“But to oblige him I at last got her down on the other side of the river, and a farmer ran out and seized the rope. While we were talking to him I was just telling him that, as the gas was running out of the neck of the balloon, maybe he’d better put out his cigar, when all of a sudden there was a terrific bang. The gas exploded and wrapped us in a sheet of flame, and the next minute some of the neighbors picked up me and Jones. Jones was roasted nearly to a crisp. Exciting, wasn’t it?
“And they took him over to the farmhouse, where we found that they had fished out Conly and were bringing him to. When he revived, they sent the invalid corps back to town in a wagon, Jones groaning all the way and I arguing with him to show that science requires her votaries to give up a little of their personal comfort for the benefit it does the human race, and Conly saying he wished he was well enough to go out and bang the inventor of balloons with a gun.
“As soon as we got back to Easton a constable arrested me for chucking that ignorant opponent of scientific inquiry up against the fence and wrecking him. When I was let off on bail, I began to build a new balloon. She’s nearly done now, and I’m going to make an ascension early next month in search of the ozone belt. Won’t you go up with me? The day is going to come when everybody will travel that way. It’s the most exhilarating motion in the world. Come on up and help me make scientific observations on the ozone belt.”
But the invitation was declined. The Patriot, however, will have a good obituary notice of the professor all ready, in type.
It is a notorious fact that itinerant circus companies pay very poorly, and that the man who does not get his money from them in advance is not very likely to get it at all. Major Slott of The Patriot has suffered a good deal from these concerns; and when “The Great European Circus and Metropolitan Caravan” tried to slip off the other day without settling its advertising bill, he called upon the sheriff and got him to attach the Bengal tiger for the debt. The tiger was brought in its cage and placed in the composing-room, where it consumed fifteen dollars’ worth of meat in two days—the major’s bill was only twelve dollars—and scratched one trouser leg off of the reporter, who was standing in front of the cage stirring up the animal with a broom. On the third day the bottom fell out of the cage; and as the tiger seemed to want to roam around and inquire into things, the whole force of compositors all at once felt as if they ought to go suddenly down stairs and give the animal a chance. With that mysterious instinct which distinguishes dumb animals, and which goes far to prove that they have souls, the tiger went at once for the door of the major’s sanctum, and it broke in just as Slott was in the middle of a tearing editorial upon