'Have you a knife?' Fred said to Ping Wang, who immediately 당진오피 produced one, which, fortunately, was fairly sharp. Quickly, and as reverently as possible, Fred performed the task which his brother's need had made necessary, and placing the pigtail in his pocket he started off, accompanied by Ping Wang, to rejoin Charlie, who had been having a busy and exciting time. When Fred and Ping Wang ran to obtain a pigtail, he dashed off towards the cart, and the cartman, seeing him coming, and believing that he intended to rob him of his one hundred cash, left his horse and vehicle and bolted across country. But Charlie, of course, had no intention of acting the highway robber. He unharnessed the horse, and turning him round started him off in the direction from which he had come. But the horse knew that his stable was at Kwang-ngan, and had a very natural objection to being sent in the reverse direction. After trotting about twenty yards he turned round, and, breaking into a gallop, approached Charlie, who stood in the middle of the track, with arms extended, to stop his progress. But the cunning horse pretended that he was going to pass on the right of Charlie, and, as soon as Charlie jumped aside to stop him, changed his course suddenly and shot by him on the left.

It was fortunate, however, that the horse did insist upon going towards Kwang-ngan, for, when the Pages and Ping Wang followed in the same direction, they saw two Chinamen coming towards them.

'Let us pretend that the horse has escaped from us,' Charlie suggested, and they broke into a run. The horse hearing their footsteps, changed his leisurely walk to a trot. The Chinamen made no attempt to stop him, but stood aside to let him pass, and laughed and jeered at the pursuers.

'Well, I am glad that they did not stop the horse,' Charlie declared. 'But what are we going to do now? Chase that wretched horse all the way to Kwang-ngan?'

'No,' Ping Wang replied. 'We must leave the horse. We must take that track on the left, get round the town, and enter it by the gate on the far side. To enter it by the one on this side would be very risky, as the cartman and his wife will tell every one they meet that we are bound for Kwang-ngan, and some of my more violent anti-foreign countrymen are sure to start in pursuit of us.'

They left the main track and joined a little-used one which led round the town. For half an hour they marched along in single file without meeting or catching sight of any other human beings. Night came on, and they were about a mile from the town, when they heard the shouts of an advancing mob.

'We must hide: follow me!' Ping Wang exclaimed, and ran in the direction of the town. The ground between the track and town wall was very uneven, and abounded in little hollows which would have afforded ample concealment, but Ping Wang did not halt until they had run fully half a mile.

'Let's sit down here,' he said, panting.

They sat down in a hollow surrounded by shrubs, and listened to the shouts of the men whom they had so nearly encountered.

'I imagine that they are the members of some society,' said Ping Wang. 'If they had discovered that Charlie and you were Europeans, they would probably have killed us all.'

'The best thing we could do if we do meet them,' Charlie joined in, 'is to pretend that we are deaf and dumb. We are deaf and dumb as far as Chinese is concerned. And, now, if you will give me that pigtail, I will try to sew it to this skull-cap. I've never yet tried sewing with a pin, and I fancy that it won't be an easy job.'

Charlie repeated that opinion several times during the next half-hour, for, what with the difficulty of getting the head of the pin through the cap, and the cotton constantly slipping off the pin, it was a most irritating job. However, after working hard for a little more than half an hour, he finished it.

'It doesn't look at all bad,' Fred declared.

Then they talked for some time of their journey, and of the treasure for which they had travelled so far.

'There's somebody coming!' Fred exclaimed, stopping Ping Wang in the middle of a sentence.

They listened. 'Let's get up and walk on,' Ping Wang said, quietly. 'I fancy there are quite fifty men approaching. Probably they are some of the men whom we heard an hour ago. There are more of them on the left, and they're closing in on us. Remember that, if they do see us, you are both not to say a word.'

(Continued on page 346.)
[Pg 344]

"The horse shot by him." "The horse shot by him."
[Pg 345]

"The dog hailed his master as he passed." "The dog hailed his master as he passed."
[Pg 346]

CRUISERS IN THE CLOUDS.
X.—PARACHUTES.
Venturesome people are always on the look-out for fresh excitements. To them it is not enough to go up in the car of a balloon in the ordinary way. They must do something that no one else had ever done. So a M. Margat ascended sitting astride a wooden horse, and Madame Blanchard attached fireworks to her balloon, and discharged them in mid-air. At Paris, on July 6th, 1819, she meant to make a finer display than usual, and succeeded in letting off fountains of fire from a wooden platform beneath the car. But, not content with this, she hoped to surprise and delight the people of Paris still further by letting off a fresh display from the car itself. Unfortunately she overlooked the fact that a small stream of gas was pouring from the lower end of her balloon, owing to the envelope having been too fully charged, and the moment she struck the match this stream caught fire. A tongue of flame ran up the outside of the bag, and, her efforts to put it out proving in vain, she pulled the valve-rope to descend. The gas rushed out at the top, but caught fire in turn, and the falling car, coming in contact with the roof of a house, threw Madame Blanchard to the ground with fatal result.

Accidents in the air have been countless, a large number of them being due to the use of the parachute. But this invention has frequently been employed effectively. Though the idea of such a machine may be traced back many hundreds of years in old drawings and old books, the inventor of the first in which a descent was actually made, was Jacques Garnerin, a pupil of the celebrated Professor Charles. The first to make use of it was his little dog. M. Garnerin carried the parachute, tied underneath a balloon, above a dense cloud. Here the little dog was carefully secured in the car of the parachute, and the next moment disappeared swiftly into the cloud. Garnerin pulled the valve-rope, and followed. But his little dog was nowhere to be seen, on account of the mist. His master was about to let out more gas, thinking that he was behindhand in this race to the earth, when a loud and joyous barking fell on his ear. It came from overhead, but Garnerin could see nothing until, when the cloud was left behind, the parachute emerged into the sunshine a few yards away. The dog, with senses quicker than his own, had been conscious of his master's presence, and hailed him as he passed. But the balloon continued rapidly on its downward course, and, answering the barks with consoling words, the aeronaut hurried to the earth. A moment or two later he welcomed his strange little traveller from the clouds. The dog, happily, suffered nothing, and even seemed to enjoy the experiment, which might have proved both cruel and fatal.

Garnerin's dog was the pioneer of many human travellers in the same machine. The master himself was the next to perform the feat, and, watched by a large crowd, on October 22nd, 1797, he cut his parachute loose from his balloon at a height of three thousand feet. A cry of horror broke from the watchers as the parachute was seen to descend with awful swiftness. But it flew open the next moment, and though M. Garnerin was swung dangerously from side to side, he reached the ground in safety. This swaying was due to the fact that he had not made a hole in the top of his 'umbrella,' to allow the air to rush through. Imprisoned in the dome, its only outlet was over the sides, and this caused the apparatus to swing. M. Garnerin took advantage of the lesson, and made the opening before his next flight.

This parachute was built like a huge umbrella, the cords supporting the car coming from the outside ends of the 'ribs.' Being closed, when detached from the balloon it, of course, descended at a great speed till the rush of air became strong enough to force it open. It was used without mishap in many descents, and is still the pattern for parachutes.

Among many who sought to improve upon M. Garnerin's machine was an Englishman, named Cocking. In 1836 he built a parachute with the sides turned up instead of down, like an umbrella blown inside out, thinking that it would give greater steadiness in the descent. Thus far he was correct, but, being too sure of success, he allowed himself, without first making experiments, to be cut loose from a balloon three thousand feet up, and was instantly killed, the parachute being too weak in construction. Sixteen years later another inventor made a parachute like Garnerin's, but provided with large wings. Standing in an iron frame he worked these wings with both arms, with the intention of directing the parachute in its fall, thus, to a certain extent, turning it into a flying machine. But when he was descending near Tottenham, on June 27th, 1854, an unfortunate accident resulted in the inventor's death.

Such were some of the misuses of the parachute; but, though with care it may be employed with safety, it is not popular with aeronauts, who have pointed out that the balloon itself may, in emergencies, be turned into a parachute. When the gas has nearly all escaped the passage of air will drive the silk up into the netting, and so check the speed of descent. Mr. Coxwell more than once came safely to earth in this way. Only a short time ago, on July 24th, 1904, an incident bearing on this point occurred in France. A captive balloon, when some hundred feet from the ground, was torn from its anchorage by a sudden gust of wind. The nine passengers in the car were horrified to find themselves a few moments later sailing above the clouds. At ten thousand feet the pressure of gas had become so great that the silk envelope was ruptured, and the terrified travellers realised that they were falling rapidly. They then left the car, and climbed into the network. Fortunately, as the balloon collapsed more and more, it took the form of a parachute, and eventually landed two miles from the starting-point, with its passengers more terrified than hurt.