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Five Weeks in a Balloon

CHAPTER EIGHTH
Joe's Importance.--The Commander of the Resolute.--Kennedy's Arsenal.--Mutual
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 solidity 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
business, 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 admiration 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 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 Resolute 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 accessories, the anchors, the cords, the supplies, the water-tanks, which were
to be filled on arriving, all were embarked 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 hydrogen 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 18th of February, in the evening. Two
state-rooms, comfortably fitted up, were ready for the reception of Dr. Ferguson and his
 
 
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