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The graat hurricane of March 1865 destroyed cities and forest and ships in many parts of the world. When the wind began -quite suddenly- there were four men, a boy, and a dog high in the air in the basket of a balloon. They were escaping from the town of Richmond, Virginia, where the men had been prisoners of war.
"Are we rising again?"
"No. On the contary."
"Are we descending?"
"Worse than that, captain! We are falling!"
"For Heaven's sake heave out the ballast!"
"There! The last sack is empty!"
"Does the balloon rise?"
"No!" "I hear a noise like the dashing of waves. The sea is below the car! It can not be more than 500 feet from us!"
"Overboard with every weight!... everything!"
Such were the loyd and starting words which resounded through the air. There was not a continent, nor even an island, visible beneath them.