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Home -> Jules Verne -> Five Weeks in a Balloon -> Chapter 44

Five Weeks in a Balloon - Chapter 44

1. Chapter 1

2. Chapter 2

3. Chapter 3

4. Chapter 4

5. Chapter 5

6. Chapter 6

7. Chapter 7

8. Chapter 8

9. Chapter 9

10. Chapter 10

11. Chapter 11

12. Chapter 12

13. Chapter 13

14. Chapter 14

15. Chapter 15

16. Chapter 16

17. Chapter 17

18. Chapter 18

19. Chapter 19

20. Chapter 20

21. Chapter 21

22. Chapter 22

23. Chapter 23

24. Chapter 24

25. Chapter 25

26. Chapter 26

27. Chapter 27

28. Chapter 28

29. Chapter 29

30. Chapter 30

31. Chapter 31

32. Chapter 32

33. Chapter 33

34. Chapter 34

35. Chapter 35

36. Chapter 36

37. Chapter 37

38. Chapter 38

39. Chapter 39

40. Chapter 40

41. Chapter 41

42. Chapter 42

43. Chapter 43

44. Chapter 44


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

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,
"DUFRAISSE, Lieutenant of Marines,
"RODAMEL, Naval Ensign,
"DUFAYS, Sergeant,
"PELISSIER, LOROIS, } Privates."

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

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.

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