Five Weeks in a Balloon
Change of Weather.--Kennedy has the Fever.--The Doctor's Medicine. --Travels on
Land.--The Basin of Imenge.--Mount Rubeho.--Six Thousand Feet Elevation.--A Halt in
The night was calm. However, on Saturday morning, Kennedy, as he awoke, complained
of lassitude and feverish chills. The weather was changing. The sky, covered with clouds,
seemed to be laying in supplies for a fresh deluge. A gloomy region is that Zungomoro
country, where it rains continually, excepting, perhaps, for a couple of weeks in the
month of January.
A violent shower was not long in drenching our travellers. Below them, the roads,
intersected by "nullahs," a sort of instantaneous torrent, were soon rendered
impracticable, entangled as they were, besides, with thorny thickets and gigantic lianas,
or creeping vines. The sulphuretted hydrogen emanations, which Captain Burton
mentions, could be distinctly smelt.
"According to his statement, and I think he's right," said the doctor, "one could readily
believe that there is a corpse hidden behind every thicket."
"An ugly country this!" sighed Joe; "and it seems to me that Mr. Kennedy is none the
better for having passed the night in it."
"To tell the truth, I have quite a high fever," said the sportsman.
"There's nothing remarkable about that, my dear Dick, for we are in one of the most
unhealthy regions in Africa; but we shall not remain here long; so let's be off."
Thanks to a skilful manoeuvre achieved by Joe, the anchor was disengaged, and Joe
reascended to the car by means of the ladder. The doctor vigorously dilated the gas, and
the Victoria resumed her flight, driven along by a spanking breeze.
Only a few scattered huts could be seen through the pestilential mists; but the appearance
of the country soon changed, for it often happens in Africa that some of the unhealthiest
districts lie close beside others that are perfectly salubrious.
Kennedy was visibly suffering, and the fever was mastering his vigorous constitution.
"It won't do to fall ill, though," he grumbled; and so saying, he wrapped himself in a
blanket, and lay down under the awning.
"A little patience, Dick, and you'll soon get over this," said the doctor.