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FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON;
JOURNEYS AND DISCOVERIES IN AFRICA
BY THREE ENGLISHMEN.
COMPILED IN FRENCH
BY JULES VERNE,
FROM THE ORIGINAL NOTES OF DR. FERGUSON.
AND DONE INTO ENGLISH BY
WITH 48 HELIOTYPE ILLUSTRATIONS.
JAMES R. OSGOOD AND COMPANY,
LATE TICKNOR & FIELDS, AND FIELDS, OSGOOD, & Co.
ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1869, by
D. APPLETON & CO.,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Southern District of New York.
"FIVE Weeks in a Balloon is, in a measure, a satire on
modern books of African travel. So far as the geography,
the inhabitants, the animals, and the features of the coun-
tries the travellers pass over are described, it is entirely
accurate. It gives, in some particulars, a survey of nearly
the whole field of African discovery, and in this way will
often serve to refresh the memory of the reader. The mode
of locomotion is, of course, purely imaginary, and the inci-
dents and adventures fictitious. The latter are abundantly
amusing, and, in view of the wonderful "travellers' tales"
with which we have been entertained by African explorers,
they can scarcely be considered extravagant; while the inge-
nuity and invention of the author will be sure to excite the
surprise and the admiration of the reader, who will find
M. VERNE as much at home in voyaging through the air as in
journeying "Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas."
The illustrations forty-eight in number are reproduced
from the French originals by the patent Heliotype process,
which ':i.l1:,bl.. us to present, in condensed form, perfectly ex-
act and -tit fill transcripts of M. Riou's elaborate and fan-
BY THE SAME AUTHOR.
Twenty 'Thousand Leagues under the Seas.
With 110 full-page Illustrations by RIov, A. DE NEU-
VILLE, etc.etc. 1 vol. 8vo. $3.50. Full gilt,
[By subscription only. GEO. Mt. SMITH & CO., 11 Bromfield
Street, Boston, agents.]
The Tour of the World in JEighty Days.
1 vol. Small 18mo. Red edges, $1.50.
IN THE PRESS.
The Fur' Country. With 100 full-page Illustra-
tions by Riou and other eminent artists. 1 vol.
The Tour of the World in Eighty Days.
Illustrated. 8vo Edition. (Immediately.)
Fo; " ooksellers. Sent, post-aid, on recent of
Rice by O
JAMES R. OSGOOD & CO., Boston.
The End of a much-applauded Speech.-The Presentation of Dr. Samuel Fergn-
son.-Excelsior.-Full-length Portrait of the Doctor.-A Fatalist convinced.
-ADinner at the Travellers' Club.-Several Toasts for the Occasion pAGe 9
The Article in the Daily Telegraph.-War between the Scientific Journals.-
Mr. Petermann backs his Friend Dr. Ferguson.-Reply of the Savant Koner.
-Bets made.-Sundry Propositions offered to the Doctor 18
The Doctor's Friend.-The Origin of their Friendship.-Dick Kennedy at Lon-
don.-An unexpected but not very consoling Proposal.-A Proverb by no
means cheering.-A few Names from the African Martyrology.-The Advan-
tages of a Balloon.-Dr. Ferguson's Secret . 22
African Explorations.-Barth, Richardson, Overn sg, Werne, Brun-Roliet, Pen-
ney, Andrea, Debono, Miani, Guillaume Lejean, Bruce, Krapf and Rebmann,
Maizan, Roscher, Burton and Speke . 31
Kennedy's Dreams.-Articles and Pronouns in the Plural.-Dick's Insinuations.
-A Promenade over the Map of Africa.-What is contained between two
Points of the Compass.-Expeditions now on foot.-Speke and Grant.-Krapf,
De Decken, and De Heuglin 37
& Servant-match him I-He can see the Satellites of Jupiter.-Dick and Joe
hard at it.-Doubt and Faith.-The Weighing Ceremony.-Joe and Welling-
ton.-He gets a Half-crown 44
Geometrical Details.-Calculation of the Capacity of the Balloon.-The Double
Receptacle.-The Covering.-The Car.-The Mysterious Apparatus.-The
Provisions and Stores.-The Final Summing up PAGE 50
Joe's Importance.-The Commander of the Resolute.-Kennedy's Arsenal.-Mu-
tual Amenities.-The Farewell Dinner.-Departure on the 21st of February.-
The Doctor's Scientific Sessions.-Duveyrier.-Livingstone.-Details of the
Aerial Voyage.-Kennedy silenced 56
They double the Cape.-The Forecastle.-A Course of Cosmography by Pro-
fessor Joe.-Concerning the Method of guiding Balloons.-How to seek out
Atmospheric Currents.-Eureka 63
Former Experiments.-The Doctor's Five Receptacles.-The Gas Cylinder.-
The Calorifere.-The System of Manceuvring.-Success certain 69
The Arrival at Zanzibar.-The English Consul.-Ill-will of the Inhabitants.-The
Island of Koumbeni.-The Rain-Makers.-Inflation of the Balloon.-Depart-
ure on the 18th of April.-The last Good-by.-The Victoria 75
Crossing the Strait.-The Mrima.-Dick's Remark and Joe's Proposition.-A
Recipe for Coffee-making.-The Uzaramo.-The Unfortunate Maizan.-
Mount Duthumi.-The Doctor's Cards.-Night under a Nopal 82
Change of Weather.-Kennedy has the Fever.-The Doctor's Medicine.-Travels
on Land. -The Basin of Imeng6.-Mount Rubeho.-Six Thousand Feet Ele-
vation.-A Halt in the Daytime 91
The Forest of Gum-Trees.-The Blue Antelope.-The Rallying-Signal.-An Un-
expected Attack.-The Kanyemg.-A Night in the Open Air.-The Mabun.
guru.-Jihoue-la-Mkoa.-A Supply of Water.-Arrival at Kazeh 99
Kazeh.-The Noisy Market-place.-The Appearance of the Balloon.-The Wan-
gaga.-The Sons of the Moon.-The Doctor's Walk.-The Population of the
Place.-The Royal Tembe.-The Sultan's Wives.-A Royal Drunken-Bout.-
Joe an Object of Worship.-How they Dance in the Moon.--A Reaction.-
Two Moons in one Sky.-The Instability of Divine Honors PAGE 109
Symptoms of a Storm.-The Country of the Moon.-The Future of the African
Continent.-The Last Machine of all.-A View of the Country at Sunset.-
Flora and Fauna.-The Tempest.-The Zone of Fire.-The Starry Heavens.
The Mountains of the Moon.-An Ocean of Verdure.-They cast Anchor.-The
Towing Elephant.-A Running Fire.-Death of the Monster.-The Field
Oven.-A Meal on the Grass.-A Night on the Ground . 131
The Karagwah.-Lake UkTreoun.-A Night on an Island.-The Equator.-
Crossing the Lake.-The Cascades.-A View of the Country.--The Sources
of the Nile.-The Island of Benga.-The Signature of Andrea Debono. -The
Flag with the Arms of England 141
The Nile.-The Trembling Mountain.-A Remembrance of the Country.-The
Narratives of the Arabs.-The Nyam-Nyams.-Joe's Shrewd Cogitations.-
The Balloon runs the Gantlet.-Agrostatic Ascensions.-Madame Blanchard.
The Celestial Bottle.-The Fig-Palms.-The Mam oth Trees.-The Tree of War.
-The Winged Team.-Two Native Tribes i ttle.-A Massacre.-An In-
tervention from above 158
Strange Sounds. -A Night Attack.-Kennedy and Joe in the Tree.-Two Shots.
"-" Help I help I "-Reply in French.-The Morning.-The Missionary.-The
Plan of Rescue 165
The Jet of Light.-The Missionary.-The Rescue in a Ray of Electricity.-A
Lazarist Priest.-But little Hope.-The Doctor's Care.-A Life of Self-De-
niaL-Passing a Volcano 174
Joe in a Fit of Rage.-The Death of a Good Man.-The Night of watching by the
Body.-Barrenness and Drought.-The Burial.-The Quartz Rocks.-Joe's
Hallucinations.-A Precious Ballast.-A Survey of the Gold-bearing Moun-
tains.-The Beginning of Joe's Despair PA 183
The Wind dies away.-The Vicinity of the Desert.-The Mistake in the Water-
Supply.-TheNights of the Equator.-Dr. Ferguson's Anxieties.-The Sit-
uation flatly stated.-Energetic Replies of Kennedy and Joe.-One Night
A Little Philosophy.-A Cloud on the Horizon.-In the Midst of a Fog.-The
Strange Balloon.-An Exact View of the Victoria.-The Palm-Trees.-Traces
of a Caravan.-The Well in the Midst of the Desert . 201
One Hundred and Thirteen Degrees.-The Doctor's Reflections.-A Desperate
Search.-The Cylinder goes out.-One Hundred and Twenty-two Degrees.-
Contemplation of the Desert.-A Night Walk.-Solitude.-Debility.-Joe's
Prospects.-He gives himself One Day more 208
Terrific Heat.-Hallucinations.-The Last Drops ofWater.-Nights of Despair.
An Attempt at Suicide.-The Simoom.-The Oasis.-The Lion and Lioness.
An Evening of Delight.-Joe's Culinary Performances.-A Dissertation on Raw
Meat.-The Narrative of James Bruce.-Camping out.-Joe's Dreams.-The
Barometer begins to fall.-The Barometer rises again.-Preparations for
Departure.-The Tempest 222
Signs of Vegetation.-The Fantastic Notion of a French Author.-A Magnificent
Country.--The Kingdom of Adamova.-The Explorations of Speke and Bar-
ton connected with those of Dr. Barth.-The Atlantika Mountains.-The
River Benou6.-The City of Yola.-The Bageld.-Mount Mendif 229
Mosfeia.-The Sheik.-Denham, Clapperton, and Oudney.-Vogel.-The Capital
ofLoggoum.-Toole.-Becalmed above Kernak.-The Governor and his Court.
-The Attack.-The Incendiary Pigeons 236
Departure in the Night-time.-All Three.-Kennedy's Instincts.-Precautions.-
The Course of the Shari River.-Lake Tchad.-The Water of the Lake.-The
Hippopotamus.-One Bullet thrown away AGE 245
The Capital of Bornou.-The Islands of the Biddiomahs.-The Condors.-The
Doctor's Anxieties.-His Precautions.-An Attack in Mid-air.-The Balloon
Covering torn.-The Fall.-Sublime Self-Sacrifice.-The Northern Coast of
the Lake 251
Conjectures.-Reestablishment of the Victoria's Equilibrium.-Dr. Ferguson's
New Calculations.-Kennedy's Hunt.-A Complete Exploration of Lake
Tchad.-Tangalia.-The Return.-Lari 258
The Hurricane.-A Forced Departure.-Loss of an Anchor.-Melancholy Reflec-
tions.-The Resolution adopted.-The Sand-Storm.-The Buried Caravan.-
A Contrary yet Favorable Wind.-The Return southward.-Kennedy at his
What happened to Joe.-The Island of the Biddiomahs.-The Adoration shown
him.-The Island that sank.-The Shores of the Lake.-The Tree of the Ser-
pents.-The Foot-Tramp.-Terrible Suffering.-Mosquitoes and Ants.-
Hunger.-The Victoria seen.-She disappears.-The Swamp.-One Last
Despairing Cry 272
A Throng of People on the Horizon.-A Troop of Arabs.-The Pursuit.-It is
He.-Fall from Horseback.-The Strangled Arab.-A Ball from Kennedy.-
Adroit Maneuvres.-Caught up flying.-Joe saved at last 283
The Western Route.-Joe wakes np.-His Obstinacy.-End of Joe's Narrative.
-Tagelei.-Kennedy's Anxieties.-The Route to the North.-A Night near
A Rapid Passage.-Prudent Resolves.-Caravans in Sight.-Incessant Rains.-
Goa.-The Niger.-Golberry, Geoffroy, and Gray.-Mungo Park.-Laing.-
Rend Caillie.-Clapperton.-John and Richard Lander . 297
The Country in the Elbow of the Niger.-A Fantastic View of the Hombori Moun-
tains.-Kabra.-Timbuctoo.-The Chart of Dr. Barth.-A Decaying City.-
Whither Heaven wills PAG 306
Dr. Ferguson's Anxieties.-Persistent Movement southward.-A Cloud of
Grasshoppers.-A View of Jenn6.-A View of Sego.-Change of the Wind.-
Joe's Regrets 312
The Approaches to Senegal.-The Balloon sinks lower and lower.-They keep
throwing out, throwing out.-The Marabout Al-Hadji.-Messrs. Pascal,Vin-
cent, and Lambert.-A Rival of Mohammed.-The Difficult Mountains.-Ken-
nedy's Weapons.-One of Joe's Manceuvres.-A Halt over a Forest 317
A Struggle of Generosity.-The Last Sacrifice.-The Dilating Apparatus.-Joe's
Adroitness.-Midnight.-The Doctor's Watch.-Kennedy's Watch.-The Lat-
ter falls asleep at his Post.-The Fire.-The Howlings of the Natives.-Out
of Range 326
The Talabas.-The Pursuit.-A Devastated Country.-The Wind begins to fall.
-The Victoria sinks.-The last of the Provisions.-The Leaps of the Bal-
loon.-A Defence with Fire-arms.-The Wind freshens.-The Senegal River.
-The Cataracts of Gouina.-The Hot Air.-The Passage of the River 332
Conclusion.-The Certificate.-The French Settlements.-The Post of Medina.-
The Basilic.-Saint Louis.-The English Frigate.-The Return to London.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
1. DICK KENNEDY .. 22
2. DICK CONSULTING THE MAP 40
$. JOE 44
4. THE RESOLUTE 56
5. JOE AND THE SAILORS 64
6. VIEW OF ZANZIBAR 75
7. CROSSING THE STRAIT 82
8. THE SAVAGES OF UZARAMO 86
9. As ANCHOR FOR THE NIGHT. 89
10. MOUNT RUBEIIO. 95
11. THE BLUE ANTELOPE 100
12. A SUPPLY OF WATER 107
13. THE DOCTOR VISITS THE KING 114
14. THE SORCERER CARRIED OFF 119
15. HIPPOPOTAMI 125
16. IN THE STOR 129
17. ANCHORING TO AN ELEPHANT 134
18. DEATH OF THE ELEPHANT. 137
19. "THE NILE !" 146
20. BENGAL ISLAND 150
21. THE WAR-TREE OF THE CANNIBALS 160
22. THE NIGHT ATTACK 168
23. THE ELECTRIC LIGHT 173
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
24. CROSSING A VOLCANO 181
25. BURYING THE MISSIONARY 186
26. APPROACHING THE DESERT 193
27. SUNSET IN TIE DESERT. 199
28. THE MIRAGE 204
29. THE NIGHT OF THIRST 211
30. FIGHT WITH A LIONESS 221
31. AN EVENING OF DELIGHT 222
32. CROSSING MOUNT MENDIF 235
33. TIE GOVERNOR AND HIS COURT 242
34. TIE CAPITAL OF BORNOU 251
35. JOE'S SELF-SACRIFICE 256
36. KENNEDY'S HUNT 260
37. A SWIM FOR LIFE 273
38. TIE TREE OF THE SERPENTS 278
39. JOE IN TIE SWAMP 282
40. CAUGHT UP FLYING 288
41. EN ROUTE FOR TIMBUCTOO 295
42. THE SONRAY COUNTRY 300
43. A SWARM OF GRASSHOPPERS 314
44. LIGHTENING THE BALLOON 318
45. JOE'S STRATAGEM .' .323
46. PURSUED BY THE TALABAS 333
47. THE FALLS OF GOUINA 338
48. TE RECEPTION 342
FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
The End of a much-applauded Speech.-The Presentation of Dr. Samuel Ferga-
son.-Excelsior.-Full-length Portrait of the Doctor.-A Fatalist convinced.
-A Dinner at the Travellers' Club.-Several Toasts for the Occasion.
THERE was a large audience assembled on the 14th of
January, 1862, at the session of the Royal Geographical
Society, No. 3 Waterloo Place, London. The president,
Sir Francis M- made an important communication to
his colleagues, in an address that was frequently inter-
rupted by applause.
This rare specimen of eloquence terminated with the
following sonorous phrases bubbling over with patriotism:
England has always marched at the head of nations "
(for, the reader will observe, the nations always march at
the- head of each other), "by the intrepidity of her ex-
plorers in the line of geographical discovery." (General
assent). Dr. Samuel Ferguson, one of her most glorious
sons, will not reflect discredit on his origin." (" No, in-
deed !" from all parts of the hall.)
This attempt, should it succeed (" It will succeed "),
"will complete and link together the notions, as yet dis-
jointed, which the world entertains of African cartol-
10 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
ogy (vehement applause); "and, should it fail, it will,
at least, remain on record as one of the most daring
conceptions of human genius!" (Tremendous cheering.)
"Huzza! huzza!" shouted the immense audience,
completely electrified by these inspiring words.
"Huzza for the intrepid Ferguson!" cried one of the
most excitable of the enthusiastic crowd.
The wildest cheering resounded on all sides; the name
of Ferguson was in every mouth, and we may safely be-
lieve that it lost nothing in passing through English
throats. Indeed, the hall fairly shook with it.
And there were present, also, those fearless travellers
and explorers whose energetic temperaments had borne
them through every quarter of the globe, many of them
grown old and worn out in the service of science. All
had, in some degree, physically or morally, undergone the
sorest trials. They had escaped shipwreck; conflagration;
Indian tomahawks and war-clubs; the fagot and the
stake; nay, even the cannibal maws of the South Sea
Islanders. But still their hearts beat high during Sir
Francis M- 's address, which certainly was the finest
oratorical success that the Royal Geographical Society of
London had yet achieved.
But, in England, enthusiasm does not stop short with
mere words. It strikes off money faster than the dies of
the Royal Mint itself. So a subscription to encourage Dr.
Ferguson was voted there and then, and it at once at-
tained the handsome amount of two thousand five hundred
pounds. The sum was made commensurate with the
importance of the enterprise.
A member of the Society then inquired of the presi-
dent whether Dr. Ferguson was not to be officially intro-
The doctor is at the disposition of the meeting," re-
plied Sir Francis.
DR. FERGUSON. 11
"Let him come in, then! Bring him in! shouted the
audience. "We'd like to see a man of such extraordinary
daring, face to face!"
Perhaps this incredible proposition of his is only
intended to mystify us," growled an apoplectic old ad-
"Suppose that there should turn out to be no such
person as Dr. Ferguson ?" exclaimed another voice, with
a malicious twang.
"Why, then, we'd have to invent one!" replied a
facetious member of this grave Society.
Ask Dr. Ferguson to come in," was the quiet remark
of Sir Francis M-.
And come in the doctor did, and stood there, quite
unmoved by the thunders of applause that greeted his
He was a man of about forty years of age, of medium
height and physique. His sanguine temperament was dis-
closed in the deep color of his cheeks. His countenance
was coldly expressive, with regular features, and a large
nose-one of those noses that resemble the prow of a ship,
and stamp the faces of men predestined to accomplish
great discoveries. His eyes, which were gentle and intel-
ligent, rather than bold, lent a peculiar charm to his phys-
iognomy. His arms were long, and his feet were
planted with that solidity which indicates a great pedes-
A calm gravity seemed to surround the doctor's entire
person, and no one would dream that he could become the
agent of any mystification, however harmless.
Hence, the applause that greeted him at the outset
continued until he, with a friendly gesture, claimed silence
on his own behalf. He stepped toward the seat that had
been prepared for him on his presentation, and then,
standing erect and motionless, he, with a determined
12 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
glance, pointed his right forefinger upward, and pro-
nounced aloud the single word-
Never had one of Bright's or Cobden's sudden on-
slaughts, never had one of Palmerston's abrupt demands
for funds to plate the rocks of the English coast with iron,
made such a sensation. Sir Francis M--'s address was
completely overshadowed. The doctor had shown himself
moderate, sublime, and self-contained, in one; he had ut-
tered the word of the situation-
The gouty old admiral who had been finding fault, was
completely won over by the singular man before him, and
immediately moved the insertion of Dr. Ferguson's speech
in The Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society
Who, then, was this person, and what was the enter-
prise that he proposed ?
Ferguson's father, a brave and worthy captain in the
English Navy, had associated his son with him, from the
young man's earliest years, in the perils and adventures of
his profession. The fine little fellow, who seemed to have
never known the meaning of fear, early revealed a keen
and active mind, an investigating intelligence, and a re-
markable turn for scientific study; moreover, he disclosed
uncommon address in extricating himself from difficulty;
he was never perplexed, not even in handling his fork for
the first time-an exercise in which children generally
have so little success.
His fancy kindled early at the recitals he read of dar-
ing enterprise and maritime adventure, and he followed
with enthusiasm the discoveries that signalized the first part
of the nineteenth century. He mused over the glory of the
Mungo Parks, the Bruces, the Caillies, the Levaillants,
and to some extent, I verily believe, of Selkirk (Robinson
SKETCH OF DR. FERGUSON. 13
Crusoe), whom he considered in no wise inferior to the
rest. How many a well-employed hour he passed with
that hero on his isle of Juan Fernandez Often he criti-
cised the ideas of the shipwrecked sailor, and sometimes
discussed his plans and projects. He would have done
differently, in such and such a case, or quite as well at
least-of that he felt assured. But of one thing he was
satisfied, that he never should have left that pleasant isl-
and, where he was as happy as a king without subjects-
no, not if the inducement held out had been promotion to
the first lordship in the admiralty!
It may readily be conjectured whether these tendencies
were developed during a youth of adventure, spent in
every nook and corner of the Globe. Moreover, his father,
who was a man of thorough instruction, omitted no op-
portunity to consolidate this keen intelligence by serious
studies in hydrography, physics, and mechanics, along
with a slight tincture of botany, medicine, and astronomy.
Upon the death of the estimable captain, Samuel Fer-
guson, then twenty-two years of age, had already made
his voyage around the world. He had enlisted in the
Bengalese Corps of Engineers, and distinguished himself
in several affEirs; but this soldier's life had not exactly
suited him; caring but little for command, he had not been
fond of obeying. He, therefore, sent in his resignation,
and half botanizing, half playing the hunter, he made
his way toward the north of the Indian Peninsula, and
crossed it from Calcutta to Surat-a mere amateur trip for
From Surat we see him going over to Australia, and
in 1845 participating in Captain Sturt's expedition, which
had been sent out to explore the new Caspian Sea, sup-
posed to exist in the centre of New Holland.
Samuel Ferguson returned to England about 1850,
and, more than ever possessed by the demon of discovery,
14 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
he spent the intervening time, until 1853, in accompany-
ing Captain McClure on the expedition that went around
the American Continent from Behring's Straits to Cape
Notwithstanding fatigues of every description, and in
all climates, Ferguson's constitution continued marvellous-
ly sound. He felt at ease in the midst of the most com-
plete privations; in fine, he was the very type of the
thoroughly accomplished explorer whose stomach expands
or contracts at will; whose limbs grow longer or shorter
according to the resting-place that each stage of a journey
may bring; who can fall asleep at any hour of the day or
awake at any hour of the night.
Nothing, then, was less surprising, after that, than to
find our traveller, in the period from 1855 to 1857, visiting
the whole region west of the Thibet, in company with the
brothers Schlagintweit, and bringing back some curious
ethnographic observations from that expedition.
During these different journeys, Ferguson had been
the most active and interesting correspondent of the
-Daily Telegraph, the penny newspaper whose circulation
amounts to 140,000 copies, and yet scarcely suffices for its
many legions of readers. Thus, the doctor had become
well known to the public, although he could not claim
membership in either of the Royal Geographical Societies
of London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, or St. Petersburg, or
yet with the Travellers' Club, or even the Royal Poly-
technic Institute, where his friend the statistician Cock-
burn ruled in state.
The latter savant had, one day, gone so far as to pro-
pose to him the following problem: Given the number of
miles travelled by the doctor in making the circuit of the
Globe, how many more had his head described than his
feet, by reason of the different lengths of the radii ?-or,
the number of miles traversed by the doctor's head and
THE ENGLISHMAN AT GENEVA. 15
feet respectively being given, required the exact height
of that gentleman ?
This was done with the idea of complimenting him,
but the doctor had held himself aloof from all the learned
bodies-belonging, as he did, to the church militant and
not to the church polemical. He found his time better
employed in seeking than in discussing, in discovering
rather than discoursing.
There is a story told of an Englishman who came one
day to Geneva, intending to visit the lake. He was placed
in one of those odd vehicles in which the passengers sit
side by side, as they do in an omnibus. Well, it so hap-
pened that the Englishman got a seat that left him with
his back turned toward the lake. The vehicle completed
its circular trip without his thinking to turn around once,
and he went back to London delighted with the Lake of
Doctor Ferguson, ho we ver, had turned around to look
about him on his journuyings, and turned to such good
purpose that he hat seen a great deal. In doing so, he
had simply obeyea the laws of his nature, and we have
good reason to believe that he was, to some extent, a fatal-
ist, but of an orthodox school of fatalism withal, that led
him to rely upon himself and even upon Providence. He
claimed that he was impelled, rather than drawn by his
own volition, to journey as he did, and that he traversed
the. world like the locomotive, which does not direct itself,
but is guided and directed by the track it runs on.
"I do not follow my route;" he often said, "it is my
route that follows me."
The reader will not be surprised, then, at the calmness
with which the doctor received the applause that wel-
comed him in the Royal Society. lie was above all such
trifles, having no pride, and less vanity. He looked upon
the proposition addressed to him by Sir Francis M- as
16 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
the simplest thing in the world, and scarcely noticed the
immense effect that it produced.
When the session closed, the doctor was escorted to
the rooms of the Travellers' Club, in Pall Mall. A superb
entertainment had been prepared there in his honor. The
dimensions of the dishes served were made to correspond
with the importance of the personage entertained, and the
boiled sturgeon that figured at this magnificent repast was
not an inch shorter than Dr. Ferguson himself.
Numerous toasts were offered and quaffed, in the wines
of France, to the celebrated travellers who had made their
names illustrious by their explorations of African terri-
tory. The guests drank to their health or to their memory,
in alphabetical order, a good old English way of doing the
thing. Among those remembered thus, were: Abbadie,
Adams, Adamson, Anderson, Arnaud, Baikie, Baldwin,
Barth, Batouda, Beke, Beltram, Du Berba, Bimbachi,
Bolognesi, Bolwik, Belzoni, Bonnemain, Brisson, Browne,
Bruce, Brun-Rollet, Burchell, Burckhardt, Burton, Cail-
laud, Caillie, Campbell, Chapman, Clapperton, Clot-Bey,
Colomieu, Courval, Cumming, Cuny, Debono, Decken,
Denham, Desavanchers, Dicksen, Dickson, Dochard, Du
Chaillu, Duncan, Durand, Duroule, Duveyrier, D'Escay-
rac, De Lauture, Erhardt, Ferret, Fresnel, Galinier, Galton,
Geoffroy, Golberry, Hahn, Halm, Harnier, Hecquart,
Heuglin, Hornemann, Houghton, Imbert, Kauffnfann,
Knoblecher, Krapf, Kummer, Lafargue, Laing, Lafaille,
Lambert, Lamiral, LampriBre, John Lander, Richard Lan-
der, Lefebvre, Lejean, Levaillant, Livingstone, MacCarthy,
Maggiar, Maizan, Malzac, Moffat, Mollien, Monteiro, Mor
rison, Mungo Park, Neimans, Overwey, Panct, Partarrieau,
Pascal, Pearse, Peddie, Peney, Petherick, Poncet, Prax,
Raffenel, Rabh, Rebmann, Richardson, Riley, Ritchey,
Rochet d'Hericourt, Rongiiwi, Roscher, Ruppel, Saugnier,
Speke, Steidner, Thibaud, Thompson, Thornton, Toole,
AFRICAN EXPLORES. 17
Tousny, Trotter, Tuckey, Tyrwhitt, Vaudey, VeyssiBre,
Vincent, Vinco, Vogel, Wahlberg, Warrington, Washing-
ton, Werne, Wild, and last, but not least, Dr. Ferguson,
who, by his incredible attempt, was to link together the
achievements of all these explorers, and complete the series
of African discovery.
The Article in the Daily Telegraph.-War between the Scientific Journals.-
Mr. Petermann backs his Friend Dr. Ferguson.-Reply of the Savant Koncr
-Bets made.-Sundry Propositions offered to the Doctor.
ON the next day, in its number of January 15th, the
.Daily Telegraph published an article couched in the fol-
"Africa is, at length, about to surrender the secret
of her vast solitudes; a modern (Edipus is to give us the
key to that enigma which the learned men of sixty centu-
ries have not been able to decipher. In other days, to
seek the sources of the Nile-fontes Nill qucerere-was
regarded as a mad endeavor, a chimera that could not be
Dr. Barth, in following out to Soudan the track traced
by Denham and Clapperton; Dr. Livingstone, in multiply-
ing his fearless explorations from the Cape of Good Hope
to the basin of the Zambesi; Captains Burton and Speke,
in the discovery of the great interior lakes, have opened
three highways to modern civilization. Theirpoint of in-
tersection, which no traveller has yet been able to reach, is
the very heart of Africa, and it is thither that all efforts
should now be directed.
The labors of these hardy pioneers of science are now
about to be knit together by the daring project of Dr.
Samuel Ferguson, whose fine explorations our readers
have frequently had the opportunity of appreciating.
"This intrepid discoverer proposes to traverse all
NOTES OF PREPARATION 19
Africa from east to west in a balloon. If we are well
informed, the point of departure for this surprising journey
is to be the island of Zanzibar, upon the eastern coast.
As for the point of arrival, it is reserved for Providence
alone to designate.
"The proposal for this scientific undertaking was offi-
cially made, yesterday, at the rooms of the Royal Geo-
graphical Society, and the sum of twenty-five hundred
pounds was voted to defray the expenses of the enterprise.
"We shall keep our readers informed as to the prog-
ress of this enterprise, which has no precedent in the an-
nals of exploration."
As may be supposed, the foregoing article had an
enormous echo among scientific people. At first, it stirred
up a storm of incredulity; Dr. Ferguson passed for a
surely chimerical personage of the Barnum stamp, who,
after having gone through the United States, proposed to
"do" the British Isles.
A humorous reply appeared in the February number
)f the Bulletins de la SocitE G'ographique of Geneva,
which very wittily showed up the Royal Society of Lon-
don and their phenomenal sturgeon.
But Herr Petermann, in his 3Mittheilungen, published
at Gotha, reduced the Geneva journal to the most absolute
silence. Herr Petermann knew Dr. Ferguson personally,
and guaranteed the intrepidity of his dauntless friend.
Besides, all manner of doubt was quickly put out of
the question: preparations for the trip were set on foot at
London; the factories of Lyons received a heavy order for
the silk required for the body of the balloon; and, finally,
the British Government placed the transport-ship Reso-
lute, Captain Bennett, at the disposal of the expedition.
At once, upon word of all this, a thousand encourage-
ments were offered, and felicitations came pouring in from
all quarters. The details of the undertaking were pub-
20 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
lished in full in the bulletins of the Geographical Society
of Paris; a remarkable article appeared in the NAouvelles
Annales des Voyages, de la UGographie, de l'Histoire, et
de lArchceologie de J.L l A. iA. Malte-Brun (" New Annals
of Travels, Geography, History, and Archaeology, by
M. V. A. Malte-Brun "); and a searching essay in the Zeit-
schrift fir Allgemeine Erdkcnde, by Dr. W. Koner, tri-
umphantly demonstrated the feasibility of the journey, its
chances of success, the nature of the obstacles existing,
the immense advantages of the aerial mode of locomotion,
and found fault with nothing but the selected point of de-
parture, which it contended should be Massowah, a small
port in Abyssinia, whence James Bruce, in 1768, started
upon his explorations in search of the sources of the Nile.
Apart from that, it mentioned, in terms of unreserved ad-
miration, the energetic character of Dr. Ferguson, and the
heart, thrice panoplied in bronze, that could conceive and
undertake such an enterprise.
The NVorth American Review could not, without some
displeasure, contemplate so much glory monopolized by
England. It therefore rather ridiculed the doctor's scheme,
and urged him, by all means, to push his'explorations as
far as America, while he was about it.
In a word, without going over all the journals in the
world, there was not a scientific publication, from the
Tournal of Evangelical Missions to the Revue Alggrienne
et Coloniale, from the Annales de la Propagation de la
Foi to the Church Milissionary Intelligencer, that had not
something to say about the affair in all its phases.
Many large bets were made at London and throughout
England generally, first, as to the real or supposititious
existence of Dr. Ferguson; secondly, as to the trip itself,
which, some contended, would not be undertaken at all,
and which was really contemplated, according to others;
thirdly, upon the success or failure of the enterprise; and
THE DOCTOR LIONIZED. 21
fourthly, upon the probabilities of Dr. Ferguson's return.
The betting-books were covered with entries of immense
sums, as though the Epsom races were at stake.
Thus, believers and unbelievers, the learned and the
ignorant, alike had their eyes fixed on the doctor, and he
became the lion of the day, without knowing that he car-
ried such a mane. On his part, he willingly gave the
most accurate information touching his project. 1ie was
very easily approached, being naturally the most affable
man in the world. More than one bold adventurer pre-
sented himself, offering to share the dangers as well as the
glory of the undertaking; but he refused them all, without
giving his reasons for rejecting them.
Numerous inventors of mechanism applicable to the
guidance of balloons came to propose their systems, but
he would accept none; and, when he was asked whether
he had discovered something of his own for that purpose,
he constantly refused to give any explanation, and merely
busied himself more actively than ever with the prepara-
tions for his journey.
The Doctor's Friend.-The Origin of their Friendship.-Dick Kennedy at Lon-
don.-An unexpected but not very consoling Proposal.-A Proverb by no
means cheering.-A few Names from the African Martyrology.-The Advan-
tages of a Balloon.-Dr. Ferguson's Secret.
DE. FERGUSOx had a friend-not another self, indeed,
an alter ego, for friendship could not exist between two
beings exactly alike.
But, if they possessed different qualities, aptitudes, and
temperaments, Dick Kennedy and Samuel Ferguson lived
with one and the same heart, and that gave them no great
trouble. In fact, quite the reverse.
Dick Kennedy was a Scotchman, in the full acceptation
of the word-open, resolute, and headstrong. He lived
in the town of Leith, which is near Edinburgh, and, in
truth, is a mere suburb of Auld Reekie. Sometimes he
was a fisherman, but he was always and everywhere a de-
termined hunter, and that was nothing remarkable for a
son of Caledonia, who had known soThe little climbing
among the Highland mountains. He was cited as a won-
derful shot with the rifle, since not only could he split a
bullet on a knife-blade, but he could divide it into two
such equal parts that, upon weighing them, scarcely any
difference would be perceptible.
Kennedy's countenance strikingly recalled that of Her-
bert Glendinning, as Sir Walter Scott has depicted it in
" The Monastery "; his stature was above six feet; full of
grace and easy movement, he yet seemed gifted with her-
DICK KENNEDY. 23
culean strength; a face embrowned by the sun; eyes keen
and black; a natural air of daring courage; in fine, some-
thing sound, solid, and reliable in his entire person, spoke,
at first glance, in favor of the bonny Scot.
The acquaintanceship of these two friends had been
formed in India, when they belonged to the same regi-
ment. While Dick would be out in pursuit of the tiger
and the elephant, Samuel would be in search of plants and
insects. Each could call himself expert in his own prov-
ince, and more than one rare botanical specimen, that to
science was as great a victory won as the conquest of a
pair of ivory tusks, became the doctor's booty.
These two young men, moreover, never had occasion
to save each other's lives, or to render any reciprocal ser-
vice. Hence, an unalterable friendship. Destiny some-
times bore them apart, but sympathy always united them
Since their return to England they had been frequent-
ly separated by the doctor's distant expeditions; but, on
his return, the latter never failed to go, not to ask for
hospitality, but to bestow some weeks of his presence at
the home of his crony Dick.
The Scot talked of the past; the doctor busily pre-
pared for the future. The one looked back, the other for-
ward. Hence, a restless spirit personified in Ferguson;
perfect calmness typified in Kennedy-such was the con-
After his journey to the Thibet, the doctor had re-
mained nearly two years without hinting at new explora-
tions; and Dick, supposing that his friend's instinct for
travel and thirst for adventure had at length died out,
was perfectly enchanted. They would have ended badly,
some day or other, he thought to himself; no matter what
experience one has with men, one does not travel always
with impunity among cannibals and wild beasts. So,
24 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
Kennedy besought the doctor to tie up his bark for life,
having done enough for science, and too much for the
gratitude of men.
The doctor contented himself with making no reply to
this. He remained absorbed in his own reflections, giving
himself up to secret calculations, passing his nights among
heaps of figures, and making experiments with the stran-
gest-looking machinery, inexplicable to everybody but him-
self. It could readily be guessed, though, that some great
thought was fermenting in his brain.
"What can he have been planning ? wondered Ken-
nedy, when, in the month of January, his friend quitted
him to return to London.
He found out one morning when lie looked into the
Merciful Heaven! he exclaimed, "the lunatic! the
madman! Cross Africa in a balloon! Nothing but that
was wanted to cap the climax! That's what he's been
bothering his wits about these two years past!"
Now, reader, substitute for all these exclamation points,
as many ringing thumps with a brawny fist upon the table,
and you have some idea of the manual exercise that Dick
went through while he thus spoke.
When his confidential maid-of-all-work, the aged El-
speth, tried to insinuate that the whole thing might be a
"Not a bit of it!" said he. "Don't I know my man ?
Isn't it just like him? Travel through the air! There,
now, lie's jealous of the eagles, next! No I warrant
you, he'll not do it! I'll find a way to stop him! He !
why if they'd let him alone, he'd start some day for the
On that very evening Kennedy, half alarmed, and half
exasperated, took the train for London, where he arrived
THE WRATHFUL DICK. 2.i
.Three-quarters of an hour later a cab deposited him at
the door of the doctor's modest dwelling, in Soho Square,
Greek Street. Forthwith he bounded up the steps and
announced his arrival with five good, hearty, sounding
raps at the door.
Ferguson opened, in person.
"Dick! you here?" he exclaimed, but with no great
expression of surprise, after all.
"Dick himself!" was the response.
"What, my dear boy, you at London, and this the
mid-season of the winter shooting ?"
"Yes! here I am, at London!"
"And what have you come to town for?"
"To prevent the greatest piece of folly that ever was
"Folly!" said the doctor.
"Is what this paper says, the truth ?" rejoined Ken
nedy, holding out the copy of the Daily Telegraph, men-
"Ah! that's what you mean, is it ? These newspapers
are great tattlers But, sit down, my dear Dick."
"No, I won't sit down!-Then, you really intend to
attempt this journey ? "
Most certainly! all my preparations are getting along
finely, and I-"
"Where are your traps? Let me have a chance at
them! I'll make them fly! I'll put your preparations in
fine order." And so saying, the gallant Scot gave way to
a genuine explosion of wrath.
Come, be calm, my dear Dick!" resumed the doctor.
" You're angry at me because I did not acquaint you with
my new project."
"He calls this his new project!"
"I have been very busy," the doctor went on, without
heeding the interruption; I have had so much to look
26 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
after! But rest assured that I should not have started
without writing to you."
Oh, indeed! I'm highly honored."
"Because it is my intention to take you with me."
Upon this, the Scotchman gave a leap that a wild goat
would not have been ashamed of among his native crags.
"Ah really, then, you want them to send us both to
"I have counted positively upon you, my dear Dick,
and I have picked you out from all the rest."
Kennedy stood speechless with amazement.
After listening to me for ten minutes," said the doc-
tor, "you will thank me !"
"Are you speaking seriously ?"
"And suppose that I refuse to go with you ?"
"But you won't refuse."
"But, suppose that I were to refuse ?"
"Well, I'd go alone."
Let us sit down," said Kennedy, and talk without
excitement. The moment you give up jesting about it,
we can discuss the thing."
Let us discuss it, then, at breakfast, if you have no
objections, my dear Dick."
The two friends took their seats opposite to each other,
at a little table with a plate of toast and a huge tea-urn
My dear Samuel," said the sportsman, "your project
is insane it is impossible it has no resemblance to any-
thing reasonable or practicable !"
That's for us to find out when we shall have tried
But trying it is exactly what you ought not to at-
Why so, if you please ? "
THE ARGUMENT. 27
Well, the risks, the difficulty of the thing."
As for difficulties," replied Ferguson, in a serious
tone, they were made to be overcome; as for risks and
dangers, who can flatter himself that he is to escape them ?
Every thing in life involves danger; it may even be
very dangerous to sit down at one's own table, or to
put one's hat on one's own head. Moreover, we must
look upon what is to occur as having already occurred,
and see nothing but the present in the future, for the
future is but the present a little farther on."
"There it is!" exclaimed Kennedy, with a shrug.
"As great a fatalist as ever!"
"Yes but in the good sense of the word. Let us not
trouble ourselves, then, about what fate has in store for us,
and let us not forget our good old English proveib: 'The
man who was born to be hung will never be drowned "
There was no reply to make, but that did not prevent
Kennedy from resuming a series of arguments which may
be readily conjectured, but which were too long for us to
Well, then," he said, after an hour's discussion, if
you are absolutely determined to make this trip across the
African continent-if it is necessary for your happiness,
why not pursue the ordinary routes?"
"Why?" ejaculated the doctor, growing animated.
"Because, all attempts to do so, up to this time, have
utterly failed. Because, from Mungo Park, assassinated
on the Niger, to Vogel, who disappeared in the Wadai
country; from Oudney, who died at Murmur, and Clap-
perton, lost at Sackatou, to the Frenchman Maizan, who
was cut to pieces; from Major Laing, killed by the Toua-
regs, to Roscher, from Hamburg, massacred in the begin-
ning of 1860, the names of victim after victim have been
inscribed on the lists of African martyrdom! Because,to
contend successfully against the elements; against hunger,
28 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
and thirst, and fever ; against savage beasts, and still more
savage men, is impossible Because, what cannot be done
in one way, should be tried in another. In fine, because
what one cannot pass through directly in the middle, must
be passed by going to one side or overhead !"
"If passing over it were the only question!" inter-
posed Kennedy; "but passing high up in the air, doctor,
there's the rub !"
Come, then," said the doctor, what have I to fear?
You will admit that I have taken my precautions in such
manner as to be certain that my balloon will not fall; but,
should it disappoint me, I should find myself on the ground
in the normal conditions imposed upon other explorers.
But, my balloon will not deceive me, and we need make
no such calculations."
Yes, but you must take them into view."
"No, Dick. I intend not to be separated from
the balloon until I reach the western coast of Africa.
With it, every thing is possible; without it, I fall back
into the dangers and difficulties as well as the natural ob-
stacles that ordinarily attend such an expedition: with it,
neither hdat, nor torrents, nor tempests, nor the simoom,
nor unhealthy climates, nor wild animals, nor savage men,
are to be feared! If I feel too hot, I can ascend; if too
cold, I can come down. Should there be a mountain, I can
pass over it; a precipice, I can sweep across it; a river, I can
sail beyond it; a storm, I can rise away above it; a torrent,
I can skim it like a bird I can advance without fatigue,
I can halt without need of repose I can soar above the
nascent cities I can speed onward with the rapidity of a
tornado, sometimes at the loftiest heights, sometimes only a
hundred feet above the soil, while the map of Africa unrolls
itself beneath my gaze in the great atlas of the world."
Even the stubborn Kennedy began to feel moved, and
yet the spectacle thus conjured up before him gave him the
~~ II c; 55
I=-~ JB ...-t. 1 *
THE DOCTOR SA-NGUINE. 29
vertigo. He riveted his eyes upon the doctor with won-
der and admiration, and yet with fear, for he already felt
himself swinging aloft in space.
Come, come," said he, at last. Let us see, Samuel.
Then you have discovered the means of guiding a bal-
Not by any means. That is a Utopian idea."
Then, you will go-"
"Whithcrsoever Providence wills; but, at all events,
from east to west."
Why so ? "
Because I expect to avail myself of the trade-winds,
the direction of which is always the same."
"Ah yes, indeed !" said Kennedy, reflecting; "the
trade-winds-yes-truly-one might-there's something
in that! "
"Something in it-yes, my excellent friend-there's
every thing in it. The English Government has placed a
transport at my disposal, and three or four vessels are to
cruise off the western coast of Africa, about the presumed
period of my arrival. In three months, at most, I shall be
at Zanzibar, where I will inflate my balloon, and from that
point we shall launch ourselves."
"We !" said Dick.
"IHave you still a shadow of an objection to offer?
Speak, friend Kennedy."
An objection I have a thousand; but among other
things, tell me, if you expect to see the country. If you
expect to mount and descend at pleasure, you cannot do
so, without losing your gas. Up to this time no other
means have been devised, and it is this that has always
prevented long journeys in the air."
My dear Dick, I have only one word to answer-I
shall not lose one particle of gas."
"And yet you can descend when you please?"
30 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
"I shall descend when I please."
And how will you do that ? "
"Ah, ha therein lies my secret, friend Dick. Have
faith, and let my device be yours-' Excelsior !'"
"'Excelsior' be it then," said the sportsman, who did
not understand a word of Latin.
But he made up his mind to oppose his friend's depart-
ure by all means in his power, and so pretended to give
in, at the same time keeping on the watch. As for the
doctor, he went on diligently with his preparations.
African Explorations. -Barth, Eichardson, Overweg, Werne, Brun-Rollet, Pen
ney, Andrea, Debono, Miani, Guillanme Lejean, Bruce, Krapf and Rebmann,
Maizan, Roscher, Burton and Spoke.
THE aerial line which Dr. Ferguson counted upon fol-
lowing had not been chosen at random; his point of de-
parture had been carefully studied, and it was not without
good cause that he had resolved to ascend at the island
of Zanzibar. This island, lying near to the eastern coast
of Africa, is in the sixth degree of south latitude, that is
to say, four hundred and thirty geographical miles below
From this island the latest expedition, sent by way of
the great lakes to explore the sources of the Nile, had just
But it would be well to indicate what explorations
Dr. Ferguson hoped to link together. The two principal
ones were those of Dr. Barth in 1849, and of Lieutenants
Burton and Speke in 1858.
Dr. Barth is a Hamburger, who obtained permission
for himself and for his countryman Overweg to join the
expedition of the Englishman Richardson. The latter was
charged with a mission in the Soudan.
This vast region is situated between the fifteenth and
tenth degrees of north latitude; that is to say, that, in
order to approach it, the explorer must penetrate fifteen
hundred miles into the interior of Africa.
Until then, the country in question had been known
32 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
only through the journeys of Denham, of Clapperton, ana
of Oudncy, made from 1822 to 1824. Richardson, Earth,
and Overweg, jealously anxious to push their investiga-
tions farther, arrived at Tunis and Tripoli, like their prede-
cessors, and got as far as Mourzouk, the capital of Fezzan.
They then abandoned the perpendicular line, and made
a sharp turn westward toward GhAt, guided, with difficulty,
by the Touaregs. After a thousand scenes of pillage, of
vexation, and attacks by armed forces, their caravan ar-
rived, in October, at the vast oasis of Asben. Dr. Earth
separated from his companions, made an excursion to the
town of Aghades, and rejoined the expedition, which re-
sumed its march on the 12th of December. At length it
reached the province of Damerghou; there the three trav-
ellers parted, and Barth took the road to Kano, where he
arrived by dint of perseverance, and after paying consid-
In spite of an intense fever, he quitted that place on
the 7th of March, accompanied by a single servant. The
principal aim of his journey was to reconnoitre Lake Tehad,
from which he was still three hundred and fifty miles dis-
tant. IIe therefore advanced toward the east, and reached
the town of Zouricolo, in the Bornou country, which is the
core of the great central empire of Africa. There lie heard
of the death of Richardson, who had succumbed to fatigue
ond privation. IIe next arrived at Kouka, the capital of
Bornou, on the borders of the lake. Finally, at the end
of three weeks, on the 14th of April, twelve months after
having quitted Tripoli, he reached the town of Ngornou.
We find him again setting forth on the 29th of March,
1851, with Overweg, to visit the kingdom of Adamaoua,
lo the south of the lake, and from there he pushed on as
tfr as the town of Yola, a little below nine degrees north
latitude. This was the extreme southern limit reached by
that daring traveller.
BATH'S EXPEDITION. 33
He returned in the month of August to Kouka; from
there he successively traversed the Mandara, Barghimi,
and Klanem countries, and reached his extreme limit in
the east, the town of Masona, situated at seventeen de-
grees twenty minutes west longitude.
On the 25th of November, 1852, after the death of
0 .. r', _, his last companion, he plunged into the west,
visited Sockoto, crossed the Niger, and finally reached
Timbuctoo, where he had to languish, during eight long
months, under vexations inflicted upon him by the sheik,
and all kinds of ill-treatment and wretchedness. But the
presence of a C'lhr.i ;., in the city could not long be toler-
ated, and the Foullans threatened to besiege it. The
doctor, therefore, left it on the 17th of March, 1854, and
fled to the frontier, where he remained for thirty-three
days in the most abject destitution. HIe then managed to
get back to Kano in November, thence to Kouka, where
he resumed Denham's route after four months' delay. He
regained Tripoli toward the close of August, 1855, and ar-
rived in London on the 6th of September, the only sur-
vivor of his party.
Such was the venturesome journey of Dr. Barth.
Dr. Ferguson carefully noted the fact, that he had
stopped at four degrees north latitude and seventeen de-
grees west longitude.
Now let us see what Lieutenants Burton and Speke
accomplished in Eastern Africa.
The various expeditions that had ascended the Nile
could never manage to reach the mysterious source of that
river. According to the narrative of the German doctor,
Ferdinand Werne, the expedition attempted in 1840, under
the auspices of Mehemet Ali, stopped at Gondokoro, be-
tween the fourth and fifth parallels of north latitude.
In 1855, Brun-Rolict, a native of Savoy, appointed
consul for Sardinia in Eastern Soudan, to take the place
34[ FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
of Vaudey, who had just died, set out from Karthoum,
and, under the name of Yacoub the merchant, trading in
gums and ivory, got as far as Belenia, beyond the fourth
degree, but had to return in ill-health to Karthoum, where
he died in 1857.
Neither Dr. Penney-the head of the Egyptian medical
service, who, in a small steamer, penetrated one degree be-
yond Gondokoro, and then came back to die of exhaustion
at Karthoum-nor Miani, the Venetian, who, turning the
cataracts below Gondokoro, reached the second parallel-
nor the Maltese trader, Andrea Debono, who pushed his
journey up the Nile still farther-could work their way
beyond the apparently impassable limit.
In 1859, M. Guillaume Lejean, intrusted with a mis-
sion by the French Government, reached Karthoum by
way of the Red Sea, and embarked upon the Nile with a
retinue of twenty-one hired men and twenty soldiers, but
he could not get past Gondokoro, and ran extreme risk of
his life among the negro tribes, who were in full revolt.
The expedition directed by M. d'Escayrac de Lauture
made an equally unsuccessful attempt to reach the famous
sources of the Nile.
This fatal limit invariably brought every traveller to a
halt. In ancient times, the ambassadors of Nero reached
tne ninth degree of latitude, but in eighteen centuries only
from five to six degrees, or from three hundred to three
hundred and sixty geographical miles, were gained.
Many travellers endeavored to reach the sources of the
Nile by taking their point of departure on the eastern
coast of Africa.
Between 1768 and 1772 the Scotch traveller, Bruce,
set out from Massowah, a port of Abyssinia, traversed the
TigrE, visited the ruins of Axum, saw the sources of the
Nile where they did not exist, and obtained no serious
MAIZAN, BURTON, AND SPEKE. 35
In 1844, Dr. Krapf, an Anglican missionary, founded
an establishment at Monbaz, on the coast of Zanguebar,
and, in company with the Rev. Dr. Rebmann, discovered
two mountain-ranges three hundred miles from the coast.
These were the mountains of Kilimandjaro and Kenia,
which Messrs. de Heuglin and Thornton have partly scaled
In 1845, Maizan, the French explorer, disembarked,
alone, at Bagamayo, directly opposite to Zanzibar, and
got as far as Dcje-la-Mhora, where the chief caused him
to be put to death in the most cruel torment.
In 1859, in the month'of August, the young traveller,
Roscher, from Hamburg, set out with a caravan of Arab
merchants, reached Lake Nyassa, and was there assassin-
ated while he slept.
Finally, in 1857, Lieutenants Burton and Speke, both
officers in the Bengal army, were sent by the London
Geographical Society to explore the great African lakes,
and on the 17th of June they quitted Zanzibar, and
plunged directly into the west.
After four months of incredible suffering, their bag-
gage having been pillaged, and their attendants beaten
and slain, they arrived at Kazeh, a sort of central ren-
dezvous for traders and caravans. They were in the
midst of the country of the Moon, and there they collected
some precious documents concerning the manners, govern-
ment, religion, fauna, and flora of the region. They next
made for the first of the great lakes, the one named
Taganayika, situated between the third and eighth degrees
of south latitude. They reached it on the 14th of Feb-
ruary, 1858, and visited the various tribes residing on its
banks, the most of whom are cannibals.
They departed again on the 26th of May, and re-
entered Kazeh on the 20th of June. There Burton, who
was completely worn out, lay ill for several months,
36 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
during which time Speke made a push to the northward
of more than three hundred miles, going as far as Lake
Okeracua, which he came in sight of on the 3d of August;
but he could descry only the opening of it at latitude
two degrees thirty minutes.
He reached Kazeh, on his return, on the 25th of Au-
gust, and, in company with Burton, again took up the
route to Zanzibar, where they arrived in the month of
March in the following year. These two daring explorers
then reembarkcd for England; and the Geographical So-
ciety of Paris decreed them its annual prize medal.
Dr. Ferguson carefully remarked that they had not
gone beyond the second degree of south latitude, nor the
twenty-ninth of east longitude.
The problem, therefore, was how to link the explora-
tions of Burton and Speke with those of Dr. Barth, since
to do so was to undertake to traverse an extent of more
than twelve degrees of territory.
Kennedy's Dreams.-Articles and Pronouns in the Plural.-Dick's Ins'nuations,
-A Promenade over the Map of Africa.-What is contained between two
Points of the Compass.-Expeditions now on foot.-Speke and Grant.-Krapf,
De Dccken, and De Heuglin.
DR. FERGUSON energetically pushed the preparations
for his departure, and in person superintended the con-
struction of his balloon, with certain modifications; in
regard to which he observed the most absolute silence.
For a long time past he had been applying himself to the
study of the Arab language and the various Mandingoe
idioms, and, thanks to his talents as a polyglot, he had
made rapid progress.
In the mean while his friend, the sportsman, never let
him out of his sight-afraid, no doubt, that the doctor
might take his departure, without saying a word to any-
body. On this subject, he regaled him with the most
persuasive arguments, which, however, did not persuade
Samuel Ferguson, and wasted his breath in pathetic en-
treaties, by which the latter seemed to be but slightly
moved. In fine, Dick felt that the doctor was slipping
through his fingers.
The poor Scot was really to be pitied. He could not
look upon the azure vault without a sombre terror: when
asleep, he felt oscillations that made his head reel; and
every night he had visions of being swung aloft at im-
We must add that, during these fearful nightmares,
38 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
he once or twice fell out of bed. His first care then was
to show Ferguson a severe contusion that he had re--
ceived on the cranium. "And yet," he would add, with
warmth, "that was at the height of only three feet-not
an inch more-and such a bump as this! Only think,
This insinuation, full of sad meaning as it was, did not
seem to touch the doctor's heart.
"We'll not fall," was his invariable reply.
But, still, suppose that we were to fall "
We will not fall !"
This was decisive, and Kennedy had nothing more to
What particularly .:asperated Dick was, that the doc-
tor seemed completely to lose sight of his personality-
of his-Kennedy's-and to look upon him as irrevocably
destined to become his aerial companion. Not even the
shadow of a doubt was ever suggested; and Samuel made
an intolerable misuse of the first person plural:
"'We' are getting along; 'we' shall be ready on
the ; 'we' shall start on the ," etc., etc.
And then there was the singular possessive adjective:
'Our balloon; our' car; our' expedition."
And the same in the plural, too:
"' Our preparations; 'our' discoveries; our' ascen-
Dick shuddered at them, although he was determined
not to go; but he did not want to annoy his friend. Let
us also disclose the fact that, without knowing exactly
why himself, he had sent to Edinburgh for a certain selec-
tion of heavy clothing, and his best hunting-gear and
One day, after having admitted that, with an over-
whelming run of good-luck, there nzmiht be one chance of
success in a thousand, he pretended to yield entirely to
DICK'S INSINUATIONS. 39
the doctor's wishes; but, in order to still put off the jour-
ney, he opened the most varied series of subterfuges. He
threw himself back upon questioning the utility of the
expedition-its opportuneness, etc. This discovery of the
sources of the Nile, was it likely to be of any use ?-Would
one have really labored for the welfare of humanity?-
When, after all, the African tribes should have been civil-
ized, would they be any happier?-Were folks certain
that civilization had not its chosen abode there rather
than in Europe ?-Perhaps !-And then, couldn't one wait
a little longer?-The trip across Africa would certainly
be accomplished some day, and in a less hazardous man-
ner.-In another month, or in six months before the year
was over, some explorer would undoubtedly come in-
These hints produced an effect exactly opposite to
what was desired or intended, and the doctor trembled
Are you willing, then, wretched Dick-are you will-
ing, false friend-that this glory should belong to another ?
Must I then be untrue to my past history; recoil before
obstacles that are not serious; requite with cowardly
hesitation what both the English Government and the
Royal Society of London have done for me ? "
But," resumed Kennedy, who made great use of that
But," said the doctor, "are you not aware that my
journey is to compete with the success of the expeditions
now on foot? Don't you know that fresh explorers are
advancing toward the centre of Africa ?"
"Listen to me, Dick, and cast your eyes over that
Dick glanced over it, with resignation.
"Now, ascend the course of the Nile."
40 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
"I have ascended it," replied the Scotchman, with
Stop at Gondokoro."
I am there."
And Kennedy thought to himself how easy such a trip
was-on the map!
Now, take one of the points of these dividers and let
it rest upon that place beyond which the most daring ex-
plorers have scarcely gone."
I have done so."
And now look along the coast for the island of Zanzi-
bar, in latitude six degrees south."
"I have it."
Now, follow the same parallel nd arrive at Kazeh."
I have done so."
"Run up again along the thirty-third degree of longi-
tude to the opening of Lake Ouk6r6ou6, at the point where
Lieutenant Speke had to halt."
I am there; a little more, and I should have tumbled
into the lake."
Very good! Now, do you know what we have the
right to suppose, according to the information given by
the tribes that live along its shores ?"
"I haven't the least idea."
"Why, that this lake, the lower extremity of which is
in two degrees and thirty minutes, must extend also two
degrees and a half above the equator."
Well from this northern extremity there flows a
stream which must necessarily join the Nile, if it be not
the Nile itself."
That is, indeed, curious."
"Then, let the other point of your dividers rest upon
that extremity of Lake Ouker6ou6."
"It is done, friend Ferguson."
SPEKE AND GRANT. 41
"Now, how many degrees can you count between the
two points ? "
And do you know what that means, Dick ? "
Not the least in the world."
Why, that makes scarcely one hundred and twenty
miles-in other words, a nothing."
Almost nothing, Samuel."
Well, do you know what is taking place at this mo-
No, upon my honor, I do not."
Very well, then, I'll tell you. The Geographical So-
ciety regard as very important the exploration of this lake
of which Spoke caught a glimpse. Under their auspices,
Lieutenant (now Captain) Speke has associated with him
Captain Grant, of the army in India; they have put them
selves at the head of a numerous and well-equipped expe-
dition; their mission is to ascend the lake and return to
Gondokoro; they have received a subsidy of more than
lve thousand pounds, and the Governor of the Cape of
Good Hope has placed Hottentot soldiers at their disposal;
they set out from Zanzibar at the close of October, 1860.
In the mean while John Petherick, the English consul at
the city of Karthoum, has received about seven hundred
pounds from the foreign office; he is to equip a steamer at
Karthoum, stock it with sufficient provisions, and make his
way to Gondokoro; there, he will await Captain Speke's
caravan', and be able to replenish its supplies to some ex-
Well planned," said Kennedy.
You can easily see, then, that time presses if we are
to take part in these exploring labors. And that is not
all, since, while some are thus advancing with sure steps
to the discovery of the sources of the Nile, others are
penetrating to the very heart of Africa."
42 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
On foot ?" said Kennedy.
Yes, on foot," rejoined the doctor, without noticing
the insinuation. Doctor Krapf proposes to push forward,
in the west, by way of the Djob, a river lying under the
equator. Baron de Decken has already set out from
Monbaz, has reconnoitred the mountains of Kenaia and
Kilimandjaro, and is now plunging in toward the
"But all this time on foot ?"
On foot or on mules."
"Exactly the same, so far as I am concerned," ejacu-
Lastly," resumed the doctor, M. de Heuglin, the
Austrian vice-consul at Karthoum, has just organized a
very important expedition, the first aim of which is to
search for the traveller Vogel, who, in 1853, was sent into
the Soudan to associate himself with the labors of Dr.
Barth. In 1856, he quitted Bornou, and determined to ex-
plore the unknown country that lies between Lake Tchad
and Darfur. Nothing has been seen of him since that
time. Letters that were received in Alexandria, in 1860,
said that he was killed at the order of the King of Wadai;
but other letters, addressed by Dr. Hartmann to the travel-
ler's father, relate that, according to the recital of a fel-
latah of Bornou, Vogel was merely held as a prisoner at
Wara. All hope is not then lost. Hence, a committee
has been organized under the presidency of the Regent of
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha; my friend Petermann is its secre-
tary; a national subscription has provided for the ex-
pense of the expedition, whose strength has been increased
by the voluntary accession of several learned men, and
M. de Heuglin set out from Massowah, in the month of
June. While engaged in looking for Vogel, he is also to
explore all the country between the Nile and Lake Tchad,
that is to say, to knit together the operations of Captain
THE CANNY SCOT. 43
Speke and those of Dr. Barth, and then Africa will have
been traversed from east to west." *
Well," said the canny Scot, since every thing is
getting on so well, what's the use of our going down
Dr. Ferguson made no reply, but contented himself
with a significant shrug of the shoulders.
"* After the departure of Dr. Ferguson, it was ascertained that M. de
Heuglin, owing to some disagreement, took a route different from the one
assigned to his expedition, the command of the latter having been trans-
ferred to Mr. Muntzinger.
A Servant-match him I-He can see the Satellites of Jupiter.--Dick and Joe
hard at it.-Doubt and Faith.-The Weighing Ceremony.-Joe and Welling.
ton.-He gets a Half-crown.
DE. FERGUSON had a servant who answered with alac-
rity to the name of Joe. IHe was an excellent fellow, who
testified the most absolute confidence in his master, and
the most unlimited devotion to his interests, even antici-
pating his wishes and orders, which were always intelli-
gently executed. In fine, he was a Caleb without the
growling, and a perfect pattern of constant good-humor.
Had he been made on purpose for the place, it could not
have been better done. Ferguson put himself entirely in
Shis hands, so far as the ordinary details of existence were
concerned, and he did well. Incomparable, whole-souled
Joe! a servant who orders your dinner; who likes what
you like; who packs your trunk, without forgetting your
socks or your linen; who has charge of your keys and your
secrets, and takes no advantage of all this !
But then, what a man the doctor was in the eyes of
this worthy Joe! With what respect and what confidence
the latter received all his decisions! When Ferguson had
spoken, he would be a fool who should attempt to question
the matter. Every thing he thought was exactly right;
every thing he said, the perfection of wisdom; every thing
he ordered to be done, quite feasible; all that he under-
took, practicable; all that he accomplished, admirable.
You might have cut Joe to pieces-not an agreeable
JOE S ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 45
operation, to be sure-and yet he would not have altered
his opinion of his master.
So, when the doctor conceived the project of crossing
Africa through the air, for Joe the thing was already
done; obstacles no longer existed; from the moment when
the doctor had made up his mind to start, he had arrived
-along with his faithful attendant, too, for the noble fel-
low knew, without a word uttered about it, that he would
be one of the party.
Moreover, he was just the man to render the greatest
service by his intelligence and his wonderful agility. Had
the occasion arisen to name a professor of gymnastics for
the monkeys in the Zoological Garden (who are smart
enough, by-the-way!), Joe would certainly have received
the appointment. Leaping, climbing, almost flying-
these were all sport to him.
If Ferguson was the head and Kennedy the arm, Joe
was to be the right hand of the expedition. He had,
already, accompanied his master on several journeys, and
had a smattering of science appropriate to his condition
and style of mind, but he was especially remarkable for a
sort of mild philosophy, a charming turn of optimism. In
his sight every thing was easy, logical, natural, and, conse-
quently, he could see no use in complaining or grumbling.
Among other gifts, he possessed a strength and range
of vision that were perfectly surprising. He enjoyed, in
common with Moestlin, Kepler's professor, the rare faculty
of distinguishing the satellites of Jupiter with the naked
eye, and of counting fourteen of the stars in the group of
Pleiades, the remotest of them being only of the ninth
magnitude. He presumed none the more for that; on the
contrary, he made his bow to you, at a distance, and when
occasion arose he bravely knew how to use his eyes.
With such profound faith as Joe felt in the doctor, it
is not to be wondered at that incessant discussions sprang
4G FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
up between him and Kennedy, without any lack of respect
to the latter, however.
One doubted, the other believed; one had a prudent
foresight, the other blind confidence. The doctor, how-
ever, vibrated between doubt and confidence; that is to
say, he troubled his head with neither one nor the other.
Well, Mr. Kennedy," Joe would say.
"Well, my boy?"
"The moment's at hand. It seems that we are to sail
for the moon."
You mean the Mountains of the Moon, which are not
quite so far off. But, never mind, one trip is just as dan-
gerous as the other!"
"Dangerous What! with a man like Dr. Ferguson ?"
"I don't want to spoil your illusions, my good Joe;
but this undertaking of his is nothing more nor less than
the act of a madman. IIe won't go, though!"
He won't go, eh ? Then you haven't seen his balloon
at Mitchell's factory in the Borough ?"
"I'll take precious good care to keep away from it!"
"Well, you'll lose a fine sight, sir. What a splendid
thing it is! What a pretty shape! What a nice car!
How snug we'll feel in it!"
"Then you really think of going with your master?"
"I ?" answered Joe, with an accent of profound con-
viction. "Why, I'd go with him wherever he pleases!
Who ever heard of such a thing? Leave him to go off
alone, after we've been all over the world together! Who
would help him, when he was tired? Who would give
him a hand in climbing over the rocks? Who would at-
tend him when he was sick? No, Mr. Kennedy, Joe will
always stick to the doctor!"
You're a fine fellow, Joe !"
"But, then, you're coming with us !"
"Oh! certainly," said Kennedy; "that is to say, I
THE WEIGHING. 47
will go with you up to the last moment, to prevent Samuel
even then from being guilty of such an act of folly! I
will follow him as far as Zanzibar, so as to stop him there,
"You'll stop nothing at all, Mr. Kennedy, with all re-
spect to you, sir. My master is no hare-brained person;
he takes a long time to think over what he means to do,
and then, when he once gets started, the Evil One himself
couldn't make him give it up."
"Well, we'll see about that."
"Don't flatter yourself, sir-but then, the main thing
is, to have you with us. For a hunter like you, sir,
Africa's a great country. So, either way, you won't be
sorry for the trip."
No, that's a fact, I shan't be sorry for it, if I can get
this crazy man to give up his scheme."
By-the-way," said Joe, you know that the weighing
comes off to-day."
"The weighing-what weighing?"
"Why, my master, and you, and I, are all to be
What! like horse-jockeys ?"
"Yes, like jockeys. Only, never fear, you won't be
expected to make yourself lean, if you're found to be
heavy. You'll go as you are."
"Well, I can tell you, I am not going to let myself be
weighed," said Kennedy, firmly.
"But, sir, it seems that the doctor's machine requires
"Well, his machine will have to do without it."
"Humph! and suppose that it couldn't go up, then?"
"Egad! that's all I want!"
"Come! come Mr. Kennedy! My master will be send-
ing for us directly."
I shan't go."
48 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
Oh! now, you won't vex the doctor in that way!"
"Aye! that I will."
"Well!" said Joe with a laugh, "you say that be-
cause he's not here; but when he says to your face,
'Dick!' (with all respect to you, sir,) 'Dick, I want to
know exactly how much you weigh,' you'll go, I warrant
"No, I will not go!"
At this moment the doctor entered his study, where
this discussion had been taking place; and, as he came
in, cast a glance at Kennedy, who did not feel altogether
at his ease.
"Dick," said the doctor, come with Joe; I want to
know how much you both weigh."
"You may keep your hat on. Come I" And Kennedy
They repaired in company to the workshop of the
Messrs. Mitchell, where one of those so-called "Roman"
scales was in readiness. It was necessary, by the way,
for the doctor to know the weight of his companions, so
as to fix the equilibrium of his balloon; so he made Dick
get up on the platform of the scales. The latter, without
making any resistance, said, in an undertone:
"Oh! well, that doesn't bind me to any thing."
"One hundred and fifty-three pounds," said the doc-
tor, noting it down on his tablets.
Am I too heavy?"
"Why, no, Mr. Kennedy! said Joe; "and then, you
know, I am light to make up for it."
So saying, Joe, with enthusiasm, took his place on the
scales, and very nearly upset them in his ready haste.
He struck the attitude of Wellington where he is made to
ape Achilles, at Hyde-Park entrance, and was superb in
it, without the shield.
JOE GETS A IIALF-CROWN. 49
"One hundred and twenty pounds," wrote the doctor.
"Ah! ha!" said Joe, with a smile of satisfaction.
And why did he smile? He never could tell himself.
"It's my turn now," said Ferguson-and he put down
one hundred and thirty-five pounds to his own account.
"All three of us," said he, "do not weigh much more
than four hundred pounds."
"But, sir," said Joe, "if it was necessary for your ex-
pedition, I could make myself thinner by twenty pounds,
by not eating so much."
"Useless, my boy!" replied the doctor. "You may
eat as much as you like, and here's half-a-crown to buy
you the ballast."
Geometrical Details.-Calculation of the Capacity of the Balloon.-The Doublt
Receptacle.-The Covering.-The Car.-The Mysterious Apparatus.-The
Provisions and Stores.-The Final Summing up.
DR. FERGUSON had long been engaged upon the details
of his expedition. It is easy to comprehend that the bal-
loon-that marvellous vehicle which was to convey him
through the air-was the constant object of his solicitude.
At the outset, in order not to give the balloon too
ponderous dimensions, he had decided to fill it with
hydrogen gas, which is fourteen and a half times lighter
than common air. The production of this gas is easy,
and it has given the greatest satisfaction hitherto in
The doctor, according to very accurate calculations,
found that, including the articles indispensable to his jour-
ney and his apparatus, he should have to carry a weight
of 4,000 pounds; therefore he had to find out what would
be the ascensional force of a balloon capable of raising such
"a weight, and, consequently, what would be its capacity.
A weight of four thousand pounds is represented by
"a displacement of the air amounting to forty-four thou-
sand eight hundred and forty-seven cubic feet; or, in other
words, forty-four thousand eight hundred and forty-seven
cubic feet of air weigh about four thousand pounds.
By giving the balloon these cubic dimensions, and fill-
ing it with hydrogen gas, instead of common air-the for-
mer being fourteen and a half times lighter and weighing
GEOMETRICAL DETAILS. 51
therefore only two hundred and seventy-six pounds-a
difference of three thousand seven hundred and twenty-
four pounds in equilibrium is produced; and it is this
difference between the weight of the gas contained in the
balloon and the weight of the surrounding atmosphere
that constitutes the ascensional force of the former.
However, were the forty-four thousand eight hundred
and forty-seven cubic feet of gas of which we speak, all
introduced into the balloon, it would be entirely filled;
but that would not do, because, as the balloon continued
to mount into the more rarefied layers of the atmosphere,
the gas within would dilate, and soon burst the cover
containing it. Balloons, then, are usually only two-thirds
But the doctor, in carrying out a project known only
to himself, resolved to fill his balloon only one-half; and,
since he had to carry forty-four thousand eight hundred
and forty-seven cubic feet of gas, to give his balloon
nearly double capacity he arranged it in that elongated,
oval shape which has come to be preferred. The horizon-
tal diameter was fifty feet, and the vertical diameter
seventy-five feet. He thus obtained a spheroid, the capa-
city of which amounted, in round numbers, to ninety
thousand cubic feet.
Could Dr. Ferguson have used two balloons, his chances
of success would have been increased; for, should one
burst in the air, he could, by throwing out ballast, keep
himself up with the other. But the management of two
balloons would, necessarily, be very difficult, in view of
the problem how to keep them both at an equal ascen-
After having pondered the matter carefully, Dr. Fer-
guson, by an ingenious arrangement, combined the ad-
vantages of two balloons, without incurring their incon-
veniences. He constructed two of different sizes, and
T2 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
inclosed the smaller in the larger one. His external bal-
loon, which had the dimensions given above, contained a
less one of the same shape, which was only forty-five feet in
horizontal, and sixty-eight feet in vertical diameter. The
capacity of this interior balloon was only sixty-seven
thousand cubic feet: it was to float in the fluid surround-
ing it. A valve opened from one balloon into the other,
and thus enabled the anronaut to communicate with both.
This arrangement oficred the advantage, that if gas
had to be let off, so as to descend, that which was in the
outer balloon would go first; and, were it completely
emptied, the smaller one would still remain intact. The
outer envelope might then be cast off as a useless encum-
brance; and the second balloon, left free to itself, would
not offer the same hold to the currents of air as a half-
inflated one must needs present.
Moreover, in case of an accident happening to the out-
side balloon, such as getting torn, for instance, the other
would remain intact.
The balloons were made of a strong but light Lyons
silk, coated with gutta percha. This gummy, resinous sub-
stance is absolutely water-proof, and also resists acids and
gas perfectly. The silk was doubled, at the upper ex-
tremity of the oval, where most of the strain would
Such an envelope as this could retain the inflating
fluid for any length of time. It weighed half a pound per
nine square feet. Hence the surface of the outside balloon
being about eleven thousand six hundred square feet, its
envelope weighed six hundred and fifty pounds. The en-
velope of the second or inner balloon, having nine thou-
sand two hundred square feet of surface, weighed only
about five hundred and ten pounds, or say eleven hundred
and sixty pounds for both.
The network that supported the car was made of very
THE CAR. 53
strong hempen cord, and the two valves were the object
of the most minute and careful attention, as the rudder of
a ship would be.
The car, which was of a circular form and fifteen feet
in diameter, was made of wicker-work, strengthened with
a slight covering of iron, and protected below by a system
of elastic springs, to deaden the shock of collision. Its
weight, along with that of the network, did not exceed
two hundred and fifty pounds.
In addition to the above, the doctor caused to be con-
structed two sheet-iron chests two lines in thickness.
These were connected by means of pipes furnished with
stopcocks. He joined to these a spiral, two inches in
diameter, which terminated in two branch pieces of un-
equal length, the longer of which, however, was twenty-
five feet in height and the shorter only fifteen feet.
These sheet-iron chests were embedded in the car in
such a way as to take up the least possible amount of
space. The spiral, which was not to be adjusted until
some future moment, was packed up, separately, along
with a very strong Buntzen electric battery. This appa-
ratus had been so ingeniously combined that it did not
weigh more than seven hundred pounds, even including
twenty-five gallons of water in another receptacle.
The instruments provided for the journey consisted of
two barometers, two thermometers, two compasses, a sex-
tant, two chronometers, an artificial horizon, and an alta-
zimuth, to throw out the height of distant and inaccessible
The Greenwich Observatory had placed itself at the
doctor's disposal. The latter, however, did not intend to
make experiments in physics; he merely wanted to be
able to know in what direction he was passing, and to de-
termine the position of the principal rivers, mountains,
54 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
He also provided himself with three thoroughly tested
iron anchors, and a light but strong silk ladder fifty feet
He at the same time carefully weighed his stores of
provision, which consisted of tea, coffee, biscuit, salted
meat, and pemmican, a preparation which comprises many
nutritive elements in a small space. Besides a sufficient
stock of pure brandy, he arranged two water-tanks, each
of which contained twenty-two gallons.
The consumption of these articles would necessarily,
little by little, diminish the weight to be sustained, for it
must be remembered that the equilibrium of a balloon
floating in the atmosphere is extremely sensitive. The
loss of an almost insignificant weight suffice s to produce a
very noticeable displacement.
Nor did the doctor forget an awning to shelter the
car, nor the coverings and blankets that were to be the
bedding of the journey, nor some fowling pieces and rifles,
with their requisite supply of powder and ball.
Here is the summing up of his various items, and their
weight, as he computed it:
Ferguson..................... 135 pounds.
Kennedy...................... 153 "
Joe......................... 120 "
Weight of the outside balloon... 650
"Weight of the second balloon... 510
Car and network............... 280 "
Anchors, instruments, awnings,
and sundry utensils, guns, cov-
erings, etc.................. 190
Meat, pemmican, biscuits, tea, cof-
fee, brandy,.................. 386 "
Water...................... 400 "
Apparatus.................... 700 "
Weight of the hydrogen........ 276 "
Ballast ................. .. 200 "
WEIGHT CARRIED. 55
Such were the items of the four thousand pounds that
Dr. Ferguson proposed to carry up with him. He took
only two hundred pounds of ballast for "unforeseen emer-
gencies," as he remarked, since otherwise he did not ex-
pect to use any, thanks to the peculiarity of his apparatus.
3oe's Importance.-The Commander of the Resolutc.-Kennedy's Arsenal.-Mn
tual Amenities.-The Farewell Dinner.-Departure on the 21st of February.-
The Doctor's Scientific Sessions.-Duveyrier.-Livingstone.-Details of the
Aerial Voyage.-Kennedy silenced.
ABOUT the 10th of February, the preparations were
pretty well completed; and the balloons, firmly secured,
one within the other, were altogether finished. They had
been subjected to a powerful pneumatic pressure in all
parts, and the test gave excellent evidence of their solid-
ity and of the care applied in their construction.
Joe hardly knew what he was about, with delight. He
trotted incessantly to and fro between his home in Greek
Street, and the Mitchell establishment, always full of busi-
ness, but always in the highest spirits, giving details of the
affair to people who did not even ask him, so proud was
he, above all things, of being permitted to accompany his
master. I have even a shrewd suspicion that what with
showing the balloon, explaining the plans and views of the
doctor, giving folks a glimpse of the latter, through a half-
opened window, or pointing him out as he passed along
the streets, the clever scamp earned a few half-crowns, but
we must not find fault with him for that. He had as
much right as anybody else to speculate upon the admira-
tion and curiosity of his contemporaries.
On the 16th of February, the Resolute cast anchor near
Greenwich. She was a screw propeller of eight hundred
tons, a fast sailer, and the very vessel that had been sent
THE COMMANDER OF THE RESOLUTE. 57
out to the polar regions, to revictual the last expedition
of Sir James Ross. Her commander, Captain Bennet, had
the name of being a very amiable person, and he took a
particular interest in the doctor's expedition, having been
one of that gentleman's admirers for a long time. Bennet
was rather a man of science than a man of war, which
did not, however, prevent his vessel from carrying four
carronades, that had never hurt any body, to be sure, but
had performed the most pacific duty in the world.
The hold of the 1Resolute was so arranged as to find a
stowing-place for the balloon. The latter was shipped
with the greatest precaution on the 18th of February, and
was then carefully deposited at the bottom of the vessel in
such a way as to prevent accident. The car and its ac-
cessories, the anchors, the cords, the supplies, the water-
tanks, which were to be filled on arriving, all were em-
barked and put away under Ferguson's own eyes.
Ten tons of sulphuric acid and ten tons of iron filings,
were put on board for the future production of the hydro-
gen gas. The quantity was more than enough, but it was
well to be provided against accident. The apparatus to
be employed in manufacturing the gas, including some
thirty empty casks, was also stowed away in the hold.
These various preparations were terminated on the
18tlt of February, in the evening. Two state-rooms, com-
fortably fitted up, were ready for the reception of Dr.
Ferguson and his friend Kennedy. The latter, all the
while swearing that he would not go, went on board with
a regular arsenal of hunting weapons, among which were
two double-barrelled breech-loading fowling-pieces, and a
rifle that had withstood every test, of the make of Pur-
dey, Moore & Dickson, at Edinburgh. With such a weap-
on a marksman would find no difficulty in lodging a
bullet in the eye of a chamois at the distance of two thou-
sand paces. Along with these implements, he had two
58 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
of Colt's six-shooters, for unforeseen emergencies. His
powder-case, his cartridge-pouch, his lead, and his bullets,
did not exceed a certain weight prescribed by the doc-
The three travellers got themselves to rights on board
during the working-hours of February 19th. They were
received with much distinction by the captain and his
officers, the doctor continuing as reserved as ever, and
thinking of nothing but his expedition. Dick seemed a
good deal moved, but was unwilling to betray it; while
Joe was fairly dancing and breaking out in laughable re-
marks. The worthy fellow soon became the jester and
merry-andrew of the boatswain's mess, where a berth had
been kept for him.
On the 20th, a grand farewell dinner was given to Dr.
Ferguson and Kennedy by the Royal Geographical Soci-
ety. Commander Bennet and his officers were present
at the entertainment, which was signalized by copious
libations and numerous toasts. Healths were drunk, in
sufficient abundance to guarantee all the guests a lifetime
of centuries. Sir Francis M- presided, with restrained
but dignified feeling.
To his own supreme confusion, Dick Kennedy came
in for a large share in the jovial felicitations of the night.
After having drunk to the "intrepid Ferguson, the glory
of England," they had to drink to "the no less coura-
geous Kennedy, his daring companion."
Dick blushed a good deal, and that passed for mod-
esty; whereupon the applause redoubled, and Dick blush-
A message from the Queen arrived while they were at
dessert. Her Majesty offered her compliments to the two
travellers, and expressed her wishes for their safe and
successful journey. This, of course, rendered imperative
fresh toasts to Her most gracious Majesty."
THE DEPARTURE. 59
At midnight, after touching farewells and warm shak-
ing of hands, the guests separated.
The boats of the Resolute were in waiting at the stairs
of Westminster Bridge. The captain leaped in, accom-
panied by his officers and passengers, and the rapid cur
rent of the Thames, aiding the strong arms of the rowers,
bore them swiftly to Greenwich. In an hour's time all
were asleep on board.
The next morning, February 21st, at three o'clock, the
furnaces began to roar; at five, the anchors were weighed,
and the Resolute, powerfully driven by her screw, began
to plough the water toward the mouth of the Thames.
It is needless to say that the topic of conversation with
every one on board was Dr. Ferguson's enterprise. See-
ing and hearing the doctor soon inspired everybody with
such confidence that, in a very short time, there was no
one, excepting the incredulous Scotchman, on the steamer
who had the least doubt of the perfect feasibility and
success of the expedition.
During the long, unoccupied hours of the voyage, the
doctor held regular sittings, with lectures on geographical
science, in the officers' mess-room. These young men felt
an intense interest in the discoveries made during the last
forty years in Africa; and the doctor related to them the
explorations of Barth, Burton, Speke, and Grant, and de-
picted the wonders of this vast, mysterious country, now
thrown open on all sides to the investigations of science.
On the north, the young Duveyrier was exploring Sahara,
and bringing the chiefs of the Touaregs to Paris. Under
the inspiration of the French Government, two expeditions
were preparing, which, descending from the north, and
coming from the west, would cross each other at Tim-
buctoo. In the south, the indefatigable Livingstone was
still advancing toward the equator; and, since March,
1862, he had, in company with Mackenzie, ascended the
60 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
river Rovoonia. The nineteenth century would, assuredly,
not pass, contended the doctor, without Africa having
been compelled to surrender the secrets she has kept
locked up in her bosom for six thousand years.
But the interest of Dr. Ferguson's hearers was excited
to the highest pitch when he made known to them, in
detail, the preparations for his own journey. They took
pleasure in verifying his calculations; they discussed
them; and the doctor frankly took part in the discussion.
As a general thing, they were surprised at the limited
quantity of provision that he took with him; and one day
one of the officers questioned him on that subject.
"That peculiar point astonishes you, does it?" said
"It does, indeed."
But how long do you think my trip is going to last?
Whole months ? If so, you are greatly mistaken. Were
it to be a long one, we should be lost; we should never
get back. But you must know that the distance from
Zanzibar to the coast of Senegal is only thirty-five hun-
dred-say four thousand miles. Well, at the rate of two
hundred and forty miles every twelve hours, which does
not come near the rapidity of our railroad trains, by trav-
elling day and night, it would take only seven days to
But then you could see nothing, make no geograph-
ical observations, or reconnoitre the face of the coun-
Ah!" replied the doctor, "if I am master of my
balloon-if I can ascend and descend at will, I shall stop
when I please, especially when too violent currents of air
threaten to carry me out of my way with them."
"And you will encounter such," said Captain Bennet.
"There are tornadoes that sweep at the rate of more than
two hundred and forty miles pqr hour."
SPEED OF THE BALLOON. 61
"You see, then, that with such speed as that, we could
cross Africa in twelve hours. One would rise at Zanzibar,
and go to bed at St. Louis!"
But," rejoined the officer, could any balloon with-
stand the wear and tear of such velocity? "
"It has happened before," replied Ferguson.
"And the balloon withstood it ?"
"Perfectly well. It was at the time of the coronation
of Napoleon, in 1804. The aeronaut, Garnerin, sent up a
balloon at Paris, about eleven o'clock in the evening. It
bore the following inscription, in letters of gold: 'Paris,
25 Frimaire; year XIII; Coronation of the Emperor Na-
poleon by his Holiness, Pius VII.' On the next morning,
the inhabitants of Rome saw the same balloon soaring
above the Vatican, whence it crossed the Campagna, and
finally fluttered down into the lake of Bracciano. So you
see, gentlemen, that a balloon can resist such velocities."
"A balloon-that might be; but a man ?" insinuated
Yes, a man, too !-for the balloon is always motion-
less with reference to the air that surrounds it. What
moves is the mass of the atmosphere itself: for instance,
one may light a taper in the car, and the flame will not
even waver. An aeronaut in Garnerin's balloon would not
have suffered in the least from the speed. But then I
have no occasion to attempt such velocity; and if I can
anchor to some tree, or some favorable inequality of the
ground, at night, I shall not fail to do so. Besides, we
take provision for two months with us, after all; and there
is nothing to prevent our skilful huntsman here from fur-
nishing game in abundance when we come to alight."
"Ah! Mr. Kennedy," said a young midshipman, with
envious eyes, "what splendid shots you'll have !"
"Without counting," said another "that you'll have
the glory as well as the sport!"
62 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
Gentlemen," replied the hunter, stammering with
confusion, "I greatly-appreciate-your compliments-
but they-don't-belong to me."
"You!" exclaimed every body, "don't you intend to
I am not going !"
You won't accompany Dr. Ferguson?"
"Not only shall I not accompany him, but I am here
so as to be present at the last moment to prevent his
Every eye was now turned to the doctor.
Never mind him said the latter, calmly. "This is
a matter that we can't argue with him. At heart he knows
perfectly well that he is going."
"By Saint Andrew! said Kennedy, "I swear-"
"Swear to nothing, friend Dick; you have been
gauged and weighed-you and your powder, your guns,
and your bullets; so don't let us say anything more about
And, in fact, from that day until the arrival at Zanzi-
bar, Dick never opened his mouth. He talked neither
about that nor about anything else. He kept aosofutcly
They double the Cape.-The Forecastle.-A Course of Cosmography by Pro-
fessor Joe.-Concerning the Method of guiding Balloons.-How to seek out
THE Resolute plunged along rapidly toward the Cape
of Good Hope, the weather continuing fine, although the
sea ran heavier.
On the 30th of March, twenty-seven days after the de-
parture from London, the Table Mountain loomed up on
the horizon. Cape City lying at the foot of an amphi-
theatre of hills, could be distinguished through the ship's
glasses, and soon the Resolute cast anchor in the port.
But the captain touched there only to replenish his coal
bunkers, and that was but a day's job. On the morrow,
he steered away to the south'ard, so as to double the
southernmost point of Africa, and enter the Mozambique
This was not Joe's first sea-voyage, and so, for his
part, he soon found himself at home on board; every body
liked him for his frankness and good-humor. A consider-
able share of his master's renown was reflected upon him.
lHe was listened to as an oracle, and he made no more
mistakes than the next one.
So, while the doctor was pursuing his descriptive
course of lecturing in the officers' mess, Joe reigned su-
preme on the forecastle, holding forth in his own peculiar
manner, and making history to suit himself-a style of
64 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
procedure pursued, by the way, by the greatest historians
of all ages and nations.
The topic of discourse was, naturally, the aerial voyage.
Joe had experienced some trouble in getting the rebellious
spirits to believe in it; but, once accepted by them, no-
thing connected with it was any longer an impossibility
to the imaginations of the seamen stimulated by Joe's
Our dazzling narrator persuaded his hearers that, after
this trip, many others still more wonderful would be under-
taken. In fact, it was to be but the first of a long series
of superhuman expeditions.
You see, my friends, when a man has had a taste of
that kind of travelling, he can't get along afterward with
any other; so, on our next expedition, instead of going
off to one side, we'll go right ahead, going up, too, all the
"IHumph! then you'll go to the moon!" said one of
the crowd, with a stare of amazement.
To the moon exclaimed Joe, To the moon pooh I
that's too common. Every body might go to the moon,
that way. Besides, there's no water there, and you have
to carry such a lot of it along with you. Then you have
to take air along in bottles, so as to breathe."
"Ay! ay! that's all right! But can a man get a
drop of the real stuff there ?" said a sailor who liked his
"Not a drop !" was Joe's answer. "No! old fellow,
not in the moon. But we're going to skip round among
those little twinklers up there-the stars-and the splen-
did planets that my old man so often talks about. For
instance, we'll commence with Saturn--"
That one with the ring ?" asked the boatswain.
"Yes the wedding-ring-only no one knows what's
become of his wife!"
COSMOGRAPHY BY PROFESSOR JOE. 65
"What? will you go so high up as that ?" said one of
the ship-boys, gaping with wonder. "Why, your master
must be Old Nick himself."
"Oh no, he's too good for that."
But, after Saturn-what then? was the next inquiry
of his impatient audience.
"After Saturn? Well, we'll visit Jupiter. A funny
place that is, too, where the days are only nine hours and
a half long-a good thing for the lazy fellows-and the
years, would you believe it-last twelve of ours, which is
fine for folks who have only six months to live. They get
off a little longer by that."
Twelve years! ejaculated the boy.
Yes, my youngster; so that in that country you'd be
toddling after your mammy yet, and that old chap yonder,
who looks about fifty, would only be a little shaver of four
and a half."
Blazes! that's a good 'un! shouted the whole fore-
"Solemn truth !" said Joe, stoutly.
"But what can you expect ? When people will stay in
this world, they learn nothing and keep as ignorant as
bears. But just come along to Jupiter and you'll see.
But they have to look out up there, for he's got satellites
that are not just the easiest things to pass."
All the men laughed, but they more than half believed
him. Then he went on to talk about Neptune, where sea-
faring men get a jovial reception, and Mars, where the
military get the best of the sidewalk to such an extent
( hat folks can hardly stand it. Finally, he drew them a
Lcavenly picture of the delights of Venus.
And when we get back from that expedition," said
the indefatigable narrator, "they'll decorate us with the
Southern Cross that shines up there in the Creator's button
66 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
Ay, and you'd have well earned it !" said the
Thus passed the long evenings on the forecastle in
merry chat, and during the same time the doctor went on
with his instructive discourses.
One day the conversation turned upon the means of
directing balloons, and the doctor was asked his opinion
I don't think," said he, that we shall succeed in find-
ing out a system of directing them. I am familiar with
all the plans attempted and proposed, and not one has
succeeded, not one is practicable. You may readily under-
stand that I have occupied my mind with this subject,
which was, necessarily, so interesting to me, but I have
not been able to solve the problem with the appliances
now known to mechanical science. We would have to
discover a motive power of extraordinary force, and al-
most impossible lightness of machinery. And, even then,
we could not resist atmospheric currents of any consider-
able strength. Until now, the effort has been rather to
direct the car than the balloon, and that has been one
Still there are many points of resemblance between a
balloon and a ship which is directed at will."
Not at all," retorted the doctor, there is little or no
similarity between the two cases. Air is infinitely less
dense than water, in which the ship is only half submerged,
while the whole bulk of a balloon is plunged in the atmos-
phere, and remains motionless with reference to the element
that surrounds it."
You think, then, that aerostatic science has said its
Not at all! not at all! But we must look for another
point in the case, and if we cannot manage to guide our
balloon, we must, at least, try to keep it in favorable aerial
ASCENDING AND DESCENDING. 67
currents. In proportion as we ascend, the latter become
much more uniform and flow more constantly in one direc-
tion. They are no longer disturbed by the mountains and
valleys that traverse the surface of the globe, and these,
you know, are the chief cause of the variations of the wind
and the inequality of their force. Therefore, these zones
having been once determined, the balloon will merely have
to be placed in the currents best adapted to its destina-
"But then," continued Captain Bennet, "in order to
reach them, you must keep constantly ascending or de-
scending. That is the real difficulty, doctor."
"And why, my dear captain? "
"Let us understand one another. It would be a diffi-
culty and an obstacle only for long journeys, and not for
short aerial excursions."
"And why so, if you please? "
"Because you can ascend only by throwing out ballast;
you can descend only after letting off gas, and by these
processes your ballast and your gas are soon exhausted."
My dear sir, that's the whole question. There is the
only difficulty that science need now seek to overcome.
The problem is not how to guide the balloon, but how to
take it up and down without expending the gas which is
its strength, its life-blood, its soul, if I may use the expres-
You are right, my dear doctor; but this problem is
not yet solved; this means has not yet been discovered."
"I beg your pardon, it has been discovered."
"By whom ? "
By me "
"By you? "
You may readily believe that otherwise I should not
have risked this expedition across Africa in a balloon. In
twenty-four hours I should have been without gas "
68 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
"But you said nothing about that in England ?"
"No! I did not want to have myself overhauled in
public. I saw no use in that. I made my preparatory ex-
periments in secret and was satisfied. I have no occasion,
then, to learn any thing more from them."
"Well! doctor, would it be proper to ask what is
your secret ?"
"Here it is, gentlemen-the simplest thing in the
The attention of his auditory was now directed to the
doctor in the utmost degree as he quietly proceeded with
Former Experiments.-The Doctor's Five Receptacles.-The Gas Cylinder.-
The Calorifere.-The System of Manceuvring.-Success certain.
THE attempt has often been made, gentlemen," said
the doctor, "to rise and descend at will, without losing
ballast or gas from the balloon. A French aeronaut, M.
Meunier, tried to accomplish this by compressing air in an
inner receptacle. A Belgian, Dr. Van Hecke, by means
of wings and paddles, obtained a vertical power that would
have sufficed in most cases, but the practical results se-
cured from these experiments have been insignificant.
"I therefore resolved to go about the thing more di-
rectly; so, at the start, I dispensed with ballast altogether,
excepting as a provision for cases of special emergency,
such as the breakage of my apparatus, or the necessity of
ascending very suddenly, so as to avoid unforeseen ob-
"My means of ascent and descent consist simply in di-
lating or contracting the gas that is in the balloon by the
application of different temperatures, and here is the
method of obtaining that result.
"You saw me bring on board with the car several
cases or receptacles, the use of which you may not have
understood. They are five in number.
The first contains about twenty-five gallons of water,
to which I add a few drops of sulphuric acid, so as to aug-
ment its capacity as a conductor of electricity, and then I
70 FIVE WEEBS IN A BALLOON.
decompose it by means of a powerful Buntzen battery.
Water, as you know, consists of two parts of hydrogen to
one of oxygen gas.
The latter, through the action of the battery, passes
at its positive pole into the second receptacle. A third
receptacle, placed above the second one, and of double its
capacity, receives the hydrogen passing into it by the
"Stopcocks, of which one has an orifice twice the size
of the other, communicate between these receptacles and
a fourth one, which is called the mixture reservoir, since in
it the two gases obtained by the decomposition of the
water do really commingle. The capacity of this fourth
tank is about forty-one cubic feet.
On the upper part of this tank is a platinum tube pro-
vided with a stopcock.
You will now readily understand, gentlemen, the ap-
paratus that I have described to you is really a gas cylin-
der and blow-pipe for oxygen and hydrogen, the heat of
which exceeds that of a forge fire.
"This much established, I proceed to the second part
of my apparatus. From the lowest part of my balloon,
which is hermetically closed, issue two tubes a little dis-
tance apart. The one starts among the upper layers of the
hydrogen gas, the other amid the lower layers.
These two pipes are provided at intervals with strong
jointings of india-rubber, which enable them to move in
harmony with the oscillations of the balloon.
"Both of them run down as far as the car, and lose
themselves in an iron receptacle of cylindrical form, which
is called the heat-tank. The latter is closed at its two
ends by two strong plates of the same metal.
"The pipe running from the lower part of the balloon
runs into this cylindrical receptacle through the lower
plate; it penetrates the latter and then takes the form of
TIE CALORIFERE. 71
a helicoidal or screw-shaped spiral, the rings of which,
rising one over the other, occupy nearly the whole of the
height of the tank. Before again issuing from it, this spi-
ral runs into a small cone with a concave base, that is
turned downward in the shape of a spherical cap.
It is from the top of this cone that the second pipe
issues, and it runs, as I have said, into the upper beds of
The spherical cap of the small cone is of platinum, so
as not to melt by the action of the cylinder and blow-pipe,
for the latter are placed upon the bottom of the iron tank
in the midst of the helicoidal spiral, and the extremity of
their flame will slightly touch the cap in question.
"You all know, gentlemen, what a calorifere, to heat
apartments, is. You know how it acts. The air of the
apartments is forced to pass through its pipes, and is then
released with a heightened temperature. Well, what I
have just described to you is nothing more nor less than a
"In fact, what is it that takes place? The cylinder
once lighted, the hydrogen in the spiral and in the con-
cave cone becomes heated, and rapidly ascends through
the pipe that leads to the upper part of the balloon. A
vacuum is created below, and it attracts the gas in the
lower parts; this becomes heated in its turn, and is con-
tinually replaced; thus, an extremely rapid current of gas
is established in the pipes and in the spiral, which issues
from the balloon and then returns to it, and is heated over
Now, the gases increase -a of their volume for each
degree of heat applied. If, then, I force the temperature
18 degrees, the hydrogen of the balloon will dilate M-a or
1614 cubic feet, and will, therefore, displace 1614 more
cubic feet of air, which will increase its ascensional power
by 160 pounds. This is equivalent to throwing out that
72 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
weight of ballast. If I augment the temperature by 180
degrees, the gas will dilate f-l and will displace 16,740
cubic feet more, and its ascensional force will be augmented
by 1,600 pounds.
"Thus, you see, gentlemen, that I can easily effect
very considerable changes of equilibrium. The volume of
the balloon has been calculated in such manner that, when
half inflated, it displaces a weight of air exactly equal to
that of the envelope containing the hydrogen gas, and of
the car occupied by the passengers, and all its apparatus
and accessories. At this point of inflation, it is in exact
equilibrium with the air, and neither mounts nor descends.
"In order, then, to effect an ascent, I give the gas a
temperature superior to the temperature of the surround-
ing air by means of my cylinder. By this excess of heat
it obtains a larger distention, and inflates the balloon
more. The latter, then, ascends in proportion as I heat
"The descent, of course, is effected by lowering the
heat of the cylinder, and letting the temperature abate.
The ascent would be, usually, more rapid than the descent;
but that is a fortunate circumstance, since it is of no im-
portance to me to descend rapidly, while, on the other
hand, it is by a very rapid ascent that I avoid obstacles.
The real danger lurks below, and not above.
Besides, as I have said, I have a certain quantity of
ballast, which will enable me to ascend more rapidly still,
when necessary. My valve, at the top of the balloon, is
nothing more nor less than a safety-valve. The balloon
always retains the same quantity of hydrogen, and the
variations of temperature that I produce in the midst of
this shut-up gas are, of themselves, sufficient to provide
for all these ascending and descending movements.
"Now, gentlemen, as a practical detail, let me add
FERGUSON'S SECRET. 73
"The combustion of the hydrogen and of the oxygen
at the point of the cylinder produces solely the vapor or
steam of water. I have, therefore, provided the lower
part of the cylindrical iron box with a scape-pipe, with a
valve operating by means of a pressure of two atmos-
pheres; consequently, so soon as this amount of pressure
is attained, the steam escapes of itself.
"Here are the exact figures: 25 gallons of water,
separated into its constituent elements, yield 200 pounds
of oxygen and 25 pounds of hydrogen. This represents,
at atmospheric tension, 1,890 cubic feet of the former and
3,780 cubic feet of the latter, or 5,670 cubic feet, in all, of
the mixture. Hence, the stopcock of my cylinder, when
fully open, expends 27 cubic feet per hour, with a flame at
least six times as strong as that of the large lamps used
for lighting streets. On an average, then, and in order to
keep myself at a very moderate elevation, I should not
burn more than nine cubic feet per hour, so that my
twenty-five gallons of water represent six hundred and
thirty-six hours of aerial navigation, or a little more than
Well, as I can descend when I please, to replenish my
stock of water on the way, my trip might be indefinitely
"Such, gentlemen, is my secret. It is simple, and,
like most simple things, it cannot fail to succeed. The
dilation and contraction of the gas in the balloon is my
means of locomotion, which calls for neither cumbersome
wings, nor any other mechanical motor. A calorifere to
produce the changes of temperature, and a cylinder to
generate the heat, are neither inconvenient nor heavy. I
think, therefore, that I have combined all the elements of
Dr. Ferguson here terminated his discourse, and was
74 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
most heartily applauded. There was not an objection to
make to it; all had been foreseen and decided.
"However," said the captain, "the thing may prove
"What matters that," replied the doctor, provided
that it be practicable ? "
The Arrival at Zanzibar.-The English Consul.-Ill-will of the nhabitants.--The
Island of Koumbeni.-The Rain-Makers.-Inflation of the Balloon.-Depart-
ure on the 18th of April.-The last Good-by.-The Victoria.
AN invariably favorable wind had accelerated the
progress of the Resolute toward the place of her destina-
tion. The navigation of the Mozambique Channel was
especially calm and pleasant. The agreeable character of
the trip by sea was regarded as a good omen of the prob-
able issue of the trip through the air. Every one looked
forward to the hour of arrival, and sought to give the last
touch to the doctor's preparations.
At length the vessel hove in sight of the town of Zan-
zibar, upon the island of the same name, and, on the 15th
of April, at 11 o'clock in the morning, she anchored in the
The island of Zanzibar belongs to the Imaum of Mus-
cat, an ally of France and England, and is, undoubtedly,
his finest settlement. The port is frequented by a great
many vessels from the neighboring countries.
The island is separated from the African coast only by
a channel, the greatest width of which is but thirty miles.
It has a large trade in gums, ivory, and, above all, in
"ebony," for Zanzibar is the great slave-market. Thither
converges all the booty captured in the battles which the
chiefs of the interior are continually fighting. This traffic
extends along the whole eastern coast, and as far as the
76 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
Nile latitudes. Mr. G. Lejean even reports that he has
seen it carried on, openly, under the French flag.
Upon the arrival of the Resolute, the English consul at
Zanzibar came on board to offer his services to the doctor,
of whose projects the European newspapers had made him
aware for a month past. But, up to that moment, he had
remained with the numerous phalanx of the incredulous.
I doubted," said he, holding out his hand to Dr. Fer-
guson, "but now I doubt no longer."
lie invited the doctor, Kennedy, and the faithful Joe,
of course, to his own dwelling. Through his courtesy,
the doctor was enabled to have knowledge of the various
letters that he had received from Captain Speke. The
captain and his companions had suffered dreadfully from
hunger and bad weather before reaching the Ugogo coun-
try. They could advance only with extreme difficulty,
and did not expect to be able to communicate again for
a long time.
Those are perils and privations which we shall man-
age to avoid," said the doctor.
The baggage of the three travellers was conveyed to
the consul's residence. Arrangements were made for dis-
embarking the balloon upon the beach at Zanzibar. There
was a convenient spot, near the signal-mast, close by an
immense building, that would serve to shelter it from the
east winds. This huge tower, resembling a tun standing
on one end, beside which the famous Heidelberg tun
would have seemed but a very ordinary barrel, served as
a fortification, and on its platform were stationed Be-
lootchees, armed with lances. These Belootchees are a
kind of brawling, good-for-nothing Janizaries.
But, when about to land the balloon, the consul was
informed that the population of the island would oppose
their doing so by force. Nothing is so blind as fanatical
passion. The news of the arrival of a Christian, who was
e p. .
.--- -T -
to ascend into the air, was received with rage. The
negroes, more exasperated than the Arabs, saw in this
project an attack upon their religion. They took it into
their heads that some mischief was meant to the sun and
the moon. Now, these two luminaries are objects of
veneration to the African tribes, and they determined to
oppose so sacrilegious an enterprise.
The consul, informed of their intentions, conferred with
Dr. Ferguson and Captain Bennet on the subject. The
latter was unwilling to yield to threats, but his friend
dissuaded him from any idea of violent retaliation.
We shall certainly come out winners," he said.
"Even the imaum's soldiers will lend us a hand, if we
need it. But, my dear captain, an accident may happen
in a moment, and it would require but one unlucky blow
to do the balloon an irreparable injury, so that the trip
would be totally defeated; therefore we must act with
the greatest caution."
But what are we to do ? If we land on the coast of
Africa, we shall encounter the same difficulties. What
are we to do ?"
Nothing is more simple," replied the consul. "You
observe those small islands outside of the port; land your
balloon on one of them; surround it with a guard of
sailors, and you will have no risk to run."
Just the thing !" said the doctor, and we shall be
entirely at our ease in completing our preparations."
The captain yielded to these suggestions, and the
Resolute was headed for the island of Koumbeni. During
the morning of the 16th April, the balloon was placed in
safety in the middle of a clearing in the great woods,
with which the soil is.studded.
Two masts, eighty feet in height, were raised at the
same distance from each other. Blocks and tackle, placed
at their extremities, afforded the means of elevating the
78 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
balloon, by the aid of a transverse rope. It was then en-
tirely uninflated. The interior balloon was fastened to
the exterior one, in such manner as to be lifted up in the
same way. To the lower end of each balloon were fixed
the pipes that served to introduce the hydrogen gas.
The whole day, on the 17th, was spent in arranging
the apparatus destined to produce the gas; it consisted
of some thirty casks, in which the decomposition of water
was effected by means of iron-filings and sulphuric acid
placed together in a large quantity of the first-named
fluid. The hydrogen passed into a huge central cask,
after having been washed on the way, and thence into
each balloon by the conduit-pipes. In this manner each
of them received a certain accurately-ascertained quantity
of gas. For this purpose, there had to be employed
eighteen hundred and sixty-six pounds of sulphuric acid,
sixteen thousand and fifty pounds of iron, and nine thou-
sand one hundred and sixty-six gallons of water. This
operation commenced on the following night, about three
A.M., and lasted nearly eight hours. The next day, the
balloon, covered with its network, undulated gracefully
above its car, which was held to the ground by numerous
sacks of earth. The inflating apparatus was put together
with extreme care, and the pipes issuing from the balloon
were securely fitted to the cylindrical case.
The anchors, the cordage, the instruments, the travel-
ling-wraps, the awning, the provisions, and the arms, were
put in the place assigned to them in the car. The supply
of water was procured at Zanzibar. The two hundred
pounds of ballast were distributed in fifty bags placed at
the bottom of the car, but within arm's-reach.
These preparations were concluded about five o'clock
n the evening, while sentinels kept close watch around
the island, and the boats of the Resolute patrolled the
THE FAREWEIX REPAST. 79
The blacks continued to -show their displeasure by
grimaces and contortions. Their obi-men, or wizards,
went up and down among the angry throngs, pouring
fuel on the flame of their fanaticism; and some of the
excited wretches, more furious and daring than the rest,
attempted to get to the island by swimming, but they
were easily driven off.
Thereupon the sorceries and incantations commenced;
the rain-makers," who pretend to have control over the
clouds, invoked the storms and the "stone-showers," as
the blacks call hail, to their aid. To compel them to do
so, they plucked leaves of all the different trees that grow
in that country, and boiled them over a slow fire, while,
at the same time, a sheep was killed by thrusting a long
needle into its heart. But, in spite of all their ceremonies,
the sky remained clear and beautiful, and they profited
nothing by their slaughtered sheep and their ugly grimaces.
The blacks then abandoned themselves to the most
furious orgies, and got fearfully drunk on "tembo," a
kind of ardent spirits drawn from the cocoa-nut tree, and
an extremely heady sort of beer called "togwa." Their
chants, which were destitute of all melody, but were sung
in excellent time, continued until far into the night.
About six o'clock in the evening, the captain assem-
bled the travellers and the officers of the ship at a farewell
repast in his cabin. Kennedy, whom nobody ventured to
question now, sat with his eyes riveted on Dr. Ferguson,
murmuring indistinguishable words. In other respects,
the dinner was a gloomy one. The approach of the final
moment filled everybody with the most serious reflections.
What had fate in store for these daring adventurers?
Should they ever again find themselves in the midst of
their friends, or seated at the domestic hearth? IWere
their travelling apparatus to fail, what would become of
them, among those ferocious savage tribes, in regions that
80 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
had never been explored, and in the midst of boundless
Such thoughts as these, which had been dim and vague
until then, or but slightly regarded when they came up,
returned upon their excited fancies with intense force at
this parting moment. Dr. Ferguson, still cold and impas-
sible, talked of this, that, and the other; but he strove
in vain to overcome this infectious gloominess. He ut-
As some demonstration against the personal safety of
the doctor and his companions was feared, all three slept
that night on board the Resolute. At six o'clock in the
morning they left their cabin, and landed on the island of
The balloon was swaying gently to and fro in the
morning breeze; the sand-bags that had held it down
were now replaced by some twenty strong-armed sailors,
and Captain Bennet and his officers were present to wit-
ness the solemn departure of their friends.
At this moment Kennedy went right up to the doctor,
grasped his hand, and said:
"Samuel, have you absolutely determined to go ?"
Solemnly determined, my dear Dick."
"I have done every thing that I could to prevent this
expedition, have I not?"
"Every thing! "
"Well, then, my conscience is clear on that score, and
I will go with you."
I was sure you would !" said the doctor, betraying
in his features swift traces of emotion.
At last the moment of final leave-taking arrived. The
captain and his officers embraced their dauntless friends
with great feeling, not excepting even Joe, who, worthy
fellow, was as proud and happy as a prince. Every one
in the party insisted upon having a final shake of the
CHRISTENING THE BALLOON. 81
At nine o'clock the three travellers got into their car.
The doctor lit the combustible in his cylinder and turned
the flame so as to produce a rapid heat, and the balloon,
which had rested on the ground in perfect equipoise, began
to rise in a few minutes, so that the seamen had tp slacken
the ropes they held it by. The car then rose about twenty
feet above their heads.
My friends !" exclaimed the doctor, standing up be-
tween his two companions, and taking off his hat, "let us
give our aerial ship a name that will bring her good luck!
let us christen her Victoria!"
This speech was answered with stentorian cheers of
"Huzza for the Queen! Huzza for Old England !"
At this moment the ascensional force of the balloon
increased prodigiously, and Ferguson, Kennedy, and Joe,
waved a last good-by to their friends.
"Let go all 1" shouted the doctor, and at the word the
Victoria shot rapidly up into the sky, while the four car-
ronades on board the Resolute thundered forth a parting
salute in her honor.
Crossing the Strait.-The Mrima.-Dick's Remark and Joe's Proposition.-A
Recipe for Coffee-maldng.-The Uzaramo.-The Unfortunate Maizan.-
Mount Duthumi.-The Doctor's Cards.-Night under a Nopal.
THE air was pure, the wind moderate, and the balloon
ascended almost perpendicularly to a height of fifteen
hundred feet, as indicated by a depression of two inches
in the barometric column.
At this height a more decided current carried the
balloon toward the southwest. What a magnificent spec-
tacle was then outspread beneath the gaze of the travellers !
The island of Zanzibar could be seen in its entire extent,
marked out by its deeper color upon a vast planisphere;
the fields had the appearance of patterns of different col-
ors, and thick clumps of green indicated the groves and
The inhabitants of the island looked no larger than
insects. The huzzaing and shouting were little by little
lost in the distance, and only the discharge of "the ship's
guns could be heard in the concavity beneath the balloon,
as the latter sped on its flight.
"How fine that is !" said Joe, breaking silence, for the
He got no reply. The doctor was busy observing the
variations of the barometer and noting down the details
of his ascent.
Kennedy looked on, and had not eyes enough to take
in all that he saw.
THE IRREPRESSIBLE JOE. 83
The rays of the sun coming to the aid of the heating
cylinder, the tension of the gas increased, and the Victoria
attained the height of twenty-five hundred feet.
The Resolute looked like a mere cockle-shell, and the
African coast could be distinctly seen in the west marked
out by a fringe of foam.
You don't talk ?" said Joe, again.
"We are looking!" said the doctor, directing his spy-
glass toward the mainland.
For my part, I must talk!"
"As much as you please, Je; talk as much as you
And Joe went on alone with a tremendous volley of
exclamations. The "ohs!" and the ahs !" exploded one
after the other, incessantly, from his lips.
During his passage over the sea the doctor deemed it
best to keep at his present elevation. IIe could thus
reconnoitre a greater stretch of the coast. The thermom-
eter and the barometer, hanging up inside of the half-
opened awning, were always within sight, and a scc6nd
barometer suspended outside was to serve during the night
At the end of about two hours the Victoria, driven
along at a speed of a little more than eight miles, very
visibly neared the coast of the mainland. The doctor,
thereupon, determined to descend a little nearer to the
ground. So lie moderated the flame of his cylinder, and
the balloon, in a few moments, had descended to an alti-
tude only three hundred feet above the soil.
It was then found to be passing just over the Mrima
country, the name of this part of the eastern coast of
Africa. Dense borders of mango-trees protected its mar-
gin, and the ebb-tide disclosed to view their thick roots,
chafed and gnawed by the teeth of the Indian Ocean. The
sands which, at an earlier period, formed the coast-line,
84 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
rounded away along the distant horizon, and Mount
Nguru e ared aloft its sharp summit in the northwest.
The Victoria passed near to a village which the doctor
found marked upon his chart as Kaole. Its entire popula-
tion had assembled in crowds, and were yelling with anger
and fear, at the same time vainly directing their arrows
against this monster of the air that swept along so majes-
tically away above all their powerless fury.
The wind was setting to the southward, but the doctor
felt no concern on that score, since it enabled him the
better to follow the route traced by Captains Burton and
Kennedy had, at length, become as talkative as Joe,
and the two kept up a continual interchange of admiring
interjections and exclamations.
Out upon stage-coaches! said one.
"Steamers indeed!" said the other.
"Railroads eh ? rubbish put in Kennedy, "that
you travel on, without seeing the country! "
Balloons I they're the sort for me! Joe would add.
"Why, you don't feel yourself going, and Nature takes
the trouble to spread herself out before one's eyes I "
"What a splendid sight I What a spectacle! What
a delight! a dream in a hammock! "
"Suppose we take our breakfast ?" was Joe's unpoeti-
cal change of tune, at last, for the keen, open air had
mightily sharpened his appetite.
Good idea, my boy !"
Oh! it won't take us long to do the cooking-biscuit
and potted meat ? "
And as much coffee as you like," said the doctor. I
give you leave to borrow a little heat from my cylinder.
There's enough and to spare, for that matter, and so we
shall avoid the risk of a conflagration."
"That would be a dreadful misfortune 1" ejaculated
THE FIRST BREAKFAST. 85
Kennedy. "It's the same as a powder-magazine sus-
pended over our heads."
Not precisely," said Ferguson, but still if the gas
were to take fire it would burn up gradually, and we
should settle down on the ground, which would be dis-
agreeable; but never fear-our balloon is hermetically
Let us eat a bite, then," replied Kennedy.
Now, gentlemen," put in Joe, while doing the same
as you, I'm going to get you up a cup of coffee that I
think you'll have something to say about."
"The fact is," added the doctor, that Joe, along with
a thousand other virtues, has a remarkable talent for the
preparation of that delicious beverage: he compounds it
of a mixture of various origin, but he never would reveal
to me the ingredients."
Well, master, since we are so far above-ground, I can
tell you the secret. It is just to mix equal quantities of
Mocha, of Bourbon coffee, and of Rio Nunez."
A few moments later, three steaming cups of coffee
were served, and topped offa substantial breakfast, which
was additionally seasoned by the jokes and repartees of
the guests. Each one then resumed his post of observa-
The country over which they were passing was re-
markable for its fertility. Narrow, winding paths plunged
in beneath the overarching verdure. They swept along
above cultivated fields of tobacco, maize, and barley, at
full maturity, and here and there immense rice-fields,
full of straight stalks and purple blossoms. They could
distinguish sheep and goats too, confined in large
cages, set up on piles to keep them out of reach of the
leopards' fangs. Luxuriant vegetation spread in wild
profuseness over this prodigal soil.
Village after village rang with yells of terror and
86 FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON.
astonishment at the sight of the Victoria, and Dr. Fergu-
son prudently kept her above the reach of the barbarian
arrows. The savages below, thus baffled, ran together
from their huddle of huts and followed the travellers with
their vain imprecations while they remained in sight.
At noon, the doctor, upon consulting his map, calcu-
lated that they were passing over the Uzaramo country.
The soil was thickly studded with cocoa-nut, papaw, and
cotton-wood trees, above which the balloon seemed to dis-
port itself like a bird. Joe found this splendid vegetation
a matter of course, seeing that they were in Africa. Ken-
nedy described some hares and quails that asked nothing
better than to get a good shot from his fowling-piece, but
it would have been powder wasted, since there was no
time to pick up the game.
The aLronauts swept on with the speed of twelve miles
per hour, and soon were passing in thirty-eight degrees
twenty minutes east longitude, over the village of Tounda.
"It was there," said the doctor, "that Burton and
Speke were seized with violent fevers, and for a moment
thought their expedition ruined. And yet they were only
a short distance from the coast, but fatigue and privation
were beginning to tell upon them severely."
In fact, there is a perpetual malaria reigning through-
out the country in question. Even the doctor could hope
to escape its effects only by rising above the range of the
miasma that exhales from this damp region whence the
blazing rays of the sun pump up its poisonous vapors.
Once in a while they could descry a caravan resting in a
" kraal," awaiting the freshness and cool of the evening to
resume its route. These kraals are wide patches of cleared
land, surrounded by hedges and jungles, where traders
take shelter against not only the wild beasts, but also the
U and Ou signify country in the language of that region.