Friday, March 28, 2008

from Tales of the Castle: or, Stories of Instruction and Delight, 1785

(page 253)

The globe of fire which was the subject of the Memoire of M. le Roy, was observed the 17th of July, 1771, about half past ten in the evening. There suddenly appeared in the north-west a fire like to a great falling star, which augmenting as it approached, soon took the form of a globe, that afterwards had a tail, which entrained all after it. This globe having traversed a part of the heavens, became slower in its motion, and took the form of Batavian Tears, when it shed a most powerful light: its head appeared enveloped in sparks of fire, and its tail edged with red contained all the colours of the rainbow. At length it burst, shedding a vast number of luminous particles like the brilliance in fire-works.

The 12th of November, 1761, M. le Baron des Adretz, one league from Ville Franche, in Beaujolois, saw a bright globe of fire, which seemed swiftly falling and increasing in size as it fell. A train of fire marked its route; after it had traversed nearly an eighth of the horizon, it seemed as large as an exceedingly large sun, cut horizontally in half. It turned up-side down, and out of it came a prodigious quantity of flaming sparks, like the largest of those seen in fire-works. In the town of Beaune, this meteor gave a light equal to that of noon-day.

The 3d of November, 1771, at half past nine in the evening, a very extraordinary meteor was seen at Sarlat. The Heavens became so light, that they thought day again was going to break. A most luminous globe of fire appeared, from which came large sparks, like artificial stars, and the circle by which it was surrounded, was formed of differently-coloured rays. When this enormous globe was about six fathoms high, two species of volcano came from it, which took the form of two large rainbows, one of which lost itself towards the North, and the other towards the South.

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