Our journey begins! A large crowd
gathered this morning in Berkeley Square
as we made our final preparations for
what is to be one of the most daring
expeditions ever undertaken.
Our vessel, which I have christened
Titania, consists of a strong wicker
basket borne aloft by a sealed balloon
containing 30,000 cubic feet of
hydrogen, an amount which, according to
my calculations, should be quite
sufficient to carry myself, Mr. Booby
and all our supplies and equipment.
Mr. Booby is travelling with me as a
last-minute replacement for Doctor Cox,
who was suddenly taken ill with a
serious case of the dreaded badly-bruised
knees just days before the launch.
Dressed in a huge, shapeless overcoat,
he cuts rather a strange
figure, but I am confident that he will
prove to be as good company as his
predecessor, and as competent an aeronaut
as he claims.
At eleven o' clock, amid cries of "Huzzah!"
I cut the ropes binding the
balloon to the earth and we soared aloft
on the first leg of our journey...
14th September 1876. Fujian province, China
I began to have my doubts about Mr.
Booby almost as soon as the balloon had
made its ascent from Berkeley Square. The
instant we left the Earth, Mr. Booby
got into such convulsions of nausea that
I began to doubt his credentials as a
balloonist, and as a suitable
replacement for poor Dr. Cox, who was
suddenly taken ill just days before our
Though I have expressed to him many times
the importance of keeping the weight of the
balloon down to a minimum, I am beginning to
suspect that Mr. Booby has, against my wishes, been
smuggling souvenirs of our journey into the
balloon under that great coat of his.
Only this morning I caught sight of him in
a marketplace, haggling over the price of
a particularly ugly vase.
He was not exactly a small man even before we
set out, and he seems to grow larger and larger
as our journey progresses. There is something
about that strange, mis-shapen coat of his that
arouses my suspicions.
26th June 1877. The Ecudorian Andes
Our situation is desperate. A fierce
wind from the south-west carries us ever
closer to the mouth of an erupting volcano.
If my calculations are correct (and there is
no reason to suppose otherwise) we are headed
directly for the mouth of Mount Cotopaxi, highest
volcano in the Americas!
Our altitude is twelve thousand feet, and, in
spite of all my efforts, I am unable to raise
the balloon any higher.
I have been forced to throw out all four
sandbags, our food and water supplies, our
first-aid kit, our compass, variometer and
theodolite, and yet still we are too low to safely
clear the volcano!
In a moment, I shall be compelled to throw out
this very log-book, along with the pencil I am writing
with, and all my other garments, in a last ditch
effort to gain the necessary altitude of
twenty thousand feet.
Mr. Booby assures me that he has disposed of all
unnecessary weight, and yet somehow I doubt his
veracity. If there is anything at all concealed
beneath that voluminous coat of his, I must
find it now and dispose of it over the side of the
basket, or we are both doomed!
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