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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


80 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. gave the signal at ten minutes to three, when the balloon ascended in a S.S.E. direction, “ in the most grand and magnificent manner,” amid the acclamations of the people. He passed over the city at a great height, waving his flag as he proceeded. According to Lunardi’s own account, “ the balloon, after rising, took a northeast direction, and, near to the Island of Inchkeith, came down almost to the sea ; he then threw out some ballast, and the balloon rose higher than before. A current of mind carried him east to North Berwick; a different current then changed his course, and brought him over between Leven and Largo. After this, a S.S.W. breeze brought him to the place where he descended,” which was on the estate of the Hon. John Hope, a mile east from Ceres. “When the balloon was at its highest elevation (about three miles) the barometer stood at eighteen inches five-tenths. Mr. Lunardi at this time felt no difficulty in respiration. He passed through several clouds of snow, and lost sight at times both of sea and land. His excursion took about an hour and a half; and it would appear he passed over upwards of forty miles of sea, and about ten of land.” On his descending, Mr, Lunardi was first welcomed by Mr. Robert Christie, and next by the Rev. Robert Arnot, who came running, with a crowd of people after him. He wag accompanied to Ceres by a body of gentlemen who soon collected, where he was “ received by the acclamations of a prodigious multitude, his flag being carried in procession before him, and the church-bell ringing in honour of such a visitant.” At the manse of Ceres he drank a few glasses of wine, and both there and at the house of Mr. Melville he received the compliments of a great many ladies and gentlemen. The same evening he started for Cupar, having been invited by the authorities, where the most enthusiastic reception awaited him. After having been next day entertained at dinner, and presented with the freedom of the burgh, he proceeded to St. Andrews, to which place he had been invited by the Club of Gentlemen Golfers, where he was made a citizen, and had, by diploma, the honour of “ Knight of the Beggar’s Benison ” conferred upon him. Such is a brief account of Lunardi’s first aerial trip in Scotland. Brilliant it certainly was, and it is as unquestionable, that although half a century has since elapsed, it has not been surpassed.’ Many anecdotes are told of the surprise and terror of the peasantry on first beholding the balloon. Some reapers in a field near to Ceres were dreadfully alarmed-judging from so uncommon an appearance, and the sound of Lunardi’s trumpet, that the end of all things was at hand. Certain it is, however, that the Rev, Mr. Arnot, who was previously aware of Lunardi’s ascent, required considerable persuasion to convince the people that they might approach the object of their terror without fear of supernatural injury. Mr. Lunardi’s next adventure took place at Kelso on the 22d of October. In t,his flight he did not ascend above a mile, keeping constantly in view of the * An eye-witness informs us “that there has been no exhibition nearly so grand as Lunardi’s first ascent. All the other ascents since his time have been dosing, sluggish-looking exhibitions, whereas Lunardi went off in the grandest style, precisely resembling a sky-rocket.”
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 81 earth. After the lapse of nearly an hour and a half, he anchored in Doddington Moor, when some people getting hold of the ropes, he was carried to Barmoor in Northumberland, where he descended. The aeronaut had been invited to Kelso by the gentlemen of the Caledonian Hunt. While here he was much delighted with the races, and in one of his letters alludes to a match between the Duke of Hamilton and Robert Baird, Esq., who rode their- own horses; he likens the contest to the ancient Olympic games. “He dined on Saturday with Sir James Douglas of Springwoodpark, and supped with the gentlemen of the Caledonian Hunt. On Sunday he was entertained by Sir James Pringle,l at Stitchel ; on Monday by Lord Home at Hirsel, and same evening by the ancient Lodge of Freemasons.” He is stated also to have taken “much notice of the two Miss Halls of Thornton, Miss Wilkie of Doddington, and Miss Car of Newcastle,” who no doubt were highly gratified by his condescension ! ! Glasgow was next visited by the aeronaut, where he ascended from St. Andrew Square on the 23d of November. A crowd of nearly 100,000 persons had assembled to witness his flight. The balloon took a north-east direction for about 25 miles ; the wind then changing, he was carried south-east until he descended near Alemoor, in Selkirkshire, having passed over a distance of 125 miles in two hours. Lunardi thus describes his descent : “ When I came in sight of the heathy hills I heard a voice call, ‘ Lunardi, come down ! ’ quite plain, and I knew not who it was. I saw at a distance sheep feeding, but could not see a human being. I called aloud several times through the hill, and after a minute, or seventy seconds, I could hear the. echo of my words returned as loud as they were pronounced, but I never had repeated ‘ Lunardi, come down,’ though I heard these words several times repeated, on which I answered through the trumpet, ‘ Hallo, hallo,’ with a great voice. I heard the words ‘ Lunardi, hallo,’ repeated, and being now quite free from interruption of clouds, I could see distinctly some people on horseback ; at last I hastened my descent between two hills, where I came down as light as a feather. Two trembling shepherds came to me, an old man and a boy, whom I encouraged by calling to them, ‘ My dear friends, come hither.’ At this time Mr. and Mrs. Chisholm of Stirches happened to be returning on horseback from a visit, who very kindly received Mr. Lunardi, at whose suggestion Mrs. Chisholm boldly took possession of the car, resigning her horse to the aeronaut, and while some shepherds held on by the ropes, the party thus proceeded to a distance of nearly three miles. Lunardi spent the night at Stirches, and dined next day with the magistrates of Hawick, who presented him with the freedom of the town. Mr. Lunardi made a second ascent from Glasgow on the 5th of December, and, as on the former occasion, he was witnessed by a vast concourseof people. His ascent was very majestic ; but he did not’ proceed to 8 great distance, hav- They crossed the water and came up to me.” Sir James succeeded his uncle, Sic John Pringle, F.R.S., the distinguished physician and cultivator of science, who accompanied the Duke of Cumberland to Scotland, and remained with the army after the battle of Culloden till its return to England in August 1746. M
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