This famous sling makes the possessor equal to any task he is desirous
I made a balloon of such extensive dimensions, that an account of the
silk it contained would exceed all credibility; every mercer's shop
and weaver's stock in London, Westminster, and Spitalfields
contributed to it: with this balloon and my sling I played many
tricks, such as taking one house from its station, and placing another
in its stead, without disturbing the inhabitants, who were generally
asleep, or too much employed to observe the peregrinations of their
habitations. When the sentinel at Windsor Castle heard St. Paul's
clock strike thirteen, it was through my dexterity; I brought the
buildings nearly together that night, by placing the castle in St.
George's Fields, and carried it back again before daylight, without
waking any of the inhabitants; notwithstanding these exploits, I
should have kept my balloon, and its properties a secret, if
Montgolfier had not made the art of flying so public.
On the 30th of September, when the College of Physicians chose their
annual officers, and dined sumptuously together, I filled my balloon,
brought it over the dome of their building, clapped the sling round
the golden ball at the top, fastening the other end of it to the
balloon, and immediately ascended with the whole college to an immense
height, where I kept them upwards of three months. You will naturally
inquire what they did for food such a length of time? To this I
answer, Had I kept them suspended twice the time, they would have
experienced no inconvenience on that account, so amply, or rather
extravagantly, had they spread their table for that day's feasting.
Though this was meant as an innocent frolic, it was productive of much
mischief to several respectable characters amongst the clergy,
undertakers, sextons, and grave-diggers: they were, it must be
acknowledged, sufferers; for it is a well-known fact, that during the
three months the college was suspended in the air, and therefore
incapable of attending their patients, no deaths happened, except a
few who fell before the scythe of Father Time, and some melancholy
objects who, perhaps to avoid some trifling inconvenience here, laid
the hands of violence upon themselves, and plunged into misery
infinitely greater than that which they hoped by such a rash step to
avoid, without a moment's consideration.
If the apothecaries had not been very active during the above time,
half the undertakers in all probability would have been bankrupts.