It seems to me that imagination and reasoning have reached magnificent heights with some writers, especially poets. Among them, I strongly believe, the highest ever was Edgar Allan Poe. With Baudelaire I state that "le poete est souverainement intelligent, qu'il est l'intelligence par excellence, -et que l'imagination est la plus scientifique des facultes, parce que seule elle comprend l'analogie universelle...". One of those poets was Edgar Allan Poe. I reproduce here "The Works of Edgar Allan Poe" as a gesture against what Baudelaire called "la ferocite de l'hypocrisie bourgeoise", and what I personally call mediocrity, imbecility, and comprehensive intellectual dishonesty, all of which is presented as "realistic thinking". And, as we know, contemporary development studies are full of  "realistic thinking". So, let us learn something from Edgar Allan Poe!.  (Róbinson Rojas)
The Project Gutenberg Etext of The Works of Edgar Allan Poe V. 1
Volume 1 of the Raven Edition  #6 in our series by Edgar Allan Poe

VOLUME I  Contents
Edgar Allan Poe, An Appreciation
Life of Poe, by James Russell Lowell
Death of Poe, by N. P. Willis
The Unparalled Adventures of One Hans Pfall
The Gold Bug
Four Beasts in One
The Murders in the Rue Morgue
The Mystery of Marie Rogêt
The Balloon Hoax
MS. Found in a Bottle
The Oval Portrait                          BACK TO MAIN INDEX

              The Unparalleled Adventures of
                   One Hans Pfaal {*1}
BY late accounts from Rotterdam, that city seems to be in a high  
state of philosophical excitement. Indeed, phenomena have there  
occurred of a nature so completely unexpected -- so entirely novel -- 
so utterly at variance with preconceived opinions -- as to leave no 
doubt on my mind that long ere this all Europe is in an uproar, all 
physics in a ferment, all reason and astronomy together by the ears.
It appears that on the -- -- day of -- -- (I am not positive about 
the date), a vast crowd of people, for purposes not specifically 
mentioned, were assembled in the great square of the Exchange in the 
well-conditioned city of Rotterdam. The day was warm -- unusually so 
for the season -- there was hardly a breath of air stirring; and the 
multitude were in no bad humor at being now and then besprinkled with 
friendly showers of momentary duration, that fell from large white 
masses of cloud which chequered in a fitful manner the blue vault of 
the firmament. Nevertheless, about noon, a slight but remarkable 
agitation became apparent in the assembly: the clattering of ten 
thousand tongues succeeded; and, in an instant afterward, ten 
thousand faces were upturned toward the heavens, ten thousand pipes 
descended simultaneously from the corners of ten thousand mouths, and 
a shout, which could be compared to nothing but the roaring of 
Niagara, resounded long, loudly, and furiously, through all the 
environs of Rotterdam.
The origin of this hubbub soon became sufficiently evident. From 
behind the huge bulk of one of those sharply-defined masses of cloud 
already mentioned, was seen slowly to emerge into an open area of 
blue space, a queer, heterogeneous, but apparently solid substance, 
so oddly shaped, so whimsically put together, as not to be in any 
manner comprehended, and never to be sufficiently admired, by the 
host of sturdy burghers who stood open-mouthed below. What could it 
be? In the name of all the vrows and devils in Rotterdam, what could 
it possibly portend? No one knew, no one could imagine; no one -- not 
even the burgomaster Mynheer Superbus Von Underduk -- had the 
slightest clew by which to unravel the mystery; so, as nothing more 
reasonable could be done, every one to a man replaced his pipe 
carefully in the corner of his mouth, and cocking up his right eye 
towards the phenomenon, puffed, paused, waddled about, and grunted 
significantly -- then waddled back, grunted, paused, and finally -- 
puffed again.
In the meantime, however, lower and still lower toward the goodly 
city, came the object of so much curiosity, and the cause of so much 
smoke. In a very few minutes it arrived near enough to be accurately 
discerned. It appeared to be -- yes! it was undoubtedly a species of 
balloon; but surely no such balloon had ever been seen in Rotterdam 
before. For who, let me ask, ever heard of a balloon manufactured 
entirely of dirty newspapers? No man in Holland certainly; yet here, 
under the very noses of the people, or rather at some distance above 
their noses was the identical thing in question, and composed, I have 
it on the best authority, of the precise material which no one had 
ever before known to be used for a similar purpose. It was an 
egregious insult to the good sense of the burghers of Rotterdam. As 
to the shape of the phenomenon, it was even still more reprehensible. 
Being little or nothing better than a huge foolscap turned upside 
down. And this similitude was regarded as by no means lessened when, 
upon nearer inspection, there was perceived a large tassel depending 
from its apex, and, around the upper rim or base of the cone, a 
circle of little instruments, resembling sheep-bells, which kept up a 
continual tinkling to the tune of Betty Martin. But still worse. 
Suspended by blue ribbons to the end of this fantastic machine, there 
hung, by way of car, an enormous drab beaver bat, with a brim 
superlatively broad, and a hemispherical crown with a black band and 
a silver buckle. It is, however, somewhat remarkable that many 
citizens of Rotterdam swore to having seen the same hat repeatedly 
before; and indeed the whole assembly seemed to regard it with eyes 
of familiarity; while the vrow Grettel Pfaall, upon sight of it, 
uttered an exclamation of joyful surprise, and declared it to be the 
identical hat of her good man himself. Now this was a circumstance 
the more to be observed, as Pfaall, with three companions, had 
actually disappeared from Rotterdam about five years before, in a 
very sudden and unaccountable manner, and up to the date of this 
narrative all attempts had failed of obtaining any intelligence 
concerning them whatsoever. To be sure, some bones which were thought 
to be human, mixed up with a quantity of odd-looking rubbish, had 
been lately discovered in a retired situation to the east of 
Rotterdam, and some people went so far as to imagine that in this 
spot a foul murder had been committed, and that the sufferers were in 
all probability Hans Pfaall and his associates. But to return.
The balloon (for such no doubt it was) had now descended to within a 
hundred feet of the earth, allowing the crowd below a sufficiently 
distinct view of the person of its occupant. This was in truth a very 
droll little somebody. He could not have been more than two feet in 
height; but this altitude, little as it was, would have been 
sufficient to destroy his equilibrium, and tilt him over the edge of 
his tiny car, but for the intervention of a circular rim reaching as 
high as the breast, and rigged on to the cords of the balloon. The 
body of the little man was more than proportionately broad, giving to 
his entire figure a rotundity highly absurd. His feet, of course, 
could not be seen at all, although a horny substance of suspicious 
nature was occasionally protruded through a rent in the bottom of the 
car, or to speak more properly, in the top of the hat. His hands were 
enormously large. His hair was extremely gray, and collected in a cue 
behind. His nose was prodigiously long, crooked, and inflammatory; 
his eyes full, brilliant, and acute; his chin and cheeks, although 
wrinkled with age, were broad, puffy, and double; but of ears of any 
kind or character there was not a semblance to be discovered upon any 
portion of his head. This odd little gentleman was dressed in a loose 
surtout of sky-blue satin, with tight breeches to match, fastened 
with silver buckles at the knees. His vest was of some bright yellow 
material; a white taffety cap was set jauntily on one side of his 
head; and, to complete his equipment, a blood-red silk handkerchief 
enveloped his throat, and fell down, in a dainty manner, upon his 
bosom, in a fantastic bow-knot of super-eminent dimensions.
Having descended, as I said before, to about one hundred feet from 
the surface of the earth, the little old gentleman was suddenly 
seized with a fit of trepidation, and appeared disinclined to make 
any nearer approach to terra firma. Throwing out, therefore, a 
quantity of sand from a canvas bag, which, he lifted with great 
difficulty, he became stationary in an instant. He then proceeded, in 
a hurried and agitated manner, to extract from a side-pocket in his 
surtout a large morocco pocket-book. This he poised suspiciously in 
his hand, then eyed it with an air of extreme surprise, and was 
evidently astonished at its weight. He at length opened it, and 
drawing there from a huge letter sealed with red sealing-wax and tied 
carefully with red tape, let it fall precisely at the feet of the 
burgomaster, Superbus Von Underduk. His Excellency stooped to take it 
up. But the aeronaut, still greatly discomposed, and having 
apparently no farther business to detain him in Rotterdam, began at 
this moment to make busy preparations for departure; and it being 
necessary to discharge a portion of ballast to enable him to 
reascend, the half dozen bags which he threw out, one after another, 
without taking the trouble to empty their contents, tumbled, every 
one of them, most unfortunately upon the back of the burgomaster, and 
rolled him over and over no less than one-and-twenty times, in the 
face of every man in Rotterdam. It is not to be supposed, however, 
that the great Underduk suffered this impertinence on the part of the 
little old man to pass off with impunity. It is said, on the 
contrary, that during each and every one of his one-and twenty 
circumvolutions he emitted no less than one-and-twenty distinct and 
furious whiffs from his pipe, to which he held fast the whole time 
with all his might, and to which he intends holding fast until the 
day of his death.
In the meantime the balloon arose like a lark, and, soaring far away 
above the city, at length drifted quietly behind a cloud similar to 
that from which it had so oddly emerged, and was thus lost forever to 
the wondering eyes of the good citiezns of Rotterdam. All attention 
was now directed to the letter, the descent of which, and the 
consequences attending thereupon, had proved so fatally subversive of 
both person and personal dignity to his Excellency, the illustrious 
Burgomaster Mynheer Superbus Von Underduk. That functionary, however, 
had not failed, during his circumgyratory movements, to bestow a 
thought upon the important subject of securing the packet in 
question, which was seen, upon inspection, to have fallen into the 
most proper hands, being actually addressed to himself and Professor 
Rub-a-dub, in their official capacities of President and 
Vice-President of the Rotterdam College of Astronomy. It was 
accordingly opened by those dignitaries upon the spot, and found to 
contain the following extraordinary, and indeed very serious, 
To their Excellencies Von Underduk and Rub-a-dub, President and 
Vice-President of the States' College of Astronomers, in the city of 
"Your Excellencies may perhaps be able to remember an humble artizan, 
by name Hans Pfaall, and by occupation a mender of bellows, who, with 
three others, disappeared from Rotterdam, about five years ago, in a 
manner which must have been considered by all parties at once sudden, 
and extremely unaccountable. If, however, it so please your 
Excellencies, I, the writer of this communication, am the identical 
Hans Pfaall himself. It is well known to most of my fellow citizens, 
that for the period of forty years I continued to occupy the little 
square brick building, at the head of the alley called Sauerkraut, in 
which I resided at the time of my disappearance. My ancestors have 
also resided therein time out of mind -- they, as well as myself, 
steadily following the respectable and indeed lucrative profession of 
mending of bellows. For, to speak the truth, until of late years, 
that the heads of all the people have been set agog with politics, no 
better business than my own could an honest citizen of Rotterdam 
either desire or deserve. Credit was good, employment was never 
wanting, and on all hands there was no lack of either money or 
good-will. But, as I was saying, we soon began to feel the effects of 
liberty and long speeches, and radicalism, and all that sort of 
thing. People who were formerly, the very best customers in the 
world, had now not a moment of time to think of us at all. They had, 
so they said, as much as they could do to read about the revolutions, 
and keep up with the march of intellect and the spirit of the age. If 
a fire wanted fanning, it could readily be fanned with a newspaper, 
and as the government grew weaker, I have no doubt that leather and 
iron acquired durability in proportion, for, in a very short time, 
there was not a pair of bellows in all Rotterdam that ever stood in 
need of a stitch or required the assistance of a hammer. This was a 
state of things not to be endured. I soon grew as poor as a rat, and, 
having a wife and children to provide for, my burdens at length 
became intolerable, and I spent hour after hour in reflecting upon 
the most convenient method of putting an end to my life. Duns, in the 
meantime, left me little leisure for contemplation. My house was 
literally besieged from morning till night, so that I began to rave, 
and foam, and fret like a caged tiger against the bars of his 
enclosure. There were three fellows in particular who worried me 
beyond endurance, keeping watch continually about my door, and 
threatening me with the law. Upon these three I internally vowed the 
bitterest revenge, if ever I should be so happy as to get them within 
my clutches; and I believe nothing in the world but the pleasure of 
this anticipation prevented me from putting my plan of suicide into 
immediate execution, by blowing my brains out with a blunderbuss. I 
thought it best, however, to dissemble my wrath, and to treat them 
with promises and fair words, until, by some good turn of fate, an 
opportunity of vengeance should be afforded me.
"One day, having given my creditors the slip, and feeling more than 
usually dejected, I continued for a long time to wander about the 
most obscure streets without object whatever, until at length I 
chanced to stumble against the corner of a bookseller's stall. Seeing 
a chair close at hand, for the use of customers, I threw myself 
doggedly into it, and, hardly knowing why, opened the pages of the 
first volume which came within my reach. It proved to be a small 
pamphlet treatise on Speculative Astronomy, written either by 
Professor Encke of Berlin or by a Frenchman of somewhat similar name. 
I had some little tincture of information on matters of this nature, 
and soon became more and more absorbed in the contents of the book, 
reading it actually through twice before I awoke to a recollection of 
what was passing around me. By this time it began to grow dark, and I 
directed my steps toward home. But the treatise had made an indelible 
impression on my mind, and, as I sauntered along the dusky streets, I 
revolved carefully over in my memory the wild and sometimes 
unintelligible reasonings of the writer. There are some particular 
passages which affected my imagination in a powerful and 
extraordinary manner. The longer I meditated upon these the more 
intense grew the interest which had been excited within me. The 
limited nature of my education in general, and more especially my 
ignorance on subjects connected with natural philosophy, so far from 
rendering me diffident of my own ability to comprehend what I had 
read, or inducing me to mistrust the many vague notions which had 
arisen in consequence, merely served as a farther stimulus to 
imagination; and I was vain enough, or perhaps reasonable enough, to 
doubt whether those crude ideas which, arising in ill-regulated 
minds, have all the appearance, may not often in effect possess all 
the force, the reality, and other inherent properties, of instinct or 
intuition; whether, to proceed a step farther, profundity itself 
might not, in matters of a purely speculative nature, be detected as 
a legitimate source of falsity and error. In other words, I believed, 
and still do believe, that truth, is frequently of its own essence, 
superficial, and that, in many cases, the depth lies more in the 
abysses where we seek her, than in the actual situations wherein she 
may be found. Nature herself seemed to afford me corroboration of 
these ideas. In the contemplation of the heavenly bodies it struck me 
forcibly that I could not distinguish a star with nearly as much 
precision, when I gazed on it with earnest, direct and undeviating 
attention, as when I suffered my eye only to glance in its vicinity 
alone. I was not, of course, at that time aware that this apparent 
paradox was occasioned by the center of the visual area being less 
susceptible of feeble impressions of light than the exterior portions 
of the retina. This knowledge, and some of another kind, came 
afterwards in the course of an eventful five years, during which I 
have dropped the prejudices of my former humble situation in life, 
and forgotten the bellows-mender in far different occupations. But at 
the epoch of which I speak, the analogy which a casual observation of 
a star offered to the conclusions I had already drawn, struck me with 
the force of positive conformation, and I then finally made up my 
mind to the course which I afterwards pursued.
"It was late when I reached home, and I went immediately to bed. My 
mind, however, was too much occupied to sleep, and I lay the whole 
night buried in meditation. Arising early in the morning, and 
contriving again to escape the vigilance of my creditors, I repaired 
eagerly to the bookseller's stall, and laid out what little ready 
money I possessed, in the purchase of some volumes of Mechanics and 
Practical Astronomy. Having arrived at home safely with these, I 
devoted every spare moment to their perusal, and soon made such 
proficiency in studies of this nature as I thought sufficient for the 
execution of my plan. In the intervals of this period, I made every 
endeavor to conciliate the three creditors who had given me so much 
annoyance. In this I finally succeeded -- partly by selling enough of 
my household furniture to satisfy a moiety of their claim, and partly 
by a promise of paying the balance upon completion of a little 
project which I told them I had in view, and for assistance in which 
I solicited their services. By these means -- for they were ignorant 
men -- I found little difficulty in gaining them over to my purpose.
"Matters being thus arranged, I contrived, by the aid of my wife and 
with the greatest secrecy and caution, to dispose of what property I 
had remaining, and to borrow, in small sums, under various pretences, 
and without paying any attention to my future means of repayment, no 
inconsiderable quantity of ready money. With the means thus accruing 
I proceeded to procure at intervals, cambric muslin, very fine, in 
pieces of twelve yards each; twine; a lot of the varnish of 
caoutchouc; a large and deep basket of wicker-work, made to order; 
and several other articles necessary in the construction and 
equipment of a balloon of extraordinary dimensions. This I directed 
my wife to make up as soon as possible, and gave her all requisite 
information as to the particular method of proceeding. In the 
meantime I worked up the twine into a net-work of sufficient 
dimensions; rigged it with a hoop and the necessary cords; bought a 
quadrant, a compass, a spy-glass, a common barometer with some 
important modifications, and two astronomical instruments not so 
generally known. I then took opportunities of conveying by night, to 
a retired situation east of Rotterdam, five iron-bound casks, to 
contain about fifty gallons each, and one of a larger size; six 
tinned ware tubes, three inches in diameter, properly shaped, and ten 
feet in length; a quantity of a particular metallic substance, or 
semi-metal, which I shall not name, and a dozen demijohns of a very 
common acid. The gas to be formed from these latter materials is a 
gas never yet generated by any other person than myself -- or at 
least never applied to any similar purpose. The secret I would make 
no difficulty in disclosing, but that it of right belongs to a 
citizen of Nantz, in France, by whom it was conditionally 
communicated to myself. The same individual submitted to me, without 
being at all aware of my intentions, a method of constructing 
balloons from the membrane of a certain animal, through which 
substance any escape of gas was nearly an impossibility. I found it, 
however, altogether too expensive, and was not sure, upon the whole, 
whether cambric muslin with a coating of gum caoutchouc, was not 
equally as good. I mention this circumstance, because I think it 
probable that hereafter the individual in question may attempt a 
balloon ascension with the novel gas and material I have spoken of, 
and I do not wish to deprive him of the honor of a very singular 
"On the spot which I intended each of the smaller casks to occupy 
respectively during the inflation of the balloon, I privately dug a 
hole two feet deep; the holes forming in this manner a circle 
twenty-five feet in diameter. In the centre of this circle, being the 
station designed for the large cask, I also dug a hole three feet in 
depth. In each of the five smaller holes, I deposited a canister 
containing fifty pounds, and in the larger one a keg holding one 
hundred and fifty pounds, of cannon powder. These -- the keg and 
canisters -- I connected in a proper manner with covered trains; and 
having let into one of the canisters the end of about four feet of 
slow match, I covered up the hole, and placed the cask over it, 
leaving the other end of the match protruding about an inch, and 
barely visible beyond the cask. I then filled up the remaining holes, 
and placed the barrels over them in their destined situation.
"Besides the articles above enumerated, I conveyed to the depot, and 
there secreted, one of M. Grimm's improvements upon the apparatus for 
condensation of the atmospheric air. I found this machine, however, 
to require considerable alteration before it could be adapted to the 
purposes to which I intended making it applicable. But, with severe 
labor and unremitting perseverance, I at length met with entire 
success in all my preparations. My balloon was soon completed. It 
would contain more than forty thousand cubic feet of gas; would take 
me up easily, I calculated, with all my implements, and, if I managed 
rightly, with one hundred and seventy-five pounds of ballast into the 
bargain. It had received three coats of varnish, and I found the 
cambric muslin to answer all the purposes of silk itself, quite as 
strong and a good deal less expensive.
"Everything being now ready, I exacted from my wife an oath of 
secrecy in relation to all my actions from the day of my first visit 
to the bookseller's stall; and promising, on my part, to return as 
soon as circumstances would permit, I gave her what little money I 
had left, and bade her farewell. Indeed I had no fear on her account. 
She was what people call a notable woman, and could manage matters in 
the world without my assistance. I believe, to tell the truth, she 
always looked upon me as an idle boy, a mere make-weight, good for 
nothing but building castles in the air, and was rather glad to get 
rid of me. It was a dark night when I bade her good-bye, and taking 
with me, as aides-de-camp, the three creditors who had given me so 
much trouble, we carried the balloon, with the car and accoutrements, 
by a roundabout way, to the station where the other articles were 
deposited. We there found them all unmolested, and I proceeded 
immediately to business.
"It was the first of April. The night, as I said before, was dark; 
there was not a star to be seen; and a drizzling rain, falling at 
intervals, rendered us very uncomfortable. But my chief anxiety was 
concerning the balloon, which, in spite of the varnish with which it 
was defended, began to grow rather heavy with the moisture; the 
powder also was liable to damage. I therefore kept my three duns 
working with great diligence, pounding down ice around the central 
cask, and stirring the acid in the others. They did not cease, 
however, importuning me with questions as to what I intended to do 
with all this apparatus, and expressed much dissatisfaction at the 
terrible labor I made them undergo. They could not perceive, so they 
said, what good was likely to result from their getting wet to the 
skin, merely to take a part in such horrible incantations. I began to 
get uneasy, and worked away with all my might, for I verily believe 
the idiots supposed that I had entered into a compact with the devil, 
and that, in short, what I was now doing was nothing better than it 
should be. I was, therefore, in great fear of their leaving me 
altogether. I contrived, however, to pacify them by promises of 
payment of all scores in full, as soon as I could bring the present 
business to a termination. To these speeches they gave, of course, 
their own interpretation; fancying, no doubt, that at all events I 
should come into possession of vast quantities of ready money; and 
provided I paid them all I owed, and a trifle more, in consideration 
of their services, I dare say they cared very little what became of 
either my soul or my carcass.
"In about four hours and a half I found the balloon sufficiently 
inflated. I attached the car, therefore, and put all my implements in 
it -- not forgetting the condensing apparatus, a copious supply of 
water, and a large quantity of provisions, such as pemmican, in which 
much nutriment is contained in comparatively little bulk. I also 
secured in the car a pair of pigeons and a cat. It was now nearly 
daybreak, and I thought it high time to take my departure. Dropping a 
lighted cigar on the ground, as if by accident, I took the 
opportunity, in stooping to pick it up, of igniting privately the 
piece of slow match, whose end, as I said before, protruded a very 
little beyond the lower rim of one of the smaller casks. This 
manoeuvre was totally unperceived on the part of the three duns; and, 
jumping into the car, I immediately cut the single cord which held me 
to the earth, and was pleased to find that I shot upward, carrying 
with all ease one hundred and seventy-five pounds of leaden ballast, 
and able to have carried up as many more.
"Scarcely, however, had I attained the height of fifty yards, when, 
roaring and rumbling up after me in the most horrible and tumultuous 
manner, came so dense a hurricane of fire, and smoke, and sulphur, 
and legs and arms, and gravel, and burning wood, and blazing metal, 
that my very heart sunk within me, and I fell down in the bottom of 
the car, trembling with unmitigated terror. Indeed, I now perceived 
that I had entirely overdone the business, and that the main 
consequences of the shock were yet to be experienced. Accordingly, in 
less than a second, I felt all the blood in my body rushing to my 
temples, and immediately thereupon, a concussion, which I shall never 
forget, burst abruptly through the night and seemed to rip the very 
firmament asunder. When I afterward had time for reflection, I did 
not fail to attribute the extreme violence of the explosion, as 
regarded myself, to its proper cause -- my situation directly above 
it, and in the line of its greatest power. But at the time, I thought 
only of preserving my life. The balloon at first collapsed, then 
furiously expanded, then whirled round and round with horrible 
velocity, and finally, reeling and staggering like a drunken man, 
hurled me with great force over the rim of the car, and left me 
dangling, at a terrific height, with my head downward, and my face 
outwards, by a piece of slender cord about three feet in length, 
which hung accidentally through a crevice near the bottom of the 
wicker-work, and in which, as I fell, my left foot became most 
providentially entangled. It is impossible -- utterly impossible -- 
to form any adequate idea of the horror of my situation. I gasped 
convulsively for breath -- a shudder resembling a fit of the ague 
agitated every nerve and muscle of my frame -- I felt my eyes 
starting from their sockets -- a horrible nausea overwhelmed me -- 
and at length I fainted away.
"How long I remained in this state it is impossible to say. It must, 
however, have been no inconsiderable time, for when I partially 
recovered the sense of existence, I found the day breaking, the 
balloon at a prodigious height over a wilderness of ocean, and not a 
trace of land to be discovered far and wide within the limits of the 
vast horizon. My sensations, however, upon thus recovering, were by 
no means so rife with agony as might have been anticipated. Indeed, 
there was much of incipient madness in the calm survey which I began 
to take of my situation. I drew up to my eyes each of my hands, one 
after the other, and wondered what occurrence could have given rise 
to the swelling of the veins, and the horrible blackness of the 
fingemails. I afterward carefully examined my head, shaking it 
repeatedly, and feeling it with minute attention, until I succeeded 
in satisfying myself that it was not, as I had more than half 
suspected, larger than my balloon. Then, in a knowing manner, I felt 
in both my breeches pockets, and, missing therefrom a set of tablets 
and a toothpick case, endeavored to account for their disappearance, 
and not being able to do so, felt inexpressibly chagrined. It now 
occurred to me that I suffered great uneasiness in the joint of my 
left ankle, and a dim consciousness of my situation began to glimmer 
through my mind. But, strange to say! I was neither astonished nor 
horror-stricken. If I felt any emotion at all, it was a kind of 
chuckling satisfaction at the cleverness I was about to display in 
extricating myself from this dilemma; and I never, for a moment, 
looked upon my ultimate safety as a question susceptible of doubt. 
For a few minutes I remained wrapped in the profoundest meditation. I 
have a distinct recollection of frequently compressing my lips, 
putting my forefinger to the side of my nose, and making use of other 
gesticulations and grimaces common to men who, at ease in their 
arm-chairs, meditate upon matters of intricacy or importance. Having, 
as I thought, sufficiently collected my ideas, I now, with great 
caution and deliberation, put my hands behind my back, and unfastened 
the large iron buckle which belonged to the waistband of my 
inexpressibles. This buckle had three teeth, which, being somewhat 
rusty, turned with great difficulty on their axis. I brought them, 
however, after some trouble, at right angles to the body of the 
buckle, and was glad to find them remain firm in that position. 
Holding the instrument thus obtained within my teeth, I now proceeded 
to untie the knot of my cravat. I had to rest several times before I 
could accomplish this manoeuvre, but it was at length accomplished. 
To one end of the cravat I then made fast the buckle, and the other 
end I tied, for greater security, tightly around my wrist. Drawing 
now my body upwards, with a prodigious exertion of muscular force, I 
succeeded, at the very first trial, in throwing the buckle over the 
car, and entangling it, as I had anticipated, in the circular rim of 
the wicker-work.
"My body was now inclined towards the side of the car, at an angle of 
about forty-five degrees; but it must not be understood that I was 
therefore only forty-five degrees below the perpendicular. So far 
from it, I still lay nearly level with the plane of the horizon; for 
the change of situation which I had acquired, had forced the bottom 
of the car considerably outwards from my position, which was 
accordingly one of the most imminent and deadly peril. It should be 
remembered, however, that when I fell in the first instance, from the 
car, if I had fallen with my face turned toward the balloon, instead 
of turned outwardly from it, as it actually was; or if, in the second 
place, the cord by which I was suspended had chanced to hang over the 
upper edge, instead of through a crevice near the bottom of the car, 
-- I say it may be readily conceived that, in either of these 
supposed cases, I should have been unable to accomplish even as much 
as I had now accomplished, and the wonderful adventures of Hans 
Pfaall would have been utterly lost to posterity, I had therefore 
every reason to be grateful; although, in point of fact, I was still 
too stupid to be anything at all, and hung for, perhaps, a quarter of 
an hour in that extraordinary manner, without making the slightest 
farther exertion whatsoever, and in a singularly tranquil state of 
idiotic enjoyment. But this feeling did not fail to die rapidly away, 
and thereunto succeeded horror, and dismay, and a chilling sense of 
utter helplessness and ruin. In fact, the blood so long accumulating 
in the vessels of my head and throat, and which had hitherto buoyed 
up my spirits with madness and delirium, had now begun to retire 
within their proper channels, and the distinctness which was thus 
added to my perception of the danger, merely served to deprive me of 
the self-possession and courage to encounter it. But this weakness 
was, luckily for me, of no very long duration. In good time came to 
my rescue the spirit of despair, and, with frantic cries and 
struggles, I jerked my way bodily upwards, till at length, clutching 
with a vise-like grip the long-desired rim, I writhed my person over 
it, and fell headlong and shuddering within the car.
"It was not until some time afterward that I recovered myself 
sufficiently to attend to the ordinary cares of the balloon. I then, 
however, examined it with attention, and found it, to my great 
relief, uninjured. My implements were all safe, and, fortunately, I 
had lost neither ballast nor provisions. Indeed, I had so well 
secured them in their places, that such an accident was entirely out 
of the question. Looking at my watch, I found it six o'clock. I was 
still rapidly ascending, and my barometer gave a present altitude of 
three and three-quarter miles. Immediately beneath me in the ocean, 
lay a small black object, slightly oblong in shape, seemingly about 
the size, and in every way bearing a great resemblance to one of 
those childish toys called a domino. Bringing my telescope to bear 
upon it, I plainly discerned it to be a British ninety four-gun ship, 
close-hauled, and pitching heavily in the sea with her head to the 
W.S.W. Besides this ship, I saw nothing but the ocean and the sky, 
and the sun, which had long arisen.
"It is now high time that I should explain to your Excellencies the 
object of my perilous voyage. Your Excellencies will bear in mind 
that distressed circumstances in Rotterdam had at length driven me to 
the resolution of committing suicide. It was not, however, that to 
life itself I had any, positive disgust, but that I was harassed 
beyond endurance by the adventitious miseries attending my situation. 
In this state of mind, wishing to live, yet wearied with life, the 
treatise at the stall of the bookseller opened a resource to my 
imagination. I then finally made up my mind. I determined to depart, 
yet live -- to leave the world, yet continue to exist -- in short, to 
drop enigmas, I resolved, let what would ensue, to force a passage, 
if I could, to the moon. Now, lest I should be supposed more of a 
madman than I actually am, I will detail, as well as I am able, the 
considerations which led me to believe that an achievement of this 
nature, although without doubt difficult, and incontestably full of 
danger, was not absolutely, to a bold spirit, beyond the confines of 
the possible.
"The moon's actual distance from the earth was the first thing to be 
attended to. Now, the mean or average interval between the centres of 
the two planets is 59.9643 of the earth's equatorial radii, or only 
about 237,000 miles. I say the mean or average interval. But it must 
be borne in mind that the form of the moon's orbit being an ellipse 
of eccentricity amounting to no less than 0.05484 of the major 
semi-axis of the ellipse itself, and the earth's centre being 
situated in its focus, if I could, in any manner, contrive to meet 
the moon, as it were, in its perigee, the above mentioned distance 
would be materially diminished. But, to say nothing at present of 
this possibility, it was very certain that, at all events, from the 
237,000 miles I would have to deduct the radius of the earth, say 
4,000, and the radius of the moon, say 1080, in all 5,080, leaving an 
actual interval to be traversed, under average circumstances, of 
231,920 miles. Now this, I reflected, was no very extraordinary 
distance. Travelling on land has been repeatedly accomplished at the 
rate of thirty miles per hour, and indeed a much greater speed may be 
anticipated. But even at this velocity, it would take me no more than 
322 days to reach the surface of the moon. There were, however, many 
particulars inducing me to believe that my average rate of travelling 
might possibly very much exceed that of thirty miles per hour, and, 
as these considerations did not fail to make a deep impression upon 
my mind, I will mention them more fully hereafter.
"The next point to be regarded was a matter of far greater 
importance. From indications afforded by the barometer, we find that, 
in ascensions from the surface of the earth we have, at the height of 
1,000 feet, left below us about one-thirtieth of the entire mass of 
atmospheric air, that at 10,600 we have ascended through nearly 
one-third; and that at 18,000, which is not far from the elevation of 
Cotopaxi, we have surmounted one-half the material, or, at all 
events, one-half the ponderable, body of air incumbent upon our 
globe. It is also calculated that at an altitude not exceeding the 
hundredth part of the earth's diameter -- that is, not exceeding 
eighty miles -- the rarefaction would be so excessive that animal 
life could in no manner be sustained, and, moreover, that the most 
delicate means we possess of ascertaining the presence of the 
atmosphere would be inadequate to assure us of its existence. But I 
did not fail to perceive that these latter calculations are founded 
altogether on our experimental knowledge of the properties of air, 
and the mechanical laws regulating its dilation and compression, in 
what may be called, comparatively speaking, the immediate vicinity of 
the earth itself; and, at the same time, it is taken for granted that 
animal life is and must be essentially incapable of modification at 
any given unattainable distance from the surface. Now, all such 
reasoning and from such data must, of course, be simply analogical. 
The greatest height ever reached by man was that of 25,000 feet, 
attained in the aeronautic expedition of Messieurs Gay-Lussac and 
Biot. This is a moderate altitude, even when compared with the eighty 
miles in question; and I could not help thinking that the subject 
admitted room for doubt and great latitude for speculation.
"But, in point of fact, an ascension being made to any given 
altitude, the ponderable quantity of air surmounted in any farther 
ascension is by no means in proportion to the additional height 
ascended (as may be plainly seen from what has been stated before), 
but in a ratio constantly decreasing. It is therefore evident that, 
ascend as high as we may, we cannot, literally speaking, arrive at a 
limit beyond which no atmosphere is to be found. It must exist, I 
argued; although it may exist in a state of infinite rarefaction.
"On the other hand, I was aware that arguments have not been wanting 
to prove the existence of a real and definite limit to the 
atmosphere, beyond which there is absolutely no air whatsoever. But a 
circumstance which has been left out of view by those who contend for 
such a limit seemed to me, although no positive refutation of their 
creed, still a point worthy very serious investigation. On comparing 
the intervals between the successive arrivals of Encke's comet at its 
perihelion, after giving credit, in the most exact manner, for all 
the disturbances due to the attractions of the planets, it appears 
that the periods are gradually diminishing; that is to say, the major 
axis of the comet's ellipse is growing shorter, in a slow but 
perfectly regular decrease. Now, this is precisely what ought to be 
the case, if we suppose a resistance experienced from the comet from 
an extremely rare ethereal medium pervading the regions of its orbit. 
For it is evident that such a medium must, in retarding the comet's 
velocity, increase its centripetal, by weakening its centrifugal 
force. In other words, the sun's attraction would be constantly 
attaining greater power, and the comet would be drawn nearer at every 
revolution. Indeed, there is no other way of accounting for the 
variation in question. But again. The real diameter of the same 
comet's nebulosity is observed to contract rapidly as it approaches 
the sun, and dilate with equal rapidity in its departure towards its 
aphelion. Was I not justifiable in supposing with M. Valz, that this 
apparent condensation of volume has its origin in the compression of 
the same ethereal medium I have spoken of before, and which is only 
denser in proportion to its solar vicinity? The lenticular-shaped 
phenomenon, also called the zodiacal light, was a matter worthy of 
attention. This radiance, so apparent in the tropics, and which 
cannot be mistaken for any meteoric lustre, extends from the horizon 
obliquely upward, and follows generally the direction of the sun's 
equator. It appeared to me evidently in the nature of a rare 
atmosphere extending from the sun outward, beyond the orbit of Venus 
at least, and I believed indefinitely farther.{*2} Indeed, this 
medium I could not suppose confined to the path of the comet's 
ellipse, or to the immediate neighborhood of the sun. It was easy, on 
the contrary, to imagine it pervading the entire regions of our 
planetary system, condensed into what we call atmosphere at the 
planets themselves, and perhaps at some of them modified by 
considerations, so to speak, purely geological.
Having adopted this view of the subject, I had little further 
hesitation. Granting that on my passage I should meet with atmosphere 
essentially the same as at the surface of the earth, I conceived 
that, by means of the very ingenious apparatus of M. Grimm, I should 
readily be enabled to condense it in sufficient quantity for the 
purposes of respiration. This would remove the chief obstacle in a 
journey to the moon. I had indeed spent some money and great labor in 
adapting the apparatus to the object intended, and confidently looked 
forward to its successful application, if I could manage to complete 
the voyage within any reasonable period. This brings me back to the 
rate at which it might be possible to travel.
"It is true that balloons, in the first stage of their ascensions 
from the earth, are known to rise with a velocity comparatively 
moderate. Now, the power of elevation lies altogether in the superior 
lightness of the gas in the balloon compared with the atmospheric 
air; and, at first sight, it does not appear probable that, as the 
balloon acquires altitude, and consequently arrives successively in 
atmospheric strata of densities rapidly diminishing -- I say, it does 
not appear at all reasonable that, in this its progress upwards, the 
original velocity should be accelerated. On the other hand, I was not 
aware that, in any recorded ascension, a diminution was apparent in 
the absolute rate of ascent; although such should have been the case, 
if on account of nothing else, on account of the escape of gas 
through balloons ill-constructed, and varnished with no better 
material than the ordinary varnish. It seemed, therefore, that the 
effect of such escape was only sufficient to counterbalance the 
effect of some accelerating power. I now considered that, provided in 
my passage I found the medium I had imagined, and provided that it 
should prove to be actually and essentially what we denominate 
atmospheric air, it could make comparatively little difference at 
what extreme state of rarefaction I should discover it -- that is to 
say, in regard to my power of ascending -- for the gas in the balloon 
would not only be itself subject to rarefaction partially similar (in 
proportion to the occurrence of which, I could suffer an escape of so 
much as would be requisite to prevent explosion), but, being what it 
was, would, at all events, continue specifically lighter than any 
compound whatever of mere nitrogen and oxygen. In the meantime, the 
force of gravitation would be constantly diminishing, in proportion 
to the squares of the distances, and thus, with a velocity 
prodigiously accelerating, I should at length arrive in those distant 
regions where the force of the earth's attraction would be superseded 
by that of the moon. In accordance with these ideas, I did not think 
it worth while to encumber myself with more provisions than would be 
sufficient for a period of forty days.
"There was still, however, another difficulty, which occasioned me 
some little disquietude. It has been observed, that, in balloon 
ascensions to any considerable height, besides the pain attending 
respiration, great uneasiness is experienced about the head and body, 
often accompanied with bleeding at the nose, and other symptoms of an 
alarming kind, and growing more and more inconvenient in proportion 
to the altitude attained.{*3} This was a reflection of a nature 
somewhat startling. Was it not probable that these symptoms would 
increase indefinitely, or at least until terminated by death itself? 
I finally thought not. Their origin was to be looked for in the 
progressive removal of the customary atmospheric pressure upon the 
surface of the body, and consequent distention of the superficial 
blood-vessels -- not in any positive disorganization of the animal 
system, as in the case of difficulty in breathing, where the 
atmospheric density is chemically insufficient for the due renovation 
of blood in a ventricle of the heart. Unless for default of this 
renovation, I could see no reason, therefore, why life could not be 
sustained even in a vacuum; for the expansion and compression of 
chest, commonly called breathing, is action purely muscular, and the 
cause, not the effect, of respiration. In a word, I conceived that, 
as the body should become habituated to the want of atmospheric 
pressure, the sensations of pain would gradually diminish -- and to 
endure them while they continued, I relied with confidence upon the 
iron hardihood of my constitution.
"Thus, may it please your Excellencies, I have detailed some, though 
by no means all, the considerations which led me to form the project 
of a lunar voyage. I shall now proceed to lay before you the result 
of an attempt so apparently audacious in conception, and, at all 
events, so utterly unparalleled in the annals of mankind.
"Having attained the altitude before mentioned, that is to say three 
miles and three-quarters, I threw out from the car a quantity of 
feathers, and found that I still ascended with sufficient rapidity; 
there was, therefore, no necessity for discharging any ballast. I was 
glad of this, for I wished to retain with me as much weight as I 
could carry, for reasons which will be explained in the sequel. I as 
yet suffered no bodily inconvenience, breathing with great freedom, 
and feeling no pain whatever in the head. The cat was lying very 
demurely upon my coat, which I had taken off, and eyeing the pigeons 
with an air of nonchalance. These latter being tied by the leg, to 
prevent their escape, were busily employed in picking up some grains 
of rice scattered for them in the bottom of the car.
"At twenty minutes past six o'clock, the barometer showed an 
elevation of 26,400 feet, or five miles to a fraction. The prospect 
seemed unbounded. Indeed, it is very easily calculated by means of 
spherical geometry, what a great extent of the earth's area I beheld. 
The convex surface of any segment of a sphere is, to the entire 
surface of the sphere itself, as the versed sine of the segment to 
the diameter of the sphere. Now, in my case, the versed sine -- that 
is to say, the thickness of the segment beneath me -- was about equal 
to my elevation, or the elevation of the point of sight above the 
surface. "As five miles, then, to eight thousand," would express the 
proportion of the earth's area seen by me. In other words, I beheld 
as much as a sixteen-hundredth part of the whole surface of the 
globe. The sea appeared unruffled as a mirror, although, by means of 
the spy-glass, I could perceive it to be in a state of violent 
agitation. The ship was no longer visible, having drifted away, 
apparently to the eastward. I now began to experience, at intervals, 
severe pain in the head, especially about the ears -- still, however, 
breathing with tolerable freedom. The cat and pigeons seemed to 
suffer no inconvenience whatsoever.
"At twenty minutes before seven, the balloon entered a long series of 
dense cloud, which put me to great trouble, by damaging my condensing 
apparatus and wetting me to the skin. This was, to be sure, a 
singular recontre, for I had not believed it possible that a cloud of 
this nature could be sustained at so great an elevation. I thought it 
best, however, to throw out two five-pound pieces of ballast, 
reserving still a weight of one hundred and sixty-five pounds. Upon 
so doing, I soon rose above the difficulty, and perceived 
immediately, that I had obtained a great increase in my rate of 
ascent. In a few seconds after my leaving the cloud, a flash of vivid 
lightning shot from one end of it to the other, and caused it to 
kindle up, throughout its vast extent, like a mass of ignited and 
glowing charcoal. This, it must be remembered, was in the broad light 
of day. No fancy may picture the sublimity which might have been 
exhibited by a similar phenomenon taking place amid the darkness of 
the night. Hell itself might have been found a fitting image. Even as 
it was, my hair stood on end, while I gazed afar down within the 
yawning abysses, letting imagination descend, as it were, and stalk 
about in the strange vaulted halls, and ruddy gulfs, and red ghastly 
chasms of the hideous and unfathomable fire. I had indeed made a 
narrow escape. Had the balloon remained a very short while longer 
within the cloud -- that is to say -- had not the inconvenience of 
getting wet, determined me to discharge the ballast, inevitable ruin 
would have been the consequence. Such perils, although little 
considered, are perhaps the greatest which must be encountered in 
balloons. I had by this time, however, attained too great an 
elevation to be any longer uneasy on this head.
"I was now rising rapidly, and by seven o'clock the barometer 
indicated an altitude of no less than nine miles and a half. I began 
to find great difficulty in drawing my breath. My head, too, was 
excessively painful; and, having felt for some time a moisture about 
my cheeks, I at length discovered it to be blood, which was oozing 
quite fast from the drums of my ears. My eyes, also, gave me great 
uneasiness. Upon passing the hand over them they seemed to have 
protruded from their sockets in no inconsiderable degree; and all 
objects in the car, and even the balloon itself, appeared distorted 
to my vision. These symptoms were more than I had expected, and 
occasioned me some alarm. At this juncture, very imprudently, and 
without consideration, I threw out from the car three five-pound 
pieces of ballast. The accelerated rate of ascent thus obtained, 
carried me too rapidly, and without sufficient gradation, into a 
highly rarefied stratum of the atmosphere, and the result had nearly 
proved fatal to my expedition and to myself. I was suddenly seized 
with a spasm which lasted for more than five minutes, and even when 
this, in a measure, ceased, I could catch my breath only at long 
intervals, and in a gasping manner -- bleeding all the while 
copiously at the nose and ears, and even slightly at the eyes. The 
pigeons appeared distressed in the extreme, and struggled to escape; 
while the cat mewed piteously, and, with her tongue hanging out of 
her mouth, staggered to and fro in the car as if under the influence 
of poison. I now too late discovered the great rashness of which I 
had been guilty in discharging the ballast, and my agitation was 
excessive. I anticipated nothing less than death, and death in a few 
minutes. The physical suffering I underwent contributed also to 
render me nearly incapable of making any exertion for the 
preservation of my life. I had, indeed, little power of reflection 
left, and the violence of the pain in my head seemed to be greatly on 
the increase. Thus I found that my senses would shortly give way 
altogether, and I had already clutched one of the valve ropes with 
the view of attempting a descent, when the recollection of the trick 
I had played the three creditors, and the possible consequences to 
myself, should I return, operated to deter me for the moment. I lay 
down in the bottom of the car, and endeavored to collect my 
faculties. In this I so far succeeded as to determine upon the 
experiment of losing blood. Having no lancet, however, I was 
constrained to perform the operation in the best manner I was able, 
and finally succeeded in opening a vein in my right arm, with the 
blade of my penknife. The blood had hardly commenced flowing when I 
experienced a sensible relief, and by the time I had lost about half 
a moderate basin full, most of the worst symptoms had abandoned me 
entirely. I nevertheless did not think it expedient to attempt 
getting on my feet immediately; but, having tied up my arm as well as 
I could, I lay still for about a quarter of an hour. At the end of 
this time I arose, and found myself freer from absolute pain of any 
kind than I had been during the last hour and a quarter of my 
ascension. The difficulty of breathing, however, was diminished in a 
very slight degree, and I found that it would soon be positively 
necessary to make use of my condenser. In the meantime, looking 
toward the cat, who was again snugly stowed away upon my coat, I 
discovered to my infinite surprise, that she had taken the 
opportunity of my indisposition to bring into light a litter of three 
little kittens. This was an addition to the number of passengers on 
my part altogether unexpected; but I was pleased at the occurrence. 
It would afford me a chance of bringing to a kind of test the truth 
of a surmise, which, more than anything else, had influenced me in 
attempting this ascension. I had imagined that the habitual endurance 
of the atmospheric pressure at the surface of the earth was the 
cause, or nearly so, of the pain attending animal existence at a 
distance above the surface. Should the kittens be found to suffer 
uneasiness in an equal degree with their mother, I must consider my 
theory in fault, but a failure to do so I should look upon as a 
strong confirmation of my idea.
"By eight o'clock I had actually attained an elevation of seventeen 
miles above the surface of the earth. Thus it seemed to me evident 
that my rate of ascent was not only on the increase, but that the 
progression would have been apparent in a slight degree even had I 
not discharged the ballast which I did. The pains in my head and ears 
returned, at intervals, with violence, and I still continued to bleed 
occasionally at the nose; but, upon the whole, I suffered much less 
than might have been expected. I breathed, however, at every moment, 
with more and more difficulty, and each inhalation was attended with 
a troublesome spasmodic action of the chest. I now unpacked the 
condensing apparatus, and got it ready for immediate use.
"The view of the earth, at this period of my ascension, was beautiful 
indeed. To the westward, the northward, and the southward, as far as 
I could see, lay a boundless sheet of apparently unruffled ocean, 
which every moment gained a deeper and a deeper tint of blue and 
began already to assume a slight appearance of convexity. At a vast 
distance to the eastward, although perfectly discernible, extended 
the islands of Great Britain, the entire Atlantic coasts of France 
and Spain, with a small portion of the northern part of the continent 
of Africa. Of individual edifices not a trace could be discovered, 
and the proudest cities of mankind had utterly faded away from the 
face of the earth. From the rock of Gibraltar, now dwindled into a 
dim speck, the dark Mediterranean sea, dotted with shining islands as 
the heaven is dotted with stars, spread itself out to the eastward as 
far as my vision extended, until its entire mass of waters seemed at 
length to tumble headlong over the abyss of the horizon, and I found 
myself listening on tiptoe for the echoes of the mighty cataract. 
Overhead, the sky was of a jetty black, and the stars were 
brilliantly visible.
"The pigeons about this time seeming to undergo much suffering, I 
determined upon giving them their liberty. I first untied one of 
them, a beautiful gray-mottled pigeon, and placed him upon the rim of 
the wicker-work. He appeared extremely uneasy, looking anxiously 
around him, fluttering his wings, and making a loud cooing noise, but 
could not be persuaded to trust himself from off the car. I took him 
up at last, and threw him to about half a dozen yards from the 
balloon. He made, however, no attempt to descend as I had expected, 
but struggled with great vehemence to get back, uttering at the same 
time very shrill and piercing cries. He at length succeeded in 
regaining his former station on the rim, but had hardly done so when 
his head dropped upon his breast, and be fell dead within the car. 
The other one did not prove so unfortunate. To prevent his following 
the example of his companion, and accomplishing a return, I threw him 
downward with all my force, and was pleased to find him continue his 
descent, with great velocity, making use of his wings with ease, and 
in a perfectly natural manner. In a very short time he was out of 
sight, and I have no doubt he reached home in safety. Puss, who 
seemed in a great measure recovered from her illness, now made a 
hearty meal of the dead bird and then went to sleep with much 
apparent satisfaction. Her kittens were quite lively, and so far 
evinced not the slightest sign of any uneasiness whatever.
"At a quarter-past eight, being no longer able to draw breath without 
the most intolerable pain, I proceeded forthwith to adjust around the 
car the apparatus belonging to the condenser. This apparatus will 
require some little explanation, and your Excellencies will please to 
bear in mind that my object, in the first place, was to surround 
myself and cat entirely with a barricade against the highly rarefied 
atmosphere in which I was existing, with the intention of introducing 
within this barricade, by means of my condenser, a quantity of this 
same atmosphere sufficiently condensed for the purposes of 
respiration. With this object in view I had prepared a very strong 
perfectly air-tight, but flexible gum-elastic bag. In this bag, which 
was of sufficient dimensions, the entire car was in a manner placed. 
That is to say, it (the bag) was drawn over the whole bottom of the 
car, up its sides, and so on, along the outside of the ropes, to the 
upper rim or hoop where the net-work is attached. Having pulled the 
bag up in this way, and formed a complete enclosure on all sides, and 
at botttom, it was now necessary to fasten up its top or mouth, by 
passing its material over the hoop of the net-work -- in other words, 
between the net-work and the hoop. But if the net-work were separated 
from the hoop to admit this passage, what was to sustain the car in 
the meantime? Now the net-work was not permanently fastened to the 
hoop, but attached by a series of running loops or nooses. I 
therefore undid only a few of these loops at one time, leaving the 
car suspended by the remainder. Having thus inserted a portion of the 
cloth forming the upper part of the bag, I refastened the loops -- 
not to the hoop, for that would have been impossible, since the cloth 
now intervened -- but to a series of large buttons, affixed to the 
cloth itself, about three feet below the mouth of the bag, the 
intervals between the buttons having been made to correspond to the 
intervals between the loops. This done, a few more of the loops were 
unfastened from the rim, a farther portion of the cloth introduced, 
and the disengaged loops then connected with their proper buttons. In 
this way it was possible to insert the whole upper part of the bag 
between the net-work and the hoop. It is evident that the hoop would 
now drop down within the car, while the whole weight of the car 
itself, with all its contents, would be held up merely by the 
strength of the buttons. This, at first sight, would seem an 
inadequate dependence; but it was by no means so, for the buttons 
were not only very strong in themselves, but so close together that a 
very slight portion of the whole weight was supported by any one of 
them. Indeed, had the car and contents been three times heavier than 
they were, I should not have been at all uneasy. I now raised up the 
hoop again within the covering of gum-elastic, and propped it at 
nearly its former height by means of three light poles prepared for 
the occasion. This was done, of course, to keep the bag distended at 
the top, and to preserve the lower part of the net-work in its proper 
situation. All that now remained was to fasten up the mouth of the 
enclosure; and this was readily accomplished by gathering the folds 
of the material together, and twisting them up very tightly on the 
inside by means of a kind of stationary tourniquet.
"In the sides of the covering thus adjusted round the car, had been 
inserted three circular panes of thick but clear glass, through which 
I could see without difficulty around me in every horizontal 
direction. In that portion of the cloth forming the bottom, was 
likewise, a fourth window, of the same kind, and corresponding with a 
small aperture in the floor of the car itself. This enabled me to see 
perpendicularly down, but having found it impossible to place any 
similar contrivance overhead, on account of the peculiar manner of 
closing up the opening there, and the consequent wrinkles in the 
cloth, I could expect to see no objects situated directly in my 
zenith. This, of course, was a matter of little consequence; for had 
I even been able to place a window at top, the balloon itself would 
have prevented my making any use of it.
"About a foot below one of the side windows was a circular opening, 
eight inches in diameter, and fitted with a brass rim adapted in its 
inner edge to the windings of a screw. In this rim was screwed the 
large tube of the condenser, the body of the machine being, of 
course, within the chamber of gum-elastic. Through this tube a 
quantity of the rare atmosphere circumjacent being drawn by means of 
a vacuum created in the body of the machine, was thence discharged, 
in a state of condensation, to mingle with the thin air already in 
the chamber. This operation being repeated several times, at length 
filled the chamber with atmosphere proper for all the purposes of 
respiration. But in so confined a space it would, in a short time, 
necessarily become foul, and unfit for use from frequent contact with 
the lungs. It was then ejected by a small valve at the bottom of the 
car -- the dense air readily sinking into the thinner atmosphere 
below. To avoid the inconvenience of making a total vacuum at any 
moment within the chamber, this purification was never accomplished 
all at once, but in a gradual manner -- the valve being opened only 
for a few seconds, then closed again, until one or two strokes from 
the pump of the condenser had supplied the place of the atmosphere 
ejected. For the sake of experiment I had put the cat and kittens in 
a small basket, and suspended it outside the car to a button at the 
bottom, close by the valve, through which I could feed them at any 
moment when necessary. I did this at some little risk, and before 
closing the mouth of the chamber, by reaching under the car with one 
of the poles before mentioned to which a hook had been attached.
"By the time I had fully completed these arrangements and filled the 
chamber as explained, it wanted only ten minutes of nine o'clock. 
During the whole period of my being thus employed, I endured the most 
terrible distress from difficulty of respiration, and bitterly did I 
repent the negligence or rather fool-hardiness, of which I had been 
guilty, of putting off to the last moment a matter of so much 
importance. But having at length accomplished it, I soon began to 
reap the benefit of my invention. Once again I breathed with perfect 
freedom and ease -- and indeed why should I not? I was also agreeably 
surprised to find myself, in a great measure, relieved from the 
violent pains which had hitherto tormented me. A slight headache, 
accompanied with a sensation of fulness or distention about the 
wrists, the ankles, and the throat, was nearly all of which I had now 
to complain. Thus it seemed evident that a greater part of the 
uneasiness attending the removal of atmospheric pressure had actually 
worn off, as I had expected, and that much of the pain endured for 
the last two hours should have been attributed altogether to the 
effects of a deficient respiration.
"At twenty minutes before nine o'clock -- that is to say, a short 
time prior to my closing up the mouth of the chamber, the mercury 
attained its limit, or ran down, in the barometer, which, as I 
mentioned before, was one of an extended construction. It then 
indicated an altitude on my part of 132,000 feet, or five-and-twenty 
miles, and I consequently surveyed at that time an extent of the 
earth's area amounting to no less than the three 
hundred-and-twentieth part of its entire superficies. At nine o'clock 
I had again lost sight of land to the eastward, but not before I 
became aware that the balloon was drifting rapidly to the N. N. W. 
The convexity of the ocean beneath me was very evident indeed, 
although my view was often interrupted by the masses of cloud which 
floated to and fro. I observed now that even the lightest vapors 
never rose to more than ten miles above the level of the sea.
"At half past nine I tried the experiment of throwing out a handful 
of feathers through the valve. They did not float as I had expected; 
but dropped down perpendicularly, like a bullet, en masse, and with 
the greatest velocity -- being out of sight in a very few seconds. I 
did not at first know what to make of this extraordinary phenomenon; 
not being able to believe that my rate of ascent had, of a sudden, 
met with so prodigious an acceleration. But it soon occurred to me 
that the atmosphere was now far too rare to sustain even the 
feathers; that they actually fell, as they appeared to do, with great 
rapidity; and that I had been surprised by the united velocities of 
their descent and my own elevation.
"By ten o'clock I found that I had very little to occupy my immediate 
attention. Affairs went swimmingly, and I believed the balloon to be 
going upward witb a speed increasing momently although I had no 
longer any means of ascertaining the progression of the increase. I 
suffered no pain or uneasiness of any kind, and enjoyed better 
spirits than I had at any period since my departure from Rotterdam, 
busying myself now in examining the state of my various apparatus, 
and now in regenerating the atmosphere within the chamber. This 
latter point I determined to attend to at regular intervals of forty 
minutes, more on account of the preservation of my health, than from 
so frequent a renovation being absolutely necessary. In the meanwhile 
I could not help making anticipations. Fancy revelled in the wild and 
dreamy regions of the moon. Imagination, feeling herself for once 
unshackled, roamed at will among the ever-changing wonders of a 
shadowy and unstable land. Now there were boary and time-honored 
forests, and craggy precipices, and waterfalls tumbling with a loud 
noise into abysses without a bottom. Then I came suddenly into still 
noonday solitudes, where no wind of heaven ever intruded, and where 
vast meadows of poppies, and slender, lily-looking flowers spread 
themselves out a weary distance, all silent and motionless forever. 
Then again I journeyed far down away into another country where it 
was all one dim and vague lake, with a boundary line of clouds. And 
out of this melancholy water arose a forest of tall eastern trees, 
like a wilderness of dreams. And I have in mind that the shadows of 
the trees which fell upon the lake remained not on the surface where 
they fell, but sunk slowly and steadily down, and commingled with the 
waves, while from the trunks of the trees other shadows were 
continually coming out, and taking the place of their brothers thus 
entombed. "This then," I said thoughtfully, "is the very reason why 
the waters of this lake grow blacker with age, and more melancholy as 
the hours run on." But fancies such as these were not the sole 
possessors of my brain. Horrors of a nature most stern and most 
appalling would too frequently obtrude themselves upon my mind, and 
shake the innermost depths of my soul with the bare supposition of 
their possibility. Yet I would not suffer my thoughts for any length 
of time to dwell upon these latter speculations, rightly judging the 
real and palpable dangers of the voyage sufficient for my undivided 
"At five o'clock, p.m., being engaged in regenerating the atmosphere 
within the chamber, I took that opportunity of observing the cat and 
kittens through the valve. The cat herself appeared to suffer again 
very much, and I had no hesitation in attributing her uneasiness 
chiefly to a difficulty in breathing; but my experiment with the 
kittens had resulted very strangely. I had expected, of course, to 
see them betray a sense of pain, although in a less degree than their 
mother, and this would have been sufficient to confirm my opinion 
concerning the habitual endurance of atmospheric pressure. But I was 
not prepared to find them, upon close examination, evidently enjoying 
a high degree of health, breathing with the greatest ease and perfect 
regularity, and evincing not the slightest sign of any uneasiness 
whatever. I could only account for all this by extending my theory, 
and supposing that the highly rarefied atmosphere around might 
perhaps not be, as I had taken for granted, chemically insufficient 
for the purposes of life, and that a person born in such a medium 
might, possibly, be unaware of any inconvenience attending its 
inhalation, while, upon removal to the denser strata near the earth, 
he might endure tortures of a similar nature to those I had so lately 
experienced. It has since been to me a matter of deep regret that an 
awkward accident, at this time, occasioned me the loss of my little 
family of cats, and deprived me of the insight into this matter which 
a continued experiment might have afforded. In passing my hand 
through the valve, with a cup of water for the old puss, the sleeves 
of my shirt became entangled in the loop which sustained the basket, 
and thus, in a moment, loosened it from the bottom. Had the whole 
actually vanished into air, it could not have shot from my sight in a 
more abrupt and instantaneous manner. Positively, there could not 
have intervened the tenth part of a second between the disengagement 
of the basket and its absolute and total disappearance with all that 
it contained. My good wishes followed it to the earth, but of course, 
I had no hope that either cat or kittens would ever live to tell the 
tale of their misfortune.
"At six o'clock, I perceived a great portion of the earth's visible 
area to the eastward involved in thick shadow, which continued to 
advance with great rapidity, until, at five minutes before seven, the 
whole surface in view was enveloped in the darkness of night. It was 
not, however, until long after this time that the rays of the setting 
sun ceased to illumine the balloon; and this circumstance, although 
of course fully anticipated, did not fail to give me an infinite deal 
of pleasure. It was evident that, in the morning, I should behold the 
rising luminary many hours at least before the citizens of Rotterdam, 
in spite of their situation so much farther to the eastward, and 
thus, day after day, in proportion to the height ascended, would I 
enjoy the light of the sun for a longer and a longer period. I now 
determined to keep a journal of my passage, reckoning the days from 
one to twenty-four hours continuously, without taking into 
consideration the intervals of darkness.
"At ten o'clock, feeling sleepy, I determined to lie down for the 
rest of the night; but here a difficulty presented itself, which, 
obvious as it may appear, had escaped my attention up to the very 
moment of which I am now speaking. If I went to sleep as I proposed, 
how could the atmosphere in the chamber be regenerated in the 
interim? To breathe it for more than an hour, at the farthest, would 
be a matter of impossibility, or, if even this term could be extended 
to an hour and a quarter, the most ruinous consequences might ensue. 
The consideration of this dilemma gave me no little disquietude; and 
it will hardly be believed, that, after the dangers I had undergone, 
I should look upon this business in so serious a light, as to give up 
all hope of accomplishing my ultimate design, and finally make up my 
mind to the necessity of a descent. But this hesitation was only 
momentary. I reflected that man is the veriest slave of custom, and 
that many points in the routine of his existence are deemed 
essentially important, which are only so at all by his having 
rendered them habitual. It was very certain that I could not do 
without sleep; but I might easily bring myself to feel no 
inconvenience from being awakened at intervals of an hour during the 
whole period of my repose. It would require but five minutes at most 
to regenerate the atmosphere in the fullest manner, and the only real 
difficulty was to contrive a method of arousing myself at the proper 
moment for so doing. But this was a question which, I am willing to 
confess, occasioned me no little trouble in its solution. To be sure, 
I had heard of the student who, to prevent his falling asleep over 
his books, held in one hand a ball of copper, the din of whose 
descent into a basin of the same metal on the floor beside his chair, 
served effectually to startle him up, if, at any moment, he should be 
overcome with drowsiness. My own case, however, was very different 
indeed, and left me no room for any similar idea; for I did not wish 
to keep awake, but to be aroused from slumber at regular intervals of 
time. I at length hit upon the following expedient, which, simple as 
it may seem, was hailed by me, at the moment of discovery, as an 
invention fully equal to that of the telescope, the steam-engine, or 
the art of printing itself.
"It is necessary to premise, that the balloon, at the elevation now 
attained, continued its course upward with an even and undeviating 
ascent, and the car consequently followed with a steadiness so 
perfect that it would have been impossible to detect in it the 
slightest vacillation whatever. This circumstance favored me greatly 
in the project I now determined to adopt. My supply of water had been 
put on board in kegs containing five gallons each, and ranged very 
securely around the interior of the car. I unfastened one of these, 
and taking two ropes tied them tightly across the rim of the 
wicker-work from one side to the other; placing them about a foot 
apart and parallel so as to form a kind of shelf, upon which I placed 
the keg, and steadied it in a horizontal position. About eight inches 
immediately below these ropes, and four feet from the bottom of the 
car I fastened another shelf -- but made of thin plank, being the 
only similar piece of wood I had. Upon this latter shelf, and exactly 
beneath one of the rims of the keg, a small earthern pitcher was 
deposited. I now bored a hole in the end of the keg over the pitcher, 
and fitted in a plug of soft wood, cut in a tapering or conical 
shape. This plug I pushed in or pulled out, as might happen, until, 
after a few experiments, it arrived at that exact degree of 
tightness, at which the water, oozing from the hole, and falling into 
the pitcher below, would fill the latter to the brim in the period of 
sixty minutes. This, of course, was a matter briefly and easily 
ascertained, by noticing the proportion of the pitcher filled in any 
given time. Having arranged all this, the rest of the plan is 
obvious. My bed was so contrived upon the floor of the car, as to 
bring my head, in lying down, immediately below the mouth of the 
pitcher. It was evident, that, at the expiration of an hour, the 
pitcher, getting full, would be forced to run over, and to run over 
at the mouth, which was somewhat lower than the rim. It was also 
evident, that the water thus falling from a height of more than four 
feet, could not do otherwise than fall upon my face, and that the 
sure consequences would be, to waken me up instantaneously, even from 
the soundest slumber in the world.
"It was fully eleven by the time I had completed these arrangements, 
and I immediately betook myself to bed, with full confidence in the 
efficiency of my invention. Nor in this matter was I disappointed. 
Punctually every sixty minutes was I aroused by my trusty 
chronometer, when, having emptied the pitcher into the bung-hole of 
the keg, and performed the duties of the condenser, I retired again 
to bed. These regular interruptions to my slumber caused me even less 
discomfort than I had anticipated; and when I finally arose for the 
day, it was seven o'clock, and the sun had attained many degrees 
above the line of my horizon.
"April 3d. I found the balloon at an immense height indeed, and the 
earth's apparent convexity increased in a material degree. Below me 
in the ocean lay a cluster of black specks, which undoubtedly were 
islands. Far away to the northward I perceived a thin, white, and 
exceedingly brilliant line, or streak, on the edge of the horizon, 
and I had no hesitation in supposing it to be the southern disk of 
the ices of the Polar Sea. My curiosity was greatly excited, for I 
had hopes of passing on much farther to the north, and might 
possibly, at some period, find myself placed directly above the Pole 
itself. I now lamented that my great elevation would, in this case, 
prevent my taking as accurate a survey as I could wish. Much, 
however, might be ascertained. Nothing else of an extraordinary 
nature occurred during the day. My apparatus all continued in good 
order, and the balloon still ascended without any perceptible 
vacillation. The cold was intense, and obliged me to wrap up closely 
in an overcoat. When darkness came over the earth, I betook myself to 
bed, although it was for many hours afterward broad daylight all 
around my immediate situation. The water-clock was punctual in its 
duty, and I slept until next morning soundly, with the exception of 
the periodical interruption.
"April 4th. Arose in good health and spirits, and was astonished at 
the singular change which had taken place in the appearance of the 
sea. It had lost, in a great measure, the deep tint of blue it had 
hitherto worn, being now of a grayish-white, and of a lustre dazzling 
to the eye. The islands were no longer visible; whether they had 
passed down the horizon to the southeast, or whether my increasing 
elevation had left them out of sight, it is impossible to say. I was 
inclined, however, to the latter opinion. The rim of ice to the 
northward was growing more and more apparent. Cold by no means so 
intense. Nothing of importance occurred, and I passed the day in 
reading, having taken care to supply myself with books.
"April 5th. Beheld the singular phenomenon of the sun rising while 
nearly the whole visible surface of the earth continued to be 
involved in darkness. In time, however, the light spread itself over 
all, and I again saw the line of ice to the northward. It was now 
very distinct, and appeared of a much darker hue than the waters of 
the ocean. I was evidently approaching it, and with great rapidity. 
Fancied I could again distinguish a strip of land to the eastward, 
and one also to the westward, but could not be certain. Weather 
moderate. Nothing of any consequence happened during the day. Went 
early to bed.
"April 6th. Was surprised at finding the rim of ice at a very 
moderate distance, and an immense field of the same material 
stretching away off to the horizon in the north. It was evident that 
if the balloon held its present course, it would soon arrive above 
the Frozen Ocean, and I had now little doubt of ultimately seeing the 
Pole. During the whole of the day I continued to near the ice. Toward 
night the limits of my horizon very suddenly and materially 
increased, owing undoubtedly to the earth's form being that of an 
oblate spheroid, and my arriving above the flattened regions in the 
vicinity of the Arctic circle. When darkness at length overtook me, I 
went to bed in great anxiety, fearing to pass over the object of so 
much curiosity when I should have no opportunity of observing it.
"April 7th. Arose early, and, to my great joy, at length beheld what 
there could be no hesitation in supposing the northern Pole itself. 
It was there, beyond a doubt, and immediately beneath my feet; but, 
alas! I had now ascended to so vast a distance, that nothing could 
with accuracy be discerned. Indeed, to judge from the progression of 
the numbers indicating my various altitudes, respectively, at 
different periods, between six A.M. on the second of April, and 
twenty minutes before nine A.M. of the same day (at which time the 
barometer ran down), it might be fairly inferred that the balloon had 
now, at four o'clock in the morning of April the seventh, reached a 
height of not less, certainly, than 7,254 miles above the surface of 
the sea. This elevation may appear immense, but the estimate upon 
which it is calculated gave a result in all probability far inferior 
to the truth. At all events I undoubtedly beheld the whole of the 
earth's major diameter; the entire northern hemisphere lay beneath me 
like a chart orthographically projected: and the great circle of the 
equator itself formed the boundary line of my horizon. Your 
Excellencies may, however, readily imagine that the confined regions 
hitherto unexplored within the limits of the Arctic circle, although 
situated directly beneath me, and therefore seen without any 
appearance of being foreshortened, were still, in themselves, 
comparatively too diminutive, and at too great a distance from the 
point of sight, to admit of any very accurate examination. 
Nevertheless, what could be seen was of a nature singular and 
exciting. Northwardly from that huge rim before mentioned, and which, 
with slight qualification, may be called the limit of human discovery 
in these regions, one unbroken, or nearly unbroken, sheet of ice 
continues to extend. In the first few degrees of this its progress, 
its surface is very sensibly flattened, farther on depressed into a 
plane, and finally, becoming not a little concave, it terminates, at 
the Pole itself, in a circular centre, sharply defined, wbose 
apparent diameter subtended at the balloon an angle of about 
sixty-five seconds, and whose dusky hue, varying in intensity, was, 
at all times, darker than any other spot upon the visible hemisphere, 
and occasionally deepened into the most absolute and impenetrable 
blackness. Farther than this, little could be ascertained. By twelve 
o'clock the circular centre had materially decreased in 
circumference, and by seven P.M. I lost sight of it entirely; the 
balloon passing over the western limb of the ice, and floating away 
rapidly in the direction of the equator.
"April 8th. Found a sensible diminution in the earth's apparent 
diameter, besides a material alteration in its general color and 
appearance. The whole visible area partook in different degrees of a 
tint of pale yellow, and in some portions had acquired a brilliancy 
even painful to the eye. My view downward was also considerably 
impeded by the dense atmosphere in the vicinity of the surface being 
loaded with clouds, between whose masses I could only now and then 
obtain a glimpse of the earth itself. This difficulty of direct 
vision had troubled me more or less for the last forty-eight hours; 
but my present enormous elevation brought closer together, as it 
were, the floating bodies of vapor, and the inconvenience became, of 
course, more and more palpable in proportion to my ascent. 
Nevertheless, I could easily perceive that the balloon now hovered 
above the range of great lakes in the continent of North America, and 
was holding a course, due south, which would bring me to the tropics. 
This circumstance did not fail to give me the most heartful 
satisfaction, and I hailed it as a happy omen of ultimate success. 
Indeed, the direction I had hitherto taken, had filled me with 
uneasiness; for it was evident that, had I continued it much longer, 
there would have been no possibility of my arriving at the moon at 
all, whose orbit is inclined to the ecliptic at only the small angle 
of 5 degrees 8' 48".
"April 9th. To-day the earth's diameter was greatly diminished, and 
the color of the surface assumed hourly a deeper tint of yellow. The 
balloon kept steadily on her course to the southward, and arrived, at 
nine P.M., over the northern edge of the Mexican Gulf.
"April 10th. I was suddenly aroused from slumber, about five o'clock 
this morning, by a loud, crackling, and terrific sound, for which I 
could in no manner account. It was of very brief duration, but, while 
it lasted resembled nothing in the world of which I had any previous 
experience. It is needless to say that I became excessively alarmed, 
having, in the first instance, attributed the noise to the bursting 
of the balloon. I examined all my apparatus, however, with great 
attention, and could discover nothing out of order. Spent a great 
part of the day in meditating upon an occurrence so extraordinary, 
but could find no means whatever of accounting for it. Went to bed 
dissatisfied, and in a state of great anxiety and agitation.
"April 11th. Found a startling diminution in the apparent diameter of 
the earth, and a considerable increase, now observable for the first 
time, in that of the moon itself, which wanted only a few days of 
being full. It now required long and excessive labor to condense 
within the chamber sufficient atmospheric air for the sustenance of 
"April 12th. A singular alteration took place in regard to the 
direction of the balloon, and although fully anticipated, afforded me 
the most unequivocal delight. Having reached, in its former course, 
about the twentieth parallel of southern latitude, it turned off 
suddenly, at an acute angle, to the eastward, and thus proceeded 
throughout the day, keeping nearly, if not altogether, in the exact 
plane of the lunar elipse. What was worthy of remark, a very 
perceptible vacillation in the car was a consequence of this change 
of route -- a vacillation which prevailed, in a more or less degree, 
for a period of many hours.
"April 13th. Was again very much alarmed by a repetition of the loud, 
crackling noise which terrified me on the tenth. Thought long upon 
the subject, but was unable to form any satisfactory conclusion. 
Great decrease in the earth's apparent diameter, which now subtended 
from the balloon an angle of very little more than twenty-five 
degrees. The moon could not be seen at all, being nearly in my 
zenith. I still continued in the plane of the elipse, but made little 
progress to the eastward.
"April 14th. Extremely rapid decrease in the diameter of the earth. 
To-day I became strongly impressed with the idea, that the balloon 
was now actually running up the line of apsides to the point of 
perigee- in other words, holding the direct course which would bring 
it immediately to the moon in that part of its orbit the nearest to 
the earth. The moon iself was directly overhead, and consequently 
hidden from my view. Great and long-continued labor necessary for the 
condensation of the atmosphere.
"April 15th. Not even the outlines of continents and seas could now 
be traced upon the earth with anything approaching distinctness. 
About twelve o'clock I became aware, for the third time, of that 
appalling sound which had so astonished me before. It now, however, 
continued for some moments, and gathered intensity as it continued. 
At length, while, stupefied and terror-stricken, I stood in 
expectation of I knew not what hideous destruction, the car vibrated 
with excessive violence, and a gigantic and flaming mass of some 
material which I could not distinguish, came with a voice of a 
thousand thunders, roaring and booming by the balloon. When my fears 
and astonishment had in some degree subsided, I had little difficulty 
in supposing it to be some mighty volcanic fragment ejected from that 
world to which I was so rapidly approaching, and, in all probability, 
one of that singular class of substances occasionally picked up on 
the earth, and termed meteoric stones for want of a better 
"April 16th. To-day, looking upward as well as I could, through each 
of the side windows alternately, I beheld, to my great delight, a 
very small portion of the moon's disk protruding, as it were, on all 
sides beyond the huge circumference of the balloon. My agitation was 
extreme; for I had now little doubt of soon reaching the end of my 
perilous voyage. Indeed, the labor now required by the condenser had 
increased to a most oppressive degree, and allowed me scarcely any 
respite from exertion. Sleep was a matter nearly out of the question. 
I became quite ill, and my frame trembled with exhaustion. It was 
impossible that human nature could endure this state of intense 
suffering much longer. During the now brief interval of darkness a 
meteoric stone again passed in my vicinity, and the frequency of 
these phenomena began to occasion me much apprehension.
"April 17th. This morning proved an epoch in my voyage. It will be 
remembered that, on the thirteenth, the earth subtended an angular 
breadth of twenty-five degrees. On the fourteenth this had greatly 
diminished; on the fifteenth a still more remarkable decrease was 
observable; and, on retiring on the night of the sixteenth, I had 
noticed an angle of no more than about seven degrees and fifteen 
minutes. What, therefore, must have been my amazement, on awakening 
from a brief and disturbed slumber, on the morning of this day, the 
seventeenth, at finding the surface beneath me so suddenly and 
wonderfully augmented in volume, as to subtend no less than 
thirty-nine degrees in apparent angular diameter! I was 
thunderstruck! No words can give any adequate idea of the extreme, 
the absolute horror and astonishment, with which I was seized 
possessed, and altogether overwhelmed. My knees tottered beneath me 
-- my teeth chattered -- my hair started up on end. "The balloon, 
then, had actually burst!" These were the first tumultuous ideas that 
hurried through my mind: "The balloon had positively burst! -- I was 
falling -- falling with the most impetuous, the most unparalleled 
velocity! To judge by the immense distance already so quickly passed 
over, it could not be more than ten minutes, at the farthest, before 
I should meet the surface of the earth, and be hurled into 
annihilation!" But at length reflection came to my relief. I paused; 
I considered; and I began to doubt. The matter was impossible. I 
could not in any reason have so rapidly come down. Besides, although 
I was evidently approaching the surface below me, it was with a speed 
by no means commensurate with the velocity I had at first so horribly 
conceived. This consideration served to calm the perturbation of my 
mind, and I finally succeeded in regarding the phenomenon in its 
proper point of view. In fact, amazement must have fairly deprived me 
of my senses, when I could not see the vast difference, in 
appearance, between the surface below me, and the surface of my 
mother earth. The latter was indeed over my head, and completely 
hidden by the balloon, while the moon -- the moon itself in all its 
glory -- lay beneath me, and at my feet.
"The stupor and surprise produced in my mind by this extraordinary 
change in the posture of affairs was perhaps, after all, that part of 
the adventure least susceptible of explanation. For the 
bouleversement in itself was not only natural and inevitable, but had 
been long actually anticipated as a circumstance to be expected 
whenever I should arrive at that exact point of my voyage where the 
attraction of the planet should be superseded by the attraction of 
the satellite -- or, more precisely, where the gravitation of the 
balloon toward the earth should be less powerful than its gravitation 
toward the moon. To be sure I arose from a sound slumber, with all my 
senses in confusion, to the contemplation of a very startling 
phenomenon, and one which, although expected, was not expected at the 
moment. The revolution itself must, of course, have taken place in an 
easy and gradual manner, and it is by no means clear that, had I even 
been awake at the time of the occurrence, I should have been made 
aware of it by any internal evidence of an inversion -- that is to 
say, by any inconvenience or disarrangement, either about my person 
or about my apparatus.
"It is almost needless to say that, upon coming to a due sense of my 
situation, and emerging from the terror which had absorbed every 
faculty of my soul, my attention was, in the first place, wholly 
directed to the contemplation of the general physical appearance of 
the moon. It lay beneath me like a chart -- and although I judged it 
to be still at no inconsiderable distance, the indentures of its 
surface were defined to my vision with a most striking and altogether 
unaccountable distinctness. The entire absence of ocean or sea, and 
indeed of any lake or river, or body of water whatsoever, struck me, 
at first glance, as the most extraordinary feature in its geological 
condition. Yet, strange to say, I beheld vast level regions of a 
character decidedly alluvial, although by far the greater portion of 
the hemisphere in sight was covered with innumerable volcanic 
mountains, conical in shape, and having more the appearance of 
artificial than of natural protuberance. The highest among them does 
not exceed three and three-quarter miles in perpendicular elevation; 
but a map of the volcanic districts of the Campi Phlegraei would 
afford to your Excellencies a better idea of their general surface 
than any unworthy description I might think proper to attempt. The 
greater part of them were in a state of evident eruption, and gave me 
fearfully to understand their fury and their power, by the repeated 
thunders of the miscalled meteoric stones, which now rushed upward by 
the balloon with a frequency more and more appalling.
"April 18th. To-day I found an enormous increase in the moon's 
apparent bulk -- and the evidently accelerated velocity of my descent 
began to fill me with alarm. It will be remembered, that, in the 
earliest stage of my speculations upon the possibility of a passage 
to the moon, the existence, in its vicinity, of an atmosphere, dense 
in proportion to the bulk of the planet, had entered largely into my 
calculations; this too in spite of many theories to the contrary, 
and, it may be added, in spite of a general disbelief in the 
existence of any lunar atmosphere at all. But, in addition to what I 
have already urged in regard to Encke's comet and the zodiacal light, 
I had been strengthened in my opinion by certain observations of Mr. 
Schroeter, of Lilienthal. He observed the moon when two days and a 
half old, in the evening soon after sunset, before the dark part was 
visible, and continued to watch it until it became visible. The two 
cusps appeared tapering in a very sharp faint prolongation, each 
exhibiting its farthest extremity faintly illuminated by the solar 
rays, before any part of the dark hemisphere was visible. Soon 
afterward, the whole dark limb became illuminated. This prolongation 
of the cusps beyond the semicircle, I thought, must have arisen from 
the refraction of the sun's rays by the moon's atmosphere. I 
computed, also, the height of the atmosphere (which could refract 
light enough into its dark hemisphere to produce a twilight more 
luminous than the light reflected from the earth when the moon is 
about 32 degrees from the new) to be 1,356 Paris feet; in this view, 
I supposed the greatest height capable of refracting the solar ray, 
to be 5,376 feet. My ideas on this topic had also received 
confirmation by a passage in the eighty-second volume of the 
Philosophical Transactions, in which it is stated that at an 
occultation of Jupiter's satellites, the third disappeared after 
having been about 1" or 2" of time indistinct, and the fourth became 
indiscernible near the limb.{*4}
"Cassini frequently observed Saturn, Jupiter, and the fixed stars, 
when approaching the moon to occultation, to have their circular 
figure changed into an oval one; and, in other occultations, he found 
no alteration of figure at all. Hence it might be supposed, that at 
some times and not at others, there is a dense matter encompassing 
the moon wherein the rays of the stars are refracted.
"Upon the resistance or, more properly, upon the support of an 
atmosphere, existing in the state of density imagined, I had, of 
course, entirely depended for the safety of my ultimate descent. 
Should I then, after all, prove to have been mistaken, I had in 
consequence nothing better to expect, as a finale to my adventure, 
than being dashed into atoms against the rugged surface of the 
satellite. And, indeed, I had now every reason to be terrified. My 
distance from the moon was comparatively trifling, while the labor 
required by the condenser was diminished not at all, and I could 
discover no indication whatever of a decreasing rarity in the air.
"April 19th. This morning, to my great joy, about nine o'clock, the 
surface of the moon being frightfully near, and my apprehensions 
excited to the utmost, the pump of my condenser at length gave 
evident tokens of an alteration in the atmosphere. By ten, I had 
reason to believe its density considerably increased. By eleven, very 
little labor was necessary at the apparatus; and at twelve o'clock, 
with some hesitation, I ventured to unscrew the tourniquet, when, 
finding no inconvenience from having done so, I finally threw open 
the gum-elastic chamber, and unrigged it from around the car. As 
might have been expected, spasms and violent headache were the 
immediate consequences of an experiment so precipitate and full of 
danger. But these and other difficulties attending respiration, as 
they were by no means so great as to put me in peril of my life, I 
determined to endure as I best could, in consideration of my leaving 
them behind me momently in my approach to the denser strata near the 
moon. This approach, however, was still impetuous in the extreme; and 
it soon became alarmingly certain that, although I had probably not 
been deceived in the expectation of an atmosphere dense in proportion 
to the mass of the satellite, still I had been wrong in supposing 
this density, even at the surface, at all adequate to the support of 
the great weight contained in the car of my balloon. Yet this should 
have been the case, and in an equal degree as at the surface of the 
earth, the actual gravity of bodies at either planet supposed in the 
ratio of the atmospheric condensation. That it was not the case, 
however, my precipitous downfall gave testimony enough; why it was 
not so, can only be explained by a reference to those possible 
geological disturbances to which I have formerly alluded. At all 
events I was now close upon the planet, and coming down with the most 
terrible impetuosity. I lost not a moment, accordingly, in throwing 
overboard first my ballast, then my water-kegs, then my condensing 
apparatus and gum-elastic chamber, and finally every article within 
the car. But it was all to no purpose. I still fell with horrible 
rapidity, and was now not more than half a mile from the surface. As 
a last resource, therefore, having got rid of my coat, hat, and 
boots, I cut loose from the balloon the car itself, which was of no 
inconsiderable weight, and thus, clinging with both hands to the 
net-work, I had barely time to observe that the whole country, as far 
as the eye could reach, was thickly interspersed with diminutive 
habitations, ere I tumbled headlong into the very heart of a 
fantastical-looking city, and into the middle of a vast crowd of ugly 
little people, who none of them uttered a single syllable, or gave 
themselves the least trouble to render me assistance, but stood, like 
a parcel of idiots, grinning in a ludicrous manner, and eyeing me and 
my balloon askant, with their arms set a-kimbo. I turned from them in 
contempt, and, gazing upward at the earth so lately left, and left 
perhaps for ever, beheld it like a huge, dull, copper shield, about 
two degrees in diameter, fixed immovably in the heavens overhead, and 
tipped on one of its edges with a crescent border of the most 
brilliant gold. No traces of land or water could be discovered, and 
the whole was clouded with variable spots, and belted with tropical 
and equatorial zones.
"Thus, may it please your Excellencies, after a series of great 
anxieties, unheard of dangers, and unparalleled escapes, I had, at 
length, on the nineteenth day of my departure from Rotterdam, arrived 
in safety at the conclusion of a voyage undoubtedly the most 
extraordinary, and the most momentous, ever accomplished, undertaken, 
or conceived by any denizen of earth. But my adventures yet remain to 
be related. And indeed your Excellencies may well imagine that, after 
a residence of five years upon a planet not only deeply interesting 
in its own peculiar character, but rendered doubly so by its intimate 
connection, in capacity of satellite, with the world inhabited by 
man, I may have intelligence for the private ear of the States' 
College of Astronomers of far more importance than the details, 
however wonderful, of the mere voyage which so happily concluded. 
This is, in fact, the case. I have much -- very much which it would 
give me the greatest pleasure to communicate. I have much to say of 
the climate of the planet; of its wonderful alternations of heat and 
cold, of unmitigated and burning sunshine for one fortnight, and more 
than polar frigidity for the next; of a constant transfer of 
moisture, by distillation like that in vacuo, from the point beneath 
the sun to the point the farthest from it; of a variable zone of 
running water, of the people themselves; of their manners, customs, 
and political institutions; of their peculiar physical construction; 
of their ugliness; of their want of ears, those useless appendages in 
an atmosphere so peculiarly modified; of their consequent ignorance 
of the use and properties of speech; of their substitute for speech 
in a singular method of inter-communication; of the incomprehensible 
connection between each particular individual in the moon with some 
particular individual on the earth -- a connection analogous with, 
and depending upon, that of the orbs of the planet and the 
satellites, and by means of which the lives and destinies of the 
inhabitants of the one are interwoven with the lives and destinies of 
the inhabitants of the other; and above all, if it so please your 
Excellencies -- above all, of those dark and hideous mysteries which 
lie in the outer regions of the moon -- regions which, owing to the 
almost miraculous accordance of the satellite's rotation on its own 
axis with its sidereal revolution about the earth, have never yet 
been turned, and, by God's mercy, never shall be turned, to the 
scrutiny of the telescopes of man. All this, and more- much more -- 
would I most willingly detail. But, to be brief, I must have my 
reward. I am pining for a return to my family and to my home, and as 
the price of any farther communication on my part -- in consideration 
of the light which I have it in my power to throw upon many very 
important branches of physical and metaphysical science -- I must 
solicit, through the influence of your honorable body, a pardon for 
the crime of which I have been guilty in the death of the creditors 
upon my departure from Rotterdam. This, then, is the object of the 
present paper. Its bearer, an inhabitant of the moon, whom I have 
prevailed upon, and properly instructed, to be my messenger to the 
earth, will await your Excellencies' pleasure, and return to me with 
the pardon in question, if it can, in any manner, be obtained.
"I have the honor to be, etc., your Excellencies' very humble 
Upon finishing the perusal of this very extraordinary document, 
Professor Rub-a-dub, it is said, dropped his pipe upon the ground in 
the extremity of his surprise, and Mynheer Superbus Von Underduk 
having taken off his spectacles, wiped them, and deposited them in 
his pocket, so far forgot both himself and his dignity, as to turn 
round three times upon his heel in the quintessence of astonishment 
and admiration. There was no doubt about the matter -- the pardon 
should be obtained. So at least swore, with a round oath, Professor 
Rub-a-dub, and so finally thought the illustrious Von Underduk, as he 
took the arm of his brother in science, and without saying a word, 
began to make the best of his way home to deliberate upon the 
measures to be adopted. Having reached the door, however, of the 
burgomaster's dwelling, the professor ventured to suggest that as the 
messenger had thought proper to disappear -- no doubt frightened to 
death by the savage appearance of the burghers of Rotterdam -- the 
pardon would be of little use, as no one but a man of the moon would 
undertake a voyage to so vast a distance. To the truth of this 
observation the burgomaster assented, and the matter was therefore at 
an end. Not so, however, rumors and speculations. The letter, having 
been published, gave rise to a variety of gossip and opinion. Some of 
the over-wise even made themselves ridiculous by decrying the whole 
business; as nothing better than a hoax. But hoax, with these sort of 
people, is, I believe, a general term for all matters above their 
comprehension. For my part, I cannot conceive upon what data they 
have founded such an accusation. Let us see what they say:
Imprimus. That certain wags in Rotterdam have certain especial 
antipathies to certain burgomasters and astronomers.
Don't understand at all.
Secondly. That an odd little dwarf and bottle conjurer, both of whose 
ears, for some misdemeanor, have been cut off close to his head, has 
been missing for several days from the neighboring city of Bruges.
Well -- what of that?
Thirdly. That the newspapers which were stuck all over the little 
balloon were newspapers of Holland, and therefore could not have been 
made in the moon. They were dirty papers -- very dirty -- and Gluck, 
the printer, would take his Bible oath to their having been printed 
in Rotterdam.
He was mistaken -- undoubtedly -- mistaken.
Fourthly, That Hans Pfaall himself, the druken villain, and the three 
very idle gentlemen styled his creditors, were all seen, no longer 
than two or three days ago, in a tippling house in the suburbs, 
having just returned, with money in their pockets, from a trip beyond 
the sea.
Don't believe it -- don't believe a word of it.
Lastly. That it is an opinion very generally received, or which ought 
to be generally received, that the College of Astronomers in the city 
of Rotterdam, as well as other colleges in all other parts of the 
world, -- not to mention colleges and astronomers in general, -- are, 
to say the least of the matter, not a whit better, nor greater, nor 
wiser than they ought to be.
~~~ End of Text ~~~ 
Notes to Hans Pfaal 
{*1} NOTE--Strictly speaking, there is but little similarity between   
the above sketchy trifle and the celebrated "Moon-Story" of Mr.   
Locke; but as both have the character of _hoaxes _(although the one   
is in a tone of banter, the other of downright earnest), and as both  
hoaxes are on the same subject, the moon--moreover, as both attempt  
to give plausibility by scientific detail--the author of "Hans  
Pfaall" thinks it necessary to say, in _self-defence, _that his own  
_jeu d'esprit _was published in the "Southern Literary Messenger"  
about three weeks before the commencement of Mr. L's in the "New York  
Sun." Fancying a likeness which, perhaps, does not exist, some of the  
New York papers copied "Hans Pfaall," and collated it with the  
"Moon-Hoax," by way of detecting the writer of the one in the writer  
of the other. 
As many more persons were actually gulled by the "Moon-Hoax" than  
would be willing to acknowledge the fact, it may here afford some  
little amusement to show why no one should have been deceived-to  
point out those particulars of the story which should have been  
sufficient to establish its real character. Indeed, however rich the  
imagination displayed in this ingenious fiction, it wanted much of  
the force which might have been given it by a more scrupulous  
attention to facts and to general analogy. That the public were  
misled, even for an instant, merely proves the gross ignorance which  
is so generally prevalent upon subjects of an astronomical nature. 
The moon's distance from the earth is, in round numbers, 240,000  
miles. If we desire to ascertain how near, apparently, a lens would  
bring the satellite (or any distant object), we, of course, have but  
to divide the distance by the magnifying or, more strictly, by the  
space-penetrating power of the glass. Mr. L. makes his lens have a  
power of 42,000 times. By this divide 240,000 (the moon's real  
distance), and we have five miles and five sevenths, as the apparent  
distance. No animal at all could be seen so far; much less the minute  
points particularized in the story. Mr. L. speaks about Sir John  
Herschel's perceiving flowers (the Papaver rheas, etc.), and even  
detecting the color and the shape of the eyes of small birds. Shortly  
before, too, he has himself observed that the lens would not render  
perceptible objects of less than eighteen inches in diameter; but  
even this, as I have said, is giving the glass by far too great  
power. It may be observed, in passing, that this prodigious glass is  
said to have been molded at the glasshouse of Messrs. Hartley and  
Grant, in Dumbarton; but Messrs. H. and G.'s establishment had ceased  
operations for many years previous to the publication of the hoax. 
On page 13, pamphlet edition, speaking of "a hairy veil" over the  
eyes of a species of bison, the author says: "It immediately occurred  
to the acute mind of Dr. Herschel that this was a providential  
contrivance to protect the eyes of the animal from the great extremes  
of light and darkness to which all the inhabitants of our side of the  
moon are periodically subjected." But this cannot be thought a very  
"acute" observation of the Doctor's. The inhabitants of our side of  
the moon have, evidently, no darkness at all, so there can be nothing  
of the "extremes" mentioned. In the absence of the sun they have a  
light from the earth equal to that of thirteen full unclouded moons. 
The topography throughout, even when professing to accord with  
Blunt's Lunar Chart, is entirely at variance with that or any other  
lunar chart, and even grossly at variance with itself. The points of  
the compass, too, are in inextricable confusion; the writer appearing  
to be ignorant that, on a lunar map, these are not in accordance with  
terrestrial points; the east being to the left, etc. 
Deceived, perhaps, by the vague titles, Mare Nubium, Mare  
Tranquillitatis, Mare Faecunditatis, etc., given to the dark spots by  
former astronomers, Mr. L. has entered into details regarding oceans  
and other large bodies of water in the moon; whereas there is no  
astronomical point more positively ascertained than that no such  
bodies exist there. In examining the boundary between light and  
darkness (in the crescent or gibbous moon) where this boundary  
crosses any of the dark places, the line of division is found to be  
rough and jagged; but, were these dark places liquid, it would  
evidently be even. 
The description of the wings of the man-bat, on page 21, is but a  
literal copy of Peter Wilkins' account of the wings of his flying  
islanders. This simple fact should have induced suspicion, at least,  
it might be thought. 
On page 23, we have the following: "What a prodigious influence must  
our thirteen times larger globe have exercised upon this satellite  
when an embryo in the womb of time, the passive subject of chemical  
affinity!" This is very fine; but it should be observed that no  
astronomer would have made such remark, especially to any journal of  
Science; for the earth, in the sense intended, is not only thirteen,  
but forty-nine times larger than the moon. A similar objection  
applies to the whole of the concluding pages, where, by way of  
introduction to some discoveries in Saturn, the philosophical  
correspondent enters into a minute schoolboy account of that planet  
-- this to the "Edinburgh journal of Science!" 
But there is one point, in particular, which should have betrayed the  
fiction. Let us imagine the power actually possessed of seeing  
animals upon the moon's surface -- what would first arrest the  
attention of an observer from the earth? Certainly neither their  
shape, size, nor any other such peculiarity, so soon as their  
remarkable _situation_. They would appear to be walking, with heels  
up and head down, in the manner of flies on a ceiling. The _real_  
observer would have uttered an instant ejaculation of surprise  
(however prepared by previous knowledge) at the singularity of their  
position; the _fictitious_ observer has not even mentioned the  
subject, but speaks of seeing the entire bodies of such creatures,  
when it is demonstrable that he could have seen only the diameter of  
their heads! 
It might as well be remarked, in conclusion, that the size, and  
particularly the powers of the man-bats (for example, their ability  
to fly in so rare an atmosphere--if, indeed, the moon have any), with  
most of the other fancies in regard to animal and vegetable  
existence, are at variance, generally, with all analogical reasoning  
on these themes; and that analogy here will often amount to  
conclusive demonstration. It is, perhaps, scarcely necessary to add,  
that all the suggestions attributed to Brewster and Herschel, in the  
beginning of the article, about "a transfusion of artificial light  
through the focal object of vision," etc., etc., belong to that  
species of figurative writing which comes, most properly, under the  
denomination of rigmarole. 
There is a real and very definite limit to optical discovery among  
the stars--a limit whose nature need only be stated to be understood.  
If, indeed, the casting of large lenses were all that is required,  
man's ingenuity would ultimately prove equal to the task, and we  
might have them of any size demanded. But, unhappily, in proportion  
to the increase of size in the lens, and consequently of  
space-penetrating power, is the diminution of light from the object,  
by diffusion of its rays. And for this evil there is no remedy within  
human ability; for an object is seen by means of that light alone  
which proceeds from itself, whether direct or reflected. Thus the  
only "artificial" light which could avail Mr. Locke, would be some  
artificial light which he should be able to throw-not upon the "focal  
object of vision," but upon the real object to be viewed-to wit: upon  
the moon. It has been easily calculated that, when the light  
proceeding from a star becomes so diffused as to be as weak as the  
natural light proceeding from the whole of the stars, in a clear and  
moonless night, then the star is no longer visible for any practical  
The Earl of Ross's telescope, lately constructed in England, has a  
_speculum_ with a reflecting surface of 4,071 square inches; the  
Herschel telescope having one of only 1,811. The metal of the Earl of  
Ross's is 6 feet diameter; it is 5 1/2 inches thick at the edges, and  
5 at the centre. The weight is 3 tons. The focal length is 50 feet. 
I have lately read a singular and somewhat ingenious little book,  
whose title-page runs thus: "L'Homme dans la lvne ou le Voyage  
Chimerique fait au Monde de la Lvne, nouuellement decouuert par  
Dominique Gonzales, Aduanturier Espagnol, autremét dit le Courier  
volant. Mis en notre langve par J. B. D. A. Paris, chez Francois  
Piot, pres la Fontaine de Saint Benoist. Et chez J. Goignard, au  
premier pilier de la grand'salle du Palais, proche les Consultations,  
MDCXLVII." Pp. 76. 
The writer professes to have translated his work from the English of  
one Mr. D'Avisson (Davidson?) although there is a terrible ambiguity  
in the statement. "J' en ai eu," says he "l'original de Monsieur  
D'Avisson, medecin des mieux versez qui soient aujourd'huy dans la  
cònoissance des Belles Lettres, et sur tout de la Philosophic  
Naturelle. Je lui ai cette obligation entre les autres, de m' auoir  
non seulement mis en main cc Livre en anglois, mais encore le  
Manuscrit du Sieur Thomas D'Anan, gentilhomme Eccossois,  
recommandable pour sa vertu, sur la version duquel j' advoue que j'  
ay tiré le plan de la mienne." 
After some irrelevant adventures, much in the manner of Gil Blas, and  
which occupy the first thirty pages, the author relates that, being  
ill during a sea voyage, the crew abandoned him, together with a  
negro servant, on the island of St. Helena. To increase the chances  
of obtaining food, the two separate, and live as far apart as  
possible. This brings about a training of birds, to serve the purpose  
of carrier-pigeons between them. By and by these are taught to carry  
parcels of some weight-and this weight is gradually increased. At  
length the idea is entertained of uniting the force of a great number  
of the birds, with a view to raising the author himself. A machine is  
contrived for the purpose, and we have a minute description of it,  
which is materially helped out by a steel engraving. Here we perceive  
the Signor Gonzales, with point ruffles and a huge periwig, seated  
astride something which resembles very closely a broomstick, and  
borne aloft by a multitude of wild swans _(ganzas) _who had strings  
reaching from their tails to the machine. 
The main event detailed in the Signor's narrative depends upon a very  
important fact, of which the reader is kept in ignorance until near  
the end of the book. The _ganzas, _with whom he had become so  
familiar, were not really denizens of St. Helena, but of the moon.  
Thence it had been their custom, time out of mind, to migrate  
annually to some portion of the earth. In proper season, of course,  
they would return home; and the author, happening, one day, to  
require their services for a short voyage, is unexpectedly carried  
straight tip, and in a very brief period arrives at the satellite.  
Here he finds, among other odd things, that the people enjoy extreme  
happiness; that they have no _law; _that they die without pain; that  
they are from ten to thirty feet in height; that they live five  
thousand years; that they have an emperor called Irdonozur; and that  
they can jump sixty feet high, when, being out of the gravitating  
influence, they fly about with fans. 
I cannot forbear giving a specimen of the general _philosophy _of the  
"I must not forget here, that the stars appeared only on that side of  
the globe turned toward the moon, and that the closer they were to it  
the larger they seemed. I have also me and the earth. As to the  
stars, _since there was no night where I was, they always had the  
same appearance; not brilliant, as usual, but pale, and very nearly  
like the moon of a morning. _But few of them were visible, and these  
ten times larger (as well as I could judge) than they seem to the  
inhabitants of the earth. The moon, which wanted two days of being  
full, was of a terrible bigness. 
 "I must not forget here, that the stars appeared only on that side  
of the globe turned toward the moon, and that the closer they were to  
it the larger they seemed. I have also to inform you that, whether it  
was calm weather or stormy, I found myself _always immediately  
between the moon and the earth._ I_ _was convinced of this for two  
reasons-because my birds always flew in a straight line; and because  
whenever we attempted to rest, _we were carried insensibly around the  
globe of the earth. _For I admit the opinion of Copernicus, who  
maintains that it never ceases to revolve _from the east to the west,  
_not upon the poles of the Equinoctial, commonly called the poles of  
the world, but upon those of the Zodiac, a question of which I  
propose to speak more at length here-after, when I shall have leisure  
to refresh my memory in regard to the astrology which I learned at  
Salamanca when young, and have since forgotten." 
Notwithstanding the blunders italicized, the book is not without some  
claim to attention, as affording a naive specimen of the current  
astronomical notions of the time. One of these assumed, that the  
"gravitating power" extended but a short distance from the earth's  
surface, and, accordingly, we find our voyager "carried insensibly  
around the globe," etc. 
There have been other "voyages to the moon," but none of higher merit  
than the one just mentioned. That of Bergerac is utterly meaningless.  
In the third volume of the "American Quarterly Review" will be found  
quite an elaborate criticism upon a certain "journey" of the kind in  
question--a criticism in which it is difficult to say whether the  
critic most exposes the stupidity of the book, or his own absurd  
ignorance of astronomy. I forget the title of the work; but the  
_means _of the voyage are more deplorably ill conceived than are even  
the _ganzas _of our friend the Signor Gonzales. The adventurer, in  
digging the earth, happens to discover a peculiar metal for which the  
moon has a strong attraction, and straightway constructs of it a box,  
which, when cast loose from its terrestrial fastenings, flies with  
him, forthwith, to the satellite. The "Flight of Thomas O'Rourke," is  
a _jeu d' esprit _not altogether contemptible, and has been  
translated into German. Thomas, the hero, was, in fact, the  
gamekeeper of an Irish peer, whose eccentricities gave rise to the  
tale. The "flight" is made on an eagle's back, from Hungry Hill, a  
lofty mountain at the end of Bantry Bay. 
In these various _brochures _the aim is always satirical; the theme  
being a description of Lunarian customs as compared with ours. In  
none is there any effort at _plausibility _in the details of the  
voyage itself. The writers seem, in each instance, to be utterly  
uninformed in respect to astronomy. In "Hans Pfaall" the design is  
original, inasmuch as regards an attempt at _verisimilitude, _in the  
application of scientific principles (so far as the whimsical nature  
of the subject would permit), to the actual passage between the earth  
and the moon. 
{*2} The zodiacal light is probably what the ancients called Trabes.  
Emicant Trabes quos docos vocant. -- Pliny, lib. 2, p. 26. 
{*3} Since the original publication of Hans Pfaall, I find that Mr.  
Green, of Nassau balloon notoriety, and other late aeronauts, deny  
the assertions of Humboldt, in this respect, and speak of a  
decreasing inconvenience, -- precisely in accordance with the theory  
here urged in a mere spirit of banter. 
{*4} Havelius writes that he has several times found, in skies  
perfectly clear, when even stars of the sixth and seventh magnitude  
were conspicuous, that, at the same altitude of the moon, at the same  
elongation from the earth, and with one and the same excellent  
telescope, the moon and its maculae did not appear equally lucid at  
all times. From the circumstances of the observation, it is evident  
that the cause of this phenomenon is not either in our air, in the  
tube, in the moon, or in the eye of the spectator, but must be looked  
for in something (an atmosphere?) existing about the moon.