116 MEMORIES OF MY LIFE
still. I was surprised at feeling no giddiness, but the car is so deep and the swelling of the balloon so voluminous that there is always much to steady the eye. The chief cause of giddiness when standing on a small isolated platform seems to lie in the absence of anything for the eye to "hold on by," meaning by this, anything that shows a sensible change of perspective, however slightly the body may move. Consciousness of altering one's position is due to two things, the change in perspective, and the sensations arising in the well-known " semicircular canals " of the ear. When the latter sensation is present unaccompanied by the former, mental distress results.
The balloon was open below, and owing perhaps to some optical illusion, it seemed to be filled with a singularly pure and beautiful medium. The quietness and sense of repose were the chief feelings that I experienced ; next the clearness with which some noises, such as the barkings of dogs, reached us when we were still at a considerable height. Besides myself, there were rfly the aeronalrt and his I the former alternately boisterous and maudlin. e told me that his wife frequently dreamed that he would come to an ill end, and so he did, breaking his thigh not long after in a balloon descent and dying from it. The "bump-bag " and the grapnel were new to me. The bump-bag is useful in permitting a quick descent to be made in order to catch a particular field in the line of drift. More gas is let out than is necessary for a normal descent, then when the car is still some feet above the ground the bump-bag rests on it, its weight is removed, and the lightened balloon descends slowly through those remaining few feet.