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"a Terrible Situation."

"a Terrible Situation." image
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The following passage from Jules Verne's new wonder book, ' The Mysterious Island," now appearing serially in ocribner's Monthly, gives an idea of the apparently hopelessplight in which this author delights in placing bis héroes : A terrible situation, that of these unfortunates ! They were evidently no longer masters of the balloon. Their endeavors vyere fruitless ; the envelope of the air-ship decreased more and inore.- The fluid escaped without any possibility of retaining it. The descent was visibly accelerated, and, an hour after noon, the car was suspended not more than six hundred feet above the ooean. It was, in fact, impossible to prevent the flight of the gas, which escaped freely tfircugh alarge rent. in the saok of the balloon. By lightening the car of all the objects which it contained, the passengers had been able to prolong their suspension in the air for souie hours. But the inevitable catast"ophe could only be delayed, and if some land did not disclose itself ere nightfall, paesengerB, car and balloon would have fiually disappeared beneath the waves. The only maneuver still lpft to perform was accomplished at that moment. The balloon passei.gers were evidently energetic people wiio knew how tolook death in the face. Not a single murmur had been heard to escape from their lips. The car was only a kind of wicker case, unfit to float, and there was no possibility of' maintaining it on the surfaoe of the sea, if it feil there. At two o'clock the balloon was scarcely two hundred feet above the water. At that moment, a manly voice, that of one whose heart was inaccesible to fear, made itself heard. To that voice respond ■ ed no less energetic voices. " Is everything thrown out?" " if o, there is still ten thousand francs in gold." A heavy sack feil, at the same instant, into the sea. "Is the balloon rising again ?" " A little, but it will uot be long in falling back.'' " What is there left to throw away ?" " Nothing." "But there is! The car !" "Let us cling to the net, and into the sea with the car !" It wae indeed the last and only means of lightening lbo' air ship. The cords which held the car were cut, and after its fall the balloon ascended two thousand feet. The flve passengers had hoisted themselves into the net, above the ring, and supported theinselves in the labyrinth of meshes, looking down into the abyss. Every one knows with what static Rensibility balloonB are endowed. To throw out the lightest object is sufficient to provoke a toppling from a vertical line. - The apparatus, floating in the air, is like a balance, of mathematical precisión. One comprehends, then, how, when itislightened of a relatively considerable weight, tb toppling will be important and rupt. That is what happened on this occasion. But, after having poised itself an instant in the upper zones, the balloon began to redescend. The gas continued escaping from the rent, whioh it was impossible to repair. The passengers had done all that they could. Henceforth no human means could gav them. They had nothing more save the aid of God to count on. At four o'clock the balloon was only five hundred feet above the surface of the wavos. A sonorous barking was tíeard. A dog accoinpanied the passengers, and held himself embedded near his mister in tbe meshes of the net. " Top sees something I" cried one of the pasaengers. Theu, at the same instant, a strong voice was heard. "Land!


Old News
Michigan Argus