Chapter 8

At the alarm created by the uproar, the pedagogue, and the pedeseque, who had in the mean time been engaged in composing the books, had run out, and left the manuscript in hands, on the table. A wag stepping in, wrote an addition to a chapter. And coming back, the school-master resumed his labour , without observing it. The chapter in hands was that which gave an account of his ascent in a balloon; and the addition was as follows:

--"Passing a cloud, I put out my hand, and took a piece of it, and squeezed it like a sponge, and the water ran out. The sun went north about; but never set. At the distance of about fifty leagues above the earth, we saw a white bird sitting on the corner of a cloud. We took it to be one of Mahomet’s Pigeons. If we had had a gun we could have shot it. Passing by the moon we saw a man selling lands at auction. He wished us to give a bid; but we told him, we had not come to buy lands in the moon. We came across a comet, but it was asleep. It looked like a terrapin; but had a tail like a Fox.

"The balloon struck a wasp’s nest, and we were in danger of the stings.

"Coming near a hail bank, we filled a hat. The hail stones were about as large as a pigeon’s egg.

"A thousand miles above the earth we passed through a field of turkey buzzards. This would seem to be their region; and accounts for the circumstance, that no one has ever found a nest of one of these. Their rookeries are out of sight, in the atmosphere.

"As we approached one of the heavenly bodies. --It appeared like an island. We struck upon a planet, but Blanchard got out and pushed off the balloon. We supposed it to be Mercury, as we heard orators haranguing, and a multitude of tongues.

"There were marriages going on in Venus, and in Mars, we heard the drums beat.

"In Jupiter we heard swearing, Proh! Jupiter; O! Jupiter! by Jupiter.

"We meant to have a pull at one of Saturn’s rings, but were blown off the coast, and found ourselves in the latitude of Herchell. Provisions failing, we thought proper to shape our course to the earth again.

"The first thing we saw was the forest of Ardennes, which appeared like a shamrock; the Pyrenean mountains seemed a bed of parsley, and the Atlantic Ocean, was about as large as Loch Swilly.

"Within about a furlong of the earth, Blanchard gave me the parachute, and I came down. It was in a field of corn among reapers. They took me for a sheep, and thought to have mutton; but finding their mistake, they invited me to breakfast.--

Teague with his amanuensis returning, resumed his memoir, not observing the interpolation which, in the mean time had been made. Some have thought it was the best chapter in it. At least it is the most extravagant.