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Five Weeks in a Balloon

CHAPTER NINTH
They double the Cape.--The Forecastle.--A Course of Cosmography by Professor Joe.--
Concerning the Method of guiding Balloons.--How to seek out Atmospheric Currents.--
Eureka.
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 departure from London, the Table
Mountain loomed up on the horizon. Cape City lying at the foot of an amphitheatre 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 Channel.
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 considerable share of
his master's renown was reflected upon him. He 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 supreme on the forecastle, holding forth in his own peculiar manner, and
making history to suit himself--a style of 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,
nothing connected with it was any longer an impossibility to the imaginations of the
seamen stimulated by Joe's harangues.
Our dazzling narrator persuaded his hearers that, after this trip, many others still more
wonderful would be undertaken. 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 time."
"Humph! 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! 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."
 
 
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