HUNTING AND SHOOTING 117
We drifted for an hour or more in the quiet dim night, learning our course by watching what could be seen of the country below, for of course there is nothing in the balloon itself to tell whether it is moving backwards, forwards, or sideways. It drifts with the air, so relatively to the air it is perfectly still. When it was time to descend, the valve was opened and bits of torn-up paper thrown out, which dashed upwards, as it were. I n other words, we dashed downwards through them. At length we approached what the aeronaut thought would be a suitable field to descend upon, and let go the grapnel, which is a light but strong steel anchor with four pointed arms. It failed to catch hold, and we went drifting on towards a large
decorous family mansion, with hothouses by the side and a lawn in front ; sheep were placidly lying in the field. The horrid grapnel bobbed and scratched the ground among the sheep, fortunately without hooking one, and caught in the fence round the lawn. Then the valve was opened wide, letting out volumes of stk,kiiig g;;,,,, ; the nmks iii a neigiii uritag rookery which we had brushed on our way, were vociferous, the dogs everywhere about barked furiously, and the natives in the neighbouring village were awakened and ran to the scene.
I n the midst of the hubbub the hall door opened wide and let out a glare of light, in which a portly butler with two man-servants in livery appeared to be framed, looking horrified, as well they might be, by the sudden disorderly invasion of visitants from the sky. After some delay, we were invited to enter, and found the unhappy owner of the mansion in his diningroom by his uncleared late dessert, with decanters of