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Five Weeks in a Balloon

CHAPTER SIXTEENTH
Symptoms of a Storm.--The Country of the Moon.--The Future of the African Continent.-
-The Last Machine of all.--A View of the Country at Sunset.-- Flora and Fauna.--The
Tempest.--The Zone of Fire.--The Starry Heavens.
"See," said Joe, "what comes of playing the sons of the moon without her leave! She
came near serving us an ugly trick. But say, master, did you damage your credit as a
physician?"
"Yes, indeed," chimed in the sportsman. "What kind of a dignitary was this Sultan of
Kazeh?"
"An old half-dead sot," replied the doctor, "whose loss will not be very severely felt. But
the moral of all this is that honors are fleeting, and we must not take too great a fancy to
them."
"So much the worse!" rejoined Joe. "I liked the thing--to be worshipped!--Play the god as
you like! Why, what would any one ask more than that? By-the-way, the moon did come
up, too, and all red, as if she was in a rage."
While the three friends went on chatting of this and other things, and Joe examined the
luminary of night from an entirely novel point of view, the heavens became covered with
heavy clouds to the northward, and the lowering masses assumed a most sinister and
threatening look. Quite a smart breeze, found about three hundred feet from the earth,
drove the balloon toward the north-northeast; and above it the blue vault was clear; but
the atmosphere felt close and dull.
The aeronauts found themselves, at about eight in the evening, in thirty-two degrees forty
minutes east longitude, and four degrees seventeen minutes latitude. The atmospheric
currents, under the influence of a tempest not far off, were driving them at the rate of
from thirty to thirty-five miles an hour; the undulating and fertile plains of Mfuto were
passing swiftly beneath them. The spectacle was one worthy of admiration--and admire it
they did.
"We are now right in the country of the Moon," said Dr. Ferguson; "for it has retained the
name that antiquity gave it, undoubtedly, because the moon has been worshipped there in
all ages. It is, really, a superb country."
"It would be hard to find more splendid vegetation."
"If we found the like of it around London it would not be natural, but it would be very
pleasant," put in Joe. "Why is it that such savage countries get all these fine things?"
 
 
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