These sheet-iron chests were embedded in the car in such a way as to take up the least possible amount of space. The spiral, which was not to be adjusted until some future moment, was packed up, separately, along with a very strong Buntzen electric battery. This apparatus had been so ingeniously combined that it did not weigh more than seven hundred pounds, even including twenty-five gallons of water in another receptacle.

The instruments provided for the journey consisted of two barometers, two thermometers, two compasses, a sextant, two chronometers, an artificial horizon, and an altazimuth, to throw out the height of distant and inaccessible objects.

The Greenwich Observatory had placed itself at the doctor's disposal. The latter, however, did not intend to make experiments in physics; he merely wanted to be able to know in what direction he was passing, and to determine the position of the principal rivers, mountains, and towns.

He also provided himself with three thoroughly tested iron anchors, and a light but strong silk ladder fifty feet in length.

He at the same time carefully weighed his stores of provision, which consisted of tea, coffee, biscuit, salted meat, and pemmican, a preparation which comprises many nutritive elements in a small space. Besides a sufficient stock of pure brandy, he arranged two water-tanks, each of which contained twenty-two gallons.

The consumption of these articles would necessarily, little by little, diminish the weight to be sustained, for it must be remembered that the equilibrium of a balloon floating in the atmosphere is extremely sensitive. The loss of an almost insignificant weight suffices to produce a very noticeable displacement.

Nor did the doctor forget an awning to shelter the car, nor the coverings and blankets that were to be the bedding of the journey, nor some fowling pieces and rifles, with their requisite supply of powder and ball.

Here is the summing up of his various items, and their weight, as he computed it:

Ferguson........................... 135 pounds. Kennedy............................ 153 " Joe................................ 120 " Weight of the outside balloon...... 650 " Weight of the second balloon....... 510 " Car and network.................... 280 " Anchors, instruments, awnings, and sundry utensils, guns, coverings, etc................... 190 " Meat, pemmican, biscuits, tea, coffee, brandy................... 386 " Water.............................. 400 " Apparatus.......................... 700 " Weight of the hydrogen............. 276 " Ballast............................ 200 " ----- 4,000 pounds.

Such were the items of the four thousand pounds that Dr. Ferguson proposed to carry up with him. He took only two hundred pounds of ballast for "unforeseen emergencies," as he remarked, since otherwise he did not expect to use any, thanks to the peculiarity of his apparatus.

CHAPTER EIGHTH.

Joe's Importance.--The Commander of the Resolute.--Kennedy's Arsenal.--Mutual Amenities.--The Farewell Dinner.--Departure on the 21st of February.--The Doctor's Scientific Sessions.-- Duveyrier.--Livingstone.--Details of the Aerial Voyage.--Kennedy silenced.

About the 10th of February, the preparations were pretty well completed; and the balloons, firmly secured, one within the other, were altogether finished. They had been subjected to a powerful pneumatic pressure in all parts, and the test gave excellent evidence of their solidity and of the care applied in their construction.

Joe hardly knew what he was about, with delight. He trotted incessantly to and fro between his home in Greek Street, and the Mitchell establishment, always full of business, but always in the highest spirits, giving details of the affair to people who did not even ask him, so proud was he, above all things, of being permitted to accompany his master.

Please Support the Classic Literature Library

Buy Jules Verne Books from Amazon.com

Five Weeks in a Balloon Page 21

French Authors

Jules Verne

Free Books in the public domain from the Classic Literature Library ©

Jules Verne
French Authors
All Pages of This Book