“SOME FIRE, MY DEAR, SOME FIRE!”
It was on the 21st of November, 1783, when Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François d’Arlandes first boarded one of the Montgolfier Brothers’ famous flying machines. The balloon “Reveillon” took off from the garden of Château La Muette near Paris, covering the distance of about 10 kilometers in 25 minutes and landing near the town of Gentilly.
What an adventure that must have been for the two noblemen! But let we speak François d’Arlandes for himself:
»I was surprised at the silence and the absence of movement which our departure caused among the spectators, and believed them to be astonished and perhaps awed at the strange spectacle; they might well have reassured themselves. I was still gazing when M. Rozier cried to me: “You are doing nothing, and the balloon is scarcely rising a fathom.”
“Pardon me,” I answered, as I placed a bundle of straw upon the fire and slightly stirred it. Then I turned quickly, but already we had passed out of sight of La Muette. Astonished, I cast a glance towards the river. I perceived the confluence of the Oise. And naming the principal bends of the river by the places nearest them, I cried, “Passy, St. Germain, St. Denis, Sevres!”
“If you look at the river in that fashion you will be likely to bathe in it soon,” cried Rozier. “Some fire, my dear friend, some fire!”«