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presence of mind, and faculty of avoiding
impending danger, were notorious; so also
were his vanity, pride, violence, and recklessness
of life. A man who, in prosperity, could
fill his mouth with hydrogen gas, and set fire to
it there, and who could expose himself repeatedly
to be struck dead in hazardous electrical
experiments, was not likely to hesitate when
he had to choose between disgrace and
despair. His friend Charles had threatened
to blow his brains out, if the timid king
persisted in forbidding him to make an ascent
that threatened danger, and which, wisely on
his part, was his first and last ascent, or
rather two consecutive first and last ascents
on one day. We know, too, the immense
interest which the court (the queen particularly)
felt in Pil√Ętre's success. These, and
numerous other minor scraps of evidence,
all lead to the inference that De Rosier's
death was even more tragical than has been
currently believed. If there be the slightest
truth in the notion, Romain is even more
greatly to be pitied. He had refused the
Marquis of Maisonfort's offer of two hundred
louis-d'ors to resign his place.

The spot where they fell is a very, very
little way from the sea. The conflagration
must have taken place almost immediately
after the direction of their course was altered.
I have several times asked, of people competent
to judge, whether, if they had fallen
into the sea, instead of upon the land, they
could by any possibility have escaped with
life. The answer has been that perhaps they
might. Conceive the idea of talking face to
face with a man who had fallen from the height
of more than five thousand feet!



THE anchor is weighed, and we are standing
out to sea. The prospect around is not very
cheering. The sky is of a dull heavy lead-
colour as if charged with snow and tempests.
To the extreme northward a dense mass of
cumbrous, fantastically-shaped clouds seem to
menace the waters with their wrath, and they
have that black, sullen look I have often
observed on the eve of a storm. The short
waves, which are a peculiar characteristic of
the Euxine, chop fitfully against each other,
and their angry spray shoots upwards with
a hissing sound. A thick mist rises along
the coast and soon hides it from our view,
then it spreads along the sea, and seems
to settle in a thin, penetrating rain which
comes in sudden fretful gusts, and then
subsides; to return again presently and
unexpectedly. It is bitterly cold. That clammy,
deadly, cold of these climates, against
which no clothes seem able to protect you.
It is a cold which is not felt in the chest,
nor hands, nor feet, as our cold in Europe
is; but it is sure to strike first at the
stomach. You were well just now, and, trying
with all the philosophy at your command to
be jovial under difficulties, suddenly you are
seized with agonising pains just below the
chest. In vain you try to make light of it.
You are obliged to lean for support against
the first thing or person at hand. Your
extremities have become chilled and useless
you sit and double yourself up, hoping
something from warmth and quietat last
you lie down and writhe in the intensity of
your pain. If you are driven to take brandy
(hot brandy and water is best) you feel a
peculiar sickness for some minutes, and then
the pain slowly subsides; but it leaves you
stupid and depressed for hours afterwards;
and trembling, and nervous. The only way
to give yourself a chance of escape is by
winding some twenty yards of silken or
wollen sash tightly round your loins and
abdomen. It is the custom of the country;
the dress of the peasant and the prince, and
you will soon understand that it has not been
adopted without a reason. This was the
commencement of that sickness which
carried off numbers of our troops. The doctors
called it cholera; it was only cold.

Nothing can be much more dreary and
dispiriting than our voyage. There is a good
deal of brandy-drinking and a brisk
consumption of cigarettes and pipes; but it does
not mend our spirits much. We know all
about the wreck of the Prince and the gallant
merchant fleet which carried the winter-
clothing for the army. Sad accounts have
reached us of the fate of dear friends, and of
relatives exposed to melancholy privations.
A few among us may be anxious for their
own fate when they join the army which
has hitherto so vainly beleaguered Sebastopol.
See yonder pallid lieutenant. He
was sent invalided to the hospital at
Scutari. He recovered; care and good-living
soon brought him round. Then he begged
the doctors so hard to let him rejoin
his regiment that they consented. But
already he feels the numbing hand
of the malady which laid him low
before, and he will return soon, or die.
There is a fixed and steady light in his eye;
such as I can fancy may have been
witnessed, though unread, by those who stood
round Arthur Conolly when he died at far
Bokhara. It is the light which has been seen
often in the eyes of true brave men who were
prepared to fulfil their duty simply and
unflinchingly, whether death stood in the way,
or not. Indeed this officer seems to have laid
this truth to heart: that he who does not know
how to die, if need be, should hardly be a
soldier. He tells me this as we talk together
over the ship's side, merely expressing what
is part of his quiet, noble creed.

We leave the Isle of Serpents, and the
mouths of the Danube on the larboard. Now
and then we descry a war-steamer paddling
up through the haze, with despatches, and
there is an exchange of signals between us;

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