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118   MEMORIES OF MY LIFE

wine, utterly perplexed as to the character of the welcome he ought to offer. The aeronaut gulped the wine offered to him, declaring with much rigmarole that it was a scientific (!) ascent. I cowered, and was utterly ashamed. After a miserable hour's delay, and thanks chiefly to the exertions of the boy, a postchaise was procured, the balloon was packed into its own car together with all its gear, and the car was hoisted on the roof of the chaise. The boy insinuated himself somewhere, and the aeronaut and I reached London in the small hours of the morning. I was so afraid of meeting in society the ill-used master of the mansion that I determinedly abstained from finding out who he was. The moral that I drew from the trip is, that the ascent and travel in calm weather in a balloon is most delightful ; the return to earth most disagreeable, and dangerous in even a slight wind.

Among the many trifling events that occurred about that time, I may mention a yachting fiasco. I had a fancy to see Iceland, and, having had a little yachting experience on a brief third visit to Shetland, whither I and a companion sailed in an old Revenue cutter, hired I forget at what port, and being assured that with a similar vessel the trip might safely be

mmt.`ade, I went t() Rytle to hire one. 'fee ()W 11V1' (IF

a cutter that seemed suitable made no difficulty, so I hired it for a month. On arriving on board, in order to test the capabilities of the vessel and its crew, I told the captain to set sail to Hastings. He was suave, but pointed out the impossibility with the then wind and tide of getting there. I did not clearly understand his arguments, but answered, " Never mind ; it will suit me equally well to go in the opposite direction