This page contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.
Writer:
Language:
Forms:
Published:
  • 1863
Collection:
Buy it on Amazon Listen via Audible FREE Audible 30 days

queried Kennedy.

“Yes, on this expedition, at least; but in 1833 Richard undertook a third trip to the Niger, and perished by a bullet, near the mouth of the river. You see, then, my friends, that the country over which we are now passing has witnessed some noble instances of self-sacrifice which, unfortunately, have only too often had death for their reward.”

CHAPTER THIRTY-NINTH.

The Country in the Elbow of the Niger.–A Fantastic View of the Hombori Mountains.–Kabra.–Timbuctoo.–The Chart of Dr. Barth. –A Decaying City.–Whither Heaven wills.

During this dull Monday, Dr. Ferguson diverted his thoughts by giving his companions a thousand details concerning the country they were crossing. The surface, which was quite flat, offered no impediment to their progress. The doctor’s sole anxiety arose from the obstinate northeast wind which continued to blow furiously, and bore them away from the latitude of Timbuctoo.

The Niger, after running northward as far as that city, sweeps around, like an immense water-jet from some fountain, and falls into the Atlantic in a broad sheaf. In the elbow thus formed the country is of varied character, sometimes luxuriantly fertile, and sometimes extremely bare; fields of maize succeeded by wide spaces covered with broom-corn and uncultivated plains. All kinds of aquatic birds–pelicans, wild-duck, kingfishers, and the rest–were seen in numerous flocks hovering about the borders of the pools and torrents.

From time to time there appeared an encampment of Touaregs, the men sheltered under their leather tents, while their women were busied with the domestic toil outside, milking their camels and smoking their huge-bowled pipes.

By eight o’clock in the evening the Victoria had advanced more than two hundred miles to the westward, and our aeronauts became the spectators of a magnificent scene.

A mass of moonbeams forcing their way through an opening in the clouds, and gliding between the long lines of falling rain, descended in a golden shower on the ridges of the Hombori Mountains. Nothing could be more weird than the appearance of these seemingly basaltic summits; they stood out in fantastic profile against the sombre sky, and the beholder might have fancied them to be the legendary ruins of some vast city of the middle ages, such as the icebergs of the polar seas sometimes mimic them in nights of gloom.

“An admirable landscape for the ‘Mysteries of Udolpho’!” exclaimed the doctor. “Ann Radcliffe could not have depicted yon mountains in a more appalling aspect.”

“Faith!” said Joe, “I wouldn’t like to be strolling alone in the evening through this country of ghosts. Do you see now, master, if it wasn’t so heavy, I’d like to carry that whole landscape home to Scotland! It would do for the borders of Loch Lomond, and tourists would rush there in crowds.”

“Our balloon is hardly large enough to admit of that little experiment–but I think our direction is changing. Bravo!–the elves and fairies of the place are quite obliging. See, they’ve sent us a nice little southeast breeze, that will put us on the right track again.”

In fact, the Victoria was resuming a more northerly route, and on the morning of the 20th she was passing over an inextricable network of channels, torrents, and streams, in fine, the whole complicated tangle of the Niger’s tributaries. Many of these channels, covered with a thick growth of herbage, resembled luxuriant meadow-lands. There the doctor recognized the route followed by the explorer Barth when he launched upon the river to descend to Timbuctoo. Eight hundred fathoms broad at this point, the Niger flowed between banks richly grown with cruciferous plants and tamarind-trees. Herds of agile gazelles were seen skipping about, their curling horns mingling with the tall herbage, within which the alligator, half concealed, lay silently in wait for them with watchful eyes.

Long files of camels and asses laden with merchandise from Jenne were winding in under the noble trees. Ere long, an amphitheatre of low-built houses was discovered at a turn of the river, their roofs and terraces heaped up with hay and straw gathered from the neighboring districts.

“There’s Kabra!” exclaimed the doctor, joyously; “there is the harbor of Timbuctoo, and the city is not five miles from here!”

“Then, sir, you are satisfied?” half queried Joe.

“Delighted, my boy!”

“Very good; then every thing’s for the best!”

In fact, about two o’clock, the Queen of the Desert, mysterious Timbuctoo, which once, like Athens and Rome, had her schools of learned men, and her professorships of philosophy, stretched away before the gaze of our travellers.

Ferguson followed the most minute details upon the chart traced by Barth himself, and was enabled to recognize its perfect accuracy.

The city forms an immense triangle marked out upon a vast plain of white sand, its acute angle directed toward the north and piercing a corner of the desert. In the environs there was almost nothing, hardly even a few grasses, with some dwarf mimosas and stunted bushes.

As for the appearance of Timbuctoo, the reader has but to imagine a collection of billiard-balls and thimbles–such is the bird’s-eye view! The streets, which are quite narrow, are lined with houses only one story in height, built of bricks dried in the sun, and huts of straw and reeds, the former square, the latter conical. Upon the terraces were seen some of the male inhabitants, carelessly lounging at full length in flowing apparel of bright colors, and lance or musket in hand; but no women were visible at that hour of the day.

“Yet they are said to be handsome,” remarked the doctor. “You see the three towers of the three mosques that are the only ones left standing of a great number– the city has indeed fallen from its ancient splendor! At the top of the triangle rises the Mosque of Sankore, with its ranges of galleries resting on arcades of sufficiently pure design. Farther on, and near to the Sane-Gungu quarter, is the Mosque of Sidi-Yahia and some two-story houses. But do not look for either palaces or monuments: the sheik is a mere son of traffic, and his royal palace is a counting-house.”

“It seems to me that I can see half-ruined ramparts,” said Kennedy.

“They were destroyed by the Fouillanes in 1826; the city was one-third larger then, for Timbuctoo, an object generally coveted by all the tribes, since the eleventh century, has belonged in succession to the Touaregs, the Sonrayans, the Morocco men, and the Fouillanes; and this great centre of civilization, where a sage like Ahmed-Baba owned, in the sixteenth century, a library of sixteen hundred manuscripts, is now nothing but a mere half-way house for the trade of Central Africa.”

The city, indeed, seemed abandoned to supreme neglect; it betrayed that indifference which seems epidemic to cities that are passing away. Huge heaps of rubbish encumbered the suburbs, and, with the hill on which the market-place stood, formed the only inequalities of the ground.

When the Victoria passed, there was some slight show of movement; drums were beaten; but the last learned man still lingering in the place had hardly time to notice the new phenomenon, for our travellers, driven onward by the wind of the desert, resumed the winding course of the river, and, ere long, Timbuctoo was nothing more than one of the fleeting reminiscences of their journey.

“And now,” said the doctor, “Heaven may waft us whither it pleases!”

“Provided only that we go westward,” added Kennedy.

“Bah!” said Joe; “I wouldn’t be afraid if it was to go back to Zanzibar by the same road, or to cross the ocean to America.”

“We would first have to be able to do that, Joe!”

“And what’s wanting, doctor?”

“Gas, my boy; the ascending force of the balloon is evidently growing weaker, and we shall need all our management to make it carry us to the sea-coast. I shall even have to throw over some ballast. We are too heavy.”

“That’s what comes of doing nothing, doctor; when a man lies stretched out all day long in his hammock, he gets fat and heavy. It’s a lazybones trip, this of ours, master, and when we get back every body will find us big and stout.”

“Just like Joe,” said Kennedy; “just the ideas for him: but wait a bit! Can you tell what we may have to go through yet? We are still far from the end of our trip. Where do you expect to strike the African coast, doctor?”

“I should find it hard to answer you, Kennedy. We are at the mercy of very variable winds; but I should think myself fortunate were we to strike it between Sierra Leone and Portendick. There is a stretch of country in that quarter where we should meet with friends.”

“And it would be a pleasure to press their hands; but, are we going in the desirable direction?”

“Not any too well, Dick; not any too well! Look at the needle of the compass; we are bearing southward, and ascending the Niger toward its sources.”

“A fine chance to discover them,” said Joe, “if they were not known already. Now, couldn’t we just find others for it, on a pinch?”

“Not exactly, Joe; but don’t be alarmed: I hardly expect to go so far as that.”

At nightfall the doctor threw out the last bags of sand. The Victoria rose higher, and the blow-pipe, although working at full blast, could scarcely keep her up. At that time she was sixty miles to the southward of Timbuctoo, and in the morning the aeronauts awoke over the banks of the Niger, not far from Lake Debo.

CHAPTER FORTIETH.

Dr. Ferguson’s Anxieties.–Persistent Movement southward.–A Cloud of Grasshoppers.–A View of Jenne.–A View of Sego.–Change of the Wind.–Joe’s Regrets.

The flow of the river was, at that point, divided by large islands into narrow branches, with a very rapid current. Upon one among them stood some shepherds’ huts, but it had become impossible to take an exact observation of them, because the speed of the balloon was constantly increasing. Unfortunately, it turned still more toward the south, and in a few moments crossed Lake Debo.

Dr. Ferguson, forcing the dilation of his aerial craft to the utmost, sought for other currents of air at different heights, but in vain; and he soon gave up the attempt, which was only augmenting the waste of gas by pressing it against the well-worn tissue of the balloon.

He made no remark, but he began to feel very anxious. This persistence of the wind to head him off toward the southern part of Africa was defeating his calculations, and he no longer knew upon whom or upon what to depend. Should he not reach the English or French territories, what was to become of him in the midst of the barbarous tribes that infest the coasts of Guinea? How should he there get to a ship to take him back to England? And the actual direction of the wind was driving him along to the kingdom of Dahomey, among the most savage races, and into the power of a ruler who was in the habit of sacrificing thousands of human victims at his public orgies. There he would be lost!

On the other hand, the balloon was visibly wearing out, and the doctor felt it failing him. However, as the weather was clearing up a little, he hoped that the cessation of the rain would bring about a change in the atmospheric currents.

It was therefore a disagreeable reminder of the actual situation when Joe said aloud:

“There! the rain’s going to pour down harder than ever; and this time it will be the deluge itself, if we’re to judge by yon cloud that’s coming up!”

“What! another cloud?” asked Ferguson.

“Yes, and a famous one,” replied Kennedy.

“I never saw the like of it,” added Joe.

“I breathe freely again!” said the doctor, laying down his spy-glass. “That’s not a cloud!”

“Not a cloud?” queried Joe, with surprise.

“No; it is a swarm.”

“Eh?”

“A swarm of grasshoppers!”

“That? Grasshoppers!”

“Myriads of grasshoppers, that are going to sweep over this country like a water-spout; and woe to it! for, should these insects alight, it will be laid waste.”

“That would be a sight worth beholding!”

“Wait a little, Joe. In ten minutes that cloud will have arrived where we are, and you can then judge by the aid of your own eyes.”

The doctor was right. The cloud, thick, opaque, and several miles in extent, came on with a deafening noise, casting its immense shadow over the fields. It was composed of numberless legions of that species of grasshopper called crickets. About a hundred paces from the balloon, they settled down upon a tract full of foliage and verdure. Fifteen minutes later, the mass resumed its flight, and our travellers could, even at a distance, see the trees and the bushes entirely stripped, and the fields as bare as though they had been swept with the scythe. One would have thought that a sudden winter had just descended upon the earth and struck the region with the most complete sterility.

“Well, Joe, what do you think of that?”

“Well, doctor, it’s very curious, but quite natural. What one grasshopper does on a small scale, thousands do on a grand scale.”

“It’s a terrible shower,” said the hunter; “more so than hail itself in the devastation it causes.”

“It is impossible to prevent it,” replied Ferguson. “Sometimes the inhabitants have had the idea to burn the forests, and even the standing crops, in order to arrest the progress of these insects; but the first ranks plunging into the flames would extinguish them beneath their mass, and the rest of the swarm would then pass irresistibly onward. Fortunately, in these regions, there is some sort of compensation for their ravages, since the natives gather these insects in great numbers and greedily eat them.”

“They are the prawns of the air,” said Joe, who added that he was sorry that he had never had the chance to taste them–just for information’s sake!

The country became more marshy toward evening; the forests dwindled to isolated clumps of trees; and on the borders of the river could be seen plantations of tobacco, and swampy meadow-lands fat with forage. At last the city of Jenne, on a large island, came in sight, with the two towers of its clay-built mosque, and the putrid odor of the millions of swallows’ nests accumulated in its walls. The tops of some baobabs, mimosas, and date-trees peeped up between the houses; and, even at night, the activity of the place seemed very great. Jenne is, in fact, quite a commercial city: it supplies all the wants of Timbuctoo. Its boats on the river, and its caravans along the shaded roads, bear thither the various products of its industry.

“Were it not that to do so would prolong our journey,” said the doctor, “I should like to alight at this place. There must be more than one Arab there who has travelled in England and France, and to whom our style of locomotion is not altogether new. But it would not be prudent.”

“Let us put off the visit until our next trip,” said Joe, laughing.

“Besides, my friends, unless I am mistaken, the wind has a slight tendency to veer a little more to the eastward, and we must not lose such an opportunity.”

The doctor threw overboard some articles that were no longer of use–some empty bottles, and a case that had contained preserved-meat–and thereby managed to keep the balloon in a belt of the atmosphere more favorable to his plans. At four o’clock in the morning the first rays of the sun lighted up Sego, the capital of Bambarra, which could be recognized at once by the four towns that compose it, by its Saracenic mosques, and by the incessant going and coming of the flat-bottomed boats that convey its inhabitants from one quarter to the other. But the travellers were not more seen than they saw. They sped rapidly and directly to the northwest, and the doctor’s anxiety gradually subsided.

“Two more days in this direction, and at this rate of speed, and we’ll reach the Senegal River.”

“And we’ll be in a friendly country?” asked the hunter.

“Not altogether; but, if the worst came to the worst, and the balloon were to fail us, we might make our way to the French settlements. But, let it hold out only for a few hundred miles, and we shall arrive without fatigue, alarm, or danger, at the western coast.”

“And the thing will be over!” added Joe. “Heigh-ho! so much the worse. If it wasn’t for the pleasure of telling about it, I would never want to set foot on the ground again! Do you think anybody will believe our story, doctor?”

“Who can tell, Joe? One thing, however, will be undeniable: a thousand witnesses saw us start on one side of the African Continent, and a thousand more will see us arrive on the other.”

“And, in that case, it seems to me that it would be hard to say that we had not crossed it,” added Kennedy.

“Ah, doctor!” said Joe again, with a deep sigh, “I’ll think more than once of my lumps of solid gold-ore! There was something that would have given WEIGHT to our narrative! At a grain of gold per head, I could have got together a nice crowd to listen to me, and even to admire me!”

CHAPTER FORTY-FIRST.

The Approaches to Senegal.–The Balloon sinks lower and lower.–They keep throwing out, throwing out.–The Marabout Al-Hadji.–Messrs. Pascal, Vincent, and Lambert.–A Rival of Mohammed.–The Difficult Mountains.–Kennedy’s Weapons.–One of Joe’s Manoeuvres.–A Halt over a Forest.

On the 27th of May, at nine o’clock in the morning, the country presented an entirely different aspect. The slopes, extending far away, changed to hills that gave evidence of mountains soon to follow. They would have to cross the chain which separates the basin of the Niger from the basin of the Senegal, and determines the course of the water-shed, whether to the Gulf of Guinea on the one hand, or to the bay of Cape Verde on the other.

As far as Senegal, this part of Africa is marked down as dangerous. Dr. Ferguson knew it through the recitals of his predecessors. They had suffered a thousand privations and been exposed to a thousand dangers in the midst of these barbarous negro tribes. It was this fatal climate that had devoured most of the companions of Mungo Park. Ferguson, therefore, was more than ever decided not to set foot in this inhospitable region.

But he had not enjoyed one moment of repose. The Victoria was descending very perceptibly, so much so that he had to throw overboard a number more of useless articles, especially when there was a mountain-top to pass. Things went on thus for more than one hundred and twenty miles; they were worn out with ascending and falling again; the balloon, like another rock of Sisyphus, kept continually sinking back toward the ground. The rotundity of the covering, which was now but little inflated, was collapsing already. It assumed an elongated shape, and the wind hollowed large cavities in the silken surface.

Kennedy could not help observing this.

“Is there a crack or a tear in the balloon?” he asked.

“No, but the gutta percha has evidently softened or melted in the heat, and the hydrogen is escaping through the silk.”

“How can we prevent that?”

“It is impossible. Let us lighten her. That is the only help. So let us throw out every thing we can spare.”

“But what shall it be?” said the hunter, looking at the car, which was already quite bare.

“Well, let us get rid of the awning, for its weight is quite considerable.”

Joe, who was interested in this order, climbed up on the circle which kept together the cordage of the network, and from that place easily managed to detach the heavy curtains of the awning and throw them overboard.

“There’s something that will gladden the hearts of a whole tribe of blacks,” said he; “there’s enough to dress a thousand of them, for they’re not very extravagant with cloth.”

The balloon had risen a little, but it soon became evident that it was again approaching the ground.

“Let us alight,” suggested Kennedy, “and see what can be done with the covering of the balloon.”

“I tell you, again, Dick, that we have no means of repairing it.”

“Then what shall we do?”

“We’ll have to sacrifice every thing not absolutely indispensable; I am anxious, at all hazards, to avoid a detention in these regions. The forests over the tops of which we are skimming are any thing but safe.”

“What! are there lions in them, or hyenas?” asked Joe, with an expression of sovereign contempt.

“Worse than that, my boy! There are men, and some of the most cruel, too, in all Africa.”

“How is that known?”

“By the statements of travellers who have been here before us. Then the French settlers, who occupy the colony of Senegal, necessarily have relations with the surrounding tribes. Under the administration of Colonel Faidherbe, reconnoissances have been pushed far up into the country. Officers such as Messrs. Pascal, Vincent, and Lambert, have brought back precious documents from their expeditions. They have explored these countries formed by the elbow of the Senegal in places where war and pillage have left nothing but ruins.”

“What, then, took place?”

“I will tell you. In 1854 a Marabout of the Senegalese Fouta, Al-Hadji by name, declaring himself to be inspired like Mohammed, stirred up all the tribes to war against the infidels–that is to say, against the Europeans. He carried destruction and desolation over the regions between the Senegal River and its tributary, the Fateme. Three hordes of fanatics led on by him scoured the country, sparing neither a village nor a hut in their pillaging, massacring career. He advanced in person on the town of Sego, which was a long time threatened. In 1857 he worked up farther to the northward, and invested the fortification of Medina, built by the French on the bank of the river. This stronghold was defended by Paul Holl, who, for several months, without provisions or ammunition, held out until Colonel Faidherbe came to his relief. Al-Hadji and his bands then repassed the Senegal, and reappeared in the Kaarta, continuing their rapine and murder.–Well, here below us is the very country in which he has found refuge with his hordes of banditti; and I assure you that it would not be a good thing to fall into his hands.”

“We shall not,” said Joe, “even if we have to throw overboard our clothes to save the Victoria.”

“We are not far from the river,” said the doctor, “but I foresee that our balloon will not be able to carry us beyond it.”

“Let us reach its banks, at all events,” said the Scot, “and that will be so much gained.”

“That is what we are trying to do,” rejoined Ferguson, “only that one thing makes me feel anxious.”

“What is that?”

“We shall have mountains to pass, and that will be difficult to do, since I cannot augment the ascensional force of the balloon, even with the greatest possible heat that I can produce.”

“Well, wait a bit,” said Kennedy, “and we shall see!”

“The poor Victoria!” sighed Joe; “I had got fond of her as the sailor does of his ship, and I’ll not give her up so easily. She may not be what she was at the start– granted; but we shouldn’t say a word against her. She has done us good service, and it would break my heart to desert her.”

“Be at your ease, Joe; if we leave her, it will be in spite of ourselves. She’ll serve us until she’s completely worn out, and I ask of her only twenty-four hours more!”

“Ah, she’s getting used up! She grows thinner and thinner,” said Joe, dolefully, while he eyed her. “Poor balloon!”

“Unless I am deceived,” said Kennedy, “there on the horizon are the mountains of which you were speaking, doctor.”

“Yes, there they are, indeed!” exclaimed the doctor, after having examined them through his spy-glass, “and they look very high. We shall have some trouble in crossing them.”

“Can we not avoid them?”

“I am afraid not, Dick. See what an immense space they occupy–nearly one-half of the horizon!”

“They even seem to shut us in,” added Joe. “They are gaining on both our right and our left.”

“We must then pass over them.”

These obstacles, which threatened such imminent peril, seemed to approach with extreme rapidity, or, to speak more accurately, the wind, which was very fresh, was hurrying the balloon toward the sharp peaks. So rise it must, or be dashed to pieces.

“Let us empty our tank of water,” said the doctor, “and keep only enough for one day.”

“There it goes,” shouted Joe.

“Does the balloon rise at all?” asked Kennedy.

“A little–some fifty feet,” replied the doctor, who kept his eyes fixed on the barometer. “But that is not enough.”

In truth the lofty peaks were starting up so swiftly before the travellers that they seemed to be rushing down upon them. The balloon was far from rising above them. She lacked an elevation of more than five hundred feet more.

The stock of water for the cylinder was also thrown overboard and only a few pints were retained, but still all this was not enough.

“We must pass them though!” urged the doctor.

“Let us throw out the tanks–we have emptied them.” said Kennedy.

“Over with them!”

“There they go!” panted Joe. “But it’s hard to see ourselves dropping off this way by piecemeal.”

“Now, for your part, Joe, make no attempt to sacrifice yourself as you did the other day! Whatever happens, swear to me that you will not leave us!”

“Have no fears, my master, we shall not be separated.”

The Victoria had ascended some hundred and twenty feet, but the crest of the mountain still towered above it. It was an almost perpendicular ridge that ended in a regular wall rising abruptly in a straight line. It still rose more than two hundred feet over the aeronauts.

“In ten minutes,” said the doctor to himself, “our car will be dashed against those rocks unless we succeed in passing them!”

“Well, doctor?” queried Joe.

“Keep nothing but our pemmican, and throw out all the heavy meat.”

Thereupon the balloon was again lightened by some fifty pounds, and it rose very perceptibly, but that was of little consequence, unless it got above the line of the mountain-tops. The situation was terrifying. The Victoria was rushing on with great rapidity. They could feel that she would be dashed to pieces–that the shock would be fearful.

The doctor glanced around him in the car. It was nearly empty.

“If needs be, Dick, hold yourself in readiness to throw over your fire-arms!”

“Sacrifice my fire-arms?” repeated the sportsman, with intense feeling.

“My friend, I ask it; it will be absolutely necessary!”

“Samuel! Doctor!”

“Your guns, and your stock of powder and ball might cost us our lives.”

“We are close to it!” cried Joe.

Sixty feet! The mountain still overtopped the balloon by sixty feet.

Joe took the blankets and other coverings and tossed them out; then, without a word to Kennedy, he threw over several bags of bullets and lead.

The balloon went up still higher; it surmounted the dangerous ridge, and the rays of the sun shone upon its uppermost extremity; but the car was still below the level of certain broken masses of rock, against which it would inevitably be dashed.

“Kennedy! Kennedy! throw out your fire-arms, or we are lost!” shouted the doctor.

“Wait, sir; wait one moment!” they heard Joe exclaim, and, looking around, they saw Joe disappear over the edge of the balloon.

“Joe! Joe!” cried Kennedy.

“Wretched man!” was the doctor’s agonized expression.

The flat top of the mountain may have had about twenty feet in breadth at this point, and, on the other side, the slope presented a less declivity. The car just touched the level of this plane, which happened to be quite even, and it glided over a soil composed of sharp pebbles that grated as it passed.

“We’re over it! we’re over it! we’re clear!” cried out an exulting voice that made Ferguson’s heart leap to his throat.

The daring fellow was there, grasping the lower rim of the car, and running afoot over the top of the mountain, thus lightening the balloon of his whole weight. He had to hold on with all his strength, too, for it was likely to escape his grasp at any moment.

When he had reached the opposite declivity, and the abyss was before him, Joe, by a vigorous effort, hoisted himself from the ground, and, clambering up by the cordage, rejoined his friends.

“That was all!” he coolly ejaculated.

“My brave Joe! my friend!” said the doctor, with deep emotion.

“Oh! what I did,” laughed the other, “was not for you; it was to save Mr. Kennedy’s rifle. I owed him that good turn for the affair with the Arab! I like to pay my debts, and now we are even,” added he, handing to the sportsman his favorite weapon. “I’d feel very badly to see you deprived of it.”

Kennedy heartily shook the brave fellow’s hand, without being able to utter a word.

The Victoria had nothing to do now but to descend. That was easy enough, so that she was soon at a height of only two hundred feet from the ground, and was then in equilibrium. The surface seemed very much broken as though by a convulsion of nature. It presented numerous inequalities, which would have been very difficult to avoid during the night with a balloon that could no longer be controlled. Evening was coming on rapidly, and, notwithstanding his repugnance, the doctor had to make up his mind to halt until morning.

“We’ll now look for a favorable stopping-place,” said he.

“Ah!” replied Kennedy, “you have made up your mind, then, at last?”

“Yes, I have for a long time been thinking over a plan which we’ll try to put into execution; it is only six o’clock in the evening, and we shall have time enough. Throw out your anchors, Joe!”

Joe immediately obeyed, and the two anchors dangled below the balloon.

“I see large forests ahead of us,” said the doctor; “we are going to sweep along their tops, and we shall grapple to some tree, for nothing would make me think of passing the night below, on the ground.”

“But can we not descend?” asked Kennedy.

“To what purpose? I repeat that it would be dangerous for us to separate, and, besides, I claim your help for a difficult piece of work.”

The Victoria, which was skimming along the tops of immense forests, soon came to a sharp halt. Her anchors had caught, and, the wind falling as dusk came on, she remained motionlessly suspended above a vast field of verdure, formed by the tops of a forest of sycamores.

CHAPTER FORTY-SECOND.

A Struggle of Generosity.–The Last Sacrifice.–The Dilating Apparatus. –Joe’s Adroitness.–Midnight.–The Doctor’s Watch.–Kennedy’s Watch. –The Latter falls asleep at his Post.–The Fire.–The Howlings of the Natives.–Out of Range.

Doctor Ferguson’s first care was to take his bearings by stellar observation, and he discovered that he was scarcely twenty-five miles from Senegal.

“All that we can manage to do, my friends,” said he, after having pointed his map, “is to cross the river; but, as there is neither bridge nor boat, we must, at all hazards, cross it with the balloon, and, in order to do that, we must still lighten up.”

“But I don’t exactly see how we can do that?” replied Kennedy, anxious about his fire-arms, “unless one of us makes up his mind to sacrifice himself for the rest,–that is, to stay behind, and, in my turn, I claim that honor.”

“You, indeed!” remonstrated Joe; “ain’t I used to–“

“The question now is, not to throw ourselves out of the car, but simply to reach the coast of Africa on foot. I am a first-rate walker, a good sportsman, and–“

“I’ll never consent to it!” insisted Joe.

“Your generous rivalry is useless, my brave friends,” said Ferguson; “I trust that we shall not come to any such extremity: besides, if we did, instead of separating, we should keep together, so as to make our way across the country in company.”

“That’s the talk,” said Joe; “a little tramp won’t do us any harm.”

“But before we try that,” resumed the doctor, “we must employ a last means of lightening the balloon.”

“What will that be? I should like to see it,” said Kennedy, incredulously.

“We must get rid of the cylinder-chests, the spiral, and the Buntzen battery. Nine hundred pounds make a rather heavy load to carry through the air.”

“But then, Samuel, how will you dilate your gas?”

“I shall not do so at all. We’ll have to get along without it.”

“But–“

“Listen, my friends: I have calculated very exactly the amount of ascensional force left to us, and it is sufficient to carry us every one with the few objects that remain. We shall make in all a weight of hardly five hundred pounds, including the two anchors which I desire to keep.”

“Dear doctor, you know more about the matter than we do; you are the sole judge of the situation. Tell us what we ought to do, and we will do it.”

“I am at your orders, master,” added Joe.

“I repeat, my friends, that however serious the decision may appear, we must sacrifice our apparatus.”

“Let it go, then!” said Kennedy, promptly.

“To work!” said Joe.

It was no easy job. The apparatus had to be taken down piece by piece. First, they took out the mixing reservoir, then the one belonging to the cylinder, and lastly the tank in which the decomposition of the water was effected. The united strength of all three travellers was required to detach these reservoirs from the bottom of the car in which they had been so firmly secured; but Kennedy was so strong, Joe so adroit, and the doctor so ingenious, that they finally succeeded. The different pieces were thrown out, one after the other, and they disappeared below, making huge gaps in the foliage of the sycamores.

“The black fellows will be mightily astonished,” said Joe, “at finding things like those in the woods; they’ll make idols of them!”

The next thing to be looked after was the displacement of the pipes that were fastened in the balloon and connected with the spiral. Joe succeeded in cutting the caoutchouc jointings above the car, but when he came to the pipes he found it more difficult to disengage them, because they were held by their upper extremity and fastened by wires to the very circlet of the valve.

Then it was that Joe showed wonderful adroitness. In his naked feet, so as not to scratch the covering, he succeeded by the aid of the network, and in spite of the oscillations of the balloon, in climbing to the upper extremity, and after a thousand difficulties, in holding on with one hand to that slippery surface, while he detached the outside screws that secured the pipes in their place. These were then easily taken out, and drawn away by the lower end, which was hermetically sealed by means of a strong ligature.

The Victoria, relieved of this considerable weight, rose upright in the air and tugged strongly at the anchor-rope.

About midnight this work ended without accident, but at the cost of most severe exertion, and the trio partook of a luncheon of pemmican and cold punch, as the doctor had no more fire to place at Joe’s disposal.

Besides, the latter and Kennedy were dropping off their feet with fatigue.

“Lie down, my friends, and get some rest,” said the doctor. “I’ll take the first watch; at two o’clock I’ll waken Kennedy; at four, Kennedy will waken Joe, and at six we’ll start; and may Heaven have us in its keeping for this last day of the trip!”

Without waiting to be coaxed, the doctor’s two companions stretched themselves at the bottom of the car and dropped into profound slumber on the instant.

The night was calm. A few clouds broke against the last quarter of the moon, whose uncertain rays scarcely pierced the darkness. Ferguson, resting his elbows on the rim of the car, gazed attentively around him. He watched with close attention the dark screen of foliage that spread beneath him, hiding the ground from his view. The least noise aroused his suspicions, and he questioned even the slightest rustling of the leaves.

He was in that mood which solitude makes more keenly felt, and during which vague terrors mount to the brain. At the close of such a journey, after having surmounted so many obstacles, and at the moment of touching the goal, one’s fears are more vivid, one’s emotions keener. The point of arrival seems to fly farther from our gaze.

Moreover, the present situation had nothing very consolatory about it. They were in the midst of a barbarous country, and dependent upon a vehicle that might fail them at any moment. The doctor no longer counted implicitly on his balloon; the time had gone by when he manoevred it boldly because he felt sure of it.

Under the influence of these impressions, the doctor, from time to time, thought that he heard vague sounds in the vast forests around him; he even fancied that he saw a swift gleam of fire shining between the trees. He looked sharply and turned his night-glass toward the spot; but there was nothing to be seen, and the profoundest silence appeared to return.

He had, no doubt, been under the dominion of a mere hallucination. He continued to listen, but without hearing the slightest noise. When his watch had expired, he woke Kennedy, and, enjoining upon him to observe the extremest vigilance, took his place beside Joe, and fell sound asleep.

Kennedy, while still rubbing his eyes, which he could scarcely keep open, calmly lit his pipe. He then ensconced himself in a corner, and began to smoke vigorously by way of keeping awake.

The most absolute silence reigned around him; a light wind shook the tree-tops and gently rocked the car, inviting the hunter to taste the sleep that stole over him in spite of himself. He strove hard to resist it, and repeatedly opened his eyes to plunge into the outer darkness one of those looks that see nothing; but at last, yielding to fatigue, he sank back and slumbered.

How long he had been buried in this stupor he knew not, but he was suddenly aroused from it by a strange, unexpected crackling sound.

He rubbed his eyes and sprang to his feet. An intense glare half-blinded him and heated his cheek–the forest was in flames!

“Fire! fire!” he shouted, scarcely comprehending what had happened.

His two companions started up in alarm.

“What’s the matter?” was the doctor’s immediate exclamation.

“Fire!” said Joe. “But who could–“

At this moment loud yells were heard under the foliage, which was now illuminated as brightly as the day.

“Ah! the savages!” cried Joe again; “they have set fire to the forest so as to be the more certain of burning us up.”

“The Talabas! Al-Hadji’s marabouts, no doubt,” said the doctor.

A circle of fire hemmed the Victoria in; the crackling of the dry wood mingled with the hissing and sputtering of the green branches; the clambering vines, the foliage, all the living part of this vegetation, writhed in the destructive element. The eye took in nothing but one vast ocean of flame; the large trees stood forth in black relief in this huge furnace, their branches covered with glowing coals, while the whole blazing mass, the entire conflagration, was reflected on the clouds, and the travellers could fancy themselves enveloped in a hollow globe of fire.

“Let us escape to the ground!” shouted Kennedy, “it is our only chance of safety!”

But Ferguson checked him with a firm grasp, and, dashing at the anchor-rope, severed it with one well-directed blow of his hatchet. Meanwhile, the flames, leaping up at the balloon, already quivered on its illuminated sides; but the Victoria, released from her fastenings, spun upward a thousand feet into the air.

Frightful yells resounded through the forest, along with the report of fire-arms, while the balloon, caught in a current of air that rose with the dawn of day, was borne to the westward.

It was now four o’clock in the morning.

CHAPTER FORTY-THIRD.

The Talabas.–The Pursuit.–A Devastated Country.–The Wind begins to fall.–The Victoria sinks.–The last of the Provisions.–The Leaps of the Balloon.–A Defence with Fire-arms.–The Wind freshens.–The Senegal River.–The Cataracts of Gouina.–The Hot Air.–The Passage of the River.

“Had we not taken the precaution to lighten the balloon yesterday evening, we should have been lost beyond redemption,” said the doctor, after a long silence.

“See what’s gained by doing things at the right time!” replied Joe. “One gets out of scrapes then, and nothing is more natural.”

“We are not out of danger yet,” said the doctor.

“What do you still apprehend?” queried Kennedy. “The balloon can’t descend without your permission, and even were it to do so–“

“Were it to do so, Dick? Look!”

They had just passed the borders of the forest, and the three friends could see some thirty mounted men clad in broad pantaloons and the floating bournouses. They were armed, some with lances, and others with long muskets, and they were following, on their quick, fiery little steeds, the direction of the balloon, which was moving at only moderate speed.

When they caught sight of the aeronauts, they uttered savage cries, and brandished their weapons. Anger and menace could be read upon their swarthy faces, made more ferocious by thin but bristling beards. Meanwhile they galloped along without difficulty over the low levels and gentle declivities that lead down to the Senegal.

“It is, indeed, they!” said the doctor; “the cruel Talabas! the ferocious marabouts of Al-Hadji! I would rather find myself in the middle of the forest encircled by wild beasts than fall into the hands of these banditti.”

“They haven’t a very obliging look!” assented Kennedy; “and they are rough, stalwart fellows.”

“Happily those brutes can’t fly,” remarked Joe; “and that’s something.”

“See,” said Ferguson, “those villages in ruins, those huts burned down–that is their work! Where vast stretches of cultivated land were once seen, they have brought barrenness and devastation.”

“At all events, however,” interposed Kennedy, “they can’t overtake us; and, if we succeed in putting the river between us and them, we are safe.”

“Perfectly, Dick,” replied Ferguson; “but we must not fall to the ground!” and, as he said this, he glanced at the barometer.

“In any case, Joe,” added Kennedy, “it would do us no harm to look to our fire-arms.”

“No harm in the world, Mr. Dick! We are lucky that we didn’t scatter them along the road.”

“My rifle!” said the sportsman. “I hope that I shall never be separated from it!”

And so saying, Kennedy loaded the pet piece with the greatest care, for he had plenty of powder and ball remaining.

“At what height are we?” he asked the doctor.

“About seven hundred and fifty feet; but we no longer have the power of seeking favorable currents, either going up or coming down. We are at the mercy of the balloon!”

“That is vexatious!” rejoined Kennedy. “The wind is poor; but if we had come across a hurricane like some of those we met before, these vile brigands would have been out of sight long ago.”

“The rascals follow us at their leisure,” said Joe. “They’re only at a short gallop. Quite a nice little ride!”

“If we were within range,” sighed the sportsman, “I should amuse myself with dismounting a few of them.”

“Exactly,” said the doctor; “but then they would have you within range also, and our balloon would offer only too plain a target to the bullets from their long guns; and, if they were to make a hole in it, I leave you to judge what our situation would be!”

The pursuit of the Talabas continued all morning; and by eleven o’clock the aeronauts had made scarcely fifteen miles to the westward.

The doctor was anxiously watching for the least cloud on the horizon. He feared, above all things, a change in the atmosphere. Should he be thrown back toward the Niger, what would become of him? Besides, he remarked that the balloon tended to fall considerably. Since the start, he had already lost more than three hundred feet, and the Senegal must be about a dozen miles distant. At his present rate of speed, he could count upon travelling only three hours longer.

At this moment his attention was attracted by fresh cries. The Talabas appeared to be much excited, and were spurring their horses.

The doctor consulted his barometer, and at once discovered the cause of these symptoms.

“Are we descending?” asked Kennedy.

“Yes!” replied the doctor.

“The mischief!” thought Joe

In the lapse of fifteen minutes the Victoria was only one hundred and fifty feet above the ground; but the wind was much stronger than before.

The Talabas checked their horses, and soon a volley of musketry pealed out on the air.

“Too far, you fools!” bawled Joe. “I think it would be well to keep those scamps at a distance.”

And, as he spoke, he aimed at one of the horsemen who was farthest to the front, and fired. The Talaba fell headlong, and, his companions halting for a moment, the balloon gained upon them.

“They are prudent!” said Kennedy.

“Because they think that they are certain to take us,” replied the doctor; “and, they will succeed if we descend much farther. We must, absolutely, get higher into the air.”

“What can we throw out?” asked Joe.

“All that remains of our stock of pemmican; that will be thirty pounds less weight to carry.”

“Out it goes, sir!” said Joe, obeying orders.

The car, which was now almost touching the ground, rose again, amid the cries of the Talabas; but, half an hour later, the balloon was again falling rapidly, because the gas was escaping through the pores of the covering.

Ere long the car was once more grazing the soil, and Al-Hadji’s black riders rushed toward it; but, as frequently happens in like cases, the balloon had scarcely touched the surface ere it rebounded, and only came down again a mile away.

“So we shall not escape!” said Kennedy, between his teeth.

“Throw out our reserved store of brandy, Joe,” cried the doctor; “our instruments, and every thing that has any weight, even to our last anchor, because go they must!”

Joe flung out the barometers and thermometers, but all that amounted to little; and the balloon, which had risen for an instant, fell again toward the ground.

The Talabas flew toward it, and at length were not more than two hundred paces away.

“Throw out the two fowling-pieces!” shouted Ferguson.

“Not without discharging them, at least,” responded the sportsman; and four shots in quick succession struck the thick of the advancing group of horsemen. Four Talabas fell, amid the frantic howls and imprecations of their comrades.

The Victoria ascended once more, and made some enormous leaps, like a huge gum-elastic ball, bounding and rebounding through the air. A strange sight it was to see these unfortunate men endeavoring to escape by those huge aerial strides, and seeming, like the giant Antaeus, to receive fresh strength every time they touched the earth. But this situation had to terminate. It was now nearly noon; the Victoria was getting empty and exhausted, and assuming a more and more elongated form every instant. Its outer covering was becoming flaccid, and floated loosely in the air, and the folds of the silk rustled and grated on each other.

“Heaven abandons us!” said Kennedy; “we have to fall!”

Joe made no answer. He kept looking intently at his master.

“No!” said the latter; “we have more than one hundred and fifty pounds yet to throw out.”

“What can it be, then?” said Kennedy, thinking that the doctor must be going mad.

“The car!” was his reply; “we can cling to the network. There we can hang on in the meshes until we reach the river. Quick! quick!”

And these daring men did not hesitate a moment to avail themselves of this last desperate means of escape. They clutched the network, as the doctor directed, and Joe, holding on by one hand, with the other cut the cords that suspended the car; and the latter dropped to the ground just as the balloon was sinking for the last time.

“Hurrah! hurrah!” shouted the brave fellow exultingly, as the Victoria, once more relieved, shot up again to a height of three hundred feet.

The Talabas spurred their horses, which now came tearing on at a furious gallop; but the balloon, falling in with a much more favorable wind, shot ahead of them, and was rapidly carried toward a hill that stretched across the horizon to the westward. This was a circumstance favorable to the aeronauts, because they could rise over the hill, while Al-Hadji’s horde had to diverge to the northward in order to pass this obstacle.

The three friends still clung to the network. They had been able to fasten it under their feet, where it had formed a sort of swinging pocket.

Suddenly, after they had crossed the hill, the doctor exclaimed: “The river! the river! the Senegal, my friends!”

And about two miles ahead of them, there was indeed the river rolling along its broad mass of water, while the farther bank, which was low and fertile, offered a sure refuge, and a place favorable for a descent.

“Another quarter of an hour,” said Ferguson, “and we are saved!”

But it was not to happen thus; the empty balloon descended slowly upon a tract almost entirely bare of vegetation. It was made up of long slopes and stony plains, a few bushes and some coarse grass, scorched by the sun.

The Victoria touched the ground several times, and rose again, but her rebound was diminishing in height and length. At the last one, it caught by the upper part of the network in the lofty branches of a baobab, the only tree that stood there, solitary and alone, in the midst of the waste.

“It’s all over,” said Kennedy.

“And at a hundred paces only from the river!” groaned Joe.

The three hapless aeronauts descended to the ground, and the doctor drew his companions toward the Senegal.

At this point the river sent forth a prolonged roaring; and when Ferguson reached its bank, he recognized the falls of Gouina. But not a boat, not a living creature was to be seen. With a breadth of two thousand feet, the Senegal precipitates itself for a height of one hundred and fifty, with a thundering reverberation. It ran, where they saw it, from east to west, and the line of rocks that barred its course extended from north to south. In the midst of the falls, rocks of strange forms started up like huge ante-diluvian animals, petrified there amid the waters.

The impossibility of crossing this gulf was self-evident, and Kennedy could not restrain a gesture of despair.

But Dr. Ferguson, with an energetic accent of undaunted daring, exclaimed–

“All is not over!”

“I knew it,” said Joe, with that confidence in his master which nothing could ever shake.

The sight of the dried-up grass had inspired the doctor with a bold idea. It was the last chance of escape. He led his friends quickly back to where they had left the covering of the balloon.

“We have at least an hour’s start of those banditti,” said he; “let us lose no time, my friends; gather a quantity of this dried grass; I want a hundred pounds of it, at least.”

“For what purpose?” asked Kennedy, surprised.

“I have no more gas; well, I’ll cross the river with hot air!”

“Ah, doctor,” exclaimed Kennedy, “you are, indeed, a great man!”

Joe and Kennedy at once went to work, and soon had an immense pile of dried grass heaped up near the baobab.

In the mean time, the doctor had enlarged the orifice of the balloon by cutting it open at the lower end. He then was very careful to expel the last remnant of hydrogen through the valve, after which he heaped up a quantity of grass under the balloon, and set fire to it.

It takes but a little while to inflate a balloon with hot air. A head of one hundred and eighty degrees is sufficient to diminish the weight of the air it contains to the extent of one-half, by rarefying it. Thus, the Victoria quickly began to assume a more rounded form. There was no lack of grass; the fire was kept in full blast by the doctor’s assiduous efforts, and the balloon grew fuller every instant.

It was then a quarter to four o’clock.

At this moment the band of Talabas reappeared about two miles to the northward, and the three friends could hear their cries, and the clatter of their horses galloping at full speed.

“In twenty minutes they will be here!” said Kennedy.

“More grass! more grass, Joe! In ten minutes we shall have her full of hot air.”

“Here it is, doctor!”

The Victoria was now two-thirds inflated.

“Come, my friends, let us take hold of the network, as we did before.”

“All right!” they answered together.

In about ten minutes a few jerking motions by the balloon indicated that it was disposed to start again. The Talabas were approaching. They were hardly five hundred paces away.

“Hold on fast!” cried Ferguson.

“Have no fear, master–have no fear!”

And the doctor, with his foot pushed another heap of grass upon the fire.

With this the balloon, now completely inflated by the increased temperature, moved away, sweeping the branches of the baobab in her flight.

“We’re off!” shouted Joe.

A volley of musketry responded to his exclamation. A bullet even ploughed his shoulder; but Kennedy, leaning over, and discharging his rifle with one hand, brought another of the enemy to the ground.

Cries of fury exceeding all description hailed the departure of the balloon, which had at once ascended nearly eight hundred feet. A swift current caught and swept it along with the most alarming oscillations, while the intrepid doctor and his friends saw the gulf of the cataracts yawning below them.

Ten minutes later, and without having exchanged a word, they descended gradually toward the other bank of the river.

There, astonished, speechless, terrified, stood a group of men clad in the French uniform. Judge of their amazement when they saw the balloon rise from the right bank of the river. They had well-nigh taken it for some celestial phenomenon, but their officers, a lieutenant of marines and a naval ensign, having seen mention made of Dr. Ferguson’s daring expedition, in the European papers, quickly explained the real state of the case.

The balloon, losing its inflation little by little, settled with the daring travellers still clinging to its network; but it was doubtful whether it would reach the land. At once some of the brave Frenchmen rushed into the water and caught the three aeronauts in their arms just as the Victoria fell at the distance of a few fathoms from the left bank of the Senegal.

“Dr. Ferguson!” exclaimed the lieutenant.

“The same, sir,” replied the doctor, quietly, “and his two friends.”

The Frenchmen escorted our travellers from the river, while the balloon, half-empty, and borne away by a swift current, sped on, to plunge, like a huge bubble, headlong with the waters of the Senegal, into the cataracts of Gouina.

“The poor Victoria!” was Joe’s farewell remark.

The doctor could not restrain a tear, and extending his hands his two friends wrung them silently with that deep emotion which requires no spoken words.

CHAPTER FORTY-FOURTH.

Conclusion.–The Certificate.–The French Settlements.–The Post of Medina.–The Basilic.–Saint Louis.–The English Frigate.–The Return to London.

The expedition upon the bank of the river had been sent by the governor of Senegal. It consisted of two officers, Messrs. Dufraisse, lieutenant of marines, and Rodamel, naval ensign, and with these were a sergeant and seven soldiers. For two days they had been engaged in reconnoitring the most favorable situation for a post at Gouina, when they became witnesses of Dr. Ferguson’s arrival.

The warm greetings and felicitations of which our travellers were the recipients may be imagined. The Frenchmen, and they alone, having had ocular proof of the accomplishment of the daring project, naturally became Dr. Ferguson’s witnesses. Hence the doctor at once asked them to give their official testimony of his arrival at the cataracts of Gouina.

“You would have no objection to signing a certificate of the fact, would you?” he inquired of Lieutenant Dufraisse.

“At your orders!” the latter instantly replied.

The Englishmen were escorted to a provisional post established on the bank of the river, where they found the most assiduous attention, and every thing to supply their wants. And there the following certificate was drawn up in the terms in which it appears to-day, in the archives of the Royal Geographical Society of London:

“We, the undersigned, do hereby declare that, on the day herein mentioned, we witnessed the arrival of Dr. Ferguson and his two companions, Richard Kennedy and Joseph Wilson, clinging to the cordage and network of a balloon, and that the said balloon fell at a distance of a few paces from us into the river, and being swept away by the current was lost in the cataracts of Gouina. In testimony whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and seals beside those of the persons hereinabove named, for the information of all whom it may concern.

“Done at the Cataracts of Gouina, on the 24th of May, 1862.
“(Signed), “SAMUEL FERGUSON
“RICHARD KENNEDY,
“JOSEPH WILSON,
“DUFRAISSE, Lieutenant of Marines, “RODAMEL, Naval Ensign,
“DUFAYS, Sergeant,
“FLIPPEAU, MAYOR, }
“PELISSIER, LOROIS, } Privates.” RASCAGNET, GUIL- }
LON, LEBEL, }

Here ended the astonishing journey of Dr. Ferguson and his brave companions, as vouched for by undeniable testimony; and they found themselves among friends in the midst of most hospitable tribes, whose relations with the French settlements are frequent and amicable.

They had arrived at Senegal on Saturday, the 24th of May, and on the 27th of the same month they reached the post of Medina, situated a little farther to the north, but on the river.

There the French officers received them with open arms, and lavished upon them all the resources of their hospitality. Thus aided, the doctor and his friends were enabled to embark almost immediately on the small steamer called the Basilic, which ran down to the mouth of the river.

Two weeks later, on the 10th of June, they arrived at Saint Louis, where the governor gave them a magnificent reception, and they recovered completely from their excitement and fatigue.

Besides, Joe said to every one who chose to listen:

That was a stupid trip of ours, after all, and I wouldn’t advise any body who is greedy for excitement to undertake it. It gets very tiresome at the last, and if it hadn’t been for the adventures on Lake Tchad and at the Senegal River, I do believe that we’d have died of yawning.”

An English frigate was just about to sail, and the three travellers procured passage on board of her. On the 25th of June they arrived at Portsmouth, and on the next day at London.

We will not describe the reception they got from the Royal Geographical Society, nor the intense curiosity and consideration of which they became the objects. Kennedy set off, at once, for Edinburgh, with his famous rifle, for he was in haste to relieve the anxiety of his faithful old housekeeper.

The doctor and his devoted Joe remained the same men that we have known them, excepting that one change took place at their own suggestion.

They ceased to be master and servant, in order to become bosom friends.

The journals of all Europe were untiring in their praises of the bold explorers, and the Daily Telegraph struck off an edition of three hundred and seventy-seven thousand copies on the day when it published a sketch of the trip.

Doctor Ferguson, at a public meeting of the Royal Geographical Society, gave a recital of his journey through the air, and obtained for himself and his companions the golden medal set apart to reward the most remarkable exploring expedition of the year 1862.

———-

The first result of Dr. Ferguson’s expedition was to establish, in the most precise manner, the facts and geographical surveys reported by Messrs. Barth, Burton, Speke, and others. Thanks to the still more recent expeditions of Messrs. Speke and Grant, De Heuglin and Muntzinger, who have been ascending to the sources of the Nile, and penetrating to the centre of Africa, we shall be enabled ere long to verify, in turn, the discoveries of Dr. Ferguson in that vast region comprised between the fourteenth and thirty-third degrees of east longitude.