Five Weeks in a Balloon
The Doctor's Friend.--The Origin of their Friendship.--Dick Kennedy at London.--An
unexpected but not very consoling Proposal.--A Proverb by no means cheering.--A few
Names from the African Martyrology.--The Advantages of a Balloon.--Dr. Ferguson's
Dr. Ferguson 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 determined hunter, and that was nothing remarkable for a son of Caledonia,
who had known some little climbing among the Highland mountains. He was cited as a
wonderful 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 Herbert 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 herculean strength; a face embrowned by the
sun; eyes keen and black; a natural air of daring courage; in fine, something 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 regiment. 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 province, 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 service. Hence, an unalterable friendship. Destiny sometimes bore
them apart, but sympathy always united them again.
Since their return to England they had been frequently 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.