guests separated. 

The boats of the Resolute were in waiting at Westminster 
Bridge, the captain took his place in company with his of- 
ficers and passengers, and a rapid ebb tide quickly carried 
them to Greenwich. At one o'clock they were all fast 
asleep on board. 

The next morning, the 21st, at three o'clock, the fires were 
lighted; at five, the anchor was weighed, and with the as- 
sistance of her screw, the Resolute threaded her way to the 
sea. 

There is no necessity for us to repeat the conversation 
which, on board, turned solely upon Dr. Ferguson's expedi- 
tion. By his bearing, equally as by words, he inspired such 
confidence that, save the Scot, no one questioned the success 
of his undertaking. During the long, idle hours on board, 
the doctor instituted a regular geographical lecture in the 
ward-room. The young men were passionately interested 
in the discoveries which had been made during forty years in 
Africa. He related the explorations of Barth, Burton, 
Speke, and Grant ; he described to them that mysterious land 
given up on all sides to scientific research. In the north the 
young Duveyrier had explored the Sahara, and brought 
back the Touareg chiefs to Paris. Two expeditions, under 
the authority of the French Government, were being pre- 
pared, which, descending from the north to the west, would 



it 



214 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

meet at Timbuctoo. In the south the indefatigable Living- 
stone was continually advancing towards the equator, and, 
since March, 1862, he had advanced with Mackenzie up the 
river Rovoonia. The century would certainly not pass 
away without Africa being compelled to reveal the secrets 
hidden in her breast for 6,000 years. 

The interest of Dr. Ferguson's audience was more excited 
than ever when he made them acquainted with the details 
of his preparations. They wanted to verify his calculations, 
they argued, and the doctor entered frankly into the discus- 
sion. 

Generally they were surprised by the relatively limited 
quantity of food carried. One day they questioned him on 
this point. 

Does that astonish you?" asked the doctor. 
Certainly it does." 

" But for what length of time do you suppose I shall con- 
tinue my journey? Whole months? That is a mistake on 
your part. If it be extended we shall be lost, and shall never 
get back at all. Are you not aware that it is only 3,500 
miles, say 4,000 miles, from Zanzibar to Senegal coast? 
Now, at the rate of 240 miles in twelve hours, not nearly the 
speed of our railways, by day and night, seven days would 
be ample to cross the African continent." 

" But then you will not be able to see anything, nor to 
make geographical observations, nor to take notes of the 
country." 

" Well," replied the doctor, " if I be master of my bal- 
loon, if I can ascend or descend when I please, I shall be able 
to halt when I choose, and whenever the winds are so violent 
as to threaten my safety." 

" And you will encounter them," said Captain Penney. 
** There are hurricanes there which rush at the rate of 240 
miles an hour." 

" So, you see," replied the doctor, " that at that pace you 
could cross Africa in twelve hours. You might start from 
Zanzibar and sleep at St. Louis." 

" But," asked an officer, " is it possible that a balloon can 
be impelled at such a pace? " 

" That has been proved," replied Ferguson. 

"And the balloon resisted the pressure?" 
Perfectly. It occurred during the year 1804. Garnerin, 



(( 



THE FAREWELL DINNER 215 

the aeronaut, started from Paris at eleven o'clock at night a 
balloon, on which was inscribed in golden letters, * Paris, 
25th month, 13th year, coronation of the Emperor Napoleon 
by Pope Pius the Seventh.' The following morning, at five 
o'clock, the inhabitants of Rome perceived the identical bal- 
loon hovering above the Vatican; it crossed the Campagna, 
and fell into the Lake of Bracciano. So you see, gentlemen, 
that a balloon can exist in such a rapid transit," 

"A balloon, yes; but how about a man? " Kennedy asked. 

"Just as well. For a balloon is always motionless, in 
consequence of the air surrounding it. It is not the man 
who moves, it is the mass of the air itself; so that, if you 
were to light a candle in the car, the flame would not flicker. 
An aeronaut in Garnerin's balloon would not have suffered 
by the rate of progression. However, I do not propose to 
try such a rapid flight, and if I can anchor during the night 
to some tree or to some uneven ground, I shall be all right. 
We shall carry, moreover, provisions for tw^o months, and 
nothing will prevent our skillful sportsman here from shoot- 
ing any quantity of game when we get to the ground." 

" Ah, Mr. Kennedy, you will, indeed, have some splendid 
sport," said a young midshipman, with an envious glance 
at the Scotchman. 

" Without counting the double pleasure of partaking in 
the glory of the expedition," said another. 

" Gentlemen," replied Kennedy, " I am very sensible of 
your kind compliments, but I cannot accept them, I fear." 

** Hallo, what's this! " was heard on all sides. ** Do you 
not intend to go? " 

" I shall not go." 

"You will not accompany Doctor Ferguson?" 

" Not only shall I not go with him, but I am here for the 
express purpose of stopping him even at the last moment! " 

Everyone looked at the doctor. 

" Don't listen to him," said Ferguson calmly. " It is a 
subject we never need discuss with him. He knows per- 
fectly well at heart that he will go ! " 

" By St. Andrew," cried Kennedy, " I swear " 

" Don't swear, Dick, my friend ; you have been measured 
and weighed, you and your powder and shot, your guns and 
your rifles, so there is no use talking about it." 

And it is a fact that, from that day until the day they 



2i6 FIVE WEEKS IN A" BALLOON 

ireached Zanzibar, Diclc did not open his mouth upon that 
subject or any; other. Dick was dumb ! 



CHAPTER IX 

DOUBLING THE CAPE 

The Resolute made rapid progress towards the Cape, 
meeting with fine weather, but with occasionally heavy 
seas. Upon the 30th March, twenty-seven days after they 
had left London, Table Mountain appeared upon the hor- 
izon. Cape Town, situated at the foot of an amphitheater 
of hills, could be distinguished by the glasses, and the i^^"^- 
'plute soon cast anchor in the harbor. But the captain only 
waited to " coal," which was accomplished in a day, and 
upon the following one the ship's head was put to the south 
to double the most southerly point of Africa and enter the 
Mozambique Channel. 

As this was by no means Joe's first voyage, he very soon, 
made himself at home on board. Everyone liked him for 
his frankness and good humor. No inconsiderable portion 
of his master's fame was reflected upon him, he was lis- 
tened to as an oracle, and he had not the slightest doubt 
that he was anything else. 

Now, while the doctor was continuing his course of lec- 
tures in the cabin, Joe was mounted on the forecastle telling 
stories in his own way, a proceeding in imitation of the 
greatest writers of all ages. The subject of the aerial voy- 
age was naturally discussed. Joe had had some trouble to 
overcome the stubborn spirits of his companions; but now 
the enterprise was an accepted fact, the imagination of the 
sailors, stimulated by Joe's stories, believed everything to be 
possible. 

This dazzling narrator had persuaded his hearers that 
after this voyage there would be many more undertaken. 
it was only the commencement of a long series of super- 
human expeditions. " Don't you see, my friends, that when 
one has had a taste of this kind of locomotion one can be no 
longer contented, so in our next expedition, instead of going 
sideways, we shall go directly upwards." 

" What! right up into the moon, then? " cried his aston- 
ished audience. 



DOUBLING THE CAPE 217 



(( 



Into the moon?" rejoined Joe; "no, faith, that is too 
commonplace. Everybody now goes up to the moon. More- 
over, there is no water there, and one would be obliged to 
carry a quantity of provisions, and even air in bottles to 
be able to breathe." 

" Well, it would be all right if one could find some grog 
up there," said a sailor who had only lately experienced the 
taste of that mixture. 

" That's enough, my lad, we shall not go to the moon, but 
we shall sail about amongst the stars in the midst of those 
beautiful planets of which my master has often spoken tcj 
me. We shall commence by visiting Saturn." 

" That one with the ring? " asked the quartermaster. 

" Yes, a \yedding-ring, only no one knows what has be- 
come of his wife." 

"Hullo! are you going so far as that?" said a cabin- 
boy, utterly astounded. " Why your master must be the 
devil in person ! " 

" The devil ! oh dear no ; he is too good for that." 

" But where are you going after Saturn? " asked one of 
the most impatient of the audience. 

" After Saturn? Well, we shall visit Jupiter, a most ex- 
traordinary country, where the days are only nine hours and 
a half long, which is a great blessing for idle people; and 
where the years, by-the-by, last as long as twelve of ours, 
which is a great source of satisfaction to people who have 
only six months to live. That gives them a little longer lease 
of hfe." 

" Twelve years ! " exclaimed the cabin boy. 

" Yes, my boy ; so in that country you would not be weaned' 
yet, and that old fellow over there, who is nearly fifty, 
would be only a child four years and a half old." 

" That is not true! " cried all the men. 

" Perfectly true ! " said Joe, with assurance. " But what 
can you expect if you will persist in vegetating in this world? 
You learn nothing, and you remain as ignorant as a por- 
poise. Come up to Jupiter for a little, and you will see. 
You must hold on pretty tight up there, for there are satel- 
lites knocking about which are occasionally inconvenient." 

They laughed at this, but they did not half believe him. 
Then he spoke to them about Neptune, where sailors were 
always so well received, and of Mars, where soldiers take 



2i8 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

the wall, which conduct on their part invariably leads to a 
fight As for Mercury, it is a wretched place, full of rob- 
bers and tradesmen, who are so much alike, that it is diffi- 
cult to distinguish one from the other. Finally, he drew 
them a truly enchanting picture of Venus; " and when we 
shall have returned from that expedition we shall be dec- 
orated with the Southern Cross." 

" And well you will have won it," cried the sailors. 

Thus, in animated conversation, the long evenings were 
passed on the forecastle. All this time the interesting con- 
versations with the doctor continued. 

One day, when they were conversing respecting the guid- 
ance of balloons, Ferguson was asked to give his opinion on 
the question. 

" I do not think," he said, " that we shall ever be able to 
direct the course of a balloon. I am acquainted with all the 
systems which have been proposed or attempted. Not one 
has succeeded; not one is practicable. You may very well 
imagine that I have myself been engaged in this matter, 
which ought to possess a very great interest for me, but I 
have never been able to solve it by means of our present 
knowledge of mechanics. It would be necessary to discover 
a motive power of extraordinary strength and of an impos- 
sible lightness. Even then, one could not resist any consid- 
erable currents. As it is, one is much more anxious to direct 
the car than the balloon. That's a mistake." 

" Nevertheless," said someone, " there is a great resem- 
blance between the balloon and a ship, which can be guided 
at will." 

" Not at all," replied Doctor Ferguson ; " there is little or 
no resemblance. Air is infinitely less dense than water, in 
which, moreover, a ship is only half submerged, while the 
balloon is entirely surrounded by the atmosphere, and re- 
mains stationary on account of the fluid which encircles it." 

" Then you are of opinion that science is exhausted upon 
that point.? " 

" Not so, not so ; it has become necessary to look for other 
means by which, if a balloon cannot be guided, it can be kept 
up in favorable atmospheric currents. As one rises higher, 
these currents become more uniform, and are more constant 
in their direction, as they are not interfered with by the 
valleys and mountains which intersect the face of the earth; 



DOUBLING THE CAPE 219 

and here is the principal cause, as you are aware, of the 
changes of the force and direction of the wind. Now once 
these zones have been determined, the balloon will only have 
to be placed in the currents which will be met there." 

" But," replied the captain, " to hit upon these currents 
you must be always ascending or descending. There is the 
true difficulty, my dear doctor." 

" Why, my dear captain ? " 

" Let us understand each other ; it would only be an ob- 
stacle in the way of long journeys, not for small ascents." 

" Your reasons, if you please? " 

" Because you can only ascend by throwing out ballast, 
you can only descend by letting the gas escape; and under 
these circumstances your store of gas would be very soon 
exhausted." 

" My dear Penney, that is the point of the whole thing. 
There is the difficulty which science should endeavor to over- 
come. It is not a question of directing the course of a bal- 
loon so much, as it is a question of moving up and down 
without losing the gas, which is the strength, the blood, the 
soul, so to speak, of a balloon." 

" Quite right, doctor; but this difficulty is not overcome; 
the means to accomplish this have not yet been found." 

" Excuse me, they have been." 

"By whom?" 

" By me." 

"By you!" 

" Why, you must understand that without this power I 
should not have run the risks of crossing Africa in a balloon. 
Why, in about twenty-four hours I should have had no gas 
left." 

" But you have never spoken of this in England ! " 

" No, I did not think it desirable to discuss it in public. 
That seemed to me useless. I made secretly some prehm- 
inary experiments, and I am satisfied. I have not any need 
of learning anything further on that point." 

" My dear Ferguson, may one ask to be made acquainted 
with your secrets? " 

" Here it is, gentlemen, and my plan is a very simple one." 

The curiosity of the audience was raised to the highest 
pitch, while the doctor calmly addressed himself to his sub- 
ject as follows. 



CHAPTER X 

PRELIMINARY EXPERIMENTS 



(( 



Attempts have been made frequently, gentlemen, to 
ascend and descend at will, without losing the gas in a bal- 
loon. A French aeronaut, M. Meumier, attempted to do 
this by compressing the air, A Belgian, Dr. Van Hecke, 
by means of wings and paddles, gained a vertical force, 
which has proved ineffective in the majority of instances. 
The practical results obtained by the above means are in- 
significant. 

" I then resolved to go Into the question boldly, and at 
once put the ballast on one side, if it were not a case of ab- 
solute necessity as to the breaking of my apparatus, or in 
case of being obliged to rise suddenly to avoid any obstacle. 

" My means of ascent and descent consist equally in the 
dilation or contraction by varying temperatures of the gas 
confined in the balloon. And this Is how I manage it. 

" You have already seen put on board certain chests with 
the car, of which you did not understand the utility. These 
chests are five in number. 

" The first contains about twenty-five gallons of water, 
to which I add sulphuric acid to increase its conductibility, 
and I resolve it into Its component parts by means of a 
strong Bautzen galvanic battery. Water, as you are aware, 
is composed of two volumes hydrogen gas to one of oxygen. 

" The oxygen under the battery action goes off by the 
positive pole into a second chest. A third chest, placed on 
the top of it, and of about twice the size, receives the hydro- 
gen which enters it by the negative pole. 

" Two taps, one of which has an opening double that of 
the other, keep up a communication between these two cases 
and a fourth, which is known as the mixing chest. Here In 
fact the gases arising from the decomposition of the water 
mingle together. The capacity of this chest is about forty- 
one cubic feet. In the upper part of it Is a platinum tube 
with a stop-cock. 

" You will already have perceived, gentlemen, that the 
apparatus I have described is nothing more than an oxy- 
hydrogen blow-pipe, the heat evolved by which surpasses 
that of a forge fire. 

" That matter settled, I pass on to the second part of the 
apparatus. 

220 



PRELIMINARY EXPERIMENTS 221 

" From the lower part of my balloon, which is hermet- 
ically closed, two tubes pass out at a short distance from 
each other. One of these leads from the upper volume of 
hydrogen, the other from the lower. They both descend as 
far as the car, and terminate in a cylindrical iron chest called 
the heat chest. It is closed at each extremity by a strong 
disc of the same metal. 

" The tube from the lower part of the balloon enters the 
cylindrical chest through the lower disc, and there assumes 
the shape of a coil, whose upper rings occupy nearly the 
entire height of the box. Before leaving the chest, the coil 
is led into a little cone, whose base, concave, like a round 
cap, is directed downwards. 

" It is at the top of this cone that the second tube makes 
its exit, and it terminates, as I have said, in the upper folds 
of the balloon. 

" The spherical cap of the little cone is made of platinum, 
so that it may not be melted under the action of the blow- 
pipe, for this is placed at the bottom of the iron case in the 
center of the coil, and the flame lightly licks this cap. 

" You know those stoves used for warming rooms? You 
know how they act? The air of the room is forced through 
the tubes and comes back warmer. So that what I have 
been describing is, after all, only a stove. 

" And, in fact, what takes place? Once the blow-pipe is 
lighted, the hydrogen is warmed and rises rapidly by the tube 
to the upper part of the balloon. A vacuum is caused below, 
and the gas from the lower part is attracted to fill it, which, 
in its turn, is warmed, and is continually replaced, so that 
an extremely rapid current of gas is generated, leaving the 
balloon, returning, and being warmed without cessation. 

" Now, gases increase 1/480 of their volume for every de- 
gree of heat. If, then, I create a temperature of 18°, the 
hydrogen in the balloon will increase 18/480, or 1,614 cubic 
feet; it will then displace 1,674 cubic feet of air more, which 
will increase its power of ascent 160 pounds. That comes, 
then, to the same weight of ballast. If I increase the tem- 
perature to 180°, the gas expands 180/480, it displaces 6,740 
cubic feet, and the ascending force amounts to 1,600 pounds. 

" You can understand, gentlemen, that I am easily able to 
obtain considerable changes of equilibrium. The volume of 
my balloon has been calculated in such a way that, when half 



222 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

inflated, it displaces a weight of air exactly equal to the 
envelope of hydrogen gas and of the car occupied by the 
travelers and their belongings. At this point of inflation it 
is in exact equilibrium in the air; it will neither rise nor fall. 

" In order to ascend, I bring the gas to a temperature 
higher than the ambient temperature, by means of my blow- 
pipe; by this access of heat, a strong tension is created, and 
fills the balloon, which rises so long as I expand the hy- 
drogen. 

" The descent is, naturally, made by moderating the heat, 
and permitting the temperature to cool. The ascent will 
generally be much more rapid than the descent. But that 
is a very good feature, for one never wants to descend 
quickly, and it is, on the contrary, a quick upward movement 
by which I avoid danger beneath me, not above the balloon. 

" However, as already hinted, I have a certain quantity of 
ballast which can be got rid of, and enable me to rise still 
more quickly if desirable. The valve at the top is only a 
safety-valve. The balloon itself looks after its supply of 
hydrogen; the variations of temperature which I can pro- 
duce in the center of the gas reservoir are only applied to 
the ascending and descending movements. 

" Now, gentlemen, I will just add a few practical details. 

" The combustion of hydrogen and oxygen at the end of 
the blow-pipe produces only watery vapor. I have there- 
fore provided the lower part of the cylindrical case with an 
escape-pipe acting with the pressure of two atmospheres. 
Consequently, so soon as that pressure has been reached, 
the vapor makes its escape of its ov/n accord. 

" Here are the exact figures. 

" Twenty-five gallons of water, resolved into their con- 
stituent elements, yield 200 pounds of oxygen and 25 pounds 
of hydrogen. That represents, at the tension of the air, 
1,890 cubic feet of the former and 3,780 cubic feet of the 
latter; altogether, 670 cubic feet of the mingled gases. 

" Now the top of the blow-pipe, fully open, gives twenty- 
seven cubic feet per hour, with a flame at least six times 
more powerful than the largest lamp. On an average, then, 
and so as not to be too high up, I shall only burn nine cubic 
feet in the hour, so my twenty-five gallons of water repre- 
sents 630 hours of aerial navigation, or rather more than 
twenty-six days. 



PRELIMINARY EXPERIMENTS 223 

" As I can descend at pleasure and obtain water on my 
route, my journey is practically indefinite. 

" There is my secret, gentlemen ; it is very simple, and, 
like all simple things, it cannot but succeed. My plan is 
only the extension and contraction of the gas in the balloon, 
which necessitates no wings nor mechanical power of mo- 
tion. A stove to produce changes of temperature and a 
blow-pipe to warm it are neither heavy nor in the way. 
I believe that I have overcome all the serious difficulties of 
the undertaking." 

Here Doctor Ferguson ended his discourse, and was 
heartily applauded. No one had any objections to advance. 
Everything appeared provided for and carried out. 

" Nevertheless," said the captain, " it may be very dan- 
gerous." 

" What does that matter," rejoined the doctor, " if it be 
practicable ? " 

CHAPTER XI 

ARRIVAL AT ZANZIBAR 

Favoring breezes had hurried the Resolute towards her 
destination. The Mozambique Channel proved particularly 
kind to her. The sea voyage was held as a good omen for 
the success of the air journey. Everyone on board wished 
for the moment of arrival, and vied in assisting Doctor 
Ferguson in his final preparations. 

At length the vessel came in sight of the town of Zan- 
zibar, situated upon the island of the same name, and on 
the I5tii April, at 11 a. m._, she cast anchor in the harbor. 

Zanzibar belongs to the Imaum of Muscat, an ally of 
England and France, and it is certainly a beautiful posses- 
sion. The harbor shelters a great number of ships hailing 
from neighboring ports. The island is only separated from 
the mainland by a channel about thirty miles wide. 

Zanzibar enjoys a large traffic in gum, ivory, and, above 
all, ebony, for it is a celebrated slave market. Here are 
concentrated all the booty taken in the battles which are 
being incessantly waged by the chiefs in the interior. This 
traffic extends to the whole eastern coast, almost up to the 
Nile region, and M. Lejean has seen them carrying on the 
traffic close to the French consul's residence. 



224 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

So soon as the Resolute had arrived the Enghsh consul 
came on board, to offer his assistance to the doctor whose 
intentions the European journals had some time before an- 
nounced. But up to that time the consul had enrolled 
himself among the skeptics. 

" I confess I did doubt you," said he, extending his 
hand to Doctor Ferguson, " but I doubt no longer." 

He placed his house at the disposal of the doctor, of 
Kennedy, and, naturally, of Joe also. While enjoying these 
attentions the doctor saw several letters which the consul 
had received from Captain Speke. The captain and his 
companions had undergone terrible sufferings from hunger 
and bad weather before reaching the territory of Ugogo. 
They only advanced with extreme difficulty, and gave up 
all hope of forwarding intelligence quickly. 

" Those are some of the perils and privations which we 
shall avoid," said the doctor. 

The baggage of the three travelers was sent up to the 
consul's house. They made preparations to land the balloon 
upon the beach at Zanzibar; they had there fixed upon a 
convenient spot close to the signal station, near to an enor- 
mous building which sheltered them from the east wind. 
This immense tower, like a tun standing on end, and com- 
pared to which the great tun of Heidelberg is but a small 
barrel, was used as a fort, and upon the platforms Be- 
loutchis, armed with lances, kept watch — a lazy, noisy gar- 
rison. 

But when the balloon was about to be landed, the consul 
was warned that the population of the island would oppose 
the disembarkation by force. This was only their blind 
fanatical passions showing themselves. The news of the 
arrival of a Christian, who was about to rise up into the air, 
was received with much irritation. The blacks, more ex- 
cited than the Arabs, saw in this project intentions hostile 
to their religion, for they imagined the white men were 
about to go up to the sun and moon. As the sun and moon 
are both worshiped by the African tribes, these people 
determined to oppose this sacrilegious expedition. The 
consul being acquainted with these intentions of the negroes, 
conferred respecting them with the doctor and Captain 
Penney. The latter had no desire to yield to menace, but 
his friend caused him to regard it in a different light. 

V. I Verne 



ARRIVAL AT ZANZIBAR 225 

" We shall accomplish our object," said he, " and even 
the Imaum's soldiers would assist us if necessary; but my 
dear captain, an accident very easily occurs — an unfortunate 
blow would do irreparable damage to the balloon, and the 
journey would be hopelessly deferred; it is much better to 
take precautionary measures." 

" But what can you do? If we disembark anywhere on 
the coast, it will be all the same. What can you do? " 

" Nothing easier to answer," said the consul. " Do you 
perceive those islands outside the harbor? Disembark your 
balloon there, establish a cordon of sailors round you, and 
you will have nothing to fear." 

" Capital," cried the doctor, " and we shall be able to 
make our preparations in comfort." 

The captain yielded to this advice. The Resolute hauled 
up alongside the island of Koumbeni. During the morning 
of the 1 6th April the balloon was safely bestowed in the 
midst of an open space, shaded from the sun by large sur- 
rounding trees. 

Two masts, each twenty-eight feet high, were placed at 
some distance apart, and pulleys fixed to them, so as to 
raise the balloon to the center of the rope stretched between 
them. The balloons were quite empty. The inner one 
was fastened to the top of the outer one, so that it could 
be raised with it. 

To the lower extremity of each balloon were fixed the 
tubes for the introduction of the hydrogen. The whole of 
the 17th was passed in arranging the apparatus for making 
the gas. It consisted of thirty casks, in which the decom- 
position of the water was carried on by means of iron and 
sulphuric acid mixed with a quantity of water. The hydro- 
gen gave off into a vast vat in the center, having been 
purified in transit, and thence it passed into the balloons 
through the tubes. In this manner each was filled with an 
accurately-known quantity of gas. In this operation 1,866 
gallons of sulphuric acid, 16,500 pounds of iron, and 966 
gallons of water were employed. 

This operation was begun about three o'clock on the 
following morning, and continued till eight. The next day 
the balloons, covered by the net, were balanced gracefully 
above the car, which was held down by a number of bags 
of earth. The apparatus for the dilation was put in with 



226 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

great care, and the pipes leading from the balloon were 
fastened into the cylindrical chest. 

The grapnels, ropes, instruments, rugs, tent, the provi- 
sions, and arms were placed in the car as previously ar- 
ranged. Water was provided at Zanzibar. Two hundred 
pounds of ballast w^re taken in in fifty sacks, and placed at 
the bottom of the car within reach. The preparations were 
ended about 5 p. m. The sentinels patroled continually 
around the island, and the boats of the Resolute kept watch 
in the channel. 

The negroes continued to display their anger by cries, 
grimaces, and contortions. The sorcerers w^ent about 
amongst the excited people fanning their indignation. 
Some fanatics endeavored to swim across to the island, 
but they were easily repulsed. 

Then the charms and incantations commenced. The 
rain-compellers, who pretended to be able to control the 
clouds, summoned up hurricanes and hailstones to their 
assistance. For that object they collected leaves of all the 
different trees in the country and made a fire, and sacri- 
ficed a sheep by driving a long needle into its heart. But, 
notwithstanding their ceremonies, the sky continued cloud- 
less, and they were no better for their sheep and their grim- 
aces. 

The negroes then abandoned themselves to the most 
terrible orgies, and got tremendously drunk with " tembo," 
a potent spirit derived from the cocoa-nut tree, or upon a 
very " heady " species of beer called " togwa." Their songs 
without melody, but of correct rhythm, were heard all 
through the night. 

About 6 P. M. a farewell dinner was given to the three 
travelers on board the Resolute. Kennedy, to whom no- 
body addressed many questions, muttered some indistinct 
sentences, and never took his gaze from Doctor Ferguson. 
This was a very melancholy repast. The near approach 
of the moment for parting inspired many sad reflections in 
everyone. What fate was in store for these venturesome 
travelers? Would they ever return to their friends and 
their happy homes? If their means of transport failed, 
what would become of them in the midst of savage tribes 
in an unknown territory in the embrace of an illimitable 
desert. 



ARRIVAL AT ZANZIBAR 227 

These fancies, hitherto put in the background, and to 
which they had attached httle importance, now began to 
prey upon their already excited feehngs. Doctor Ferguson, 
always cool and collected, spoke of other things and other 
people, but even he struggled in vain to dissipate the pre- 
vailing sadness; he could not overcome that. 

As some fears had been expressed respecting the safety 
of the doctor and his companions, they slept that night on 
board the Resolute. At 6 a. m. they quitted their cabin and 
landed on the island of Koumbeni. The balloon floated 
gracefully in the light easterly breeze. The bags of earth 
had been replaced by twenty sailors. Captain Penney and 
his officers were present at this last solemn farewell. 

At this moment Kennedy walked up to the doctor, and 
took his hand. " Is it really decided, Samuel, that you are 
going?" 

" It is really decided, my dear Dick." 

" I have done all I could to hinder your voyage ? " 

" Everything ! " 

" Then my conscience is clear, and I shall go with you ! " 

" I was sure you would," replied the doctor, as the tears 
started to his eyes. 

The moment for the final adieu had now arrived. The 
captain and his officers all embraced their courageous 
friends, not excepting the worthy Joe, proud and joyful that 
day. All the sailors wished to shake hands with Doctor 
Ferguson. 

At nine o'clock the three traveling companions took 
their places in the car. The doctor lighted his blow-pipe, 
and heated it so as to produce a high temperature. The 
balloon, which had hitherto remained in eqmlibrio, began to 
sway. The sailors were obliged to slacken the ropes they 
held. The car ascended twenty feet. 

" My friends," cried the doctor, coming forward and 
waving his hat, " let us give our aerial vessel a name which 
carries happiness everywhere — let us call it the * Vic- 
toria!'" 

A ringing cheer was the reply. " God save the Queen ! 
Hurrah for Old England ! " 

At this moment the ascending force reached a tremen- 
dous pitch. Ferguson, Kennedy, and Joe waved a last 
adieu to their friends. 



228 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

"Let go, all!" cried the doctor. And the "Victoria" 
rose rapidly, while the four carronades of the Resolute 
thundered out a salute as she glided upwards on her perilous 
journey. 

CHAPTER XII 

CROSSING THE STRAITS 

The air was clear, the wind was moderate, the "Vic- 
toria " mounted almost perpendicularly to a height of 1,500 
feet, which was indicated by a depression of nearly two 
inches in the barometrical column. 

At this elevation, a more decided current carried the 
balloon towards the southwest. What a magnificent pano- 
rama unfolded itself beneath the eyes of the travelers! 
The island of Zanzibar was in sight from end to end, and 
stood out in its rich coloring as upon a huge board; the 
fields presented an appearance of patchwork, and the large 
clumps of trees indicated the woods and coppices. 

The inhabitants appeared like insects. The cheers and 
cries died away in the air by degrees, and the reports of the 
ship's guns vibrated only in the lower concavity of the 
balloon. " How splendid all that is! " cried Joe, breaking 
the silence for the first time. 

No reply was vouchsafed. The doctor was occupied in 
observing the barometrical changes and taking note of the 
various details of the ascent. Kennedy stared at it and 
could not take it all in. 

The sun added to the heat of the blow-pipe and in- 
creased the expansion of the gas. The " Victoria " reached 
a height of 2,500 feet. The Resolute now appeared like a 
small barque, and the African coast loomed in the west like 
an enormous line of foam. 

" Why don't you speak? " said Joe. 

" We are making observations," replied the doctor, as 
he turned his glass towards the continent. 

" Well, I feel as if I must speak," said Joe. 

" Fire away, Joe ; talk as much as you like." 

Joe therefore gave way to a tremendous string of ex- 
clamations. The " ohs," the " ahs," and the " good hea- 
vens " were something astonishing. 

While they were crossing the sea, the doctor thought it 



CROSSING THE STRAITS 229 

better to maintain this elevation, as he could observe a 
greater extent of coast ; the thermometer and the barometer, 
suspended in the interior of the half-opened tent, were 
almost incessantly consulted; a second barometer, placed 
outside, was for use during the night. 

After two hours the " Victoria," impelled at a rate of a 
little over eight miles, neared the coast. The doctor de- 
termined to approach the earth; he moderated the flame 
of the blow-pipe, and soon the balloon descended to within 
300 feet of the ground. 

He perceived that he was just over Mrima, a name 
bestowed on this portion of the coast of Eastern Africa; 
thick lines of mango bushes lined the shore, their roots, 
lacerated by the Indian Ocean, were left plainly visible by 
the ebb-tide. The sand-hills, which formerly constituted 
the coast line, rose above the horizon, and Mount Nguru 
showed its head in the northwest. 

The " Victoria " passed close to a village, which, from 
the map, the doctor pronounced to be Kaole. All the 
population assembled to utter yells of anger and fear as the 
travelers passed. Arrows were vainly directed against the 
air monster, which floated majestically above the reach of 
their futile fury. 

The wind went round to the south, but the doctor was 
not disturbed by this ; on the contrary, he was rather glad to 
follow the route traversed by Captains Burton and Speke. 

Kennedy at last had become as loquacious as Joe, and 
they mutually exchanged remarks expressive of their ad- 
miration. "What is a diligence after this?" said one. 

" Or a steamer? " said the other. 

" Or a wretched railway? " rejoined Kennedy, " in which 
you pass through the country without seeing it." 

" Give me a balloon," said Joe, " where you needn't stir, 
and nature takes the trouble to unroll herself at your feet." 

"What a magnificent prospect! how splendid it all is! 
like a beautiful dream in a hammock." 

" I wonder if we are to have any breakfast," said Joe, to 
whom the pure air had given an appetite. 

" Happy thought, my lad," said Kennedy. 

"Oh! the cooking won't take long; it is only biscuits 
and preserved meat." 

" With as much coffee as you like," added the doctor. 



230 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" Allow me to borrow a little heat from my blow-pipe ; there 
is plenty of it. In this way we shall have no fear of fire." 

"That would be terrible," said Kennedy. "It is like 
sitting under a magazine." 

" Not at all," said Ferguson; "if the gas did happen to 
take light it would burn by degrees, but we should come 
down to the ground, which would be inconvenient. But 
never fear, our balloon is hermetically sealed." 

" Well, let us have something to eat," said Kennedy. 
"Here you are, gentlemen," said Joe; "and while I 
follow your example in eating I will go and prepare a coffee 
of which you shall tell me the origin." 

"The fact is," said the doctor, "that Joe, amongst a 
thousand virtues, has an extraordinary talent for preparing 
this delicious beverage. He makes it of all kinds of^ things 
which he never wishes me to know anything about." 

" Well, sir, since we are in the open air, I can confide 
my recipe to you. It is, in fact, a mixture of equal parts of 
Mocha, Bourbon, and Rio Nunez." 

Shortly afterwards three steaming cups were served, 
which brought a substantial breakfast to a termination, and 
each one resumed his post of observation. 

The country was distinguished by its extreme fertility. 
Winding and narrow pathways were hidden by arches of 
verdure. They passed over fields of tobacco, maize and bar- 
ley in full growth. Here and there immense rice-fields with 
their straight stalks and ruddy flowers. Sheep and goats 
were enclosed in raised pens, to preserve thern from 
the attacks of leopards. A luxurious vegetation displayed 
itself upon this prodigal soil. In the numerous villages the 
cries and the astonishment were renewed at the sight of 
the " Victoria," and Doctor Ferguson kept prudently out of 
reach of arrows; the inhabitants, assembling around their 
thickly-grouped huts, pursued the travelers for long dis- 
tances with vain yells and imprecations. 

At noon, the doctor, referring to the map, was of opinion 
that they were above the town of Uzaramo. The country 
bristled with cocoa-nut, papaw, and cotton trees, over which 
the " Victoria " idly disported itself. Joe took all this as a 
matter of course, ever since he had made up his mind to 
come to Africa. Kennedy descried hares and quails, which 
desired no better fate than to be killed by his gun, but it 



CROSSING THE STRAITS 231 

would have been powder wasted, as it was impossible to 
recover the game. 

The travelers moved at the rate of about twelve miles 
an hour, and soon found themselves in 38° 20' longitude, 
over the village of Tounda. " That is the place," said the 
doctor, " where Burton and Speke succumbed to fever, and 
for a time believed their expedition must be given up. They 
were as yet but a little distance from the coast, but already 
fatigue and privation began to tell upon them." 

In fact, in this region a perpetual malaria exists. Even 
the doctor could only escape its attacks by rising in the 
balloon above the miasma, which the burning sun caused to 
rise from the swampy earth. 

Sometimes they could perceive a caravan reposing in a 
"kraal," waiting for the cool hours of evening to resume 
their journey. These " kraals " stand in large cleared spaces 
surrounded by hedges and jungle, where the traders are 
secure, not only from the attacks of wild beasts, but from 
those of the pillaging native tribes. The natives fled in 
every direction at the appearance of the " Victoria." Ken- 
nedy wished to have a nearer view, but the doctor would 
not hear of it. 

" The chiefs are armed with muskets," he said, " and 
our balloon is too good a shot for them." 

"Would a bullet-hole bring the balloon down?" asked 
Joe. 

" Not immediately ; but the aperture would soon ex- 
tend to an immense fissure, through which all our gas would 
escape." 

" Then I vote we keep at a respectful distance from 
those wretches. I wonder what they think of us up here. 
I am sure they want to worship us ? " 

" Let them worship us as much as they please at a dis- 
tance. That pleases us all round. Look here, the country 
is already changing, villages are fewer, the mangoes have 
disappeared ; their growth ceases in this latitude. The land 
is hilly, a sign we are approaching mountains. In fact," 
said Kennedy, " I fancy I can descry some mountains this 
side of us." 

" In the west — those are the first chain of the Ourizara — 
Mount Duthumi, no doubt, behind which I hope we shall 
encamp for the night. I will stir up the blow-pipe a little, 



232 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

for we shall be obliged to rise here to about 500 or 600 
feet." 

"That is a first-rate idea of yours, sir," said Joe; "the 
movement is neither difficult nor fatiguing; just turn a tap, 
and it is all done." 

" We shall be more comfortable," said Kennedy, " when 
the balloon is higher up; the reflection from that red sand 
is very trying." 

"What splendid trees those are!" exclaimed Joe; 
" though quite natural, they are magnificent. Why, a dozen 
of them would make a forest! " 

" They are the ' baobab,' " replied Doctor Ferguson. 
" See, one of their trunks must be almost 100 feet in cir- 
cumference. It was, perhaps, at the trunk of that very 
tree that the unfortunate Frenchman, Maizan, was mur- 
dered in 1845, for we are just above the village of Deje la 
Mhora, whither he penetrated alone. He was captured by 
the chief of this territory, tied to the foot of the tree, and 
then the savage negro cut him slowly limb from limb, while 
he chanted a war-song. Then, making a deep incision in 
his victim's throat, he stopped to sharpen his knife, and 
literally tore the half-severed head from the body of the 
unfortunate Frenchman. He was only twenty-six." 

"And did not France demand satisfaction for such a 
crime? " asked Kennedy. 

" France did so, and the Sa'id of Zanzibar did all he 
could to arrest the murderer, but without success." 

" I hope I shall not be stopped in that way," said Joe. 
" Up higher, sir, if you have any regard for me." 

" And the more willingly, Joe, that Mount Duthumi is 
peering at us. If my calculations be correct, we shall have 
passed it before 7 p.m. 

" Shall we travel during the night?" asked the Scot. 

" No ; not unless we are obliged to do so. With pre- 
caution and careful watching we might do so in safety. 
But it is not enough to cross Africa, we must see it too." 

" Hitherto we have not had much to complain of, sir. 
The country is the best cultivated and the most fertile in 
the world; not a desert, as the geographies would have us 
believe." 

About half-past six the " Victoria " was opposite Mount 
Duthumi. It was necessary, to avoid it, to rise more than 



CROSSING THE STRAITS 233 

3,000 feet, and for that the doctor had only to raise the 
temperature eighteen degrees. It might be said that he 
worked the balloon with his hand. Kennedy warned him 
of the obstacles to avoid, and the " Victoria " rose through 
the air skimming past the mountain. 

At eight o'clock they descended on the opposite side, 
but the descent was slower than the ascent. The grapnels 
were cast out, and one after the other came in contact with 
the branches of an enormous Indian fig, where they fastened 
themselves. Then Joe let himself slip down by the cord 
and secured the balloon as firmly as possible. The silk 
ladder was then thrown to him, and he reascended briskly. 
The balloon remained almost motionless, shaded from the 
wind. 

The evening meal was prepared. The travelers, with 
appetites excited by their aerial trip, made a great hole in 
their provisions. 

" What distance have we made to-day? " asked Kennedy, 
"while masticating some troublesome morsels. 

The doctor ascertained the day's work by means of 
lunar observations, and consulted the excellent map which 
served him as a guide — it was part of the atlas published in 
Gotha by his friend Petermann, which he had sent to him. 
This atlas would serve the doctor for the whole journey, 
for it contained the route of Burton and Speke to the great 
lakes, that to the Soudan undertaken by Barth, to the lower 
Senegal by William Lejean, and to the delta of the Niger 
by Dr. Baike. 

Ferguson also possessed a book which contained all the 
speculations written respecting the Nile, and entitled, " The 
Sources of the Nile; being a general survey of the basin 
of that river, and of its head stream, with the history of 
the Nilotic discovery. By Charles Beke, D.D." 

He also had the excellent maps published in the Trans- 
actions of the Royal Geographical Society of London, so 
any point of the country hitherto discovered could not now 
escape him. 

Following the map, he found that the latitudinal route 
had been two degrees, or 120 miles, to the west. Kennedy 
remarked that the route turned towards the north; this 
direction satisfied the doctor, wlio wished as soon as pos- 
sible to follow up the tracks of his predecessors. 



234 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

It was decided that the night should be divided into 
three watches, so that each could in his turn keep guard for 
the others. The doctor took the 9 p.m. watch, Kennedy 
the midnight turn, and Joe that at 3 a.m. So Kennedy and 
Joe, wrapped up in their rugs, laid down under the awning, 
and slept calmly while the doctor kept his vigil. 



CHAPTER XIII 

TRAVELING BY LAND 

The night was calm: nevertheless, upon the following 
morning (Saturday), Kennedy, on waking, complained of 
lassitude and shivering. The weather began to change, 
and the sky became covered with heavy clouds, as if pre- 
paring for a second deluge. Zungomero is a very " weep- 
ing " region indeed, for in that delightful locality it rains 
all the year round except perhaps for about fifteen days in 
January. 

The heavy rain was not slow to assail the travelers. 
Below them the paths, intersected by " nullahs," the beds of 
mountain torrents, became impassable, choked as they were 
besides with bindweed and prickly plants. The travelers 
distinctly perceived the odor of sulphuretted hydrogen 
spoken of by Captain Burton. 

" As he declared," said the doctor, " and he was right, 
one can almost believe that a dead body is hidden beneath 
each bush." 

" A villainous country, certainly," said Joe, " and it 
seems to me that Mr. Kennedy is none the better for having 
passed the night in it." 

" Well, to tell the truth, I have got a pretty strong touch 
of fever," said the Scot. 

" My dear Dick, that is nothing wonderful; we are now 
in one of the most unhealthy spots in Africa. But we shall 
not be here long. Let us go." 

Thanks to a rapid maneuver of Joe's, the grapnel was 
detached, and by means of the ladder he regained the car. 
The doctor at once expanded the gas and the " Victoria " 
resumed her voyage, impelled by a fairly strong breeze. 

Some huts were scarcely visible in the pestilential mist 
beneath, but the country began soon to change its aspect. 



TRAVELING BY LAND 235 

It is often the case in Africa that malarious regions of small 
extent border upon the most perfectly healthy districts. 

Kennedy was suffering, and the fever prostrated him. 

*' This is scarcely the place to be laid up in," said he, as 
he wrapped himself in his rug and lay down. 

" Just a little patience, Dick," replied the doctor, " and 
you will recover rapidly." 

" Recover! By Jove, my dear Samuel, if you have any 
drug that will set me up, let me have it at once. I will 
swallow it with my eyes shut." 

" I know something better than that, friend Dick. I will 
give you a dose that will cost nothing." 

"How?" 

" It is very simple. I am about to mount right over 
these clouds which are drowning us, and get free from this 
pestilential atmosphere. I only ask ten minutes to expand 
the gas." 

The ten minutes had scarcely elapsed, when the balloon 
had passed out of the wet zone. 

" Now, wait a little, Dick, and you will soon feel the 
benefit of the pure air and sunshine." 

" There is indeed a remedy," cried Joe. " It is really 
wonderful ! " 

" Not at all— only natural." 

" Oh ! I don't doubt it is perfectly natural ! " 

" I only send Dick into purer air, as people are sent 
every day in Europe." 

"Ah!" cried Kennedy, who already was beginning to 
feel better. " This balloon is really * paradise.' " 

" In any case it leads there," said Joe seriously. 

The view beneath the balloon at that moment was a 
curious spectacle; the masses of cloud were piled up in 
magnificent array, moving one above the other, and tinged 
with the glorious rays of the sun. The " Victoria " had 
attained an altitude of 4,000 feet, and the thermometer in- 
dicated a fall in the temperature. The earth was invisible. 
About fifty miles westward. Mount Rubeho raised its spark- 
ling head, which indicated the limit of the country of 
Ugogo, in 36° 20' longitude. The wind had the force of 
twenty miles an hour, but the travelers felt nothing of this 
rapid movement; they experienced no inconvenience what- 
ever, indeed they were scarcely aware of the progress they 



236 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

made. Three hours later, the prediction of Doctor Fergu- 
son was verified. Kennedy's fever had departed, and he 
breakfasted with a good appetite. 

" This is better than sulphate of quinine," said he, with 
evident satisfaction. 

" Decidedly," cried Joe. " I shall come up here when 
I grow old." 

About six o'clock in the morning the atmosphere cleared. 
They perceived an opening in the clouds; the earth re- 
appeared, and the " Victoria " insensibly approached it. 
Doctor Ferguson was on the look-out for a current to carry 
the balloon towards the northeast, and at about 600 feet 
from the ground he fell in with it. The country became 
uneven, and even hilly. The district of Zongomero was 
lost in the east, and with it the last cocoa-nut trees of that 
latitude. 

The mountains soon began to assume a more decided 
form. Some peaks shot up here and there. It was neces- 
sary to keep a watchful eye upon the sharp peaks, which 
appeared to rise up in an unexpected manner. " We are 
amongst the breakers," said Kennedy. 

" All right, Dick. Don't be uneasy, we shall not touch 
them," said the doctor. 

" This is a first-rate way to travel, all the same," said 
Joe. 

The doctor managed his balloon with a wonderful dex- 
terity, certainly. 

"If we had been obliged to go on foot over that marshy 
ground," said the doctor, " we should have had to crawl 
slowly along in a regular slimy morass. Since our departure 
from Zanzibar, in that case, half our beasts of burthen 
would have been now dead with fatigue. We should have 
been looking like ghosts, and despair would have been gnaw- 
ing at our hearts. We should have had incessant disputes 
with our guides and porters, and exposed to their attacks. 
During the day we should have suffered from a damp 
steamy air insupportable, and altogether enervating. At 
night there is frequently an almost intolerable coldness in 
the atmosphere, and the bites of a species of fly, which can 
pierce the stoutest cloth, would drive us mad. All these 
little enjoyments we should have had, without counting wild 
beasts and ferocious people." 



TRAVELING BY LAND 237 



u 



ti 



I vote we don't try it," said Joe simply. 

" I am not exaggerating in the least," said the doctor, 

for at the recitals of travelers who have had the pluck to 
venture into these latitudes, the tears would actually come 
into your eyes." 

About eleven o'clock they passed over the basin of the 
Imenge; the natives scattered about upon the hills vainly 
threatened the " Victoria " with their weapons, and the 
balloon soon arrived above the last spurs of the high ground 
which leads to the Rubeho, which forms the third chain, and 
highest mountain of the ranges of Usagara. 

The travelers took careful notes of the orographical fea- 
tures of the country. The three ramifications, of which the 
Duthumi forms the first line, are separated by vast plains. 
The lofty ridges are rounded off at the summit, and the 
ground is strewn with large blocks of stone at intervals, 
amid the shingle. The steepest side of these mountains is 
towards Zanzibar, the western declivity being merely a 
gentle slope. The more level portions of the plain are 
covered with a black and fertile soil, where vegetation is 
luxuriant. Numerous watercourses run towards the east 
and flow into the Kingani in the neighborhood of gigantic 
clumps of sycamores, tamarinds, gourds, and palms. 

" Listen," said Doctor Ferguson. " We are now ap- 
proaching the Rubeho mountains, whose name being trans- 
lated, means ' Passage of Winds.' We shall do well to 
cross the sharp peaks at a considerable altitude. If my 
map be correct, we must ascend to 5,000 feet." 

" Shall we have to attain such an altitude frequently ? " 
asked Kennedy. 

"No; very seldom. The height of the African moun- 
tains appears to be relatively small compared to the Eu- 
ropean and Asian peaks. But, in any case, the * Victoria ' 
will have no difficulty to overcome them." 

In a short time the gas was dilated and the balloon 
took a very decided upward course. The expansion of the 
hydrogen had nothing dangerous in its character either, 
for the vast balloon was not filled to more than three- 
quarters its capacity. The barometer now. by a depression 
of eight inches, showed they had attained an elevation of 
6,000 feet. 

" Shall we travel like this long? " asked Joe. 



238 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" The terrestrial atmosphere extends to a distance of 
6,000 fathoms from the earth," rephed the doctor. " With 
a very large balloon we could go a great height. Messrs. 
Brioschi and Gay-Lussac did so, but the blood gushed from 
their ears and mouth. The air could not be breathed. 
Some years ago two hardy Frenchmen, Banel and Bixio, 
also made an expedition into the higher regions, but their 
balloon split." 

" And they fell down ? " demanded Kennedy anxiously. 

"Certainly; but, as scientific men ought to fall, without 
sustaining any injury." 

" Well, gentlemen," said Joe, " you are quite at liberty 
to begin your tumbling; but, for my part, as I am merely a 
commonplace person, I prefer to remain in the happy 
medium, neither too high nor too low. There is no use in 
being ambitious ! " 

At 6,000 feet elevation the density of the air became 
sensibly diminished, sounds were with difficulty transmitted, 
and speaking was not distinctly heard. Views of objects 
became confused, the vision could not distinguish anything 
more than confused masses. Men and other animals be- 
came absolutely invisible. The roads became threads, and 
the lakes ponds. 

The doctor and his companions were in a very abnormal 
state. An atmospheric current of great violence carried 
them over the mountains, upon whose summits the large 
snow-fields caused them some astonishment. The appear- 
ance of these mountains betokened some convulsion of the 
sea during the first ages of the world's existence. 

The sun shone in the zenith, and his rays fell directly 
upon these deserted summits. The doctor made an exact 
plan of these mountains, which are formed of four distinct 
elevations almost in a straight line, and of which the most 
northern is the longest. 

The " Victoria " soon descended on the farther side of 
the Rubeho, and passed over a wooded region in which 
trees of a peculiarly dark green were freely scattered. Then 
came crests and ravines in a sort of desert, which approaches 
the territory of Ugogo. Lower down they sailed over 
yellow plains, scorched, fissured, and here and there amongst 
the desolation appeared saline plants and thorny bushes. 
Some coppices, not far removed from actual forests, 



TRAVELING BY LAND 239 

studded the horizon. The doctor now approached the 
ground, the grapnels were cast out, and one of them soon 
got fixed in the branches of an immense sycamore. 

Joe, sHding quickly into the tree, fixed the grapnel with 
great care. The doctor left his blow-pipe sufficiently active 
to ensure a certain ascensional force in the balloon, which 
would keep it upright. The wind had rather suddenly 
dropped. 

" Now," said Ferguson, " take a couple of guns, friend 
Dick, for yourself and Joe, and see if you two cannot bring 
back some prime slices of antelope for dinner." 

" Hurrah for the chase ! " cried Kennedy. 

They descended, Joe let himself slide from branch to 
branch, as if he wished to dislocate his limbs. The doctor, 
relieved of the weight of his companions, was enabled to 
reduce his blow-pipe altogether. 

" Don't you fly away, sir, please," cried Joe. 

"Be quite easy, my lad; I am firmly fixed here. I am 
about to put my notes in order. Good sport to you, and 
be prudent. Meantime, from my post I shall keep a good 
look-out, and at the least suspicious incident I will fire a 
shot. That shall be the signal for return." 

" All right," replied the sportsmen. 



CHAPTER XIV 

ARRIVAL AT KAZEH 

The country, arid and parched, of a clayey soil that 
cracked with the heat, appeared deserted. Here and there 
some traces of caravans might be perceived, and the 
blanched bones of men and animals, half gnawed, lay 
mingling in the same dust. 

After half an hour's walking, Dick and Joe plunged into 
a gum-tree forest, with eyes on the alert, and their fingers 
upon the triggers of their rifles. They did not know with 
what they might meet. Without being a first-rate shot, Joe 
could manage firearms very well. 

" It does one good to walk, Mr. Dick, though this 
country is not the most level," said Joe, kicking aside some 
of the fragments of rock with which the ground was strewn. 

Kennedy signed to his companion to hold his tongue, 



240 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

and to stop. They were obliged to dispense with dogs, and 
despite the agihty of Joe, he did not possess the nose of 
a pointer or of a harrier. In the bed of a torrent, where 
some small pools still lingered, a herd of twelve antelopes 
were quenching their thirst. These graceful animals, scent- 
ing danger, appeared restless; between each draught they 
would raise their pretty heads quickly, and sniff the air with 
their mobile nostrils. 

Kennedy passed around some massive trees, while Joe 
remained motionless. The Scot leveled and fired. The 
herd disappeared in the twinkling of an eye, all except a 
fine buck, which, hit in the shoulder, fell dead. Kennedy 
rushed forward to secure the booty. It was a " blawe- 
bock," a splendid animal of a pale blue tint, tending to 
gray; the belly and inside of the legs was of a snowy 
whiteness. 

" A capital shot," cried the sportsman. " This is a very 
rare species of antelope, and I hope I shall be able to pre- 
pare his skin." 

" You really think of doing so, Mr. Dick ? " 

" Certainly; what a splendid coat the fellow has got." 

" But what will Doctor Ferguson say to such an addi- 
tional weight ? " 

" Right, Joe. But it is a pity to leave such a splendid 
animal as that." 

" Altogether, no, sir; we will cut off the best bits, and, if 
you will allow me, I will do it as well as the Lord Mayor's 
butcher himself." 

" Very well, my friend, but nevertheless you must know 
that it is no more difficult for me to cut up the game than 
to kill it." 

"I am quite sure of that, Mr. Dick; so, if it will not 
trouble you, make a fireplace out of three stones; there is a 
quantity of dead wood, and I only ask a few minutes before 
I shall be ready to make use of your hot embers." 

" That will not be long," said Kennedy, who proceeded 
to the construction of his fireplace, which was ready, blaz- 
ing, a minute or two later. 

Joe meantime had cut from the antelope a dozen ex- 
cellent cutlets and the tenderest portions of the fillet, which 
were soon transformed into a most savory grill. 

" Won't this please friend Samuel," said Dick. 

V. I Verne 



ARRIVAL AT KAZEH 241 

" Do you know what I am thinking of, Mr. Richard ? " 

"Of what you are about; the steaks, no doubt." 

" Not at all. I am thinking what a figure we should cut 
if we could not find the balloon." 

" Goodness ! Do you imagine that the doctor would 
abandon us ? " 

" Oh no ! But suppose the grapnel got loose ? " 

" Impossible. Besides, Samuel would not be at any diffi- 
culty to come down again. He can manage it very well." 

" But suppose the wind caught it; he would not be able 
to bring it back to us in that case." 

"Oh! bother, Joe, a truce to your suspicions; you are 
a regular * Job's comforter.' " 

"Ah! sir, everything is possible in this world; so, as 
anything might happen, it is well to be prepared for every- 
thing " 

At that moment the report of a gun was heard. 

" Listen ! " cried Joe. 

" My carbine ! I know the sound," cried Kennedy. 

"A signal!" 

" Danger for us ! " 

" Or for him, perhaps." 

" Let us go at once." 

The sportsmen rapidly packed up the products of their 
shooting and retraced their steps by means of the " blaze " 
made by Kennedy upon the trees. The thickness of the 
foliage prevented them from seeing the "Victoria," from 
which they could not be very far distant. 

A second report was now heard. 

** The matter is serious," said Joe. 
Yes, there's another! " 
It seems as if he were defending himself." 

" Let us make haste," said Kennedy, and running as 
quickly as possible, they arrived at the skirts of the wood, 
and all at once beheld the " Victoria " in its place and the 
doctor in the car. 

" Good gracious ! " exclaimed Joe. 

" What do you see? " asked the Scot. 

"A whole tribe of black men down there besieging the 
balloon." 

In fact, about two miles away a number of individuals 
were pressing, shouting, and jumping at the base of the 



It 



242 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

sycamore. Some of them having dimbed into the tree were 
advancing to the highest branches. The danger appeared 
imminent. 

" My master is lost ! " cried Joe. 

" Let us get on, Joe; coolness and a sharp eye. We hold 
the lives of four men in our hands. Go ahead." 

They had covered a mile vi^ith great speed when another 
shot from the car sent a great fellow, who had been climb- 
ing up the rope of the grapnel, tumbling from branch to 
branch a corpse; he remained suspended twenty feet from 
the ground, his arms and legs swinging in the air. 

" Now, I wonder how the devil he manages that," said 
Joe. 

" Never mind," cried Kenhedy, " let us get on." 

" Ha ! Mr. Kennedy," cried Joe, with a peal of laughter, 
" it is by his tail — by his tail. He is an ape ; they are only 
apes, all of them ! " 

" That is better than being men just now," replied Ken- 
nedy, as he charged into the midst of the howling band. 

It was a troop of apes, and very formidable ones. Fero- 
cious and brutal, they were horrible to behold. However, 
some further shots easily persuaded them, and this grim- 
acing horde departed, leaving many dead upon the ground. 

In a moment Kennedy ascended the ladder, Joe pulled 
himself into the sycamore, and detached the grapnel; the 
ladder was close to him, and he entered the balloon without 
difficulty. Some minutes afterwards the " Victoria " rose 
in the air and departed towards the west. 

" There was an attack ! " said Joe. " We began to think 
you were besieged by the natives." 

" They were only apes, fortunately," replied the doctor. 

"At a distance the difference is not striking, my dear 
Samuel." 

" Not even when you are close," said Joe. 

" However that m.ay be," replied Ferguson, " the apes' 
attack might have had serious consequences. If the grapnel 
had given way under their repeated assaults who knows 
whither the wind might have carried me." 

" What did I tell you, Mr. Kennedy? " said Joe. 

" Quite right, Joe ; but, correct as you are, nevertheless, 
will you prepare some of those steaks of which the sight 
alone has given me an appetite." 



ARRIVAL AT KAZEH 243 

" That I can readily believe," said the doctor; " the flesh 
of the antelope is delicious." 

" You can now judge for yourself, sir; dinner is ready," 

" Faith," said Kennedy, " these slices of venison have a 
strange sort of flavor not to be despised." 

" Right ! I could live upon antelope for ever," cried Joe, 
with his mouth full, " particularly if I had a glass of grog to 
wash it down." He prepared the beverage in question, 
which was relished in silence. 

" So far so good," said Joe. 

" Very good," added Kennedy. 

" I say, Mr. Richard, do you now regret having accom- 
panied us? " 

" I should very much like to see the man who could 
have prevented my coming," said Dick, with a resolute look. 

It was then four o'clock in the afternoon. The " Vic- 
toria " encountered a more rapid current, the earth was left 
insensibly, and soon the barometrical column marked an 
elevation of 1,500 feet above the level of the sea. The 
doctor was then obliged to keep up his balloon by a strong 
expansion of hydrogen gas and the blow-pipe worked in- 
cessantly. Towards seven o'clock the " Victoria " crossed 
the basin of the Kanyeme, the doctor took observations 
also of this vast clearing of ten miles in width, with its 
villages hidden among baobabs and gourds. There one of 
the sultans of Ugogo has his residence, and civilization is 
perhaps less backward. They very seldom sell members 
of their families there, but beasts and men all live together 
in the round, unfitted huts, which look like haystacks. 

After passing Kanyeme the ground became arid and 
stony, but after an hour in a fertile valley, vegetation reap- 
peared in all its luxuriance at a little distance from Mdaburu. 
The wind went down with the sun, and the air even seemed 
to go to sleep. The doctor searched in vain for a current 
at different altitudes, and seeing how still everything was he 
resolved to pass the night in the air, and for greater safety 
he went up to 1,000 feet high. The " Victoria " remained 
motionless. The night was starlit, and passed without in- 
cident. 

Dick and Joe stretched themselves upon their quiet couch 
and slept soundly during the doctor's watch. At midnight 
the doctor was replaced by Kennedy. 



244 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" Mind you wake me up if the slightest thing occurs," 
said the doctor; "and, above all things, keep your eyes 
upon the barometer. That is our compass." 

The night was cold. There were twenty-seven degrees 
difference between its temperature and that of the day. 
With darkness rose the nocturnal concert of the animals 
which hunger and thirst drove from their lairs: the frogs 
sang their soprano, increased by the yelpings of the jackals, 
while the basso prof undo of the lions sustained the music of 
this living orchestra. 

When he got up in the morning Doctor Ferguson con- 
sulted his compass, and perceived that the wind had changed 
during the night. The " Victoria " had drifted about 
thirty miles to the northwest in about two hours. It had 
passed over Mabunguru, a very stony region, strewn with 
blocks of syenite of a beautiful polish, and dotted with 
rocks upon the shelving ridges; conical masses, like the 
pillars of Karnak, stuck up from the ground as high as 
Druidical " dolmens." Numerous skeletons of buffaloes 
and elephants lay blanching here and there. There were 
few trees except in the east, where some villages lay con- 
cealed in the midst of deep woods. 

About seven o'clock a round rock, nearly two miles in 
extent, appeared, wearing the appearance of the back of an 
enormous tortoise. 

" We are having a pleasant trip," said Doctor Ferguson. 
" There is Jihoue-la-Mkoa, where we shall stay for a little 
time. I must replenish the water-tanks; let us catch hold of 
something." 

" There are very few trees," said Kennedy. 

" Let us try, nevertheless. Joe, throw out the grapnels." 

The balloon, by degrees, lost its ascending power, and 
approached the ground, the fluke of one of the grapnels 
caught in a fissure of a rock, and the " Victoria " halted. 

You must not imagine that Doctor Ferguson was able to 
completely stop the action of the blow-pipe during these 
halts. The equilibrium of the balloon had been reckoned 
at the level of the sea ; now the country was continually on 
the ascent, and they were elevated 600 or 700 feet above 
the sea level, so the balloon had the tendency to descend 
lower even than the surface of the ground. It was, there- 
fore, necessary to sustain it by a certain expansion of gas. 



ARRIVAL AT KAZEH 245 

Only in the event of the absence of all wind, if the doctor 
had left the car to sleep on the ground, the balloon, then 
divested of a considerable weight, would be maintained in 
its position without the assistance of the blow-pipe. 

The maps showed vast pools of water upon the western 
side of Jihoue-la-Mkoa. Joe went off with a barrel which 
might contain a dozen gallons; he found the place indi- 
cated without difficulty, not far from a small deserted vil- 
lage, took a supply of water, and returned to the balloon in 
less than three-quarters of an hour. He had seen nothing 
particular, except immense elephant traps; he narrowly es- 
caped falling into one of them, in which a half-eaten car- 
cass was lying. He found and brought back a sort of med- 
lar, which the monkeys eat voraciously. The doctor recog- 
nized it as the fruit of the " mbenbu," a very common tree 
on the west part of Jihoue-la-Mkoa. Ferguson waited 
somewhat impatiently for Joe, for even a short stay upon 
that inhospitable land filled him with fear. 

The water was hoisted in without difficulty, for the car 
was brought close to the ground. Joe was able to take up 
the grapnel and mount nimbly after his master, who at once 
set the flame going, and the " Victoria " resumed her aerial 
voyage. 

They were then 100 miles from Kazeh, an important 
settlement in the interior, where, thanks to a southeasterly 
current, the travelers had hopes of arriving during the day. 
They progressed at about fourteen miles an hour, the man- 
agement of the balloon became rather difficult, they could 
not rise very high without expanding too much gas, for the 
country was already nearly 3,000 feet high. The doctor 
preferred to restrain the expansion as much as possible, 
so he very adroitly followed the windings of a somewhat 
steep declivity, and passed very near to the villages of 
Themba and Tura Wells. This latter is situated in Unyam- 
wezy, a magnificent region, where the trees attain enormous 
dimensions, and the cactus amongst others, which are gi- 
gantic. 

About two o'clock, in splendid weather, beneath a scorch- 
ing sun, which absorbed the least current of air, the " Vic- 
toria " hovered above the town of Kazeh, situated about 
350 miles from the coast. 

" We left Zanzibar at nine o'clock in the morning," said 



246 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

Doctor Ferguson, consulting his notes, and after two days' 
traveling we have accomplished, including our deviations, 
nearly 500 geographical miles. Captains Burton and Speke 
took four months and a half to accomplish the same dis- 
tance. 

CHAPTER XV 

THE SONS OF THE MOON, 

Kazeh, an important place in Central Africa, is scarcely 
a town properly so called ; there is not a town in the interior, 
and Kazeh is only a collection of six immense intrenched 
camps. Within these are collected the houses and huts of 
slaves with small courts and gardens, carefully cultivated 
with onions, yams, melons, pumpkins, and mushrooms of a 
perfect flavor there grown to perfection. 

Unyamwezy is the veritable Land of the Moon, the 
fertile and beautiful park of Africa, in the center of the 
district of the Unyanembe, a delightful country, where some 
Omani families, who are Arabs of the purest blood, live in 
idleness. These people have for a long time trafficked in 
the interior of Africa and in Arabia; they deal in gum, 
ivory, striped cloths, slaves; their caravans penetrate these 
equatorial regions in all directions; they there seek upon 
the coast objects of pleasure and luxury for the rich mer- 
chants, and they, surrounded by wives and slaves, live in 
this beautiful country and enjoy an existence the least 
agitated and the most horizontal possible, always stretched 
at full length, laughing, smoking, or sleeping. 

Around the camps are numerous native huts, large spaces 
for the market fields of cannabis and datuna, of lovely trees 
and most refreshing shade. Such is Kazeh. 

There is also the general rendezvous for the caravans, 
those from the south with slaves and ivory, and from the 
west, which bring cotton and glassware to the tribes around 
the Great Lakes. Also in the market there is a continual 
movement, a regular hubbub, in which the cries of the half- 
breed porters mingle with the sound of drums and cornets, 
the whinnying of mules, the braying of donkeys, the songs 
of women, the crying of children, and the blows of the 
rattan of the jemidar, who beats the time in this pastoral 
symphony. 



THE SONS OF THE MOON 247 

There are the wares exposed for sale without any kind 
of order, even in a charming disorder. Showy stuffs, 
colored glass beads, ivory rhinoceros' teeth, sharks' teeth, 
honey, tobacco, and cotton. There they carry on the most 
strange bargains, each object having just so much value as 
it excites desire. 

Suddenly this hubbub and movement ceased, the noise 
immediately subsided. The " Victoria " had appeared in 
the sky, sailing along majestically and descending slowly 
without losing its vertical position. Men, women, children, 
slaves, merchants, Arabs, and negroes all disappeared and 
glided away into the " tembes " and beneath the huts. 

" My dear Samuel," said Kennedy, " if we continue to 
produce such an effect as this we shall have some difficulty 
to establish commercial relations with these people." 

*' There is, nevertheless, one very simple mercantile trans- 
action to be carried out," said Joe; " that is, to quietly de- 
scend and carry away the most valuable merchandise with- 
out troubling the merchants. We should then get rich." 

" You see," said the doctor, " that the natives have only 
been terrified for the moment. They will not delay to 
return, impelled either by superstition or curiosity." 

"You think so, sir?" 

" We shall soon see, but it will be prudent to keep at a 
little distance. The ' Victoria ' is neither an ironclad nor 
armored. There is no shelter from a bullet nor from an 
arrow." 

" Do you then intend to enter into conference with these 
Africans, my dear Samuel? " 

" Perhaps so — why not ? There ought to be in KazeH 
Arab merchants who are not ignorant men. I remember 
that Messrs. Burton and Speke were much pleased with the 
hospitality of this town. So we can try our luck." 

The " Victoria " gradually approached the earth, and 
made fast one of the grapnels to the top of a tree near the 
market-place. 

The entire population now turned out; heads were 
cautiously advanced. Many " Waganga," easily recogniz- 
able by their badges of shell-fish, advanced boldly. They 
were the sorcerers of the place. They carried at the waist 
small gourds rubbed over with grease, and many objects of 
magic use of a dirtiness, nevertheless, quite professional. 



(I 



248 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

By degrees the crowd advanced to the sorcerers, the women 
and children surrounding them, the drummers rivaled each 
other in din, hands were clasped and held up towards the 
sky. 

"That is their manner of praying," said Doctor Fer- 
guson. "If I am not in error, we shall be called upon to 
undertake an important part." 

" Very well, sir," said Joe, " play it." 
Even you, my brave Joe, may perhaps become a god." 
Well, sir, that won't worry me much, and the incense 
will be rather agreeable than otherwise." 

At this moment one of the sorcerers, a " Waganga," 
made a gesture, and the clamor sank into profound silence. 
He addressed some words to the travelers, but in a tongue 
unknown to them. 

Doctor Ferguson, not understanding what was said, re- 
plied at hazard in a few words of Arabic, and was imme- 
diately answered in that language. 

The orator then delivered a flowing speech, very flowery 
and very distinct. The doctor had no difficulty in perceiv- 
ing that the " Victoria " was actually taken for the moon 
in person, and that this amiable goddess had deigned to 
approach the town with her three sons, an honor which 
would never be forgotten in that country — beloved by the 
sun. 

The doctor replied, with great dignity, that the moon 
made every thousand years a departmental tour, feeling the 
necessity of showing herself to her worshipers. He then 
prayed them to take advantage of her divine presence by 
making known their wants and vows. 

The sorcerer replied that the sultan, the " Mwani," had 
been ill for many years, had asked the assistance of Heaven, 
and he now begged the sons of the moon to come to him. 

The doctor imparted the invitation to his companions. 

" And will you go to that nigger king? " said the Scotch- 
man. 

" Certainly. These people appear to me to be well dis- 
posed, the day is calm, there is scarcely a breath of wind. 
We have nothing to fear for the " Victoria." 

" But what will you do? " 

" Be quiet, my dear Dick ; with a little medicine I will 
manage to get out of it." 



THE SONS OF THE MOON 249 

Then addressing the crowd he said : " The moon, taking 
pity upon the sovereign, so dear to the people of Unyam- 
wezy, has confided his recovery to our hands. Let him pre- 
pare to receive us." 

The cries, shouts, and gesticulations were redoubled, and 
the entire vast " ant-hill " of black heads was in motion. 

" Now, my friends," said Doctor Ferguson, " it will be 
necessary to be ready for anything; we may be obliged to 
retreat at any moment. Dick shall remain in the car, and 
by means of the blow-pipe, keep up a sufficient ascensional 
power. The grapnel is firmly fixed, so there is no danger on 
that score. I will get down, Joe will also get out, but will 
remain at the foot of the ladder." 

" What, are you going alone to this blackamoor's 
house ? " asked Kennedy. 

" Why, Mr. Samuel, don't you wish me to accompany 
you through this ? " said Joe. 

" No, I shall go alone : these people imagine that the 
moon has come to pay them a visit. I am protected by 
their superstition, so have no fear, and let each one remain 
at his post as I have arranged." 

" Since you wish it," said the Scot, " it shall be so." 

" Mind you attend to the expansion of the gas." 

" All right." 

The cries of the natives again increased, they demanded 
the intervention of heaven very energetically indeed. 

"Do you hear?" cried Joe. "I think they are a little 
too dictatorial to their beautiful moon and her sons." 

The doctor, supplied with his medicine-chest, came out 
of the balloon, preceded by Joe, and descended. The lat- 
ter was as grave and dignified as was in his nature to be. 
He sat down at the foot of the ladder, and crossed his legs, 
Arab-fashion — a portion of the crowd surrounded him at a 
respectful distance. 

Meantime, Doctor Ferguson, preceded by musicians, and 
escorted by religious dancers, advanced slowly towards tlie 
royal " tembe," situated some distance from the town. It 
was now about three o'clock, and the sun was shining hotly 
— he could not do less under the circumstances. 

The doctor advanced with dignity; the Waganga sur- 
rounded him, and kept back the crowd. Ferguson was 
soon joined by the natural son of the sultan, a well-made 



250 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

young fellow, who, following the custom of the country, 
was the sole inheritor of the parent's goods and posses- 
sions, to the exclusion of legitimate children. He pros- 
trated himself before the son of the moon, who raised him 
with a gracious gesture. 

Three-quarters of an hour afterwards, through shady 
paths in the midst of a luxuriant tropical vegetation, the 
enthusiastic procession arrived at the palace of the sultan, 
a kind of square house, called Ititenya, and situated upon 
the slope of a hill. A species of veranda, made by the 
straw roof, covered the exterior, and was supported by 
wooden posts, with some pretension to carving displayed 
upon them. Long streaks of reddish clay ornamented the 
walls, attempts to depict men and snakes, the latter being 
naturally more successful than the former. The roof of 
this habitation did not rest directly upon the walls, so the 
air could circulate freely, though there were no windows 
and scarcely a door. 

Doctor Ferguson was received with great honors by the 
guards and favorites, men of a handsome race, the Un- 
yamwezi, a pure type of the population of Central Africa, 
strong and healthy, well made, and erect in their bearing. 
Their hair, divided into a quantity of small curls, fell down 
upon their shoulders; and by means of incisions colored 
black or blue, they tattooed their cheeks from the temples 
to the mouth. Their ears, very much distended, were or- 
namented with discs of wood and gum copal; they were 
clothed with emeu, brilliantly colored ; the soldiers, well 
armed with bows and arrows — the latter poisoned and 
barbed — with cutlasses and " simes," a long saw-toothed 
sword, and hatchets. 

The doctor entered the palace. There, in describing 
the sultan's symptoms, the hubbub, already great, was re- 
doubled. The doctor remarked on the lintel of the door 
that tails of hares and zebras' manes were suspended as 
talismans. He was received by a troop of Her Majesty's 
ladies to the harmonious accompaniment of the " upatu," a 
kind of cymbal constructed from the bottom of copper pots, 
and of the " kilindo," a drum about five feet high, hollowed 
out from the trunk of a tree, and which is played by two 
performers, hammering it as hard as possible with their 
fists. 



THE SONS OF THE MOON 251 

The greater number of the women appeared very pretty, 
and laughingly smoked tobacco and " thang " in large 
black pipes. They appeared to be well formed, so far as 
the long and graceful robe permitted their figures to be 
seen, and wore a kind of kilt of calabash fibers fastened 
round their waists. 

Six of them, though destined to be sacrificed, were by no 
means the least gay of the assembly. At the death of the 
sultan they were to be buried alive with him, so as to keep 
him company in his otherwise somewhat distressing soli- 
tude. 

Doctor Ferguson, having taken all this in at a glance, 
advanced towards the monarch's couch. There he saw a 
man of about forty, perfectly brutalized by dissipation of 
all kinds, and for whom he could do nothing. His malady, 
which had lasted some years, was nothing but constant in- 
toxication. This royal drunkard had by degrees lost con- 
sciousness, and all the ammonia in the world could not 
cure him. 

The favorites and the women, bending their knees, 
bowed themselves down during this solemn visit. By 
means of a few drops of a strong cordial, the doctor for 
a moment animated the stupefied body. The sultan 
moved, and for a corpse which had given no sign of ex- 
istence for hours, to move at all was hailed with acclama- 
tion in honor of the doctor. 

He, who had had enough of it, put his would-be worship- 
ers aside by a rapid movement, and quitted the palace. 
He made towards the " Victoria," for it was now six 
o'clock. 

Joe, during his master's absence, waited patiently at the 
foot of the ladder, the crowd paying him the greatest at- 
tention. As a true son of the moon he accepted the posi- 
tion. For a god he had the appearance of a brave man 
enough, not at all proud, even with young African ladies, 
who never ceased to stare at him. He also conversed 
amicably with them. 

"Keep worshiping, ladies, keep it up," he said. "I 
am a pretty good sort of devil, although the son of a 
goddess." 

They offered him propitiatory gifts, usually placed in 
the " mzimu " or fetish-houses. These consisted of barley 



252 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

and " pembe." Joe felt himself constrained to taste this 
species of strong beer, but his palate, though not unaccus- 
tomed to gin or whisky, could not stand that. He made a 
fearful grimace, which the audience took for an amiable 
smile. 

Then the young girls, setting up a slow sort of chanting, 
executed a solemn dance round him. 

" Ah ! you dance, do you ? Very well, I will not be be- 
hind-hand with you, and will show you a dance of my 
country." 

He then began a most extraordinary kind of a jig, turning 
over, throwing himself about in all directions, dancing on 
his feet, on his knees, on his hands, and twisting himself in 
the most extraordinary contortions and incredible posi- 
tions, accompanied by the most horrible grimaces, thus 
giving the people a strange notion of the manner in which 
the gods dance in the moon. 

Now all Africans are as imitative as apes, and very 
quickly did his audience reproduce his behavior, gambols, 
and contortions; they did not lose a gesture, they did not 
forget an attitude; the result being a hubbub and commo- 
tion of which it is difficult to give the least idea. In the 
midst of all this festivity Joe perceived the doctor. 

He was approaching hastily in the center of a yelling 
and disordered crowd. The sorcerers and priests appeared 
to be the most excited. They surrounded and pressed upon 
the doctor with threatening gestures. What a strange 
alteration. What had happened? Had the sultan unfor- 
tunately died under the celestial doctor's hands? 

Kennedy, from his position, perceived the danger with- 
out comprehending the cause. The balloon, pulling 
strongly, was stretching the rope that held it as if impa- 
tient to rise into the air. 

The doctor came to the foot of the ladder. A super- 
stitious fear still kept back the crowd, and prevented their 
using violence ; he rapidly ascended and Joe followed. 

" There is not an instant to lose," said his master. 
" Never mind detaching the grapnel. We must cut the 
cord. Follow me." 

" What is it? " said Joe, ascending. 

" What has happened ? " cried Kennedy, carbine in 
hand. 



THE SONS OF THE MOON 253 

" Look there ! " replied the doctor, pointing towards the 
horizon. 

"Well?" asked the Scot. 

"Well! it's the moon!" 

In fact the moon, red and glorious as a globe of fire 
upon an azure background, was then rising — she and the 
" Victoria " together. 

Either, therefore, there were two moons, or the strangers 
were nothing but impostors and false gods. Such were 
the natural thoughts of the crowd. Hence the change. 

Joe could not help laughing heartily. The people of 
Kazeh, beginning to understand that their prey would es- 
cape, gave vent to prolonged howls, and bows and guns 
were directed towards the balloon. But at a sign from 
one of the sorcerers the weapons were lowered, he jumped 
into the tree with the intention to seize the rope of the 
grapnel and bring the balloon to the ground. 

Joe leaned over with a hatchet in his hand. 

"Shall I cut it? "he asked. 

" Wait a little," said the doctor. 

" But that nigger " 

" We may perhaps save our grapnel, and I think so. 
We can cut it at any time." 

The sorcerer, having gained the tree, went to work so 
vigorously in the branches that he detached the grapnel, 
which, being violently dragged by the balloon, caught the 
sorcerer between the legs, and so he, astride on this unex- 
pected steed, set out for the region of the sky. 

The crowd were stupefied to perceive one of their 
Waganga launched into space. 

" Hurrah ! " cried Joe, as the " Victoria " mounted very 
rapidly. 

"He holds tight," said Kennedy; "a little journey will 
do him good." 

"Shall we let him go altogether?" suggested Joe. 

" For shame ! " rephed the doctor. " We will put him 
gently down presently, and I believe that after such an 
adventure his magical power will be singularly increased in 
his companions' estimation." 

" I daresay they will make a god of him," said Joe. 

The " Victoria " had now arrived at an elevation of 
about 1,000 feet. The negro held on to the cord with tre- 



254 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

mendous energy. He was quite silent, and his eyes were 
fixed. His terror mastered his astonishment completely. 
A light breeze carried the balloon below the town. 

Half an hour later, the doctor, seeing the coast was 
clear, m.oderated the blow-pipe, and approached the earth. 
At twenty feet from the ground the sorcerer took courage 
and dropped, fell upon his feet, and ran towards Kazeh at 
the top of his speed, while the " Victoria " once more 
ascended into the air. 



CHAPTER XVI 

THE FUTURE OF AFRICA 

" There ! " cried Joe, " that comes of being sons of the 
moon without leave. That satellite was very nearly play- 
ing us a shabby trick. Do you think, now, sir, that you 
in any way compromised her reputation by your medi- 
cine?" 

" By-the-by," said the Scot, " who is this sultan of 
Kazeh?" 

" An old, half-dead drunkard, whose loss will not be 
very much felt; but the moral of the thing is this: that 
honors are ephemeral, and we ought only to taste them," 

"So much the worse," said Joe; "that was my case. 
To be adored, to play the god at one's pleasure, when, all 
of a sudden, the mioon rises with a very red face to show 
she does not approve of it." 

During this conversation, and subsequently, while Joe 
was examining the evening star from an entirely new point 
of view, the sky towards the north was covering itself with 
heavy clouds — with heavy and threatening clouds too. A 
pretty brisk breeze had sprung up at 300 feet from the 
ground, and was impelling the " Victoria " towards the 
north-northwest. The sky was clear, but the air felt heavy. 

The travelers found themselves about eight o'clock in 
32° 40' longitude, and latitude 4° 17'; the atmospheric cur- 
rents, under the influence of an approaching storm, hur- 
ried them forward at the rate of thirty-five miles an hour. 
The fertile and undulating plains of Mfuto passed rapidly 
beneath. The view was worthy of admiration, and was 
duly admired. 



THE FUTURE OF AFRICA 255 

" We are now regularly in the country of the moon," 
said Doctor Ferguson, " for it has retained this name, 
which was anciently bestowed upon it, doubtless, because 
the moon has been always worshiped here. It is indeed 
a magnificent district, and it would be difficult to find a 
more beautiful vegetation." 

" That sort of thing would not be natural near London," 
said Joe, *' but it would be very pleasant. Why are all 
those lovely things reserved for these barbarous coun- 
tries?" 

" How do you know that some day this country will not 
have become the center of civilization? The people of the 
future ages may come here when the countries of Europe 
can no longer support their inhabitants." 

" Do you believe that? " asked Kennedy. 

" Certainly, my dear Dick. Look at the march of events, 
consider the successive emigrations of the human race, and 
you will arrive at the same conclusion as I have. Is it not 
true that Asia was the first nurse of the world? For 
4,000 years, perhaps, she was fruitful and bore her chil- 
dren, and then when stones appear where the golden crops 
of Homer appeared, her children leave her dry and withered 
bosom. They then are seen invading Europe, young and 
strong, which nourishes them for 2,000 years. But she 
is already losing her fertility, her producing qualities are 
diminishing every day; these new evils each year which 
attack the produce of the soil, the deceptive harvests, the 
insufficient supplies, all are undoubted signs of decreasing 
vitality, of approaching weakness. Also, you can already 
perceive that people are throwing themselves upon the 
richer bosom of America, not indeed inexhaustible, but 
still inexhausted. In its turn, this newer Continent will 
become old. Its virgin forests will fall under the ax of 
industry, its soil will be enervated, because it had produced 
too much, as too much was demanded of it. 

" There, where two crops would grow every year, 
scarcely one will come to the sickle. Then Africa will 
offer to new generations the accumulated treasures of cen- 
turies. The fatality of the climate to strangers will yield 
to the purifying influence of distribution of crops and 
drainage; the scattered streams will be united in one nav- 
igable river; and this district, over which we are passing, 



256 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

more fertile, richer, quicker producing than the others, 
will become some great kingdom, where discoveries will 
be made even more wonderful than steam and the electric 
■telegraph," 

" Ah, sir," said Joe, " I should like to see all that." 

" You were born a trfle too soon," said the doctor. 

" After all, that will be perhaps a more tiresome period, 
in which industry will absorb all to its profit. In conse- 
quence of inventing machines, men will be devoured by 
them. I am always picturing to myself that the last day 
of the world will be when some immense boiler, heated up 
to three thousand millions of atmospheres, will blow our 
globe into space." 

" And I daresay the Americans will not be the last to 
work at the machine," said Joe. " In fact, those people are 
wonderful tinkers ; but, without letting ourselves be carried 
away by such discussions, let us admire the * Land of the 
Moon,' since we are in a position to see it." 

The sun was pouring his last rays beneath the heaped-up 
masses of cloud, and was gilding the small elevations with 
a golden crest. The huge trees, arborescent herbs, the 
cut corn, all had a share of the luminous rays. The earth, 
gently undulating, rose here and there into little conical 
hills. There were no mountains to break the horizon. 
Immense brambly palisades, impassable hedges, thorny 
jungles separated the clear spaces in which numerous 
villages were spread out. The gigantic euphorbia sur- 
rounded them with natural fortifications, entwining them- 
selves with the coral-like branches of the shrubs. 

They soon came in sight of the Malagazari, the princi- 
pal tributary of Lake Tanganyika, which wound round the 
verdant masses of vegetation. Into this river ran numer- 
ous watercourses, born of the torrents overflowed during 
the great rising of the waters, or from ponds hollowed out 
in the clayey soil. It appeared to the observers, elevated 
as they were, that a regular network of rivulets was flow- 
ing over the face of the country. 

Immense beasts with humps were feeding in the 
prairies, and occasionally disappeared altogether in the 
long grass ; the forests, of a wonderful species of trees, ap- 
peared like enormous bouquets, but in these bouquets, lions, 
leopards, hyenas, and tigers took refuge from the declin- 

V. I Verne 



THE FUTURE OF AFRICA 257 

ing heat of the day. Sometimes an elephant made the 
coppices shake, and they distinctly heard the crashing of 
the trees which gave way before his tusks. 

" What a hunting country ! " exclaimed Kennedy, en- 
thusiastically ; "a bullet sent in there at hazard, right into 
the forest, would meet with game worthy of it. Can we 
not have a try at it ? " 

" No, no, my dear Dick ; night is upon us, and a rather 
* nasty ' night too, bringing a storm up with it. Storms in 
this country are no joke, I can tell you, where the earth 
plays the part of an immense electric battery." 

*' You are right, sir," said Joe ; " the heat is becoming 
stifling, the breeze has quite died away, and one feels that 
something is going to happen." 

" The atmosphere is surcharged with electricity," re- 
plied the doctor; "every living thing is aware of the state 
of the air which precedes a conflict of the elements; but I 
confess I never have been impregnated with it at such a 
height myself." 

" Well," said the Scot, " should we not rather descend? " 

" On the contrary, Dick, I would rather go higher up. 
I fear only to be hurried out of my course during the cross 
atmospheric currents." 

" Do you wish, then, to abandon our route towards the 
coast ? " 

"If possible," replied Ferguson, " I will go more di- 
rectly towards the north for seven or eight degrees. I will 
endeavor to go up towards the supposed latitude of the 
sources of the Nile. Perhaps we shall discover some 
traces of Captain Speke's expedition, or even the caravan 
of M. de Heuglin. If my calculations be correct, we are 
in 32° 40" longitude, and I should like to go up beyond 
the equator." 

" Look here," cried Kennedy, interrupting, " look at 
those hippopotomi swimming about the pools — what masses 
of flesh they are — and see the crocodiles gasping in their 
attempts to breathe." 

" They are choking," said Joe. " Ah ! what a splendid 
way this is to travel, and how we can despise all those hor- 
rible vermin. Mr. Samuel, Mr. Kennedy — look at those 
bands of animals marching closely together. There must 
be 200 of them, at least; they are wolves." 



258 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

"No, Joe, but wild dogs; a famous breed, which have 
no scruple in attacking lions. To meet such a pack is the 
most fearful experience a traveler can undergo. He would 
be immediately torn in pieces." 

" Well, it will not be Joseph who will endeavor to muz- 
zle them," replied that pleasant youth; " after all, it is their 
nature, and one needn't see much of them." 

All this time a dread silence was falling around little by 
little, under the influence of the approaching storm. It 
seemed as if the heavy air had become incapable of trans- 
mitting sounds; the atmosphere appeared thickened, and, 
like a room hung with tapestry, lost all sonorousness. The 
pigeons, the crested crane, the red and blue jays, the mock- 
ing birds, the moucherolles, hid themselves in the leafy 
trees. All nature betrayed the symptoms of an approach- 
ing convulsion. At nine o'clock in the evening, the " Vic- 
toria " was hanging motionless above Msene, a large col- 
lection of villages scarcely distinguishable in the gloom. 
Sometimes the reflection of stray beams of light in the 
dark water indicated the regularly placed ditches, and, by 
an opening in the clouds, they could descry the dark forms 
of palms, tamarinds, sycamores, and the gigantic euphorbia. 

" I am stifled," said the Scot, taking a full breath. 
"We are not moving any longer. Shall we descend?" 

" But kow about the storm?" said the doctor, who was 
not very comfortable. 

"If you are afraid of being carried away by the wind, it 
seems to me you can do nothing else." 

" The storm may not burst to-night," replied Joe ; " the 
clouds are very high." 

" That is the very reason I am hesitating to pass them ; 
we should have to go so very high up, and lose sight of the 
earth, and would not know all night whether we were 
making any ' way,' or, if so, in what direction we were 
moving." 

" Well, make up your mind, my dear Samuel ; time 
presses." 

" It is very annoying that the wind has dropped," said 
Joe ; " it might have carried us out of reach of the storm." 

" That is certainly to be regretted, my friends, as the 
clouds are very dangerous; they contain opposing currents, 
which may enclose us in their whirlwinds, and the light- 



THE FUTURE OF AFRICA 259 

ning may set us on fire. On the other hand, the force of 
the squall might precipitate us to the ground if we made 
fast the grapnel to the top of a tree." 

"Then what is to be done?" 

" We must keep the " Victoria " in a middle zone be- 
tween the earth and the perils of the sky. We have a suf- 
ficient quantity of water for the blow-pipe, and our 200 
lbs. of ballast is intact." 

" We are going to sit up with you," said the Scot. 

" No, my friends ; put the provisions under cover and go 
to bed. I will call you if necessary." 

" But, sir, why will you not take some rest yourself, 
since nothing threatens us yet? " 

" No, thank you, my lad, I would rather watch. We 
are motionless, and if circumstances do not change we 
shall find ourselves in the same place to-morrow." 

" Good-night, sir." 

" Good-night, if that be possible." 

Kennedy and Joe then lay down, and the doctor re- 
mained by himself — alone in space. Nevertheless, the 
clouds insensibly descended and the darkness became pro- 
found. 

The black arch of heaven spread across the terrestrial 
globe as if about to overwhelm it. 

Suddenly a vivid flash lit up the gloom; the opening in 
the cloud had scarcely closed when a terrific peal of thun- 
der shook the depths of the sky. 

" Get up, get up ! " cried Ferguson. The two sleepers, 
roused by the appalling thunder-crash, held themselves in 
readiness to execute his orders. 

" Are you going down ? " asked Kennedy. 

"No; the balloon would never hold out there. Let us 
ascend before the rain comes and the wind gets up." And 
he rapidly urged the flame of the blow-pipe. 

Tropical storms are developed with a rapidity propor- 
tionate to their violence. A second flash broke the cloud, 
and was immediately followed by twenty others. The sky 
was radiant with electric sparks, which shriveled up under 
the heavy drops of rain. 

" We have delayed too long," said the doctor. " We 
must now pass through a belt of fire with our balloon filled 
with inflammable air." 



260 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" But the ground, the ground ! " repeated Kennedy. 

" The risk of being struck would be ahnost the same, 
and we should be quickly knocked to pieces against the 
branches of trees," said the doctor. 

" We are ascending, Mr. Samuel." 

"Quicker! quicker!'* 

In this part of Africa, during the equinoctial gales, it is 
not an uncommon experience to count thirty to thirty-five 
flashes of lightning per minute. The sky is literally on fire, 
and the thunder is continuous. The wind rages with ter- 
rific violence in this fiery atmosphere, it twists and tears 
the clouds, and it has been compared to the blowing of an 
immense bellows which keeps all this fire in activity. 

Doctor Ferguson maintained his blow-pipe at full pres- 
sure; the balloon expanded and ascended. On his knees 
in the center of the car Kennedy kept hold of the curtains 
of the tent. The balloon gyrated enough to give the trav- 
elers vertigo, and they suffered from the uneven oscilla- 
tions. Huge hollows showed in the shape of the balloon 
pressed upon by the blasts. The silk covering strained to 
the utmost and crackled like a volley of pistol shots. 

A sort of hail, preceded by a rushing sound, hissed 
through the air and rattled upon the " Victoria." It nev- 
ertheless continued to ascend; the lightning described 
flaming tangents from its circumference ; it was in the very 
heart of the storm. 

" God preserve us ! " said Ferguson, " we are in His 
hands. He alone can save us. Let us be prepared for 
any event, even for fire; our fall cannot be very rapid." 

The doctor's voice was scarcely heard by his compan- 
ions, but they could see him standing unmoved in the midst 
of the flashing lightnings; and he kept looking at the 
" corpse-light " that flickered upon the network of the 
balloon. The balloon itself swayed and rolled, but kept 
ascending; at the end of fifteen minutes it had passed the 
line of storm-cloud. The electric discharges were now 
beneath it like an immense crown of artificial fire hanging 
from the car. 

This was one of the most beautiful sights that nature 
could present to man. Below the storm raged. Above 
was the starry, quiet, and silent Heaven, with the moon 
throwing her peaceful rays upon the angry clouds. 



THE FUTURE OF AFRICA] 261 

Doctor Ferguson looked at the barometer; it indicated 
12,000 feet elevation. The time was eleven o'clock. 

" Thank Heaven the danger is over," said he; " we have 
now only to remain here as we are." 

" It was awful," said Kennedy. 

" Yes," replied Joe, " that gives a little change to our 
journey, and I am not sorry to have seen a storm from 
such a height. It was a magnificent sight indeed." 



CHAPTER XVII 

NIGHT ON THE GROUND 

About six o'clock in the morning (Sunday) the sun 
rose above the horizon, the clouds dispersed and a most 
pleasant breeze tempered the first rays of the morning 
light. 

The sweetly-refreshed earth again became visible to the 
travelers. The balloon, having been turning round in the 
midst of opposing currents, had scarcely drifted at all, and 
the doctor, permitting the gas to contract, descended at 
length to strike a more northerly direction. For a long 
time his search was in vain, the breeze carried him to the 
west, even within sight of the celebrated Mountains of the 
Moon, which rise up in a semicircle round the end of Lake 
Tanganyika. Their chain, but little broken, stood out 
against the bluish horizon — a natural fortification, as it 
were, impassable to explorers of the center of Africa; 
some of the peaks bore traces of eternal snow. 

" We are now in an unexplored country," said the doc- 
tor; "Captains Burton and Speke advanced far into the 
west, but they were not able to reach these celebrated moun- 
tains. Burton even denied their existence as affirmed by 
his companion ; he pretended that they only existed in the 
imagination of the latter. For us, my friends, no doubt 
is possible." 

" Shall we pass over them?" asked Kennedy. 

" I hope not. I expect to find a favorable wind to bring 
me back to the equator. I will wait for it even, if neces- 
sary, and treat the ' Victoria ' like a ship that casts anchor 
when the wind is contrary." 

The prognostications of the doctor were soon realized. 



262 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

After having tried different elevations, the " Victoria " 
sailed away to the northeast at a moderate speed. 

" We are in the right direction," said he, consulting the 
barometer as he spoke, " and scarcely 200 feet from the 
ground; the circumstances are most favorable to explore 
these unknown regions. Captain Speke, when proceeding 
to discover Lake Ukereone, went up more to the east in a 
straight line above Kazeh." 

" Shall we go long in this direction? " asked Kennedy. 

" Perhaps. Our aim is to strike a point near the sources 
of the Nile, and we have more than 600 miles to traverse 
to the extreme limit reached by the explorers from the 
north." 

" And shall we not put our feet on the ground in order 
to stretch our legs? " said Joe. 

" Yes, certainly. We must also be sparing of our lar- 
der, and on the way you will be able to provide us with 
fresh meats." 

" As soon as ever you like, friend Samuel." 

" We shall also have to replenish our supply of water. 
Who knows we may not be borne away towards barren 
districts? We must therefore take precautions." 

At mid-day the " Victoria" was in 29° 15' long, and 3** 
15' lat. It passed over the village of Uyofu, the northern 
boundary of Unyamwezi, abreast of the Lake Ukereone, 
which they had not hitherto been able to perceive. The 
tribes near the equator appear to be a little more civilized, 
and are governed by absolute monarchs, whose despotism 
is unlimited. Their very close union constitutes the pro- 
vince of Karaywah. 

The three travelers decided that they would descend at 
the first favorable landing-place. They proposed to make 
a lengthy halt, and the balloon was to be carefully exam- 
ined ; so the flame of the blow-pipe was moderated. The 
grapnels, thrown from the car, soon came in contact with 
the high grass of an immense prairie; at a little distance it 
appeared to be covered with close verdure, but in reality 
the grass was seven or eight feet high. 

The " Victoria " skimmed over the grass without bend- 
ing it, like an immense butterfly. Nothing was in sight; 
it was like an ocean of verdure without a single wave. 

" We may go a long time like this," said Kennedy. " I 



NIGHT ON THE GROUND 263 

do not perceive a tree to which we can fasten ourselves. It 
appears to me that the chase must be given up." 

"Wait, my dear Dick; you never could hunt in grass 
higher than yourself. We shall find a favorable place pres- 
ently." 

It was, indeed, a charming excursion — a veritable navi- 
gation upon this sea — so beautifully green, almost trans- 
parent — undulating softly at the breathing of the wind. 
The boat now justified its name, and appeared to cleave 
the waves, except when a fliglit of birds with splendid plu- 
mage escaped sometimes from the high grass, and with a 
thousand joyous cries broke the illusion. The grapnels 
plunged into this lake of flowers and formed a furrow 
which immediately closed behind them like the wake of a 
vessel. 

All at once the balloon experienced a great shock; the 
grapnel had no doubt been caught in the fissure of a rock 
concealed beneath the gigantic mass. " We have caught," 
said Joe. 

" All right, throw out the ladder," said Kennedy. 

These words had scarcely been uttered, when a sharp 
cry resounded through the air, and was thus commented 
upon by the travelers. " What's that?" said one. 

" A most singular cry ! " 

** Hollo ! we are moving." 

" The anchor has detached." 

" No, it is all right," said Joe, who was hauling at the 
rope. " It is the rock that moves." 

A great disturbance was now perceived in the grass, 
and soon a long and sinuous form raised itself over them. 
" A serpent ! " cried Joe. 

" A serpent ! " said Kennedy, snatching up a carbine. 
No," said the doctor, " it is the trunk of an elephant.'* 
An elephant, Samuel?" and Kennedy, as he spoke, 
brought the gun to his shoulder. 

" Wait, Dick, wait." 

" Without doubt, the animal will pull us along." 

" And in the right direction, Joe." 

The elephant advanced with some rapidity, and soon 
arrived at an open space, where they had an uninterrupted 
view of him. In his enormous bulk, the doctor recognized 
the male- of a magnificent spjecies; he had two beautiful 



it 
tt 



264 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

tusks, with a most graceful curve, which appeared about 
eight feet long — the flukes of the grapnel were firmly fas- 
tened between them. 

The animal tried in vain with his trunk to loose the cord 
that bound him to the car. 

" Go ahead cheerily ! " cried Joe delighted, and doing his 
best to urge on this strange turn-out. " Here is quite a 
new way of traveling. Talk of a horse, indeed! An ele- 
phant, if you please." 

"But where will he lead us to?" asked Kennedy, shift- 
ing his gun from hand to hand. 

" He will take us wherever he likes, my dear Dick; have 
a little patience." 

" Wig-a-more ! wig-a-more ! as the Scotch peasants say," 
cried the delighted Joe. " Go on, go on." 

Th animal broke into a rapid gallop, he flung his trunk 
from right to left, and in his boundings he gave some vio- 
lent shocks to the car. The doctor, ax in hand, was ready 
to cut the rope if occasion demanded. 

" But," said he, " we will not give up our anchor till the 
last moment." 

This race at the tail of an elephant lasted nearly an hour 
and a half. The animal did not appear in any way fa- 
tigued. These enormous quadrupeds can keep up a trot for 
a considerable time, and day after day they accomplish 
immense distances, like the whales, whose size and speed 
they possess. 

" I believe it is a whale we have harpooned," said Joe, 
" and we are only imitating the maneuvers of the whalers 
when fishing." 

But a change in the nature of the ground obliged the 
doctor to modify his mode of progression. 

A thick wood appeared towards the north of the prairie, 
about three miles distant; it then became absolutely neces- 
sary that the balloon should be separated from its con- 
ductor. 

So Kennedy was assigned the duty of stopping the ele- 
phant. He shouldered his carbine, but his position was 
not favorable to strike the animal successfully. The first 
ball fired at the skull was flattened as if against an iron 
plate. The elephant did not appear the least inconven- 
ienced. At the sound of the discharge he accelerated his 



NIGHT ON THE GROUND 265 

pace, and his speed was now that of a horse at full gallop. 

" The devil ! " exclaimed Kennedy. 

" What a hard head he must have," said Joe. 

" We must try a conical bullet in the shoulder," said 
Dick, loading his gun with great care. He fired. The 
elephant uttered a fearful scream, but still went on gal- 
lantly. 

" Look here," said Joe, taking up one of the rifles, " I 
must help you, Mr. Dick, or we shall never get to the end 
of this." 

And two bullets were quickly lodged in the flank of the 
animal. He stopped, raised his trunk high in the air, and 
then continued his rapid course towards the wood. He 
kept shaking his enormous head, and blood began to flow 
from his wounds. 

" Let us keep firing, Mr. Dick," said Joe. 

" Yes, and well-sustained fire, too," said the doctor; " we 
are only a few yards from the wood." 

Ten shots were rapidly fired ; the elephant made a terrific 
bound; the car and the balloon cracked as if they were 
coming to pieces. The shock caused the doctor to drop 
the ax to the ground. 

Their situation was critical. The rope of the grapnel 
was fastened so tightly that it could not be detached, nor 
could it be cut by the knives the travelers possessed. The 
balloon was rapidly nearing the wood when the elephant 
received a bullet in the eye at the moment he raised his 
head. He stopped, appeared to hesitate for a moment, 
then his knees bent beneath him, and he exposed his flank 
to the assailants. 

" Now for a bullet in his heart," cried Kennedy, as he 
discharged his carbine for the last time. 

The elephant uttered a roar of agony and distress, half 
raised himself for an instant as he waved his trunk to and 
fro, and then fell with all his immense weight upon one of 
his tusks, which was broken short off. He was dead. 

" His tusk is broken," cried Kennedy. " That ivory 
would fetch thirty-five guineas the hundredweight in Eng- 
land." 

" So much for that," said Joe, as he lowered himself to 
the ground by the grapnel-rope. 

" Why these regrets, my dear Dick? " replied the doctor. 



266 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

** We are not ivory merchants, and we have not come here 
to make our fortunes, have we ? " 

Joe inspected the grapnel. It was still firmly fastened 
to the remaining tusk. Samuel and Dick got down on the 
ground while the half-inflated balloon hovered above the 
carcass of the elephant. 

" What a splendid beast," cried Kennedy. " What an 
enormous mass he is. I have never, even in India, seen 
such a fine fellow." 

" That is not so surprising, my dear Dick. The ele- 
phants of Central Africa are the biggest naturally. They 
have been hunted so much in the neighborhood of the Cape 
by the Andersons and the Cummings, that they have mi- 
grated towards the equator, where we shall frequently 
meet them in large numbers." 

" In the meantime," said Joe, " I hope we shall have a 
taste of this fellow. I will pledge myself to provide you a 
savory meal at this gentleman's expense. Mr. Kennedy 
can go hunting for an hour or two; Mr. Samuel can in- 
spect and overhaul the * Victoria,' and I will play the cook.'* 

" That is well arranged," replied the doctor. " So each 
to his occupation." 

" Well, I shall take the two hours' liberty that Joe has 
been so kind as to give me," said Kennedy, 

" By all means, my friend, but don't be rash. Do not 
go too far." 

"You may be easy on that score," said Dick; and, 
armed with his rifle, he plunged into the wood. 

Then Joe set about his avocations. First, he made a 
hole in the ground about two feet deep, which he filled with 
the dead branches of trees which strewed the ground in 
consequence of the passages forced through the woods by 
the elephants, traces of which were clearly seen. The hole 
filled up, he thrust in at the top a log about two feet long, 
and set fire to it. 

He then turned to the elephant, which had fallen only 
about fifty yards from the wood, and dexterously cut off 
the trunk, which measured nearly two feet wide at the head. 
He chose the most delicate portions, and added one of the 
sponge-like feet. These are considered the tid-bits of the 
animal, as is the buffalo-hump, the paws of the bear, or the 
boar's head. 



NIGHT ON THE GROUND 267 

When the log was completely consumed inside and out- 
side, the hole, emptied oi the cinders and ashes, was very 
hot, so the pieces of the elephant's flesh, wrapped in aro- 
matic leaves, were laid at the bottom of this improvised 
furnace, and covered with the hot embers. Then Joe 
placed a second log over all, and when the wood was burned 
out, the meat was done to a turn. 

Then Joe took the dinner from the oven, placed it upon 
green leaves, and laid the repast in the center of a meadow- 
like space. He brought the biscuits, brandy, and cofTee, 
and fetched some fresh and sparkling water from a neigh- 
boring stream. 

The feast thus sent up was pleasant to behold, and Joe, 
without vanity, thought that it would be very good to 
eat. 

" Here," he said to himself, " here is a journey without 
danger, meals when you choose, and sleep when you like: 
what can a man want more ? And that good Mr. Kennedy 
did not want to come ! " 

Doctor Ferguson, for his part, was devoting himself to a 
thorough examination of his balloon. It did not appear to 
have suffered by the storm, the taffetas and gutta-percha 
had resisted wonderfully. Taking the actual distance from 
the ground, and calculating the ascensional force of the 
balloon, he perceived with satisfaction that the hydrogen 
was still in the same volume. The envelope up to this 
time had remained impermeable. 

It was only five days since the travelers had quitted 
Zanzibar, the pemmican had not been cut, the store of 
biscuit and preserved meat was sufficient for a long period, 
and they had only to renew their reserve of water. The 
tubes and the coil appeared to be in perfect order; thanks 
to their india-rubber joints, they yielded to all the oscilla- 
tions of the balloon. 

Having finished his inspection, the doctor put his notes 
in order. He made a most successful sketch of the sur- 
rounding country, with the immense prairie as far as the 
eye could reach, the forest, and the balloon standing mo- 
tionless over the body of the enormous elephant. 

At the end of the two hours Kennedy returned with a 
string of partridges and a haunch of venison cut from the 
oryx — a sort of gemsbok, the most agile species of ante- 



268 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

lopes. Joe took upon himself to prepare this addition to 
the repast. 

" Dinner is ready ! " he soon cried, in his cheery voice. 
And the three travelers had only to seat themselves upon 
the verdant meadow. The feet and trunk of the elephant 
were pronounced exquisite. They drank to " Old Eng- 
land," as usual, and some delicious havanas perfumed the 
air of this beautiful region for the first time. 

Kennedy ate, drank, and talked enough for four. He 
was intoxicated with the surroundings. He seriously pro- 
posed to the doctor to remain in that forest, and to con- 
struct a leafy cabin, and begin a sort of African Robinson 
Crusoe life. This proposition was not otherwise followed 
up, although Joe promised himself to take the part of 
" Friday." 

The country appeared so quiet, so deserted, that the 
Doctor determined to pass the night on the ground. Joe 
made a circle of fire, an indispensable barricade against 
wild beasts. Hyenas, cougars, and jackals, attracted by 
the scent of the elephant's carcass, came prowling around. 
Kennedy occasionally sent a shot after the most pressing of 
these visitors, but the night passed without any unpleasant 
incident. 

CHAPTER XVIII 

A NIGHT ON AN ISLAND 

Next morning, at five o'clock, they prepared to depart. 
Joe, with the ax which he had fortunately recovered, cut 
off the elephant's tusks. The " Victoria," restored to 
liberty, carried our travelers to the northeast at a speed of 
eighteen miles an hour. 

The doctor had carefully ascertained his position by the 
altitude of the stars during the night. He made it 2° 4' 
latitude below the equator, or say 160 geographical miles 
distant from it. They now passed over several villages 
without noticing the cries their appearance provoked. 
He took notes of the form of the locality with rapid 
sketches. He crossed over the slopes of the Rubemhe, 
almost as steep as the summits of the Ousagara, and later 
on reached the Tenga, the first spurs of the Karagwah 
chain, which, according to him, are the commencement of 



A NIGHT ON AN ISLAND 269 

the Mountains of the Moon. Now the old legend, which 
states that these hills are the cradle of the Nile, appears to 
be not far from the truth, inasmuch as they border upon 
Lake Ukereone, the supposed reservoir for the waters of 
the big river. 

From Kafuero, the central market of the native mer- 
chants, he perceived at length on the horizon the long- 
sought lake which Captain Speke got a glimpse of on the 
3rd of August, 1858. 

Samuel Ferguson was moved. He had almost arrived 
at one of the principal points of his expedition, and, tele- 
scope in hand, he did not lose a corner of this mysterious 
country which his gaze thus drank in. 

Beneath him the ground appeared generally exhausted; 
there was scarcely a hollow cultivated; the plain, dotted 
here and there with mounds of medium elevation, became 
level as it approached the lake; fields of barley took the 
place of rice. There was the plantain, from which the 
wine of the country is made, and the " mwani," a wild 
plant that yields coffee. A collection of fifty circular huts, 
covered with a flowery thatch, constituted the capital of 
Karagwah. They could easily distinguish the astonished 
faces of a race apparently good-looking and of a yellowish- 
brown color. Women of a most incredible corpulence 
were working in the fields, and the doctor astonished his 
companions by informing them that this stoutness, which 
is highly appreciated, is obtained by an obligatory diet of 
curdled milk. 

At mid-day the "Victoria" was in 1° 45' South lati- 
tude; in an hour the wind carried it over the lake. Cap- 
tain Speke called this Lake " Victoria " Nyanza. In this 
place it measures ninety miles wide. At its southern ex- 
tremity the captain found a group of islands which he 
designated the Archipelago of Bengal. He pushed his 
researches as far as Muanza on the eastern side, where he 
was well received by the sultan. He made a triangulation 
of this part of the lake; but he could not procure a boat 
either to cross it or to visit the great island of Ukereone. 
This very populous island is governed by three sultans, and 
only forms a peninsula at low water. 

The " Victoria " approached the lake more towards the 
north to the doctor's great disappointment, who wanted to 



270 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

note the lower bends. The banks bristled with thorny 
thickets and tangled brushwood, and were entirely hidden 
under a cloud of millions of mosquitoes of a clear brown 
color; the country then appeared to be uninhabitable and 
uninhabited. They could see troops of hippopotami wal- 
lowing amidst the reeds, whence they plunged beneath the 
pellucid water of the lake. 

The lake, seen from above, extended to such a distance 
towards the west as almost to appear a sea. The distance 
between the opposite sides of the lake is too great for the 
establishment of communications; besides, the storms are 
frequent and fierce, for the winds rage terribly in that ele- 
vated and open basin. 

The doctor had some difficulty to manage the balloon — 
he was afraid of being carried away towards the sea; but 
fortunately a current bore him directly to the north, and at 
6 P. M. the " Victoria " pulled up at a small desolate island 
in o° 30' lat. and 32° 52' long., about twenty miles from 
the border of the lake. 

The travelers were enabled to make the balloon fast to 
a tree, and the wind having dropped as evening came on, 
they remained quietly at anchor. They did not venture 
to get down on the ground, for here, as upon the banks of 
the Nyanza, legions of mosquitoes covered the earth in a 
thick cloud. Joe returned from the tree even covered with 
bites, but he did not trouble himself about them, as he 
fancied that such conduct was only "the nature of the 
animal." 

Nevertheless, the doctor, somewhat less of an optimist, 
let out the rope to its furthest extent with the view to es- 
cape these pestilent insects, which were hovering about 
with a never-resting " trumpeting." 

The doctor reckoned that the height of the lake above 
the level of the sea was as determined by Captain Speke; 
that is to say, 3,750 feet. 

"So we are on an island!" cried Joe, scratching him- 
self as if he would dislocate his wrists. 

" We shall have quickly made the tour of it," replied the 
Scot, " and, except these blessed insects, I don't think there 
is a living thing on it." 

" The islands, with which the lake is studded," replied 
Doctor Ferguson, " are only, in fact, the summits of sub- 



A NIGHT ON AN ISLAND 271 

merged hills, but we are fortunate in unuing shelter here, 
for the shores of the lake are inhabited by ferocious tribes. 
So go to sleep in peace, as the sky gives assurance of a 
quiet night." 

" Are you not going to do the same, Samuel? " 

" No, I cannot close my eyes. My thoughts are such as 
to banish sleep. To-morrow, my friends, if the wind be 
favorable, we shall proceed due north, and perhaps dis- 
cover the sources of the Nile — the impenetrable secret ! 
So near to the sources of the Great River I cannot sleep." 

Kennedy and Joe, whose scientific cogitations did not 
trouble them to so great an extent, did not hesitate to sleep 
soundly under the doctor's guardianship. 

On Wednesday, April 23rd, the " Victoria " set out at 
four o'clock under a gray sky. The darkness seemed 
loath to leave the waters of the lake, which was enveloped 
in a thick mist. Soon, however, a strong breeze dispersed 
all this fog. The " Victoria " was for some minutes bal- 
anced, in more senses than one, and at last made up its 
mind and set off directly towards the north. 

Doctor Ferguson clapped his hands joyously. 

" We are now in the right track," he cried ; " to-day or 
never we shall see the Nile. My friends, now we are cross- 
ing the equator — we are entering our own hemisphere." 

" Oh! " cried Joe. " Do you think, sir, that the equator 
does pass by here ? " 

" At this very spot, my brave lad ! " 

" Well, * saving your presence,' sir, it seems to me advis- 
able to ' wet ' it without further loss of time." 

" Go and fetch the grog," said the doctor, laughing; " you 
have a way of understanding cosmography which is not to 
be despised." 

And that was how they celebrated the " crossing of the 
line " in the " Victoria." 

The balloon continued to glide rapidly along. In the 
west they could perceive the low and somewhat undulating 
coast; at the end, the more elevated plains of Uganda and 
Usoga. The wind now blew with great force. 

The waters of the Nyanza rose and broke in billows, like 
those of the ocean. From the observation of certain waves, 
which kept breaking a long time after the wind lulled, the 
doctor reckoned that the lake was of great depth. Only one 



2^2 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

or two large boats were descried during the rapid transit. 

" This lake," said the doctor, " is evidently, from its ele- 
vated position, the natural reservoir of the rivers in the east- 
ern parts of Africa. Heaven gives it again in rain what it 
absorbs in vapors from its effluents. It appears to me cer- 
tain that the Nile ought to have its source here." 

" We shall soon see," said Kennedy. 

Towards nine o'clock the coast towards the west was 
neared: it appeared desert and wooded. The wind backed 
a little to the east, and they could get a glimpse of the other 
side of the lake. It trended so as to terminate in a very 
obtuse angle, about 2° 40' North latitude. High mountains 
stood up with arid peaks at this end of the Nyanza, but be- 
tween them a deep and winding gorge gave vent to a rip- 
pling stream. 

All the while he was regulating the balloon, Doctor Fer- 
guson kept examining the country with an anxious gaze. 

" There it is, my friends, there it is ! " he cried; " the ac- 
counts of the Arabs were correct. They spoke of a river 
by which the Lake Ukereone discharged itself towards the 
north, and this river exists. We will descend with it, and it 
flows with a rapidity equal to ours. And this drop of water 
which passes under our feet is surely on its way to mingle 
with the Mediterranean waves. It is the Nile ! " 

" It is the Nile," replied Kennedy, who had yielded to 
the enthusiasm of Samuel Ferguson. 

" Long live the Nile ! " cried Joe, who cried long live 
anything when he was pleased. 

The enormous rocks here and there hindered the course 
of this mysterious river. The water boiled up, forming 
rapids and cataracts, which confirmed the doctor in his sup- 
positions. These surrounding mountains gave rise to num- 
erous torrents foaming in their fall, which could be counted 
by hundreds. They could see little scattered jets of water 
springing from the earth, crossing each other, mingling to- 
gether, and vying in speed, and all hastening to this new- 
born stream, which became a river after it had absorbed 
them all. 

" That is really the Nile," replied the doctor, now con- 
vinced. " The origin of the name has puzzled the learned as 
much as the source of its waters. They have declared it 
comes from the Greek, from the Coptic, from the Sanscrit. 

v. I Verne 



A NIGHT ON AN ISLAND 273 

After all it is not much matter, since they could not disclose 
the secret of its source." 

" But," said the Scot, " how are we to be assured of the 
identity of this river with that which travelers from the 
north have discovered?" 

" We shall have certain irresistible and infallible proofs," 
replied Ferguson, " if the wind only favor us for another 
hour." 

The mountains fell back, giving place to numerous vil- 
lages, to fields cultivated with the oil plant, dourrah, and 
sugar-canes. The tribes of these countries appeared excited 
and hostile. They approached nearer to anger than adora- 
tion ; they looked upon the travelers as strangers, and not as 
gods. It seemed to them that in coming to the sources of 
the Nile they had come to steal something. The " Vic- 
toria " was obliged to keep out of musket range. 

" To land here would be difficult," said the Scotchman. 

" Well," said Joe, " so much the worse for the natives — ^ 
we shall deprive them of the benefit of our conversation." 

" I must descend, nevertheless," replied Doctor Fergu- 
son, " if only for a quarter of an hour. Otherv/ise I shall 
not be able to verify the results of our exploration." 

" Is that really indispensable, Samuel? " 

** It is, and we shall descend without the firing of a gun." 

" That is my business," rephed Kennedy, patting his car- 
bine. 

" Whenever you choose, sir," said Joe, preparing himself 
for fighting. 

" This will not be the first time," said the doctor, " that 
one has worked for science arms in hand; a similar thing 
happened to a French professor in the Spanish mountains 
when he was measuring the terrestrial meridian." 

You be quiet, Samuel, and trust to your bodyguard." 
Are we at the place now, sir? " asked Joe. 

" Not yet. Indeed we must ascend in order to learn the 
* lie of the land ' a little." 

The hydrogen was expanded, and in less than ten minutes 
the " Victoria " was floating at a height of 2,500 feet. 

They could distinguish from that elevation an inextric- 
able network of streams, which the river received. It flowed 
more from the west between the hills, in the midst of a fer- 
tile country. 



tt 



274 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" We are not ninety miles from Gondokoro," said the doc- 
tor, referring to the map, " and scarcely five miles from the 
point reached by the discoverers from the north. Let us 
now approach the earth, but cautiously." 

The " Victoria " descended more than 2,000 feet. 

" Now, my friends, be ready for anything." 

" We are ready," replied Dick and Joe. 

" Good," said the doctor. 

The " Victoria " sailed over the bed of the river at a 
height of scarcely 100 feet. The Nile measured fifty fath- 
oms at this spot ; and the inhabitants were tremendously ex- 
cited in the villages along the banks. At the second decree 
the river formed a cascade about ten feet high, and was con- 
sequently impassable for boats. 

" There is the very waterfall spoken of by M. Debono! " 
cried the doctor. 

The bed of the river became extended and dotted with 
numerous islands, which Ferguson scanned narrowly. He 
seemed to be seeking a landmark which he had not hitherto 
perceived. 

Some negroes were advancing in a boat beneath the bal- 
loon, Kennedy saluted them with a shot, which, without 
touching them, sent them back to the bank pretty quickly. 

" Pleasant voyage ! " shouted Joe; " in their place I would 
not take the chance of returning. I should have a whole- 
some fear of a monster who could hurl thunder at me at his 
will." 

But now the doctor suddenly seized his telescope and di- 
rected it towards an island situated in the center of the 
river. 

" Four trees ! " he cried. " Do you see them down there? 
In fact four solitary trees were observable at the extremity 
of the island. 

" 'Tis the isle of Benga ; it is indeed ! " he shouted. 

" Well, what then? " asked Dick. 

" There we must descend, please goodness." 

" But it appears to be inhabited, Mr. Samuel ! " 

" Joe is right; if I do not mistake, there are about twenty 
natives assembled there." 

" We must put them to flight, that will not be a difficult 
matter," said Ferguson. 

"All right!" said Dick. 



it 
t( 



A NIGHT ON AN ISLAND 275 

The sun was in the zenith. The " Victoria " approached 
the island. 

The negroes, who appeared to be of the Makado tribe, 
uttered discordant cries. One of them waved his bark head- 
covering in the air. Kennedy took aim, fired, and the hat 
was knocked to pieces. There was a general stampede. The 
natives precipitated themselves into the river, and swam 
across. From both banks there came a hail of bullets and 
a shower of arrows, but without any hurt to the balloon, 
whose grapnel had become fastened in a fissure of a rock. 
Joe let himself slide down to the ground. 

"The ladder, the ladder," cried the doctor. "Follow 
me Kennedy! " 

" What are you going to do? " 

" To descend. I want a witness." 

" Here I am, then." 
Joe, keep guard, mind." 

All right, sir; I am responsible for everything." 
Come, Dick," said the doctor, putting his foot on the 
ground. 

He led his companion towards a mass of rock that rose 
up at the extremity of the island. There, after searching 
for some time, hunting about amongst the brushwood till his 
hands were cut and bleeding, suddenly he grasped the Scot's 
arm. 

"Look there!" said he. 

" Letters ! " cried Kennedy. 

In fact, two letters engraven In the rock appeared in all 
their pristine sharpness of outline. They distinctly read: 

A. D. 
^ "A. D.," said the doctor. " Andrea Debono! The ini- 
tials of that very traveler who mounted to the highest point 
of the course of the Nile." 

" That is unimpeachable evidence, friend Samuel." 

"Are you now convinced? " 

" It is the Nile; we can have no doubt about it." 

The doctor took a " last fond look " at tlie precious initials, 
of which he made a tracing. 

** Now," said he. " for the balloon ! " 

" Quick, then, for there are some natives preparing to 
cross the river." 

"That does not matter much to us now. If the breeze 



276 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

will only hold to us a few hours we shall reach Gondokoro 
and shake hands with our own countrymen." 

Ten minutes afterwards the " Victoria " rose majestically, 
and Dr. Ferguson, as a signal of success, unfurled the Royal 
Standard of England as they sailed along. 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE NILE 



<( 



In what direction are we going? " asked Kennedy, see- 
ing his companion looking at the compass. 

" Nor-nor-west," was the reply. 

" The devil! That is not north, is it.^ " 

" No, Dick. And I think we shall have some difficulty 
to reach Gondokoro. I am sorry for it, but, at any rate, 
we have united the exploration of the east to those of the 
north, so we must not complain." 

The " Victoria " now edged away from the Nile. 

" A last look," said the doctor, " at this insurmountable 
latitude, which the most intrepid travelers have never been 
able to pass. There are surely those intractable tribes men- 
tioned by Pethwick, Arnaud, Miani, and the young explorer 
Lejean, to whom we are indebted for the best works upon 
the Upper Nile." 

" So," said Kennedy, " our discoveries are in accord with 
the forecastings of science." 

" Entirely. The sources of the White River of the 
Bahr-el-Abiad are immersed in a great lake like a sea. It 
takes its rise there. There poetry lost it. They loved to 
fancy that this king of rivers had a heavenly origin; the 
ancients called it * ocean ' and it was not a difficult thing 
to believe that it descended directly from the sun. But it is 
necessary to refute or to accept, from time to time, that 
which science has laid down. There will not be learned 
men for ever, perhaps ; but there will always be poets ! " 

" There are more cataracts," said Joe. 

" Those are the cataracts of Makedo in the 3rd degree of 
latitude. Nothing is more certain. Fancy our being able 
thus to follow the course of the Nile for hours! " 

" And farther down," said the Scot, " I can perceive the 
summit of a mountain." 



THE NILE 277 

" That is Mount Logwek, the * Shaking Mountain ' of 
the Arabs. All this part has been visited by M. Debono, 
who explored it under the name of Latif Effendi. The 
neighboring tribes are hostile to each other and keep up a 
war of extermination. You can thus estimate without diffi- 
culty the extent of the perils he had to overcome." 

The breeze now carried the " Victoria " towards the north- 
east- In order to clear Mount Logwek it was necessary 
to seek a more inclined current. 

" My friends," said the doctor to his companions, " we 
are now about to commence our journey across Africa in 
real earnest. So far we have only been following the foot- 
steps of our predecessors. We are now about to penetrate 
into the * unknown.' Your courage will not fail? " 

" Never! " cried Dick and Joe in one breath. 

" Let us go on then, and may Heaven guide us on our 
way ! " 

At ten o'clock at night, passing over ravines, forests, and 
villages, the travelers reached the side of the " Shaking 
Mountain," beside whose slopes they ascended. 

In this memorable journey of the 23rd April, during a 
sail of fifteen hours, they had, under the influence of a strong 
wind, accomplished a distance of 315 miles. 

But this latter part of the journey had left a trace of 
sadness behind it. Complete silence reigned in the car. Was 
Doctor Ferguson absorbed in the contemplation of his dis- 
coveries? Were his companions thinking of this expedition 
into the unknown regions? There was all that, without 
doubt, mingled with very vivid recollections of England and 
absent friends. Joe was the only one to assume a carelessly 
philosophic manner, feeling it only natural that his native 
land was no longer there when he had quitted it; but he re- 
spected the silence of the doctor and Kennedy. 

The " Victoria " now anchored, " broadside on," to the 
" Shaking Mountain " ; they were enabled to make a sub- 
stantial meal, and all slept under the successive guard of the 
other alternately. 

Next day, more cheerful thoughts arrived with the work- 
ing hours. They had a lovely day, and the wind blew in 
the proper direction, A breakfast, much enlivened by Joe, 
sufficed to put them into better spirits. 

The country passed over just then was very extensive. 



(( 



2y^ FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

It stretched from the Mountains of the Moon to those of 
Darfour, a space as broad as the width of Europe. 

*' We shall undoubtedly cross what is supposed to be the 
kingdom of Usoga," said the doctor. " Some geographers 
have pretended that, in the center of Africa exists a vast de- 
pression, an immense central lake. We shall see if this 
hypothesis has any foundation in fact." 

But how have they arrived at such a conclusion ? '* 
From the reports of the Arabs, these people are great 
story-tellers; too much so, perhaps. Some travelers, arriv- 
ing from Kazeh, or the Great Lakes, have seen slaves 
brought from the central districts. They have questioned 
these people respecting their country, they have put together 
a heap of these various statements, and have thence made 
their deduction. At the bottom of all this there is a sub- 
stratum of truth, and you have seen that they did not mis- 
take in the origin of the Nile so much after all." 

" Nothing could be more correct," said Kennedy. 

" It is from these documents that trial-maps have been at- 
tempted. So I am about to follow up my route upon one of 
these, and to rectify it when necessary." 

" Is all this region inhabited? " asked Joe. 
Certainly, but thinly." 
I suspect so." 

" These scattered tribes are comprised under the general 
denomination of Nyam-Nyam, and this name is only an- 
other name for ' onomatopy ' ; it reproduces the sound of 
mastication." 

" Perfectly," replied Joe. " Nyam-Nyam." 

" My good Joe, if you were the original cause of this 
* onomatopy,' you would not be so perfect? " 

" What do you mean? " 

" Merely that these people are cannibals ! " 

"Is that certain?" 

" Quite certain People also pretended that these tribes 
had tails, but it was soon discovered that the tails were those 
of the animals in whose skins they were clothed." 

" So much the worse. A tail is a very useful appendage 
to keep off the mosquitoes," said Joe. 

" Possibly, but we must relegate that tale to the ranks of 
fable, just like the story told by Brun-Rollet of certain tribes 
having dogs' heads." 






THE NILE '279 

" Dogs* Hea3s ! Most convenient for Barking, and for 
cannibals." 

" What has been proved is unfortunately this, that the 
people are most savage, and they are very desirous of human 
flesh, which they seek for with avidity.'" 

" All I ask is," said Joe, " that they won't seek me indi- 
vidually so anxiously." 

"I say! "cried Dick. 

" I mean it this way, Mr. Dick. If ever I am to be eaten 
in a moment of scarcity, I hope that it will be for your ad- 
vantage, and for my master's. But to sustain those black- 
amoors, never! I should die of shame! " 

" Well, then my brave Joe, now that is understood, we 
may count upon you at a pinch," said Kennedy. 

" At your service, gentlemen," said Joe. 

" Joe talks like that," said the doctor, " so that we may 
take great care of him, and feed him up." 

" Very likely," replied Joe. " Man is a terribly selfish 
animal." 

During the afternoon the sky was hidden by a thick mist, 
which made the earth damp. The fog scarcely allowed ob- 
jects to be distinguished on the ground, and, fearful of strik- 
ing against some invisible peak, the doctor ascended for 
about five hours. The night passed without accident, but it 
was necessary to be doubly vigilant in the profound darkness. 

The trade-wind blew with extreme violence during the 
early part of the following day. The wind roared in the 
lower part of the balloon, and shook the appendages by 
which the tubes of dilatation penetrated with great force. 
They were compelled to fasten them with ropes, in which 
work Joe acquitted himself very skillfully. 

They ascertained, at the same time, that the opening at 
the top of the balloon remained hermetically sealed. " This 
is of the utmost importance to us," said Doctor Ferguson. 
"We obviate the escape of the precious gas; besides, we 
leave nothing round us of an inflammable nature by which, 
if a light were applied, we should be stopped altogether." 

" That would be a very unpleasant incident of our jour- 
ney," said Joe. 

" Should we be precipitated to the ground ? " asked Dick. 

" No, not precipitated. The gas would burn quietly, and 
we should descend by degrees. A similar accident happened 



28o FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

to the French aeronaut, Madame Blanchard. She set fire 
to the balloon while setting off fireworks, but she did not 
fall; and she would not have lost her life had her car not 
been hurled against a chimney, and she herself thrown to 
the ground." 

" Let us trust that no such accident will happen to us," 
said Dick. ** So far our journey has not appeared to me 
dangerous, and I see no reason why we should not reach our 
destination" 

" Nor do I, my dear Dick. Accidents, moreover, have 
always been caused either by imprudence on the part of the 
aeronauts, or by the badly-constructed apparatus they make 
use of. So, out of many thousands of aerial ascents, we 
can reckon only about twenty fatal accidents. Generally it 
is the landings or the departures which offer most danger. 
So, in like case, we ought not to neglect any precautions." 

" It is breakfast time," said Joe; " we must content our- 
selves with preserved meat and coffee until Mr. Kennedy 
has the opportunity to treat us to a haunch of venison." 



CHAPTER XX 

FIGHT OF THE TRIBES 

The wind was becoming violent and squally. The " Vic- 
toria " made " tacks " in the air. Sometimes tossed to the 
north, sometimes to the south, it could not meet with any 
steady slant of wind. 

" We are going very fast without advancing much," said 
Kennedy, as he remarked the frequent oscillations of the 
magnetic needle. 

" The * Victoria ' is flying at a speed of nearly thirty 
leagues an hour," said Ferguson. " Lean over and see how 
quickly the country disappears from beneath us. Mind, 
this forest appears as if it were about to precipitate itself 
against us ! " 

" The forest is already an open space," said Kennedy. 

"And the open space is now a village," added Joe, a 
few seconds later. " Look at the astonished faces of the 
niggers ! " 

" No wonder," replied the doctor, " The French 
peasants, when they first saw balloons, ran away, taking 



FIGHT OF THE TRIBES 281 

them for monstrous air-sprites; so we must not be sur- 
prised at the natives of the Soudan looking astonished." 

" I declare," said Joe, as the " Victoria " just skimmed 
over a village about 100 feet above it. "I have a great 
mind to shy an empty bottle at them if you have no ob- 
jection, sir. If it arrive unbroken they will worship it, if 
it smash they will make * charms ' of the pieces." 

And as he spoke he threw a bottle over; it of course 
was broken to fragments, while the natives ran into their 
huts uttering loud cries. 

A little farther on Kennedy cried: 

" Look at that extraordinary tree — it appears to be of 
one species at the top and another lower down ! " 

" Yes," said Joe ; " this is apparently a country where 
trees grow one on top of the other! " 

" It is only the trunk of a fig-tree," replied the doctor, 
** upon which a little mold has fallen. One fine day the 
wind happened to bring a seed of the palm here, and the 
palm tree has grown up accordingly." 

" A capital plan," said Joe, " and one I shall introduce 
into England. It would answer capitally in the London 
parks, not to mention that it would be a way of multiplying 
fruit trees ; one might have gardens in the air, which would 
be quite to the taste of small proprietors." 

At this moment they were obliged to elevate the " Vic- 
toria " to about 300 feet, so as to avoid a forest of high 
trees — very ancient banyans. 

"What magnificent trees!" cried Kennedy; "I know; 
nothing finer than these old forests. Look, Samuel ! " 

" The height of these banyans is truly marvelous, my 
dear Dick ; yet they are not to be compared with the Ameri- 
can forests." 

" What ! are there bigger trees in America ? " 

" Certainly ! amongst those called * mammoth trees.* 
Thus in California there is a cedar 450 feet high, which 
is higher than the tower of the Houses of Parliament or 
even than the great Pyramid of Egypt. The trunk is 120 
feet round at the base, and the concentric rings of the tree 
declare it to be more than 4,000 years old ! " 

" Well, sir," said Joe, " that is not very wonderful. 
When you have lived 4,000 years it is only natural that you 
should be very big." 



282 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

During the above conversation the forest had given place 
to a large collection of huts, disposed in a circle round a 
clear space. In the center rose an extraordinary tree. 
Joe cried out when he saw it: "Well, if that tree has 
produced such flowers as those for 4,000 years, I shall not 
pay it any compliment." 

It was a gigantic sycamore, whose trunk was completely 
concealed by a heap of human bones. The " flowers " 
of which Joe spoke were human heads lately cut off, and 
suspended by daggers fixed in the bark. 

" The ' war-tree ' of the cannibals," said the doctor. 
** The Indians take the scalp, the Africans the entire head." 

" A matter of taste," said Joe. 

But the village of the bleeding heads was fast disap- 
pearing on the horizon ; yet another farther on offered a not 
less horrible spectacle. Half-eaten human bodies, crum- 
bling skeletons, human remains, were scattered about, and 
were left to be devoured by the hyenas and jackals. 

"Those are doubtless the bodies of criminals, and, as is 
the practice in Abyssinia, they are exposed to the attacks 
of wild beasts, who devour them at their leisure, having 
first killed them with teeth and claws." 

" It is not much more cruel than hanging," said the Scot, 
" it is more horrible, that's all." 

"In the south of Africa," replied the doctor, "they 
merely shut the offender up in his own hut with the wild 
beasts; perhaps his family is also included. The hut is 
then set on fire and the occupants are all roasted together. 
I do call that cruelty, but I agree with Kennedy that if 
hanging be less cruel it is equally barbarous." 

Joe, with the excellent sight which served him so well 
now, cried that he could perceive some birds of prey ap- 
pearing above the horizon. 

" They are eagles," replied Kennedy, after having exam- 
ined them with his telescope; " splendid birds! — their flight 
is as rapid as our own." 

" Heaven preserve us from their attacks ! " said the doc- 
tor ; " they are more to be dreaded than the most ferocious 
beasts or the most savage tribes." 

" Bah ! " replied Dick, " we shall drive them off with 
our rifles." 

" I should very much prefer not to be obliged to resort 



FIGHT OF THE TRIBES 283 

to your skill, my dear Dick. The taffeta could not resist 
their beaks. Fortunately they appear to be more fright- 
ened than attracted by our balloon." 

" Yes, but I have got an idea," said Joe, " for ideas are 
tumbling in by dozens to-day. If we were to procure a 
team of eagles, we might harness them to the car, and they 
would draw us through the air." 

"The proposal is seriously made," said the doctor; 
" but I very much question its practicability with such very 
restive animals." 

"We might train them," replied Joe; "instead of bits 
we could guide them with blinkers, which would cover their 
eyes completely. Unloose one eye, they would go to the 
right or left as the case might be; blind them again, and 
they would stop." 

" You must allow me, my good Joe, to prefer a favor- 
able wind to your harnessed eagles. It costs less to keep — 
that is certain, at any rate." 

" Oh, by all means, sir; but I will keep my idea all the 
same." 

It was mid-day. For some time the " Victoria " had 
been going along steadily, not flying as it lately had been. 
Suddenly cries and whistling sounds reached the ears of 
the travelers; they leaned over and perceived in the open 
plain a sight not easily to be forgotten. Two tribes were 
engaged in deadly combat and exchanging clouds of 
arrows. The combatants were so deeply engaged that they 
did not perceive the " Victoria." They numbered about 
300, and were mingled in an inextricable melee; the greater 
part of them were reddened with the blood in which they 
appeared literally steeped. It was a horrible sight. At 
the appearance of the balloon there was a pause, the shouts 
were redoubled, some arrows were launched at the car, and 
one of them came near enough for Joe to catch it. 

" We must get out of reach," said the doctor. " No 
imprudence, we cannot allow that." 

The battle continued. So soon as an enemy "bit the 
dust," his opponent hastened to decapitate him. The 
women mixed in this rout, collected the bleeding heads, and 
piled them up at either extremity of the battle-field, and 
often fought among themselves for possession of these 
hideous trophies. 



284 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" Horrible scene," said Kennedy, with profound disgust. 

" Wretched creatures," cried Joe. " They only want a 
uniform now to be like all other soldiers." 

" I have a great mind to interfere in the battle," cried 
Kennedy, brandishing a carbine. 

" Not so," replied the doctor ; " nothing of the sort. Let 
us mind our own business. How do you know who is right 
or wrong, that you should play the part of Providence? 
Let us get farther away from this repulsive scene. If 
great generals could only look down as we do upon their 
fields of battle, they would end, perhaps, in losing their 
taste for blood and conquest." 

The chief of one of the bands of savages was remarkable 
for his tall form and Herculean strength. With one hand he 
plunged his lance into the thick masses of his enemies, and 
with the other he cleared the way with tremendous blows of 
his hatchet. Presently he cast his gory lance from him, and 
cast himself upon a wounded man, whose arm he swept off 
with a blow of his hatchet. He then seized the arm and 
began to devour it on the spot. 

" Ugh! " cried Kennedy, " the brute! I can't stand any 
more." And the warrior, hit by a bullet in the forehead, fell 
dead on his back. 

At his fall, a profound terror seized his band. This 
supernatural death served to reanimate the ardor of their 
adversaries, and in a moment the battle-field was abandoned 
by half the combatants. 

" Let us seek a higher current to take us along," said the 
doctor, " I am sick of this." 

But they could not get away so quickly, but that they 
could perceive the victorious tribe seize upon the dead and 
wounded, and fight over the still warm flesh, and devour it 
eagerly. " Pugh," said Joe, " that is sickening." 

The "Victoria " rose. The shouts of the frenzied crowd, 
followed them for some moments, but at length, impelled 
towards the south, they escaped from this scene of carnage 
and cannibalism. 

The country appeared undulating with several water- 
courses, which ran towards the east, and fell doubtless into 
the affluents of the lake Nu, or of the River of Gazelles, 
respecting which M. Lejean has given some curious de- 
tails. When night fell the ** Victoria " dropped anchor in 



it 



FIGHT OF THE TRIBES 285 

27° E. longitude, and 4° 20' N. latitude, after a journey 
of 150 miles. 



CHAPTER XXI 

A NIGHT ATTACK 

The night was very dark. The doctor had not been able 
to recognize the country. He made fast to a tall tree, of 
which he could scarcely distinguish the confused mass in 
the gloom. According to arrangement, he took the nine 
o'clock watch, and at midnight Dick came to relieve him. 
Watch carefully, Dick, please; very carefully." 
Anything new, then?" 

" No ; I believe I have heard some strange noises below 
us, and I do not know quite where the wind has carried 
us. A little extra prudence, then, cannot do any harm." 

" You have heard cries of wild beasts? " 

" No, it appeared to me something quite different. How- 
ever, at the least alarm do not fail to wake us." 

" All right," replied Dick. 

After listening attentively once more, and hearing noth- 
ing, the doctor retired, and slept soundly. 

The sky was covered with thick clouds, but not a breath 
of wind was stirring. The "Victoria," held by a single 
grapnel, felt no movement. 

Kennedy leaned upon the car so as to watch the action 
of the blow-pipe, and began to think of this Erebus-like 
gloom. He scanned the horizon, and as it happens to 
restless or preoccupied persons, he fancied he could perceive 
at times a faint glimmering of light. At one moment he 
actually believed he saw it 200 paces distant, but it was 
only a flash, after which he could perceive nothing. It was 
doubtless one of those luminous sensations which the eye 
produces in the midst of profound darkness. 

Kennedy was satisfied, and resumed his contemplative 
mood, when a sharp whistle broke the silence. Was it the 
cry of an animal or of a bird of night? Or did it emanate 
from human lips ? 

Kennedy, recognizing all the gravity of the situation, 
was about to rouse his companions, but he considered that 
in any case, whether man or beast, it was out of range. 



286 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

He looked to his arms, however, and, with the night-glass, 
resumed his scrutiny into the darkness. 

He soon fancied that he could distinguish below him 
shadowy forms, which glided towards the tree. By a ray of 
moonlight, which glinted like a lightning flash between two 
clouds, he perceived distinctly a group of people moving 
about in the gloom. 

The adventure with the apes came to his mind; he laid 
his hand on the doctor's shoulder. Ferguson woke imme- 
diately. 

" Silence ! " whispered Kennedy. 

" Is anything the matter? " 

" Yes, wake Joe." 

So soon as Joe was awake, the Scot related what he had 
seen. 

" Those cursed apes again," said Joe. 

" Possibly ! but we must take our precautions. Joe and 
I will descend into the tree by the ladder," said Kennedy. 

" And in the meantime," said the doctor, " I will take 
steps to ensure a rapid retreat upwards." 

"Agreed!" 

" Let us get down," said Joe. 

" Do not resort to firearms except in the last necessity," 
said the doctor. " It is no use to reveal our whereabouts in 
these parts." 

Dick and Joe signed assent and glided noiselessly into 
the tree. They took their position upon the fork of two 
large branches which the grapnel had caught. 

For some minutes they listened mute and motionless in 
the tree. At a certain crackling of the bark Joe seized the 
Scot's hand. 

" Don't you hear something? " 

" Yes; it is approaching." 

" If it be a serpent? The hissing you heard " 

" No, it is something human." 

" I prefer savages to serpents," said Joe. " Those rep- 
tiles are most repugnant to me." 

" The noise is increasing," said Kennedy some moments 
afterwards. 

" Yes, they are ascending — creeping up." 

" Do you watch this side; I will look out on the other." 

" All right, sir." 



A NIGHT ATTACK 287 

They found themselves isolated upon the main branch, 
growing right in the middle of the miniature forest, which 
a " baobab " tree makes. The obscurity, increased by the 
thickness of the foliage, was profound; nevertheless Joe, 
stooping to Kennedy's ear, and pointing to the lower por- 
tion of the tree, said : " Niggers ! " 

Some words in a low voice then reached even to the 
ears of the travelers. Joe shouldered his rifle. 

" Wait a bit," said Kennedy. 

The savages had actually scaled the "baobab." They 
rushed along it on every side, creeping along the branches 
like snakes — approaching slowly but surely; but they be- 
trayed their presence by the smell of the horrible grease 
with which their bodies were smeared. 

Soon two heads presented themselves to our travelers' 
gaze on a level with the very branch which they occupied. 

" Attention ! " cried Dick. " Fire ! " 

The double discharge echoed like thunder, and arose 
amid cries of distress. In a moment all the crowd had 
disappeared. 

But in the midst of the shoutings a most extraordinary 
cry arose. It was incredible — impossible ! A human voice, 
and speaking French! 

" Help, help !" it cried. 

Kennedy and Joe were stupefied. They regained the 
car with all speed. 

" You heard it? " asked the doctor. 

" Most decidedly a supernatural cry — * Help ! help ! ' " 

" 'Tis a Frenchman in the hands of the savages ! " said 
the doctor. 

"AtravelerV 

" A missionary, very likely ! " 

" The unhappy man! " cried Kennedy. " They are about 
to kill him — to make him suffer martyrdom ! " The doctor 
endeavored in vain to hide his emotion. 

" There can be no doubt," said he, " some unhappy 
Frenchman has fallen into the hands of the savages. But 
we will not leave this spot till we have made every effort to 
rescue him. The sound of our guns he looked upon as 
inspired succor — a providential intervention. We will not 
render this last hope false. Is this your opinion? " 

" It is, Samuel, and we are ready to obey you." 



288 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" Let us then arrange our plans, and so soon as daylight 
comes we will endeavor to release him." 

" But how shall we drive away those horrible negroes ? " 

" It seems to me," said the doctor, " that after the way 
in which they dispersed, they were not acquainted with 
firearms. We must then profit by their fright; but it will 
be necessary to wait for daylight, and we will form our plan 
of rescue according to the circumstances." 

" This unhappy man cannot be very far distant," said 
Joe. "For r 

" Help, help ! " cried the voice, but this time in weaker 
accents. 

" The barbarians ! " cried Joe angrily. " Suppose they 
kill him to-night?" 

"Yes, Samuel!" said Kennedy. "If they murder him 
to-night?" 

" That is not likely, my friends. These savage tribes kill 
their prisoners in open day : the sun is necessary for them." 

" Suppose I were to take advantage of the darkness," 
said the Scot, " to approach this poor victim ? " 

" I will go with you, Mr. Dick." 

" Stop, stop, my friends. This suggestion does equal 
honor to your courage and your feelings; but you will 
put everything in jeopardy, and will only endanger the man 
we want to save." 

"How so?" asked Kennedy. "The savages are 
frightened and dispersed. They will not return." 

" Dick, obey me, I beg of you. I ask it for the com- 
mon safety. If by any chance you were discovered, every- 
thing would be lost." 

" But this poor wretch who is waiting and hoping all 
this time. No one answers him, no one comes to his assist- 
ance. He will think his senses have deceived him; that 
he has heard nothing." 

" He can be reassured," said the doctor. 

And standing up in the darkness and putting his hands 
to his mouth, the doctor called out to the stranger, in 
French : 

" Whoever you are, be confident. Three friends watch 
over you." 

A terrible uproar was the reply, which doubtless drowned 
the prisoner's answer. 

V. I Verne 



A NIGHT ATTACK 2S9 

" They are about to murder him," cried Kennedy. " Our 
interference has only served to hasten the hour of his death. 
We must act." 

" But how, Dick ? What can you do in this darkness ? " 

" Oh ! if it were only day ! " cried Joe. 

"Well, if it were day?" said the doctor, in a peculiar 
tone. 

" Nothing easier then," said Kennedy. " I would de- 
scend and disperse this rabble with a few shots." 

"And you, Joe?" asked the doctor. 

" I, sir, would act more prudently, In making known to 
the prisoner that he should escape in the proper direction." 

"And how would you convey this advice? " 

" By means of this arrow, which I caught flying, and to 
which I would fasten a note; or by simply calling to him 
in a loud voice. The negroes would not understand his 
language." 

Your plans are impracticable, my friends ; the greatest 
difficulty would be for this unfortunate man to save himself, 
even admitting that he could escape the vigilance of his 
executioners. As for you, my dear Dick, with much cour- 
age and by profiting by the fright excited by our firearms, 
your plan might perhaps succeed; but if it failed you would 
be lost, and we should have two persons to save instead of 
one. No, we must have all the chances on our side, and act 
otherwise." 

"Very well, but act at once," replied Kennedy. 

" Perhaps," replied Samuel, dwelling on the word. 

"Are you not capable of dispelling this darkness, sir? " 

"Who knows, Joe?" 

" Ah, if you could do a thing like that, I should say you 
are the cleverest man in the world." 

The doctor remained silent for some minutes In deep 
thought. His companions contemplated him with some 
emotion. They were over-excited by this extraordinary 
Incident. Ferguson soon spoke. 

"This is my plan," he said. "We have still 200 lbs. 
of ballast, as the bags in which we brought it have remained 
untouched. I take for granted that this prisoner, a man 
evidently worn-out by hardships, weighs as much as one of 
us. There will remain, therefore, 60 Ids. to throw away in 
order that we may rise rapidly." 



290 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" How do you intend to act, then?" asked Kennedy. 

" This way, Dick. You admit, no doubt, that if I suc- 
ceed with the prisoner and throw away a quantity of bal- 
last equal to his weight, nothing will be changed so far as 
the equilibrium of the balloon is concerned; but then if I 
want to secure a rapid ascent to escape this tribe of negroes, 
I must use stronger measures than the blow-pipe; now in 
throwing over this weight of ballast at the right moment i 
am sure to rise with great rapidity." 

" That is evident." 

" Yes ; but there is great Inconvenience in it. For in- 
stance, to descend slowly, I must lose a quantity of gas 
proportionate to the excess of ballast I shall have thrown 
away. Now this gas is a very precious commodity, but 
we must not regret the loss where the safety of a fellow- 
creature is concerned." 

" You are right, Samuel, we must sacrifice everything to 
save him." 

" Well, let us be up and doing. Dispose these bags so 
that they may be thrown down at once. 

" But the darkness ■" 

" Will hide our preparations, and will not be gone until 
they are completed. Take care to have all the arms within 
reach. It may be necessary to give them a volley ; we have 
one shot in the carbine, four in the two guns, twelve in the 
two revolvers — seventeen in all — which can be fired in a 
quarter of a minute. But we may not be obliged to resort 
to this. Are you ready? " 

" We are," replied Joe. 

The bags were arranged, and the arms laid ready for 
action. 

" Good," said the doctor. " Keep a good look-out. Joe 
shall have the duty of throwing the ballast over, and Dick 
shall take up the prisoner, but nothing may be done without 
my orders. Joe, go and loose the grapnel and come back 
3,s quickly as possible." 

Joe let himself slide down by the rope, and reappeared 
in a few minutes. The " Victoria " thus freed, floated in 
air, scarcely moving at all." 

Meantime the doctor assured himself that there was si 
sufficient quantity of gas in the " mixing-chest " to support 
|;he blow-pipe, if necessary, .without making it obligatory, to 



A NIGHT ATTACK ■ ■ 291: 

resort to the Buntzen " pile." He raised the two perfectly 
isolating conducting rods which were used to decompose 
the water, then searching in his traveling-bag he drew out 
two pieces of charcoal cut to a point, which he fastened to 
the end of each wire. 

His two friends watched him without understanding his 
object, but they said nothing until the doctor had finished. 
He then stood upright in the center of the car and took one 
of the pieces of charcoal in each hand and touched one 
against the other. Suddenly an intense and dazzling light 
was produced of an insupportable brightness between the 
two parts of the charcoal. An immense band of electric 
light literally burnt through the obscurity of the night. 

"Oh!" said Joe. "Sir " 

" Hold your tongue," said the doctor. 

CHAPTER XXII 

THE RESCUE 

Ferguson directed his electric light towards various 
points, and stopped at the spot whence the cries of terror 
were heard. His two companions regarded it fixedly. 

The *' baobab," above which the " Victoria " was hover- 
ing, was growing in the center of an open space. Between 
the oil-plant fields and the sugar-canes they distinguished 
fifty huts of low and conical appearance, around which a 
numerous tribe had congregated. 

A hundred feet below the balloon a stake had been pre- 
pared. At the foot of this stake lay a human being, a 
young man about thirty years old, with long black hair; he 
was half naked, emaciated, stained with blood, and covered 
with wounds. His head was bent forward on his chest. 

Some hairs more closely shaven on tlie top of the head 
indicated the place where the tonsure had been half effaced. 

"A missionary! a priest! " cried Joe. 

" Poor fellow ! " said the Scot. 

" We will save him, Dick," said the doctor. 

The crowd of negroes perceiving the balloon, which ap- 
peared like an enormous comet with a dazzling tail, were 
seized with a panic, as may readily be imagined. At their 
cries, the prisoner raised his head. His eyes sparkled with 



1292 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

a rapid feeling of hope, and, without understanding all that 
was going on, he extended his hands towards his would-be 
helpers. 

" He lives, he lives ! " cried Ferguson. " Heaven be 
praised ! These savages are in a most excellent fright. .We 
shall save him. Are you ready, friends ? " 

" We are quite ready, Samuel." 

" Joe, slacken the blow-pipe." 

The doctor's orders were obeyed. A scarcely perceptible 
breeze carried the " Victoria " gently over the prisoner, at 
the same time that it was gradually lowered by the contrac- 
tion of the gas. For about ten minutes it remained floating 
in the midst of the waves of electric light. Ferguson darted 
amongst the crowd his sparkling clusters of light, which 
shot here and there in rapid and brilliant gleams. The 
tribe, under the influence of indescribable terror, disap- 
peared gradually into their huts, and the neighborhood of 
the stake was deserted. The doctor had been right to count 
upon the fantastic appearance of the " Victoria," which 
darted rays as from the sun into the darkness. 

The car approached the ground. But some negroes, 
bolder than the rest, began to comprehend that their victim 
would escape, and returned, yelling loudly. Kennedy seized 
his rifle, but the doctor ordered him not to fire. 

The priest was kneeling down, not having sufficient 
strength to stand upright ; he was not even tied to the stake, 
as his weakness rendered bonds useless. At the moment 
that the car touched the ground, the Scot leaned over, and, 
seizing the priest round the waist, placed him in the car. 
At the same moment, Joe threw overboard the 200 lbs. of 
ballast. The doctor expected to ascend with extreme rapid- 
ity: but, contrary to his hopes, the balloon, after rising 
about three or four feet from the ground, remained sta- 
tionary. 

" What is delaying us ? " he exclaimed, in terrified ac- 
cents. 

Some savages now came running up and uttering fierce 
cries. 

"Oh!" cried Joe, leaning over, "one of those cursed 
niggers is holding on to the balloon." 

" Dick, Dick ! " cried the doctor, " the water-tank ! " 

Dick understood, and raising one of the chests of water. 



THE RESCUE 293 

which weighed more than 100 lbs., he threw it overboard. 

The "Victoria," suddenly lightened, made a bound of 
300 feet into the air, amidst the yells of the tribe, from 
whom the prisoner had escaped in a flash of dazzling light. 

" Hurrah ! " cried the doctor's companions. 

Suddenly the balloon gave another bound, which carried 
it up to an elevation of 1,000 feet. 

" What is it? " asked Kennedy, who had nearly lost his 
equilibrium. 

" Nothing ! It is only that blackguard who has let go," 
replied the doctor calmly. 

And Joe, looking quickly over, could still perceive the 
savage with extended hands tumbling over and over in the 
air, and he soon fell crushed upon the ground. The doctor 
then separated the two electric wires, and the obscurity 
became profound. It was one o'clock in the morning. 

The Frenchman, who had fainted, at length opened his 
eyes. 

" You are saved ! " said the doctor. 

" Saved ! " he answered in English, with a sad smile, 
" saved from a cruel death. My brothers, I thank you ; 
but my days are numbered, even my hours are fast running 
out, and I have not long to live " 

And the missionary, utterly exhausted, relapsed into in- 
sensibility. 

" He is dead ! " exclaimed Dick. 

" No, no," replied Ferguson, as he bent over him, " but 
he is very weak; let us lay him down in the tent." 

They laid down gently upon the coverings the poor 
emaciated body, covered with scars and still bleeding 
wounds, and on which the iron and the fire had left a hun- 
dred saddening traces. The doctor made some lint from 
a handkerchief, which he placed upon the wounds, after 
having washed them carefully. He did all this with the 
practiced hand of a doctor, then taking a cordial from the 
medicine-chest he poured a few drops down his patient's 
throat. 

The priest feebly touched his quivering lips, and had 
scarcely strength to murmur " Thank you ! " 

The doctor perceived that it was necessary to leave him 
in perfect repose, so he drew the curtains of the tent and 
resumed his guidance of the balloon. 



^94 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

The balloon, taking into account the weight of its new 
guest, had been divested of nearly i8o lbs. weight. It 
therefore kept itself up without the assistance of the blow- 
pipe. At daybreak a current drove it gently towards the 
west-nor'west. Ferguson had been contemplating the un- 
conscious priest for some time, when Dick inquired: 

" Can we preserve the life of this companion whom 
Heaven has sent ? Have you any hope ? " 

" Yes, Dick, with care and pure air." 

" How the man has suffered ! " said Joe, with feeling. 

" He has done a much bolder thing than we have, in 
coming alone amongst these tribes." 

" No doubt about that," replied the doctor. 

During all that day the doctor would not permit the 
sleep of his patient to be disturbed. It was a long rest, 
interrupted occasionally by painful murmurings, which did 
not reassure Ferguson. 

Towards evening the " Victoria " rested motionless in 
the gloom, and during that night, while Joe and Kennedy 
laid down by the side of the invalid, Ferguson kept watch. 

The following morning they perceived that the " Vic- 
toria " had drifted very slightly towards the west. The day 
promised to be fair and beautiful. The invalid was able to 
address his friends in a stronger voice, they pulled back 
the curtains of the tent, and he breathed with delight the 
crisp morning air. 

" How do you feel ? " asked Ferguson. 

" Rather better," replied he. " But, my friends, I have 
scarcely seen you but as it were in a dream. I can hardly 
understand what has happened. Tell me who you are, so 
that your names may be remembered in my last prayer." 

" We are English travelers," said Samuel, " and are at- 
tempting to cross Africa in a balloon, and during our pas- 
sage we have had the happiness to render you assistance." 

" Science has its heroes," said the missionary. 

" And religion has its martyrs," replied the Scotchman. 

" You are a missionary, then ? " said the doctor. 

" I am a priest of the Mission of the Lazarists. Heaven 
sent you to me, and Heaven be praised for it. The sacri- 
fice of my life was offered. But you come from Europe! 
Speak to me of Europe, and of France! I have had no 
news for five years ! " 



THE RESCUE 295 

" Five years alone, amongst those savages ! " exclaimed 
Kennedy. 

" There were souls to be saved," said the young priest. 
" Ignorant brothers, barbarians, whom religion alone is able 
to instruct and to civilize." 

Samuel Ferguson, yielding to the desire of the mis- 
sionary, talked to him for a long time of France. The 
priest listened eagerly, and tears gathered in his eyes. The 
poor young man took by turns the hands of Kennedy and 
Joe in his feverish grasp, th 1 doctor prepared some cups of 
tea, of which he gladly partook. He had then sufficient 
strength to sit up a :::tie, and smiled at seeing himself 
carried through such a pure atmosphere. 

" You are certainly wonderful travelers," he said, " and 
you will succeed in your bold enterprise. You will see 
your parents, your friends, your country once again, 
you " 

The weakness of the young priest here becamic so great 
that he was obliged to lie down again. During the pros- 
tration of some hours which followed, he was like one dead 
under Ferguson's hands. He could not contain his emotion, 
he felt his patient's life was speeding. Were they then to 
lose so quickly he whom they had snatched from mar- 
tyrdom? He dressed the patient's wounds once more, and 
sacrificed the greater part of the supply of water, in order 
to refresh the sick man's burning limbs. He bestowed the 
most tender and discriminating care upon his patient, who 
recovered little by little, and returned to consciousness, if 
not to life. 

" Speak your native tongue," he said. " I understand it. 

The doctor learnt his history in disconnected sentences. 

The missionary was a poor young man from the village 
of Aradon, in Bretagne, in the plain of Morbihan; his first 
instincts led him towards an ecclesiastical career. To that 
life of self-denial he wished to unite a Hfe of danger, and 
entered into the order of mission priests, of which St. Vin- 
cent de Paul was the glorious founder. At twenty years of 
age he quitted his native land for the inhospitable plains of 
Africa. Then, by degrees, overcoming obstacles, enduring 
privations, praying and marching, he advanced into the 
midst of the tribes which dwell by the affluents of the upper 
Nile. During two years his religion was scoffed at, his 



296 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

zeal despised, his kindness of heart misunderstood; he re- 
mained the prisoner of one of the most cruel people of the 
Nyambarra, the object of a thousand ill-treatments. But he 
continued to pray, and to instruct, both by example and 
precept. The tribe was dispersed, and left him for dead, 
after one of those combats which so frequently take place 
between neighboring tribes; instead of retracing his steps, 
he continued his evangelical pilgrimage. The most peaceful 
time he enjoyed was that when he was taken for an idiot; 
and having become famiharized with the dialects of the 
country, he continued his good work. Finally, after two 
more long years, he penetrated these barbarous regions, 
impelled by that superhuman force which comes from God 
alone. For one year he had dwelt with this tribe of Nyam- 
Nyam, called Barafia, and one of the most savage. The 
chief having died some days before, they attributed his 
sudden death to the missionary, and resolved to kill him; 
his punishment had already lasted forty hours, and, as the 
doctor had supposed, he was to have died at noon. 

When he heard the report of firearms. Nature asserted 
herself, and he cried aloud for help; he almost believed 
he was dreaming when a voice came from heaven bearing 
him words of consolation. 

" I do not regret the existence which I am about to 
quit," added he; "my life is with God." 

"Do not abandon all hope," replied the doctor; "we 
are with you — we will save you from death as we have 
saved you from suffering." 

" I do not ask so much from Heaven," replied the re- 
signed priest; "blessed be God for having permitted me 
the happiness of clasping friendly hands and hearing my 
native tongue once more before I die." 

The missionary sank back again. The day passed thus 
alternating between hope and fear. Kennedy was visibly 
affected, and Joe wiped his eyes unobserved. 

The " Victoria " made but little way, and the wind ap- 
peared to be desirous of taking care of its precious freight. 

Joe gave notice in the evening that he could perceive 
a strong light in the west. In higher latitudes it might 
have been thought to be an immense aurora borealis — ■■ 
the sky seemed on fire. The doctor examined this phe- 
nomenon attentively. 



THE RESCUE 297 



(( 



It is nothing but an active volcano, after all," he said. 

"But the wind will carry us right over it," said Joe. 

** Well, we will clear it at a safe distance." 

Three hours afterwards the " Victoria " was amongst 
mountains; the exact position was 24° 15' long., and 4° 42' 
lat. In front a fiery crater poured molten lava and belched 
forth large rocks to an immense height, while streams of 
liquid fire ran down in cascades of dazzling beauty. It was 
a grand and fearful sight, for the wind, with a fixed 
direction, carried the balloon towards the burning moun- 
tain. 

This obstacle, which they could not avoid, they must 
pass over. The blow-pipe was warmed to full pressure, 
and the " Victoria " ascended to 6,000 feet, leaving a dis- 
tance of 300 fathoms between it and the volcano. 

From his bed of pain the dying priest was able to watch 
the crater from which a thousand sheaves of fire were scin- 
tillating with a roar. 

" How splendid it is ! " he said, " and the power of 
God is infinite, even in these terrible manifestations." 

This outpouring of burning lava clothed the sides of the 
mountain in a veritable carpet of fire. The lower part of 
the balloon shone brightly in the darkness, a tremendous 
heat reached even to the car, and Doctor Ferguson hastened 
to escape from this perilous position. 

Towards ten o'clock in the evening the mountain was 
only a red spot on the horizon, and the " Victoria " peace- 
fully continued her journey in a less elevated zone. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

A GOOD man's death 

The night was splendid. The priest continued to sleep 
in a prostrate condition. 

" He will never wake again," said Joe. " Poor young 
man! scarcely thirty years old." 

" He will die in your arms," said the doctor, in despair. 
" His already feeble breathing has grown weaker still. I 
can do nothing to save him." 

" Those infamous rascals," cried Joe, upon whom these 
sudden fits of anger occasionally seized, " and to think that 



298 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

this worthy priest has found words actually to plead for, 
to excuse, and pardon them ! " 

" Heaven has sent us a lovely night, Joe ; it may be his 
last night, perhaps. He will suffer but little longer, and he 
will pass away in a peaceful sleep." 

The dying man pronounced some disjointed words; the 
doctor went to him. The invalid's breathing had become 
labored; he asked for air. The curtains were drawn aside 
and he respired with delight the pure air of the calm, clear 
night. The stars sent down to him their trembling light, 
while the moon wrapped him in the pure refulgence of her 
beams. " My friends," said he, in a feeble voice, " I am 
going! May God reward you and bring you safely home, 
and pay my debt of gratitude." 

"Do not relinquish hope," said Kennedy; "it is only a 
temporary weakness. You will not die. How could anyone 
die this lovely summer night?" 

" Death is here, I know it! " said the missionary. "Let 
me look it in the face. Death, the commencement of joys 
eternal, is only the end of earthly cares. Place me upon 
my knees, my friends, I beg of you." 

Kennedy raised him up, and was shocked to see his 
helpless limbs give way beneath him. 

" My God ! my God ! " exclaimed the dying apostle. 
" Have mercy upon me I " His face lighted up. Far away 
from that earth v/here he had never known happiness; in 
the midst of that night which wrapped him in its sweetest 
rays of light; on the road to that heaven towards which 
he raised himself in a miraculous assumption, he appeared 
to be •entering upon another life. 

His last gesture was to bless his friends of a day; and 
he fell back in the arms of Kennedy, whose face was bathed 
in tears. 

"Dead!" said the doctor, bending over him. "Alas! 
dead!" And with one accord the three men fell upon 
their knees. 

" To-morrow," said Ferguson, at length, " We will bury 
him in this soil of Africa, which he has sprinkled with his 
blood. 

During the remainder of the night the body was watched 
in turn by the doctor, Kennedy, and Joe, and not a singk 
word broke the holy silence of the time; 



A GOOD MAN'S DEATH 299 

Next day the wind sprang from the south, and the " Vic- 
toria " passed slowly over a vast range of mountains. Here 
were extinct craters, there barren ravines; not a drop of 
water lay in these arid crests; heaped-up masses of rock, 
erratic blocks of stone, and white marl-pits, all denoted 
the profound sterility of the district. 

Towards mid-day the doctor, in order to bury the body, 
determined to descend to a ravine surrounded by volcanic 
rocks of primitive formation; the surrounding mountains 
acted as shelter, and permitted him to bring the car down 
upon the earth, for there was no tree which could be utilized 
as a hold for the grapnels. 

But, as he had explained to Kennedy, in consequence of 
the loss of the ballast at the time of the rescue of the priest, 
he could not now descend without letting a proportionate 
quantity of the gas escape : he then opened the safety valve 
of the exterior balloon. The hydrogen escaped, and the 
" Victoria " descended quietly towards the ravine. 

So soon as the car touched the ground the doctor closed 
the valve, Joe jumped out, but kept one hand upon the edge 
of the car, and with the other he collected a number of 
stones which soon equaled his own weight. He then set 
to work with both hands, and soon placed in the car more 
than 500 lbs. weight of stone, when the doctor and Kennedy 
were able to descend in their turn. The " Victoria " was 
thus balanced, and its ascensional force was not sufficient to 
raise her. 

Moreover, it was not necessary to use a great number of 
these blocks of stone, for those thrown in by Joe were of a 
very great weight; a fact which at once directed Ferguson's 
attention to them. The ground was strewn with quartz and 
porphyritic rocks. 

" Here is a curious discovery! " said the doctor to him- 
self. 

Meantime Kennedy and Joe were seeking a suitable spot 
for the grave. It was fearfully hot in the ravine, shut 
in as it was like a kind of furnace. The mid-day sun poured 
his rays directly upon it. 

It was necessary first to get rid of the rocky fragments 
which encumbered the ground; then a grave was dug suffi- 
ciently deep to preserve the body from the attacks of wild 
beasts. Then the body of the priestly martyr was interred 



300 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

with profound respect. The earth was thrown upon the 
mortal remains, and the great fragments of rock were dis- 
posed above hke a tombstone. 

The doctor still remained motionless and lost in thought. 
He paid no attention to the summons of his companions, 
nor did he return with them to seek shelter from the noon- 
tide heat. 

"What are you thinking of, Samuel?" inquired Ken- 
nedy. 

" Of the curious contrasts nature presents and the ex- 
traordinary effect of chance. Do you know in what ground 
this man of self-denial and simplicity has been buried? " 

" What do you mean, Samuel ? " 

" This priest who had vowed himself to poverty now 
rests in a gold mine ! " 

" A gold mine ! " exclaimed Kennedy and Joe. 

" Yes, a gold mine! " replied the doctor. " These stones, 
which you trample upon, as upon stones of no value, are of 
great mineral purity." 

" Impossible, impossible ! " repeated Joe. 

" You will not have to search long amongst these fissures 
of the schist without finding some large nuggets," said the 
doctor. 

Joe threw himself at once upon the scattered fragments, 
and Kennedy was not long in following his example. 

" Steady, my brave Joe," said his master. 

" Oh ! sir, you speak about it very calmly." 

"What? a philosopher of your stamp " 

" Ah ! sir, yours is the only philosophy ! " 

"Let us see; reflect a little. What good will all this 
gold do; we cannot carry it away? " 

" We cannot carry it away ! Why not, for instance ? " 

" It is too heavy for our car. I was hesitating whether 
I should tell you at all, for fear of exciting your regret." 

" What ! " cried Joe, " abandon all this treasure — a for- 
tune to us — our own — abandon that ! " 

" Take care, take care, my friend. Have you caught the 
gold fever? Has not yonder dead body, which we came 
here to bury, taught you the vanity of all earthly things? " 

"That is all very true," replied Joe; "but there is the 
gold after all. Mr. Kennedy, will you not aid me in col- 
lecting a few of these millions?" 



A GOOD MAN'S DEATH 301 

"What should we do with them, my poor Joe?" said 
the Scot, who could not help smiling. " We did not come 
here to make our fortune, and we ought not to bring it 
back with us." 

" These millions are too heavy," replied the doctor, " and 
not easily carried in the pocket. 

" But," said Joe, driven to his last intrenchments, " why 
cannot we carry this mineral as ballast, instead of sand?" 

"Well, I have no objection to that," said Ferguson; 
" but don't you feel disappointed when we have to throw 
some thousands of pounds overboard." 

" Thousands of pounds ! " repeated Joe. " Is it possible 
that there is so much gold? " 

" Yes, my friend ; this is a reservoir in which Nature 
has amassed her treasure for centuries. There is sufficient 
here to enrich whole countries — an Australia and a Cali- 
fornia united at the bottom of a desert." 

"And all that will remain useless? " 

" Perhaps so. In any case, listen to what I propose for 
your consolation." 

" That will be difficult to accomplish," replied Joe, with 
a grieved air. 

" Listen. I will take the exact bearings of this place, 
I will make you a present of it, and on your return to 
England you can share with your friends — if you think so 
much gold will make them happy." 

" Let us go, sir ; I see you are right — I give up, since 
I must. Let us fill the car with this precious mineral. 
What remains at the termination of the journey will be so 
much gained." 

So Joe set to work with a will. He soon collected about 
1,000 lbs. of quartz fragments, in which the gold was em- 
bedded as if in a vein of great thickness. 

The doctor watched him with a smile; during this work 
he took the levels and found the bearings of the tomb of 
the missionary were 22° 23' long, and 4° 55' N. lat. Then, 
casting a last look at the spot where the poor Frenchman 
lay, he approached the balloon. He had wished to erect a 
modest yet substantial cross upon the tomb thus abandoned 
in the midst of African wilds, but not a tree was to be seen 
in the neighborhood, 

" God will know where to find it," he muttered. 



302 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

A very serious thought now began to occupy the doc- 
tor's mind. He would have given a good deal of this gold 
to discover a little water. He wanted to replace what had 
been thrown away during the elevation of the negro; but 
this was impossible in these sterile plains, and this fear tor- 
mented him. Obliged to keep the blow-pipe continually at 
work, he began to be short of water for drinking purposes, 
and so made up his mind not to neglect any opportunity to 
replenish it. 

On his return to the car he found it encumbered with 
the stones thrown in by the avaricious Joe, but he got in 
without making any remark. Kennedy took his usual place 
and Joe brought up the rear — not without directing a covet- 
ous glance at the treasure in the ravine. 

The doctor lit the blow-pipe, the coil was warmed, the 
current of hydrogen was formed in a few minutes, the gas 
expanded, but the balloon did not stir. 

Joe's face wore an expression of uneasiness, but he said 
nothing. 

" Joe," said the doctor. 

Joe, did not answer. 

"Joe, do you hear me?" 

Joe made a sign that he heard, but did not wish to un- 
derstand, 

" Will you be so good," continued Ferguson, " to throw 
some of that mineral over? " 

" But, sir, you allowed me " 

" I allowed you to replace the ballast — no more." 

" Still "^ 

" Do you wish us to remain in this desert forever ? " 

Joe cast a beseeching glance at Kennedy, but the Scot 
had all the appearance of a man who could not interfere. 

" Well, Joe." 

" Your blow-pipe isn't working yet," said Joe. 

" My blow-pipe is working, as you may see, but the bal- 
loon will not rise until you have got rid of a little ballast." 

Joe scratched his ear and took up a fragment of quartz, 
the smallest of all. He weighed it, re-weighed it, passed it 
from hand to hand (it was about 3 or 4 lbs. weight), and 
threw it over. 

The " Victoria " did not stir. 

" Hang it, it is not moving yet ! " said Joe. 



A GOOD MAN'S DEATH 303 



tc 



« 



Not yet," said the doctor. " Go on! " 

Kennedy laughed, Joe threw away about 12 lbs. 

The balloon remained immovable. Joe got pale. 

** My poor fellow," said Ferguson, " Dick, you, and 
myself weigh, I believe, about 400 lbs. ; you must then get 
rid of a weight at lest equal to ours, since it replaces us." 

" Throw away 400 lbs. ? " cried Joe piteously. 

" And something over, so that we may ascend. Go on ; 
courage." 

The worthy lad, heaving deep sighs, commenced to throw 
the ballast over. From time to time he stopped. 

" We are ascending," he would say each time. 

"We are not," the doctor would invariably reply. 

" It moves ! " he said at last. 
Go on," repeated Ferguson. 
It is ascending, I am sure ! " said Joe. 
Go on still," answered Ferguson. 

Then Joe, taking up the last block, desperately threw it 
^way from the car. 

The " Victoria " rose about 100 feet, and the blow-pipe 
being at work, it soon passed the neighboring summits. 

" Now, Joe," said the doctor, " there still remains a large 
fortune if we can retain it until the end of our journey, and 
you will be a rich man to the end of your days." 

Joe made no reply, and lay down gently upon his bed of 
minerals. 

" Just look, my dear Dick, at the influence this metal 
has exercised upon the best lad in the world. What pas- 
sions, what desires, what crimes might not be born of the 
knowledge of such a mine! It is melancholy." 

In the evening the " Victoria " had made ninety miles 
towards the west; it was then a direct line of 1,400 miles to 
Zanzibar, 

CHAPTER XXiy 

THE DESERT 

The " Victoria " was fastened to an almost withered and 
solitary tree, and the night passed tranquilly. The travelers 
were thus enabled to enjoy a little of that sleep of which 
they stood in so great need. The incidents of the past 
.few days had left some sad memories. 



304 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

Towards morning the sky appeared in all its warmth 
and light. The balloon rose, and after many failures it 
encountered a current less rapid than before, which carried 
it towards the northwest. 

" We do not make much progress," said the doctor. 
" If I do not mistake, we have accomplished the half of our 
journey in ten days, but at the rate we are now going it will 
take months to finish. That is so much the more to be 
regretted, as we are threatened with a scarcity of water." 

"But we shall find some," replied Dick; "it is impos- 
sible that we should not fall in with some river, stream, or 
pond in this enormous stretch of country." 

" I hope so, I'm sure." 

" Don't you think it is Joe's baggage that keeps us 
back?" 

Kennedy said this to tease the lad, and did so the more 
willingly that he had himself for a moment experienced the 
hallucinations of Joe; but not having let it appear, he as- 
sumed a stern countenance, laughing in his sleeve all the 
time. 

Joe gave him a piteous look. But the doctor did not 
reply. He was thinking, not without secret terror, of the 
vast solitudes of the Sahara. Three weeks pass without 
the caravans meeting with a well where they can 
slake their thirst. So the travelers watched most anxiously 
for the least depressions of the ground. These precautions 
and the late incidents had had a sensible effect upon the 
spirits of all. They spoke less, and retired more into them- 
selves. 

The worthy Joe had not been the same man since his 
thoughts had plunged into the ocean of gold. He was 
silent, and thinking deeply about those stones heaped up in 
the car — to-day worthless, to-morrow, priceless. 

The appearance of this part of the country was really 
alarming. The desert was opening up by degrees. Here 
were no villages, not even a collection of huts. Vegetation 
was gradually disappearing. A few stunted bushes as on 
Scotch moors, a whitish sand, flint stones, some mastic trees, 
and brushwood, that was all. In the midst of this sterility 
the primary formations of the world could be distinguished 
in the faces of the high and sharp-edged rocks.. 

These tokens of barrenness supplied Doctor Ferguson 

V. 1 Verne 



A MYSTERIOUS RIVAL 

In fact, 200 paces distant, a balloon was floating in the air, with car 
and travelers complete. It was following exactly the same route as 
the "Victoria." 

"Well," said the doctor, "it onlj remains for us to make them a 
sipjnal. Take the flag, Kennedy, and show them our colors." 
If.; ,- It seemed that the travelers in the other balloon had conceived the 
' *8Stme idea at the same time, for a similar flag repeated the identical 
.101! signal in a hand which held it in the same position. 
"What is the meaning of that?" asked the Scot. 
"They are monkeys," said Joe, "and they are imitating us." — Page 

ay pr 



At the 



Vol. 1. 



:m^ 










9g«*3 



,9o{ bisa 



.1 lov 



THE DESERT 305 

with much food for thought. It did not appear to him that 
a single caravan had ever traversed this desert region; it 
would have left behind it visible traces of its encampment in 
the bleaching skeletons of man or beast. 

But there was nothing, and they could but be aware that 
a boundless extent of sand was taking possession of the 
whole region. 

However, as it was impossible to return, they must go 
forward. The doctor desired no better. He had been 
wishing for a storm to carry him beyond the limits of this 
region. But there was not a cloud in the sky. At the end 
of that day the " Victoria " had not accomplished thirty 
miles. 

If only water were not required! But in all, they had 
but three gallons remaining. Ferguson put aside one gal- 
lon to assuage the burning thirst which the heat at ninety 
degrees rendered intolerable. Then two gallons remained 
for the blow-pipe; they could only produce 490 cubic feet 
of gas, and the blow-pipe required about nine cubic feet an 
hour; so they could only proceed therefore for fifty-four 
hours longer. This was a mathematical certainty. 

"Fifty-four hours," said the doctor to his companions. 
" Now, as I have decided not to travel during the night, so 
as not to run the risk of passing a stream, a spring, or lake, 
we have just three days and a half more to travel, and 
during that period, we must obtain water at any price. I 
thought I ought to make you acquainted with the serious 
circumstances of the case, my friends, for I have put aside 
only one gallon for drinking purposes, and we must submit 
to a small allowance of it." 

" By all means * allowance ' us," replied the Scot, " but we 
need not despair; you say we have three days before us 
still?" 

" Yes, Dick." 

" Well, complaining will do no good ; In three days it will 
be time enough to take that line ; till then, let us keep a good 
look-out." 

At the evening meal, the water was strictly measured, 
the quantity of brandy was rather increased in the grog, 
but it was necessary to be cautious in using this liquor, 
more likely to cause thirst than to quench it. 

The car rested during the night upon an immense plain, 



3o6 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

which was at a very low level. The height was scarcely 
800 feet above the level of the sea. This circumstance gave 
the doctor some hope. He recalled the theories broached 
by geographers, respecting the existence of a vast expanse 
of water in the interior of Africa. But, if such a lake 
existed, they must arrive at it; still there was no change in 
the unruffled sky. 

To a calm and starlit night succeeded a burning, stag- 
nant day. From its earliest dawn, the temperature was 
broiling. At five o'clock in the morning the doctor gave 
the signal for departure, and for a long time the " Vic-^ 
toria " remained stationary in the leaden atmosphere. 

The doctor had the power to escape this intense heat, by 
attaining a greater altitude, but to do this would necessitate 
the expenditure of a quantity of water, a thing now impos- 
sible. So he was constrained to maintain the balloon at a 
height of 100 feet, where a gentle breeze carried them 
towards the west. Breakfast consisted of dried meat and 
pemmican. At mid-day the " Victoria " had scarcely made 
any progress. 

" We cannot go faster," said the doctor ; " we do not 
command — we obey." 

" Ah, my dear Samuel," said the Scot, " this is one of 
the occasions in which a propeller is not to be despised." 

"No doubt, Dick, always admitting that it did not de- 
pend upon the action of water to move it, for in that case 
the position would be exactly similar. Up to the present 
time, however, nothing practical has been invented. Bal- 
loons are now at the point where ships were before the 
invention of steam. It took 6,000 years to bring out the 
paddle and the screw, so we have plenty of time to wait." 

" Confound this heat," muttered Joe, wiping his fore- 
head. " If we had sufficient water, this heat would do us 
good service, for it would expand the hydrogen, and we 
should not require so great a flame in the coil. It is true 
that, were we not at the end of our water-supply, we should 
not need to economize it. Ah! that cursed savage who 
obliged us to cast away that precious tank ! " 

" Do you regret what you have done, Samuel ? " 

" No, Dick, since we have been able to rescue that poor 
fellow from a horrible death. Yet the 100 lbs. of water 
which we cast away .would have been very useful; thgr^ 



THE DESERT 307 

would then have been twelve or thirteen days* journey cer- 
tain, and we could have crossed this desert in that 
time." 

" I suppose we have got over half the journey at least," 
said Joe. 

"In distance, yes, in time, no; if the wind drops. At 
present it appears likely to give out altogether." 

" Well, let us go on," replied Joe, "there is no use com- 
plaining. We have got on pretty well hitherto, and what- 
ever I do I am not going to despair. We shall find water, 
mark my words." 

The ground, however, was still level, mile after mile, the 
last spurs of the " golden " mountains died upon the plain, 
these were the last efforts of exhausted nature! Scattered 
herbs began to take the place of the trees of the eastern 
side; a few patches of verdure here and there fought 
stoutly against the ever-encroaching sand. Great rocks, 
fallen from the neighboring heights, and broken in their 
fall, lay scattered in sharp pebbles, which soon became a 
coarser sand, and finally an imperceptible dust. 

" There is Africa as it is represented, Joe. I am right 
in counseling patience. 

"Well, sir," replied Joe, "this is nature, at any rate; 
between the sand and the heat, it would be absurd to 
search for anything in such a country as this. Don't you 
see," added he, laughing, " that I have no faith in your 
forests and your prairies. It is unreasonable. What was 
the use of coming so far to see merely a country like 
England? I now, for the first time, believe that I am in 
Africa, and I am not altogether sorry to see something 
of it." 

In the evening the doctor calculated that the " Victoria " 
had not traveled twenty miles during that broiling day. A 
warm haze enveloped them as soon as the sun had set 
behind the horizon, which could be traced as distinctly as 
a straight line. 

Next day was Thursday, the ist of May, but the days 
succeeded each other with depressing monotony. One 
morning exactly resembled the preceding; mid-day brought 
its own rays, ever inexhaustible; and the night condensed 
in its gloom the scattered heat which the following day 
bequeathed to its successor, night. The wind, scarcely 



3o8 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

perceptible, became more like a breath than a breeze, and 
they could prophesy the moment when this breath would 
itself die away. 

The doctor tried to overcome the weariness of the posi- 
tion. He retained the self-possession and coolness of a 
man inured to hardship. Glass in hand, he scanned the 
horizon in every direction. He perceived the east hills 
insensibly disappear, and the last traces of vegetation, 
vanish away. Before him stretched the wide extent of the 
desert. 

The responsibility which devolved upon him affected 
him a great deal, and the more as he sought to conceal 
the feeling. Those two men, Dick and Joe, friends both, 
he had brought from a distance almost by the force of 
friendship and duty. Had he done rightly? Was not 
this to attempt forbidden paths? Was not he in this 
journey attempting to pass the limits of the impossible? 
Had not Providence reserved the knowledge of this un- 
grateful continent for future generations. 

All these thoughts, as he grew less hopeful, increased in 
his mind, and by an irresistible association of ideas, Samuel 
reasoned himself beyond his logic, and his better sense. 
After having made up his mind that there was nothing that 
it behooved him to do, he began to ask himself what he 
ought to do. Was it impossible to return? Did not some 
upper currents exist which would carry them back to less 
torrid climates. Sure of the regions passed, he was ig- 
norant of the country in front. His conscience reproached 
him, and he determined to explain the circumstances 
frankly to his companions, and tell them the worst. He 
would show them what he had done, and what remained to 
do. If absolutely necessary, they might return — attempt 
to do so at least. What was their opinion? 

" I have no opinion other than my master's," said Joe. 
" What he can endure, I can endure ; or better than he. 
Where he goes I will go." 

"And you, Kennedy?" 

" I, my dear Samuel ? I am not a man to despair ; no 
one ignores less than I do the dangers of this expedition, 
but I have not particularly desired to examine them since 
the moment I determined to meet them with you. I am 
yours, body and soul. Under the circumstances, my ad- 



! THE DESERT 309 

vice is that we ought to persevere — just go on to the end. 
So let us onward, you may reckon upon us." 

" Thanks, my worthy friends," repHed the doctor with 
visible emotion. " I anticipated your devotion, but these 
encouraging words were necessary to me. Once more I 
thank you from my heart." 

And the three friends shook hands warmly. 

" Listen to me," said Ferguson. " According to my 
calculations, we cannot be more than 300 miles from the 
Gulf of Guinea; the desert cannot therefore extend in- 
definitely, since the coast is inhabited and explored to a 
certain distance into the interior. If it become necessary, 
we must direct our course towards this coast, and it is im- 
possible for us not to meet with some oasis or well where 
we can replenish our store of water. But we require 
wind, and without it we are kept becalmed in the air." 

"Let us wait patiently," said Kennedy. 

But each in his turn vainly scanned the desert. During 
the interminable day nothing appeared that could give birth 
to any hope. The last undulations of the ground disap- 
peared as the sun was setting, and his rays stretched in long 
lines of fire over the immense plain. It was indeed the 
desert. 

The travelers had not gained fifteen miles, having lost, 
including the previous day, 135 cubic feet of gas to keep 
the blow-pipe in action, and two pints of water out of 
eight had to be sacrificed to quench their raging thirst. 

The night was quiet — too quiet. The doctor did not 
sleep. 

CHAPTER XXV 

THE UNEXPECTED BALLOON 

The next day there was the same clear sky and the same 
calm. The " Victoria " floated at about 100 feet high, but 
the little drift towards the west was scarcely perceptible. 

" We are in the midst of the desert," said the doctor. 
" Look at the expanse of sand — what a strange sight — 
what a singular arrangement of nature! Why should 
there be such luxuriant vegetation farther back, and this 
extreme barrenness here, and this in the same latitude, un- 
der the same rays of the sun? " 



3IO FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" The reason, my dear Samuel, does not disquiet me," 
replied Kennedy ; " the ' why ' preoccupies me less than 
the fact. It is thus, and that's the great point after all." 

"It is a good thing to be something of a philosopher, 
my dear Dick — that can do no harm at any rate." 

"Let us philosophize; I wish to do so very much. We 
have plenty of time — we are scarcely moving." 

"The wind is afraid to blow; it is asleep." 

"This cannot last," said Joe. "I fancy I see some 
streaks of cloud in the east." 

" Joe is right," said the doctor. 

" Good ! " cried Kennedy. " I wonder whether we shall 
reach that cloud, with the beautiful rain and the strong 
>vind it can give us." 

" We shall soon see, Dick." 

"This is Friday, sir; and I do not like Fridays." 

" Well, I hope that even to-day you will lose your dis- 
trust for them." 

"I hope so, sir. Ouf!" he cried, wiping his face. 
" Heat is an excellent thing, particularly in winter, but in 
summer it need not take such a mean advantage of us." 

" Are you not afraid of the effects of the sun upon your 
balloon? " asked Kennedy of the doctor. 

" No, the gutta-percha with which the silk is coated is 
able to endure a much higher temperature. I have some- 
times submitted it inside to a heat of 158 degrees, and the 
* envelope ' does not appear to have suffered." 

" A cloud, a real cloud ! " cried Joe at this juncture, 
whose sharp eyes beat all glasses. 

In fact, a thick and solid band was distinctly rising 
slowly above the horizon; it appeared large and bloated. 
It was a pile of small clouds which always kept their orig- 
inal shapes, from which the doctor concluded that no cur^ 
rent of air existed in their masses. 

This compact heap had appeared about eight o'clock in 
the morning; at eleven it had reached the sun, which dis- 
appeared entirely behind this thick curtain. At this very 
moment the lower end of the cloud rose above the horizon, 
which appeared clear and bright. 

" It is only a single cloud, and we must not count upon 
it. Look, Dick, its form is exactly the same as it was this 
morning." 



THE UNEXPECTED BALLOON 311 

" So, Samuel, there is neither rain nor wind for us, at 
least." 

" I fear not, it keeps up very high." 

" Well, Samuel, so we are going to hunt this cloud, 
which will not break over us? " 

" I do not think that would do much good," replied the 
doctor; "that would expend a quantity of gas and water. 
But in a position such as ours, it will not do to neglect any- 
thing; we will go up higher." 

The doctor developed a tremendous heat from the blow- 
pipe, and the balloon soon rose under the influence of the 
expanded hydrogen. 

About 1,500 feet from the ground, they encountered a 
thick mass of cloud, and entered into a thick mist pervading 
at this height, but they did not find the least breath of wind. 
The fog even appeared to be deprived of moisture, and 
objects exposed to contact with it were scarcely wetted. 
The " Victoria," enveloped in this vapor, perhaps proceeded 
a little faster there, but that was all. 

The doctor was with sadness considering the very mea- 
ger result obtained from his maneuver, when he heard Joe 
cry out in surprised accents: 

"Oh! look here!" 

"What is it, Joe?" 

" Oh, sir! oh, Mr. Kennedy! is not that extraordinary! " 

" What have you there ? " 

" We are not alone here ! There are intruders ; they 
have stolen our invention from us." 

" Has he gone mad ? " asked Kennedy. 

Joe stood as immovable as a statue. 

" I think the lad is suffering from sunstroke," said thg 
doctor, turning towards him. 

" What do you say? " said he. 

" Look there, sir," said Joe, indicating a. certain direc- 
tion. 

" By St. Patrick ! " cried Kennedy, in his turn, " that is 
scarcely creditable. Samuel, Samuel, look here ! " 

"I see," replied the doctor quietly; "another balloon,; 
with other travelers like ourselves." 

In fact, 200 paces distant, a balloon was floating in thl 
air, with car and travelers complete. It was following 
exactly the same route as the "Victoria." 



312 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" Well," said the doctor, " it only remains for us to 
make them a signal. Take the flag, Kennedy, and show 
them our colors." 

It seemed that the travelers in the other balloon had 
conceived the same idea at the same time, for a similar 
flag repeated the identical signal in a hand which held it in 
the same position. 

" What is the meaning of that?" asked the Scot. 

"They are monkeys," said Joe, "and they are imiating 
US." 

" It means," replied Ferguson, laughing, " /that it is 
yourself who is making the signal to you, my dear Dick; 
that is to say, that we ourselves are in the other car, and 
that that balloon is really our own 'Victoria.' " 

" Well, sir, with all due respect to you," said Joe, " you 
:will never make me believe that." 

" Get up on the edge of the car, Joe, and wave your 
arms; then you will see if I am right." 

Joe obeyed, and his gestures were exactly and instan- 
taneously repeated. 

" It is only the effect of mirage," said the doctor, " noth- 
ing more — a simple optical delusion — and is due to the un- 
equal rarefaction of the air-strata — that's all." 

" It is most extraordinary," said Joe, who could not 
take it all in. and kept waving his arms about to convince 
himself on the subject. 

" A curious sight, indeed ! " said Kennedy. " It is pleas- 
ant too to see our brave 'Victoria.' Do you know she has 
quite a grand appearance, and floats in a right royal 
manner." 

" You have explained this appearance very well in your 
own way," said Joe, " but it is a singular effect all the 
same." 

But the "double" of the "Victoria" gradually disap- 
peared, the clouds ascended to a great height above the 
balloon, which did not attempt to follow them, and in 
about an hour they disappeared. 

The wind, even hitherto scarcely perceptible, appeared 
to drop altogether. The doctor, in despair, descended to- 
wards the ground. 

The travelers, who had been aroused from their pre- 
occupation by the appearance of the mirage, again yielded 



THE UNEXPECTED BALLOON 313 

to their gloomy thoughts, overcome by the tremendous 
heat. 

Towards four o'clock Joe signaled some objects stand- 
ing in relief against the sandy background, and soon he 
was able to announce that two palm-trees were visible at 
a short distance. 

"Palms!" cried Ferguson; "then there is a fountain 
or a well there." He took up a telescope to assure himself 
that Joe had not made a mistake. 

"At last!" he cried. "Water, water! we are saved; 
for although we are going very slowly, we are moving, and 
we must get there." 

" Well, sir," said Joe, " suppose we have a drink in the 
meantime — the heat is stifling." 

" By all means, my lad." 

No one had any objections, and a pint of water was 
distributed. The store was now reduced to three and a 
half pints. 

"Ah! that does one good," cried Joe. "Better than all 
Barclay and Perkins's brewings." 

" Such are the advantages of privation," said the doctor. 

" They are small, taking them altogether," said Kennedy; 
" and though I should never be allowed again to experience 
the pleasure of drinking a glass of water, I would consent 
to lose the pleasure as the condition of never being de- 
prived of the substance." 

At six o'clock the " Victoria " was floating about the 
palms. They were two miserably small, dried-up trees — * 
two specters of trees, without foliage — more dead than 
alive. Ferguson contemplated them with fear in his heart. 

At their base the broken stones of a well were dis- 
cernible, but these stones, baked by the sun, seemed little 
more than dust. There was not the faintest trace of wa- 
ter. Ferguson's heart sank within him, and he was be- 
ginning to share the terrors of his companions, when their 
exclamations attracted his attention. 

Stretching out of sight to the westward was extended a 
long line of whitened bones. Fragments of skeletons sur- 
rounded the fountain; evidently a caravan had reached 
thus far, marking its passage by a trail of bones ! The 
weakest had fallen, one after the other, upon the distant 
sand; the stronger ones had struggled on to the desired 



314 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

fountain, and on its brink had found a horrible death. 

The travelers gazed with whitened faces at these dread- 
ful signs. 

" Do not descend," said Kennedy ; " let us fly this hor- 
rible sight. There is not a drop of water to be obtained." 

" Not so, Dick. Let us do our best about this. We 
may as well pass the night here as anywhere else. We 
will sound these wells — a spring has existed here — ^perhaps 
there are traces of it still." 

The " Victoria " was brought to the ground. Joe and 
Kennedy threw into the car a weight of sand equivalent to 
their own, and they got out. They ran towards the wells, 
and penetrated into the interior by means of a stairway, 
already crumbling to dust. The spring appeared to have 
been dried up for years. They dug into the dry and pow- 
dered sand — that most arid of all sands — but there was not 
even a trace of dampness. 

The doctor saw them returning, perspiring, disheveled, 
and covered with fine dust; they were defeated, discour- 
aged, and desperate. He perceived the failure of their 
search. He had expected such a result, and said nothing. 
He felt that from this day forward he must have courage 
and energy for all three. 

Joe had brought up the remains of an old dried leather 
bottle, which he threw angrily amongst the bones scattered 
around him. During supper, not a word was spoken by 
the travelers ; they ate without appetite. And yet they had 
not hitherto really suffered the torments of thirst, and they 
only despaired for the future. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

A DESPAIRING SEARCH 

The distance accomplished by the " Victoria " during 
the preceding day did not exceed ten miles, and to sustain 
her in the air they had used 162 cubic feet of gas. 

On Saturday morning the doctor gave the signal for 
departure. 

" The blow-pipe," said he, " can only work for six hours 
longer. If in that time we do not reach a well or spring, 
God alone knows what will become of us." 



A DESPAIRING SEARCH 315 

" There is very little wind this morning," said Joe ; " but 
perhaps it will increase," added he, seeing the scarcely-con- 
cealed anxiety of Ferguson. 

Vain hope! The air was perfectly still — one of those 
calms which, in tropical climates, keep ships helpless for 
days. The heat became intolerable, and the thermometer 
marked 130° in the shade. 

Joe and Kennedy lay side by side, and sought in sleep, 
or rather torpor, to forget the terrors of their position. 
This forced inactivity was most distressing. A man is to 
be pitied who is unable to divert his thoughts by work or 
occupation ; but here there was nothing to watch over or to 
attempt to do any longer. They were obliged to submit 
to the situation, without any power to better it. 

The sufferings arising from thirst now began to assert 
themselves cruelly. Brandy, far from allaying, rather in- 
creased them, and well does it merit the name of " tiger's 
milk," which has been bestowed upon it by the natives of 
Africa. About two pints of warm liquid was all that re- 
mained. Each one gloated over these precious drops, but 
no one dared to wet his lips. Two pints of water in the 
midst of the desert! 

Then Doctor Ferguson began to reflect whether he had 
been wise in what he had done. Would it not have been 
better to have preserved the water he had decomposed to 
no purpose to maintain the balloon in the air? He had no 
doubt made a little progress, but were they any better for 
it? When he found he had gained sixty miles in this lati- 
tude, what did it matter, since they were in want of water 
at that place ? The wind, if it did get up, would blow lower 
down as well as up there — even less strongly up there if it 
came from the east. But hope impelled Samuel forward. 
And yet those two gallons of water, expended in vain, 
would have sufficed for a nine-days' halt in the desert. 
And what changes might not nine days bring forth? Per- 
haps, however, while preserving this water, had he been 
able to ascend by throwing out ballast, he must have let 
the gas escape when he wished to descend. But the gas 
of the balloon was its very existence, its life-blood! 

These thoughts, and a thousand others, passed through 
the doctor's brain. He sat for hours, his head clasped 
between his hands, and stirred not. 



3i6 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" We must make a final effort," he said to his compan- 
ions, about six o'clock. " We must endeavor to find an 
atmospheric current which will carry us forward. We 
must risk everything." 

And while his friends slept he brought the hydrogen in 
the balloon to a very high temperature. The balloon 
filled out as the gas expanded, and mounted perpendicu- 
larly upwards. The doctor sought vainly for a breath of 
wind from a hundred feet to nearly five miles up. His 
point of departure w^as exactly beneath. A dead calm ap- 
peared to reign even up to the last limit of the atmospheric 
air. 

At length the water failed; the blow-pipe ceased for 
want of gas; the Buntzen-pile stopped working; and the 
" Victoria," collapsing, descended quietly upon the sand, 
where the car had already hollowed out its impression. 

It was mid-day; the bearings were 19° 35' long., 6° 51' 
lat. — nearly 500 miles from Lake Tchad, more than 400 
miles from the western coast of Africa. 

As the balloon touched the ground, Dick and Joe 
aroused from their torpor. 

" We are stopping," said the Scot. 

"We have no choice," replied the doctor in a grave 
tone. 

His companions understood him. The level of the 
ground was of the level of the sea, in consequence of its 
uniform flatness; so the balloon maintained itself in per- 
fect equilibrium, and was absolutely motionless. 

The weight of the travelers was replaced by an equiva- 
lent charge of sand, and they alighted. Each was ab- 
sorbed in thought, and for many hours no one spoke. Joe 
prepared supper of biscuit and pemmican, of which they 
ate little; a sip of tepid water completed this melancholy 
repast. No one kept watch during the night, yet no one 
slept. The heat was suffocating. Next day there was 
only half a pint of water remaining — ^the doctor put it by, 
resolved that it should not be touched, except in the last 
extremity. 

" I am suffocating," Joe soon cried ; " the heat is greater 
than ever. But that does not astonish me," he added, af- 
ter consulting the thermometer; " it is 140° ! " 

"The sand is baking you," said the Scot, "as if it were 



A DESPAIRING SEARCH 317 

an oven. And not a cloud to be seen in that fiery sky. 
It is maddening." 

" We must not despair," said the doctor. " These great 
heats are invariably succeeded by storms in this latitude, 
and they arise with extreme rapidity. Notwithstanding 
the wonderful serenity of the sky, a great change may 
arise within an hour." 

" But, after all, something must indicate it," said Ken- 
nedy. 

" Well," replied the doctor, " it appears to me that the 
barometer is a trifle lower." 

" Heaven grant it, Samuel, for we are now bound to 
earth like a bird with broken wings." 

" With this difference, my dear Dick, that our wings 
are whole, and I have great hope they will serve us well 
yet." 

" Oh for a wind ! for wind ! " cried Joe, " to waft us to 
a stream, or a well, and we should want nothing more ; our 
provisions are sufficient, and with water we could remain a 
month without any trouble. But thirst is an awful thing." 

Not only thirst, but there was the incessant contempla- 
tion of the desert to fatigue the mind; there was no rising 
ground, no sand-heap, not even a stone, upon which to fix 
the eyes. This flatness was irritating, and gave rise to 
what is denominated " the desert sickness." The impassi- 
bility of the blue dryness of the sky and the yellow expanse 
of the sand was terrifying. In this burning atmosphere 
the heat seemed to quiver as over a furnace; the mind 
grew desperate in beholding the fearful calm, and could 
not get a glimpse of any reason why or when such a state 
of things would have an end. The immensity was a sort 
of eternity. 

Thus these unfortunate people, deprived of water in 
this torrid heat, began to experience symptoms of hallu- 
cination; their eyes grew hollow, and their vision became 
troubled. 

When night fell the doctor resolved to shake off this 
feeling by a rapid walk; he wished to explore the sandy 
plain for several hours — not for exploring, but for walk- 
ing's sake. 

"Come!" said he to his companions; "believe me, it 
will do you good." 



3i8 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 



(( 



Impossible!" replied Kennedy, "I cannot stir a step." 
I would rather sleep," said Joe. 
" But sleep or repose is deadly, my friends. Struggle 
against this languor. Come along ! " 

The doctor could prevail nothing, so he went away alone; 
into the midst of the starry and transparent night. His 
first steps were made with difficulty — the steps of a man 
weakened and unaccustomed to walking — but he was well 
aware that the exercise would do him good. He advanced 
many miles towards the west, and his mind was already 
feeling more consoled, when suddenly he was seized with 
faintness; he fancied he was falling into a pit, he felt 
his knees give way beneath him — the vast solitude fright- 
ened him. He felt the central point of an infinite circum- 
ference, that is to say, nothing. The " Victoria " disap- 
peared altogether in the darkness. The doctor was seized 
by a fearful foreboding — he, the cool, intrepid traveler. 
He wanted to return, but in vain. He called out; there 
was not even an echo to reply, and his voice fell into space 
like a stone cast into a bottomless abyss. He cast himself, 
almost swooning, upon the sand, alone amidst the terrible 
solitude of the desert. 

At midnight he regained consciousness in the arms of 
his faithful Joe, who, anxious at his master's prolonged 
absence, had followed his tracks, firmly printed in the 
plain. He found him senseless. 

" What has been the matter, sir? " inquired Joe. 

" Nothing, my brave Joe ; a momentary weakness, that's 
all." 

"That will be nothing to hurt, sir; but get up and lean 
on me, and we will regain the ' Victoria.' " And the doc- 
tor, assisted by Joe, retraced his steps. 

"It was imprudent of you sir; you should not have 
ventured alone. You might have been robbed," he added, 
laughing. " But seriously speaking, sir " 

" Well, I am listening." 

" We must really do something; we cannot go on thus 
for many days longer and if no wind gets up, we are 
lost." 

The doctor did not reply. 

" Well, someone must sacrifice himself for the good of 
the rest; and it is only natural that I should." 



A DESPAIRING SEARCH 319 



ti 



What do you say? What is your plan? " 
A very simple plan, indeed. To take some food, and 
go straight ahead until I reach some place, which I cannot 
fail to do. Meantime, if Heaven send you a favorable 
wind, you need not wait for me — you can go. I, on my 
part, if I come to a village, will explain the circumstances 
with the words of Arabic you will write down for me, and 
I will bring you assistance if I lose my skin. What do you 
say to my plan? " 

" It is madness, but worthy of your brave heart. It is 
out of the question that you can leave us." 

"Well, we must try something, sir! it cannot hurt you, 
and, I repeat, you need not wait for me — ^perhaps I shall 
succeed." 

" No, Joe, no ; we must not separate — that would be an 
additional trouble to us. It was decreed that this should 
happen, and very likely it is decreed that something else 
shall happen later. So let us wait with resignation." 

" So be it, sir; but I warn you of one thing. I will give 
you another day, I will not wait longer. This is Sunday, 
or rather Monday, as it is now one o'clock in the morning; 
if Tuesday does not see us off, I shall try my plan — that is 
decided." 

The doctor made no reply, and they soon arrived at the 
balloon, where they sat down beside Kennedy. He was 
plunged in a silence so deep, that it could not have been 
sleep that bound him. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

DELUSIONS 

The doctor's first care on the morrow was to consult 
the barometer. It did not appear that the mercury had 
fallen in any appreciable degree. " Nothing," he said, 
" nothing to hope for." 

He came out of the car and looked at the sky; there 
was the same heat, the same clearness, the same stillness. 
" Must we then really relinquish all hope ? " he cried in 
vain. 

Joe did not say a word — he was still pondering upon 
his project. Kennedy got up, but was very ill, and a prey 



320 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

to a restless excitement. He was suffering terribly from 
thirst. His tongue and lips were so swollen that he could 
scarcely utter a sound. 

There were still a few drops of water remaining. Each 
man knew it, each thought of it, and felt attracted by it, 
but nobody dared to approach it. 

These three companions and friends now looked at each 
other with haggard eyes, and with a feeling of horrible 
longing, which displayed itself in Kennedy chiefly. His 
powerful frame was less able to tolerate these privations. 
During all that day he was a prey to delirium; he moved 
about, uttering hoarse cries, biting his fingers, and ready to 
open a vein to assuage his thirst. 

" Ah ! " he cried. " Country of thirst, you are well 
named the region of despair 1 " Then he fell into a pro- 
found lethargy, and nothing could be heard but the sound 
of his breathing between his swollen lips. 

Towards evening Joe was seized with symptoms of 
madness. The vast stretch of sand appeared to him an 
immense pond filled with clear and sparkling water. More 
than once he cast himself upon the burning ground to 
drink, and raising his mouth, filled with sand, would ex- 
claim with anger: "Curse it, it is salt water!" 

Afterwards, while Kennedy and Ferguson lay motion- 
less, he was seized with an invincible desire to drink the 
few remaining drops of water kept in reserve. The wish 
overpowered him. He crept towards the car on all-fours; 
he devoured the contents of the bottle with his eyes; he 
cast a cautious look around, and seizing it, put it to his 
lips. 

At this moment the words " Give me some, give me a 
drink," were uttered in despairing accents. 

It was Kennedy, who had dragged himself towards Joe. 
The unhappy man was to be pitied; he begged upon his 
knees, he even wept. Joe wept too, and handed him the 
bottle, which Kennedy finished to the last drop. 

" Thank you," he said. But Joe did not hear him, he 
had fallen, like Kennedy, upon the sand. 

We will pass over the horrors of that night. But on 
Tuesday morning, under the fiery rays of the sun that 
bathed their limbs, the unfortunate travelers felt them with- 
ering up by degrees. When Joe attempted to rise, he 

V. 1 Verne 



DELUSIONS 321 

found it was impossible to get up — he was unable to carry- 
out his plan. 

He looked around him. In the car the doctor, quite 
exhausted, his arms folded across his chest, was gazing 
into space, with a fixed and lack-luster look. Kennedy- 
was really alarming, and kept shaking his head from side 
to side like a wild beast in a cage. Suddenly- the Scot's 
glance fell upon his carbine, the stock of which protruded 
over the side of the car. 

" Ha, ha ! " he cried, raising himself by an almost super- 
human effort. He made a dart to secure the gun; mad- 
dened and foolish, he directed the muzzle to his mouth. 

"Sir, sir! "cried Joe, throwing himself upon Kennedy. 
They struggled furiously together. 

" Go away, or I will kill you ! " cried Kennedy. 

But Joe held him with all his force, and thus they con- 
tended, without the doctor appearing to observe them, for 
nearly a minute. In the struggle the carbine suddenly ex- 
ploded. At the noise of the discharge the doctor rose like 
a specter and looked around him. 

" Down there; look there! " he cried. 

He pointed to a certain point so energetically that Joe 
and Kennedy separated by mutual consent, and looked at 
him and then in the direction indicated. 

The plain was agitated like a tempestuous sea. Waves 
of sand were tossed one upon the other in the midst of a 
fearful dust-cloud. An immense pillar of sand came from 
the southeast, whirling and eddying with tremendous swift- 
ness. The sun disappeared behind a thick cloud, whose 
shade extended even to the " Victoria." The grains of 
fine sand glistened like liquid beads, and this rising sea 
gained upon them by degrees. 

A swift beam of hope leaped from Doctor Ferguson's 
eyes. 

" The simoon ! " he cried. 

" The simoon ! " repeated Joe without understanding 
him. 

"So much the better!" exclaimed Kennedy, with the 
anger of despair, " so much the better — we shall die ! " 

" So much the better," replied the doctor, " for, on the 
contrary, we shall live." And he began to cast out the 
sand which ballasted the car. 



322 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

His companions, understanding him, at last came to his 
assistance, and soon took their places in the car. 

" Now, Joe," said the doctor, " throw over about fifty- 
pounds of your mineral treasures." 

Joe did not hesitate, though a pang of regret shot 
through him. The balloon began to rise. 

" Just in time," said the doctor. 

In fact the simoon came upon them like a thunderbolt. 
A little later and the " Victoria " would have been 
smashed, torn to pieces, annihilated. 

The terrible whirlwind struck them and the balloon was 
covered with a shower of sand. 

" More of that ballast, Joe," cried the doctor. 

" There it goes," said Joe, throwing over an immense 
piece of quartz. 

The " Victoria " mounted rapidly above the whirlwind, 
but surrounded by an immense vacuum of air, it was hur- 
ried along by the current at a frightful pace above the 
foaming sea of sand. 

Neither Samuel, Dick, nor Joe spoke a word. They 
looked on in hope, and were, moreover, refreshed by the 
wind of this tempest. 

At three o'clock the storm abated; the sand in falling 
formed a quantity of little heaps, the sky reappeared in all 
its former tranquillity. The " Victoria," now motionless, 
was in full view of an oasis, a little isle covered with 
green trees and rising from the surface of this ocean. 

" Water ! water ! " exclaimed the doctor, and immediately 
opening the valve he permitted the escape of the hydrogen 
and descended gently at about 200 paces from the oasis. 
During a period of four hours they had traveled 240 miles. 

The car was duly balanced, and Kennedy, followed by 
Joe, got down on the ground. 

" Take your rifles," said the doctor, " and be cautious." 

Dick caught up his carbine, Joe took one of the rifles. 
They advanced quickly up to the trees and penetrated 
amid the fresh verdure which announced the abundance of 
water. They took no notice of some large footprints and 
of the fresh trail which was indicated upon the damp 
ground. 

Suddenly a roar resounded within twenty paces. 

" 'Tis the roar of a lion ! " cried Joe. 



DELUSIONS 323 

"All -the better," replied the exasperated Scotchman; 
" one feels strong when there's fighting to be done." 

"Do be prudent, Mr. Dick, pray be prudent — on the 
life of one depends the life of all now." 

But Dick, who did not hear him, advanced with blazing 
eyes and loaded gun, terrible in his rashness. Beneath a 
palm tree an enormous lion with black mane was crouched. 
Scarcely did he perceive the hunter than he sprang at him ; 
but he had not touched ground again when a bullet through 
the heart settled him. He fell dead. 

" Hurrah ! hurrah ! " cried Joe. 

Kennedy hurried towards the wells, slipping upon the 
damp steps, and stretched himself down beside a spring, in 
which he eagerly laved his swollen lips. Joe followed his 
example, and they heard nothing save the cries of the ani- 
mals which they had disturbed by their approach. 

" Be cautious, Mr. Dick," said Joe, as he took breath, 
" do not drink too much at first." 

But Dick, without replying, continued drinking. He 
plunged his head and hands into the grateful water — he 
was like a man intoxicated. 

" And about Mr. Ferguson ? " said Joe. 

This recalled Kennedy to himself. He filled a bottle he 
had brought and hurried up the steps. But what was his 
surprise — an enormous body closed up the opening! Joe, 
who followed Dick, drew him back with him. 

"We are shut in!" 

" It is impossible — what do you say " 

But Dick did not finish his sentence. A terrible roaring 
gave him to understand with what new enemy he had to do. 

" Another lion ! " cried Joe. 

"No, a lioness — ah, wait a minute, you beast!" said 
Dick, quickly reloading his carbine. 

He fired a moment after, but the animal had disappeared. 
" Come along," cried he. 

" No, no, Mr, Dick, you have not killed her — she is 
crouching close here, and she will spring at the first who 
approaches, and he will be lost." 

" But what can you do ? We must get out. And Sam- 
uel is waiting for us." 

" Let us * draw ' her. Take my gun and give me your 
carbine." 



324 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" What is your plan ? " 

" You shall see." 

Joe took off his jacket, and placing it upon the end of 
his gun, held it as a bait above the opening. The furious 
beast sprang down. Kennedy waited her appearance and 
gave her a bullet in the shoulder. The lioness roared and 
rolled down the steps, upsetting Joe. He was already 
fancying the enormous claws of the animal upon him, when 
a second shot was heard, and Doctor Ferguson appeared at 
the entrance, his rifle, still smoking, in his hand. Joe 
quickly got upon his feet, jumped over the carcass, and 
handed his master the bottle of water. To carry it to his 
lips and half empty it was for Ferguson the work of an 
instant, and the three travelers thanked Heaven, from the 
bottom of their hearts, for having so miraculously pre- 
served them from a terrible death. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

THE HURRICANE 

The evening was beautiful, and was passed by our trav- 
elers under the grateful shade of the mimosas, after an 
excellent repast, in which tea and grog were not spared. 

Kennedy had searched the little island in every direction ; 
he had scoured the bushes, and the travelers were the only 
occupants of this terrestial paradise. They stretched 
themselves on the ground beneath their rugs, and enjoyed 
a quiet night's rest, which brought them forgetfulness of 
all their troubles. 

Next day, the 7th of May, the sun shone brilliantly, but 
his rays were unable to penetrate the thick curtains of 
shade. They had provisions in plenty, and the doctor de- 
termined to remain at that place until a favorable wind 
rose. 

Joe had got out his portable kitchen, and devoted him- 
self to a series of culinary combinations, while he made use 
of the water with careless prodigality. 

" What a strange succession of disappointment and 
pleasure ! " cried Kennedy. " All this abundance after the 
privations we endured; luxury succeeding to despair. 
Ah! I was very nearly going mad! " 



THE HURRICANE 325 



€( 



My dear Dick," said the doctor, "had it not been for 
Joe, you would not be sitting there holding forth upon the 
mutability of human affairs." 

" My brave friend," said Dick, extending his hand to 
Joe. 

" Oh, do not mention it," replied Joe. " You would do 
as much for me again, Mr. Dick; but I trust the oppor- 
tunity to render me a simialr service will not arise." 

" Ours is a poor nature," said Ferguson, " to allow itself 
to be overcome by so little." 

"By so little water you mean, sir. That element is 
very necessary to life." 

" Doubtless, Joe, and people deprived of food can exist 
longer than those deprived of water." 

" I can quite believe it. Moreover, if necessary, one 
can eat anything, even one's fellow-creatures, although that 
would be a repast likely to last for a long time." 

" Savages don't find it so, nevertheless," said Kennedy. 
" That is because they are savages, and accustomed to eat 
uncooked meat, but that is to me a disgusting habit." 

"It is very distasteful, certainly," replied the doctor; 
" in fact, no one credits the accounts of the first African 
explorers, who have related that many tribes live on raw 
meat, and refused generally to admit the fact. A singular 
adventure happened to James Bruce under these circum- 
stances." 

" Tell us what it was, sir, we have plenty of time," said 
Joe, casting himself lazily upon the green grass. 

" Willingly," replied the doctor. " James Bruce was a 
Scotchman, a native of Stirling, and who, in 1768-72, 
traversed Abyssinia as far as Lake Tyana, in his search for 
the sources of the Nile. He then returned to England, 
where he published his travels in 1790 or thereabouts. 
His statements were received with incredulity (an incredu- 
lity doubtless also in reserve for us). The habits of the 
Abyssinians appeared so very different from the British 
usages and customs, that no one would credit the accounts. 
Amongst other details James Bruce had stated that the 
tribes of eastern Africa were in the habit of eating raw 
meat. This statement raised a regular outcry against him. 
He might talk as he liked, they did not see it at all! 
Bruce was a very brave but a very quick-tempered man. 



326 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

These insinuations and doubts worried him very much. 
One day in a drawing-room in Edinburgh, a Scotchman 
repeated in Bruce's presence the subject of the daily jokes; 
and as to the uncooked meat, he did not beHeve it was 
either possible or true. Bruce made no remark. He went 
out of the room and shortly afterwards returned with a 
raw beefsteak, salted and peppered after the African 
manner. 

" * Sir,' said he to the Scot, * in throwing doubt upon 
what I have declared to be true, you have gravely insulted 
me, and in disbelieving the possibility of the occurrence, 
you have made a great mistake. Now, to prove it, you 
are going to eat this raw steak, or give me satisfaction!' 
The Scot was a coward, and he ate the §teak with many 
grimaces. Then, with great coolness, Bruce added : * Sup- 
posing, even, that the thing is not true, sir, you will hardly 
in future maintain that it is impossible ! ' " 

" A capital retort," said Joe. " If the Scot got indi- 
gestion, it was no more than he deserved; and if, when we 
return to England, anyone cast doubts on our journey " 

''Well, Joe, what will you do?" 

" I will make the skeptics eat the fragments of the * Vic- 
toria,' without salt or pepper ! " 

All laughed at Joe's determination. So the day wore 
on in pleasant chat; with strength, hope returned — with 
hope, boldness. The past was effaced by the future with 
providential rapidity. Joe did not wish to leave this de- 
lightful asylum. It was the country of his dreams; he 
felt at home here, he obliged his master to take the exact 
bearings, and he wrote it with much ceremony in his note- 
book, 15° 43' longitude, 8° 32' latitude. Kennedy only 
regretted his inability to hunt or shoot in that miniature 
forest; in his eyes the place only wanted a few wild beasts, 
to be perfectly charming. 

" Well, my dear Dick, you have a very bad memory. 
How about that lion and lioness?" said the doctor. 

" That's nothing," replied Dick, with a true hunter's 
contempt for what he had killed. " But, as a matter of 
fact, we may suppose their presence in this oasis is indi- 
cating our approach to more fertile regions." 

" By no means a certain proof, Dick; these animals, im- 
pelled by hunger or thirst, often travel immense distances. 



THE HURRICANE 32; 

During the approaching night we must watch with re- 
doubled vigilance, and light fires." 

"In this heat!" cried Joe. "However, if necessary, it 
must be done. But it is a great pity to burn this pretty 
wood, which has been so welcome to us ! " 

" We will take great care not to set it on fire," said the 
doctor, " so that other people may find in it a refuge in the 
midst of the desert." 

" It shall be taken care of. But, sir, do you think this 
oasis is known to exist? " 

" Certainly. It is a halting-place for the caravans which 
frequent the center of Africa, and their visit might not be 
acceptable to you, Joe." 

" Are those horrible Nyam-Nyams here then ? " 

" Without doubt that is the general name of all these 
people; and under the same climate the same race have 
like customs." 

"Pooh!" said Joe; "after all, it is very natural. If 
savages possessed the tastes of gentlemen where would be 
the difference? For example, look at these brave people 
who would not have to be asked to swallow the beefsteak 
of the Scotchman — or even the Scot himself." 

With this rational remark, Joe proceeded to get the 
wood piles ready for the night, making them as small as 
possible. These precautions were happily unnecessary, 
and each one in turn enjoyed a good night's rest. 

Next day the weather was unchanged — it remained ob- 
stinately fine. The balloon would be motionless until a 
breeze arose to move it. The doctor began to feel uneasy 
once more. If the journey became thus extended the pro- 
visions would not hold out. After having survived the 
want of water, were they to be reduced to die of hunger? 

But he felt reassured when he perceived a decided fall of 
the mercury in the barometer ; there were evident symptoms 
of a change. He determined, therefore, to prepare for 
departure and profit by the very first opportunity. The 
supply tank and the water tank were both filled. 

Ferguson then set about the re-establishment of the 
equilibrium of the balloon, and Joe was obliged to sacri- 
fice a quantity of the precious mineral he possessed. With 
renewed health, ambition reasserted itself. He made more 
excuses than before ere he obeyed his master, but the latter 



328 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

pointed out how impossible it was to raise such a weight. 
It was a choice between water and ore. Joe hesitated no 
longer, and cast away upon the sand a quantity of his 
beloved pebbles. 

" They will serve for those who follow us," he said. 
" They will be very much astonished to find a fortune in 
such a place." 

" Suppose," said Kennedy, " that some learned traveler 
should meet with these specimens ? " 

*' No doubt he would be very much surprised, my dear 
Dick, and would equally publish his surprise. Some day 
we shall hear of a wonderful deposit of auriferous quartz 
in the midst of the sandy desert of Africa." 

" And Joe will have been the cause." 

The idea of mystifying some learned professor some- 
what consoled this brave lad, and he smiled. 

During the remainder of the day the doctor watched in 
vain for a change in the sky — the heat became greater, and 
without the shade of the oasis would have been intolerable. 
The thermometer in the sun marked 149°. A regular rain 
of fiery rays traversed the air. This was the greatest heat 
they had yet noted. 

Towards evening Joe prepared the watch-fires, and dur- 
ing the vigils of the doctor and Kennedy nothing particular 
occurred. But towards three in the morning — Joe was 
watching — the temperature fell suddenly, the sky became 
obscured', and the darkness increased. " Get up ! " cried 
Joe, waking his companions ; " get up — the wind is com- 
ing!" 

" At last ! " cried the doctor, looking up at the sky. 

" It is a regular storm ! To the balloon — to the * Vic- 
toria!'" 

They were only just in time. The " Victoria " was 
bending beneath the force of the storm, and was dragging 
the car across the sand. Had any part of the ballast been 
out of her the balloon would have sailed away, and then all 
hope of regaining her would have been lost. 

But Joe, quick as ever, ran as hard as he could and 
stopped the car, while the balloon beat along the sand, at 
the risk of being torn to pieces. The doctor took his usual 
place, lighted up the blow-pipe, and threw out the excess 
weight. 



THE HURRICANE 329 

The travelers took a last look at the trees of the oasis, 
which were bending with the force of the wind, and soon, 
running before the east wind at about 200 feet above the 
ground, they disappeared into the darkness of the night. 



CHAPTER XXIX 

MOUNT ATLANTIKA 

From the moment of departure our travelers went at a 
tremendous pace — they longed to quit this desert, which 
had nearly proved so fatal. Towards nine o'clock some 
appearance of vegetation was perceived — herbs floating, 
as it were, upon the sea of sand, and announcing, as to 
Christopher Columbus, the approach of land — green blades 
pushed themselves up timidly between the stones which 
were themselves the rocks in this ocean. 

A low-lying chain of hills appeared upon the horizon; 
their profile, dwarfed by the haze, was rather indistinct, 
but the monotony was over. The doctor joyously saluted 
this new region, and, like a sailor, he was on the point of 
exclaiming, " Land ! land ! " 

An hour later the continent was extended before his 
gaze — still wild, but less flat, less bare, for some trees rose 
against the gray sky. 

'* We are, then, in a civilized country at last ! " said the 
Scot. 

" Civilized, Mr. Dick? that is your way of looking at it; 
we can see no inhabitants yet." 

" We shall soon," replied Ferguson, *' at the rate we are 
going." 

" Shall we always be among negroes, Mr. Samuel ? " 

" Always, Joe, until we arrive amongst Arabs." 

"Arabs, sir; real live Arabs, with camels?" 

" No, without the camels ; these animals are scarce, not 
to say unknown, in these districts; we must go some de- 
grees farther north to meet them." 

" That is unfortunate." 

"Why, Joe?" 

" Because, if the wind shifted, we might make them 
help us!" 

"How?" 



330 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" Sir, it is an idea that has come into my head. We 
could yoke them to the car, and be dragged by them. What 
do you think of it? " 

" My poor Joe, this idea has been started before. It 
has been exploded by a very excellent French writer — in a 
romance, it is true. Travelers harness camels to their 
balloon; they come in contact with a lion, who eats the 
camels, swallows the harness, and does the dragging instead 
of the camels — and so on. You see that all this is imagina- 
tion, and has nothing in common with our system of loco- 
motion." 

Joe, who was somewhat humiliated at the thought that 
his notion had been already made use of, began to think of 
some animal who could devour a lion, but, finding none, he 
set about examining the country again. A lake of moder- 
ate extent was now in sight, with an amphitheater of hills, 
which had not yet attained the dignity of mountains. 
Here numerous fertile valleys were stretched out, and 
boasted an inextricable variety of trees. 

" The country is splendid," said the doctor. 

"Look at those animals; men cannot be far distant," 
said Joe. 

" Ah ! what magnificent elephants," said Kennedy. " Is 
there no chance of a little shooting? " 

" How on earth are we to stop, my dear Dick, with a 
current of this velocity. No, you must taste a little of the 
torture of Tantalus. You shall have amends by and by." 

There was something to excite the hunter's imagination. 
Dick's breast bounded and his hands mechanically gripped 
his " Purdey." 

The fauna of the country equaled the flora. The wild 
oxen disported in the thick grass, in which they were en- 
tirely concealed; elephants, gray, black, and yellow, of 
enormous size, passed like a hurricane through the forest, 
crashing, biting, destroying, as they went, and making their 
progress by devastation. On the wooded slope of the hills, 
cascades and streams ran down towards the north. There 
the hippopotami bathed with much noise; and the man- 
atees, twelve feet in length, vvith fish-like bodies, dis- 
ported themselves on the banks, raising towards the sky 
their rounded breasts distended with milk. 

It was a rare menagerie in a wonderful conservatory, 



MOUNT ATLANTIKA 331 

where birds without number, of a thousand different hues, 
presented varied changes of color as they flew amongst the 
arborescent plants. 

At this prodigality of nature the doctor was reminded of 
the superb kingdom of Adamosa. "We are now drawing 
near the traces of modern discovery," he said. " I have 
caught up the missing trace of the travelers; It Is by a 
happy fatality, my friends, that we are enabled to connect 
the labors of Captains Burton and Speke with the explora- 
tions of Doctor Barth. We quitted England to find a 
Hamburgher, and we shall soon reach the extreme point 
attained by that adventurous professor." 

*' It appears to me," said Kennedy, " that between the 
two discoveries there Is a vast extent of country, if one 
may judge from the distance we have traveled." 

" It is easy to calculate ; take the map, and see what Is 
the longitude of the southern point of Lake Ukereone at- 
tained by Speke." 

" Close upon the 37th degree." 

" And the town of Yola, which we shall see to-night, 
and to which Barth penetrated — how Is It situated ? " 
" On the 1 2th degree of longitude nearly." 
" That makes it twenty-five degrees, which, at sixty miles 
each, is 1,500 miles." 

" A nice journey," said Joe, " for people who walk." 
" That will nevertheless be accomplished. Livingstone 
and Moffat are always advancing towards the interior; the 
Nyassa, which they have discovered, is not very far distant 
from Lake Tanganyika, found by Burton; before the end 
of the century these immense tracts will be explored. 
But," added the doctor, as he consulted the compass, " I re- 
gret that the wind is carrying us so much towards the west; 
I would have preferred to go northward." 

After twelve hours' progress the " Victoria " arrived at 
the boundary of Nigritia. The first inhabitants of this 
territory, the Chouan Arabs, were feeding their horned 
flocks. The vast summits of Mount Atlantika appeared 
above the horizon, mountains which no European foot had 
ever trodden, and whose altitude is estimated at 7,800 feet. 
Their western slopes determine the direction of the streams 
of this part of Africa to the ocean. They are the " Moun- 
tains of the Moon " of this region. 



332 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

At length a true river greeted the eyes of the travelers, 
and by the immense ant-hills which bordered it, the doctor 
recognized the Benoue, one of the great tributaries of the 
Niger, that which the natives have named the " Source of 
Waters." 

" This river," said the doctor to his companions, " will 
one day become the natural channel of communication with 
the interior of Nigritia. Under the command of one of 
our brave captains, the Pleiad advanced as far as the town 
of Yola. You see that we are in a known country." 

Numerous slaves were employed in tilling the fields, 
cultivating the " sorgho," a species of millet which forms 
the staple food of the community. The most stupid as- 
tonishment was apparent as the " Victoria " passed like a 
meteor. In the evening our travelers stopped at forty 
miles from Yola, and in front, but at a distance, the two 
sharp peaks of the Mount Mendif raised themselves. 

The doctor threw out the grapnels, and they caught in 
the summit of a high tree, but the high wind bent the 
" Victoria " down almost horizontally, and rendered the 
position of the car very dangerous. 

Ferguson did not close his eyes all night, he was fre- 
quently on the point of cutting the cable and flying before 
the hurricane. At last the storm lulled and the oscillations 
of the balloon were no longer alarming. 

Next day the wind was more moderate, but it carried 
the travelers beyond the town of Yola, which, newly built 
by the Foulannes, had excited the curiosity of Ferguson. 
Nevertheless he was obliged to resign himself to be carried 
to the north, and even a little to the east. 

Kennedy suggested a halt for hunting purposes. Joe 
pretended that the want of fresh meat was beginning to be 
felt; but the savage customs of the country, the attitude of 
the population, some shots sent in the direction of the 
" Victoria," all determined the doctor to continue his jour- 
ney. They then crossed a region — a theater of massacres 
and burnings, where fighting is incessant, and in which the 
sultans rule their kingdoms in the midst of the most hor- 
rible slaughter. 

Numerous and populous villages, composed of long huts, 
appeared between splendid pastures, of which the thick 
grass was mixed with violet blossoms; the huts resembled 



MOUNT ATLANTIKA 332, 

vast hives, and were screened behind bristhng pahsades. 
The wilder slopes of the hills recalled to Kennedy's mind 
the glens of the Scottish Highlands, and he frequently made 
the remark. 

Despite the doctor's efforts the balloon was drifted to- 
wards the northeast, in the direction of Mount Mendif, 
which was hidden in the clouds. The high summits of 
these mountains separate the basin of the Niger from that 
of Lake Tchad. 

Bagale, with its eighteen villages hung upon its flanks, 
soon appeared, like a group of children round their mother ; 
a magnificent group for those who, being overhead, could 
take the whole in at once. At three o'clock the " Victoria" 
was opposite Mount Mendif. They could not avoid it, so 
were obliged to go over it. The doctor, by means of a 
temperature of 180°, gave to the balloon a new ascensional 
force of nearly 1,600 lbs. It rose more than 8,000 feet. 
This was the greatest elevation obtained during the jour- 
ney, and the temperature was so low that the doctor and 
his companions were glad to make use of their rugs. 

Ferguson hastened to descend, for the envelope of the 
balloon threatened disruption. He had time, however, to 
verify the volcanic origin of the mountain, whose extinct 
craters were only deep chasms. Great agglomerations of 
the dung of birds gave the sides of the Mendif the appear- 
ance of calcareous rocks, and there was sufficient there to 
manure the whole United Kingdom. 

At five o'clock the " Victoria," impelled by the south 
wind, sailed slowly along the slopes of the mountain, and 
halted in a large open space at a distance from any habita- 
tion. So soon as they touched the ground, precautions were 
taken to secure the balloon firmly, and Kennedy, gun in 
hand, started in the plain. He was not long before he 
returned with half-a-dozen wild ducks and a sort of snipe, 
which Joe served up to the best of his ability. The meal 
was a pleasant one, and the night passed without any dis- 
turbance. 



CHAPTER XXX 

THE INCENDIARY PIGEONS 

Next day, the nth of May, the "Victoria" resumed 
her adventurous course; the travelers had in her the same 
confidence as a sailor feels in his ship. 

Fearful hurricanes, tropical heat, dangerous ascents, even 
more dangerous descents, were experienced by the " Vic- 
toria," and happily overcome always and through every- 
thing. One might say that Ferguson guided her by a ges- 
ture; and without knowing the point of arrival, the doctor 
had no fear respecting the issue of the journey. But in this 
land of barbarians and fanatics, prudence obliged him to 
take the greatest precautions, and he enjoined his com- 
panions to keep their eyes open ready for anything at any 
time. 

The wind carried them a little more to the north, and 
towards nine o'clock they came in sight of the large town 
of Mosfeia, built upon an eminence shut in between two 
high mountains. It was situated in an impregnable posi- 
tion ; a road between a marsh and a wood was the only ap- 
proach to it. 

At this moment a sheik, accompanied by a mounted 
escort, clad in bright-colored robes, preceded by trumpeters 
and runners who cut down the opposing branches, was 
about to make his entry into the city. 

The doctor descended so as to see the natives a little 
nearer, but scarcely had the balloon come into their range 
of vision when signs of terror began to manifest themselves, 
and they scampered away as fast as their legs or their 
horses could carry them. The sheik alone did not move, he 
cocked his long musket and waited proudly. 

The doctor approached within 150 paces, and, in his 
most pleasant tone, addressed to him the Arab welcome. 

But at these words falling from the sky, the sheik dis- 
mounted, and prostrated himself in the dust of the road; 
and the doctor was not able to prevent this act of wor- 
ship. 

" It is impossible," said he, " but that these people should 
take us for supernatural beings, since, on the arrival of 
the first Europeans amongst them, they believed them to 
be a divine race. And when this sheik speaks of this 
encounter in future he will not fail to elaborate the details 

334 



THE INCENDIARY PIGEONS 335 

with all the resources of an Arab's imagination. Judge 
then what their legends will be respecting us some of these 
days." 

" That will be rather disappointing from the civilization 
point of view," replied Kennedy. " It would be better to 
pass for simple men, who would give these negroes an ex- 
cellent idea of European power." 

"Agreed, my dear Dick; but what could we do here? 
You might explain at length to the wise men the mechanism 
of the balloon, which they would not understand, and would 
always suppose it to be a supernatural appearance." 

" Sir," said Joe, " you have spoken of the first Euro- 
peans who explored this country; who were they, if you 
please ? " 

" My dear boy, we are precisely on the track of Major 
Denham. It was at this very Mosfeia that he was received 
by the Sultan of Mandara; he had left the Bornou. He 
accompanied the sheik in an expedition against the Fella- 
tabs; he assisted at the attack on the town, which resisted 
bravely with its arrows against the Arabs' bullets, and put 
the troops of the sheik to flight; all this was but a pretext 
for murder, pillage, and raids. The major was completely 
stripped, and had it not been for a horse, beneath whose 
belly he crept, and which enabled him to escape his con- 
querors by its headlong gallop, he would never have re- 
entered Kouka, the capital of Bornou." 

" But who was this Major Denham? " 

"A brave Englishman, who from 1822 to 1824, com- 
manded an expedition into the Bornou, in company with 
Captain Clapper ton and Doctor Oudney. They left Tripoli 
in the month of March, arrived at Mourzouk, the capital 
of Fezzan; and, following the route which Doctor Barth 
traversed afterwards on his return to Europe, they arrived 
on the 1 6th of February, 1823, in Bornou, in the Mandara, 
and at the eastern side of the lake. During this time, on 
the 15th December, 1823, Captain Clapperton and Doctor 
Oudney penetrated into the Soudan as far as Sackatou, 
and Oudney died of fatigue and privation at Murmur." 

"This part of Africa," said Kennedy, " has then paid a 
large tribute of victims to science." 

"Yes! this region is indeed fatal. We are tending di- 
rectly towards the kingdom of Barghimi, which Vogel 



336 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

crossed in 1856 to pentrate into the Wadai, where he dis- 
appeared. This young man of twenty-three was despatched 
to co-operate in the explorations of Doctor Barth ; they met 
on the 1st December, 1854, then Vogel commenced to ex- 
plore the country; about 1856 he announced in his last 
letters his intention to examine the kingdom of Wadai", into 
which no European had ever previously penetrated. It 
seems he reached Wara, the capital, where, according to 
some accounts, he was made prisoner; according to others 
he was put to death, for having attempted to ascend a 
sacred mountain in the neighborhood. But we must not 
lightly accept the report of the death of travelers, for that 
would obviate any search for them; thus, how often was 
the death of Doctor Barth officially announced, a circum- 
stance which naturally caused him great irritation. It was 
therefore very possible that Vogel had been kept a prisoner 
by the Sultan of Wada'i, in the hope to obtain ransom. 
Baron Neimaus set out for Wadai, but he died at Cairo in 
1855. We know now that M. Heuglin, with the expedition 
despatched from Leipsic, followed up the traces of Vogel. 
Thus we ought to be soon assured of the fate of this youth- 
ful and interesting traveler." 

Mosfeia had long since disappeared on the horizon. 
Mandara betrayed its astonishing fertility to the eyes of the 
travelers, with its acacia forests, the red-flowering locust 
plant, and the herbaceous plants in the cotton and indigo 
fields. The Shari, which flows into Lake Tchad eighty 
miles farther on, here rolled its impetuous course along. 

The doctor followed with his companions the maps of 
Barth. " You see," said he, " that the works of this savant 
are wonderfully precise. We are traveling right over the 
district of Loggoum, and perhaps even upon Kernak, its 
capital. There poor Toole died, when scarcely twenty- 
two. He was a young Englishman, an ensign in the 80th 
foot, who had for some weeks been with Major Denham 
in Africa, and he there quickly found his death. Ah ! they 
may well call this country the ' Cemetery of Europeans,' " 

Some canoes about fifty feet long were descending the 
Shari. The "Victoria," 1,000 feet above them, attracted 
little attention from the natives, until the wind, which 
had hitherto been blowing strongly, showed signs of di- 
minishing. 
V. I Verne 



THE INCENDIARY PIGEONS 337 

"Are we again going to be becalmed, I wonder?" said 
the doctor. 

" Well, sir, we have neither the want of water nor the 
desert to fear now." 

" No, but the population is still very formidable." 

" There " said Joe, eagerly, " is something that resembles 
a town." 

" It is Kernak. The last breath of wind will carry us 
thither, and if it suits us, we can take an exact plan of 
the place." 

" Can we not go nearer to it ? " asked Kennedy. 

" Nothing is more easy, Dick," said the doctor. " We 
are exactly over the town. Allow me to turn the tap of 
the blow-pipe a little, and we shall soon descend." 

In half an hour the " Victoria " was floating motionless, 
about 200 feet from the ground. 

" We are here nearer to Kernak," said the doctor, " than 
a man would be to London, if he were perched on the dome 
of St. Paul's. So we can observe at our ease all that is 
going on." 

" What is that sound of mallets that we hear on all 
sides?" 

Joe watched attentively, and perceived that the noise 
was produced by the number of weavers, who were beating 
their cloths stretched upon the large trunks of trees. 

The capital of Loggoum was viewed in its entirety, like 
a plan unrolled at their feet. It was a veritable town, with 
lines of houses and good-sized streets. In the center of a 
large square a slave-market was held, and there was a large 
concourse of purchasers; for the Mandara women, with 
their little hands and feet, are very much sought after, and 
are sold for high prices. 

At sight of the " Victoria," the oft-produced effect was 
again repeated — first cries, then profound stupefaction; 
business was abandoned, work suspended, the noise was 
hushed. The travelers remained immovable, and did not 
lose a detail of this populous city; they even descended to a 
distance of sixty feet from the ground. 

Then the governor of Loggoum came out of his house, 
displaying his green flag, and accompanied by his musicians, 
who blew enthusiastically with the full force of their lungs 
into their hoarse buffalo horns. The crowd assembled round 



338 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

him. Doctor Ferguson wished to make himself heard, but 
he could not succeed. 

The people, who had high foreheads, curly hair, and 
almost aquiline noses, appeared proud and intelligent, but 
the presence of the " Victoria " disturbed them mightily. 
The travelers perceived horsemen galloping in all directions ; 
soon it became evident that the soldiers were being assem- 
bled to give battle to this extraordinary enemy. Joe had 
lavishly displayed handkerchiefs of various colors, but with- 
out any result. 

However, the sheik, surrounded by his court, proclaimed 
silence, and made a speech in a mixed language of Arabic 
and Baghimi, of which the doctor did not understand a 
word. He comprehended, however, by the universal lan- 
guage of signs, that he was particularly requested to depart; 
he asked for nothing better, but in default of wind it had 
become impossible. His immobility angered the governor, 
and his courtiers begged him to give loud orders for the 
departure of the monster. 

They were curious people, these courtiers, with their five 
or six motley shirts upon their bodies ; they were enormously 
stout, and some appeared to wear artificial stomachs. The 
doctor astonished his companions by telling them that this 
was the mode of paying court to the Sultan. The rotundity 
of the abdomen indicated the ambition of the people. 
These fat men gesticulated and shouted, and one more than 
all the rest, who ought to have been prime minister if his 
size met with any favor. The crowd of negroes joined 
their shouting to that of the courtiers, repeating their ges- 
ticulations like so many monkeys, and which resulted in a 
curious and instantaneous effect in the simultaneous move- 
ment of 10,000 arms. 

To these modes of intimidation, which appeared to be 
insufficient, they added others more formidable. Soldiers, 
armed with bows and arrows, were drawn up in order of 
battle; but the "Victoria" had already been inflated, and 
moved quietly out of range. The governor then seized a 
musket and leveled it at the balloon, but Kennedy was on 
the watch, and with a ball from his carbine, shattered the 
musket in the sheik's grasp. 

At this unlooked-for blow there was a general retreat; 
each one took shelter in his house as quickly as possible, 



THE INCENDIARY PIGEONS 339 

and during the rest of the day the town remained absolutely 
deserted. 

Night arrived; the wind had dropped. It was resolved 
to pass the night at 300 feet from the ground. Not a gleam 
shone through the darkness — a deathlike silence reigned 
around. 

The doctor redoubled his watchfulness; this calm be- 
tokened some treachery. 

And Ferguson was right to watch as he did. Towards 
midnight all the town appeared on fire; hundreds of fiery 
streaks crossed each other like rockets, forming a network 
of flame. 

** That is very curious," said the doctor. 

" But, God bless me ! " cried Kennedy, " It appears that 
the fire is ascending and approaching us." 

In fact, at the sound of frightful cries, and amid the 
discharges of muskets, this mass of fire rose up towards 
the " Victoria." Joe made ready to throw out the ballast. 
Ferguson did not stop to ascertain the cause of the phe- 
nomenon. 

Thousands of pigeons, their tails furnished with squibs, 
had been let loose against the " Victoria." Terrified, they 
ascended, marking their flight with fiery zigzags. Kennedy 
was about to discharge all the firearms into the midst of the 
crowd of birds, but what could he accomplish against such 
an innumerable host ? Already the pigeons had surrounded 
the car and the balloon, of which the sides, reflecting the 
light, appeared wrapped in flames. 

The doctor did not hesitate, and throwing over a large 
lump of quartz, he rose above the reach of these dangerous 
birds. For two hours they could perceive them flying back- 
wards and forwards in the darkness ; by degrees their num- 
bers diminished and finally they disappeared. 

" Now we can sleep in peace," said the doctor. 

" Rather a happy thought of the savages," said Joe. 

" Yes ; they very commonly employ pigeons to burn the 
thatches of houses in the villages, but this time the village 
flew up higher than their winged incendiaries." 

" A balloon has decidedly no enemies to fear," said 
Kennedy. 

" Yes, indeed it has," replied the doctor. 

"Who, then?" 



340 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" The imprudent people whom it carries in its car ; so, 
my friends, vigilance above everything — vigilance always ! " 



CHAPTER XXXI 

A LOST BULLET 

About three o'clock in the morning, during Joe's watch, 
the town appeared to move beneath them, and the " Vic- 
toria " sailed away. Kennedy and the doctor awoke. 

The latter consulted the compass, and perceived with 
satisfaction that the wind was bearing them to the nor- 
nor-east. 

" We are getting on capitally," said he. " All goes well, 
and we shall come in sight of Lake Tchad this very day," 

"Is it a large expanse of water?" asked Kennedy. 

" A very considerable size, my dear Dick ; at its greatest 
length and breadth it measures 120 miles." 

" It will be a little change for us to sail over such a 
sheet of water." 

" Well, it seems to me that we have nothing to grumble 
at; the country is very varied, and we are enjoying it under 
the most pleasant conditions." 

" No doubt, Samuel. Except the privations of the desert 
we have not encountered any serious danger." 

" Certainly, our tight little ' Victoria ' has behaved won- 
derfully. To-day is the 12th of May; we started on the 
1 8th of April, so we have been traveling twenty-five days. 
Ten days more and we shall reach the end of our journey." 

"Where?" 

" I do not know ; but what does that matter ? " 

" You are right, Samuel ; let us trust in Providence to 
take care of us and keep us in good health, as we are. We 
do not look much like people who have been traversing the 
most pestilential country in the world." 

" We have been able to keep up so high, that is the 
reason we have been so well." 

"Hurrah for aerial traveling!" cried Joe. "Here we 
are after twenty-five days, in good health, well fed, well 
rested; indeed, rather too well rested, for my limbs are 
getting stiff, and I should not be sorry to take the stiffness 
off with a thirty mile walk." 



A LOST BULLET 341 

"You shall indulge yourself in that way in the streets 
of London, Joe. But to wind up, we are a party of three 
like Denham, Clapperton, and Overweg — like Earth, Rich- 
ardson, and Vogel, and happier than our predecessors. 
All three of us are together still. But it is very important 
not to separate. If, during the absence of one of us on 
the ground, the * Victoria ' were obliged to ascend in order 
to avoid some sudden and unforseen danger, who knows 
whether we might come together again. So I tell you 
frankly, Kennedy, I do not wish you to go far away under 
the pretext of hunting." 

" You must, nevertheless, allow me, my dear Samuel, to 
overcome this fancy; there is no great harm in renewing 
our stock of provisions. Besides, before our departure 
from home, you put before me a series of wonderful hunt- 
ing exploits, and, up to this time, I have done very little 
in the way of Anderson or Gumming." 

" Surely, my dear Dick, your memory fails you; or your 
modesty stands in the way of your prowess. It appears 
to me that, without reckoning smaller game, you have al- 
ready an antelope, an elephant, and two lions on your con- 
science." 

" Well, what is that for an African sportsman, who can 
have a shot at every created animal? Look here! look at 
this drove of giraffes ! " 

" Those giraffes ! " cried Joe. " Why, they are only as 
big as my fist! " 

"Because we are 1,000 feet above them," replied Ken- 
nedy; "but if you were nearer, you would see they were 
three times as high as you; and there are some ostriches 
going like the wind ! " 

"Ostriches!" said Joe; "they are fowls, and nothing 
more ! " 

" Cannot we get nearer to them, Samuel? " 

" Yes, we can approach them, but cannot land. And 
what good, after all. is there in shooting animals which are 
of no use to us? If the question were the destruction of a 
lion, a tiger-cat, or a hyena, I could understand it, there 
would be always a dangerous beast the less ; but to destroy 
an antelope, or a gazelle, without any profit but to satisfy 
the vanity of the sportsman, is not worth the trouble. 
However, my friend, we will keep at about 100 feet above 



342 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

the ground, and If you can perceive any wild animal you 
can send a bullet to his heart." 

The " Victoria " descended by degrees, but still kept up 
at a safe distance. In this savage and thickly-populated 
country it was necessary to be on one's guard against un- 
expected danger. 

The travelers followed the course of the Shari. The 
pleasant banks of this river were hidden beneath the shade 
of the variously tinted trees; the bind-weed and creeping 
plants wound in all directions, and produced curious com- 
binations of colors. The crocodiles sported in the sun 
and plunged into the water with the activity of the lizard, 
and in their play they crossed numerous green islets, which 
rose amid the stream. 

Thus, in the enjoyment of a luxurious and verdant nat- 
ural scenery, the district of Maffatay was passed. To- 
wards nine in the morning Ferguson and his companions 
at length reached the southern coast of Lake Tchad. 
There was the Caspian of Africa, whose existence was for 
a long time regarded as fabulous. This inland sea, to 
which only the expeditions of Denham and Barth had 
hitherto penetrated, lay before them. 

The doctor attempted to decide its actual form, already 
very different from its shape in 1847; in fact, the map of 
this lake it is impossible to reconcile with the lake itself. 
It is surrounded by miry marshes which are almost impass- 
able, and in which Barth nearly perished. From year to 
year these marshes, covered to a height of fifteen feet with 
reeds and papyrus, become absorbed into the lake, and 
often the towns established upon its banks are half sub- 
merged, as happened at Ngornou, in 1856, and now alli- 
gators and hippopotomi swim about in the very spots 
where the habitations of the natives once stood. 

The sun poured down his rays upon this calm sheet of 
water, and in the north, sky and water seemed to unite 
upon the horizon. 

The doctor was desirous to ascertain the nature of the 
water, which was for a long time believed to be saline; 
there was no danger in approaching the surface of the 
lake, and the car skimmed over it like a bird, at five feet 
distance. 

Joe plunged a bottle into it and raised it half filled; the 



A LOST BULLET 343 

water was not very drinkable, and possessed a flavor of 
natron. 

While the doctor was noting down the result of his 
experience, the report of a gun resounded beside him. 
Kennedy had not been able to resist sending a bullet at 
a monstrous hippopotamus, which quietly disappeared at 
the sound of the discharge, and the conical bullet did not 
appear to have caused him the least inconvenience. 

" You had better have harpooned him," said Joe. 

"How?" 

" With one of our grapnels. That would have been a 
good hook for such an animal." 

" By Jove ! " cried Kennedy, " Joe has really got an 
idea." 

'* Which I trust you will not put into execution," re- 
plied the doctor. " The animal would quickly hurry us 
where we should be helpless." 

" Particularly now that you have decided upon the qual- 
ity of the water of Lake Tchad." 

" Is that fish good to eat, Mr. Ferguson ? " 

" Your fish, Joe, is a mammiferous animal of the pachy- 
derm species; his flesh is excellent, they say, and is art 
article of commerce amongst the lake tribes." 

" Then I regret that Mr. Dick's bullet was not more 
effectual." 

" This animal is only vulnerable in the belly and be- 
tween the thighs; the bullet did not even break the skin. 
But, if the ground be suitable, we shall halt, and at the 
southern end of the lake there Kennedy will find a full 
menagerie, and he can indemnify himself at his ease." 

" Well, I hope that Mr. Dick will do a little hippopota- 
mus hunting. I want to taste this amphibious animal. It 
is no use coming into the center of Africa if we are to live 
upon snipe and partridges just as if we were in England! " 



CHAPTER XXXn 

THE FALL 

After arriving: at Lake Tchad, the " Victoria ** met si 
current which carried it more to the west, some clouds 
tempered the heat, and occasionally a breeze was felt over 



344 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

this vast expanse of water. But, towards one o'clock, the 
balloon having slanted across this part of the lake, ad- 
vanced once more inland for a distance of seven or eight 
miles. 

The doctor, who was first annoyed at this direction, did 
not complain when he perceived the town of Kouka, the 
celebrated capital of Bornou. He could obtain a bird's- 
eye view of it, surrounded by walls of white clay; some 
mosques of considerable size towered above the Arab 
houses. 

In the courts of the houses, and in the public squares 
were palm trees, and caoutchouc plants, crowned by a dome 
of foliage lOO feet in extent. Joe remarked that these 
immense umbrellas were suited to the heat of the sun's 
rays, and he drew very comfortable conclusions from this 
dispensation of Providence. 

Kouka is really composed of two distinct towns, sepa- 
rated by the " dendal," a wide boulevard of great length, 
crowded by foot-passengers and horsemen. Upon one 
side lay the aristocratic quarter of the town, with its high 
and airy houses; on the other cowered the poorer quarter, 
a wretched assemblage of low conical huts, where an in- 
digent population dragged on a mere existence — for Kouka 
is neither commercial nor industrial. 

Kennedy found some resemblance to Edinburgh, which 
was built on a plain, with its two perfectly distinct towns. 

But the travelers had scarcely time to observe all these 
details, when a contrary wind, with the changeableness 
which characterizes the air-currents in Africa, suddenly 
laid hold of them and carried the balloon forty miles across 
Lake Tchad. ? 

There a novel sight awaited them; they were able to 
count the numerous islets in the lake, inhabited by the 
Biddiomahs, very notorious and sanguinary pirates, and 
whose vicinity was as much to be dreaded as that of the 
Touaregs of the Sahara. These savages bravely prepared 
to receive the " Victoria " with showers of arrows and 
stones; but the balloon had soon passed their isles, over 
which it appeared to hover like a gigantic winged beetle. 

At this moment Joe, who was gazing at the horizon, 
said to Kennedy, " Faith, Mr, Dick, you are always dream- 
ing of shooting. Here is something which will suit you! " 



♦the fall 345 

" What is it, Joe? " 

** And this time my master will not object to your firing 
your gun." 

"But what is it?" 

** Do you see that flock of large birds over there, which 
are approaching us ? " 

" Birds ? " said the doctor, seizing his telescope. 

"I see them," cried Kennedy. "There are at least si 
dozen of them." 

" Fourteen, if you have no objection," said Joe. 

" Please goodness, they are sufficiently mischievous that 
the tender-hearted Samuel may not object to my shooting 
some." 

" I shall not say a word," said Ferguson, " but I should 
very much prefer to see them at a greater distance." 

"You are afraid of these birds, then? " said Joe. 

"They are condors, Joe, and of the largest size, and 
if they do attack us " 

" Well, we shall defend ourselves, Samuel. We have 
an arsenal ready to receive them. I do not suppose that 
these creatures are very formidable." 

" Who can tell ? " replied the doctor. 

Ten minutes afterwards the flock was within range. 
These fourteen birds filled the air with their hoarse cries. 
They flew at the " Victoria " more irritated than alarmed 
by its appearance. 

" How they scream," said Joe; " what a fearful row! " 

"They probably regard us as intruders upon their do- 
main, and think that we have no business to fly like them- 
selves." 

" Truly," replied Kennedy, " they are sufficiently for- 
midable and quite as dangerous as if they were armed with 
Purdey's guns." 

"They have no need of them," replied Ferguson, who 
had suddenly become very serious. 

The condors flew round in wide circles, and their orbits 
gradually got smaller and smaller. They flashed through 
the sky with fantastic rapidity, sometimes darting dowrt 
with the utmost velocity, and breaking their line with sharp 
angular flights. 

The doctor, feeling nervous, resolved to ascend, in order 
to escape from such a dangerous neighborhood; he in- 



346 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

flated the balloon, which mounted at once. But the fal- 
cons mounted with him, but little disposed to let him 
escape. 

" They appear determined to have their own way," said 
Kennedy, taking up a carbine. The birds continued to ap- 
proach; and more than one came within fifty paces of the 
car, as if to brave Kennedy's carbine. " I have a great 
mind to fire up at them," said Kennedy. 

" No, Dick ; do not, do not make them angry without 
reason. It would only incite them to attack us." 

" But I can soon polish them off ! " 

" You are mistaken, Dick." 

" We have a bullet for each of them? " 

" And if they attack the upper part of the balloon how 
will you reach them? You imagine that you are dealing 
with lions on land, or with sharks in the open sea. For 
aeronauts, the situation is very critical." 

"Are you serious, Samuel?" 

" Quite serious, Dick." 

** Let us wait, then." 

" Yes ; be ready in the event of attack ; but do not fire 
without my orders." 

The birds then collected at a little distance; the travelers 
could distinguish their bare throats extended with the ef- 
forts to scream; their gristly heads adorned with violet 
crests, which bristled with anger. They were of large size, 
their bodies being more than three feet long, and the under 
part of their white wings glistened in the sunlight. They 
have been termed air " sharks," to which fish they bore 
some resemblance. 

" They are following us," said the doctor, as they rose 
with the balloon. " We have ascended well, and they can 
fly higher than we can go." 

" Well, what is to be done ? " asked Kennedy. 

The doctor did not answer. 

"Listen, Samuel," said Kennedy; "there are fourteen 
of these birds, and we have seventeen shots at our disposal, 
if we fire them all. Are there no means by which we can 
destroy or disperse them. I will account for some of them, 
I promise you," 

" I don't question your skill, Dick, and I willingly look 
upon those birds as dead which fly across your range; but 



THE FALL 347 

I repeat, if they attack the upper part of the balloon you 
will not be able to see them, they will tear the silk which 
keeps us up, and we are 3,000 feet above the ground!" 

At this moment one of the fiercest of the birds swooped 
right down upon the "Victoria," with beak and claws ex- 
tended, ready to bite and rend. 

" Fire ! " roared the doctor. 

Scarcely had the word passed his lips, when the bird, 
shot dead, went tumbling into space. 

Kennedy seized one of the double-abrrelled guns; Joe 
shouldered the other. 

Frightened by the report, the falcons drew back for an 
instant, but they returned to the charge almost immediately 
with increased fury. Kennedy, with one bullet cut the 
head clean off the nearest bird; Joe broke the wing of 
another. 

" Only eleven more," said he. 

But now the birds changed their tactics and simulta- 
neously rose above the " Victoria." Kennedy looked at 
Ferguson. 

The latter, notwithstanding his energy and fortitude, 
turned pale. There was a moment of terrified silence. 
Then a rending noise was heard, as when silk is torn, and 
the car sank beneath the feet of the three travelers. 

" We are lost ! " cried Ferguson, as he gazed at the 
barometer, which was rapidly rising. Then he added: 

" Throw out the ballast ; out with it ! " 

In a few seconds all the quartz had disappeared. 

" We are falling still. Empty the water-tanks, do you 
hear. We are falling into the lake ! " 

Joe obeyed. The doctor looked down. The lake ap- 
peared to be coming up to meet him, objects became more 
distinct, the car was not 200 feet from the surface of Lake 
Tchad. 

" The provisions ! " cried the doctor, and the case which 
contained them was hurled into space. 

The descent became less rapid, but the unhappy trav- 
elers still were falling. 

" Throw out more ! " cried the doctor for the last time. 

" There is nothing left," replied Kennedy. 

"Yes," said Joe, laconically; and, with a rapid farewell 
gesture, he threw himself from the balloon. 



348 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" Joe, Joe ! " cried the terrified doctor. 

But Joe could no longer hear him. The "Victoria," 
lightened now, resumed her ascent, and reached a height 
of 1,000 feet; and the wind whistling through the torn silk 
covering of the balloon, carried them towards the northern 
side of the lake. 

" He is lost ! " cried Kennedy, despairingly. 

" Lost to save us ! " replied Ferguson. 

And these brave men felt big tears rolling down their 
cheeks. They leaned over the side of the car, in the vain 
hope to distinguish some trace of the unfortunate Joe; but 
they were too far away. 

" What is to be done now? " asked Kennedy. 

" We must descend to earth as soon as we can, Dick, 
and then wait." 

After a run of sixty miles, the "Victoria" descended 
on a deserted spot at the north end of the lake. The grap- 
nels caught in a low tree, and Kennedy fastened them se- 
curely. 

Night came on, but neither Ferguson nor Kennedy had 
a moment's sleep. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 
Kennedy's sporting 

The next morning, the 13th of may, the first thing the 
travelers did was to search the part of the lake border 
where they were situated. It was a species of island com- 
posed of firm land in the midst of an extensive marsh. 
Around this piece of terra firma large reeds grew, as high 
as average European trees, and extended as far as eye 
could reach. 

These trackless swamps rendered the position of the 
" Victoria " secure ; it was only necessary to explore the 
lake shore; the immense sheet of water expanded towards 
the east, and nothing was visible on the horizon — neither 
islet nor continent was to be seen. 

The two friends had not yet ventured to speak of their 
unfortunate companion. Kennedy was the first to im- 
part his surmises to the doctor. 

" Perhaps Joe is not lost, after all," said he. " He is a 



KENNEDY'S SPORTING 349 

sharp lad and a first-rate swimmer. He had no difficulty 
in swimming across the Firth of Fourth at Edinburgh. 
,We shall see him again, depend upon it; I cannot say how 
or when, but do not let us neglect anything that might give 
him an opportunity to rejoin us." 

" Heaven grant it may be as you suggest ! " replied the 
doctor, in a voice choked with emotion. " We will do 
everything in the world to find our friend. Let us put 
things to rights at once; and first of all let us take off the 
exterior covering of the balloon, which will relieve us of 
650 lbs. weight, and is surely worth the trouble to get rid 
of." 

The doctor and Kennedy set to work, they overcame 
the greatest difficulties. It was necessary to tear the tough 
taffetas away bit by bit, and to cut it into strips to pull it 
through the meshes of the network. The rent made by the 
birds' beaks was many feet in length. 

This operation occupied at least four hours; but at 
length the interior balloon, entirely freed, did not appear 
to have suffered at all. The " Victoria " was now dimin- 
ished by a fifth. This difference was sufficient to astonish 
Kennedy. 

" Will it carry us ? " he asked. 

"We need fear nothing on that score," said the doctor; 
" I will re-establish the equilibrium, and if our poor Joe 
return, we shall be able to resume our route as usual." 

"At the moment he fell, Samuel, if my recollection 
serve me, we were not far from an island." 

" I remember ; but this isle, like all those in Lake Tchad, 
is no doubt inhabited by a race of pirates and murderers. 
These savages have been witnesses of our accident, and if 
Joe has fallen into their hands, unless superstition protects 
him, what will become of him? " 

" He is a man of resource, I tell you; I have great con- 
fidence in his pluck and intelligence." 

" I hope he will prove so. Now, Dick, you can go and 
shoot in the neighborhood, without going too far, mind. 
It is absolutely necessary for us to replenish our larder, of 
which the greater part has been sacrificed." 

" All right, Samuel, I shall not be long away." 

Kennedy took a double-barrelled gun, and advanced into 
the giant reeds towards a coppice at no great distance, and 



350 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

soon the reports of his gun in quick succession told the doc- 
tor that the sportsman was successful. 

Meantime, the doctor employed himself in overhauling 
the remaining contents of the car, and in establishing the 
equilibrium of the second balloon. There remained thirty- 
pounds of pemmican, some tea and coffee, about a gallon 
and a half of brand}^ an empty water-tank; all the salted 
meat had disappeared. 

The doctor was aware that, by the loss of the hydrogen 
from the first balloon, his ascensional force was reduced 
to about 900 lbs. He must, therefore, base his calculations 
for the establishment of the equilibrium on this difference. 
The new " Victoria's " " content " was 67,000 feet of gas; 
the dilating apparatus appeared to be in good order, neither 
the pile nor the serpentine had received any injury. 

The ascensional force of the new balloon was then about 
3,000 lbs., and adding the weight of the apparatus, the 
travelers, and the water, the car and accessories, and put- 
ting on board fifty gallons of water, and 100 lbs of fresh 
meat, the doctor arrived at a total of 2,830 lbs. He could 
therefore, carry 170 lbs. of ballast for contingencies, and 
the balloon would then be in equilibrium with the atmos- 
pheric air. 

His dispositions were made accordingly; he replaced 
the weight of Joe by ballast. The entire day was occupied 
in these preparations, and were finished when Kennedy 
returned. He had had good sport. He brought a quan- 
tity of geese, wild ducks, snipe, teal, and plover. He em- 
ployed himself in preparing the game and smoking it. 
Each bird was spitted through with a small stick, and sus- 
pended above a fire of green wood. When the operation 
appeared complete, the whole were carefully packed within 
the car. 

Next day the sportsman determined to complete the 
stock of provisions. 

Evening surprised the travelers while still at work. 

Their supper consisted of pemmican, biscuits, and tea. 
Fatigue, having given them appetite, ensured them sleep. 
Each during his watch peered anxiously into the darkness, 
sometimes almost fancying they heard the voice of Joe; 
but, alas! that voice they so desired to hear was far away. 

At daybreak the doctor aroused Kennedy. 



KENNEDY'S SPORTING 351 

" I have been thinking," said he, " what we must do to 
recover our companion." 

" What is your suggestion, Samuel ? I agree to every- 
thing. Speak." 

" First of all, it is important that Joe should have knowl- 
edge of our whereabouts." 

" Certainly, or he will think we mean to leave him to 
his fate." 

"He! He knows us too well to think that; he would 
never think of such a thing; but he must be told where 
we are." 

"How?" 

" We must take our places in the car and ascend again." 

" But if the wind carry us away? " 

"Fortunately it will do nothing of the kind. Look, 
Dick; the wind will bring us back again over the lake, and 
this, which would have been annoying yesterday, is to-day 
most propitious. We must therefore direct all our efforts 
to maintain ourselves above the lake all day. Joe will not 
fail to see us up there, where he will be anxiously looking 
for us. Perhaps he will be able to tell us where 
he is." 

"H he be alone, and at liberty, he will certainly do so." 

" And if he be a prisoner," replied the doctor, " as the 
natives do not incarcerate their prisoners, he will see us, 
and understand the object of our maneuvers." 

" But if, after all," said Kennedy, " for we must be 
prepared for every contingency, if he has left no trace, 
what can we do? " 

" We must endeavor to regain the northern side of the 
lake, keeping ourselves in view as much as possible. There 
we will wait, explore the banks, search the edges of the 
lake, which Joe would certainly endeavor to reach; and we 
will not leave the neighborhood without making every ef- 
fort to find him." 

" Let us go, then," said Kennedy. 

The doctor took the exact bearings of the piece of dry 
ground they were about to leave; he estimated that, ac- 
cording to the map and his observations, they were to the 
north of Lake Tchad, between the town of Lari and the 
village of Ingernini, both of which had been visited by 
Major Denham. Meantime Kennedy completed the pro- 



352 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

visioning of the balloon. In many places he perceived the 
tracks of rhinoceros, manatees, and hippopotomi, but he 
never encountered any of these formidable beasts. 

At seven in the morning, and not v^ithout great difficulty, 
which poor Joe would have made light of, the grapnel was 
detached from the tree. The gas was dilated, and the new 
" Victoria " ascended 200 feet into the air. After some 
coquetting with the wind, it fell in with a pretty strong cur- 
rent, and sailed over the lake, and was soon progressing 
at twenty miles an hour. 

The doctor steadily m.alntained an elevation of between 
200 and 500 feet, Kennedy often discharged his carbine. 
The travelers even approached imprudently near to the is- 
lands, examining the coppices, the brushwood, the bushes, 
and every shaded place, in which their late companion could 
have found shelter, then descended close to the long pi- 
rogues which skimmed over the lake. The fishermen on 
their approach threw themselves into the water, and swam 
to the island with every demonstration of terror. 

" We can discover nothing," said Kennedy, after a search 
of two hours. 

"Patience, Dick; let us not be discouraged, we cannot 
be very distant from the scene of the accident." 

At eleven o'clock the " Victoria " had made ninety miles; 
it then encountered a new current, which carried it at al- 
most right angles to its previous course for sixty miles to- 
wards the east. It hovered over a large and thickly-inhab- 
ited island, which the doctor pronounced to be Fanam, the 
capital of the Biddiomahs. They were in hopes to see Joe 
rise out of each bush, escaping and calling to them for as- 
sistance. If free, they could have taken him up without 
any difficulty; if a prisoner, they must put the same plan 
in practice to rescue him as they had for the missionary's 
release. He would soon have rejoined his friends, but 
nothing appeared, nothing was stirring. They were begin- 
ning to despair. 

At half-past two the " Victoria " came in sight of Tan- 
galia, a village situated upon the eastern side of the Tchad, 
and which was the extreme point attained by Denham in 
his expedition. 

The doctor became uneasy at this persistent direction of 
the wind. He felt he was being driven towards the east, 

V. I V«rn« 



KENNEDY'S SPORTING 353 

pushed back into the center of Africa, towards the track- 
less deserts. 

" We must halt," said he, " and come down to the earth; 
for Joe's sake, before everything, we must return above the 
lake; but first we must find a current in the opposite di- 
rection." 

For a quarter of an hour they searched at different alti- 
tudes. The "Victoria" always drifted over the land. 
But fortunately, at 1,000 feet, a very violent wind carried 
them to the northwest. 

It was scarcely possible that Joe had remained on one 
of the islands, else he would have found some means to 
make his presence known. Perhaps he had reached terra 
firma. Thus the doctor reasoned when he regained the 
north side of the lake. 

As to fancy Joe drowned was ridiculous. A terrible 
idea had occurred to both Kennedy and Ferguson, viz., 
the number of alligators existing in these places. But 
neither had the courage to give vent to their supposition. 
At length it was impossible not to refer to the ever-present 
thought, and the doctor said boldly : 

" Crocodiles are only met with upon the banks or is- 
lands of the lake. Joe has skill enough to avoid them; 
besides, they are not dangerous, and the Africans bathe 
fearlessly and with impunity." 

Kennedy did not reply; he preferred silence to the dis- 
cussion of such a terrible eventuality. 

The doctor perceived the town of Lari about five o'clock 
in the afternoon. The inhabitants were gathering their 
cotton crops before their huts of plaited straw, in the midst 
of their own well-kept enclosures. This assemblage of 
fifty houses occupied a small depression in the valley, which 
extended between the bases of the mountains. The vio- 
lence of the wind carried the doctor too far, but it again 
changed, and he descended at the exact point of departure 
in the little island of hard ground where they had passed 
the previous night. The grapnel, instead of being fastened 
to a tree, was secured to the reeds mixed with the thick 
mud of the marsh, which gave a good holding ground. 
The doctor had considerable trouble to control the balloon, 
but at length the wind fell and the two friends kept watch 
together, almost despairing. 



CHAPTER XXXiy 

LOSS OF AN ANCHOR 

At 3 A, M. the wind rose to a hurricane, and blew with 
such violence that the " Victoria " could not remain at 
anchor without danger; the reeds beat upon the silk and 
threatened to tear it in pieces. 

" We must be off, Dick," said the doctor. " We cannot 
stay here under these circumstances." 

"But Joe, Samuel?" 

"I shall certainly not abandon him; and if the storm 
carries us lOO miles to the north, I shall return here; but 
at present we are endangering the safety of all." 

"Going without him, then?" said the Scot, with de- 
spairing tone. 

" Do you not believe that my heart is as heavy as your 
own, and that I am only yielding to dire necessity ? " 

" I am at your orders," replied Kennedy. " Let us go." 

But the departure involved great difficulties. The grap- 
nel, which had sunk deeply, resisted all their efforts, and 
the balloon, dragging it, fastened it still tighter. Kennedy 
could not disengage it; besides, in their position, such an 
attempt, if successful, would have been very dangerous, for 
the " Victoria " might have taken flight before Kennedy 
could have rejoined her. 

The doctor, who did not wish to run such a risk, made 
the Scot enter the car, and determined to cut the rope. 
The " Victoria " bounded 300 feet into the air, and made 
directly towards the north. Ferguson was obliged to yield 
to the storm. He folded his arms and remained absorbed 
in his own sad reflections. After some minutes he turned 
towards Kennedy, who was equally taciturn, and said, " We 
have been tempting Providence, perhaps. It scarcely 
seems man's province to undertake such a journey." 
And a deep sigh escaped him. 

"But a few days ago," replied Kennedy, " we were con- 
gratulating ourselves at having so well escaped danger; 
we were shaking hands all round." 

" Poor Joe, what an excellent disposition he possessed, 
arid a brave and honest heart! At one time dazzled by his 
riches, but he willingly sacrificed his treasure. He is now 
far away from us, and the wind still hurries along with 
irresistible violence ! " 

354 



LOSS OF AN ANCHOR 355 

" Let us see, Samuel ; admitting that he has found 
refuge among the lake tribes, cannot he do as other travel- 
ers have done — like Denham and Barth ? They came home 
safely." 

" My dear Dick, Joe does not know a word of the lan- 
guage — he is alone and without means. The travelers of 
whom you speak never advanced without sending the chiefs 
numerous presents with an escort armed and prepared for 
these expeditions. And even then they did not escape 
hardships and sufferings of the worst kind. What, then, 
do you think, can have become of our unfortunate compan- 
ion .^^ It is horrible to think of, and this is one of the great- 
est troubles I have ever had to deplore." 

" But we shall go back again, Samuel ? " 

*' We shall, of course, Dick. We will abandon the 
* Victoria,' if it be necessary, to regain Lake Tchad on 
foot, and communicate with the Sultan of Bornou. The 
Arabs cannot have retained a bad opinion of the first Euro- 
peans." 

" I will follow you, Samuel," replied Kennedy, with 
energy; "you may depend upon me. We will rather re- 
linquish the object of our journey — Joe is devoted to us — ^ 
we will sacrifice ourselves for him." 

This resolution gave fresh courage to those brave men. 
They felt strong in the same purpose. Ferguson did all in 
his power to drift into a current which might take him back 
to the Tchad, but that was then impossible, and it was 
impracticable to descend upon such a deserted ground and 
in such a storm. 

Thus the " Victoria " crossed the country of the Tib- 
bons. It passed over Belad and Djerid, a thorny desert, 
which forms the boundary of the Soudan, and reaches to 
the sandy deserts marked by the long track of caravans; 
the last line of vegetation is soon mingled with the sky on 
the southern horizon, not far from the principal oases of 
this region, whose fifty wells are shaded by most magnifi- 
cent trees. But the balloon could not stop. An Arab en- 
campment, with their striped tents, and their camels 
stretched upon the sand, gave life to the scene, but the 
" Victoria " passed away like a meteor, and accomplished 
a distance of sixty miles in three hours, without Ferguson 
having any command over this headlong flight. 



356 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 



o 



"We cannot stop, we cannot descend," he said; "there 
is not a tree to be seen, not a mound; we are about to pass 
over the Sahara. Surely Heaven is against us." 

He spoke thus with the energy of despair, when he per- 
ceived in the north the sands of the desert whirled up in 
the midst of a blinding dust, and gyrating under the in- 
fluence of opposing currents. 

In the midst of this whirlwind — scattered, and broken, 
and overturned — was a caravan, which was disappearing 
in this avalanche of sand; the camels, hurrying hither and 
thither, uttered lamentable sounds — the cries and shouts 
ascended from this suffocating sand-fog. Sometimes a 
striped garment would display its bright colors in the chaos, 
and the roaring of the tempest added to this scene of de- 
struction. 

The sand quickly fell into dense masses, and there, 
where but lately stretched a level plain, was now a mound, 
still moving, the immense tomb of the buried caravan. 

The doctor and Kennedy turned pale at the sight, they 
could not manage the balloon, which turned round and 
round in the contrary currents, and would not obey the ex- 
pansion or contraction of the gas. 

Caught in these eddies of air the " Victoria " whirled 
about giddily, the car oscillated fearfully, the instruments 
suspended in the tent were shaken almost to pieces, the 
tubes of the serpentine bent as though they would break. 
The travelers were deafened, and they were obliged to hold 
tightly to the cordage to keep their positions during the 
fury of the storm. Kennedy, with hair disheveled, sat 
still, and did not speak a word. The doctor had resumed 
his old courage at the approach of danger, and no trace of 
his emotion was now apparent, not even when, after a last 
somersault, the "Victoria" suddenly was left in an unex- 
pected calm, the wind from the north seized it and drove it 
back upon the course it had been taking since the morning, 
and at an equally rapid pace. 

"Where are we going?" cried Kennedy. 

" Where Providence wills, my dear Dick. I was 
wrong to doubt whatever happens is for the best, and we 
are now returning towards the places we never hoped to 
see again." 

The ground so flat, so level, when they first passed over 



LOSS OF AN ANCHOR 357 

it, now appeared like the waves after a storm; a series of 
small mounds jotted the desert; the wind blew stiffly, and 
the " Victoria " flew into space. 

The direction now taken by the balloon was slightly 
different from that followed in the morning; so at about 
nine o'clock, instead of finding themselves on the borders 
of Lake Tchad, they saw that the desert extended before 
them. Kennedy observed this. 

" It does not much matter," replied the doctor ; " the 
important point is to get down south; we shall there come 
upon the towns of Boarnou, Woaddie, or Kouka, and I 
shall not hesitate to stop there." 

" If you are satisfied, I am," replied Kennedy, " but 
Heaven grant that we may not be obliged to cross the des- 
ert, like those unfortunate Arabs. That was a fearful 
sight." 

Dick frequently referred to this. The crossing of the 
desert includes all the dangers of the ocean, even the 
chances of being swallowed up in its depths, and, m.ore- 
over, unbearable fatigue and privations. 

" It appears to me," said Kennedy, " that the wind is 
less violent, the dust is less thick, the sand-waves are less 
high, and the horizon is clearing." 

" So much the better; we will scan it carefully with our 
glasses, and no point shall escape us." 

" I will take that duty, Samuel, and when the first tree 
appears you shall be told at once." And Kennedy, tele- 
scope in hand, placed himself in the front of the car. 



CHAPTER XXXV 

THE ISLE OF BIDDIOMAHS 

What had become of Joe during the vain search made 
for him by his master? 

When he fell into the lake his first act, after rising to 
the surface, was to cast his eyes upwards ; he saw the " Vic- 
toria " already above the water, mounting fast ; little by 
little it diminished, and soon, meeting with a rapid cur- 
rent, disappeared in the north. His master and his friend 
were saved. 

" It was a very happy idea of mine to throw myself into 



358 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

the Tchad," said Joe to himself. " Mr. Kennedy would 
have done the same if he had thought of it, for it is only 
natural that one man should sacrifice himself to save tw^o 
others. That is mathematical. — O. E. D. ! " 

Reassured upon this point, Joe began to consider his 
position; he was in the midst of an immense lake, sur- 
rounded by unknown, and probably savage, tribes. All 
the more reason then for him to get out of the scrape, and 
to trust no one but himself; he was then no longer afraid. 

Before the attack by the birds of prey, which, according 
to him, had conducted themselves like true condors, he 
had noticed an island on the horizon. He now resolved 
to make for it, and determined to put in practice all his 
knowledge of swimming, after he had got rid of part of 
his clothing. He did not trouble himself about a little 
swim of jfive or six miles; so, while he was in the open lake, 
he thought of nothing but of swimming straight and vig- 
orously. 

At the end of an hour and a half the distance between 
him and the island was much less. But as he approached 
the land, a thought at first fugitive, and then more definite, 
weighed upon his mind. He knew that the banks were 
frequented by enormous alligators, and he was aware of 
their voracity. So ready was the brave lad to believe 
everything in the world was " natural," that he did not 
feel very much moved; he feared that white flesh was par- 
ticularly tasteful to crocodiles, and he advanced with 
extreme caution, with eyes strained to watch. 

He was not more than lOO yards from the shadowy 
bank, when a smell of musk pervaded the air around him. 

"Ha!" he muttered; "as I feared, the alligator Is not 
far off." 

He dived at once, but not sufiiclently to avoid the con- 
tact of an immense body, whose scaly skin scraped him as 
it passed. He gave himself up for lost, and began to swim 
with desperate energy. He came to the surface, took 
breath, and again dived. He endured a quarter of an hour 
of poignant agony which all his philosophy was unable to 
overcome, and fancied he heard behind him the noise of 
the immense jaws ready to snap him up. He was swim- 
ming then as quietly as possible to land, when he was seized 
by one arm, and then around the waist. 



THE ISLE OF BIDDIOMAHS 359 

Poor Joe, he gave a last thought to his master, and be- 
gan to fight desperately, but felt himself drawn, not to- 
wards the bottom of the lake, as crocodiles have the habit 
of doing to devour their prey, but to the surface. Scarcely 
had he drawn breath and opened his eyes, than he perceived 
two negroes, of an ebony hue; these Africans held him 
tightly and uttered strange cries. 

"Hollo!" cried Joe. "Niggers instead of crocodiles. 
Faith, I prefer the former. But how do these fellows dare 
to bathe in such places as this ? " 

Joe forgot that the inhabitants of the islands on the 
lake, like all black people, can bathe with impunity in water 
swarming with alligators without heeding them. The am- 
phibious inhabitants of this lake have a great reputation for 
being inoffensive saurians. 

But Joe was only " out of the frying-pan into the fire." 
He determined to wait the issue of events, and as he could 
not do otherwise, he permitted himself to be conducted to 
the bank without displaying any fear. 

" Evidently," thought he, " these people have seen the 
* Victoria ' skimming the lake like an aerial monster ; they 
have been distant witnesses of my fall, and they cannot but 
feel respect for a man who has fallen from Heaven. Let 
them go on." 

Joe was reflecting thus when he was landed in the midst 
of a shouting crowd of both sexes and all ages, but not of 
every color. He was with a tribe of Biddiomahs of a 
splendid black tint. There was no reason for him to blush, 
even at the lightness of his clothing; he was in "desha- 
bille," the latest fashion of the country. 

But ere he had time to take in all the situation he could 
not mistake the adoration of which he became the object. 

This fact did not reassure him, when the affair of Kazeh 
recurred to his memory. 

" I see that I am about to become a god — a son of the 
Moon perhaps. Well, that will do as well as any other 
when there is no choice. What is necessary is to gain 
time. If the ' Victoria ' happens to pass, I will profit by 
my new position to give my worshipers a view of a mi- 
raculous apotheosis." 

While Joe was thus reflecting the crowd was assembling 
round him; they prostrated themselves, they shouted, they 



36o FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

touched him, even became familiar; but at last they hacl 
the forethought to offer him a splendid feast, composed of 
sour milk with rice, pounded up with honey. The lad, 
who took everything as it came, made one of the best meals 
he had ever enjoyed in his life, and gave the people some 
idea of the fashion in which gods eat on great occasions. 

When evening arrived the sorceress took Joe respectfully 
by the hand and conducted him to a kind of hut surrounded 
by " charms " ; before entering he cast an anxious glance 
upon the heaps of bones which were piled up around this 
sanctuary; he had, however, plenty of time to reflect upon 
his position after he was locked in. 

During the evening and a part of the night he heard the 
songs of the feasting multitude, the noise of a species of 
drum and of old iron pots, very sweet to the African ear; 
the choruses were shouted as accompaniment to inter- 
minable dances, which enclosed the cabin in their mazes. 

Joe heard this deafening clamor through the mud and 
reed-lined walls of the hut. Perhaps, in other circum- 
stances, he might have taken an interest in these strange 
ceremonies, but his mind was disturbed by unpleasant fore- 
bodings. Looking even at the bright side of things, it was 
sad and depressing to be lost amongst a savage people. 
Few travelers who had ventured so far as this had ever 
returned. Moreover, could he pride himself upon the wor- 
ship already accorded him. He had good reason to dis- 
trust human grandeur, and asked himself whether, in that 
region, worship was not only a preparation for being de- 
voured. 

Notwithstanding this doleful prospect, after some hours 
devoted to reflection, fatigue overcame him, and Joe fell 
into a deep sleep, which would, doubtless, have continued 
till daylight if an unexpected dampness of the earth had not 
awakened him. 

He soon perceived that the water was rising, and so 
quickly that it soon reached his waist. 

"What can this be?" said he; "an inundation — a wa- 
ter-spout — a new mode of sacrifice? By Jove! I shall 
wait no longer, it will soon be up to my neck." As he 
spoke, he burst through the wall by a vigorous application 
of his shoulder, and found himself — where? — in the open 
lake! 



THE ISLE OF BIDDIOMAHS 361 

" Rather a bad sort of country for the owners," said Joe, 
as he again set out swimming vigorously. One of those 
phenomena by no means un frequent in Lake Tchad had 
released the brave lad. More than one island has com- 
pletely disappeared which had seemed to possess the solid- 
ity of rock, and the tribes on the banks of the lake are 
obliged to rescue the unfortunate inhabitants who have es- 
caped. 

Joe was not aware of this peculiarity, but he did not fail 
to profit by it. He perceived a boat drifting about, and 
rapidly secured it. It appeared hollowed out from the 
trunk of a tree. A pair of paddles were fortunately in it, 
and Joe, profiting by a rapid current, let himself drift. 

" Let me see where I am," he said. " The polar star, 
which is honestly doing his duty in pointing out the route 
to the north, will assist me." 

He remembered with satisfaction that the current was 
bearing him towards the north end of Lake Tchad, and he 
let it do so. About two in the morning he landed upon a 
promontory, covered with reeds, which were very trouble- 
some, even to his philosophy, but a tree seemed to be 
growing for the express purpose of offering him a bed 
amid its leaves. Joe twined himself in the branches, and, 
without daring to sleep, awaited the first rays of morning. 

The day broke with the suddenness usual in equatorial 
regions. Joe threw a comprehensive view around and over 
the tree in which he had passed the night. The branches 
were literally covered with serpents and chameleons — the 
leaves were hidden beneath their folds — a tree of quite a 
new species to produce such reptiles. Under the influence 
of the sun's rays they began to crawl about and twist in all 
directions. Joe experienced a sharp terror, mingled with 
disgust, and jumped from the tree amid the hissings of 
the snakes. 

" That is a thing that no one would credit," thought he. 

Lie did not know that the last letters of Doctor Vogel 
had announced this peculiarity of the banks of the Tchad, 
where the reptiles are more numerous than in any other 
country. After this experience, Joe determined to travel 
with more circumspection for the future, and turning to- 
wards the sun, he then struck out to the northeast. He 
took good care to avoid cabins, huts, or caves, and, in a 



362 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

word, any place that might serve as shelter for any human 
being. How often did he look up at the sky! He hoped 
to see the " Victoria," and though he had vainly sought 
her all the day, that did not diminish his confidence in his 
master; he must have had great firmness of character to 
accept the situation so philosophically. Hunger now be- 
gan to unite with fatigue, for a diet of roots, the marrow 
of the arbutus, from which " mele " is made, or the fruit 
of the trees do not refresh a man; and yet, according to his 
estimate, he had traversed a thousand miles to the west. 
His body bore the marks of the thorns and prickly reeds, 
through which he had pushed his way, and his wounded 
and bleeding feet rendered his progress very painful. But 
still he could fight against his sufferings, and, as evening set 
in, he determined to pass the night on the borders of the 
lake. 

There he had to submit to the bites of myriads of in- 
sects. Flies, mosquitoes, ants, half an inch long, swarmed 
around him. At the end of two hours Joe had not a rag 
of clothing left, the insects had devoured everything. 
This was a terrible night, which brought no sleep to the 
weary traveler. All this time the boars, the wild oxen, the 
ajorib, a sort of rhinoceros and equally dangerous, raged 
in the copses and beneath the waters of the lake. This 
concert of wild beasts was kept up into the middle of the 
night. Joe did not dare to move. His determination and 
patience scarcely held out under such circumstances. 

At length day dawned. Joe rose hurriedly, and judge 
of his horror when he perceived that he had unwittingly 
shared his bed with an enormous frog, about five inches 
broad, a monstrous disgusting reptile, which kept staring at 
Joe with its great round eyes. Joe felt his heart beat, and 
distaste lending him strength, he ran away as hard as he 
could and plunged into the lake. This bath assuaged the 
itching that tormented him, and having munched some 
leaves, he resumed his route with an obstinacy and per- 
sistence for which he could not account; he was no longer 
conscious of his actions, but, nevertheless, he was aware 
of the existence of a power wathin him superior to despair. 

Now the pangs of hunger began to assail him, and he 
was obliged to tie a band of weed around his body. For- 
tunately his thirst could be quenched at every step, and 



THE ISLE OF BIDDIOMAHS 363 

while recalling the sufferings of the desert, he found some 
consolation in not having to endure that terrible expe- 
rience. 

"What can have become of the * Victoria?'" thought 
he. " The wind is from the north. It might return to the 
lake. Without doubt Mr. Samuel has gone to establish 
the equilibrium anew, but yesterday was sufficient for that; 

it is not, then, impossible that to-day But I must 

act as if I were never likely to see him again. After all, 
if I do reach one of those great towns on the lake I shall 
only be in the same position as those great travelers of 
whom master has spoken. Why should I not do as well 
as they? They have returned — some of them! why, the 
devil Well, courage ! " 

As he was thinking thus and pressing onward, Joe fell 
amongst a troop of savages in a wood. He stopped in 
time, and was not seen by them. The negroes were en- 
gaged in poisoning their arrows with the juice of the eu- 
phorbia, an important proceeding in these countries, and 
almost rising to the dignity of a religious ceremony. 

Joe stood still and held his breath, and hid in the midst 
of a brake, when rising before him, seen through an open- 
ing in the leaves, he perceived the " Victoria," — the " Vic- 
toria"' herself — directing her course towards the lake, 
scarcely 100 feet above him. It was impossible to make 
himself heard — impossible for the occupants to see him. 

Tears came into his eyes, not of despair, but of recog- 
nition. His master was searching for him, he had not 
been abandoned. He was obliged to await the departure 
of the negroes; he could then leave his retreat and run 
across to the border of the lake. 

But the " Victoria " soon disappeared in the distance. 
Joe resolved to wait its return, for it would surely come 
again. It did actually pass, but more to the east. Joe ran, 
gesticulated, shouted, all in vain. A violent wind hurried 
her away. 

For the first time, energy and hope failed Joe. He 
thought he was lost; he believed his master had gone never 
to return. He did not wish to reflect — he did not dare. 

Completely overcome, with bleeding feet and wounded 
limbs, he plodded on during the whole of that day and 
a, part of the night. He dragged himself on his way, some- 



364 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

times on his hands and knees. He already foresaw the 
moment his strength would fail him, and when he must 
die! 

As he proceeded, he suddenly found himself opposite a 
marsh — or rather, to that which he felt very soon was a 
marsh, for the night was very dark. He fell unexpectedly 
into the thick mud, and, notwithstanding his struggles and 
a desperate resistance, he felt himself sink by degrees into 
this miry ground; some minutes later he was engulfed up 
to his waist. " Death is here at last," he said ; " and such 
a death!" 

He fought despairingly, but all his efforts only served to 
plunge him more deeply into the grave which the unhappy 
man believed to be his own. Not a fragment of wood to 
support him, not a reed to hold to. He fancied it was all 
over. His eyes closed. "Master, master, save me!" he 
cried. 

And this despairing cry, already almost stifled, and to 
which no echo replied, lost itself in the thick darkness of 
the night. 



CHAPTER XXXVI 

TAKEN UP FLYING 

Since Kennedy had taken up his post of observation in 
front of the balloon, he had not ceased to search the horizon 
attentively. After some time he turned towards the doc- 
tor and said, "If I be not mistaken, there is a troop of 
horsemen moving over there — I cannot distinguish them 
yet. At any rate they are disturbed, for they are raising 
a cloud of dust." 

" May it not be a contrary wind ? " said Samuel ; " a cur- 
rent which may carry us to the north ? " And he got up to 
examine the horizon. 

"I do not think that, Samuel," replied Kennedy; "it is 
a herd of gazelles, or wild oxen." 

" Perhaps, Dick, but the gathering is at least nine or ten 
miles off; and, for my part, even with the telescope, I can 
make nothing of them." 

" Well, I shall not lose sight of them, there is something 
extraordinary going on which interests me, it is something 



TAKEN UP FLYING 365 

like the movements of cavalry. Ha! I was not mistaken, 
they are horsemen — look! " 

The doctor scanned the group attentively. 

" I believe you are right," said he. " It is a detachment 
of Arabs from Tibbous ; they are flying in the same direc- 
tion as we, but we are going faster, and will easily over- 
take them. In half an hour we shall be within sight, and 
be able to determine upon our course of action." 

Kennedy had again seized the glass, and was attentively 
studying the group. They had become more visible; some 
of them were separated from the others. 

" It is evident," replied Kennedy, " that it is some 
maneuver being executed, or it is a hunt. They seem to 
be chasing something. I should like to know what it is." 

" Patience, Dick, we shall soon have come up with them, 
and even passed them, if they continue to keep the same 
course. We are going at twenty miles an hour, and no 
horse can keep up such a pace as that." ' 

Kennedy resumed his scrutiny, and some minutes after- 
wards he said : 

" These Arabs are going at top speed — I can distinguish 
them perfectly. There are about fifty of them — I see 
their bournous flying in the wind. It is cavalry exercise, 
their chief is a hundred paces in front, and they are after 
him." 

" Whatever they may be, we need not fear them ; and, 
if necessary, I can ascend." 

" Wait — wait a moment, Samuel ! " 

" This is very odd," added Dick, after examining the 
troop anew ; " there is something that I do not understand. 
In their headlong speed and the irregularity of their forma- 
tion these Arabs have rather the appearance of pursuers 
than followers." 

"Are you sure of that, Dick?" 

" It is certain ; I am not mistaken. It is a chase, but a 
man-chase. It is not their chief they are pursuing, after 
all; it is a fugutive." 

" A fugutive ! " said Samuel, with emotion. 

*' Yes." 

" We must not lose sight of them — but wait." 

They quickly gained upon the troop, which was going, 
nevertheless, at a great pace. 



366 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" Samuel, Samuel ! " cried Kennedy, in a tremulous 
voice. 

"What is it, Dick?" 

" Is it a dream — is it possible ? " 

"What?" 

" Wait a second ;" and the Scot rapidly arranged the 
glasses and looked again. 

" Well," said the doctor. 

"'Tishe, Samuel!" 

"He!" exclaimed the latter. They both said "he," 
there was no necessity to name him. 

" 'Tis he on horseback, and scarcely a hundred paces in 
advance of his enemies. He is flying from them," 

" It is Joe, indeed," said the doctor, growing pale. 

" He cannot see us in his flight," said Kennedy. 

" He shall very soon see us, then," said the doctor, lower- 
ing the flame of the blow-pipe. 

"How?" 

" In five minutes we shall be within fifty feet of the 
ground, in fifteen close above him." 

" I had better fire a shot to attract his attention." 

" No, he cannot retrace his steps ; he is cut off." 

" What is to be done then? " 

" Wait." 

" Wait ! with those Arabs there ? " 

" We shall catch them ! We shall pass them ! We are 
only two miles distant, and provided Joe's horse holds out." 

" Great Heaven ! " exclaimed Kennedy. 

"What is it?" 

Kennedy had uttered a cry of despair at beholding Joe 
thrown to the ground. His horse, evidently exhausted and 
worn out, fell beneath him. 

" He sees us! " cried the doctor; " he raised his arm as 
a signal to us." 

" But the Arabs will take him! what is he waiting for! 
Ah ! the brave fellow ! Hurrah ! " cried Dick, who could no 
longer contain himself. 

Joe had immediately jumped up after his fall, and at the 
moment when one of the foremost horsemen came riding 
down upon him, he bounded up like a panther, avoided his 
blow by a step aside, threw himself upon the horse, seized 
the Arab by the throat in his muscular hands, and strangled 



TAKEN UP FLYING 367 

him, threw him upon the sand, and continued his headlong 
course, 

A simultaneous shout from the Arabs rent the air, but, 
occupied in their pursuit, they had not observed the " Vic- 
toria " 500 paces behind them, and only thirty feet above 
the ground. They were now within twenty lengths of 
the fugitive. 

One of them nearly approached Joe, and was about to 
thrust his lance into his body, when Kennedy, with firm 
eye and steady hand, stopped him neatly with a bullet, and 
he rolled on the plain. 

Joe did not even turn round at the report. 

A portion of the troop halted, and fell on their faces in 
the dust before the " Victoria," the remainder continued 
the pursuit. 

" But what is Joe about? why doesn't he stop? " 

" He knows better than to do that, Dick. I understand 
him. He keeps going in the same direction as the balloon. 
He depends upon us. Brave lad! We will take him out 
of the very jaws of these Arabs. We are only fifty paces 
off." 

What must be done? " asked Kennedy. 

Put your gun aside." 

There it is," said the Scot, as he laid it down. 

"Can you hold 500 lbs. of ballast in your arms? " 

" More than that." 

" No, that will be sufficient." 

And the bags of sand were then piled up by the doctor 
upon Kennedy's arms. 

" Now wait at the back of the car, and be ready to throw 
all that ballast out at once. But, for your very life, do not 
do so till I tell you." 

"All right." 
Without that we cannot help Joe, and he will be lost." 

" You may depend upon me." 

The " Victoria " was flying almost above the troop of 
horsemen who were riding with loose reins after Joe. The 
doctor in the front of the car held the ladder extended, ready 
to launch it at the proper moment. Joe still kept about 
fifty feet ahead of his pursuers. The " Victoria " passed 
them. 

" Attention ! " cried Samuel to Kennedy. 



it 



it 



368 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" I am ready." 

" Joe, look out ! " cried the doctor in a ringing voice, as 
he threw down the ladder, whose lowest round dragged up 
the dust as they fell. 

At the doctor's summons, Joe, without checking his 
horse, turned round. The ladder was close to him, and 
in a moment he had caught it. 

" Throw out the ballast ! " roared the doctor. 

" Done," replied Kennedy; and the "Victoria," lightened 
by a weight more than that of Joe, rose 150 feet into the 
air. 

Joe held on tightly to the ladder during its tremendous 
oscillations; then, making an indescribable gesture to the 
Arabs, and climbing up with the agility of a clown, he 
arrived at the car, where his companions received him in 
their arms. The Arabs uttered yells of surprise and rage 
when they perceived the " Victoria " bearing away the fugi- 
tive, and rapidly increasing her distance. 

"Master — Mr. Dick!" Joe had said, and, yielding to 
emotion and fatigue, he had fainted, while Kennedy, with 
delirious joy, cried out " Saved — saved ! " 

" Well — yes ! " said the doctor, who had regained his 
usual impassibility. 

Joe was almost naked, his arms bleeding and his body 
covered with wounds; all these told of his sufferings. The 
doctor dressed his hurts and laid him down in the tent. 

Joe soon regained consciousness, and asked for a glass 
of brandy, which the doctor did not refuse, Joe not being a 
person to be treated like an ordinary individual. After 
drinking it he shook hands with his two companions, and 
declared himself ready to relate his adventures. 

But they would not permit him to speak, and the brave 
lad fell into a sound sleep, of which he was in great need. 

The " Victoria " then took an oblique course towards 

the west. In consequence of a strong wind, it arrived at 

the confines of the thorny desert above the palm trees, bent 

and torn by the tempest, and after having completed a 

journey of 200 miles since Joe had been received on board 

again, it passed the tenth degree of longitude towards 

evening. 
V. I Verne 



CHAPTER XXXVII 

A NIGHT NEAR AGHADES 

The wind dropped during the night, and the "Vic- 
toria " remained quietly at the summit of a large sycamore; 
the doctor and Kennedy watched in turn, and Joe profited 
by this arrangement to sleep soundly and uninterruptedly 
for twenty-four hours. 

" That is what he wanted to set him up," said Ferguson ; 
" Nature has taken upon herself to cure him." 

At daylight the wind again blew pretty strongly, but in 
gusts: it first came from the north, then from the south; 
but at length the " Victoria " was driven to the westward. 

The doctor, map in hand, noted the kingdom of Da- 
maghou, an undulating region of wonderful fertility, with 
its villages built of long reeds, entwined with branches of 
the asclepia; corn ricks were raised up in the small culti- 
vated fields upon little platforms, to preserve them from the 
attacks of mice and ants. The balloon soon reached the 
town of Zinder, recognizable by its vast square used for 
executions — in the center of which is the " death-tree." At 
the foot of this tree the executioner watches, and whoso- 
ever passes beneath its shade is immediately hanged. 

On consulting the barometer, Kennedy could not help 
saying : " Why, we are going towards the north ! " 

"What does that matter? If we get to Timbuctoo we 
shall have no reason to complain. Never has a happier 
journey been accomplished under more pleasant circum- 
stances." 

" Nor in better health," said Joe, who just then popped 
his cheery face between the curtains of the awning. 

" Here is our brave friend," cried Kennedy ; " our pre- 
server. How do you feel now? " 

" Much as usual, Mr. Dick, much as usual, thank you, 
and as well as ever. There is nothing to set a man up like 
a little pleasant traveling after a bath in Lake Tchad; is it 
not so, sir? " 

" You are indeed a noble fellow," replied Ferguson, as 
he shook Joe by the hand. " What anxiety and fear you 
have caused us ! " 

"Well, and you too. Can you believe that I was easy 
about you? You can boast of having given me a fine 
fright." 

369 



370 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" We shall never understand each other, Joe, if you take 
things in that way." 

" I see that his fall has not changed him a bit," said 
Kennedy. 

" Your devotion has been sublime, my lad ; you have 
saved us, for had the * Victoria ' fallen into the lake, nothing 
could have extricated her." 

" But if my devotion, as you are pleased to call my 
somersault, has preserved you, have you not also saved 
me? Since here we are, all three in good health, conse- 
quently we have none of us any reason to reproach each 
other, after all." 

" The fellow is just as impossible as ever he was," said 
the Scot. 

" The best way to understand each other," said Joe, " is 
not to talk about it. What is done, is done. Good or bad, 
it can never be recalled." 

"Mad as ever," said the doctor, laughing. "At least, 
will you tell us your adventures? " 

"If you really desire it. But first I must get this plump 
goose ready for cooking, for I perceive that Mr. Dick has 
not been idle lately." 

" Do as 3'-ou say, Joe." 

" Well, then we shall see how African game suits the 
European stomach." The goose was quickly grilled over 
the flame of the blow-pipe and soon afterwards eaten. Joe 
took his share like a man who had eaten nothing for many 
days. After the usual tea and grog he related his adven- 
tures. He spoke with visible emotion, while he looked the 
incidents in the face with his habitual philosophy. 

The doctor could not refrain from pressing him by the 
hand frequently when he perceived that the faithful servant 
had been more concerned about his master's safety than his 
own; and referring to the phenomenon in the isle of the 
Biddiomahs, the doctor explained its frequent occurrence 
on Lake Tchad. 

At length Joe, continuing his recital, reached the time, 
when, plunged in the marsh, he uttered that despairing cry 
for assistance, " I believed myself lost, sir," he said, " and 
my thoughts went forth to you, I began to struggle to rise, 
how, I will not tell you. I had decided not to be swallowed 
up without an effort, when at two paces from me I per- 



A NIGHT NEAR AGHADES 371 

celved the end of a newly-severed cord. I made a last 
attempt, and by good luck reached the cable. I pulled, it 
resisted. I hauled myself along it, and finally reached 
terra firma. At the other end of the cord was an anchor." 

" Ah, sir, I have indeed the right to call it the Anchor 
of Hope. I recognized an anchor of the * Victoria.' You 
had, then landed at this place. I followed the direction 
of the cord which told me your route and after much 
exertion I drew myself out of the slough. I recovered my 
strength v/ith my courage, and I walked during part of the 
night away from the lake. I arrived at length on the bor- 
der of an immense forest. There, in an enclosure, some 
horses were feeding, unaware of my approach. There are 
some moments when everyone can ride, is it not so? I 
did not lose time in reflecting. I jumped on the back of 
one of the animals, and we were soon flying towards the 
north with great speed. I will not tell you about the towns 
I did not see, nor the villages which I avoided. No. I 
crossed cultivated fields, I cleared the bushes, I leaped pali- 
sades, I pushed my horse to his speed. I got excited, my 
spirits rose. I reached the border of the desert. Good; 
that suited me. I could see before me more plainly. Hop- 
ing always to catch sight of the * Victoria ' waiting for me. 
But no! About three hours after I fell in, like a fool, with 
an Arab encampment. Ah, what a chase that was! You 
see, Mr. Kennedy, a hunter never knows what a hunt is till 
he has been chased himself; and if you will take my advice 
do not try it. My horse fell from fatigue, the Arabs were 
close upon me, I tumbled down, but soon jumped behind 
an Arab horseman. I did not intend it, and I hope he bears 
me no malice for having throttled him. But I had seen you 
— ^you know the rest. The ' Victoria ' followed me closely, 
and you picked me up flying like a knight, playing at the 
quintain and bearing off the ring. Was I not right to de- 
pend upon you, eh, Mr. Samuel? So that was easy enough 
Nothing is more natural. I am ready to begin again if you 
will be in any way benefited ; and so, as I said, sir, it is not 
worth speaking about." 

" My brave Joe," replied the doctor, with emotion, " w^e 
were not wrong in trusting to your intelligence and 
pluck.'* 

" Bah ! sir, one has only to follow events, and you will 



372 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

be all right. The surest way is to take whatever comes as 
it comes." 

During Joe's narrative, the balloon had rapidly passed 
over a large extent of country. Kennedy remarked a col- 
lection of huts on the horizon, and the doctor, referring to 
the map, declared that it was the small town of Tagelel, in 
the Damerghou. 

" Here," he said, " we shall strike Earth's route. Here 
he left his two companions, Richardson and Overweg. The 
first followed the route to Zanzibar, the second to Maradi ; 
and you recollect that Earth was the only one who returned 
to Europe." 

" Thus," said the Scot, tracing the course of the " Vic- 
toria " on the map, " we are going to the north." 

" Due north, my dear Dick." 

" And are you not disturbed by so doing? " 

"Why?" 

" That direction leads to Tripoli and the Great Desert." 

" Oh ! we shall not go so far, my friend ; at least, I hope 
not." 

" But where do you expect to stop ? " 

" Well, Dick, have you no curiosity to visit Timbuctoo? " 

"Timbuctoo!" 

" Certainly," replied Joe, " it would be absurd to come 
upon a journey to Africa without seeing Timbuctoo ! " 

" You will then be the fifth or sixth European who has 
visited this mysterious town." 

" Let us go to Timbuctoo." 

"Then we must get between the 17th and i8th degrees 
of latitude, and there find a favorable breeze to carry us to 
the west." 

" Good," replied Kennedy, " but have we not still a long 
journey to make to the north? " 

"About 150 miles." 

" In that case," said Kennedy, " I shall get a little sleep." 

" Do you also sleep, sir," said Joe to the doctor, " you 
have need of repose, for I have given you an immense 
amount of watching." 

Kennedy lay down in the tent, but the doctor, who was 
little affected by fatigue, remained at his post. 

After about three hours the " Victoria " was passing very 
rapidly over a stony tract of land with high mountains of 



A NIGHT NEAR AGHADES 373 

granitic formation. Some isolated peaks were 4,000 feet 
high. Giraffes, antelopes, and ostriches, bounded with sur- 
prising agility amongst the acacias, mimosas, " sonahs," and 
date-trees. After the sterility of the desert, vegetation was 
regaining the upper-hand. It was the country of the 
Kailouas, who conceal their faces by a cotton bandage like 
their dangerous neighbors, the Touaregs. 

At ten o'clock at night, after a splendid " run " of 250 
miles, the " Victoria " halted above an important town. By 
the moonlight they could perceive that it was half in ruins, 
some of the mosques were interlaced here and there with 
broad bands of white light. The doctor made an obser- 
vation by the stars, and found he was within the latitude of 
Aghades. 

This town, formerly a great commercial center, had 
already fallen into ruins at the time Doctor Barth visited it. 

The " Victoria," unperceived, took the ground two miles 
beyond Aghades, in a large field of millet. The night was 
quiet, and day broke at five o'clock, when a gentle wind 
began to impel the balloon towards the west and even a 
little southwards. Ferguson was very anxious to profit by 
this good fortune. He rose rapidly and fled away along the 
extended beams of the rising sun. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII 

RAPID TRAVELING 

The 17th of May passed quietly and without incident. 
The desert was again encountered, a moderate wind im- 
pelled the " Victoria " to the southwest, it deviated neither 
to the right nor left, and its shadow was traced in a direct 
line upon the sand. 

Before his last departure the doctor had taken care to 
replenish his store of water. He was afraid of not being 
able to obtain v/ater in those countries infested by the 
Touaregs. The plain, about 1,800 feet above the level of 
the sea, depressed towards the south. The travelers having 
crossed the route from Aghades to Mourzouk frequented by 
caravans, arrived in the evening in 16° lat. and 4° 55' long., 
having had a long and monotonous journey of 180 miles. 
During that day Joe cooked the last head of game, which 



374 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

was very summarily prepared. He sent up a most appetizing 
little supper of frochette of snipe. The wind being favor- 
able, the doctor resolved to continue his journey by night, 
as the full moon was shining brightly. The " Victoria " 
rose to 500 feet, and during this night journey of about 
60 miles, an infant's slumber would not have been disturbed. 

On Sunday there was another change in the wind, viz., 
to the northwest. Some ravens were perceived, and further 
off a flock of vultures, who fortunately kept aloof. 

The sight of these birds induced Joe to compliment his 
master upon his idea of two balloons. 

" Where should we be now," said he, " if we had had 
but one envelope? This second balloon is like a ship's 
launch ; in case of shipwreck, one can always take to it for 
safety." 

" You are right, my friend, only my launch makes me a 
little nervous, it is not like the ship." 

" What do you mean ? " asked Kennedy. 

" I say that the new ' Victoria ' is not up to the old one. 
Whether the tissues have been stretched, or whether the 
gutta-percha is melted with heat of the serpentine, I am 
aware of a certain escape of gas. This is not much matter 
at present, but it is appreciable ; we have a tendency to fall, 
and to keep us up I am obliged to dilate the hydrogen to a 
greater extent." 

" Whew ! " cried Kennedy, " I don't see any remedy for 
that!" 

" There is none, my dear Dick. That is the reason we 
are pressing on, and even at night." 

Are we far from the coast? " asked Joe. 
What coast, my lad? We cannot tell where chance 
may lead us; all I can say is, that Timbuctoo is 400 miles 
to the west." 

" And what time shall we take to get there?" 

*' If the wind do not drop, I expect to see the town on 
Tuesday afternoon." 

" Then," said Joe, pointing out a long train of men and 
beasts on the plain, " we shall arrive before that caravan! " 

Ferguson and Kennedy leaned over, and saw a vast mul- 
titude; there were more than 150 camels of the kind which, 
for twelve golden " mutkals," march from Timbuctoo to 
Tafilet, with a load of 500 lbs. 



<< 



RAPID TRAVELING 375 

These camels of the Touaregs are of the best breed. 
They can travel from three to seven days without water, and 
for two days without food ; their speed excels that of horses, 
and they obey the commands of the " khatir," or leader of 
the caravan. They are known in the country by the name 
of " Mehari." 

Such were the details furnished by the doctor, while his 
companions were studying this multitude of men, women, 
and children, traveling over the yielding sand with difficulty. 
The wind effaced their traces almost as soon as they had 
passed. 

Joe asked how it was that the Arabs succeeded in guiding 
themselves in the desert, and reaching the wells so sparsely 
scattered throughout the immense solitudes. 

" The Arabs," replied Ferguson, " have naturally a won- 
derful instinct for finding their way — where a European 
would be entirely puzzled an Arab would not hesitate; 
a small stone, a pebble, a tuft of grass, a shadow, the 
difference in the sand, will suffice for their safe direction. 
During the night they guide themselves by thg polar star; 
they do not travel more than two miles an hour, and rest 
during the great heat of the day; so you can calculate what 
time they take to traverse the Sahara, a desert more than 
900 miles long." 

The " Victoria " had by this time disappeared from the 
wondering gaze of the Arabs, who envied her her rapid 
progress. In the evening the three travelers came to long. 
2° 20', and during the night they made more than another 
degree. 

On Monday the weather changed completely. It rained 
tremendously. They were obliged to put up waterproof to 
resist this deluge, and the consequent increase of weight in 
the balloon and the car. This continual rain accounted for 
the marshes and swamps, which spread over the surface of 
the country. Here vegetation reappeared, with mimosas, 
baobabs, and tamarinds. 

Such was Souray, with its villages roofed in the shape of 
Arminian caps. There were few mountains, but hills suffi- 
cient to make ravines and reservoirs, over which the guinea- 
fowl and snipe skimmed ; here and there an impetuous tor- 
rent crossed the road. The natives crossed these by passing 
hand over hand from one branch to another of the over- 



376 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

hanging trees. The forests now gave place to jungles, in 
which sported the alligator, hippopotamus, and rhinoceros. 

" It will not be long before we see the Niger," said the 
doctor, " the country usually alters in the neighborhood of 
large rivers. These moving roads, as they have been rightly 
termed, first brought vegetation, and subsequently civiliza- 
tion. Thus in its course of 2,500 miles, the Niger has 
sprinkled on its banks the largest cities in Africa. 

" Ah ! " said Joe, " that reminds me of the story of the 
great admirer of Providence, who extolled the great care 
which had sent rivers flowing through great cities ! " 

At mid-day, the " Victoria " passed over a small town of 
wretched-looking huts, called Gao, which had been formerly 
a celebrated capital. 

" 'Twas here," said the doctor, " that Barth crossed the 
Niger on his return to Timbuctoo. This was a famous 
stream in old days — the rival of the Nile, to which Pagan 
superstition gave celestial origin. Like the Nile, it has 
occupied the attention of travelers for ages, and like it, also, 
has claimed numerous victims." 

The Niger, with a wide stream, ran with great rapidity 
southwards; but the travelers, carried along, as they were, 
could scarcely note its curious windings. 

" I wish to speak about this river," said Ferguson ; " it 
is already at some distance. Under the names of Dhiouleba, 
Mayo, Egghirreon, Quorra, and others, it flows through an 
enormous tract of country, and rivals the Nile in length. 
All its titles signify simply * The River,' according to the 
language of the region through which it flows." 

"Has Doctor Barth followed this route?" asked Ken- 
nedy. 

" No, Dick ; when he departed from Lake Tchad he 
visited the chief towns of Bornou, and crossed the Niger 
at Say, four degrees below Gao. He then penetrated into 
the midst of the unexplored region enclosed by the bend of 
the Niger, and after eight months of unheard-of suffering, 
he arrived at Timbuctoo, where we shall be in three days if 
the wind lasts like this." 

"Has the source of the Niger been discovered?" asked 
Joe. 

" Long ago," replied the doctor, " The discovery of 
the Niger and its affluents attracted numerous expeditions, 



RAPID TRAVELING 377 

of which I can mention the principal ones. From 1749 to 
1758 Adamson surveyed the river and visited Goree. From 
1785 to 1788, Goldberry and Geoff roy penetrated the des- 
erts of the Senegambia and ascended as far as the Maures 
country, where Saugnier, Brisson, Adam, Riley, Cochelet, 
and many others were murdered. Then there was the cele- 
brated Mungo Park, the friend of Walter Scott, and a Scot 
likewise. Sent out by the African Society of London, in 
1795, he reached Bambarra and the Niger, marched 500 
miles with a slave dealer, discovered the Gambia river, and 
returned to England in 1797. On the 30th January, 1805, 
he started again with Anderson, his brother-in-law, Scott, 
the draughtsman, and thirty-five soldiers, revisited the Niger 
on the 19th August, but by that time, owing to fatigue, 
privation, ill-treatment, bad weather, and an unhealthy 
country, only eleven out of forty Europeans remained alive. 
On the 1 6th November the last letters of Mungo Park 
reached his wife, and a year later they learnt, through a 
merchant, that the unfortunate traveler, having reached 
Boussa on the Niger, on the 23rd December, his boat was 
upset in the rapids, and that he had been murdered by the 
natives. 

"And did not his sad fate deter others? " 

" On the contrary, Dick, for then they had not only 
to explore the river but to find the travelers' papers. In 
the year 18 16, an expedition was organized in London, in 
which Major Gray took part, which arrived at Senegal, 
penetrated into Fonta Djallon, visited the Foullahs and 
Manduignes, and returned to England without having 
achieved anything further. In 1822, Major Laing explored 
all the western part of Africa, bordering upon the British 
possessions, and it was he who first reached the sources 
of the Niger, and according to his report the source of 
this immense river is only two feet wide ! " 

" All the easier to jump over! " said Joe. 

" Yes, easy enough," replied the doctor. " If we can 
credit tradition though, whoever attempts to jump over this 
source is immediately swallowed up in the act. and whoever 
wishes to draw water there is pushed away by an invisible 
hand." 

"I suppose we needn't believe all that unless we like?" 
said Joe. 



378 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

" Just as you please. Five years later Major Laing jour- 
neyed across the Sahara and penetrated up to Timbuctoo, 
and was strangled some miles beyond it by the Oulad- 
Shiman, who wanted to become a Mussulman." 

"Another victim!" said Kennedy. 

" Then a brave young fellow undertook, with his limited 
resources, and actually succeeded in making the most won- 
derful of modern journeys. I refer to the Frenchman, Rene 
Caille. After frequent trials in 1819 and 1824, he set out 
anew upon the 19th April, 1827, from Rio Nunez; on the 
3rd August he arrived at Time, so completely exhausted, 
that he could not resume his journey for six months. He 
then joined a caravan, and protected by his oriental cos- 
tume, reached the Niger on the loth March, entered the 
town of Jeune, took boat on the river and descended it as 
far as Timbuctoo, where he arrived on the 30th April. 

"Another Frenchman, Imbert, in the year 1670, and ^n 
Englishman, Robert Adams, in 18 10 had perhaps beheld 
this curious town; but Rene Caille is entitled to the credit 
of being the first European who brought back authentic 
reports. On the 4th May he left that queen of the desert; 
on the 9th, he visited the very place where Major Laing 
had been killed; on the 19th, he arrived at El-Eraouan, 
and left that flourishing town to cross, amid a thousand 
dangers, the vast solitudes included between the Soudan 
and the northern regions of Africa. At length he reached 
Tangier, and on the 28th September he embarked for 
Toulon. So, in nineteen months, notwithstanding one hun- 
dred and ninety days of sickness, he had crossed Africa 
from west to north. Ah ! if Caille had been born in Eng- 
land he would have been honored as the greatest traveler 
of modern times — as the equal of Mungo Park. But in 
France he is not sufficiently appreciated." 

"He was a brave fellow. .What became of him?" 
asked Kennedy. 

" He died at the age of thirty-nine, worn out by fatigue. 
It was thought reward sufficient to award him the prize of 
the Geographical Society in 1828; the greatest honor 
would have been paid him in England. Finally, while he 
was occupied in this wonderful journey, an Englishman 
started on the same enterprise, with as much courage, but 
not the same good fortune. This was Captain Clapperton, 



RAPID TRAVELING 379 

the companion of Denham. In 1829, he entered Africa 
by the west, at the Gulf of Benin; he took up the traces of 
Mungo Park and Laing, found in Boussa the documents 
relating to the death of the former traveler, and arrived at 
Sackatou on the 20th of August, where he was kept a pris- 
oner, and subsequently died in the arms of his faithful 
follower, Richard Lander. 

"And what became of this Lander?" asked Joe, who 
was much interested. 

" He regained the coast and returned to England, bring- 
ing with him the captain's papers, and an exact account of 
his travels. He then offered his services to the Govern- 
ment to complete the survey of the Niger. His brother 
John joined him, and these two, from 1829 to 183 1, re- 
descended the Niger from Boirssa nearly to its mouth, de- 
scribing it village by village, and mile after mile." 

''Then these brothers escaped the usual fate?" said 
Kennedy. 

'' Yes, for the time at least, but in 1833 Richard under- 
took a third journey to the Niger, and was killed by an 
unknown hand close to the mouth of the river. So you 
see, my friends, that this country which we are traversing 
has witnessed noble acts of devotion, which have but too 
often met with their reward in death! " 



CHAPTER XXXIX 

TIMBUCTOO 

During the monotony of the journey on Monday, Doc- 
tor Ferguson took pleasure in giving his companions many 
details respecting the country they were passing over. 
The flat ground offered no obstacle to their progress. The 
only care the doctor had was caused by the northeast wind, 
which blew strongly, and carried them away from Tim- 
buctoo. 

The Niger, having turned towards the north as far as 
that town, curves roundly, and falls into the Atlantic in a 
great stream. In the bend the country is very varied — ^ 
sometimes of luxurious fertility, sometimes of great barren- 
ness — uncultivated plains succeed fields of maize, which, 
in their turn, are followed by vast heath-covered tracts. 



38o FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

All kinds of aquatic birds, pelicans, teal, kingfishers, live 
in hundreds on the borders of the torrents and pools. A 
Touareg camp appeared from time to time, in which the 
women did the work and milked their camels and smoked 
like so many chimneys. 

The " Victoria," at eight o'clock p. m._, had got more than 
200 miles to the west, and the travelers were then witnesses 
to a magnificent sight. Some of the moon's rays were 
bursting through the clouds, and glinting among the rain- 
drops, fell upon the chain of Mount Hombori. Nothing 
could be more strange than those crests of basaltic appear- 
ance. Their profiles stood out in fantastic outlines against 
the cloudy sky — they might be likened to the legendary 
ruins of a town of the middle ages, or, as in dark nights, 
the icebergs of the Frozen Ocean appear to the astonished 
beholder. 

" There is a site for the * Mysteries of Udolpho,' " said 
the doctor ; " Mrs. Radcliffe could not have depicted these 
mountains under a more terrible aspect." 

" Faith," replied Joe, " I should not care to walk at 
night alone in this ghostly country. If it were not so 
heavy we might carry all this place into Scotland. It 
would do very well on the border of Loch Lomond, and 
tourists would rush in hundreds to see it." 

" Our balloon is not large enough to admit of your idea 
being carried into execution. But it seems to me that our 
direction is changing. All right; the sprites of the place 
are rather amiable in sending us a breeze from the south- 
east, and putting us in a proper direction." 

In fact the " Victoria " then resumed her route more 
to the north, and on the morning of the 20th it passed 
above the network of canals, torrents, and rivers, a concat- 
enation of the tributaries of the Niger. Many of these 
canals were covered by thick grass like prairie grass. Here 
the doctor found out Earth's route when he embarked to 
descend to Timbuctoo. Of great breadth, at this point the 
Niger flows between its banks rich with crucifers and tama- 
rinds ; gazelles bounded away in troops, plunging their long 
curled horns into the high grasses, where the alligators lay 
watching silently for their prey. 

Long files of asses and camels, loaded with goods from 
Jeune, were forcing their way under the thick trees. An 



TIMBUCTOO 381 

amphitheater of small houses appeared at the bend of the 
river; on the roofs and terraces was collected all the prov- 
ender received from the neighboring districts. 

" There is Kabra," cried the doctor, joyfully. " It is 
the port of Timbuctoo, the town is not five miles dis- 
tant." 

" Are you satisfied now, sir? " asked Joe. 

" Delighted, my lad." 

" So much the better," said Joe. 

In two hours, the " Queen of the Desert," the mysterious 
Timbuctoo — which at one time possessed, like Rome and 
Athens, its professors and philosophers — unfolded itself be- 
fore the travelers' eyes. 

Ferguson perceived that Earth's plan of it was correct 
in its minutest detail. The town describes a vast triangle 
upon a plain of white sand. The apex is towards the 
north. There is nothing in the neighborhood but a little 
grass, some mimosas, and stunted trees. 

As for the appearance of Timbuctoo, its streets were 
narrow, and bordered with one-storied houses made of 
bricks, and huts of straw and reeds; the former of a conical 
shape, the latter square. Over the terraces some of the 
inhabitants were lazily extended, robed in gaudy colors, 
lance or musket in hand. 

No women, however, were visible at that hour. 

"But it is said they are beautiful," added the doctor. 
" Do you see the three towers of the three mosques, which 
are all that are left of a great number. The town is much 
divested of its former splendor. At the apex of the tri- 
angle rises the Mosque of Sankore, with its ranges of 
galleries supported by arcades of a very pure style. Fur- 
ther on is the quarter of Sana Gungu, the mosque of Sidi 
Yahia, and some two-storied houses. There are no palaces 
nor monuments. The sheik is only a trader, and his resi- 
dence, a shop." 

" It appears to me," said Kennedy, " that there are 
some broken ramparts." 

" They were destroyed by the Foullanes in 1826, when 
the town was larger by a third; for Timbuctoo, from the 
eleventh century, was an object coveted generally, and be- 
longed successively to the Touaregs, to the Sourayens, to 
the Marocuins, and Foullanes; and this great center of 



382 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

civilization, where a savant named Ahmed Baba possessed, 
in the sixteenth century, a library of 1,600 manuscripts, is 
now nothing but a warehouse for the commerce of Cen- 
tral Africa. 

The town appears to be given up to carelessness; it is 
impregnated with the supineness which is epidemic with 
decaying cities. Great heaps of rubbish were piled up in 
the outskirts, and these, with the market hill, formed the 
only undulations of the ground. 

As the " Victoria " passed by there was some little move- 
ment; the drums were beaten, but scarcely had the last 
learned man had time to observe this novel phenomenon 
when the travelers, impelled by the wind from the desert, 
were wafted along the river, and Timbuctoo was nothing 
more than a souvenir of their rapid journey. 

" Now," said the doctor, " Heaven may guide us where 
it pleases." 

" Provided it be towards the west," replied Kennedy. 

"Well," said Joe, "if it should happen to us to be sent 
back the way we have come, and to cross the ocean to 
America, that would not trouble me." 

" We must first have the power to do so, Joe." 
And how is that wanting?" 

Gas, my boy, gas. The ascensional force of the 
balloon is sensibly diminishing; and we shall have to use 
great care to reach the coast. I shall even be compelled 
to throw out ballast. We are too heavy." 

" Such are the results of doing nothing, sir. By lying 
here all day, like a sluggard, in a hammock, we get fat and 
heavy. It is a lazy journey; and when we return we shall 
find ourselves very stout." 

" These are remarks worthy of Joe," replied Kennedy. 
" But wait until the end : how do you know what Heaven 
has in store for us ? We are still a long way from the ter- 
mination of our journey. Where do you expect to touch 
the coast, Samuel ? " 

" I should be puzzled to answer, Dick ; we are at the 
mercy of variable winds, but I shall consider it fortunate if 
we reach Sierra Leone or Portendick. We may meet 
friends in those neighborhoods." 

" And glad to shake hands with them ; but are we fol- 
lowing the desired route?" 



ti 



TIMBUCTOO 383 

"Scarcely, Dick; look at the compass; we are tending 
south towards the sources of the Niger." 

" We shall have a capital opportunity to discover them 
then, if they have not been already explored," said Joe. 
" Is it the etiquette not to find any more of them?" 

" No, Joe; but be easy. I hope not to go so far." 

At nightfall the doctor threw out the last sacks of bal- 
last. The "Victoria" rose; the blow-pipe, although in 
full action, could scarcely maintain her. She was then at 
sixty miles to the south of Timbuctoo, and next day saw 
the travelers on the borders of the Niger, not far from 
Lake Debo. 

CHAPTER XL 

STILL TO THE SOUTH 

The course of the river was divided by large islands, and 
in those narrow branches it ran with a swift current. On 
one of these islets some shepherds' huts were erected, but 
it was impossible to take the exact bearings, for the speed 
of the " Victoria " kept increasing. Unfortunately it in- 
clined more to the south, and very soon passed over Lake 
Debo. 

Ferguson sought for other currents at different eleva- 
tions, but in vain. So he abandoned the attempt, which 
had still more diminished the gas, as the dilation pressed 
it against the failing envelope of the balloon. 

He said nothing, but began to feel very uneasy. The 
obstinate wind blowing to the south had overturned all his 
calculations. He did not know what to think. If he did 
not reach English or French territory, what would become 
of them in the midst of the barbarians infesting the coast 
of Guinea? How could they obtain a vessel to take them 
thence to England? And the actual direction of the wind 
was hurrying them towards the kingdom of Dahomey, 
amongst the most savage tribes, at the mercy of a king who, 
at public displays, sacrifices thousands of human victims. 
There they would be lost. 

On the other hand, the balloon was rapidly falling, and 
the doctor felt it. However, the weather cleared a little, 
and he hoped that the termination of the rain would bring 
about a change in the atmospheric currents. 



384 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

He was disagreeably reminded of the circumstance by 
Joe saying: 

" Well, the rain is heavy enough, but this time there is 
going to be a deluge, if we may judge by the cloud now 
approaching us." 

" Another cloud ! " said Ferguson. 

" A regular big fellow this time," replied Kennedy. 

"I have never seen such a one," replied Joe; "it seems 
to have been laid out with rule and line." 

" I can breathe again," replied the doctor, putting down 
the telescope. " It is not a cloud after all." 

" What ? " exclaimed Joe. 

" No, it is a swarm " 

"Well?" 



" A swarm of locusts." 
"That a swarm of locusts? 



" Yes, of millions of locusts, which pass over the ground 
like a waterspout, and very unfortunately for the district, 
for if they alight it will be devastated." 

" I should like to see that." 

" Just wait a little, Joe ; in ten minutes we shall have 
met the cloud, and then you can judge for yourself." 

Ferguson was right; this thick cloud, extending for 
many miles, came upon them with a deafening noise, cast- 
ing an immense shadow on the ground. It proved to be 
an innumerable host of those grasshoppers known as field- 
crickets. At a hundred paces from the " Victoria " they 
alighted upon a green expanse; a quarter of an hour later 
the mass again took flight, and the travelers could then 
perceive that the trees and bushes were completely stripped 
— 'the fields looked as if they had been mown. Not even a 
severe winter could do more damage. 

"Well, Joe?" 

" Well, sir, it is extraordinary, but quite natural. 
Though the locust is small, the numbers make him im- 
portant." 

" It is a terrible calamity — worse than hail in its ef- 
fects," said Kennedy. 

" And it is impossible to guard against them," said 
Ferguson. " The natives sometimes have conceived the 
idea of burning the forests, even the crops, in order to 
arrest the flight of these insects; but the leading files flew; 

V. I Verne 



STILL TO THE SOUTH 385 

into the flames and actually extinguished them by mere 
force of numbers, so that the rest passed in safety. Hap- 
pily, in these countries, there is a compensation for their 
ravages — the natives catch and eat them with avidity." 

" They are the shrimps of the air, which," said Joe, 
" as an experience, I regret not having tasted." 

The country became more swampy as they proceeded ; 
the forest gave place to isolated miles of trees; upon the 
banks of the river they perceived some tobacco plantations, 
and marshes thick with grass. On a large island was the 
town of Jeune, with the two towers of its mosque built of 
mud, which gave harbor to hundreds of swallows, whose 
nests exhaled a most unpleasant smell. The tops of trees 
appeared between the houses, and even during the night 
the town seemed very busy. Jeune is really a very indus- 
trious town, and furnishes Timbuctoo with all its needs; 
its boats and its caravans transport thither the various pro- 
ductions of its industry. 

" If it would not have prolonged our journey too much," 
said the doctor, " I should have made an attempt to descend 
in this town. We might see more than one Arab who had 
traveled to France or England, and who is not unacquainted 
with our method of locomotion. But it would not be 
prudent." 

" We can call again during our next excursion," said 
Joe, laughing. 

" Besides," continued the doctor, " if I do not mistake, 
the wind has a tendency to blow from the east. We can- 
not afford to lose such a chance." 

The doctor threw overboard some useless articles-^ 
empty bottles, and an old preserved meat box — he thus 
succeeded in raising the " Victoria " into a zone more 
suitable for his plans. At 4 a. m. the first rays of the sun 
lighted up Sego, the capital of Bambara, easily to be known 
by the four towns composing it, its Moorish mosqikes, and 
the continual movement of the ferry-boats used in trans- 
porting the occupants to the various quarters. But the 
travelers were not more seen than they themselves saw, 
and fled rapidly and directly to the northwest, as the doc- 
tor's fears calmed down by degrees. 

" Two days more in this direction, and at this pace, will 
see us at the Senegal River," said he. 



386 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

"In a friendly country?" asked Kennedy. 

"Not altogether; at a pinch, if the 'Victoria' fail us, 
we must gain some French settlement. But if we can 
hold on for a couple of hundred miles, we shall arrive at 
the east coast comfortably." 

" And that will be the end of it," said Joe. " So much 
the worse. If it were not for the telling of it, I should 
never wish to put foot on earth again. Do you think peo- 
ple will believe us, sir? " 

" Who knows, my brave Joe ? However, there is one 
indisputable fact. Thousands of people witnessed our de- 
parture from one side of Africa, and thousands will see us 
descend on the other." 

" In that case it will be difficult to doubt our having 
crossed the continent." 

" Ah, sir," replied Joe, with a deep sigh, " I shall often 
regret that golden ore. Look what weight it would have 
given to our narratives. A grain of gold for each auditor, 
I should have had a pretty big crowd to listen to and even 
to admire me." 



CHAPTER XLI 

HIGH MOUNTAINS 

On the 27th of May, at 9 a. m., the country presented a 
new aspect. The long slopes rose into hills which prom- 
ised mountains. It was necessary to cross the chain which 
separated the basins of the Niger and Senegal, and deter- 
mine the fall of the waters to the Gulf of Guinea or Cape 
Verd. 

As far as Senegal the country is reported as dangerous. 
Doctor Ferguson knew that, from the reports of his prede- 
cessors — they had suffered a thousand privations and en- 
countered a thousand dangers amongst these barbarians. 
The deadly climate carried off the majority of Mungo 
Park's companions. Ferguson was therefore more than 
ever decided not to set foot upon this inhospitable 
soil. 

But he had not a moment's rest. The " Victoria " was 
settling down in a most unmistakable manner. It became 
necessary to throw out a number of articles more or less 



STILL TO THE SOUTH 387 

useless, and particularly when there was a mountain to be 
cleared. 

This continued for more than 120 miles; they got tired 
of ascending and descending. The balloon, like the stone 
of Sisyphus, kept falling back continually. The contour 
of the balloon already was losing its roundness, and the 
wind hollowed out large " pockets " in its loose covering. 

Kennedy could not help remarking this. 

" Is there a hole in the balloon? " he asked. 

" No," replied the doctor ; " but the gutta-percha has 
evidently become softened by the heat, and the hydrogen 
escapes." 

" How can we prevent that? " 

" It is impossible to do so. Let us lighten the balloon ; 
it is our only way. Throw out all we can spare." 

"But what?" asked the Scot, looking round the half- 
denuded car. 

" The tent — it is very heavy." 

Joe, whom this order concerned, mounted above the 
ring which fastened the cords to the netting, and quickly 
detached the thick curtains and threw them down. 

" There is a treat for a whole tribe of negroes," he said. 
" There is sufficient to clothe a million of them ; they are 
very sparing of the material." 

The balloon rose a little, but it soon became evident that 
it again was approaching the ground. 

" Let us descend, and see if we cannot repair the en- 
velope," said Kennedy. 

" I tell you, Dick, we have no means to repair it." 

*' Well, what are you going to do? " 

" We will sacrifice everything not absolutely indispens- 
able. I wish at all cost to avoid a halt in these regions. 
The forests we skimmed just now are nothing but dens." 

" What, of lions or hyenas?" asked Joe. 

" Worse than that — of men, and the most cruel men in 
Africa." 

" How do you know that? " 

" From travelers who have preceded us ; then the French 
who occupy the colony of Senegal, have had dealings with 
the neighboring tribes. Under Colonel Faidherbe a re- 
connaissance was made into the country ; officers, such as 
Pascal, Vincent, and Lambert, have brought back the pre- 



2^8 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

cious documents of their expeditions. They explored the 
country formed by the bend of the Senegal, where war and 
pillage have left only ruin." 

" How did it come to pass? " 

" This way. In 1854, a marabout, of Fouta, named 
Al-Hadji, said he was inspired by Mahomet, and incited all 
the tribes to war against the infidels, viz., the Europeans. 
He carried desolation and destruction between the Senegal 
and its affluent the Falune. Three bands of fanatics, 
guided by him, marched through the country with fire and 
sword. He even advanced into the valley of the Niger to 
the town of Sego, which was threatened for a long time. 
In 1857 he went up northwards and invested Fort Medina, 
built by the French on the banks of the river. This place 
was defended by a hero, Paul Holl, who for many months, 
without food or supplies, held out till Colonel Faidherbe 
came to his rescue. Then Al-Hadji and his band repassed 
the Senegal and returned into Koarta to continue their 
rapine and murder. Now this is the country to which he 
has fled with his troops of bandits, and I assure you I 
would rather not fall into their hands." 

" We shall not do so," said Joe, " if we have to sacrifice 
our boots to lighten the * Victoria.' " 

" We are not far from the river," said the doctor ; " but I 
foresee our balloon will not carry us even so far." 

" If we arrive on the banks, that will be something," said 
Kennedy. 

" That is what we must try to do," said the doctor ; " but 
one thing worries me," 

"What is that?" 

" We have to cross some mountains, and that will be a 
difficult operation, since I cannot increase the ascensional 
force of the balloon, even by the greatest possible heat." 

" Wait," said Kennedy, " we shall see." 

" Poor ' Victoria ! ' " said Joe. " I am as attached to it 
as a sailor to his ship, and I shall not leave it without 
regret. It is not what it was at the outset, certainly; but 
then we need not speak evil of it. It has done us excel- 
lent service, and it will break my heart to abandon it." 

" Rest assured, Joe, if we do abandon it, it will be against 
our will. It will serve us to the best of its ability. I only 
ask for twenty-four hours longer." 



ti 



HIGH MOUNTAINS 389 

"It is exhausted," said Joe, looking at it carefully; "it 
is * done up,' its life has departed. Poor balloon! " 

" If I mistake not," said Kennedy, " I can see the moun- 
tains of which you spoke, Samuel." 

" Those are they, no doubt," said the doctor, having ex- 
amined them with his glass. " They appear to me to be 
very high; we shall have some trouble to clear them." 

" Cannot we avoid them? " 

"I do not think so, Dick; look at the extent of them, 
nearly half the horizon." 

" They seem to enclose us on all sides," said Joe. 

" We must cross over them," said the doctor. 

These dangerous obstacles appeared to approach with 
extreme rapidity, or rather the "Victoria" approached 
them, and she must ascend at any risk. 

" Empty our water-cask," said Ferguson, " we have 
enough for to-day." 

"It is done," said Joe. 
Is the balloon relieved at all ? " inquired Kennedy. 
A little, about fifty feet higher," replied the doctor, 
who did not take his eyes from the barometer, " but that is 
riot sufficient." 

The peaks now appeared ready to fall upon the travelers, 
who were very far from the tops. The water for the 
blow-pipe was then thrown out, they only kept a few pints, 
but this was still insufficient. 

" We must pass them," said the doctor. 

" Throw out the chests, they are empty," said Kennedy. 

" Out with them." 

" There they go," said Joe, " it is to die by inches," 

"As for you, Joe, don't you attempt to repeat your de- 
voted act of the other day. Whatever happens, swear you 
will not leave us ! " 

"All right, sir, we will not separate." 

The " Victoria " had regained a good height, but the 
mountain peak still overlooked her. It was a straight 
edge, which terminated in a regular peaked rampart. It 
was then more than 200 feet above the travelers. 

" In ten minutes our car will be in contact with those 
rocks if we cannot pass them." 

" Well, then, Mr. Samuel," said Joe. 

" Keep only the pemmican, throw out all the rest.' 



390 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

The balloon was again lightened by about fifty pounds, it 
rose sensibly, but not far, and not above the mountains. 
The situation was terrible. The " Victoria " was going at 
a great rate, and the expected shock they knew would 
break her to pieces. 

The doctor looked round the car. It was almost empty. 

"If necessary, Dick, you must throw the guns out." 

" Sacrifice my rifles ! " exclaimed the Scot. 

" My friend, if I ask you, it will only be when abso- 
lutely necessary. 

"Samuel!" 

" The arms and ammunition may cost us our lives." 

" We are close now," cried Joe. 

"Ten fathoms!" 

The mountain was then ten fathoms higher than the 
" Victoria." 

Joe took the rugs, and the boxes of ammunition, and, 
without telling Kennedy, threw them over. 

The balloon rose and passed the dreaded peak, the 
silk caught the sun's rays overhead, but the car was still 
below the rocks, against which it must inevitably be 
broken. 

" Kennedy, Kennedy ! " cried the doctor, " throw out 
the arms, or we are lost." 

"Wait, Mr. Dick," said Joe, "wait a moment!" And 
Kennedy, turning round, saw him disappear over the side 
of the car. 

" Joe ! Joe ! " he cried. 

" Unhappy man ! " exclaimed the doctor. 

The top of the mountain was at this place about twenty 
feet wide, and the other side was less steep. The car ar- 
rived at the edge of this plateau, and glided along upon the 
pebbles, which were ground beneath it 

" We are passing — we are passing — we have passed ! " 
cried a voice which made Ferguson's heart bound. 

The brave Joe was holding on by his hands to the bot- 
tom of the car and ran along the summit of the mountain, 
thus relieving the balloon of his weight; but he was obliged 
to hold very tightly, for the balloon was inclined to escape 
him. 

When he reached the opposite side, and the precipice 
opened before him, Joe, by a vigorous effort, raised him- 



HIGH MOUNTAINS 391 

self up, and, clutching the cordage, remounted beside his 
companions. 

" It was not more difficult than that," he said. 

" My brave Joe — my friend ! " exclaimed the doctor, 
with emotion. 

" It was not for you I did it," said Joe, " it was for Mr. 
Dick's rifle. I have owed him something ever since that 
affair with the Arab. I like to pay my debts, and now we 
are quits," added he, handing the sportsman his favorite 
gun. " I should have been very sorry to have seen you 
separated." 

Kennedy shook him warmly by the hand without speak- 
ing. 

The " Victoria " had only to descend, which was not 
difficult. It was soon within 200 feet of the ground and in 
equilibrium. The earth showed traces of convulsion, and 
presented many hillocks very difficult to avoid at night with 
a balloon not under control. Night fell rapidly, and, not- 
withstanding his objections, the doctor was constrained to 
halt till morning. 

" We will search for a favorable place," said he. 
Ah," replied Kennedy, "you have decided at last?" 
Yes. I have been thinking of a plan which I am about 
to put into execution. It is only six o'clock. We have 
plenty of time. Throw out the grapnels, Joe." 

Joe obeyed, and the two anchors hung suspended from 
the car. 

" I can see a vast forest," said the doctor, " we shall run 
above it, and make fast to some tree. I would not consent 
to pass the night on the ground for anything." 

" Why cannot we descend ? " asked Kennedy. 

" For what reason ? I repeat it would be dangerous to 
separate. Besides, I require your aid in a difficult ope- 
ration." 

The " Victoria " skimmed the tops of the trees, and did 
not fail to "pull up" quickly; the anchors had caught, the 
wind fell as evening advanced, and the balloon remained al- 
most motionless above the vast extent of foliage formed by 
the tops of the forest of sycamores. 



ft 



it 
« 



CHAPTER XLII 

A LAST SACRIFICE 

Doctor Ferguson ascertained his position by the obser- 
vation of the stars, and found that he was scarcely twenty- 
five miles from the Senegal. 

"All that we can do, my friends," said he, pointing to 
the map, " is to cross the river ; but as there are no boats we 
must cross it in the balloon, and for that purpose we must 
lighten it still more." 

" But I do not see how we can," replied Kennedy, who 
Vras anxious on the score of his guns, " unless one of us 
decides to sacrifice himself and remain behind; and as it is 
my turn, I claim that honor." 

Why," cried Joe, " is it not my place? " 
It is not a case of throwing yourself down, my friend," 
said Kennedy; "but to gain the coast of Africa on foot; 
now I am a good walker, a sportsman." 

"I will never agree to that," said Joe. 

" Your generous contention is useless, my brave friends," 
said Ferguson. " I trust we shall not be put to such 
straits; besides, in case of necessity we must not separate at 
all; we must cross the country together." 

" Be it so," said Joe, " a little walk will do us good." 

" But first," said the doctor, " we must do our utmost to 
lighten the ' Victoria.' " 

" By what means ? " asked Kennedy. " I am curious to 
know." 

" We must throw away the dilating apparatus, the 
Buntzen pile, and the coil; in that there is nearly 900 lbs. 
weight to drag with us." 

" But, Samuel, how then shall you obtain the expansion 
of the gas? " 

" I shall not obtain it. We must do without." 

" But r 

" Listen to me, my friends. I have calculated to a 
nicety what ascensional force is left in the balloon. It is 
sufficient to carry us with the few articles still remaining; 
we weigh scarcely 500 lbs,, including those two grapnels, 
which I wish to keep." 

" My dear Samuel," replied the Scot, " you are more 
competent than we in such cases — you are the best judge. 
Tell us what we ought to do, and we will do it." 

392 



A LAST SACRIFICE 393 

" I am of course at your orders, sir." 

" I repeat, my friends, grave though the decision may 
be, we must sacrifice our apparatus." 

"Let us sacrifice it," said Kennedy. 

" Let us go to work, then," said Joe. 

It was by no means an easy matter, it was necessary to 
remove the apparatus piece by piece. First the " mixing " 
chest was got up — then the blow-pipe, and at last the chest 
in which the decomposition of the water took place. It 
required the united strength of the travelers to remove the 
recipients from the bottom of the car in which they were 
firmly let in; but Kennedy was so powerful, Joe so skillful, 
and Ferguson so ingenious, that they succeeded at last. 
The various pieces were successively thrown overboard, and 
they disappeared, making large fissures in the foliage of 
the sycamores. 

" The negroes will be considerably astonished," said Joe, 
"at seeing such articles in the woods; they will very likely 
make idols of them." 

At last they were obliged to remove the pipes fastened 
in the balloon, and which had been attached to the ser- 
pentine. Joe cut the joints of the india-rubber some feet 
above the car, but as to the pipes it was more difficult, for 
they were fixed at the upper end by brass wire to the rings 
of the safety-valve itself. 

It was at this juncture that Joe displayed his skill; with 
bare feet, so as not to tear the envelope, he ascended by 
the netting, and, notwithstanding the oscillation, climbed up 
to the top of the balloon. There, after much difficulty, 
holding by one hand to the slippery surface, he detached 
the screws which fastened the pipes. They were then 
easily taken down through the lower part of the balloon and 
the apertures hermetically fastened up. The " Victoria," 
thus relieved of a considerable weight, rose in the air and 
tugged hard at the anchors. 

At midnight this work was successfully accomplished, 
with much labor, however. A hasty repast was eaten, con- 
sisting of pemmican and cold grog, for the doctor had no 
heat to put at Joe's disposal. 

Joe and Kennedy were overcome with fatigue. 

" Lie down and sleep, my friends," said Ferguson. " I 
will take the first watch. At two o'clock I will wake Ken- 



394 FIVE .WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

nedy; at four Kennedy will wake Joe; at six we shall be 
off, and may Heaven guard us through this last day ! " 

Without saying anything, the doctor's two companions' 
lay down at the bottom, of the car and slept profoundly. 

The night was calm; some clouds passed over the moon, 
whose rays at that time scarce broke the obscurity. Fer- 
guson, leaning against the car, looked about in all direc- 
tions; he steadily watched the dark carpet of foliage which 
lay spread beneath and intercepted his view of the ground. 
The least noise appeared to him suspicious, and he sought 
for reasons for even a trembling of the leaves. He was 
in that over-excited state of mind which solitude renders 
more nevous, and in which all kinds of vague terrors 
arise. 

At the termination of a similar journey, having overcome 
all obstacles, at the moment of success, fears are so strong, 
emotions so great, that the point of arrival seems to disap- 
pear altogether. 

Besides, the situation offered nothing reassuring in the 
midst of a barbarous country, and with means of transport 
which, in fact, might fail at any moment. The doctor did 
not rely absolutely upon his balloon, the time had passed 
in which he could maneuver it fearlessly. 

With these impressions upon him the doctor believed he 
could hear vague murmurs in that vast forest, and fancied 
he perceived a fire rapidly flitting between the trees. He 
kept his gaze fixed, and leveled his night-glass in the same 
direction, but nothing appeared, and the silence was most 
profound. 

Ferguson had doubtless been under a delusion, he lis- 
tened without hearing the slightest sound. The period of 
his watch having now expired, he woke Kennedy, enjoined 
upon him the utmost vigilance, and lay down beside Joe, 
who was sleeping soundly. 

Kennedy lit his pipe and rubbed his eyes, which he 
could scarcely keep open. He leaned his elbows upon the 
corner of the car, and smoked vigorously to keep himself 
awake. 

The most absolute silence reigned around, a gentle 
breeze moved the tops of the trees, and swayed the car in a 
most sleep-inviting manner, which Kennedy could scarce 
resist. He struggled against the feeling, opened his eye- 



(( 



A LAST SACRIFICE 395 

lids, looked steadily into the darkness with lack-luster eyes, 
and at length yielding to fatigue he fell asleep. 

How long was he thus? He could not tell when he 
woke, for he was suddenly disturbed by an unexpected 
crackling. 

He rubbed his eyes and jumi>ed up. An intense heat 
scorched his face. The forest was in flames. 

" Fire, fire ! " he cried, scarcely understanding what had 
happened. 

His two companions got up. 
What is the matter?" asked Ferguson. 
Fire ! " cried Joe. " But who " 

At this moment yells arose beneath the burning trees. 

** Ah ! the savages," cried Joe, " they have fired the forest 
to burn us, no doubt." 

" The Talibas, the marabouts of Al-Hadji, depend upon 
it," said the doctor. 

The " Victoria " was regularly surrounded by fire, the 
crackling of the dead wood was mingled with the hissing 
of the green branches, twining plants, leaves, all the living 
vegetation was embraced in the destructive element. On 
all sides an ocean of flame only was visible. Great trees 
stood out against the glow with their branches covered with 
burning embers. This burning mass was reflected upon 
the clouds, and the travelers appeared enveloped in a globe 
of fire. 

" Let us fly! " cried Kennedy; " let us get out! it is our 
only chance of safety." 

But Ferguson stopped him with a firm hand, and with a 
trenchant blow he severed the grapnel-ropes. The flames, 
leaping up towards the balloon, were already licking its 
sides, but the " Victoria," freed from its bonds, rose more 
than i,ooo feet into the air. 

Horrible yells resounded through the forest, mingled 
with the loud reports of firearms, but the balloon, wafted 
by a current which had arisen with daybreak, continued 
her journey towards the west. 



CHAPTER XLIII 

A WASTED COUNTRY 



(( 



If we had not taken the precaution to lighten the 
balloon last night," said the doctor, "we should have been 
lost past recovery." 

" That shows the benefit of doing things in time," said 
Joe, " so we have escaped, and nothing is more natural." 

" We are not out of danger yet," replied Ferguson in a 
cautious manner. 

"What do you fear now?" asked Dick; "the 'Vic- 
toria ' cannot descend without your permission, and when 
it should do so." 

" When it should do so ! — look ! " 

The border of the forest was passed, and the travelers 
could descry about thirty horsemen clothed in wide trousers, 
and bournous floating in the air. Some were armed with 
lances, others with long muskets. They pursued the " Vic- 
toria," which was going along slowly, at a hand-gallop. 

At sight of the travelers they raised savage cries and 
brandished their weapons — their anger and menaces v^ere to 
be read in their sunburnt faces, rendered more ferocious 
by the short but bristling beard. They passed easily over 
the low plains and gentle declivities that descend to the 
Senegal. 

" They are indeed the cruel Talibas," said the doctor, 
" the ferocious marabouts of Al-Hadji. I would rather be 
in a forest in the midst of wild beasts, than in the hands of 
those men." 

" They have not the most amiable appearance, cer- 
tainly," said Kennedy, "and they are powerful fellows 
too." 

" Happily, the ruffians cannot fly ; there is always some 
consolation," said Joe. 

" Do you see those ruined villages, those burned houses ? 
that is their handiwork; and where at one time were culti- 
vated pastures, they have now left nothing but sterility and 
devastation." 

" At any rate, they cannot touch us here," said Ken- 
nedy, " and if we can put the river between us, we shall be 
safe." 

" Quite so, Dick, but we must not fall," said the doctor, 
looking at the barometer. 

396 



A WASTED COUNTRY 397 

"In any case, Joe, it will do no harm to look to our 



arms." 



" That will not hurt us, certainly, Mr. Dick ; we now find 
what a good thing it was not to have thrown them away." 

" I trust I shall never part with my rifle," said Ken- 
nedy. And he loaded it carefully, for some ammunition 
still remained. 

" At what height are we now? " 

" About 750 feet," replied Ferguson ; " but we have no 
means left to seek a favorable current, and in ascending 
or descending we are entirely at the mercy of the balloon." 

" That is a pity," replied Kennedy, " the wind is so light, 
and if we had only met a storm similar to that a few days 
ago, we should soon give these robbers the slip." 

" They are following us at their ease," said Joe ; " it is 
only gentle exercise for them." 

" If we were within range," said Kennedy, " I could 
amuse myself by dismounting a few of them." 

" Yes ; but they might also have the range," said Fer- 
guson, " and our ' Victoria ' offers an excellent mark for 
their long musket bullets, and if they were to tear the silk, 
I leave you to judge what our fate would be." 

The Talibas continued their pursuit all the morning. 
About II A. M. the travelers had made fifteen miles towards 
the west. 

The doctor scanned the smallest cloud on the horizon. 
He feared a change. If they should happen to be driven 
towards the Niger, what would become of them? More- 
over, the balloon was visibly sinking; since their departure 
it had already lost more than 300 feet, and the Senegal 
was still twelve miles away, and at the pace they were 
traveling it would take three hours to reach it. 

At this time their attention was attracted by renewed 
yells. The Talibas were pressing their horses forward. 
The doctor consulted the barometer and perceived the cause 
of these cries. 

We are descending," said Kennedy. 
Yes!" replied Ferguson. 

"The devil!" said Joe. 

In about a quarter of an hour the car was not more 
than 150 feet from the ground, but the wind was blowing 
more strongly now. 



(( 



398 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

The Talibas spurred their horses, and soon a volley of 
musketry rent the air. 

** Too far, you idiots ! " cried Joe. " We had better 
keep those scamps at arm's length," and taking aim, he 
fired. One of the Talibas rolled on the ground; his com- 
panions pulled up, and the "Victoria" thus gained a little. 

" They are prudent," said Kennedy. 

" Because they believe themselves sure of us," said the 
doctor, " and they will succeed if we descend any lower. 
We must absolutely ascend." 

" What is there to be thrown over? " asked Joe. 

" All the pemmican that is left. We can thus get rid of 
30 lbs. weight." 

" There; it is gone, sir," said Joe. 

The car, which had been almost touching the ground, 
ascended again amid the cries of the Talibas; but, half an 
hour later, the " Victoria " redescended rapidly — the gas 
pouring from the folds of the silk. The car soon touched 
the ground; the adherents of Al-Hadji hastened towards it; 
but, as happened before, scarcely had it touched the earth 
when the " Victoria " bounded about a mile farther on. 

" We shall not escape after all ! " cried Kennedy in a 
rage. 

"Throw out the brandy, Joe," cried the doctor; "and 
the instruments — everything of any weight, and our last 
anchor. We must do it." 

Joe threw away the barometers and thermometers, but 
these were not much, and the balloon, which had gone up 
for an instant, soon fell to earth again. The Talibas came 
flying after it, and were not 200 yards distant now. 

" Throw away two of the guns," said the doctor. 

" Not until I have discharged them, at least," replied 
Kennedy. 

Four successive shots pierced the crowd of horsemen — 
four Talibas fell amid the frantic raging of the troop. 

The " Victoria " ascended once more, it bounded im- 
mense distances, like a great india-rubber ball. A strange 
sight was that of these unfortunate men seeking to escape 
by means of these gigantic leaps, and the balloon, Ant?eus- 
like, seemed to derive new strength each time it touched 
the earth. But the end must come. It was nearly noon. 
The " Victoria " shuddered and collapsed ; the envelope be- 



A WASTED COUNTRY 399 

came "flabby" and loose; the plaits of the taffetas dis- 
tended, rubbing against each other. 

" Heaven has abandoned us," said Kennedy. " We 
must fall." 

Joe did not reply — he looked at his master. 

" No! " said the latter, " we have still 150 lbs. to throw 
away." 

" What next ? " cried Kennedy, thinking the doctor had 
lost his senses. 

" The car," said Ferguson. " We must lash ourselves 
to the netting, we can hold on to the meshes, and thus 
reach the river. Quick, quick ! " 

And these resolute men did not hesitate to seize such a 
chance of safety. They suspended themselves to the 
meshes, as the doctor had suggested, and Joe, holding by 
one hand, with the other cut the cords that fastened the 
car; it fell at the moment the balloon was definitely lost. 

" Hurrah, hurrah ! " he cried, as the balloon rose again 
300 feet into the air. 

The Talibas spurred their horses to full speed, but the 
"Victoria" encountering a stronger breeze, left them be- 
hind, and sailed rapidly away towards a hill which bounded 
the horizon in the west. This was a very favorable cir- 
cumstance for the travelers, as they could pass over it, while 
the band of Al-Hadji would be obliged to take a detour to- 
wards the north to get round it. 

The three friends held tightly to the netting, they had 
tied it beneath their feet, and so it formed a resting-place. 

After having cleared the hill, the doctor suddenly ex- 
claimed, " The river, the Senegal ! " 

There, at two miles' distance, was the river rolling along 
in its wide bed. The opposite bank, low and fertile, offered 
a safe retreat and a convenient spot upon which to descend. 

" In another quarter of an hour we shall be saved," 
cried Ferguson. 

But it was not to be. The empty balloon fell by degrees 
upon a spot almost denuded of vegetation. There were 
long slopes and stony plains, a few bushes, and thick grass, 
dried up by the heat of the sun. 

The " Victoria " touched the ground many times, and 
rebounded, but less and less each time. At last it caught 
by the upper part of the net to the high branches of a 



400 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

baobab — an isolated tree in the midst of this desert region. 
" It is all over," said Kennedy. 

" And within a hundred paces of the river," said Joe. 
The three unfortunate travelers descended, and the doc- 
tor dragged his two companions to the Senegal. 

At this moment they heard a long sullen roar proceeding 
from the direction of the river, and when they reached the 
bank Ferguson recognized the cataracts of Gouina. Not a 
boat upon the river — not a living being to be seen. 

The Senegal, 2,000 feet wide, fell here a height of 150 
feet with a sonorous roar. It flowed from east to west, 
and the line of rocks that barred its course stretched from 
north to south. In the midst of the fall the rocks assumed 
strange forms, like some antediluvian animals petrified in 
the midst of the water. 

The utter impracticability of this gulf was evident. 
Kennedy could not restrain a gesture of despair. 

But Doctor Ferguson with his old energy cried out, " All 
is not yet lost ! " 

" I know that well," replied Joe, with that confidence in 
his master that never deserted him. 

The sight of the dry grass had inspired the doctor with a 
bold idea. It was the only chance of safety. He drew his 
companions rapidly towards the balloon. 

" We are at least an hour ahead of those robbers," he 
said; "let us lose no time, my friends; collect a quantity of 
this dry grass, at least 100 lbs. weight." 

" For what purpose ? " asked Kennedy. 

" I have no more gas, so I will cross the river by means 
of hot air." 

" Ah ! my brave Samuel," cried Kennedy, " you are in- 
deed a great man." 

Kennedy and Joe set to work, and soon an enormous 
heap of grass was collected close to the tree. Meantime 
the doctor had enlarged the opening at the lower part of the 
balloon and had taken care to let all the hydrogen escape 
by the valve ; he then piled some of the dry grass under the 
envelope and set fire to it. 

A short time suffices to dilate a balloon with hot air; a 
heat of 180° is sufficient to diminish the weight of the air 
one-half by rarefaction, so the " Victoria " soon began to 
reassume her rounded appearance. There was no lack of 

y. I Yeriitt 



it 
it 



it 
« 



A WASTED COUNTRY 401 

grass, the fire was kept up by the doctor, and the balloon 
swelled visibly. 

It was then a quarter to i p. m. 

At this moment, two miles to the north, the Talibas re- 
appeared; their cries and the galloping of their horses were 
distinctly heard. 

" In twenty minutes they will be here," said Kennedy. 

" More grass, Joe ! more grass ! In ten minutes we shall 
be high in the air." 

"There is the grass, sir." 

The " Victoria " was two-thirds filled. 
My friends, hold on to the netting as before." 
All right," said Kennedy. 

In about ten minutes some lunges of the balloon gave 
indication that she would soon be ofT. 

The Talibas approached, they were scarcely 500 paces 
distant. 

Hold tight," cried Ferguson. 
Never fear," said his companions. 

The doctor's feet pushed more grass into the fire. The 
balloon, completely filled by the increase of temperature, 
rose up, brushing the branches of the baobab as it went. 

"We're ofif!" cried Joe. 

A volley of musketry was the reply, one bullet even 
grazed Joe's shoulder; but Kennedy, holding by one hand, 
discharged his rifle with the other, and an enemy fell. 

Cries of rage, impossible to describe, accompanied the 
ascent; the balloon rose to nearly 800 feet. A rapid wind 
then seized it, and it oscillated dangerously, while the brave 
doctor and his friends were obliged to contemplate the 
cataracts opening beneath them. 

Ten minutes afterwards, not a word having been ex- 
changed in the interval, the intrepid travelers descended 
gradually towards the other bank of the river. 

There, surprised and alarmed, stood a group of men 
wearing the French uniform. Their astonishment may be 
guessed when they saw a balloon rising from the opposite 
bank of the river. They fancied it a miracle. But their 
officers, a lieutenant of marines, and a second lieutenant, 
were aware, from the accounts in the European papers, of 
the bold attempt of Doctor Ferguson, and they told the 
facts to their companions. 



402 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

The balloon collapsed by degrees, and was falling with 
the brave travelers holding to the netting, — they were 
doubting whether they should ever reach land, when the 
Frenchmen rushed into the river and received the three 
Englishmen in their arms at the moment when the " Vic- 
toria " sank at some distance from the bank. 

" Doctor Ferguson ? " cried the lieutenant. 

" The same," replied the doctor, quietly, " and his two 
friends." 

The Frenchmen carried the travelers to the bank, while 
the balloon, still slightly inflated, was borne by the rapid 
current, like an immense ball, over the cataracts of the 
Gouina. 

"Poor 'Victoria!'" said Joe. 

The doctor could not repress a tear. He opened his 
arms, and he and his friends embraced each other, under 
the influence of the emotion which affected them all. 



CHAPTER XLIV 

CONCLUSION 

The expedition which had fallen in with the travelers 
had been sent by the governor of Senegal. It was com- 
posed of two officers, M. Dufraisse, a lieutenant of ma- 
rines, and M. Rodamel, a second lieutenant, with a ser- 
geant and seven men. For the last two days they had been 
engaged in seeking the most favorable situation for the 
establishment of a station at Gouina, when they were wit- 
nesses of the arrival of Doctor Ferguson. 

One can easily imagine the congratulations which were 
extended to the travelers. The French being in a position 
to testify to the accomplishment of the bold design, nat- 
urally became witnesses for Doctor Ferguson, when he 
asked them to testify officially to his arrival at the cata- 
racts of Gouina. 

" You will not refuse to sign an official statement, I 
daresay?" the doctor said to Lieutenant Dufraisse. 

" I am ready, whenever you please," replied the latter. 

The English were conducted to a guard-house on the 
bank of the river, where they experienced the greatest 
attention, and were well entertained. There was drawn 



CONCLUSION 403 

up the official testimony, which is in the archives of the 
Geographical Society to this day. 

** We, the undersigned, declare that on the said day, we 
saw arrive here, suspended to the netting of a balloon, 
Doctor Ferguson, and his two companions, Richard Ken- 
nedy and Joseph Wilson. The said balloon fell at a few 
yards distant from us into the river, and was carried away 
by the current over the cataracts of the Gouina, In testi- 
mony whereof we have hereto set our names. Done at the 
cataracts of the Gouina on this twenty-fourth day of May, 
one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two. 
" {Signed) Samuel Ferguson, 

Richard Kennedy, 

Joseph Wilson. 

DuFRAissE, Lieutenant. 

RoDAMEL, Second Lieutenant. 

DuFAYS, Sergeant. 

Flippeau, 

Mayor, 

Pelissier, 

LoROis, Soldiers 

Rascagnet, 

GUILLON, 

Here terminated the wonderful journey of Dr. Fergu- 
son and his brave companions. They found themselves 
amongst friends, in the midst of hospitable tribes, whence 
communications with the French stations are frequent. 

They reached the Senegal on Saturday, the 24th of May, 
and on the 27th they reached Medine, situated upon the 
river a little more to the north. Here the French officers 
received them with open arms, and extended to them all 
the hospitality in their power. It was found that the 
travelers could embark almost immediately in the steamer 
Basilisk, which was going down the river. 

Fourteen days afterwards, on the loth of June, they 
reached St. Louis, where the governor welcomed them 
heartily; they had by this time quite recovered from their 
fatigues. Joe told all who would listen to him that. " It 
was not much of a Journey after all, and if anyone is 
anxious for excitement I would not advise him to under- 
take such an one; it becomes tedious at last, and indeed, 



404 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 

without the adventures on Lake Tchad and at the Senegal, 
I verily believe we should have died of ennui." 

An English frigate was about to sail, and the three 
travelers were taken on board. On the 25th of June they 
arrived at Portsmouth, and on the following day they 
reached London. We shall not attempt to describe the 
welcome they received from the Royal Geographical So- 
ciety, nor the cordiality of their general reception. Ken- 
nedy set out for Edinburgh with his famous rifle to reas- 
sure his old housekeeper of his existence. 

Doctor Ferguson and his faithful Joe are still the same, 
although change has come upon them; they have become 
friends — no longer master and servant. 

The European journals were unanimous in their praises 
of the explorers, and the Daily Telegraph issued 977,000 
copies on the day they published an extract from the jour- 
nals of the voyage. 

Doctor Ferguson read the account of the expedition at 
a public meeting of the Royal Geographical Society, and 
the Gold Medal was bestowed upon him and his two com- 
panions, for having achieved the most remarkable expedi- 
tion of the year 1862. 



. The result of the journey of Doctor Ferguson was to 
confirm in the most precise manner the facts and statements 
reported by Barth, Burton, Speke, and others. Thanks to 
the still more recent expeditions of Speke and Grant, 
Heuglin and Munzinger, who ascended to the sources of 
the Nile, where they spread towards the center of Africa, 
we shall soon be able to confirm in their turn Doctor Fer- 
guson's own discoveries in that immense territory com- 
prised between the fourteenth and thirty-third degree of 
longitude. 



THE END 



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