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would be required to defend their beloved blank pages for correspondence, which was Paris.” Two captive balloons were, indeed, largely used for that purpose. Copies of it anchored for a time in Paris, “but for all the are now highly valued as relics of the siege. service they did they might as well have Important dispatches, messages, and letters been exhibited in a covered circus.” To- were frequently reduced by means of photowards the end of the war, however, balloons graphy—those on the part of the Government, were put to a greater practical use than they to such a minute scale that, when received ever had been before.
they had to be thrown on a screen by a A balloon-the second-dispatched from powerful microscope illuminated by elecMetz, with messages, and a carrier-pigeon * tricity, and copied by clerks seated in front. to bring back the replies, reached Paris Many of these dispatches fell into the hands safely, and seems to have been the means of of the enemy. awakening attention to the utility of balloons Of three of these balloons no tidings were for postal purposes. The first balloon sent ever received ; those on the cars must have from Metz fell into the hands of the Prussians, perished. The “Washington," which left who are said to have cooked and devoured Paris October 12th, 1870, was subjected to a the poor pigeon it carried, and then sent a heavy fire from the Prussians at an elevation flag of truce to the besieged announcing that of 2,500 to 3,000 feet, and the travellers were their messenger had been found excellent obliged to ascend 'rapidly. The “Ville
d'Orléans” was swept away into Norway, and In September, 1870, two of the great came to anchor six hundred miles north of railway stations, to which a third was added Christiania. A brave sailor, named Prince, a little later, were converted into manu- volunteered to make a voyage by himself
. factories, in which nearly seventy balloons The day after, some fishermen on the Scotch were constructed. Fifty-four of this number coast saw a globe disappear in the west and were sent out by the postal department, and sink into the ocean. A poor mother and two carried something near 2,500,000 letters from sisters left behind had to bewail his loss. anxious, half-starved Parisians to their more Durouf, a well-known aeronaut, made on one fortunate countrymen outside. M. de Ville- occasion his balloon, the “ Neptune," rise messant, editor of Figaro, printed the Balloon from Paris like a projectile describing a great Post, a miniature journal of condensed news, arc, by sacrificing seven hundredweight of weighing only a couple of pennyweights, with ballast at one time. This took him high • The carrier-pigeons employed were of comparatively little over the Prussian lines, to the soldiers comuse, as most of the very sensi ly declined to return to Paris, posing which he mockingły threw cartes de wbere awaited them
visite, and who returned the compliment by home unhurt. Her speed was no doubt unavailing salvos of artillery and volleys of hastened by the fact that a pair of youngsters musketry. He descended safely nineteen awaited her coming in the Parisian dovemiles from the city. Many of the balloons cot. were dispatched by night, and were not A few of the more miscellaneous experiallowed to carry lights. An idiotic rumour ences of aeronauts may now be cited before was circulated in Paris to the effect that concluding this paper. Among the passenthe Prussians had constructed a special gers who have made ascents are to be counted Krupp cannon, “similar to a telescope," a madman, an old lady of one hundred, and which was to be directed against the balloons a young boy—against his will. Godard used leaving the beleaguered city.
to tell the first story. A wealthy private On the afternoon of October 7, 1870, a gentleman offered him one thousand francs if balloon figured in an event which may be he could be allowed to ascend with him, and truly said to have been fraught with the des- they accordingly started on their voyage totinies of France. Gambetta, then, though gether, no one else being in the car. one of the youngest, the most influential aeronaut soon found that he had a dangerous member of the Government, had determined lunatic for a companion. The madman to leave Paris in order to assume leadership insisted upon being allowed to climb up outof the provisional directory at Tours, and a side the balloon by the ropes and netting, balloon afforded him the only means. The and Godard was obliged to let him have his day was fine, and a light wind blew from the way, though he induced him to fasten a rope south, auguring favourably for the enter- round his waist, which the former cut as soon prise. Two balloons, the "Armand Barbés,” as he saw his opportunity. Next the lunatic destined to carry the Dictator of the young commenced cutting away the cords which Republic, and M. Spaller, an intimate friend; | held the car, and which now, only partially and the “Georges Sand," which had been supported, inclined seriously on one side. equipped by some American citizens, who The end of a long story was, that Godard at could have readily obtained a passport last contrived to let out so much gas around through their Minister, but who preferred his terrible companion that he became asthis novel mode of escape, were being pre- phyxiated and insensible, and the balloon pared in the Place St. Pierre, in which since was speedily brought to earth once more. early morning an unwonted activity had pre- The madman was restored to animation, and vailed, messengers arriving and going in all speedily conveyed to the nearest policedirections. Many were the eyes, eager and station. anxious, that watched their upward flight, One of the last persons who went up in when they started; for if Gambetta were cap- Giffard's great captive balloon, when it was tured, and sent to join the vanquished Em- exhibited in London, was an old woman, a peror, the best friends of the Republic must centenarian. It is said that she was the despair. In point of fact, this was very near same who, on losing her son of seventy-five, accomplishment. By some clumsy manage-exclaimed, “I felt sure I never should bring ment the balloon came to the ground in a up that child !" For the last forty years of field which the Prussians had only just before her life she had been an inmate of Lambeth abandoned. It is stated that had Gambetta workhouse, and the master of that establishleft Paris a single quarter of an hour earlier ment, on her hundredth birthday, asking he must have been taken. By lightening her what she should like best, received for the balloon it again ascended, this time to answer that her greatest remaining desire in blunder against the branches of a tree, in life was to ascend in the captive balloon. So which the netting became entangled. At the trip was arranged, and she ascended in length, however, and without further adven- company with some of her ancient friends. ture, Gambetta reached, and descended near The youngster just mentioned, a boy of Amiens. Prussian needle-guns had been fired twelve, had been watching the inflation of at the balloon on the way, but beyond a few a hot-air balloon, when those who were bruises he escaped absolutely unhurt. A holding it managed clumsily to let it slip female carrier-pigeon, "with intelligent ex- from their grasp. Hanging from it by a rope pression and beautiful blue eyes,” as we are was the usual anchor. The balloon passed informed by one rather gushing writer, ac- towards the boy, the anchor caught in his companied Gambetta; she was released, and belt, and dragged him, screaming, up in the returned quickly to Paris. This bird crossed air. He managed to hold on the rope till the Prussian lines five times, and reached the balloon cooled, when it returned to
earth again, and the bystanders rescued behave. "On jumping up, like Jack-in-box, him. He was not over fifteen minutes so the worthies looked perfectly bewildered ; suspended.
two ran off, and the rest were powerless as to Many are the stories told of the alarm speech. Why, lads, it's a balloon,' said I; caused by the descent of balloons. “Dinna don't be frightened.' 'And what be you? ye think the world will soon be at an end ?" inquired the bravest of the lot. Why the was the remark of an old Scotchman, when aeronaut to be sure; the party who goes up.' one descended near Glasgow in the year 'Ah,' said he, 'I thought you wa'ant a 1785. “Eh, missus, but he's come at last, mortal man.' ‘But I am though, feel me,” and no mistake !” was the observation of an said I. 'No, da'angd if I come any closer ;' old countryman one night, when Coxwell and immediately a side movement was made descended near Croydon. “Who's come at for the gate.” The landlords who had delast?" cried his better half, running out with nied him the night before apologised, but one another light. “Look ye, Sally,” said he, of them said, “Lord love ye, sir, a man pointing to the dim, dark outline of the mys- coming out of the clouds, what could he exterious visitor, "that's the old gem'man him- pect on this here wicked earth?” Looking self, or else I'm a Dutchman.” Coxwell at the matter in this light, one can undertells another story of descending near a stand the alarm of a young girl, tending village late at night, and being absolutely sheep, who, from no apparent source, once denied shelter or refreshment at several saw a deal chair descending from the skies ! houses, two of them inns. He had to sleep Arago tells us that Gay-Lussac, when he had in the car, with ballast-bags for pillows, and reached twenty-two thousand and odd feet, curtains-silk curtains—formed by the folds wished still to ascend, and the chair being of the balloon, in the middle of a field. Next readily available, over it went. Its workmorning some workmen approached, and he manship was sufficient to prove that it was lay still purposely, to see how they would not of celestial origin !
tering pennons, but must find some · thing at least very pleasing in the
sad, wild tones and in the reiterated themes conies above. Showers of confetti and now of the Pifferario.
and then complimentary bouquets are seen Police regulations may possibly soon im- ascending and descending amid 'shouts of prove the old Carnival and its rites off the merry voices. The race of the “ Barberi” Corso. But I confess to having had more is a sorry and even cruel spectacle in spite of than one day of keen enjoyment in its boyish its picturesqueness. A few riderless hacks, sport. The Corso on these days looks grand. excited to desperation by the sharp lancetEvery balcony and window is hung with like blades attached to balls hung over their brilliant drapery, and filled with bevies of withers so as to strike them at every movemerry girls of all nations, armed with bou- ment, are with difficulty held in leash at the quets and confetti—those pellets of plaster end of the Corso next the Piazza del Popolo. and pozzolano, that sting and powder with At a signal the crowds are made to line the white whomsoever they strike. The street walls and leave an open place in the centre is filled with carriages and with masquers on of the street for the rush of steeds. As the foot got up in all sorts of absurd disguises. | horses are let go, their terror is increased by There is a continued war waged between the the discharge of crackers and other fireworks crowd below and the occupants of the bal- I hung round their body, and so they bound XXIV-36