Page:Wonderful Balloon Ascents, 1870.djvu/200

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184
WONDERFUL BALLOON ASCENTS.

showing that there was no wind. Seven hours later Roziers, accompanied by his brother Romain, one of the constructors of the balloon, appeared in the gallery. A nobleman present threw a purse of 200 louis into the car, and was preparing to follow it and join in the adventure. Roziers forbade him to enter, gently but firmly.

"The experiment is too unsafe," he said, "for me to expose to danger the life of another."

"Finally," says a narrative of the time, "the Aero-Montgolfière rose in an imposing manner. The sound of cannon signalised the departure, the voyagers saluted the crowd, who responded with loud shouts. The balloon advanced until it began to traverse the sea, and every one with eyes fixed upon the fragile machine, regarded it with fear. It had traversed upwards of a league of its journey, and had reached the height of 700 feet above sea level, when a wind from the west drove it back toward the shore, after having been twenty-seven minutes in the air.

"At this moment the crowd beneath perceived that the voyagers were showing signs of alarm. They seemed suddenly to lower the grating of the Montgolfière. But it was too late. A violet flame appeared at the top of the balloon, then spread over the whole globe, and enveloped the Montgolfière and the voyagers. "The unfortunate men were suddenly precipitated from the clouds to the earth, in front of the Tour de Croy, upwards of a league from Boulogne, and 300 feet from the sea beach.

"The dead body of Roziers was found burnt in the gallery, many of the bones being broken. His brother was still breathing, but he was not able to speak, and in a few minutes he expired."

De Maisonfort, who, against his own will, was left on