Five Weeks in a Balloon
A Servant--match him!--He can see the Satellites of Jupiter.--Dick and Joe hard at it.--
Doubt and Faith.--The Weighing Ceremony.--Joe and Wellington.--He gets a Half-
Dr. Ferguson had a servant who answered with alacrity to the name of Joe. He was an
excellent fellow, who testified the most absolute confidence in his master, and the most
unlimited devotion to his interests, even anticipating his wishes and orders, which were
always intelligently 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 his 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
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 undertook, practicable; all
that he accomplished, admirable. You might have cut Joe to pieces--not an agreeable
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 fellow 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
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