Five Weeks in a Balloon
Crossing the Strait.--The Mrima.--Dick's Remark and Joe's Proposition.--A Recipe for
Coffee-making.--The Uzaramo.--The Unfortunate Maizan.--Mount Dathumi.--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
At this height a more decided current carried the balloon toward the southwest. What a
magnificent spectacle 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 colors, and thick
clumps of green indicated the groves and thickets.
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 first time.
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 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, Joe; talk as much as you like!"
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.