Arts of Endearment, but that they can practise them with as much
Exactness as any other Nation, whenever they have a Mind to shew
"When you visit a Person of Quality," (says he) "and have
talk'd over your Business, or the Complements, or whatever
Concern brought you thither, he makes a Sign to have Things
serv'd in for the Entertainment, which is generally, a
little Sweetmeat, a Dish of Sherbet, and another of Coffee;
all which are immediately brought in by the Servants, and
tender'd to all the Guests in Order, with the greatest Care
and Awfulness imaginable. At last comes the finishing Part
of your Entertainment, which is, Perfuming the Beards of the
Company; a Ceremony which is perform'd in this Manner. They
have for the Purpose a small Silver Chaffing-Dish, cover'd
with a Lid full of Holes, and fixed upon a handsome Plate.
In this they put some fresh Coals, and upon them a piece of
_Lignum Aloes_, and shutting it up, the smoak immediately
ascends with a grateful Odour thro' the Holes of the Cover.
This smoak is held under every one's Chin, and offer'd as it
were a Sacrifice to his Beard. The bristly Idol soon
receives the Reverence done to it, and so greedily takes in
and incorporates the gummy Steam, that it retains the Savour
of it, and may serve for a Nosegay a good while after.
"This Ceremony may perhaps seem ridiculous at first hearing,
but it passes among the _Turks_ for a high Gratification.
And I will say this in its Vindication, that its Design is
very wise and useful. For it is understood to give a civil
Dismission to the Visitants, intimating to them, that the
Master of the House has Business to do, or some other
Avocation, that permits them to go away as soon as they
please, and the sooner after this Ceremony the better.
The five letters which I have the honor to present were written to Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society of London, in 1783, when Franklin was Minister to the Court of France and, with the collateral documents, they give perhaps the most complete and accurate account of the beginning of aerial navigation, enlivened with the humor and speculation characteristic of the writer.Page 1
The letter dated November 30, appears never to have been printed and whereas Smyth reproduced the letter of November 21 from the University of Pennsylvania draft, this or another draft (or possibly this copy) was in the possession of the French aeronaut, Gaston Tissandier, about 1887.Page 2
I thought it my Duty, Sir, to send an early Account of this extraordinary Fact, to the Society which does me the honour to reckon me among its Members; and I will endeavour to make it more perfect, as I receive farther Information.Page 3
I just now learn, that some observers say, the Ball was 150 Seconds in rising, from the Cutting of the Cord till hid in the Clouds; that its height was then about 500 Toises, but, being moved out of the Perpendicular by the Wind, it had made a Slant so as to form a Triangle, whose Base on the Earth was about 200 Toises.Page 4
_ When they were as high as they chose to be, they made less Flame and suffered the Machine to drive Horizontally with the Wind, of which however they felt very little, as they went with it, and as fast.Page 7
I was happy to see him safe.Page 8
But the Emulation between the two Parties running high, the Improvement in the Construction and Management of the Balloons has already made a rapid Progress; and one cannot say how far it may go.Page 9
Faujas's Book upon the Balloons, which I hope you have receiv'd.Page 10
I write this at 7 in the Evening.Page 11
Le Chevalier de Cubiere qui a suivi la marche du Globe est arrive chez M.Page 12
_ In the eighth line after the word "Balloon" Smyth inserts "lately.Page 13
The plate forming the frontispiece to this volume shows the balloon as seen from Mr.Page 14
Pilatre du Rozier" should be "M.