It was a mysterious inexplicable dive. The thing it seemed without rhyme or reason was kicking up its heels in the air. The bang followed immediately and I perceived I was falling rapidly.
I was too much taken by surprise to think of the proper cause of the report. I don't even know what I made of it. I was obsessed I suppose by that perpetual dread of the modern aeronaut, a flash between engine and balloon. Yet obviously I wasn't wrapped in flames. I ought to have realized instantly it wasn't that. I did at any rate, whatever other impressions there were, release the winding of the outer net and let the balloon expand again and that no doubt did something to break my fall. I don't remember doing that. Indeed all I do remember is the giddy effect upon the landscape of falling swiftly upon it down a flat spiral, the hurried rush of fields and trees and cottages on my left shoulder and the overhung feeling as if the whole apparatus was pressing down the top of my head. I didn't stop or attempt to stop the screw. That was going on swish, swish, swish all the time.
Cothope really knows more about the fall than I do. He describes the easterly start, the tilt, and the appearance and bursting of a sort of bladder aft. Then down I swooped, very swiftly but not nearly so steeply as I imagined I was doing. "Fifteen or twenty degrees," said Cothope, "to be exact." From him it was that I learnt that I let the nets loose again and so arrested my fall. He thinks I was more in control of myself than I remember. But I do not see why I should have forgotten so excellent a resolution. His impression is that I was really steering and trying to drop into the Farthing Down beeches. "You hit the trees," he said, "and the whole affair stood on its nose among