Kerala Plus One English Textbook Answers Unit 3 Chapter 2 The Trip of Le Horla (Short Story)
The Trip of Le Horla (Short Story) Textual Questions and Answers
What is special about the sentences in the telegram?
The sentences are not grammatical. The message is conveyed through short phrases.
What does the author compare the balloon to?
The balloon is compared to a cake made of yellow cloth.
What is the other thought that occurs to every mind?
The other thought that occurs to every mind is a baby in the womb that is nourished through the umbilical cord until its birth.
Express the attitude of the spectators and passengers towards the sport of ballooning.
Some spectators think that the balloon will come down before reaching its destination. They also criticise several other things about the balloon. But the passengers are happy and excited about what they are going to do and they are optimistic about their success.
What is the established custom mentioned here?
Dining in the canteen of the gas-works by the passengers is the established custom mentioned here.
When the travellers come out, what do they see?
When the travellers come out they see that the balloon is moving from side to side, enormous and transparent, a big golden fruit, a wonderful pear which is still ripening with the last rays of the setting sun. The basket is attached. The barometers and the siren are brought. Two trumpets, the eatables, overcoats and raincoats were also there.
Name the passengers in the balloon.
Jovis is the Captain. Then there are Lieutenant Mallet, M. Etierine Beer, M. Paul Bessand and the narrator, Guy de Maupassant.
Who is posted as the officer on watch?
Lieutenant Mallet is posted as the officer on watch.
Why does M. Eyries get out of the balloon? Is he regretful? Why?
M. Eyries gets out of the balloon because the basket carrying the passengers has become too heavy for the balloon. He is regretful. He had planned for this flight and since he had to abandon it at the last minute he was unhappy. He would miss all the adventure and fun.
What does M. Joliet’s deeds and words tell us about him?
His words and deeds tell that M, Joliet is a chivalrous gentleman. He gallantly asks the ladies to stand aside a little because the rising balloon might throw sand on their hats. It shows how considerate he is to the ladies.
Comment on the use of the word ‘liberty’.
Maupassant has used this word ‘liberty’ in a most appropriate fashion. By cutting the rope that holds Le Horla to the ground, Le Horla is given the liberty to fly freely in the infinite skies like a bird.
Describe the aerial view of Paris.
Paris is like a dark bluish patch, cut by its streets. Domes, towers and steeples of Paris are visible from. the sky. Around it there is the plain, traversed by long roads amidst green fields and forests.
Have you ever had an aerial view of a place?
Yes, I had. Once I flew from Cochin to Mumbai and I had an aerial view of Mumbai.
Can a view from an aeroplane be as picturesque as this balloon view? Why?
No, it can’t be. Because an aeroplane flies at a much greater height and at a greater speed and so your view can’t be as picturesque as from a balloon which flies at a lower height and with less speed.
How do the travellers know whether they are rising or sinking?
Travellers know whether they are rising or sinking by throwing a cigarette paper out of the basket. If the paper falls down like a stone, it means the balloon is rising. If it appears to shoot skyward, the balloon is sinking.
All the noises are easily recognisable. Mention the diverse sounds that reach the travellers’ ears.
The noises that reach the travellers’ears are: the sound of wheels rolling on the streets, the snap of a whip, the shouts of drivers, the rolling and whistling of trains and the laughter of the boys running after one another. When they pass over a village, the noise of children’s voices is heard above the rest with much clarity.
How do the animals receive the balloon? How does the balloon appear before them?
The dogs bark. The cows low. To all the animals the balloon appears as a monster moving through the air. They are scared of it.
The delicious odours of the soil rise toward us, the smell of hay, of flowers, of the moist, verdant earth, perfuming the air … Identify the type of imagery used here.
The imagery is that of a wedding – the bride eagerly and happily welcoming the groom.
What do you think would be the fate of the balloon?
I think the balloon would get out of control.
Why does the Mallet ask the Captain to throw down half a handful of sand?
Mallet ask the Captain to throw down half a handful of sand because by doing that the weight of the balloon would be reduced helping it to rise.
The balloon is both a free toy and a slave of the wind. Express your views on this statement.
The balloon is both a free toy and a slave of the wind. The travellers raise and sink the balloon as they wish making use of the bag of ballast (sand, stones etc.) with them. This way it is a toy for them. But they can do nothing if it is caught by a storm and then the balloon becomes a slave and the travellers lose their control over it.
Can you observe odour? Why does the author say so?
Normally we can’t observe odour. We can only smell it. The author says that it could be observed because he can see the balloon expanding because of the current of warm air and the gas going out by the escape-valve.
Comment on the expression: ‘losing its invisible blood by the escape-valve.’
Blood keeps the body alive. In the case of the balloon, it is the gas that keeps it ‘alive’ – flying in the air. Gas is thus the invisible blood.
What do the mist-covered earth and star-studded sky indicate?
The mist-covered earth and star-studded sky indicate that it is night and the balloon and its passengers are at a great height.
How is the rising of the moon described?
A silvery light appears and makes the sky turn pale. It is rising from unknown depths, behind the horizon, on the edge of a cloud.
Look at the expression ‘delicious inertia. ’ Can you indentify the figure of speech used here?
The figure of speech used here is Metaphor.
Why is space travel considered as ‘delicious inertia’by the narrator?
Inertia means apathy, unwillingness to move or . act. The narrator feels that space travel is wonderful and compares it to having delicious food. There is a great sensation of satisfaction and happiness while travelling in space in a state of inertia. They feel like birds that don’t even have to flap their wings.
Coin expressions to describe the balloon just like the author who calls the balloon’ a world wandering in the sky’ and ‘a wandering, travelling world.’
‘Soaring, fleeting world’ and ‘a fleeting world in the sky’.
When does the balloon stop? Why?
The balloon stops when it reaches a height of two thousand three hundred and fifty metres. The air pressure must have come down so the balloon stops rising and then it starts to descend.
How does the author describe the rapid descent of the balloon?
The author says that they are going down very rapidly. M. Mallet asks the passengers to throw out more ballast. They are throwing out sand and stones to lighten the balloon so that it can fly upwards but their descent is so fast that the sand they throw flies back into their eyes.
How does the shadow of the balloon appear to the travellers?
The travellers look down and see something running on the ground with great speed , jumping over ditches, roads and trees so easily but they cannot guess what it is until the captain tells them that it is the shadow of the balloon.
How far does the polar star guide the travellers?
The polar star guides the travellers to Belgium which borders France on the south.
Do you think it is a scientific way to travel?
Yes. The polar star is also called the North Star. It has been used by travellers for centuries to help them to know the direction as it remains constant in its position.
Who is the bewildered man? Why is he bewildered?
Lieutenant Mallet who was watching the course of the balloon is the bewildered man. He is bewildered or confused because the balloon is moving so fast that he does not even know where they are. Comment on the reaction of the captain to the roaring wind.
Can you justify the Captain’s behaviour?
The Captain knows that the sound they hear is the sound of a storm coming. He does not want to frighten his passengers so he says it is the sound of the waterfalls and nudges the narrator to keep silent. I can justify the Captain’s behaviour. If the passengers are frightened they may do something foolish and this would be very dangerous as they are in a small basket of a flying balloon.
Identify the sights and sounds that welcome the dawn.
‘The world fleeing under our feet’ —what experience does the author try to convey?
The world is running under our feet. The author uses a personification to convey the experience of rapid movement of the earth while he was travelling in the balloon.
If you were ¡n such a situation how would you react?
If I were in a flying balloon and a storm was coming and we had to descend fast, I would do as the passengers in the balloon did. I would certainly be scared but would help out to ensure that we land as safely as possible.
‘Religiously enclosed’- what ¡s your opinion about the adverb used here? How ¡s the adverb connected with the verb ‘enclosed’?
It shows how seriously and carefully things have to be dohe while travelling in a balloon. The phrase ‘religiously enclosed’ is a personification. The adverb ‘religiously’ denotes seriousness and care and it is used to describe the verb ‘enclosed’. The narrator means that the escape valve had been very carefully enclosed in a white bag so that all the passengers would be careful and treat it with respect and not meddle with it or touch it.
Why do you think the birds are hesitant to follow the balloon?
The thunder is rumbling and so the birds are hesitant to follow the balloon which looks like a monster. They don’t want to be caught in the storm and by the monster.
List out the words and expressions that indicate the mad flight of the balloon.
The mad flight of the balloon is described:
- The basket trembles and tips over.
- The guy-rope touches the tall trees.
- The balloon passes with frightful rapidity.
- Bewildered chickens, pigeons, and ducks fly away
- Cows, cats and dogs run, terrified, toward the house.
What action does Mallet perform?
Mallet reaches for the rope to the escape valve and hangs on to it. Then the cord to the anchor is cut with a knife.
Comment on the visual effect of ‘the balloon landing’.
The balloon landing is visualized like the fall of a wounded beast during a hunt. It is very effectively pictured as a wounded beast trying to escape. But then it falls down and struggles, finally breathing its last.
Describe the reception of the balloon by the peasants.
The peasants ran towards the landing balloon and as they waited for the balloon to deflate, a few of the peasants were jumping and gesturing like savages. The peasants were accommodating and hospitable and helped the travellers to pack all their material and carry it to the nearest station.
The Trip of Le Horla (Short Story) Textual Activities Questions and Answers
Activity -1 (Think and respond)
Imagine that you get a chance to be the captain of a tour programme. What type of a captain would you like to become?
I would like to be a smart and efficient tour programme captain. Everyone in the programme should enjoy and have fun.
List the qualities of an ideal Captain.
Activity – II (Live TV report)
Draft a live TV report of Le Horla’s take off.
Next on our infotainment section we have Rahul Binoy reporting live on the story “Le Horla Conquers the Skies’ from the Gas works at La Villette.
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Today is the day, 8th July, forLe Horla is taking off from La Villette. We are right in front of Le Horla, the hot air balloon. It is getting filled up and is swelling and wriggling like a huge worm. It is surrounded by some 300 enthusiastic people. Nowthe passengers are getting in. The Captain is Jovis. The others in the basket attached to the balloon are Lieutenant Mallet, M. Etierine Beer, M. Paul Bessand, and M. Patrice Eyries.
I see them talking animatedly. Now Patrice Eyries is coming down. It seems he can’t go because the balloon can’t take the weight of all of them. He walks away dejectedly. Poor guy! All his dream of an adventure is gone!
M. Joliet tells the ladies to keep off. When the balloon lifts sand will be thrown into their hats. He cuts the ropes that hold the balloon to the ground. Look! Le Horla is lifting upward, like a bird lifts off. Up, up and up goes the balloon! People scream with joy! Le Horla climbs above the city of Paris and it is slowly disappearing! The sight of the earth from the balloon will be fantastic. We wish the passengers a lot of luck!
Activity – III (Dos and Don’ts)
While planning a trip, we have to consider many things. What are the dos and the don’ts while doing so?
- Take a first aid kit.
- Wear appropriate clothes.
- Wear proper shoes.
- Ensure you have some drinking water.
- Keep enough money.
- If you are going abroad, ensure you have your . passport and visa with you.
- Have your camera.
- Don’t carry expensive things
- Don’t overeat before you start a trip.
- Don’t carry too much luggage. Less luggage more comfort.
- Don’t try to show off by doing very risky things.
- Don’t get upset with small irritants.
Activity – IV (Comparison)
Nothing is more amusing, more delicate, more interesting than the manoeuvring of a balloon. What degree of comparison is used here?
Comparative Degree Read the passage on p. 88. Rewrite it comparing it with the life on earth.
Now our minds and thoughts are more independent than they were when we were on earth. We are happier here because we have no regrets. We look and feel better here. Our journey here is wilder and more fantastic than any journey on earth because here the only thing we an see is the moon. We are a wandering, travelling world, like our sisters, the planets. The five of us have almost forgotten that we belong to the earth as we move in the space like birds. No crowds, no noise, no dust, no smoke! Beautiful blue sky and the right moon! We feel we are in heaven, floating through a stream of joy!
Activity – V (Narration)
Read the notes on the mode of narration given below:
Narrate the landing of the balloon from the point of view of one of the peasants there.
|Mode of Narration||Description|
|First-person narration||In this mode, the narrator is usually the protagonist or central character in the story.|
|Second-person narration||Directions and instructions are usually narrated from the second- person’s perspective.|
There are three distinct modes of third-person narration: objective, limited, and omniscient.
|Third-person objective||The narrator does not reveal any of the characters’ thoughts or feelings.|
|Third-person limited||The narrator reveals the thoughts and feelings of one character through explicit narration.|
|Third-person omniscient V||The narration will reveal more than one character’s internal workings; the narrator is all-knowing.|
I see a huge balloon from which a basket is hanging over the canal at a distance. The basket trembles and tips over slightly. I can see a rope trailing behind touching the tall trees on both banks. Now it is passing with frightful speed over a large farm. The bewildered chickens, pigeons and ducks fly away. The terrified cows, cats and dogs run towards the house. I don’t know what is happening. Now the balloon is passing over the trees. I see the balloon and the basket shaking. Something falls down and suddenly the balloon stops. Soon it touches the ground. The basket touches the earth. Then it goes up again. Once more, it falls and bounds upward again and at last, it settles on the ground. The balloon is struggling madly like a wounded beast. Now it comes to a standstill. I see five men climbing out of the basket. There is the joy of success on their faces. My companions and I help them. They say they want to go to Heyst, a railway station nearby. They want to take the 20:20 train to Paris. We help them to carry their luggage to the station.
Activity – VI (Travel Essay)
Read the notes on Travel Writing on below:
|Description of physical features||Paris spreads out beneath us, a dark bluish patch, cut by its streets, from which rise, here and there, domes, towers, steeples…|
|Practical issues related to travel||…two trumpets, the eatables, the overcoats and raincoats, all the small articles that can go with the men in that flying basket.|
|Experiences of the place||With the help of the accommodating and hospitable Belgian peasants, we are able, in a short time, to pack up all our materials…|
|Personal impressions||…we float along through space in delicious inertia. We have become something indescribable, birds who do not even have to flap their wings.|
Now, write a travel essay, describing a ravel experience you had recently.
My parents had promised me a foreign trip if I passed my SSLC with very high scores. I worked very hard and I passed with distinction. So my parents allowed me to go on a trip to Europe. Since travelling alone would be difficult, I decided to join a tour group organized by the company called Intersight, Kochi. The first problem was getting a European visa. The company said it would get it for me. I was planning to go in April. April is hot in Kerala, but in Europe it is still cold. So I had to get warm clothes for the trip. I also needed a good camera.
We started ourtravel from Kochi. The representative from the Intersight was there to organize things. I reported to the airport 3 hours before the take off time. After completing the check-in, I went for the immigration formalities. After a thorough body check, I was allowed to go into the comfortable waiting lounge.
We were flying by Qatar Airways to Zurich. The flight was announced and we got into the aircraft. It was a huge aircraft. The smiling airhostesses showed us to our seats. Soon we took off. We were served refreshments. Afterthat I watched an in-flight movie. After 3 hours, we landed at Qatar airport. It is a huge airport. We had to spend some time at the airport lounge to get our flight to Zurich.
The flight to Zurich was also by Qatar airways. We were served meals in the flight. After the meals I went off to sleep. Eight hours later, we landed at Zurich. We were taken to our hotel in a coach. It was then I came to know who the people in the group tour were. There was another boy of my age and soon we became friends.
Our first visit was to the Titlis Mountains, in the Alps. On our way, we saw the life of the people. How disciplined people were. How nicely they behaved on the roads. No animals and birds crossed the roads. We hardly saw anyone walking on the roads. On both sides there were fields. We could see cattle grazing. Switzerland is a beautiful country.
Soon we reached Titlis. We would be taken to the top by rope ways and lifts. We reached the top. The scene was breathtaking. The whole area was covered with snow and ice. People were skating. We went for an ice-tunnel walk. They have built a tunnel in the ice and I walked for nearly a kilometre inside the tunnel. Ice on top, ice at the bottom and ice on both sides. It was a wonderful experience. I was exhilarated. Tomorrow we would go to Paris by coach to see the Eiffel Tower and other wonderful sights of that great city.
Activity – VII (Progressive Tenses)
a. Read the notes and explanations given on page 89 of the Text.
But the clouds are gathering behind us…
Crows are crowing…
In the above segments, the action continues to take place even at the moment of speaking. The present continuous tense form of a verb is used in such a context. The verbs in the above segments of sentences (‘gather’ and ‘crow’) are in the present continuous tense form. Continuous tenses are also called progressive tenses.
We use the present continuous tense to denote
- something that is happening at the moment of speaking.
- something which is happening before and after a given time.
- something which we think is temporary.
- something which is new and contrasts with a previous state.
- something which happens again and again.
- for talking about the future; for something which has been arranged or planned.
Pick out the instances in the story where the present continuous tense form the verb is used.
b. Form a sentence on your own:
|happening at the moment of speaking||…………………………………..|
|happening before and after a given time||…………………………………..|
|something which is temporary||…………………………………..|
|something new which contrasts with a previous state||…………………………………..|
|happens again and again||…………………………………..|
|has been arranged or planned||…………………………………..|
To use the Simple Present and the Present continuous tenses correctly.
The simple present tense is usually used to
- refer to regular actions, current situations, or facts in general.
- refer to more long-lasting or permanent situations.
- refer to actions which are going to happen very soon.
- refer to short actions happening at the time of speaking; generally, in reviews of films or books.
Read and Reflect
Travel is more than a mere exploration of the physical features of a landscape. It takes us beyond the features of the landscape into its customs, traditions and rituals. This travel experience tells us about a strange ritual on a Fijian island.
The Trip of Le Horla (Short Story) About the Author:
– Guy de Maupassant
Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893) was a popular French writer. He is considered to be one of the masters of the modern short story. The Trip of Le Horla is about his ride in a hot air balloon.
The Trip Of Le Horla Summary
Page 78 :
I got a telegram on the morning of July 8th. It read: “Fine day. Always my predictions, Belgian frontier. Baggage and servants leave at noon at the social session. Beginning of maneuvers at three. So I will wait for you at the works from five o’clock on, Jovis.’
At five o’clock sharp, I entered the gas works of La Villette.
The balloon is lying in the courtyard and appears like a cake made of yellow cloth. It is lying flat on the ground under a rope.
Page 79 :
Two or three hundred people are looking at it. Some are sitting and some are standing. Some are examining the basket. It is a nice little square basket for a human cargo. On its side in golden letters was written ‘Le Horia’ on a mahogany plate.
Suddenly the people begin to stand back as gas is entering into the balloon through a long tube of yellow cloth. The cloth is on the oil. It swells and moves about like a big worm. But another thought occurs to every mind. It is thus nature itself nourishes being until their birth. The creature that will rise soon begins to move. The attendants of Captain Jovis spread and put in place the net which covers it as Le Horia grows larger. The net will help the pressure to be regular and equally distributed at very point.
The crowd has begun to talk. Some men who look to be specialists ask us to come down. Many things have been criticised in this new type of balloon. We are about to experiment with it with so much pleasure and success. The balloon is growing slowly but surely.
Captain Jovis and his assistants are busy with the last details. The travellers go to dine in the canteen on the gas-works according to the established custom.
When we come out the balloon is swaying. It is big and transparent. It looked like a big fruit, a wonderful pear which is still ripening, covered by the last rays of the setting sun. The basket is now attached and the barometers are brought. The siren is also brought. There were also two trumpets, the eatables, the overcoats and raincoats – that the men can take in the flying basket. Captain Jovis is ready and he calls all the passengers.
Page 80 :
Lieutenant Mallet jumps aboard, climbing first on the aerial net between the basket and the balloon. From it he will watch, during the night, the movements of Le Horia across the skies. M.Etierine Beer gets in after him. Then comes M. Paul Bessand. Then comes M. Patrice Eyries. I am the last. (Note: In French M before a name means Mr. M. is the abbreviation for Monsieur which means Mr.) But the basket is too heavy for the balloon and M. Eyries has to get out. He was very sorry to do that.
M. Joliet stood erect on the edge of the basket. He begs the ladies very courteously to stand aside a little. He thinks he might throw sand on their hats in rising. Then he commands: ‘Let is loose’. He cuts with one stroke of his knife the ropes that keep the balloon to the ground. Le Horla gets it liberty!
In one second we fly skyward. Nothing can be heard. We float, we rise, we fly, we glide! Our friends shout with joy. They applaud but we can hardly hear them or see
them. We are already so far, so high! We are surprised. Are we really leaving these people down there? Is it possible? Paris spreads out under us. It looks like a dark bluish patch, cut by its streets. From there rise here and there domes, towers, steeples (church towers). Then there is the plain, traversed by long roads amidst green fields and black forest. The sun which could not be seen from below now appears.
We can see whether we are rising or sinking only by throwing a cigarette paper out of the basket now and then. If the paper falls down like a stone, it means the balloon is rising. If it appears to shoot skyward, the balloon is descending.
Page 81 :
The two barometers mark about 500 metres. We look with admiration the earth we are leaving. We are not attached to it in any way. It looks like a coloured map. But all its noises rise to our ears very distinctly. We hear the sound of wheels rolling on the streets, the snap of a whip, the shouts of drivers, the rolling and whistling of trains and the laughter of the boys running after one another. When we pass over a village, the noise of children’s voices is heard above the rest with much clarity.
The view is superb. It is dark on the earth. But we are still in the light. It is now past ten o’clock. Now we begin to hear slight country noises, especially the double cry of the quail. We can hearthe mewing of cats and the barking of dogs. The dogs have caught the smell of the balloon. They have seen it and they are giving the warning. We can hear them barking all over the plain. The cows also wake up in their barns. We can hear them lowing. All the beasts are scared of the monster moving through the air.
The delicious odours of the soil rise towards us. The smell of hay, of flowers, of the wet, green earth is scenting the air.
At times we rise, and then descend. Every few minutes Lieutenant Mallet says to Captain Jovis: ‘We are descending; throw down half a handful.’ And the captain takes a handful of sand from a bag kept between his legs and throws it overboard.
Page 82 :
Nothing is more amusing, more delicate and more interesting than the manoeuvring of a balloon. It is a big toy, free and Qjcile, but obedient. It is the slave of the wind which we can’t control. Any small thing that we throw overboard will make the balloon go up quickly. It can be a pinch of sand, half a sheet of paper, one or two drops of water or the bones of a chicken we have eaten.
The earth is sleeping. The beasts are awakened by our approach and they announce it everywhere. We now ‘observe’a strong and continuous odor of gas. We must have met with a current of warm air. The balloon expands, losing its invisible blood by the escape-valve.
We are rising. The earth no longer gives back the echo of our trumpets. We have risen almost 2000 feet. There is no light to consult our instruments. We know we are always rising. We can no longer see the earth. A light mist separates us from it. Above our heads twinkle innumerable starts.
A silvery light appears before-us and makes the sky turn pale. Suddenly the moon rises on the edge of a cloud. It seems to be coming from below and we are looking down at it from a great height. Clear and round it comes out of the clouds and slowly rises in the sky.
The earth now does not seem to exist. It is buried in milky vapours that resemble a sea. We are now in space with the moon which looks like another balloon. Our balloon looks like a larger moon, wandering amid the stars. We no longer speak, think nor live; we float along through space in delicious inertia. We have become something indescribable. We are now like birds that don’t even have to flap their wings.
Page 83 :
All memory has disappeared from our minds, all troubles from our thoughts. We have no more regrets, plans or hopes. We wildly enjoy the fantastic journey. We are a wandering travelling world. The planets are our sisters. This world has five men and they have forgotten the earth. The barometers mark twelve hundred metres, then thirteen, fourteen, fifteen hundred. The little rice papers fall about us.
We are now at two thousand metres. Then we go to 2350 and the balloon stops. We blow the siren but no one answers us. Now we go down rapidly, M. Mallet goes on screaming: Throw out more sand!’ The sand and stones we throw come back into our faces as if they are going up, thrown from below. Our descent is rapid.
Here is the earth! Where are we? It is now past midnight and we are crossing a broad, dry well-cultivated country. To the right is a large city. Suddenly from the earth rises a bright fairy light. It disappears and reappears. But one has no time to see clearly as the balloon passes quickly in the wind.
We are now quite near the earth. Beer exclaims: “See, what is that running over there in the fields? Isn’t it a dog? Something was running along the ground with great speed but we could not understand what it was. The captain says it is the shadow of our balloon and it will grow as we descend.
I hear a great noise of foundries in the distance. According to the polar star, we are heading straight for Belgium.
Our siren and our two horns are continually calling. We ask, “Where are we?” But the balloon is going so rapidly that the startled man has not even time to answer us. The growing shadow of Le Horla is fleeing before us over the field, roads and woods. It goes along steadily, going before us by about a quarter of a mile. I am leaning out of the basket, listening the roaring of the wind in the trees and across the harvest fields. I say to Captain Jovis that the wind is fast.
Jovis says they may be waterfalls. I insist it is the wind. Then Jovis nudges me. He does not want to frighten his happy, quiet passengers because he knows that a storm is pursuing us. Suddenly the lights of a town appear. There is such a wonderful flow of light that I feel I am in a fairyland. The clouds are gathering behind us, hiding the moon. But towards the east the sky is becoming clear blue, tinged with red. It is dawn. It grows rapidly and shows us all the little details of the earth – the trains, the brooks, the cows, the goats. All these pass beneath us with surprising speed. Cocks are crowing, but the voice of ducks drowns everything.
The early rising peasants are waving their arms telling us to drop. But we go along steadily watching the world fleeing under our feet. Ahead of us lies a bright highway. It looks like a big river full of islands.
Page 85 :
The captain asks us to get ready for the descent. He makes M. Mallet leave his net and return to the basket. We then pack the barometers and everything that could be damaged by possible shock. M. Bessand asks us to look at the masts to the left. He says we are at the sea. Fogs have hidden it from us until then. The sea is everywhere.
It is necessary to descend within a minute or two. The rope to the escape-valve was religiously enclosed in a little white bag. It was kept in sight of all so that no one would touch it. It is now unrolled and M. Mallet holds it in his hand. Captain Jovis looks for a favourable landing. Behind us the thunder is rumbling and not a single bird follows our mad flight.
We are passing over a canal. The basket trembles and tips over slightly. The guy-rope (the rope that keeps something fixed to the ground) touches the tall trees on both banks. We pass with frightful speed over a large farm. The bewildered chickens, pigeons and ducks fly away. The terrified cows, cats and dogs run towards the house. Only one-half bag of sand (stones) is left. Jovis throws it overboard. Le Horla flies lightly across the roof. The captain shouts The escape valve!’
M. Mallet reaches for the rope and hangs to it and we drop like an arrow. With the slash of a knife the cord which retains the anchqjais cut, and we drag this behind us through a field of beets. Here are the trees. He shouts: “Take care! Hold fast! Look out for your heads!” We pass over the trees. Then a strong shock shakes us. The anchor has taken hold. We are told that we are going to touch the ground. The basket touches the earth. Then it flies up again. Once more, it falls and bounds upward again and at last, it settles on the ground, while the balloon struggles madly like a wounded beast.
Page 86 : Peasants run toward us. They don’t dare to come near. One can’t set foot on the ground until the bag is nearly completely deflated. Some surprised men jump with the wild gestures of savages. All the cows that are grazing along the coast come towards us. They surround our balloon with a strange comical circle of horns, big eyes, and blowing nostrils.
With the help of the Belgian peasants, we pack up all our materials and carry them to t(ie station at Heyst. At 8.20, we take the train to Paris. The descent occurred at 3.15 in the morning.
Thanks to Captain Jovis, we were able to see in a single night, from far up in the sky, the setting of the sun, he rising of the moon and dawn of day, and to go from Paris to the mouth of the Scheldt (a river that flows through Belgium and empties into the North Sea).
The Trip Of Le Horla Glossary