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Purchase one of 1st World Library's Classic Books and help support our free internet library of downloadable eBooks. Visit us online at www 1stWorldLibrary.ORG - - "My God," said Rutherford, "the cable has broken!" In an instant I was craning over the side of the basket. Five hundred feet, 700 feet, 1000 feet, 2000 feet below us, the cruiser that had been our only link with the world of man was diminishing so swiftly that, as far as I remember, she had shrunk to the smallness of a tug and then vanished into the haze before I even answered him. "Anything to be done?" I asked. "Nothing," said he. It had been growing steadily more misty even down near the water, and now as the released balloon shot up into an altitude of five, ten, and presently twelve thousand feet, everything in Heaven and earth disappeared except that white and clammy fog. By a simultaneous impulse he lit a cigarette and I a pipe, and I remember very plainly wondering whether he felt any touch of that self-conscious defiance of fate and deliberate intention to do the coolest thing possible, which I am free to confess I felt myself. Probably not; Rutherford was the real Navy and I but a zig-zag ringed R.N.V.R. amateur.
Still, the spirit of the Navy is infectious and I made a fair attempt to keep his stout heart company.