Letter from the Duke of Wellington to Lady Salisbury -
Walmer, September 18, 1850
. . . . . Thank you for your letter of the 17th . . . Gale's case is a terrible one! Carrying a horse in a balloon is the most senseless of acts! A wooden horse of the same weight, or the same weight of common ballast, would answer in every real purpose of experiment!
From The Times, September 16, 1850: Lieutenant Gale went up from Vincennes on May 11, carrying a horse in his balloon. He reached earth safely, and released the poor beast, who, though benumbed, was not injured and after a while cropped the grass. Unluckily, Gale could not speak French, and was reduced to signs to make the peasants, who crowded around, understand that they must hold the tethering ropes. His gesticulations merely alarmed them, and when, after opening the valves, he drew a big knife to cut the cords, they let go, and the balloon, with Gale clinging to the ropes, soared up anew. His body, half-eaten by dogs, was finally discovered in a field and he was buried at Bordeaux.
Labels: Duke of Wellington, Kristine Hughes