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Title: Farthest North - Being the Record of a Voyage of Exploration of the Ship 'Fram' 1893-1896 - Vol. II
Author: Nansen, Fridtjof, 1861-1930
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                             FARTHEST NORTH

     Being the Record of a Voyage of Exploration of the Ship "Fram"
   1893-96 and of a Fifteen Months' Sleigh Journey by Dr. Nansen and
                            Lieut. Johansen

                                   By

                          Dr. FRIDTJOF NANSEN

         With an Appendix by Otto Sverdrup Captain of the Fram


     About 120 Full-page and Numerous Text Illustrations 16 Colored
  Plates in Facsimile from Dr. Nansen's Own Sketches, Etched Portrait,
                           and Photogravures

                             In two volumes

                                Vol. II.

                          New York and London
                      Harper & Brothers Publishers



                 Copyright, 1897, by Harper & Brothers.

                          All rights reserved.



CONTENTS OF VOL. II.


          CHAP.                                             PAGE

             I. We Prepare for the Sledge Expedition           1
            II. The New Year, 1895                            41
           III. We Make a Start                               90
            IV. We Say Good-bye to the "Fram"                132
             V. A Hard Struggle                              157
            VI. By Sledge and Kayak                          236
           VII. Land at Last                                 308
          VIII. The New Year, 1896                           454
            IX. The Journey Southward                        487


                APPENDIX

                Report of Captain Otto Sverdrup on the Drifting
                of the "Fram" from March 14, 1895.

             I. March 15 to June 22, 1895                    601
            II. June 22 to August 15, 1895                   633
           III. August 15 to January 1, 1896                 648
            IV. January 1 to May 17, 1896                    668
             V. The Third Summer                             683
                Conclusion                                   707
                Index                                        715



ILLUSTRATIONS IN VOL. II.


                                                                PAGE.

        Sailing Kayaks (Photogravure)                   Frontispiece
        Hjalmar Johansen                                 Facing p. 2
        At the Supper-table (February 14, 1895)                    9
        Scott-Hansen's Observatory                                17
        Musical Entertainment in the Saloon                       35
        Captain Sverdrup in His Cabin                             49
        The "Fram" in the Ice (Photogravure)            Facing p. 54
        "All Hands on Deck!"                                      56
        "A Most Remarkable Moon"                                  65
        The "Fram" After an Ice-pressure (January 10, 1895)       67
        The Winter Night (January 14, 1895)                       71
        A Whist-party in the Saloon (February 15, 1895)           79
        Upper End of the Supper-table (February 15, 1895)         83
        Stopping a Dog-fight                                      85
        Lower End of Supper-table                                 87
        The Crew of the "Fram" after Their Second Winter
        (About February 24, 1895)                                 93
        The "Fram" in the Ice (1895)                             103
        Sunday Afternoon on Board                                107
        The Cooking Apparatus                                    122
        The Start from the "Fram" (March 14, 1895)               133
        Our Last Camp before Parting from Our Comrades           137
        A Night Camp on the Journey North                        154
        Tailpiece                                                156
        Northward through the Drift-snow (April, 1895)           159
        Nothing but Ice, Ice to the Horizon (April 7, 1895)
                                                       Facing p. 162
        Over Difficult Pressure-mounds (April, 1895)             165
        "I Went on Ahead on Snow-shoes"                          169
        "On Tolerably Good Ground"                               171
        Our Northernmost Camp, 86° 13.6' N. Lat. (April 8, 1895) 173
        "Baro," the Runaway                            Facing p. 178
        Rest (April, 1895)                                       181
        Johansen Carving our Names in a Stock of Driftwood       185
        Peculiar Ice Stratification (April, 1895)                187
        "We Made Fairly Good Progress"                           203
        Repairing the Kayaks                                     240
        A Coign of Vantage. Packed Ice                           251
        "A Curdled Sea"                                          257
        Channels in the Ice in Summer (june, 1895)               263
        "Suggen." "Kaifas"                                       277
        Crossing a Crack in the Ice                              287
        Johansen Sitting in the Sleeping-bag in the Hut          293
        Channels in the Ice (June 24, 1895)                      297
        My Last Dog, "Kaifas"                                    307
        "Incredibly Slow Progress"                               323
        "This Inconceivable Toil"                                327
        "You Must Look Sharp!"                                   330
        We Reach the Open Water (August 6, 1895)                 337
        Iceberg on the North Side of Franz Josef Land            351
        A Paddle along the Edge of the Ice                       359
        Glazier--Franz Josef Land                                361
        A Camp on the Coast of Franz Josef Land                  367
        Crack in the Ice                                         375
        "Sailing along the Coast"                                378
        A Fight against the Storm to Reach Land (August 29,
        1895)                                                    381
        Walruses                                                 387
        We Build Our First Hut                                   390
        Walruses                                                 397
        "In the Water Lay Walruses"                              409
        "I Photographed Him and the Walrus"                      417
        "It Gazed Wickedly at Us"                                419
        At Our Winter Quarters                                   431
        An Illegible Page from Diary                             437
        Our Winter Hut (December 31, 1895)                       451
        "Life in Our Hut"                                        456
        "Johansen Fired through the Opening"                     468
        "Our Winter Lair"                                        489
        Southward (May, 1896)                                    491
        Over the Ice towards the Island (May, 24, 1896)          495
        A Sail with Sledges. South of Cape Richthofen (June 6,
        1896)                                                    507
        "I Managed to Swing One Leg Up"                          515
        "It Tried to Upset Me"                                   520
        Our Last Camp                                            523
        Franz Josef Land                                         528
        Meeting of Jackson and Nansen                            531
        Mr. Jackson's Station at Cape Flora                      535
        Nansen at Cape Flora                                     537
        A Chat after Dinner                                      541
        The Wounded Bear                                         543
        Johansen at Cape Flora                                   545
        A Visitor                                                547
        Jackson on Cape Flora                                    551
        Basaltic Rock                                            554
        A Strange Rock of Basalt                                 559
        Plant Fossils                                            561
        Kittiwake on Her Nest                                    565
        Basaltic Cliffs                                          567
        Mr. Jackson at Elmwood                                   569
        Johansen in Jackson's Saloon                             571
        Cape Flora. Farewell to Franz Josef Land                 577
        "We Stood Looking over the Sea"                          580
        Arrival at Hammerfest                                    587
        The "Windward" Leaving Tromsö                            591
        Tailpiece                                                597
        Original Map of Kaiser Franz Josef Land                  599


        APPENDIX

        Digging Out the "Fram" (March, 1895)                     603
        The "Fram" when Dug Out of the Pressure-mound at the
        End of March, 1895                                       607
        Fitting the Hand-sledges with Runners (July, 1895)       611
        View over the Drift-ice. Depot in Foreground             615
        Pressure-mound near the "Fram" (April, 1895)             621
        Ice-smithy (May, 1895)                                   625
        The "Fram" Before Her Release                            627
        The Procession (May 17, 1895)                            629
        Tailpiece                                                632
        Channel Astern of the "Fram" (June, 1895)                635
        Movable Meteorological Station on the Ice (July, 1895)   639
        Observation with Sextant and Artificial Horizon (July,
        1895)                                                    645
        Cleaning the Accumulators before Stowing Away (July,
        1895)                                                    653
        Workshop on Deck (July, 1895)                            659
        Pettersen and Blessing on a Hummock (April, 1895)        673
        Lars Pettersen on Snow-shoes                             679
        Tailpiece                                                682
        Flaying Walruses                                         697
        Tailpiece                                                706
        The Members of the Expedition after Their Return to
        Christiania                                              709


        COLORED PLATES IN VOL. II.

                                                            Facing p.

    IX. Light Phenomena in the Polar Night (November 22, 1893)    96
     X. The Polar Night (November 24, 1893)                      176
    XI. Moon-ring with Mock Moons, and a Suggestion
        of Horizontal Axes (November 24, 1893)                   248
   XII. Moonlight Phenomena at the Beginning of the
        Polar Night (November, 1893)                             320
  XIII. Streamers of Aurora Borealis (November 28, 1893)         400
   XIV. Ice near the "Fram" (July 4, 1894)                       472
    XV. Aurora Borealis (October 18, 1894)                       584
   XVI. An Auroral Crown (December, 1894)                        664



FARTHEST NORTH


CHAPTER I

WE PREPARE FOR THE SLEDGE EXPEDITION


Who are to be the two members of the expedition? Sverdrup and I have
tested each other before at this sort of work, and we could manage
very well; but we cannot both leave the Fram: that is perfectly clear
without further argument. One of us must remain behind to take on
himself the responsibility of bringing the others home in safety;
but it is equally clear that one of us two must conduct the sledge
expedition, as it is we who have the necessary experience. Sverdrup
has a great desire to go; but I cannot think otherwise than that
there is more risk in leaving the Fram than in remaining on board
her. Consequently if I were to let him go, I should be transferring
to him the more dangerous task, while keeping the easier one to
myself. If he perished, should I ever be able to forgive myself for
letting him go, even if it was at his own desire? He is nine years
older than I am; I should certainly feel it to be a very uncomfortable
responsibility. And as regards our comrades, which of us would it be
most to their interest to keep on board? I think they have confidence
in both of us, and I think either of us would be able to take them
home in safety, whether with or without the Fram. But the ship is
his especial charge, while on me rests the conduct of the whole,
and especially of the scientific investigations; so that I ought to
undertake the task in which important discoveries are to be made. Those
who remain with the ship will be able, as aforesaid, to carry on the
observations which are to be made on board. It is my duty therefore,
to go, and his to remain behind. He, too, thinks this reasonable.

I have chosen Johansen to be my companion, and he is in all respects
well qualified for that work. He is an accomplished snow-shoer, and
few can equal his powers of endurance--a fine fellow, physically and
mentally. I have not yet asked him, but think of doing so soon, in
order that he may be prepared betimes. Blessing and Hansen also would
certainly be all eagerness to accompany me; but Hansen must remain
behind to take charge of the observations, and Blessing cannot desert
his post as doctor. Several of the others, too, would do quite well,
and would, I doubt not, be willing enough.

This expedition to the north, then, is provisionally decided on. I
shall see what the winter will bring us. Light permitting, I should
prefer to start in February.

"Sunday, November 18th. It seems as if I could not properly realize
the idea that I am really to set out, and that in three months'
time. Sometimes I delude myself with charming dreams of my return
home after toil and victory, and then all is clear and bright. Then
these are succeeded by thoughts of the uncertainty and deceptiveness
of the future and what may be lurking in it, and my dreams fade away
like the northern lights, pale and colorless.


        "'Ihr naht euch wieder, schwankende Gestalten.'


"Ugh! These everlasting cold fits of doubt! Before every decisive
resolution the dice of death must be thrown. Is there too much to
venture, and too little to gain? There is more to be gained, at all
events, than there is here. Then is it not my duty? Besides, there
is only one to whom I am responsible, and she...? I shall come back,
I know it. I have strength enough for the task. 'Be thou true unto
death, and thou shalt inherit the crown of life.'

"We are oddly constructed machines. At one moment all resolution,
at the next all doubt.... To-day our intellect, our science, all our
'Leben und Treiben,' seem but a pitiful Philistinism, not worth a pipe
of tobacco; to-morrow we throw ourselves heart and soul into these very
researches, consumed with a burning thirst, to absorb everything into
ourselves, longing to spy out fresh paths, and fretting impatiently
at our inability to solve the problem fully and completely. Then down
we sink again in disgust at the worthlessness of it all.

"'As a grain of dust on the balance is the whole world; as a drop of
morning dew that falls on the ground.' If man has two souls, which
then is the right one?

"It is nothing new to suffer from the fact that our knowledge can
be but fragmentary, that we can never fathom what lies behind. But
suppose, now, that we could reckon it out, that the inmost secret of
it all lay as clear and plain to us as a rule-of-three sum, should
we be any the happier? Possibly just the reverse. Is it not in the
struggle to attain knowledge that happiness consists? I am very
ignorant, consequently the conditions of happiness are mine.

"Let me fill a soothing pipe and be happy.

"No, the pipe is not a success. Twist tobacco is not delicate enough
for airy dreams. Let me get a cigar. Oh, if one had a real Havana!

"H'm! as if dissatisfaction, longing, suffering, were not the very
basis of life. Without privation there would be no struggle, and
without struggle no life, that is as certain as that two and two make
four. And now the struggle is to begin; it is looming yonder in the
north. Oh, to drink delight of battle in long, deep draughts! Battle
means life, and behind it victory beckons us on.

"I close my eyes. I hear a voice singing to me:


                "'In amongst the fragrant birch,
                    In amongst the flowers' perfume,
                  Deep into the pine-wood's church.'


"Monday, November 19th. Confounded affectation all this Weltschmerz;
you have no right to be anything but a happy man. And if you feel out
of spirits, it ought to cheer you up simply to go on deck and look at
these seven puppies that come frisking and springing about you, and
are ready to tear you to pieces in sheer enjoyment of life. Life is
sunshine to them, though the sun has long since gone, and they live on
deck beneath a tent, so that they cannot even see the stars. There is
'Kvik,' the mother of the family, among them, looking so plump and
contented as she wags her tail. Have you not as much reason to be
happy as they? Yet they too have their misfortunes. The afternoon of
the day before yesterday, as I was sitting at work, I heard the mill
going round and round, and Peter taking food to the puppies, which,
as usual, had a bit of a fight over the meat-pan; and it struck
me that the axle of the mill whirling unguarded on the deck was
an extremely dangerous affair for them. Ten minutes later I heard
a dog howling, a more long-drawn, uncomfortable kind of howl than
was usual when they were fighting, and at the same moment the mill
slowed down. I rushed out. There I saw a puppy right in the axle,
whirling round with it and howling piteously, so that it cut one to
the soul. Bentzen was hanging on to the brake-rope, hauling at it
with all his might and main; but still the mill went round. My first
idea was to seize an axe that was lying there to put the dog out of
its misery, its cries were so heartrending; but on second thoughts I
hurried on to help Bentzen, and we got the mill stopped. At the same
moment Mogstad also came up, and while we held the mill he managed
to set the puppy free. Apparently there was still some life in it,
and he set to work to rub it gently and coax it. The hair of its
coat had somehow or other got frozen on to the smooth steel axle,
and the poor beast had been swung round and bumped on the deck at
every revolution of the wheel. At last it actually raised its head,
and looked round in a dazed way. It had made a good many revolutions,
so that it is no wonder if it found some difficulty in getting its
bearings at first. Then it raised itself on its fore-paws, and I took
it aft to the half-deck and stroked and patted it. Soon it got on all
four legs again, and began shambling about, without knowing where it
was going.

"'It is a good thing it was caught by the hair,' said Bentzen,
'I thought it was hanging fast by its tongue, as the other one
did.' Only think of being fixed by the tongue to a revolving axle--the
mere notion makes one shudder! I took the poor thing down into the
saloon and did all I could for it. It soon got all right again,
and began playing with its companions as before. A strange life to
rummage about on deck in the dark and cold; but whenever one goes
up with a lantern they come tearing round, stare at the light, and
begin bounding and dancing and gambolling with each other round it,
like children round a Christmas-tree. This goes on day after day, and
they have never seen anything else than this deck with a tarpaulin
over it, not even the clear blue sky; and we men have never seen
anything else than this earth!

"The last step over the bridge of resolution has now been taken. In
the forenoon I explained the whole matter to Johansen in pretty
much the same terms as I have used above; and then I expatiated on
the difficulties that might occur, and laid strong emphasis on the
dangers one must be prepared to encounter. It was a serious matter--a
matter of life or death--this one must not conceal from one's self. He
must think the thing well over before determining whether he would
accompany me or not. If he was willing to come I should be glad to
have him with me; but I would rather, I said, he should take a day
or two to think it well over before he gave me his answer. He did
not need any time for reflection, he said; he was quite willing
to go. Sverdrup had long ago mentioned the possibility of such an
expedition, and he had thought it well over, and made up his mind
that if my choice should fall on him he would take it as a great
favor to be permitted to accompany me. 'I don't know whether you'll
be satisfied with this answer, or whether you would like me still
to think it over; but I should certainly never change my mind.' 'No,
if you have already thought it seriously over--thought what risks you
expose yourself to--the chance, for instance, that neither of us may
ever see the face of man again--and if you have reflected that even
if we get through safe and sound you must necessarily face a great
deal of hardship on an expedition like this--if you have made up your
mind to all this I don't insist on your reflecting any longer about
it.' 'Yes, that I have.' 'Well, then, that is settled. To-morrow
we shall begin our preparations for the trip. Hansen must see about
appointing another meteorological assistant.'

"Tuesday, November 20th. This evening I delivered an address to the
whole ship's company, in which I announced the determination that had
been arrived at, and explained to them the projected expedition. First
of all, I briefly went through the whole theory of our undertaking,
and its history from the beginning, laying stress on the idea on
which my plans had been built up--namely, that a vessel which got
frozen in north of Siberia must drift across the Polar Sea and
out into the Atlantic, and must pass somewhere or other north of
Franz Josef Land and between it and the Pole. The object of the
expedition was to accomplish this drift across the unknown sea,
and to pursue investigations there. I pointed out to them that these
investigations would be of equal importance whether the expedition
actually passed across the Pole itself or at some distance from
it. Judging from our experiences hitherto, we could not entertain any
doubt that the expedition would solve the problem it had set before it;
everything had up to the present gone according to our anticipations,
and it was to be hoped and expected that this would continue to be
the case for the remainder of the voyage. We had, therefore, every
prospect of accomplishing the principal part of our task; but then the
question arose whether more could not be accomplished, and thereupon
I proceeded to explain, in much the same terms as I have used above,
how this might be effected by an expedition northward.

"I had the impression that every one was deeply interested in the
projected expedition, and that they all thought it most desirable
that it should be attempted. The greatest objection, I think, they
would have urged against it, had they been asked, would have been
that they themselves could not take part in it. I impressed on them,
however, that while it was unquestionably a fine thing to push on
as far as possible towards the north, it was no whit less honorable
an undertaking to bring the Fram safe and sound right through the
Polar Sea, and out on the other side; or if not the Fram, at all
events themselves without any loss of life. This done, we might say,
without fear of contradiction, that it was well done. I think they
all saw the force of this, and were satisfied. So now the die is cast,
and I must believe that this expedition will really take place."

So we set about our preparations for it in downright earnest. I have
already mentioned that at the end of the summer I had begun to make
a kayak for a single man, the frame of which was of bamboo carefully
lashed together. It was rather slow work, and took several weeks,
but it turned out both light and strong. When completed the framework
weighed 16 pounds. It was afterwards covered with sail-cloth by
Sverdrup and Blessing, when the whole boat weighed 30 pounds. After
finishing this I had intrusted Mogstad with the task of building
a similar one. Johansen and I now set to work to make a cover for
it. These kayaks were 3.70 metres (12 feet) long, about O.7 metre (28
inches) wide in the middle, and one was 30 centims. (12 inches) and
the other 38 centims. (15 inches) deep. This is considerably shorter
and wider than an ordinary Eskimo kayak, and consequently these boats
were not so light to propel through the water. But as they were chiefly
intended for crossing over channels and open spaces in the ice, and
coasting along possible land, speed was not of much importance. The
great thing was that the boats should be strong and light, and should
be able to carry, in addition to ourselves, provisions and equipments
for a considerable time. If we had made them longer and narrower,
besides being heavier they would have been more exposed to injury in
the course of transport over the uneven ice. As they were built they
proved admirably adapted for our purpose. When we loaded them with
care we could stow away in them provisions and equipment for three
months at least for ourselves, besides a good deal of food for the
dogs; and we could, moreover, carry a dog or two on the deck. In
other respects they were essentially like the Eskimo kayaks, full
decked, save for an aperture in the middle for a man to sit in. This
aperture was encircled by a wooden ring, after the Eskimo fashion,
over which we could slip the lower part of our sealskin jackets,
specially adjusted for this purpose, so that the junction between
boat and jacket was water-tight. When these jackets were drawn tight
round the wrists and face the sea might sweep right over us without a
drop of water coming into the kayak. We had to provide ourselves with
such boats in case of having to cross open stretches of sea on our
way to Spitzbergen, or, if we chose the other route, between Franz
Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya. Besides this aperture in the middle,
there were small trap-doors fore and aft in the deck, to enable us
to put our hands in and stow the provisions, and also get things out
more readily, without having to take out all the freight through the
middle aperture, in case what we wanted lay at either extremity. These
trap-doors, however, could be closed so as to be quite water-tight. To
make the canvas quite impervious to water, the best plan would have
been to have sized it, and then painted it externally with ordinary
oil paint; but, on the one hand, it was very difficult to do this
work in the extreme cold (in the hold the temperature was -20° C., -4°
Fahr.), and, on the other hand, I was afraid the paint might render the
canvas too hard and brittle, and apt to have holes knocked in it during
transport over the ice. Therefore I preferred to steep it in a mixture
of paraffin and tallow, which added somewhat to the weight of the
kayaks, so that altogether they came to weigh about 36 pounds apiece.

I had, moreover, some hand-sledges made especially for this expedition;
they were supple and strong, designed to withstand the severe tests
to which an expedition with dogs and heavy freights over the uneven
drift-ice would necessarily expose them. Two of these sledges were
about the same length as the kayaks--that is, 12 feet. I also made
several experiments with respect to the clothes we should wear,
and was especially anxious to ascertain whether it would do to go in
our thick wolfskin garments, but always came to the conclusion that
they were too warm. Thus, on November 29th I write: "Took another
walk northward in my wolfskin dress; but it is still too mild (-37.6°
C.). I sweated like a horse, though I went fasting and quite gently. It
is rather heavy going now in the dark when one cannot use snowshoes. I
wonder when it will be cold enough to use this dress."

On December 9th again we went out on snow-shoes. "It was -41°
C. (-41.8° Fahr.). Went in wolfskin dress, but the perspiration poured
down our backs enough to turn a mill. Too warm yet; goodness knows
if it ever will be cold enough."

Of course, we made some experiments with the tent and with the cooking
apparatus. On December 7th I write: "I pitched the silk tent we are
going to take, and used our cooking apparatus in it. From repeated
trials it appeared that from ice of -35° C. (-31° Fahr.), we boiled
3 litres of water (5 1/4 pints), and at the same time melted 5 litres
(8 3/4 pints) in an hour and a half, with a consumption of about 120
grammes of snowflake petroleum. Next day we boiled 2 1/2 litres of
water (over 4 pints), and melted 2 1/2 litres in one hour with 100
grammes of snowflake petroleum. Yesterday we made about two litres of
excellent oatmeal porridge, and at the same time got some half-melted
ice and a little water in little over half an hour, with 50 grammes
of snowflake petroleum. Thus there will be no very great consumption
of fuel in the day."

Then I made all kinds of calculations and computations in order to
find out what would be the most advantageous kind of provisions for
our expedition, where it was of the greatest moment that the food
both for dogs and men should be nutritious, and yet should not weigh
more than was absolutely necessary. Later on, in the list of our
equipments, I shall give the final result of my deliberations on this
matter. Besides all this, we had, of course, to consider and test the
instruments to be taken with us, and to go into many other matters,
which, though perhaps trifles in themselves, were yet absolutely
necessary. It is on the felicitous combination of all these trifles
that ultimate success depends.

We two passed the greater portion of our time in these preparations,
which also kept many of the others pretty busy during the
winter. Mogstad, for instance, found steady employment in making
sledges and fitting them with runners, etc. Sverdrup busied himself
in making sleeping-bags and many other things. Juell was appointed
dog-tailor, and when he was not busy in the galley, his time was
devoted to taking the measurements of the dogs, making harness
for them and testing it. Blessing, too, fitted up for us a small,
light medicine-chest, containing selected drugs, bandages, and such
other things as might be of use. One man was constantly employed
in copying out all our journals and scientific observations, etc.,
etc., on thin paper in a contracted form, as I wanted, by way of
doubly assuring their preservation, to take a copy of them along
with me. Hansen was occupied in preparing tabular forms necessary
for our observations, curves of the movement of our chronometers,
and other such things. Besides this, he was to make a complete chart
of our voyage and drifting up to the present time.

I could not, however, lay too great a claim on his valuable
time, as it was necessary that he should continue his scientific
observations without interruption. During this autumn he had greatly
increased the comfort of his work by building, along with Johansen, an
observation-hut of snow, not unlike an Eskimo cabin. He found himself
very much at his ease in it, with a petroleum lamp hanging from the
roof, the light of which, being reflected by the white snow walls,
made quite a brilliant show. Here he could manipulate his instruments
quietly and comfortably, undisturbed by the biting wind outside. He
thought it quite warm there, too, when he could get the temperature up
to something like 20° below freezing-point, so that he was able without
much inconvenience to adjust his instruments with bare hands. Here he
worked away indefatigably at his observations day after day, watching
the often mysterious movements of the magnetic needle, which would
sometimes give him no end of trouble. One day--it was November 24th--he
came into supper a little after 6 o'clock quite alarmed and said,
"There has just been a singular inclination of the needle to 24°, and,
remarkably enough, its northern extremity pointed to the east. I cannot
remember ever having heard of such an inclination." He also had several
others of about 15°. At the same time, through the opening into his
observatory he noticed that it was unusually light out-of-doors, and
that not only the ship, but the ice in the distance, was as plainly
visible as if it had been full moonlight. No aurora, however, could
be discerned through the thick clouds that covered the sky. It would
appear, then, that this unusual inclination was in some way connected
with the northern lights, though it was to the east and not to the
west, as usual. There could be no question of any disturbance of the
floe on which we were lying; for everything had been perfectly still
and quiet, and it is inconceivable that a disturbance which could
cause such a remarkable oscillation of two points and back again in
so short a space of time should not have been noticed and heard on
board. This theory, therefore, is entirely excluded, and the whole
matter seems to me, for the present, to be incomprehensible. Blessing
and I at once went on deck to look at the sky. Certainly it was so
light that we could see the lanes in the ice astern quite plainly;
but there was nothing remarkable in that, it happened often enough.

"Friday, November 30th. I found a bear's track on the ice in front
of our bow. The bear had come from the east, trotting very gently
along the lane, on the newly frozen ice, but he must have been scared
by something or other ahead of the vessel, as he had gone off again
with long strides in the same direction in which he had come. Strange
that living creatures should be roaming about in this desert. What
can they have to do here? If only one had such a stomach one could
at least stand a journey to the Pole and back without a meal. We
shall probably have him back again soon--that is, if I understand
his nature aright--and then perhaps he will come a little closer,
so that we may have a good look at him. [1]

"I paced the lane in front of the port bow. It was 348 paces across,
and maintained the same width for a considerable distance eastward;
nor can it be much narrower for a great distance to the west. Now,
when one bears in mind that the lane behind us is also of considerable
width, it is rather consoling, after all, to think that the ice does
permit of such large openings. There must be room enough to drift,
if we only get wind--wind which will never come. On the whole,
November has been an uncommonly wretched month. Driven back instead
of forward--and yet this month was so good last year. But one can
never rely on the seasons in this dreadful sea; taking all in all,
perhaps, the winter will not be a bit better than the summer. Yet,
it surely must improve--I cannot believe otherwise.

"The skies are clouded with a thick veil, through which the stars
barely glisten. It is darker than usual, and in this eternal night
we drift about, lonely and forsaken, 'for the whole world was filled
with a shining light and undisturbed activity. Above those men alone
brooded nought but depressing night--an image of that gloom which
was soon to swallow them up.'

"This dark, deep, silent void is like the mysterious, unfathomable
well into which you look for that something which you think must
be there, only to meet the reflection of your own eyes. Ugh! the
worn-out thoughts you can never get rid of become in the end very
wearisome company. Is there no means of fleeing from one's self, to
grasp one single thought--only a single one, which lies outside one's
self--is there no way except death? But death is certain; one day it
will come, silent and majestic; it will open Nirvana's mighty portal,
and we shall be swept away into the sea of eternity.

"Sunday, December 2d. Sverdrup has now been ill for some days;
during the last day or two he has been laid up in his berth, and
is still there. I trust it is nothing serious; he himself thinks
nothing of it, nevertheless it is very disquieting. Poor fellow,
he lives entirely on oatmeal gruel. It is an intestinal catarrh,
which he probably contracted through catching cold on the ice. I am
afraid he has been rather careless in this respect. However, he is
now improving, so that probably it will soon pass off; but it is a
warning not to be over-confident. I went for a long walk this morning
along the lane; it is quite a large one, extending a good way to the
east, and being of considerable breadth at some points. It is only
after walking for a while on the newly frozen ice, where walking is
as easy and comfortable as on a well-trodden path, and then coming up
to the snow-covered surface of the old ice again, that one thoroughly
appreciates for the first time what it means to go without snow-shoes;
the difference is something marvellous. Even if I have not felt warm
before, I break out into a perspiration after going a short distance
over the rough ice. But what can one do? One cannot use snow-shoes;
it is so dark that it is difficult enough to grope one's way about
with ordinary boots, and even then one stumbles about or slips down
between great blocks of ice.

"I am now reading the various English stories of the polar expeditions
during the Franklin period, and the search for him, and I must admit
I am filled with admiration for these men and the amount of labor
they expended. The English nation, truly, has cause to be proud of
them. I remember reading these stories as a lad, and all my boyish
fancies were strangely thrilled with longing for the scenery and
the scenes which were displayed before me. I am reading them now as
a man, after having had a little experience myself; and now, when
my mind is uninfluenced by romance, I bow in admiration. There was
grit in men like Parry, Franklin, James Ross, Richardson, and last,
but not least, in M'Clintock, and, indeed, in all the rest. How
well was their equipment thought out and arranged, with the means
they had at their disposal! Truly, there is nothing new under the
sun. Most of what I prided myself upon, and what I thought to be new,
I find they had anticipated. M'Clintock used the same thing forty
years ago. It was not their fault that they were born in a country
where the use of snow-shoes is unknown, and where snow is scarcely
to be found throughout the whole winter. Nevertheless, despite the
fact that they had to gain their experience of snow and snow travel
during their sojourn up here; despite the fact that they were without
snow-shoes and had to toil on as best they could with sledges with
narrow runners over uneven snow-covered drift-ice--what distances did
they not cover, what fatigues and trials did they not endure! No one
has surpassed and scarcely any one approached them, unless, perhaps,
the Russians on the Siberian coast; but then they have the great
advantage of being natives of a country where snow is not uncommon.

"Friday, December 14th. Yesterday we held a great festivity in honor
of the Fram as being the vessel which has attained the highest latitude
(the day before yesterday we reached 82° 30' north latitude).

"The bill of fare at dinner was boiled mackerel, with parsely-butter
sauce; pork cutlets and French pease; Norwegian wild strawberries,
with rice and milk; Crown malt extract; afterwards coffee. For supper:
new bread and currant cake, etc., etc. Later in the evening, a grand
concert. Sweets and preserved pears were handed round. The culminating
point of the entertainment was reached when a steaming hot and fragrant
bowl of cherry-punch was carried in and served round amidst general
hilarity. Our spirits were already very high, but this gave color to
the whole proceedings. The greatest puzzle to most of them was where
the ingredients for the punch, and more particularly the alcohol,
had come from. [2]

"Then followed the toasts. First, a long and festive one to 'The
Fram,' which had now shown what she was capable of. It ran somewhat
to this effect: 'There were many wise men who shook their heads
when we started, and sent us ominous farewell greetings. But their
head-shakings would have been less vigorous and their evil forebodings
milder if they could have seen us at this moment, drifting quietly
and at our ease across the most northerly latitudes ever attained by
any vessel, and still farther northward. And the Fram is now not only
the most northerly vessel on the globe, but has already passed over
a large expanse of hitherto unknown regions, many degrees farther
north than have ever been reached in this ocean on this side of the
Pole. But we hope she will not stop here; concealed behind the mist of
the future there are many triumphs in store for us--triumphs which will
dawn upon us one by one when their time has come. But we will not speak
of this now; we will be content with what has hitherto been achieved,
and I believe that the promise implied in Björnson's greeting to us
and to the Fram, when she was launched, has already been fulfilled,
and with him we can exclaim:


         "'"Hurrah for the ship and her voyage dread!
            Where never before a keel has sped,
            Where never before a name was spoken,
            By Norway's name is the silence broken.'"


"'We could not help a peculiar feeling, almost akin to shame, when
comparing the toil and privation, and frequently incredible sufferings,
undergone by our predecessors in earlier expeditions with the easy
manner in which we are drifting across unknown expanses of our globe
larger than it has been the lot of most, if not all, of the former
polar explorers to travel over at a stretch. Yes, truly, I think we
have every reason to be satisfied with our voyage so far and with the
Fram, and I trust we shall be able to bring something back to Norway
in return for the trust, the sympathy, and the money which she has
expended on us. But let us not on this account forget our predecessors;
let us admire them for the way in which they struggled and endured;
let us remember that it is only through their labors and achievements
that the way has been prepared for the present voyage. It is owing to
their collective experience that man has now got so far as to be able
to cope to some extent with what has hitherto been his most dangerous
and obstinate enemy in the Arctic regions--viz., the drift-ice--and to
do so by the very simple expedient of going with it and not against it,
and allowing one's self to be hemmed in by it, not involuntarily, but
intentionally, and preparing for it beforehand. On board this vessel
we try to cull the fruits of all our predecessors' experiences. It
has taken years to collect them; but I felt that with these I should
be enabled to face any vicissitude of fate in unknown waters. I think
we have been fortunate. I think we are all of the opinion that there
is no imaginable difficulty or obstacle before us that we ought not
to be able to overcome with the means and resources we possess on
board, and be thus enabled to return at last to Norway safe and sound,
with a rich harvest. Therefore let us drink a bumper to the Fram!'

"Next there followed some musical items and a performance by Lars,
the smith, who danced a pas seul, to the great amusement of the
company. Lars assured us that if he ever reached home again and were
present at a gathering similar to those held at Christiania and Bergen
on our departure, his legs should be taxed to their uttermost. This
was followed by a toast to those at home who were waiting for us
year after year, not knowing where to picture us in thought, who
were vainly yearning for tidings of us, but whose faith in us and
our voyage was still firm--to those who consented to our departure,
and who may well be said to have made the greatest sacrifice.

"The festivity continued with music and merriment throughout the
evening, and our good humor was certainly not spoiled when our
excellent doctor came forward with cigars--a commodity which is
getting highly valued up here, as, unfortunately it is becoming very
scarce. The only cloud in our existence is that Sverdrup has not yet
quite recovered from his catarrh. He must keep strict diet, and this
does not at all suit him, poor fellow! He is only allowed wheaten
bread, milk, raw bear's flesh, and oatmeal porridge; whereas if he
had his own way he would eat everything, including cake, preserves,
and fruit. But he has returned to duty now, and has already been out
for a turn on the ice.

"It was late at night when I retired to my cabin, but I was not yet
in a fit mood to go to sleep. I felt I must go out and saunter in the
wonderful moonlight. Around the moon there was, as usual, a large ring,
and above it there was an arc, which just touched it at the upper edge,
but the two ends of which curved downward instead of upward. It looked
as if it were part of a circle whose centre was situated far below
the moon. At the lower edge of the ring there was a large mock moon,
or, rather, a large luminous patch, which was most pronounced at the
upper part, where it touched the ring, and had a yellow upper edge,
from which it spread downward in the form of a triangle. It looked
as if it might be an arc of a circle on the lower side of, and in
contact with, the ring. Right across the moon there were drifting
several luminous cirrus streaks. The whole produced a fantastic effect.

"Saturday, December 22d. The same southeasterly wind has turned into a
regular storm, howling and rattling cheerily through the rigging, and
we are doubtless drifting northward at a good rate. If I go outside
the tent on deck, the wind whistles round my ears, and the snow
beats into my face, and I am soon covered with it. From the snow-hut
observatory, or even at a lesser distance, the Fram is invisible, and
it is almost impossible to keep one's eyes open, owing to the blinding
snow. I wonder whether we have not passed 83°? But I am afraid this
joy will not be a lasting one; the barometer has fallen alarmingly,
and the wind has generally been up to 13 or 14 metres (44 or 50 feet)
per second. About half-past twelve last night the vessel suddenly
received a strong pressure, rattling everything on board. I could
feel the vibration under me for a long time afterwards while lying
in my berth. Finally, I could hear the roaring and grating caused by
the ice-pressure. I told the watch to listen carefully, and ascertain
where the pressure was, and to notice whether the floe on which we
were lying was likely to crack, and whether any part of our equipment
was in danger. He thought he could hear the noise of ice-pressure
both forward and aft, but it was not easy to distinguish it from
the roar of the tempest in the rigging. To-day about 12.30 P.M. the
Fram received another violent shock, even stronger than that we had
experienced during the night. There was another shake a little later;
I suppose there has been a pressure aft, but could hear nothing for
the storm. It is odd about this pressure: one would think that the wind
was the primary cause; but it recurs pretty regularly, notwithstanding
the fact that the spring-tide has not yet set in; indeed, when it
commenced a few days ago it was almost a neap-tide. In addition to
the pressure of yesterday and last night, we had pressure on Thursday
morning at half-past nine and again at half-past eleven. It was so
strong that Peter, who was at the sounding-hole, jumped up repeatedly,
thinking that the ice would burst underneath him. It is very singular,
we have been quiet for so long now that we feel almost nervous when
the Fram receives those shocks; everything seems to tremble as if in
a violent earthquake.

"Sunday, December 23d. Wind still unchanged, and blowing equally
fresh, up to 13 or 14 metres (44 or 47 feet). The snow is drifting
and sweeping so that nothing can be distinguished; the darkness is
intense. Abaft on the deck there are deep mounds of snow lying round
the wheel and the rails, so that when we go up on deck we get a genuine
sample of an Arctic winter. The outlook is enough to make you shudder,
and feel grateful that instead of having to turn out in such weather,
you may dive back again into the tent, and down the companionway into
your warm bunk; but soon, no doubt, Johansen and I will have to face
it out, day and night, even in such weather as this, whether we like
it or not. This morning Pettersen, who has had charge of the dogs
this week, came down to the saloon and asked whether some one would
come out with him on the ice with a rifle, as he was sure there
was a bear. Peter and I went, but we could not find anything. The
dogs left off barking when we arrived on the scene, and commenced to
play with each other. But Pettersen was right in saying that it was
'horrid weather,' it was almost enough to take away one's breath to
face the wind, and the drifting snow forced its way into the mouth
and nostrils. The vessel could not be distinguished beyond a few
paces, so that it was not advisable to go any distance away from her,
and it was very difficult to walk; for, what with snow-drifts and
ice-mounds, at one moment you stumbled against the frozen edge of
a snow-drift, at another you tumbled into a hole. It was pitch-dark
all round. The barometer had been falling steadily and rapidly, but
at last it has commenced to rise slightly. It now registers about
726 mm. (28.6 inches). The thermometer, as usual, is describing the
inverse curve. In the afternoon it rose steadily until it registered
-21.3°C. Now it appears to be falling again a little, but the wind
still keeps exactly in the same quarter. It has surely shifted us
by now a good way to the north, well beyond the 83d degree. It is
quite pleasant to hear the wind whistling and rattling in the rigging
overhead. Alas! we know that all terrestrial bliss is short-lived.

"About midnight the mate, who has the watch, comes down and reports
that the ice has cracked just beyond the thermometer house, between
it and the sounding-hole. This is the same crack that we had in
the summer, and it has now burst open again, and probably the whole
floe in which we are lying is split from the lane ahead to the lane
astern of us. The thermograph and other instruments are being brought
on board, so that we may run no risk of losing them in the event of
pressure of ice. But otherwise there is scarcely anything that could
be endangered. The sounding apparatus is at some distance from the
open channel, on the other side. The only thing left there is the
shears with the iron block standing over the hole.

"Thursday, December 27th. Christmas has come round again, and we
are still so far from home. How dismal it all is! Nevertheless, I am
not melancholy. I might rather say I am glad; I feel as if awaiting
something great which lies hidden in the future; after long hours
of uncertainty I can now discern the end of this dark night; I have
no doubt all will turn out successfully, that the voyage is not in
vain and the time not wasted, and that our hopes will be realized. An
explorer's lot is, perhaps, hard and his life full of disappointments,
as they all say; but it is also full of beautiful moments--moments
when he beholds the triumphs of human faith and human will, when he
catches sight of the haven of success and peace.

"I am in a singular frame of mind just now, in a state of sheer
unrest. I have not felt inclined for writing during the last few days;
thoughts come and go, and carry me irresistibly ahead. I can scarcely
make myself out, but who can fathom the depths of the human mind. The
brain is a puzzling piece of mechanism: 'We are such stuff as dreams
are made of.' Is it so? I almost believe it--a microcosm of eternity's
infinite 'stuff that dreams are made of.'

"This is the second Christmas spent far away in the solitude of night,
in the realm of death, farther north and deeper into the midst of
it than any one has been before. There is something strange in the
feeling; and then this, too, is our last Christmas on board the
Fram. It makes one almost sad to think of it. The vessel is like a
second home, and has become dear to us. Perhaps our comrades may spend
another Christmas here, possibly several, without us who will go forth
from them into the midst of the solitude. This Christmas passed off
quietly and pleasantly, and every one seems to be well content. By no
means the least circumstance that added to our enjoyment was that the
wind brought us the 83d degree as a Christmas-box. Our luck was, this
time, more lasting than I had anticipated; the wind continued fresh
on Monday and Tuesday, but little by little it lulled down and veered
round to the north and northeast. Yesterday and to-day it has been in
the northwest. Well, we must put up with it; one cannot help having
a little contrary wind at times, and probably it will not last long.

"Christmas-eve was, of course, celebrated with great feasting. The
table presented a truly imposing array of Christmas confectionery:
'Poor man's' pastry, 'Staghorn' pastry, honey-cakes, macaroons,
'Sister' cake, and what not, besides sweets and the like; many may
have fared worse. Moreover, Blessing and I had worked during the day
in the sweat of our brow and produced a 'Polar Champagne 83d Degree,'
which made a sensation, and which we two, at least, believed we had
every reason to be proud of, being a product derived from the noble
grape of the polar regions--viz., the cloudberry (multer). The others
seemed to enjoy it too, and, of course, many toasts were drunk in
this noble beverage. Quantities of illustrated books were then brought
forth; there was music, and stories, and songs, and general merriment.

"On Christmas day, of course, we had a special dinner. After dinner
coffee and curaçao made here on board, and Nordahl then came forward
with Russian cigarettes. At night a bowl of cloudberry punch was
served out, which did not seem by any means unwelcome. Mogstad
played the violin, and Pettersen was electrified thereby to such a
degree that he sang and danced to us. He really exhibits considerable
talent as a comedian, and has a decided bent towards the ballet. It
is astonishing what versatility he displays: engineer, blacksmith,
tinsmith, cook, master of ceremonies, comedian, dancer, and, last
of all, he has come out in the capacity of a first-class barber and
hair-dresser. There was a grand 'ball' at night; Mogstad had to play
till the perspiration poured from him; Hansen and I had to figure
as ladies. Pettersen was indefatigable. He faithfully and solemnly
vowed that if he has a pair of boots to his feet when he gets home
he will dance as long as the soles hold together.

"Day after day, as we progressed with a rattling wind, first from
S.E. and later on E.S.E. and E., we felt more anxious to know how far
we had got; but there had always been a snow-storm or a cloudy sky,
so that we could not make any observations. We were all confident that
we must have got a long way up north, but how far beyond the 83d degree
no one could tell. Suddenly Hansen was called on deck this afternoon
by the news that the stars were visible overhead. All were on the
tiptoe of expectation. But when he came down he had only observed
one star, which, however, was so near the meridian that he could
calculate that, at any rate, we were north of 83° 20' north latitude,
and this communication was received with shouts of joy. If we were
not yet in the most northerly latitude ever reached by man, we were,
at all events, not far from it. This was more than we had expected, and
we were in high spirits. Yesterday, being 'the Second Christmas-day,'
of course, both on this account and because it was Juell's birthday, we
had a special dinner, with oxtail soup, pork cutlets, red whortleberry
preserve, cauliflowers, fricandeau, potatoes, preserved currants, also
pastry, and a wonderful iced-almond cake with the words 'Glædelig Jul'
(A Merry Christmas) on it, from Hansen, baker, Christiania, and then
malt extract. We cannot complain that we are faring badly here. About
4 o'clock this morning the vessel received a violent shock which made
everything tremble, but no noise of ice-packing was to be heard. At
about half-past five I heard at intervals the crackling and crunching
of the pack-ice which was surging in the lane ahead. At night similar
noises were also heard; otherwise the ice was quiet, and the crack
on the port-side has closed up tight again.

"Friday, December 28th. I went out in the morning to have a look at the
crack on the port side which has now widened out so as to form an open
lane. Of course, all the dogs followed me, and I had not got far when
I saw a dark form disappear. This was 'Pan,' who rolled down the high
steep edge of the ice and fell into the water. In vain he struggled
to get out again; all around him there was nothing but snow slush,
which afforded no foothold. I could scarcely hear a sound of him,
only just a faint whining noise now and then. I leaned down over
the edge in order to get near him, but it was too high, and I very
nearly went after him head-first; all that I could get hold of was
loose fragments of ice and lumps of snow. I called for a seal-hook,
but before it was brought to me 'Pan' had scrambled out himself, and
was leaping to and fro on the floe with all his might to keep himself
warm, followed by the other dogs, who loudly barked and gambolled
about with him, as though they wished to demonstrate their joy at
his rescue. When he fell in they all rushed forward, looking at me
and whining; they evidently felt sorry for him and wished me to help
him. They said nothing, but just ran up and down along the edge until
he got out. At another moment, perhaps, they may all unite in tearing
him to pieces; such is canine and human nature. 'Pan' was allowed to
dry himself in the saloon all the afternoon.

"A little before half-past nine to-night the vessel received a
tremendous shock. I went out, but no noise of ice-packing could be
heard. However, the wind howled so in the rigging that it was not
easy to distinguish any other sound. At half-past ten another shock
followed; later on, from time to time, vibrations were felt in the
vessel, and towards half-past eleven the shocks became stronger. It
was clear that the ice was packing at some place or other about us,
and I was just on the point of going out when Mogstad came to announce
that there was a very ugly pressure-ridge ahead. We went out with
lanterns. Fifty-six paces from the bow there extended a perpendicular
ridge stretching along the course of the lane, and there was a terrible
pressure going on at the moment. It roared and crunched and crackled
all along; then it abated a little and recurred at intervals, as
though in a regular rhythm; finally it passed over into a continuous
roar. It seemed to be mostly newly frozen ice from the channels which
had formed this ridge; but there were also some ponderous blocks of
ice to be seen among it. It pressed slowly but surely forward towards
the vessel; the ice had given way before it to a considerable distance
and was still being borne down little by little. The floe around us
has cracked, so that the block of ice in which the vessel is embedded
is smaller than it was. I should not like to have that pressure-ridge
come in right under the nose of the Fram, as it might soon do some
damage. Although there is hardly any prospect of its getting so far,
nevertheless I have given orders to the watch to keep a sharp lookout;
and if it comes very near, or if the ice should crack under us, he is
to call me. Probably the pressure will soon abate, as it has now kept
up for several hours. At this moment (12.45 A.M.) there have just
been some violent shocks, and above the howling of the wind in the
rigging I can hear the roar of the ice-pressure as I lie in my berth."



CHAPTER II

THE NEW YEAR, 1895


"Wednesday, January 2, 1895. Never before have I had such strange
feelings at the commencement of the new year. It cannot fail to bring
some momentous events, and will possibly become one of the most
remarkable years in my life, whether it leads me to success or to
destruction. Years come and go unnoticed in this world of ice, and
we have no more knowledge here of what these years have brought to
humanity than we know of what the future ones have in store. In this
silent nature no events ever happen; all is shrouded in darkness;
there is nothing in view save the twinkling stars, immeasurably
far away in the freezing night, and the flickering sheen of the
aurora borealis. I can just discern close by the vague outline of
the Fram, dimly standing out in the desolate gloom, with her rigging
showing dark against the host of stars. Like an infinitesimal speck,
the vessel seems lost amidst the boundless expanse of this realm of
death. Nevertheless, under her deck there is a snug and cherished home
for thirteen men undaunted by the majesty of this realm. In there,
life is freely pulsating, while far away outside in the night there
is nothing save death and silence, only broken now and then, at long
intervals, by the violent pressure of the ice as it surges along in
gigantic masses. It sounds most ominous in the great stillness, and
one cannot help an uncanny feeling as if supernatural powers were at
hand, the Jötuns and Rimturser (frost-giants) of the Arctic regions,
with whom we may have to engage in deadly combat at any moment;
but we are not afraid of them.

"I often think of Shakespeare's Viola, who sat 'like Patience on
a monument.' Could we not pass as representatives of this marble
Patience, imprisoned here on the ice while the years roll by, awaiting
our time? I should like to design such a monument. It should be a
lonely man in shaggy wolfskin clothing, all covered with hoar-frost,
sitting on a mound of ice, and gazing out into the darkness across
these boundless, ponderous masses of ice, awaiting the return of
daylight and spring.

"The ice-pressure was not noticeable after 1 o'clock on Friday night
until it suddenly recommenced last night. First I heard a rumbling
outside, and some snow fell down from the rigging upon the tent
roof as I sat reading; I thought it sounded like packing in the ice,
and just then the Fram received a violent shock, such as she had not
received since last winter. I was rocked backward and forward on the
chest on which I was sitting. Finding that the trembling and rumbling
continued, I went out. There was a loud roar of ice-packing to the
west and northwest, which continued uniformly for a couple of hours
or so. Is this the New-year's greeting from the ice?

"We spent New-year's-eve cozily, with a cloudberry punch-bowl, pipes,
and cigarettes. Needless to say, there was an abundance of cakes
and the like, and we spoke of the old and the new year and days
to come. Some selections were played on the organ and violin. Thus
midnight arrived. Blessing produced from his apparently inexhaustible
store a bottle of genuine 'linje akkevit' (line eau-de-vie), and
in this Norwegian liquor we drank the old year out and the new year
in. Of course there was many a thought that would obtrude itself at
the change of the year, being the second which we had seen on board the
Fram, and also, in all probability, the last that we should all spend
together. Naturally enough, one thanked one's comrades, individually
and collectively, for all kindness and good-fellowship. Hardly one
of us had thought, perhaps, that the time would pass so well up
here. Sverdrup expressed the wish that the journey which Johansen
and I were about to make in the coming year might be fortunate and
bring success in all respects. And then we drank to the health and
well-being in the coming year of those who were to remain behind on
board the Fram. It so happened that just now at the turn of the year we
stood on the verge of an entirely new world. The wind which whistled
up in the rigging overhead was not only wafting us on to unknown
regions, but also up into higher latitudes than any human foot had
ever trod. We felt that this year, which was just commencing, would
bring the culminating-point of the expedition, when it would bear its
richest fruits. Would that this year might prove a good year for those
on board the Fram; that the Fram might go ahead, fulfilling her task
as she has hitherto done; and in that case none of us could doubt that
those on board would also prove equal to the task intrusted to them.

"New-year's-day was ushered in with the same wind, the same stars,
and the same darkness as before. Even at noon one cannot see the
slightest glimmer of twilight in the south. Yesterday I thought I
could trace something of the kind; it extended like a faint gleam of
light over the sky, but it was yellowish-white, and stretched too
high up; hence I am rather inclined to think that it was an aurora
borealis. Again to-day the sky looks lighter near the edge, but this
can scarcely be anything except the gleam of the aurora borealis,
which extends all round the sky, a little above the fog-banks on the
horizon, and which is strongest at the edge. Exactly similar lights may
be observed at other times in other parts of the horizon. The air was
particularly clear yesterday, but the horizon is always somewhat foggy
or hazy. During the night we had an uncommonly strong aurora borealis;
wavy streamers were darting in rapid twists over the southern sky,
their rays reaching to the zenith, and beyond it there was to be
seen for a time a band in the form of a gorgeous corona, casting
a reflection like moonshine across the ice. The sky had lit up its
torch in honor of the new year--a fairy dance of darting streamers in
the depth of night. I cannot help often thinking that this contrast
might be taken as typical of the Northman's character and destiny. In
the midst of this gloomy, silent nature, with all its numbing cold,
we have all these shooting, glittering, quivering rays of light. Do
they not typify our impetuous 'spring-dances,' our wild mountain
melodies, the auroral gleams in our souls, the rushing, surging,
spiritual forces behind the mantle of ice? There is a dawning life in
the slumbering night, if it could only reach beyond the icy desert,
out over the world.

"Thus 1895 comes in:


      "'Turn, Fortune, turn thy wheel and lower the proud;
        Turn thy wild wheel thro' sunshine, storm, and cloud;
        Thy wheel and thee we neither love nor hate.

      "'Smile and we smile, the lords of many lands;
        Frown and we frown, the lords of our own hands;
        For man is man and master of his fate.'


"Thursday, January 3d. A day of unrest, a changeful life,
notwithstanding all its monotony. But yesterday we were full of plans
for the future, and to-day how easily might we have been left on the
ice without a roof over our heads! At half-past four, in the morning
a fresh rush of ice set in in the lane aft, and at five it commenced
in the lane on our port side. About 8 o'clock I awoke, and heard the
crunching and crackling of the ice, as if ice-pressure were setting
in. A slight trembling was felt throughout the Fram, and I heard
the roar outside. When I came out I was not a little surprised to
find a large pressure-ridge all along the channel on the port side
scarcely thirty paces from the Fram; the cracks on this side extended
to quite eighteen paces from us. All loose articles that were lying
on the ice on this side were stowed away on board; the boards and
planks which, during the summer, had supported the meteorological
hut and the screen for the same were chopped up, as we could not
afford to lose any materials; but the line, which had been left out
in the sounding-hole with the bag-net attached to it, was caught in
the pressure. Just after I had come on board again shortly before
noon the ice suddenly began to press on again. I went out to have a
look; it was again in the lane on the port side; there was a strong
pressure, and the ridge was gradually approaching. A little later on
Sverdrup went up on deck, but soon after came below and told us that
the ridge was quickly bearing down on us, and a few hands were required
to come up and help to load the sledge with the sounding apparatus,
and bring it round to the starboard side of the Fram, as the ice had
cracked close by it. The ridge began to come alarmingly near, and,
should it be upon us before the Fram had broken loose from the ice,
matters might become very unpleasant. The vessel had now a greater
list to the port side than ever.

"During the afternoon various preparations were made to leave the ship
if the worst should happen. All the sledges were placed ready on deck,
and the kayaks were also made clear; 25 cases of dog-biscuits were
deposited on the ice on the starboard side, and 19 cases of bread
were brought up and placed forward; also 4 drums, holding altogether
22 gallons of petroleum, were put on deck. Ten smaller-sized tins had
previously been filled with 100 litres of snowflake oil, and various
vessels containing gasoline were also standing on deck. As we were
sitting at supper we again heard the same crunching and crackling
noise in the ice as usual, coming nearer and nearer, and finally
we heard a crash proceeding from right underneath where we sat. I
rushed up. There was a pressure of ice in the lane a little way off,
almost on our starboard beam. I went down again, and continued my
meal. Peter, who had gone out on the ice, soon after came down and
said, laughing as usual, that it was no wonder we heard some crackling,
for the ice had cracked not a sledge-length away from the dog-biscuit
cases, and the crack was extending abaft of the Fram. I went out,
and found the crack was a very considerable one. The dog-biscuit
cases were now shifted a little more forward for greater safety. We
also found several minor cracks in the ice around the vessel. I then
went down and had a pipe and a pleasant chat with Sverdrup in his
cabin. After we had been sitting a good while the ice again began to
crack and jam. I did not think that the noise was greater than usual;
nevertheless, I asked those in the saloon, who sat playing halma,
whether there was any one on deck; if not, would one of them be kind
enough to go and see where the ice was packing. I heard hurried steps
above; Nordahl came down and reported that it was on the port side,
and that it would be best for us to be on deck. Peter and I jumped
up and several followed. As I went down the ladder Peter called out
to me from above: 'We must get the dogs out; see, there is water on
the ice!' It was high time that we came; the water was rushing in
and already stood high in the kennel. Peter waded into the water up
to his knees and pushed the door open. Most of the dogs rushed out
and jumped about, splashing in the water; but some, being frightened,
had crept back into the innermost corner and had to be dragged out,
although they stood in water reaching high up their legs. Poor brutes,
it must have been miserable enough, in all conscience, to be shut
up in such a place while the water was steadily rising about them,
yet they are not more noisy than usual.

"The dogs having been put in safety, I walked round the Fram to see
what else had happened. The ice had cracked along her to the fore, near
the starboard bow; from this crack the water had poured aft along the
port side, which was weighed down by the weight of the ridge steadily
pressing on towards us. The crack has just passed under the middle of
the portable forge, which was thus endangered, and it was therefore
put on a sledge and removed to the great hummock on the starboard
quarter. The pemmican--altogether 11 cases--the cases of dog-biscuits,
and 19 cases of bread were conveyed to the same place. Thus we have
now a complete depot lying over there, and, I trust, in entire safety,
the ice being so thick that it is not likely to give way. This has
brought life into the lads; they have all turned out. We took out 4
more tin cans of petroleum to the hummock, then proceeded to bring up
from the hold and place on deck ready for removal 21 cases of bread,
and a supply of pemmican, chocolate, butter, 'vril-food,' soup, etc.,
calculated to last us 200 days. Also tents, cooking apparatus, and the
like, were got ready, so that now all is clear up there, and we may
sleep securely; but it was past midnight before we had done. I still
trust that it is all a false alarm, and that we shall have no occasion
for these supplies now, at any rate; nevertheless, it is our duty to
keep everything ready in case the unthinkable should happen. Moreover,
the watch has been enjoined to mind the dogs on the ice and to keep
a sharp lookout in case the ice should crack underneath our cases
or the ice-pressure should recommence; if anything should happen we
are to be called out at once, too early rather than too late. While
I sit here and write I hear the crunching and crackling beginning
again outside, so that there must still be a steady pressure on the
ice. All are in the best spirits; it almost appears as if they looked
upon this as a pleasant break in the monotony of our existence. Well,
it is half-past one, I had better turn into my bunk; I am tired,
and goodness knows how soon I may be called up.

"Friday, January 4th. The ice kept quiet during the night, but all
day, with some intervals, it has been crackling and settling, and
this evening there have been several fits of pressure from 9 o'clock
onward. For a time it came on, sometimes rather lightly, at regular
intervals; sometimes with a rush and a regular roar; then it subsided
somewhat, and then it roared anew. Meanwhile the pressure-ridge
towers higher and higher and bears right down upon us slowly, while
the pressure comes on at intervals only, and more quickly when the
onset continues for a time. One can actually see it creeping nearer and
nearer; and now, at 1 o'clock at night, it is not many feet--scarcely
five--away from the edge of the snow-drift on the port side near the
gangway, and thence to the vessel is scarcely more than ten feet,
so that it will not be long now before it is upon us. Meanwhile the
ice continues to split, and the solid mass in which we are embedded
grows less and less, both to port and starboard. Several fissures
extend right up to the Fram. As the ice sinks down under the weight
of the ridge on the port side and the Fram lists more that way, more
water rushes up over the new ice which has frozen on the water that
rose yesterday. This is like dying by inches. Slowly but surely the
baleful ridge advances, and it looks as if it meant going right over
the rail; but if the Fram will only oblige by getting free of the
ice she will, I feel confident, extricate herself yet, even though
matters look rather awkward at present. We shall probably have a hard
time of it, however, before she can break loose if she does not do
so at once. I have been out and had a look at the ridge, and seen
how surely it is advancing! I have looked at the fissures in the ice
and noted how they are forming and expanding round the vessel; I have
listened to the ice crackling and crunching underfoot, and I do not
feel much disposed to turn into my berth before I see the Fram quite
released. As I sit here now I hear the ice making a fresh assault,
and roaring and packing outside, and I can tell that the ridge is
coming nearer. This is an ice-pressure with a vengeance, and it
seems as if it would never cease. I do not think there is anything
more that we can do now. All is in readiness for leaving the vessel,
if need be. To-day the clothing, etc., was taken out and placed ready
for removal in separate bags for each man.

"It is very strange; there is certainly a possibility that all our
plans may be crossed by unforeseen events, although it is not very
probable that this will happen. As yet I feel no anxiety in that
direction, only I should like to know whether we are really to take
everything on to the ice or not. However, it is past 1 o'clock,
and I think the most sensible thing to do would be to turn in and
sleep. The watch has orders to call me when the hummock reaches the
Fram. It is lucky it is moonlight now, so that we are able to see
something of all this abomination.

"The day before yesterday we saw the moon for the first time just
above the horizon. Yesterday it was shining a little, and now we have
it both day and night. A most favorable state of things. But it is
nearly 2 o'clock, and I must go to sleep now. The pressure of the ice,
I can hear, is stronger again.

"Saturday, January 5th. To-night everybody sleeps fully dressed, and
with the most indispensable necessaries either by his side or secured
to his body, ready to jump on the ice at the first warning. All other
requisites, such as provisions, clothing, sleeping-bags, etc., etc.,
have been brought out on the ice. We have been at work at this all
day, and have got everything into perfect order, and are now quite
ready to leave if necessary, which, however, I do not believe will
be the case, though the ice-pressure has been as bad as it could be.

"I slept soundly, woke up only once, and listened to the crunching
and jamming and grinding till I fell asleep again. I was called at
5.30 in the morning by Sverdrup, who told me that the hummock had now
reached the Fram, and was bearing down on us violently, reaching as
high as the rail. I was not left in doubt very long, as hardly had I
opened my eyes when I heard a thundering and crashing outside in the
ice, as if doomsday had come. I jumped up. There was nothing left
for it but to call all hands, to put all the remaining provisions
on the ice, and then put all our furs and other equipment on deck,
so that they could be thrown overboard at a moment's notice if
necessary. Thus the day passed, but the ice kept quiet. Last of all,
the petroleum launch, which was hanging in the davits on the port
side, was lowered, and was dragged towards the great hummock. At
about 8 o'clock in the evening, when we thought the ice-pressure
had subsided, it started thundering and crashing again worse than
ever. I hurried up. Masses of snow and ice rushed on us, high above
the rail amidships and over the tent. Peter, who also came up, seized
a spade and rushed forward outside the awning as far as the forepart
of the half-deck, and stood in the midst of the ice, digging away,
and I followed to see how matters stood. I saw more than I cared
to see; it was hopeless to fight that enemy with a spade. I called
out to Peter to come back, and said, 'We had better see to getting
everything out on to the ice.' Hardly had I spoken, when it pressed
on again with renewed strength, and thundered and crashed, and,
as Peter said, and laughed till he shook again, 'nearly sent both
me and the spade to the deuce.' I rushed back to the main-deck; on
the way I met Mogstad, who hurried up, spade in hand, and sent him
back. Running forward under the tent towards the ladder, I saw that
the tent-roof was bent down under the weight of the masses of ice,
which were rushing over it and crashing in over the rail and bulwarks
to such an extent that I expected every moment to see the ice force
its way through and block up the passage. When I got below, I called
all hands on deck; but told them when going up not to go out through
the door on the port side, but through the chart-room and out on the
starboard side. In the first place, all the bags were to be brought
up from the saloon, and then we were to take those lying on deck. I
was afraid that if the door on the port side was not kept closed
the ice might, if it suddenly burst through the bulwarks and tent,
rush over the deck and in through the door, fill the passage and rush
down the ladder, and thus imprison us like mice in a trap. True, the
passage up from the engine-room had been cleared for this emergency,
but this was a very narrow hole to get through with heavy bags,
and no one could tell how long this hole would keep open when the
ice once attacked us in earnest. I ran up again to set free the dogs,
which were shut up in 'Castle-garden'--an enclosure on the deck along
the port bulwark. They whined and howled most dolefully under the tent
as the snow masses threatened at any moment to crush it and bury them
alive. I cut away the fastening with a knife, pulled the door open,
and out rushed most of them by the starboard gangway at full speed. [3]

Meantime the hands started bringing up the bags. It was quite
unnecessary to ask them to hurry up--the ice did that, thundering
against the ship's sides in a way that seemed irresistible. It was a
fearful hurly-burly in the darkness; for, to cap all, the mate had,
in the hurry, let the lanterns go out. I had to go down again to get
something on my feet; my Finland shoes were hanging up to dry in the
galley. When I got there the ice was at its worst, and the half-deck
beams were creaking overhead, so that I really thought they were all
coming down.

"The saloon and the berths were soon cleared of bags, and the deck
as well, and we started taking them along the ice. The ice roared
and crashed against the ship's side, so that we could hardly hear
ourselves speak; but all went quickly and well, and before long
everything was in safety.

"While we were dragging the bags along, the pressure and jamming of
the ice had at last stopped, and all was quiet again as before.

"But what a sight! The Fram's port side was quite buried under the
snow; all that could be seen was the top of the tent projecting. Had
the petroleum launch been hanging in the davits, as it was a few
hours previously, it would hardly have escaped destruction. The
davits were quite buried in ice and snow. It is curious that both
fire and water have been powerless against that boat; and it has
now come out unscathed from the ice, and lies there bottom upward
on the floe. She has had a stormy existence and continual mishaps;
I wonder what is next in store for her?

"It was, I must admit, a most exciting scene when it was at its
worst, and we thought it was imperative to get the bags up from the
saloon with all possible speed. Sverdrup now tells me that he was
just about to have a bath, and was as naked as when he was born,
when he heard me call all hands on deck. As this had not happened
before, he understood there was something serious the matter, and he
jumped into his clothes anyhow. Amundsen, apparently, also realized
that something was amiss. He says he was the first who came up with
his bag. He had not understood, or had forgotten, in the confusion,
the order about going out through the starboard door; he groped his
way out on the port side and fell in the dark over the edge of the
half-deck. 'Well, that did not matter,' he said; 'he was quite used
to that kind of thing;' but having pulled himself together after
the fall, and as he was lying there on his back, he dared not move,
for it seemed to him as if tent and all were coming down on him,
and it thundered and crashed against the gunwale and the hull as if
the last hour had come. It finally dawned on him why he ought to have
gone out on the starboard and not on the port side.

"All that could possibly be thought to be of any use was taken
out. The mate was seen dragging along a big bag of clothes with
a heavy bundle of cups fastened outside it. Later he was stalking
about with all sorts of things, such as mittens, knives, cups, etc.,
fastened to his clothes and dangling about him, so that the rattling
noise could be heard afar off. He is himself to the last.

"In the evening the men all started eating their stock of cakes,
sweetmeats, and such-like, smoked tobacco, and enjoyed themselves in
the most animated fashion. They evidently thought it was uncertain when
they should next have such a time on board the Fram, and therefore
they thought it was best to avail themselves of the opportunity. We
are now living in marching order on an empty ship.

"By way of precaution we have now burst open again the passage on
the starboard side which was used as a library and had therefore
been closed, and all doors are now kept always open, so that we
can be sure of getting out, even if anything should give way. We do
not want the ice-pressure to close the doors against us by jamming
the doorposts together. But she certainly is a strong ship. It is
a mighty ridge that we have in our port side, and the masses of ice
are tremendous. The ship is listing more than ever, nearly 7°; but
since the last pressure she has righted herself a little again, so
that she must surely have broken away from the ice and begun to rise,
and all danger is doubtless over. So, after all, it has been a case of
'Much ado about nothing.'

"Sunday, January 6th. A quiet day; no jamming since last night. Most
of the fellows slept well on into the morning. This afternoon all have
been very busy digging the Fram out of the ice again, and we have
now got the rail clear right aft to the half-deck; but a tremendous
mass had fallen over the tent. It was above the second ratline in the
fore-shrouds, and fully six feet over the rail. It is a marvel that
the tent stood it; but it was a very good thing that it did do so,
for otherwise it is hard to say what might have become of many of the
dogs. This afternoon Hansen took a meridian observation, which gave 83°
34' north latitude. Hurrah! We are getting on well northward--thirteen
minutes since Monday--and the most northern latitude is now reached. It
goes without saying that the occasion was duly celebrated with a bowl
of punch, preserved fruits, cakes, and the doctor's cigars.

"Last night we were running with the bags for our lives; to-night we
are drinking punch and feasting: such are, indeed, the vicissitudes
of fate. All this roaring and crashing for the last few days has been,
perhaps, a cannonade to celebrate our reaching such a high latitude. If
that be so, it must be admitted that the ice has done full honor to
the occasion. Well, never mind, let it crash on so long as we only
get northward. The Fram will, no doubt, stand it now; she has lifted
fully one foot forward and fully six inches aft, and she has slipped a
little astern. Moreover, we cannot find so much as a single stanchion
in the bulwarks that has started, yet to-night every man will sleep
fully prepared to make for the ice.

"Monday, January 7th. There was a little jamming of the ice
occasionally during the day, but only of slight duration, then all
was quiet again. Evidently the ice has not yet settled, and we have
perhaps more to expect from our friend to port, whom I would willingly
exchange for a better neighbor.

"It seems, however, as if the ice-pressure had altered its direction
since the wind has changed to S.E. It is now confined to the ridges
fore and aft athwart the wind; while our friend to port, lying almost
in the line of the wind, has kept somewhat quieter.

"Everything has an end, as the boy said when he was in for a
birching. Perhaps the growth of this ridge has come to an end now,
perhaps not; the one thing is just as likely as the other.

"To-day the work of extricating the Fram is proceeding; we will
at all events get the rails clear of the ice. It presents a most
imposing sight by the light of the moon, and, however conscious
of one's own strength, one cannot help respecting an antagonist
who commands such powers, and who, in a few moments, is capable
of putting mighty machinery into action. It is rather an awkward
battering-ram to face. The Fram is equal to it, but no other ship
could have resisted such an onslaught. In less than an hour this ice
will build up a wall alongside us and over us which it might take us a
month to get out of, and possibly longer than that. There is something
gigantic about it; it is like a struggle between dwarfs and an ogre,
in which the pygmies have to resort to cunning and trickery to get out
of the clutches of one who seldom relaxes his grip. The Fram is the
ship which the pygmies have built with all their cunning in order to
fight the ogre; and on board this ship they work as busily as ants,
while the ogre only thinks it worth while to roll over and twist his
body about now and then, but every time he turns over it seems as
though the nutshell would be smashed and buried, and would disappear;
but the pygmies have built their nutshell so cleverly that it always
keeps afloat, and wriggles itself free from the deadly embrace. The
old traditions and legends about giants, about Thor's battles in the
Jötunheim, when rocks were split and crags were hurled about, and the
valleys were filled with falling boulders, all come back to me when I
look at these mighty ridges of ice winding their way far off in the
moonlight; and when I see the men standing on the ice-heap cutting
and digging to remove a fraction of it, then they seem to me smaller
than pygmies, smaller than ants; but although each ant carries only
a single fir-needle, yet in course of time they build an ant-hill,
where they can live comfortably, sheltered from storm and winter.

"Had this attack on the Fram been planned by the aid of all the
wickedness in the world, it could not have been a worse one. The floe,
seven feet thick, has borne down on us on the port side, forcing itself
up on the ice, in which we are lying, and crushing it down. Thus the
Fram was forced down with the ice, while the other floe, packed up on
the ice beneath, bore down on her, and took her amidships while she
was still frozen fast. As far as I can judge, she could hardly have
had a tighter squeeze; it was no wonder that she groaned under it;
but she withstood it, broke loose, and eased. Who shall say after
this that a vessel's shape is of little consequence? Had the Fram
not been designed as she was, we should not have been sitting here
now. Not a drop of water is to be found in her anywhere. Strangely
enough, the ice has not given us another such squeeze since then;
perhaps it was its expiring grip we felt on Saturday.

"It is hard to tell, but it was terrific enough. This morning Sverdrup
and I went for a walk on the ice, but when we got a little way from
the ship we found no sign of any new packing; the ice was smooth
and unbroken as before. The packing has been limited to a certain
stretch from east to west, and the Fram has been lying at the very
worst point of it.

"This afternoon Hansen has worked out yesterday's observations, the
result being 83° 34.2' north latitude and 102° 51' east longitude. We
have therefore drifted north and westward; 15 miles west, indeed,
and only 13.5 north since New-year's-eve, while the wind has been
mostly from the southwest. It seems as if the ice has taken a more
decided course towards the northwest than ever, and therefore it is
not to be wondered at that there is some pressure when the wind blows
athwart the course of the ice. However, I hardly think we need any
particular explanation of the pressure, as we have evidently again
got into a packing-centre with cracks, lanes, and ridges, where the
pressure is maintained for some time, such as we were in during the
first winter. We have constantly met with several similar stretches
on the surrounding ice, even when it has been most quiet.

"This evening there was a most remarkable brightness right under the
moon. It was like an immense luminous haycock, which rose from the
horizon and touched the great ring round the moon. At the upper side
of this ring there was a segment of the usual inverted arc of light."

The next day, January 8th, the ice began grinding occasionally,
and while Mogstad and I stood in the hold working on hand sledges we
heard creakings in the ship both above and below us. This was repeated
several times; but in the intervals it was quiet. I was often on the
ice listening to the grinding and watching how it went on, but it did
not go beyond crackling and creaking beneath our feet and in the ridge
at our side. Perhaps it is to warn us not to be too confident! I am
not so sure that it is not necessary. It is in reality like living on
a smoking volcano. The eruption that will seal our fate may occur at
any moment. It will either force the ship up or swallow her down. And
what are the stakes? Either the Fram will get home and the expedition
be fully successful, or we shall lose her and have to be content with
what we have done, and possibly on our way home we may explore parts
of Franz Josef Land. That is all; but most of us feel that it would
be hard to lose the ship, and it would be a very sad sight to see
her disappear.

"Some of the hands, under Sverdrup, are working, trying to cut away
the hummock ice on the port side, and they have already made good
headway. Mogstad and I are busy getting the sledges in order, and
preparing them for use as I want them, whether we go north or south.

"Liv is two years old to-day.

"She is a big girl now. I wonder if I should be able to recognize
her? I suppose I should hardly find a single familiar feature. They are
sure to celebrate the day, and she will get all kinds of presents. Many
a thought will be sent northward, but they know not where to look
for us; are not aware that we are drifting here embedded in the ice
in the highest northern latitudes ever reached, in the deepest polar
night ever penetrated."

During the following days the ice became steadily quieter. In the
course of the night of the 9th of January the ice was still slightly
cracking and grinding; then it quite subsided, and on the 10th of
January the report is "ice perfectly quiet, and if it were not for
the ridge on the port side one would never have thought there had
ever been any breach in the eternal stillness, so calm and peaceful
is it." Some men went on cutting away the ice, and little by little
we could see it was getting less. Mogstad and I were busily engaged
in the hold with the new sledges, and during this time I also made an
attempt to photograph the Fram by moonlight from different points. The
results surpassed my expectations; but as the top of the pressure-ridge
had now been cut away, these photos do not give an exact impression of
the pack-ice, and of how it came hurtling down upon the Fram. We then
put in order our depot on the great hummock on the starboard quarter,
and all sleeping-bags, Lapland boots, Finn shoes, wolfskin clothing,
etc., were wrapped in the foresail and placed to the extreme west,
the provisions were collected into six different heaps, and the rifles
and guns were distributed among three of the heaps and wrapped up in
boat-sails. Next, Hansen's instrument-case and my own, together with
a bucketful of rifle-cartridges, were placed under a boat-sail. Then
the forge and the smith's tools were arranged separately, and
up on the top of the great hummock we laid a heap of sledges and
snow-shoes. All the kayaks were laid side by side bottom upward,
the cooking apparatus and lamps, etc., being placed under them. They
were spread out in this way, so that in the improbable event of the
thick floe splitting suddenly our loss would not be so great. We knew
where to find everything, and it might blow and drift to its heart's
content without our losing anything.

On the evening of January 14th I wrote in my diary: "Two sharp
reports were heard in the ship, like shots from a cannon, and then
followed a noise as of something splitting--presumably this must be
the cracking of the ice, on account of the frost. It appeared to me
that the list on the ship increased at that moment, but perhaps it
was only imagination."

As time passed on we all gradually got busy again preparing for the
sledge expedition. On Tuesday, January 15th, I say: "This evening
the doctor gave a lesson to Johansen and myself in bandaging and
repairing broken limbs. I lay on the table and had a plaster-of-Paris
bandage put round the calf of my leg, while all the crew were looking
on. The very sight of this operation cannot fail to suggest unpleasant
thoughts. An accident of this nature out in the polar night, with 40°
to 50° of cold, would be anything but pleasant, to say nothing of
how easily it might mean death to both of us. But who knows? We might
manage somehow. However, such things must not be allowed to happen,
and, what is more, they shall not."

As January went on we could by noon just see the faint dawn of
day--that day at whose sunrise we were to start. On January 18th I say:
"By 9 o'clock in the morning I could already distinguish the first
indications of dawn, and by noon it seemed to be getting bright;
but it seems hardly credible that in a month's time there will be
light enough to travel by, yet it must be so. True, February is a
month which all 'experienced' people consider far too early and much
too cold for travelling; hardly any one would do so in the month of
March. But it cannot be helped; we have no time to waste in waiting for
additional comfort if we are to make any progress before the summer,
when travelling will be impossible. I am not afraid of the cold;
we can always protect ourselves against that.

"Meantime all preparations are proceeding, and I am now
getting everything in order connected with copying of diaries,
observation-books, photographs, etc., that we are to take with
us. Mogstad is working in the hold making maple guard-runners to
put under the sledges. Jacobsen has commenced to put a new sledge
together. Pettersen is in the engine-room, making nails for the
sledge-fittings, which Mogstad is to put on. In the meantime some of
the others have built a large forge out on the ice with blocks of ice
and snow, and to-morrow Sverdrup and I will heat and bend the runners
in tar and stearine at such a heat as we can produce in the forge. We
trust we shall be able to get a sufficient temperature to do this
important work thoroughly, in spite of the 40° of frost. Amundsen is
now repairing the mill, as there is something wrong with it again,
the cog-wheels being worn. He thinks he will be able to get it all
right again. Rather chilly work to be lying up there in the wind
on the top of the mill, boring in the hard steel and cast-iron by
lantern-light, and at such a temperature as we are having now. I stood
and watched the lantern-light up there to-day, and I soon heard the
drill working; one could tell the steel was hard; then I could hear
clapping of hands. 'Ah,' thought I, 'you may well clap your hands
together; it is not a particularly warm job to be lying up there in
the wind.' The worst of it is one cannot wear mittens for such work,
but has to use the bare hands if one is to make any progress, and
it would not take long to freeze them off; but it has to be done,
he says, and he will not give in. He is a splendid fellow in all
he undertakes, and I console him by saying that there are not many
before him who have worked on the top of a mill in such frost north
of 83°. On many expeditions they have avoided out-of-door work when
the temperature got so low. 'Indeed,' he says, 'I thought that other
expeditions were in advance of us in that respect. I imagined we had
kept indoors too much.' I had no hesitation in enlightening him on
this point; I know he will do his best in any case.

"This is, indeed, a strange time for me; I feel as if I were preparing
for a summer trip and the spring were already here, yet it is still
midwinter, and the conditions of the summer trip may be somewhat
ambiguous. The ice keeps quiet; the cracking in it and in the Fram
is due only to the cold. I have during the last few days again read
Payer's account of his sledge expedition northward through Austria
Sound. It is not very encouraging. The very land he describes as the
realm of Death, where he thinks he and his companions would inevitably
have perished had they not recovered the vessel, is the place to which
we look for salvation; that is the region we hope to reach when our
provisions have come to an end. It may seem reckless, but nevertheless
I cannot imagine that it is so. I cannot help believing that a land
which even in April teems with bears, auks, and black guillemots,
and where seals are basking on the ice, must be a Canaan, 'flowing
with milk and honey,' for two men who have good rifles and good eyes;
it must surely yield food enough not only for the needs of the moment,
but also provisions for the journey onward to Spitzbergen. Sometimes,
however, the thought will present itself that it may be very difficult
to get the food when it is most sorely needed; but these are only
passing moments. We must remember Carlyle's words: 'A man shall
and must be valiant; he must march forward, and quit himself like
a man--trusting imperturbably in the appointment and choice of the
Upper Powers.' I have not, it is true, any 'Upper Powers'; it would
probably be well to have them in such a case, but we nevertheless are
starting, and the time approaches rapidly; four weeks or a little more
soon pass by, and then farewell to this snug nest, which has been our
home for eighteen months, and we go out into the darkness and cold,
out into the still more unknown:


              "'Out yonder 'tis dark,
                But onward we must,
                Over the dewy wet mountains,
                Ride through the land of the ice-troll;
                We shall both be saved,
                Or the ice-troll's hand
                Shall clutch us both.'"


On January 23d I write: "The dawn has grown so much that there was
a visible light from it on the ice, and for the first time this year
I saw the crimson glow of the sun low down in the dawn." We now took
soundings with the lead before I was to leave the vessel; we found 1876
fathoms (3450 metres). I then made some snow-shoes down in the hold; it
was important to have them smooth, tough, and light, on which one could
make good headway; "they shall be well rubbed with tar, stearine, and
tallow, and there shall be speed in them; then it is only a question
of using one's legs, and I have no doubt that can be managed.

"Tuesday, January 29th. Latitude yesterday, 83° 30'. (Some days
ago we had been so far north as 83° 40', but had again drifted
southward.) The light keeps on steadily increasing, and by noon it
almost seems to be broad daylight. I believe I could read the title
of a book out in the open if the print were large and clear. I take
a stroll every morning, greeting the dawning day, before I go down
into the hold to my work at the snowshoes and equipment. My mind
is filled with a peculiar sensation, which I cannot clearly define;
there is certainly an exulting feeling of triumph, deep in the soul, a
feeling that all one's dreams are about to be realized with the rising
sun, which steers northward across the ice-bound waters. But while I
am busy in these familiar surroundings a wave of sadness sometimes
comes over me; it is like bidding farewell to a dear friend and to
a home which has long afforded me a sheltering roof. At one blow all
this and my dear comrades are to be left behind forever; never again
shall I tread this snow-clad deck, never again creep under this tent,
never hear the laughter ring in this familiar saloon, never again
sit in this friendly circle.

"And then I remember that when the Fram at last bursts from her bonds
of ice, and turns her prow towards Norway, I shall not be with her. A
farewell imparts to everything in life its own tinge of sadness,
like the crimson rays of the sun, when the day, good or bad, sinks
in tears below the horizon.

"Hundreds of times my eye wanders to the map hanging there on the
wall, and each time a chill creeps over me. The distance before us
seems so long, and the obstacles in our path may be many; but then
again the feeling comes that we are bound to pull through: it cannot
be otherwise; everything is too carefully prepared to fail now,
and meanwhile the southeast wind is whistling above us, and we are
continually drifting northward nearer our goal. When I go up on deck
and step out into the night with its glittering starry vault and the
flaring aurora borealis, then all these thoughts recede, and I must,
as ever, pause on the threshold of this sanctuary--this dark, deep,
silent space, this infinite temple of nature, in which the soul
seeks to find its origin. Toiling ant, what matters it whether you
reach your goal with your fir-needle or not? Everything disappears
none the less in the ocean of eternity, in the great Nirvana; and as
time rolls on our names are forgotten, our deeds pass into oblivion,
and our lives flit by like the traces of a cloud, and vanish like
the mist dispelled by the warm rays of the sun. Our time is but a
fleeting shadow, hurrying us on to the end--so it is ordained; and
having reached that end, none ever retraces his steps.

"Two of us will soon be journeying farther through this immense waste,
into greater solitudes and deeper stillness.

"Wednesday, January 30th. To-day the great event has happened, that
the windmill is again at work for the first time after its long
rest. In spite of the cold and the darkness, Amundsen had got the
cog-wheels into order, and now it is running as smoothly and steadily
as gutta-percha."

We have now constant northeast winds, and we again bore northward. On
Sunday, February 3d, we were at 83° 43'. The time for our departure
approached, and the preparations were carried on with great
activity. The sledges were completed, and I tried them under various
conditions. I have alluded to the fact that we made maple guards
to put under the fixed nickel-plated runners. The idea of this was
to strengthen both the sledges and the runners, so that they would
at the beginning of the journey, when the loads were heavy, be less
liable to breakage from the jolting to which they would probably be
exposed. Later on, when the load got lighter, we might, if we thought
fit, easily remove them. These guards were also to serve another
purpose. I had an idea that, in view of the low temperature we had
during the winter, and on the dry drift-snow which then covered the
ice-floes, metal would glide less easily than smooth wood, especially
if the latter were well rubbed with rich tar and stearine. By February
8th one of the sledges with wooden guard-runners was finished, so that
we could make experiments in this direction, and we then found that
it was considerably easier to haul than a similar sledge running on
the nickel-plate, though the load on each was exactly the same. The
difference was so great that we found that it was at least half as
hard again to draw a sledge on the nickel runners as on the tarred
maple runners.

Our new ash sledges were now nearly finished and weighed 30 pounds
without the guard-runners. "Everybody is hard at work. Sverdrup is
sewing bags or bolsters to put on the sledges as beds for the kayaks
to rest on. To this end the bags are to be made up to fit the bottoms
of the boats. Johansen with one or two other men are stuffing the bags
with pemmican, which has to be warmed, beaten, and kneaded in order
to give it the right form for making a good bed for our precious
boats. When these square, flat bags are carried out into the cold
they freeze as hard as stone, and keep their form well. Blessing
is sitting up in the work-room, copying the photographs of which I
have no prints. Hansen is working out a map of our route so far, and
copying out his observations for us, etc., etc. In short, there is
hardly a man on board who does not feel that the moment for departure
approaches; perhaps the galley is the only place where everything
goes on in the usual way under the management of Lars. Our position
yesterday was 83° 32.1' north latitude and 102° 28' east longitude,
so we are southward again; but never mind, what do a couple of miles
more or less matter to us?

"Sunday, February 10th. To-day there was so much daylight that at 1
o'clock I could fairly well read the Verdens Gang, when I held the
paper up towards the light; but when I held it towards the moon,
which was low in the north, it was no go. Before dinner I went for
a short drive with 'Gulen' and 'Susine' (two of the young dogs) and
'Kaifas.' 'Gulen' had never been in harness before, but yet she went
quite well; she was certainly a little awkward at first, but that soon
disappeared, and I think she will make a good dog when she is well
trained. 'Susine,' who was driven a little last autumn, conducted
herself quite like an old sledge-dog. The surface is hard, and easy
for the dogs to haul on. They get a good foothold, and the snow is
not particularly sharp for their feet; however, it is not over-smooth;
this drift-snow makes heavy going. The ice is smooth, and easy to run
on, and I trust we shall be able to make good day-journeys; after all,
we shall reach our destination sooner than we had expected. I cannot
deny that it is a long journey, and scarcely any one has ever more
effectually burned his boats behind him. If we wished to turn back
we have absolutely nothing to return to, not even a bare coast. It
will be impossible to find the ship, and before us lies the great
unknown. But there is only one road, and that lies straight ahead,
right through, be it land or sea, be it smooth or rough, be it mere ice
or ice and water. And I cannot but believe that we must get through,
even if we should meet with the worst--viz., land and pack-ice.

"Wednesday, February 13th. The pemmican bolsters and dried-liver pie
are now ready; the kayaks will get an excellent bedding, and I venture
to say that such meat-bolsters are an absolute novelty. Under each
kayak there are three of them, they are made to fit the sledge, and,
as already stated, are moulded to the shape of the kayak. They weigh
100 to 120 pounds each. The empty sacks weigh 2 or 3 pounds each, so
that altogether the meat (pemmican and liver pie) in these three bags
will weigh about 320 pounds. We each had our light sleeping-bags of
reindeer-skin, and we tried to sleep out in them last night, but both
Johansen and I found it rather cold, although it was only 37° Fahr. of
frost. We were, perhaps, too lightly clad under the wolfskin clothing;
we are making another experiment with a little more on to-night.

"Saturday, February 16th. The outfitting is still progressing;
but there are various small things yet to do which take time,
and I do not know whether we shall be ready to start on Wednesday,
February 20th, as I originally intended. The day is now so light
that, so far as that is concerned, we might quite well start then;
but perhaps we had better wait a day or two longer. Three sledge-sails
(for single sledges) are now finished; they are made of very light
calico, and are about 7 feet 2 inches broad by 4 feet 4 inches long;
they are made so that two of them may be laced together and used
as one sail for a double sledge, and I believe they will act well;
they weigh a little over one pound each. Moreover, we have now most
of the provisions ready stowed away in bags."



CHAPTER III

WE MAKE A START


"Tuesday, February 26th. At last the day has arrived, the great day,
when the journey is to commence. The week has passed in untiring work
to get everything ready. We should have started on the 20th, but it
has been postponed from day to day; there was always something still
to do. My head has been full night and day, with all that was to be
done and that must not be forgotten. Oh, this unceasing mental strain,
which does not allow a minute's respite in which to throw off the
responsibility, to give loose rein to the thoughts, and let the dreams
have full sway! The nerves are in a state of tension from the moment
of awaking in the morning till the eyes close late at night. Ah! how
well I know this state, which I have experienced each time I have been
about to set out and retreat was to be cut off--never, I believe,
more effectually than now! The last few nights I did not get to bed
before half-past three or half-past four o'clock in the morning. It is
not only what we ought to take with us that has to be taken care of,
but we have to leave the vessel; its command and responsibility have
to be placed in other hands, and care must be taken that nothing is
forgotten in the way of instructions to the men who remain, as the
scientific observations will have to be continued on the same lines
as they have been carried on hitherto, and other observations of all
kinds will have to be made, etc., etc."

The last night we were to spend on board the Fram eventually arrived,
and we had a farewell party. In a strange, sad way, reminiscences were
revived of all that had befallen us here on board, mingled with hope
and trust in what the future would bring. I remained up till far into
the night; letters and remembrances had to be sent to those at home,
in case the unforeseen should happen. Among the last things I wrote
were the following instructions to Sverdrup, in which I handed over
to him the command of the expedition:



"Captain Otto Sverdrup, Commander of the Fram:

"As I am now leaving the Fram, accompanied by Johansen, to undertake
a journey northward--if possible, to the Pole--and from there to
Spitzbergen, most likely via Franz Josef Land, I make over to you
the command of the remaining part of the expedition. From the day
I leave the Fram, all the authority which hitherto was vested in me
shall devolve upon you to an equal extent, and the others will have to
render absolute obedience to you, or to whomsoever you may depute as
their leader. I consider it superfluous to give any orders about what
is to be done under various contingencies, even if it were possible
to give any. I am certain you will know best yourself what ought to
be done in any emergency, and I therefore consider that I may with
confidence leave the Fram.

"The chief aim of the expedition is to push through the unknown
Polar Sea from the region around the New Siberian Islands, north of
Franz Josef Land, and onward to the Atlantic Ocean, near Spitzbergen
or Greenland. The most essential part of this task, I consider,
we have already accomplished; the remainder will be achieved as the
expedition gets farther west. In order to make the expedition still
more fruitful of results, I am making an attempt to push farther up
north with the dogs. Your task will then be to convey home, in the
safest manner possible, the human lives now confided to your care,
and not to expose them to any unnecessary danger, either out of
regard for the ship or cargo, or for the scientific outcome of the
expedition. No one can tell how long it may take before the Fram
drifts out into open water. You have provisions for several years to
come; if for any unknown reason it should take too long, or if the
crew should begin to suffer in health, or if from other reasons you
should think it best to abandon the vessel, it should unquestionably
be done. As to the time of the year when this should be done, and
the route to be chosen, you yourself will be best able to judge. If
it should be necessary, I consider Franz Josef Land and Spitzbergen
favorable lands to make for. If search is made for the expedition
after the arrival home of Johansen and myself, it will be made there
first. Wherever you come to land, you should, as often as you can,
erect conspicuous beacons on promontories and projecting headlands,
and place within the beacons a short report of what has occurred,
and whither you are going. In order to distinguish these beacons from
others, a small beacon should be erected 4 metres from the larger
one in the direction of the magnetic North Pole. The question as
to what outfit would be most advantageous in case the Fram should
have to be abandoned is one which we have so frequently discussed
that I consider it superfluous to dwell on it here. I know that you
will take care that the requisite number of kayaks for all the men,
sledges, snow-shoes, 'truger,' and other articles of outfit are
put in complete order as soon as possible, and kept in readiness,
so that such a journey home over the ice could be undertaken with
the greatest possible ease. Elsewhere I give you directions as to
the provisions which I consider most suitable for such a journey,
and the quantity necessary for each man.

"I also know that you will hold everything in readiness to abandon the
Fram in the shortest possible time in the event of her suffering sudden
damage, whether through fire or ice-pressure. If the ice permits it,
I consider it advisable that a depot, with sufficient provisions,
etc., should be established at a safe place on the ice, such as we
have lately had. All necessaries which cannot be kept on the ice
ought to be so placed on board that they are easy to get at under
any circumstances. As you are aware, all the provisions now in the
depot are concentrated foods for sledging journeys only; but as it may
happen that you will have to remain inactive for a time before going
farther, it would be highly desirable to save as much tinned meat,
fish, and vegetables as possible; should troublous times come then,
I should consider it advisable to have a supply of these articles
ready on the ice.

"Should the Fram while drifting be carried far to the north of
Spitzbergen, and get over into the current under the east coast of
Greenland, many possibilities may be imagined which it is not easy to
form an opinion on now; but should you be obliged to abandon the Fram
and make for the land, it would be best for you to erect beacons there,
as stated above (with particulars as to whither you are going, etc.),
as search might possibly be made there for the expedition. Whether in
that case you ought to make for Iceland (which is the nearest land,
and where you should be able to get in the early part of summer,
if following the edge of the ice), or for the Danish colonies west
of Cape Farewell, you will be best able to judge on considering all
the circumstances.

"As regards what you ought to take with you in the event of abandoning
the Fram, besides the necessary provisions, I may mention weapons,
ammunition, and equipment, all scientific and other journals and
observations, all scientific collections that are not too heavy, or,
if too heavy, small samples thereof; photographs, preferably the
original plates (or films); or should these prove too heavy, then
prints taken from them; also the 'Aderman' aerometer, with which most
of the observations on the specific gravity of sea-water are taken;
as well as, of course, all journals and memoranda which are of any
interest. I leave behind some diaries and letters, which I would
request you to take special care of and deliver to Eva if I should
not return home, or if, contrary to all expectation, you should return
home before us.

"Hansen and Blessing will, as you know, attend to the various
scientific expeditions and to the collecting of specimens. You yourself
will attend to the soundings, and see that they are taken as frequently
as possible and as the condition of the line permits. I should consider
at least once in every 60 miles covered to be extremely desirable;
if it can be done oftener so much the better. Should the depth become
less than now and more variable, it goes without saying that soundings
should be taken more frequently.

"As the crew was small before, and will now be still further reduced
by two men, more work will probably fall to each man's lot; but I know
that, whenever you can, you will spare men to assist in the scientific
observations, and make them as complete as possible. Please also see
that every tenth day (the first, tenth, and twentieth of every month)
the ice is bored through, and the thickness measured, in the same
way as has been done hitherto. Henriksen has for the most part made
these borings, and is a trustworthy man for this work.

"In conclusion, I wish all possible success to you, and to those
for whom you are now responsible, and may we meet again in Norway,
whether it be on board of this vessel or without her.


"Yours affectionately,

"Fridtjof Nansen.

"On board the Fram,

"February 25, 1895."



"Now at last the brain was to get some rest, and the work for the
legs and arms to commence. Everything was got ready for the start this
morning. Five of our comrades, Sverdrup, Hansen, Blessing, Henriksen,
and Mogstad, were to see us off on our way, bringing a sledge and a
tent with them. The four sledges were got ready, the dogs harnessed
to them, lunch, with a bottle of malt extract per man, was taken
just before starting, and then we bade the last hearty farewell to
those left behind. We were off into the drifting snow. I myself took
the lead with 'Kvik' as leading dog, in the first sledge, and then
sledge after sledge followed amid cheers, accompanied by the cracking
of whips and the barking of dogs. At the same time a salute was fired
from the quarter-deck, shot after shot, into the whirling drift. The
sledges moved heavily forward; it was slow travelling uphill, and
they came to a dead stop where the ascent was too steep, and we all
had to help them along--one man alone could not do it; but over level
ground we flew along like a whirlwind, and those on snow-shoes found it
difficult enough to keep pace with the sledges. I had to strike out as
best I could when they came up to me to avoid getting my legs entangled
in the line. A man is beckoning with his staff far in the rear. It is
Mogstad, who comes tearing along and shouting that three 'flöitstokker'
[4] (crossbars) had been torn off a sledge in driving. The sledge,
with its heavy load, had lurched forward over an upright piece of ice,
which struck the crossbars, breaking all three of them, one after the
other; one or two of the perpendicular supports of the runners were
also smashed. There was nothing for it but to return to the ship to
get it repaired and have the sledges made stronger. Such a thing ought
not to happen again. During the return one of the sledges lurched
up against another, and a cane in the bow snapped. The bows would,
therefore, also have to be made stronger. [5]

"The sledges have again been unloaded and brought on board in order
that this may be done, and here we are again to-night. I am glad,
however, that this happened when it did; it would have been worse
to have had such an experience a few days later. I will now take
six sledges instead of four, so that the load on each may be less,
and so that it will be easier to lift them over the irregularities
of the ground. I shall also have a broad board fitted lengthwise to
the sledge, underneath the crossbars, so as to protect them against
projecting pieces of ice. As a great deal of time is saved in the
end by doing such things thoroughly before starting, we shall not be
ready to start before the day after to-morrow. It seemed strange to
be on board again after having said good-bye, as I thought, forever,
to these surroundings. When I came up on the after-deck, I found the
guns lying there in the snow, one of them turned over on its back,
the other had recoiled a long way aft, when saluting us; from the
mizzen-top the red and black flag was still waving.

"I am in wonderfully high spirits, and feel confident of success;
the sledges seemed to glide so easily, although carrying 200 pounds
more than was originally intended (about 2200 pounds altogether),
and everything looks very promising. We shall have to wait a couple
of days, but as we are having a southeasterly wind all day long we
are no doubt getting on towards the north, all the same. Yesterday
we were 83° 47'; to-day I suppose we are at least 83° 50'."

At last, on Thursday, February 28th, we started again with our six
sledges. Sverdrup, Hansen, Blessing, Henriksen, and Mogstad saw us
off. When we started, most of the others also accompanied us some
distance. We soon found that the dogs did not draw as well as I had
expected, and I came to the conclusion that with this load we should
get on too slowly. We had not proceeded far from the ship before
I decided to leave behind some of the sacks with provisions for the
dogs, and these were later on taken back on board by the others.

At 4 o'clock in the afternoon, when we stopped, our odometer [6]
showed that we had gone about 4 miles from the Fram. We had a pleasant
evening in the tent, together with our friends who were going back the
next day. To my surprise a punch-bowl was prepared, and toasts were
proposed for those who were starting and those who remained behind. It
was not until 11 o'clock that we crept into our sleeping-bags.

There were illuminations in our honor that night on board the
Fram. The electric arc lamp was hoisted on the maintop, and the
electric light for the first time shone forth over the ice masses of
the Polar Sea. Torches had also been lit, and bonfires of oakum-ends
and other combustibles were burning on several floes around the Fram
and making a brilliant show. Sverdrup had, by-the-way, given orders
that the electric light or a lantern should be hoisted on the maintop
every night until he and the others had returned, for fear they might
lose their way if the tracks should be obliterated by bad weather. It
would then be very difficult to find the ship; but such a light can
be seen a long distance over these plains, where by merely standing
on a hummock one can easily get a view for many miles round.

I was afraid that the dogs, if they got loose, would go back to
the Fram, and I therefore got two steel lines made, to which short
leashes were fastened a little distance apart, so that the dogs could
be secured to these lines between two sticks or sledges. In spite of
this, several of the dogs got loose; but, strange to say, they did
not leave us, but remained with their comrades and us. There was,
of course, a doleful howling round the tents the first night, and
they disturbed our sleep to some extent.

The next morning (Friday, March 1st) it took one of our comrades three
hours to make the coffee, being unaccustomed to the apparatus. We
then had a very nice breakfast together. Not before 11.30 A.M. did
we get under way. Our five comrades accompanied us for an hour or
two and then turned to get back to the Fram the same evening. "It
was certainly a most cheerful good-bye," says the diary, "but it is
always hard to part, even at 84°, and maybe there was a tearful eye
or two." The last thing Sverdrup asked me when sitting on his sledge,
just as we were about to part, was, if I thought I should go to the
South Pole when I got home; for if so, he hoped I would wait till he
arrived; and then he asked me to give his love to his wife and child.

And so we proceeded, Johansen and I, but it was slow work for us
alone with six sledges, which were impeded on their way by all sorts
of obstacles and inequalities. Besides this, the ice became rougher,
so that it was difficult to get on during the afternoon on account
of the darkness, the days being still very short and the sun was not
yet above the horizon. We therefore camped rather early.

"Wednesday, March 6th. We are again on board the Fram to make a
fresh start, for the third time, and then, I suppose, it will be in
earnest. On Saturday, March 2d, we proceeded with the six sledges after
I had been a trip to the northward and found it passable. Progress was
slow, and we had to do nearly six turns each, as the sledges stopped
everywhere and had to be helped along. I saw now too clearly that we
should never get on in this manner; a change would have to be made,
and I decided to camp in order to have a look at the ice northward
and consider the matter. Having tied up the dogs, I set out, while
Johansen was to feed the dogs and put up the tent. They were fed once
in every 24 hours, at night, when the day's march was done.

"I had not gone far when I came upon excellent spacious plains;
good progress could be made, and so far everything was all right;
but the load had to be diminished and the number of sledges
reduced. Undoubtedly, therefore, it would be best to return to the
Fram to make the necessary alterations on board, and get the sledges
we were to take with us further strengthened, so as to have perfect
confidence in their durability.

"We might, of course, have dragged along somehow towards the north
for a while, and the load would gradually have decreased; but it
would have been slow work, and before the load would be sufficiently
lightened the dogs would perhaps be worn out. It was cold for them at
night; we heard many of them howling most of the night. If, however,
we diminished the load, and consequently allowed a shorter time for
the journey, it would be preferable to wait, and not start till a
little later in the month, when we could make more out of the time,
as the days would be lighter and not so cold and the snow-surface
better. Having spent another night in the tent--into which it was
a hard job to get, dressed in a fur that was stiff with frost, and
then into a bag that was also hard frozen--I decided next morning
(Sunday, March 3d) to return to the Fram. I harnessed a double team
of dogs to one of the sledges, and off they went over pressure-ridges
and all other obstacles so rapidly that I could hardly keep up with
them. In a few hours I covered the same distance which had taken us
three days when we started out. The advantage of a lighter load was
only too apparent.

"As I approached the Fram I saw, to my surprise, the upper edge of
the sun above the ice in the south. It was the first time this year,
but I had not expected it as yet. It was the refraction caused by
the low temperature which made it visible so soon. The first news I
heard from those who came to meet me was that Hansen had the previous
afternoon taken an observation, which gave 84° 4' north latitude.

"It was undoubtedly very pleasant once more to stretch my limbs on the
sofa in the Fram's saloon, to quench my thirst in delicious lime-juice
with sugar, and again to dine in a civilized manner. In the afternoon
Hansen and Nordahl went back to Johansen with my team of dogs, to keep
him company overnight. When I left him it was understood that he was
to start on the return journey as best he could, until I came with
others to help him. The dogs lost no time, and the two men reached
Johansen's tent in an hour and twenty minutes. At night both they
and we had rejoicings in honor of the sun, and the 84th degree.

"The next morning three of us went off and fetched the sledges
back. Now, when we made for the ship, the dogs dragged much better,
and in a short time we should have been on board had it not been for a
long lane in the ice which we could see no end to, and which stopped
us. Finally we left the sledges and, together with the dogs, managed
to cross over on some loose pieces of ice and got on board. Yesterday
we twice tried to fetch the sledges, but there had evidently been
some movement in the lane, and the new ice was still so thin that we
dared not trust it. We have, however, to-day got them on board, and
we will now for the last time, it is to be hoped, prepare ourselves
for the journey. I will now plan out the journey so as to take the
shortest possible time, using light sledges and tearing along as fast
as legs and snowshoes will carry us. We shall be none the worse for
this delay, provided we do not meet too much pack-ice or too many
openings in the ice.

"I have weighed all the dogs and have come to the conclusion that
we can feed them on each other and keep going for about fifty days;
having, in addition to this, dog provisions for about thirty days,
we ought to be able to travel with dogs for eighty days, and in that
time it seems to me we should have arrived somewhere. And, besides,
we have provisions for ourselves for one hundred days. This will be
about 440 pounds on each sledge if we take three, and with nine dogs
per sledge we ought to manage it."

So here we were again, busy with preparations and improvements. In the
meantime the ice moved a little, broke up, and lanes were formed in
various directions. On March 8th I say: "The crack in the large floe
to starboard, formed while we were away, opened yesterday into a broad
lane, which we can see stretching with newly frozen ice towards the
horizon, both north and south. It is odd how that petroleum launch is
always in 'hot water' wherever it is. This crack formed underneath it,
so it was hanging with the stern over the water when they found it in
the morning. We have now decided to cut it up and use the elm-boards
for the sledge-runners. That will be the end of it.

"Wednesday, March 13th. 84° north latitude, 101° 55'
east longitude. The days have passed, working again at the
equipment. Everything is now in order. Three sledges are standing
ready out on the ice, properly strengthened in every way, with iron
fastenings between uprights and crossbars. These last-mentioned are
securely strengthened with extra top-pieces of ash, and protected
underneath by boards. This afternoon we tried the dogs with sledges
loaded, and they went as easily as could be, and to-morrow we start
again for the last time, full of courage and confidence and with the
sun up, in the assurance that we are going towards ever brighter days.

"To-night there has been a great farewell feast, with many hearty
speeches, and to-morrow we depart as early as possible, provided our
dissipation has not delayed us. I have to-night added the following
postscript to Sverdrup's instructions:



"'P.S.--In the foregoing instructions, which I wrote rather hurriedly
on the night of February 25th, I omitted to mention things that should
have been alluded to. I will restrict myself here to stating, further,
that should you sight unknown land, everything ought, of course, to be
done in order to ascertain and examine it, as far as circumstances will
permit. Should the Fram drift so near that you think it can be reached
without great risk, everything that can be done to explore the land
would be of the greatest interest. Every stone, every blade of grass,
lichen, or moss, every animal, from the largest to the smallest,
would be of great importance; photographs, and an exact description
should not be neglected; at the same time, it should be traversed to
the greatest possible extent, in order to ascertain its coast-line,
size, etc. All such things should, however, only be done, provided
they can be accomplished without danger. If the Fram is adrift in the
ice, it is clear that only short excursions should be made from her,
as the members of such expeditions might encounter great difficulties
in reaching the vessel again. Should the Fram remain stationary for
any time, such expeditions should still be undertaken only with great
discretion, and not be extended over any great length of time, as no
one can foresee when she may commence to drift again, and it would
be very undesirable for all concerned if the crew of the Fram were
to be still further reduced.

"'We have so often spoken together about the scientific researches,
that I do not consider it necessary to give any further suggestions
here. I am certain that you will do everything in your power to make
them as perfect as possible, so that the expedition may return with
as good results as the circumstances will permit. And now once again,
my wishes for all possible success, and may we meet again before long.


"'Your affectionate,

"'Fridtjof Nansen.

"'The Fram, March 13, 1895.'"



Before leaving the Fram for good I ought, perhaps, to give a short
account of the equipment we finally decided on as the most likely to
suit our purposes.

I have already mentioned the two kayaks that had been made during the
course of the winter, and that we required to have with us in order to
cross possible channels and pools, and also for use when we should come
to open sea. Instead of these kayaks, I had at first thought of taking
ready-made canvas boat-covers, and of using the sledges as frames to
stretch them over. By this means a craft perfectly capable of carrying
us over lanes and short bits of open sea could have been rigged up in
a very short space of time. I subsequently gave up this idea, however,
and decided on the kayak, a craft with which I was familiar, and which
I knew would render valuable assistance in several respects. Even if
we had been able to contrive a cover for the sledges in such a manner
that a boat could have been got ready in a short space of time, it
would not have been such quick work as simply launching a ready-made
kayak. Added to this, the craft would, necessarily, have been heavy
to row; and when it was a question of long distances in open water,
such as along the coasts of Franz Josef Land, or across thence to
Spitzbergen, much time would have been lost. One consideration indeed,
and that of some moment, was the saving in weight if the sledges were
made use of; but even this was not of so much importance as it seemed,
as the covers of both kinds of craft would have weighed about the
same, and what would have been saved in the weight of the frames was
not much, if one remembers that a whole kayak-frame only weighs about
16 pounds. Then, too, if kayaks were used, some weight would be saved
by being able to carry our provisions and other impedimenta in bags
of thin material, which could be stowed away in the kayaks, and the
latter lashed to the sledges. Our provisions would thus be protected
against all risk of attack by dogs, or of being cut by sharp pieces
of ice. The other alternative--the canvas cover--which would have
required fitting on and folding up again after being in the water,
would, necessarily, in the low temperatures we had to expect, have
become spoiled and leaky. Last, but not least, the kayak, with its
tightly covered deck, is a most efficient sea-boat, in which one can
get along in any kind of weather, and is also an admirable craft for
shooting and fishing purposes. The boat which one could have contrived
by the other expedient could with difficulty have been made any way
satisfactory in this respect.

I have also mentioned the sledges which I had made for this
expedition. They were of the same pattern as those built for the
Greenland one; somewhat resembling in shape the Norwegian "skikjelke,"
[7] which is a low hand-sledge on broad runners, similar to our
ordinary "ski." But instead of the broad, flat runners we used in
Greenland, I had the runners made in this case about the same in
width (3 1/6 inches), but somewhat convex underneath, like those
to be found on the "skikjelke" of Österdalen and elsewhere. These
convex runners proved to move very easily on the kind of country
which we had to travel over, and they enabled the long sledges
to be turned with ease, which was particularly convenient in the
drift-ice, where the many irregularities often necessitated a very
zigzag route. The runners were covered with a thin plate of German
silver, which, as it always keeps bright and smooth and does not rust,
answered its purpose well. As I mentioned before, there were thin,
loose, well-tarred guard-runners of a kind of maple (Acer platonides)
underneath the German-silver ones. The sledges were also prepared in
various other ways, which have been treated of before, for the heavy
loads they were to carry at the beginning. The result of this was that
they were somewhat heavier than I had intended at first; but in return
I had the satisfaction of their being fit for use during the whole
journey, and not once were we stopped or delayed by their breaking
down. This has hardly been the case with former sledge journeys.

I have referred several times to our clothes, and our trial-trips
in them. Although we had come to the conclusion that our wolfskin
garments were too warm for travelling in, we took them with us all
the same on our first trip, and wore them too, to a certain extent;
but we soon discovered that they were always too warm, and caused
undue perspiration. By absorbing all the moisture of the body they
became so heavy that they made an appreciable difference in the
weight of our loads, and on our return from our three days' absence
from the vessel were so wet that they had to be hung for a long time
over the saloon stove to dry. To this was added the experience that
when we took them off in the cold, after having worn them for a time,
they froze so stiff that it was difficult to get them on again. The
result of all this was that I was not very favorably disposed towards
them, and eventually made up my mind to keep to my woollen clothes,
which I thought would give free outlet to the perspiration. Johansen
followed my example. Our clothes then came to consist of about
the following: On the upper part of the body two woollen shirts
(Jaeger's); outside these I had a camel's-hair coat, and last of all
a thick, rough jersey. Instead of the jersey, Johansen wore what is
called on board ship an "anorak," of thick homespun, provided with
a hood, which he could pull forward in front of his face, and made
after an Eskimo pattern. On our legs we had, next our skin, woollen
drawers, and over these knickerbockers and loose gaiters of close
Norwegian homespun. To protect us from wind and fine-driven snow,
which, being of the nature of dust, forces itself into every pore of
a woollen fabric, we wore a suit which has been mentioned before,
made of a thin, close kind of cotton canvas, and consisting of an
upper garment to pull over the head, provided with a hood in Eskimo
fashion, and a lower one in the shape of a pair of wide overalls.

An important item in an outfit is the foot-gear. Instead of wearing
long stockings, I preferred to use loose stocking-legs and socks,
as these are easy to dry on one's chest when asleep at night. On a
journey of this kind, where one is continually travelling over snow
and in a low temperature, whether it be on "ski" or not, my experience
is that Finn shoes are, without doubt, the most satisfactory covering
for the feet in every way, but they must be made of the skin of the
hind-legs of the reindeer buck. They are warm and strong, they are
always flexible, and are easy to put on and take off. They require
careful management, however, if they are not to be spoiled at the
outset, and one must try as well as one can to dry them when asleep at
night. If it be sunny and good drying weather outside, the best plan
is to hang them on a couple of "ski" staffs, or something of the kind,
in the wind outside the tent, preferably turned inside out, so that the
skin itself can dry quickly. If one does not take this precaution the
hair will soon begin to fall out. In severe cold, such as we had on
the first part of our journey, it was impossible to dry them in this
way, and our only resource was then to dry them on the feet at night,
after having carefully brushed and scraped them free from snow and
moisture. Then the next process is to turn them inside out, fill them
with "sennegraes," or sedge, if one have it, thrust one's feet in,
and creep into the sleeping-bag with them on. [8] For milder weather
later on we had provided ourselves with leather boots of the "komager"
type, such as the Lapps use in summer. In this case they were made of
under-tanned ox-hide, with soles of the skin of the blue seal (Phoca
barbara); well rubbed in with a composition of tar and tallow, they
make a wonderfully strong and water-tight boot, especially for use
in wet weather. Inside the "finsko" we used, at the beginning of our
journey, this "sennegraes" (Carex æsicaria), of which we had taken
a supply. This is most effective in keeping the feet dry and warm,
and if used Lapp-wise, i.e., with bare feet, it draws all moisture to
itself. At night the wet "sennegraes" must be removed from the boots,
well pulled out with the fingers, so that it does not cling together,
and then dried during the night by being worn inside the coat or
trousers-leg. In the morning it will be about dry, and can be pressed
into the boots again. Little by little, however, it becomes used up,
and if it is to last out a long journey a good supply must be taken.

We also had with us socks made of sheep's wool and human hair, which
were both warm and durable. Then, too, we took squares of "vadmel," or
Norwegian homespun, such as are used in our army, which we wore inside
our "komager" (particularly myself) on the latter part of the journey,
when the snow was wet. They are comfortable to wear and easy to dry,
as one can spread them out under one's coat or trousers at night.

On our hands we wore large gloves of wolfskin, in addition to ordinary
woollen mittens underneath, neither of them having separate divisions
for the fingers. Exactly the same drying process had to be gone through
with the gloves as with the foot-gear. Altogether the warmth of one's
unfortunate body, which is the only source of heat one has for this
sort of work, is chiefly expended in the effort to dry one's various
garments; and we spent our nights in wet compresses, in order that
the morrow might pass in a little more comfort.

On our heads we wore felt hats, which shaded the eyes from the dazzling
light, and were less pervious to the wind than an ordinary woollen
cap. Outside the hat we generally had one or two hoods of cloth. By
this means we could regulate the warmth of our heads to a certain
extent, and this is no unimportant thing.

It had been my original intention to use light one-man sleeping-bags,
made of the skin of the reindeer calf. As these, however, proved
to be insufficiently warm, I had to resort to the same principle
we went on in Greenland, i.e., a double bag of adult reindeer-skin;
a considerable increase of warmth is thus attained by the fact that
the occupants warm each other. Furthermore, a bag for two men is not
a little lighter than two single bags. An objection has been raised to
joint bags on the score that one's night's rest is apt to be disturbed,
but this I have not found to be the case.

Something which, in my opinion, ought not to be omitted from a sledge
journey is a tent. Even if thin and frail, it affords the members of
an expedition so much protection and comfort that the inconsiderable
increase in weight to the equipment is more than compensated for. The
tents that I had had made for the expedition were of strong undressed
silk and very light. They were square at the base and pointed at the
top, and were pitched by means only of a tent-pole in the middle,
on the same principle as the four-man tents used in our army. Most
of them had canvas floors attached. On our first start we took with
us a tent of this kind, intended to hold four men and weighing a
little over 7 pounds. The floor is a certain advantage, as it makes
the whole tent compact and is quick to put up, besides being more
impervious to wind. The whole tent is sewed in one piece, walls and
floor together, and the only opening a little split through which to
crawl. One drawback, however, to it is, that it is almost impossible
not to carry in with one a certain amount of snow on the feet. This
melts during the night from the heat of one's body lying on it,
and the floor absorbs the moisture, thereby causing the tent to be
always a good deal heavier than the figures given here.

I accordingly relinquished all idea of a tent of this kind, and took
with me one of about the same dimensions, but without a floor, and of
the same silk material as the other. It took a little longer to put up,
but the difference was not great. The walls were kept down by pegs,
and when all was finished we would bank it carefully round with snow
to exclude wind and draughts. Then came the actual pitching of the
tent, which was accomplished by crawling in through the entrance and
poking it up with a "ski" staff, which also served as tent-pole. It
weighed a fraction over 3 pounds, including 16 pegs, lasted the whole
journey through--that is to say, until the autumn--and was always a
cherished place of refuge.

The cooking apparatus we took with us had the advantage of utilizing
to the utmost the fuel consumed. With it we were able, in a very short
space of time, to cook food and simultaneously melt an abundance of
drinking-water, so that both in the morning and in the evening we were
able to drink as much as we wished, and even a surplus remained. The
apparatus consisted of two boilers and a vessel for melting snow or ice
in, and was constructed in the following manner: Inside a ring-shaped
vessel was placed the boiler, while underneath this again was the
lamp. The entire combustion output was thus forced to mount into the
space between the boiler and the ring-shaped vessel. Over this was a
tight-fitting lid with a hole in the middle, through which the hot air
was obliged to pass before it could penetrate farther and reach the
bottom of a flat snow-melter, which was placed above it. Then, after
having delivered some part of its heat, the air was forced down again
on the outside of the ring-shaped vessel by the help of a mantle,
or cap, which surrounded the whole. Here it parted with its last
remaining warmth to the outer side of the ring-vessel, and finally
escaped, almost entirely cooled, from the lower edge of the mantle.

For the heating was used a Swedish gas-petroleum lamp, known as the
"Primus," in which the heat turns the petroleum into gas before
it is consumed. By this means it renders the combustion unusually
complete. Numerous experiments made by Professor Torup at his
laboratory proved that the cooker in ordinary circumstances yielded
90 to 93 per cent. of the heat which the petroleum consumed should,
by combustion, theoretically evolve. A more satisfactory result, I
think, it would be difficult to obtain. The vessels in this cooker
were made of German silver, while the lid, outside cap, etc., were
of aluminium. Together with two tin mugs, two tin spoons, and a tin
ladle, it weighed exactly 8 pounds 13 ounces, while the lamp, the
"Primus," weighed 4 1/2 ounces.

As fuel, my choice this time fell on petroleum ("snowflake"). Alcohol,
which has generally been used before on Arctic expeditions, has
several advantages, and, in particular, is easy to burn. One decided
drawback to it, however, is the fact that it does not by any means
generate so much heat in comparison with its weight as petroleum when
the latter is entirely consumed, as was the case with the lamp used
by us. As I was afraid that petroleum might freeze, I had a notion
of employing gas-oil, but gave up the idea, as it escapes so easily
that it is difficult to preserve, and is, moreover, very explosive. We
had no difficulties with our "snowflake" petroleum on account of the
cold. We took with us rather more than 4 gallons, and this quantity
lasted us 120 days, enabling us to cook two hot meals a day and melt
an abundance of water.

Of snow-shoes we took several pairs, as we had to be prepared for
breakages in the uneven drift-ice; besides this, they would probably
get considerably worn in the summer-time when the snow became wet
and granular. Those we took with us were particularly tough, and slid
readily. They were, for the most part, of the same kind of maple as
the sledges, and of birch and hickory. They had all been well rubbed
in with a concoction of tar, stearine, and tallow.

As we calculated to subsist, in a measure, on what we could shoot
ourselves, it was necessary for us to have firearms. The most important
gun for this kind of work is, naturally, the rifle; but as, in all
likelihood, we should have to go across large expanses of snow, where
probably there would be little big game, and whereas, on the other
hand, birds might very likely come flying over our heads, I thought
shot-guns would be the most serviceable to us. Therefore we decided
on the same equipment in this respect as we had in Greenland. We
took with us two double-barrelled guns (büchsflints); each of them
having a shot-barrel of 20-bore and a barrel for ball (Express) of
about .360 calibre. Our supply of ammunition consisted of about 180
rifle cartridges and 150 shot cartridges.

Our instruments for determining our position and for working sights
were: a small, light theodolite, specially constructed for the purpose,
which, with its case (this I had also had made to act as a stand) only
weighed a little over two pounds. We had, furthermore, a pocket sextant
and an artificial glass horizon, a light azimuth compass of aluminium,
and a couple of other compasses. For the meteorological observations we
had a couple of aneroid barometers, two minimum spirit-thermometers
and three quicksilver sling-thermometers. In addition to these,
we had a good aluminium telescope, and also a photographic camera.

The most difficult, but also, perhaps, the most important, point in
the equipment of a sledge expedition is thoroughly good and adequate
victualling. I have already mentioned, in the Introduction to this
book, that the first and foremost object is to protect one's self
against scurvy and other maladies by the choice of foods, which,
through careful preparation and sterilization, are assured against
decomposition. On a sledge expedition of this kind, where so much
attention must be paid to the weight of the equipment, it is hardly
possible to take any kinds of provisions, except those of which the
weight has been reduced as much as possible by careful and complete
drying. As, however, meat and fish are not so easily digested when
dried, it is no unimportant thing to have them in a pulverized
form. The dried food is, in this manner, so finely distributed
that it can with equal facility be digested and received into the
organism. This preparation of meat and fish was, therefore, the only
kind we took with us. The meat was muscular beef, taken from the ox,
and freed from all fat, gristle, etc.; it was then dried as quickly
as possible, in a completely fresh condition, and thereupon ground
and mixed with the same proportion of beef suet as is used in the
ordinary preparation of pemmican. This form of food, which has been
used for a considerable time on sledge expeditions, has gained for
itself much esteem, and rightly; if well prepared, as ours was, it is
undeniably a nourishing and easily digested food. [9] One ought not,
however, to trust to its always being harmless, as, if carelessly
prepared--i.e., slowly or imperfectly dried--it may also be very
injurious to the health.

Another item of our provisions, by which we set great store, was Våge's
fish flour. It is well prepared and has admirable keeping qualities;
if boiled in water and mixed with flour and butter or dried potatoes,
it furnishes a very appetizing dish. Another point which should be
attended to is that the food be of such a kind that it can be eaten
without cooking. Fuel is part of an equipment, no doubt; but if for
some reason or other this be lost or used up, one would be in a bad
case indeed, had one not provided against such a contingency by taking
food which could be eaten in spite of that. In order to save fuel, too,
it is important that the food should not require cooking, but merely
warming. The flour that we took with us had therefore been steamed,
and could, if necessary, have been eaten as it was, without further
preparation. Merely brought to a boil, it made a good hot dish. We
also took dried boiled potatoes, pea-soup, chocolate, vril-food,
etc. Our bread was partly carefully dried wheaten biscuits, and partly
aleuronate bread, which I had caused to be made of wheat flour mixed
with about 30 per cent. of aleuronate flour (vegetable albumen).

We also took with us a considerable quantity of butter (86 pounds)
which had been well worked on board in order to get out all superfluous
water. By this means not only was considerable weight saved, but the
butter did not become so hard in the cold. On the whole, it must be
said that our menus included considerable variety, and we were never
subjected to that sameness of food which former sledge expeditions
have complained so much of. Finally, we always had ravenous appetites,
and always thought our meals as delicious as they could be.

Our medicine-chest consisted, on this occasion, of a little bag,
containing, naturally, only the most absolutely necessary drugs,
etc. Some splints and some ligatures, and plaster-of-Paris bandages,
for possible broken legs and arms; aperient pills and laudanum for
derangements of the stomach, which were never required; chloroform
in case of an amputation, for example, from frost-bite; a couple of
small glasses of cocaine in solution for snow-blindness (also unused);
drops for toothache, carbolic acid, iodoform gauze, a couple of curved
needles, and some silk for sewing up wounds; a scalpel, two artery
tweezers (also for amputations), and a few other sundries. Happily
our medicines were hardly ever required, except that the ligatures
and bandages came in very handily the following winter as wicks
for our train-oil lamps. Still better for this purpose, however,
is Nicolaysen's plaster, of which we had taken a supply for possible
broken collar-bones. The layer of wax we scraped carefully off and
found it most satisfactory for calking our leaky kayaks.



LIST OF THE EQUIPMENT

Sledge No. 1 (with Nansen's Kayak)

                                             Lbs.  Oz.   Kilos.
    Kayak                                     41    2      18.7
    Pump (for pumping kayaks in case of
    leakage)                                   1    2       0.5
    Sail                                       1    9       0.7
    Axe and geological hammer                  1    5       0.6
    Gun and case                               7    4       3.3
    Two small wooden rods belonging to cooker  0   14       0.4
    Theodolite and case                        4   13       2.2
    Three reserve cross-pieces for sledges          0       0.9
    Some pieces of wood                        0   11       0.3
    Harpoon line                               0    8.4     0.24
    Fur gaiters                                1    3       0.55
    Five balls of cord                         2    9       1.17
    Cooker, with two mugs, ladle, and two
        spoons                                 8   13       4.0
    Petroleum lamp (Primus)                    0    4 1/2   0.1
    Pocket-flask                               0    6       0.17
    Bag, with sundry articles of clothing      8   13       4.0
    Blanket                                    4    6       2.0
    Jersey                                     2    8       1.15
    Finn shoes filled with grass               3    1       1.4
    Cap for fitting over opening in kayak      0    7       0.2
    One pair "komager"                         2    1       0.95
    Two pair kayak gloves and one harpoon
        and line                               1    5       0.6
    One waterproof sealskin kayak overcoat     3    1       1.4
    Tool-bag                                   2   10       1.2
    Bag of sewing materials, including
        sailmaker's palm, sail needles, and
        other sundries                         2   10       1.2
    Three Norwegian flags                      0    4       0.1
    Medicines, etc.                            4   15       2.25
    Photographic camera                        4   10       2.1
    One cassette and one tin box of films      3   14       1.75
    One wooden cup                             0    3       0.08
    One rope (for lashing kayak to sledge)     2    0       0.9
    Pieces of reindeer-skin to prevent kayaks
        from chafing                           3   15       1.8
    Wooden shovel                              2    3       1.0
    Ski-staff with disk at bottom              1    9       0.7
    One bamboo staff                           1    0       0.45
    Two oak staffs                             2   10       1.2
    Seven reserve dog harnesses and two
        reserve hauling ropes                  2   10       1.2
    One coil of rope                           0    6       0.18
    Four bamboo poles for masts and for
        steering sledges                       8   13       4.0
    One bag of bread                           5   15       2.7
     ,,  ,,    whey-powder                     3    5       1.5
     ,,  ,,    sugar                           2    3       1.0
     ,,  ,,    albuminous flour                1   12       0.8
     ,,  ,,    lime-juice tablets              1   10       0.73
     ,,  ,,    Frame-food stamina tablets      2    7       1.1

    As boat's grips, under the sledges, were:

    Three sacks of pemmican (together)       238    1     108.2
    One sack "leverpostei," or pâté made
        of calf's liver                       93   15      42.7


Sledge No. 2. On this were carried, in strong sacks:

                                             Lbs.  Oz.   Kilos.

    Albuminous flour                          14   15       6.8
    Wheat flour                               15    6       7.0
    Whey-powder                               16   15       7.7
    Corn flour                                 8   13       4.0
    Sugar                                      7    1       3.2
    Vril-food                                 31    4      14.2
    Australian pemmican                       13    0       5.9
    Chocolate                                 12   12       5.8
    Oatmeal                                   11    0       5.0
    Dried red whortleberries                   0   14       0.4
    Two sacks of white bread (together)       69    5      31.5
    One sack of aleuronate bread              46   10      21.2
    "Special food" (a mixture of pea flour,
        meat-powder, fat, etc.)               63   13      29.0
    Butter                                    85   13      39.0
    Fish flour (Våge's)                       34    2      15.5
    Dried potatoes                            15    3       6.9
    One reindeer-skin sleeping-bag            19   13       9.0
    Two steel-wire ropes, with couples for
        twenty-eight dogs                     11    0       5.0
    One pair hickory snow-shoes               11    0       5.0
    Weight of sledge                          43    5      19.7


Sledge No. 3 (with Johansen's Kayak)

                                             Lbs.  Oz.   Kilos.

    Kayak                                     41    6      18.8
    Two pieces of reindeer-skin, to prevent
      chafing                                  1   12       0.8
    A supply of dog-shoes                      1    3       0.55
    One Eskimo shooting-sledge with sail
        (intended for possible seal-shooting
        on the ice)                            1   10       0.73
    Two sledge sails                           2   10       1.2
    Pump                                       0   14       0.4
    Oar-blades (made of canvas stretched on
        frames, and intended to be lashed to
        the ski-staffs)                        1    2       0.5
    Gun                                        7    2.7     3.26
    Flask                                      0    5.9     0.17
    Net (for catching crustacea in the sea)    0    5.2     0.15
    One pair "komager"                         1   15.7     0.9
    Waterproof kayak overcoat of sealskin      2    3       1.0
    Fur gaiters                                0    7.3     0.21
    Two reserve pieces of wood                 0    9.8     0.28
    Two tins of petroleum (about 5 gallons)   40    0.6    18.2
    Several reserve snow-shoe fastenings       0   15.1     0.43
    Lantern for changing plates, etc.          1    1.2     0.49
    Artificial glass horizon                   0   10.2     0.29
    Bag with cords and nautical almanac        0    4.6     0.13
    Pocket sextant                             0   13.7     0.39
    Two packets of matches                     0   13.7     0.39
    One reserve sheet of German silver (for
        repaving plates under sledge-runners)  0    7.4     0.21
    Pitch                                      0    3.5     0.1
    Two minimum thermometers in cases          0    7.4     0.21
    Three quicksilver thermometers in cases    0    4.9     0.14
    One compass                                0    8.8     0.25
    One aluminium compass                      0    8.4     0.24
     ,,    ,,     telescope                    1    8.6     0.7
    "Sennegraes" or sedge for Finn shoes       0    7       0.2
    Bag with cartridges                       26    1      11.85
    Leather pouch with reserve shooting
        requisites, parts for gun-locks,
        reserve cocks, balls, powder, etc.     3    1       1.4
    Leather pouch with glass bottle, one
        spoon, and five pencils                0   10.6     0.3
    Bag with navigation tables, nautical
        almanac, cards, etc.                   2    7       1.1
    Tin box with diaries, letters,
        photographs, observation-journals,
        etc.                                   3   10       1.65
    One cap for covering hole in deck of
        kayak                                  0    8       0.23
    One sack of meat-chocolate                17   10       8.0
    One bag of soups                           6   10       3.0
     ,,  ,,    cocoa                           7    6       3.35
     ,,  ,,    fish flour                      3   12       1.70
     ,,  ,,    wheat flour                     2    0       0.90
     ,,  ,,    chocolate                       4    6       2.0
     ,,  ,,    oatmeal                         4    6       2.0
     ,,  ,,    vril-food                       4    6       2.0

    As grips under the sledge were:

    One sack of oatmeal                       29    1      13.2
     ,,   ,,    pemmican                     115    1      52.3
     ,,   ,,    liver pâté                   111   12      50.8



A list of our dogs and their weights on starting may be of interest:


                                      Lbs.     Kilos.

                Kvik                   78       35.7
                Freia                  50       22.7
                Barbara                49 1/2   22.5
                Suggen                 61 1/2   28.0
                Flint                  59 1/2   27.0
                Barrabas               61 1/2   28.0
                Gulen                  60 1/2   27.5
                Haren                  61 1/2   28.0
                Barnet                 39       17.7
                Sultan                 68       31.0
                Klapperslangen         59 1/2   27.0
                Blok                   59       26.8
                Bjelki                 38       17.3
                Sjöliget               40       18.0
                Katta                  45 1/2   20.7
                Narrifas               46       21.0
                Livjægeren             38 1/2   17.5
                Potifar                57       26.0
                Storræven              70       31.8
                Isbjön                 61 1/2   28.0
                Lilleræven             59       26.7
                Kvindfolket            37       26.0
                Perpetuum              63       28.6
                Baro                   60 1/2   27.5
                Russen                 58       26.5
                Kaifas                 69       31.5
                Ulenka                 57       26.0
                Pan                    65       29.5



CHAPTER IV

WE SAY GOOD-BYE TO THE "FRAM"


At last by midday on March 14th we finally left the Fram to the noise
of a thundering salute. For the third time farewells and mutual good
wishes were exchanged. Some of our comrades came a little way with us,
but Sverdrup soon turned back in order to be on board for dinner at
1 o'clock. It was on the top of a hummock that we two said good-bye
to each other; the Fram was lying behind us, and I can remember how I
stood watching him as he strode easily homeward on his snow-shoes. I
half wished I could turn back with him and find myself again in the
warm saloon; I knew only too well that a life of toil lay before us,
and that it would be many a long day before we should again sleep and
eat under a comfortable roof; but that that time was going to be so
long as it really proved to be, none of us then had any idea. We all
thought that either the expedition would succeed, and that we should
return home that same year, or--that it would not succeed.

A little while after Sverdrup had left us, Mogstad also found it
necessary to turn back. He had thought of going with us till the next
day, but his heavy wolfskin trousers were, as he un-euphemistically
expressed it, "almost full of sweat, and he must go back to the fire
on board to get dry." Hansen, Henriksen, and Pettersen were then the
only ones left, and they labored along, each with his load on his
back. It was difficult for them to keep up with us on the flat ice,
so quickly did we go; but when we came to pressure-ridges we were
brought to a standstill and the sledges had to be helped over. At one
place the ridge was so bad that we had to carry the sledges a long
way. When, after considerable trouble, we had managed to get over
it, Peter shook his head reflectively, and said to Johansen that we
should meet plenty more of the same kind, and have enough hard work
before we had eaten sufficient of the loads to make the sledges run
lightly. Just here we came upon a long stretch of bad ice, and Peter
became more and more concerned for our future; but towards evening
matters improved, and we advanced more rapidly. When we stopped at
6 o'clock the odometer registered a good 7 miles, which was not so
bad for a first day's work. We had a cheerful evening in our tent,
which was just about big enough to hold all five. Pettersen, who had
exerted himself and become over-heated on the way, shivered and groaned
while the dogs were being tied up and fed, and the tent pitched. He,
however, found existence considerably brighter when he sat inside it,
in his warm wolfskin clothes, with a pot of smoking chocolate before
him, a big lump of butter in one hand and a biscuit in the other, and
exclaimed, "Now I am living like a prince!" He thereafter discoursed
at length on the exalting thought that he was sitting in a tent in
the middle of the Polar Sea. Poor fellow, he had begged and prayed to
be allowed to come with us on this expedition; he would cook for us
and make himself generally useful, both as a tinsmith and blacksmith;
and then, he said, three would be company. I regretted that I could
not take more than one companion, and he had been in the depths of
woe for several days, but now found comfort in the fact that he had,
at any rate, come part of the way with us, and was out on this great
desert sea, for, as he said, "not many people have done that."

The others had no sleeping-bag with them, so they made themselves a
cozy little hut of snow, into which they crawled in their wolfskin
garments, and had a tolerably good night. I was awake early the next
morning; but when I crept out of the tent I found that somebody else
was on his legs before me, and this was Pettersen, who, awakened by
the cold, was now walking up and down to warm his stiffened limbs. He
had tried it now, he said; he never should have thought it possible
to sleep in the snow, but it had not been half bad. He would not
quite admit that he had been cold, and that that was the reason why
he had turned out so early. Then we had our last pleasant breakfast
together, got the sledges ready, harnessed the dogs, shook hands
with our companions, and, without many words being uttered on either
side, started out into solitude. Peter shook his head sorrowfully
as we went off. I turned round when we had gone some little way,
and saw his figure on the top of the hummock; he was still looking
after us. His thoughts were probably sad; perhaps he believed that
he had spoken to us for the last time.

We found large expanses of flat ice, and covered the ground quickly,
farther and farther away from our comrades, into the unknown, where
we two alone and the dogs were to wander for months. The Fram's
rigging had disappeared long ago behind the margin of the ice. We
often came on piled-up ridges and uneven ice, where the sledges had
to be helped and sometimes carried over. It often happened, too,
that they capsized altogether, and it was only by dint of strenuous
hauling that we righted them again. Somewhat exhausted by all this
hard work, we stopped finally at 6 o'clock in the evening, and had
then gone about 9 miles during the day. They were not quite the
marches I had reckoned on, but we hoped that by degrees the sledges
would become lighter and the ice better to travel over. The latter,
too, seems to have been the case at first. On Sunday, March 17th, I
say in my diary: "The ice appears to be more even the farther north
we get; came across a lane, however, yesterday which necessitated
a long detour. [10] At half-past six we had done about 9 miles. As
we had just reached a good camping-ground, and the dogs were tired,
we stopped. Lowest temperature last night, -45° Fahr. (-42.8° C.)."

The ice continued to become more even during the following days, and
our marches often amounted to 14 miles or more in the day. Now and
then a misfortune might happen which detained us, as, for instance,
one day a sharp spike of ice which was standing up cut a hole in a sack
of fish flour, and all the delicious food ran out. It took us more
than an hour to collect it all again and repair the damages. Then
the odometer got broken through being jammed in some uneven ice,
and it took some hours to mend it by a process of lashing. But on
we went northward, often over great, wide ice-plains which seemed
as if they must stretch right to the Pole. Sometimes it happened
that we passed through places where the ice was "unusually massive,
with high hummocks, so that it looked like undulating country covered
with snow." This was undoubtedly very old ice, which had drifted in
the Polar Sea for a long time on its way from the Siberian Sea to
the east coast of Greenland, and which had been subjected year after
year to severe pressure. High hummocks and mounds are thus formed,
which summer after summer are partially melted by the rays of the
sun, and again in the winters covered with great drifts of snow, so
that they assume forms which resemble ice-hills rather than piles of
sea-ice resulting from upheaval.

Wednesday, March 20th, my diary says: "Beautiful weather for travelling
in, with fine sunsets; but somewhat cold, particularly in the bag,
at nights (it was -41.8° and -43.6° Fahr., or -41° and -42° C.). The
ice appears to be getting more even the farther we advance, and in
some places it is like travelling over 'inland ice.' If this goes
on the whole thing will be done in no time." That day we lost our
odometer, and as we did not find it out till some time afterwards,
and I did not know how far we might have to go back, I thought it was
not worth while to return and look for. It was the cause, however,
of our only being able subsequently to guess approximately at the
distance we had gone during the day. We had another mishap, too,
that day. This was that one of the dogs (it was "Livjægeren") had
become so ill that he could not be driven any longer, and we had to
let him go loose. It was late in the day before we discovered that he
was not with us; he had stopped behind at our camping-ground when we
broke up in the morning, and I had to go back after him on snow-shoes,
which caused a long delay.

"Thursday, March 21st. Nine in the morning, -43.6° Fahr., or -42°
C. (Minimum in the night, -47.2° Fahr., or -44° C.) Clear, as it has
been every day. Beautiful, bright weather; glorious for travelling
in, but somewhat cold at nights, with the quicksilver continually
frozen. Patching Finn shoes in this temperature inside the tent,
with one's nose slowly freezing away, is not all pure enjoyment.

"Friday, March 22d. Splendid ice for getting over; things go better
and better. Wide expanses, with a few pressure-ridges now and then,
but passable everywhere. Kept at it yesterday from about half-past
eleven in the morning to half-past eight at night; did a good 21 miles,
I hope. We should be in latitude 85°. The only disagreeable thing
about it now is the cold. Our clothes are transformed more and more
into a cuirass of ice during the day, and wet bandages at night. The
blankets likewise. The sleeping-bag gets heavier and heavier from the
moisture which freezes on the hair inside. The same clear, settled
weather every day. We are both longing now for a change; a few clouds
and a little more mildness would be welcome." The temperature in the
night, -44.8° Fahr. (-42.7° C.). By an observation which I took later
in the forenoon, our latitude that day proved to be 85° 9' N.

"Saturday, March 23d. On account of observation, lashing the loads
on the sledges, patching bags, and other occupations of a like kind,
which are no joke in this low temperature, we did not manage to get
off yesterday before 3 o'clock in the afternoon. We stuck to it till
nine in the evening, when we stopped in some of the worst ice we have
seen lately. Our day's march, however, had lain across several large
tracts of level ice, so I think that we made 14 miles or so all the
same. We have the same brilliant sunshine; but yesterday afternoon
the wind from the northeast, which we have had for the last few days,
increased, and made it rather raw.

"We passed over a large frozen pool yesterday evening; it looked
almost like a large lake." It could not have been long since this
was formed, as the ice on it was still quite thin. It is wonderful
that these pools can form up there at that time of the year.

From this time forward there was an end of the flat ice, which it
had been simple enjoyment to travel over; and now we had often great
difficulties to cope with. On Sunday, March 24th, I write: "Ice not
so good; yesterday was a hard day, but we made a few miles--not more,
though, than seven, I am afraid. This continual lifting of the heavily
loaded sledges is calculated to break one's back; but better times
are coming, perhaps. The cold is also appreciable, always the same;
but yesterday it was increased by the admixture of considerable wind
from the northeast. We halted about half-past nine in the evening. It
is perceptible how the days lengthen, and how much later the sun sets;
in a few days' time we shall have the midnight sun.

"We killed 'Livjægeren' yesterday evening, and hard work it was
skinning him." This was the first dog which had to be killed; but
many came afterwards, and it was some of the most disagreeable work
we had on the journey, particularly now at the beginning, when it
was so cold. When this first dog was dismembered and given to the
others, many of them went supperless the whole night in preference
to touching the meat. But as the days went by and they became more
worn out, they learned to appreciate dog's flesh, and later we were
not even so considerate as to skin the butchered animal, but served
it hair and all.

The following day the ice was occasionally somewhat better; but as
a rule it was bad, and we became more and more worn out with the
never-ending work of helping the dogs, righting the sledges every
time they capsized, and hauling them, or carrying them bodily, over
hummocks and inequalities of the ground. Sometimes we were so sleepy in
the evenings that our eyes shut and we fell asleep as we went along. My
head would drop, and I would be awakened by suddenly falling forward on
my snow-shoes. Then we would stop, after having found a camping-ground
behind a hummock or ridge of ice, where there was some shelter from
the wind. While Johansen looked after the dogs, it generally fell to
my lot to pitch the tent, fill the cooker with ice, light the burner,
and start the supper as quickly as possible. This generally consisted
of "lobscouse" one day, made of pemmican and dried potatoes; another
day of a sort of fish rissole substance known as "fiskegratin" in
Norway, and in this case composed of fish-meal, flour, and butter. A
third day it would be pea, bean, or lentil soup, with bread and
pemmican. Johansen preferred the "lobscouse," while I had a weakness
for the "fiskegratin." As time went by, however, he came over to my way
of thinking, and the "fiskegratin" took precedence of everything else.

As soon as Johansen had finished with the dogs, and the different
receptacles containing the ingredients and eatables for breakfast
and supper had been brought in, as well as our bags with private
necessities, the sleeping-bags were spread out, the tent door carefully
shut, and we crept into the bag to thaw our clothes. This was not very
agreeable work. During the course of the day the damp exhalations of
the body had little by little become condensed in our outer garments,
which were now a mass of ice and transformed into complete suits of
ice-armor. They were so hard and stiff that if we had only been able
to get them off they could have stood by themselves, and they crackled
audibly every time we moved. These clothes were so stiff that the arm
of my coat actually rubbed deep sores in my wrists during our marches;
one of these sores--the one on the right hand--got frost-bitten, the
wound grew deeper and deeper, and nearly reached the bone. I tried
to protect it with bandages, but not until late in the summer did it
heal, and I shall probably have the scar for life. When we got into our
sleeping-bags in the evening our clothes began to thaw slowly, and on
this process a considerable amount of physical heat was expended. We
packed ourselves tight into the bag, and lay with our teeth chattering
for an hour, or an hour and a half, before we became aware of a little
of the warmth in our bodies which we so sorely needed. At last our
clothes became wet and pliant, only to freeze again a few minutes after
we had turned out of the bag in the morning. There was no question of
getting these clothes dried on the journey so long as the cold lasted,
as more and more moisture from the body collected in them.

How cold we were as we lay there shivering in the bag, waiting for
the supper to be ready! I, who was cook, was obliged to keep myself
more or less awake to see to the culinary operations, and sometimes
I succeeded. At last the supper was ready, was portioned out, and,
as always, tasted delicious. These occasions were the supreme moments
of our existence--moments to which we looked forward the whole day
long. But sometimes we were so weary that our eyes closed, and we
fell asleep with the food on its way to our mouths. Our hands would
fall back inanimate with the spoons in them and the food fly out on
the bag. After supper we generally permitted ourselves the luxury of
a little extra drink, consisting of water, as hot as we could swallow
it, in which whey-powder had been dissolved. It tasted something like
boiled milk, and we thought it wonderfully comforting; it seemed to
warm us to the very ends of our toes. Then we would creep down into
the bag again, buckle the flap carefully over our heads, lie close
together, and soon sleep the sleep of the just. But even in our dreams
we went on ceaselessly, grinding at the sledges and driving the dogs,
always northward, and I was often awakened by hearing Johansen calling
in his sleep to "Pan," or "Barrabas," or "Klapperslangen": "Get on,
you devil, you! Go on, you brutes! Sass, sass! [11] Now the whole
thing is going over!" and execrations less fit for reproduction,
until I went to sleep again.

In the morning I, as cook, was obliged to turn out to prepare the
breakfast, which took an hour's time. As a rule, it consisted one
morning of chocolate, bread, butter, and pemmican; another of oatmeal
porridge, or a compound of flour, water, and butter, in imitation of
our "butter-porridge" at home. This was washed down with milk, made
of whey-powder and water. The breakfast ready, Johansen was roused;
we sat up in the sleeping-bag, one of the blankets was spread out as
a table-cloth, and we fell to work. We had a comfortable breakfast,
wrote up our diaries, and then had to think about starting. But how
tired we sometimes were, and how often would I not have given anything
to be able to creep to the bottom of the bag again and sleep the
clock round. It seemed to me as if this must be the greatest pleasure
in life, but our business was to fight our way northward--always
northward. We performed our toilets, and then came the going out
into the cold to get the sledges ready, disentangle the dogs' traces,
harness the animals, and get off as quickly as possible. I went first
to find the way through the uneven ice, then came the sledge with my
kayak. The dogs soon learned to follow, but at every unevenness of
the ground they stopped, and if one could not get them all to start
again at the same time by a shout, and so pull the sledge over the
difficulty, one had to go back to beat or help them, according as
circumstances necessitated. Then came Johansen with the two other
sledges, always shouting to the dogs to pull harder, always beating
them, and himself hauling to get the sledges over the terrible ridges
of ice. It was undeniable cruelty to the poor animals from first to
last, and one must often look back on it with horror. It makes me
shudder even now when I think of how we beat them mercilessly with
thick ash sticks when, hardly able to move, they stopped from sheer
exhaustion. It made one's heart bleed to see them, but we turned our
eyes away and hardened ourselves. It was necessary; forward we must go,
and to this end everything else must give place. It is the sad part
of expeditions of this kind that one systematically kills all better
feelings, until only hard-hearted egoism remains. When I think of all
those splendid animals, toiling for us without a murmur, as long as
they could strain a muscle, never getting any thanks or even so much
as a kind word, daily writhing under the lash until the time came when
they could do no more and death freed them from their pangs--when I
think of how they were left behind, one by one, up there on those
desolate ice-fields, which had been witness to their faithfulness
and devotion, I have moments of bitter self-reproach. It took us two
alone such a long time to pitch the tent, feed the dogs, cook, etc.,
in the evening, and then break up again and get ready in the morning,
that the days never seemed long enough if we were to do proper day's
marches, and, besides, get the sleep we required at night. But when
the nights became so light, it was not so necessary to keep regular
hours any longer, and we started when we pleased, whether it was night
or day. We stopped, too, when it suited us, and took the sleep which
might be necessary for ourselves and the dogs. I tried to make it a
rule that our marches were to be of nine or ten hours' duration. In
the middle of the day we generally had a rest and something to eat--as
a rule, bread-and-butter, with a little pemmican or liver pâté. These
dinners were a bitter trial. We used to try and find a good sheltered
place, and sometimes even rolled ourselves up in our blankets, but
all the same the wind cut right through us as we sat on the sledges
eating our meal. Sometimes, again, we spread the sleeping-bag out on
the ice, took our food with us, and crept well in, but even then did
not succeed in thawing either it or our clothes. When this was too
much for us we walked up and down to keep ourselves warm, and ate our
food as we walked. Then came the no less bitter task of disentangling
the dogs' traces, and we were glad when we could get off again. In
the afternoon, as a rule, we each had a piece of meat-chocolate.

Most Arctic travellers who have gone sledge journeys have complained
of the so-called Arctic thirst, and it has been considered an almost
unavoidable evil in connection with a long journey across wastes of
snow. It is often increased, too, by the eating of snow. I had prepared
myself for this thirst, from which we had also suffered severely when
crossing Greenland, and had taken with me a couple of india-rubber
flasks, which we filled with water every morning from the cooker, and
which by carrying in the breast could be protected from the cold. To my
great astonishment, however, I soon discovered that the whole day would
often pass by without my as much as tasting the water in my flask. As
time went by, the less need did I feel to drink during the day, and at
last I gave up taking water with me altogether. If a passing feeling
of thirst made itself felt, a piece of fresh ice, of which, as a rule,
there was always some to be found, was sufficient to dispel it. [12]
The reason why we were spared this suffering, which has been one of
the greatest hardships of many sledge expeditions, must be attributed
in a great measure to our admirable cooking apparatus. By the help
of this we were able, with the consumption of a minimum of fuel,
to melt and boil so much water every morning that we could drink all
we wished. There was even some left over, as a rule, which had to be
thrown away. The same thing was generally the case in the evening.

"Friday, March 29th. We are grinding on, but very slowly. The ice is
only tolerable, and not what I expected from the beginning. There are
often great ridges of piled-up ice of dismal aspect, which take up a
great deal of time, as one must go on ahead to find a way, and, as a
rule, make a greater or less detour to get over them. In addition, the
dogs are growing rather slow and slack, and it is almost impossible to
get them on. And then this endless disentangling of the hauling-ropes,
with their infernal twists and knots, which get worse and worse to
undo! The dogs jump over and in between one another incessantly,
and no sooner has one carefully cleared the hauling-ropes than they
are twisted into a veritable skein again. Then one of the sledges is
stopped by a block of ice. The dogs howl impatiently to follow their
companions in front; then one bites through a trace and starts off
on his own account, perhaps followed by one or two others, and these
must be caught and the traces knotted; there is no time to splice them
properly, nor would it be a very congenial task in this cold. So we
go on when the ice is uneven, and every hour and a half, at least,
have to stop and disentangle the traces.

"We started yesterday about half-past eight in the morning, and stopped
about five in the afternoon. After dinner the northeasterly wind,
which we have had the whole time, suddenly became stronger, and the
sky overcast. We welcomed it with joy, for we saw in it the sign of
a probable change of weather and an end to this perpetual cold and
brightness. I do not think we deceived ourselves either. Yesterday
evening the temperature had risen to -29.2° Fahr. (-34° C.), and we
had the best night in the bag we have had for a long time. Just now,
as I am getting the breakfast ready, I see that it is clear again,
and the sun is shining through the tent wall.

"The ice we are now travelling over seems, on the whole, to be old;
but sometimes we come across tracts, of considerable width, of uneven
new ice, which must have been pressed up a considerable time. I cannot
account for it in any other way than by supposing it to be ice from
great open pools which must have formed here at one time. We have
traversed pools of this description, with level ice on them, several
times." That day I took a meridian observation, which, however, did
not make us farther north than 85° 30'. I could not understand this;
thought that we must be in latitude 86°, and, therefore, supposed
there must be something wrong with the observation.

"Saturday, March 30th. Yesterday was Tycho Brahe's day. At first
we found much uneven ice, and had to strike a devious route to
get through it, so that our day's march did not amount to much,
although we kept at it a long time. At the end of it, however, and
after considerable toil, we found ourselves on splendid flat ice,
more level than it had been for a long time. At last, then, we had
come on some more of the good old kind, and could not complain
of some rubble and snow-drifts here and there; but then we were
stopped by some ugly pressure-ridges of the worst kind, formed by the
packing of enormous blocks. The last ridge was the worst of all, and
before it yawned a crack in the thick ice about 12 feet deep. When
the first sledge was going over all the dogs fell in and had to be
hauled up again. One of them--'Klapperslangen'--slipped his harness
and ran away. As the next sledge was going over it fell in bodily,
but happily was not smashed to atoms, as it might have been. We had
to unload it entirely in order to get it up again, and then reload,
all of which took up a great deal of time. Then, too, the dogs had to
be thrown down and dragged up on the other side. With the third sledge
we managed better, and after we had gone a little way farther the
runaway dog came back. At last we reached a camping-ground, pitched
our tent, and found that the thermometer showed -45.4° Fahr. (-43°
C.). Disentangling dog-traces in this temperature with one's bare,
frost-bitten, almost skinless hands is desperate work. But finally we
were in our dear bag, with the 'Primus' singing cozily, when, to crown
our misfortunes, I discovered that it would not burn. I examined it
everywhere, but could find nothing wrong. Johansen had to turn out
and go and fetch the tools and a reserve burner while I studied the
cooker. At last I discovered that some ice had got in under the lid,
and this had caused a leakage. Finally we got it to light, and at 5
o'clock in the morning the pea-soup was ready, and very good it was. At
three in the afternoon I was up again cooking. Thank Heaven, it is warm
and comfortable in the bag, or this sort of life would be intolerable!

"Sunday, March 31st. Yesterday, at last, came the long-wished-for
change of weather, with southerly wind and rising temperature. Early
this morning the thermometer showed -22° Fahr. (-30° C.), regular
summer weather, in fact. It was, therefore, with lightened hearts
that we set off over good ice and with the wind at our backs. On
we went at a very fair pace, and everything was going well, when a
lane suddenly opened just in front of the first sledge. We managed
to get this over by the skin of our teeth; but just as we were going
to cross the lane again after the other sledges, a large piece of ice
broke under Johansen, and he fell in, wetting both legs--a deplorable
incident. While the lane was gradually opening more and more, I went
up and down it to find a way over, but without success. Here we were,
with one man and a sledge on one side, two sledges and a wet man
on the other, with an ever-widening lane between. The kayaks could
not be launched, as, through the frequent capsizing of the sledges,
they had got holes in them, and for the time being were useless. This
was a cheerful prospect for the night, I on one side with the tent,
Johansen, probably frozen stiff, on the other. At last, after a long
detour, I found a way over; and the sledges were conveyed across. It
was out of the question, however, to attempt to go on, as Johansen's
nether extremities were a mass of ice and his overalls so torn that
extensive repairs were necessary."



CHAPTER V

A HARD STRUGGLE


"Tuesday, April 3d. There are many different kinds of difficulty to
overcome on this journey, but the worst of all, perhaps, is getting
all the trifles done and starting off. In spite of my being up by
7 o'clock on Monday evening to do the cooking, it was nearly two
this morning before we got clear of our camping-ground. The load
on Johansen's sledge had to be relashed, as the contents of one
grip had been eaten up, and we had to put a sack of bread in its
place. Another grip had to be sewed together, as it was dripping
pemmican. Then the sledge from which the bread-sack had been taken
had to be lashed secure again, and while we had the ropes undone it
was just as well to get out a supply of potatoes. [13] During this
operation we discovered that there was a hole in the fish-flour sack,
which we tied up, but no sooner had we done so than we found another
large one which required sewing. When we came to pack the potato-sack,
this too had a hole in it, which we tied up, and so on. Then the dogs'
traces had to be disentangled; the whole thing was in an inextricable
muddle, and the knots and twists in the icy, frozen rope got worse and
worse to deal with. Johansen made haste and patched his trousers before
breakfast. The south wind had become what on board the Fram we should
have called a 'mill breeze' (i.e., 19 to 23 feet in the second); and,
with this at our back, we started off in driving snow. Everything went
splendidly at first, but then came one pressure-ridge after another,
and each one was worse than the last. We had a long halt for dinner at
eight or nine in the morning, after having chosen ourselves a sheltered
place in the lee of a ridge. We spread out the sleeping-bag, crept
down into it with our food, and so tired was I that I went to sleep
with it in my hand. I dreamed I was in Norway, and on a visit to some
people I had only seen once in my life before. It was Christmas-day,
and I was shown into a great empty room, where we were intended to
dine. It was very cold in it, and I shivered, but there were already
some hot dishes steaming on the table, and a beautiful fat goose. How
unspeakably did I look forward to that goose! Then some other visitors
began to arrive; I could see them through the window, and was just
going out to meet them when I stumbled into deep snow. How it all
happened, in the middle of the dining-room floor, I know not. The
host laughed in an amused way, and--I woke up and found myself
shivering in a sleeping-bag on the drift-ice in the far north. Oh,
how miserable I felt! We got up, packed our things silently together,
and started off. Not until 4 o'clock that afternoon did we stop,
but everything was dull and cheerless, and it was long before I got
over my disappointment. What would I not have given for that dinner,
or for one hour in the room, cold as it was!

"The ridges and the lanes which had frozen together again, with rubble
on either side, became worse and worse. Making one's way through
these new ridges is desperate work. One cannot use snow-shoes,
as there is too little snow between the piled-up blocks of ice,
and one must wade along without them. It is also impossible to see
anything in this thick weather--everything is white--irregularities
and holes; and the spaces between the blocks are covered with a thin,
deceptive layer of snow, which lets one crashing through into cracks
and pitfalls, so that one is lucky to get off without a broken leg. It
is necessary to go long distances on ahead in order to find a way;
sometimes one must search in one direction, sometimes in another, and
then back again to fetch the sledges, with the result that the same
ground is gone over many times. Yesterday, when we stopped, I really
was done. The worst of it all, though, was that when we finally came
to a standstill we had been on the move so long that it was too late
to wind up our watches. Johansen's had stopped altogether; mine was
ticking, and happily still going when I wound it up, so I hope that it
is all right. Twelve midday, -24.6° Fahr. (-31.5° C). Clear weather,
southeasterly wind (13 feet in the second).

"The ice seems to be getting worse and worse, and I am beginning to
have doubts as to the wisdom of keeping northward too long.

"Wednesday, April 3d. Got under way yesterday about three in the
afternoon. The snow was in first-rate condition after the southeast
wind, which continued blowing till late in the day. The ice was
tolerably passable, and everything looked more promising; the weather
was fine, and we made good progress. But after several level tracts
with old humpy ice came some very uneven ones, intersected by lanes
and pressure-ridges as usual. Matters did not grow any better as time
went on, and at midnight or soon after we were stopped by some bad
ice and a newly frozen lane which would not bear. As we should have
had to make a long detour, we encamped, and 'Russen' was killed (this
was the second dog to go). The meat was divided into 26 portions,
but 8 dogs refused it, and had to be given pemmican. The ice ahead
does not look inviting. These ridges are enough to make one despair,
and there seems to be no prospect of things bettering. I turned
out at midday and took a meridian observation, which makes us in
85° 59' N. It is astonishing that we have not got farther; we seem
to toil all we can, but without much progress. Beginning to doubt
seriously of the advisability of continuing northward much longer. It
is three times as far to Franz Josef Land as the distance we have
now come. How may the ice be in that direction? We can hardly count
on its being better than here, or our progress quicker. Then, too,
the shape and extent of Franz Josef Land are unknown, and may cause
us considerable delay, and perhaps we shall not be able to find any
game just at once. I have long seen that it is impossible to reach
the Pole itself or its immediate vicinity over such ice as this and
with these dogs. If only we had more of them! What would I not give
now to have the Olenek dogs? We must turn, sooner or later. But
as it is only a question of time, could we not turn it to better
account in Franz Josef Land than by travelling over this drift-ice,
which we have now had a good opportunity of learning to know? In all
probability it will be exactly the same right to the Pole. We cannot
hope to reach any considerable distance higher before time compels us
to turn. We certainly ought not to wait much longer. Twelve midday,
-20.8° Fahr. (-29.4° C), clear weather, 3 feet wind from east; twelve
midnight, -29.2° Fahr. (-34° C), clear and still."

It became more and more of a riddle to me that we did not make
greater progress northward. I kept on calculating and adding up our
marches as we went along, but always with the same result; that is
to say, provided only the ice were still, we must be far above the
eighty-sixth parallel. It was becoming only too clear to me, however,
that the ice was moving southward, and that in its capricious drift,
at the mercy of wind and current, we had our worst enemy to combat.

"Friday, April 5th. Began our march at three yesterday morning. The
ice, however, was bad, with lanes and ridges, so that our progress
was but little. These lanes, with rubble thrown up on each side,
are our despair. It is like driving over a tract of rocks, and delays
us terribly. First I must go on ahead to find a way, and then get my
sledge through; then, perhaps, by way of a change, one falls into the
water; yesterday, I fell through twice. If I work hard in finding a
way and guiding my sledge over rough places, Johansen is no better off,
with his two sledges to look after. It is a tough job to get even one
of them over the rubble, to say nothing of the ridges; but he is a
plucky fellow, and no mistake, and never gives in. Yesterday he fell
into the water again in crossing a lane, and got wet up to his knees. I
had gone over on my snow-shoes shortly before and did not notice that
the ice was weak. He came afterwards without snow-shoes, walking
beside one of the sledges, when suddenly the ice gave, and he fell
through. Happily he managed to catch hold of the sledge, and the dogs,
which did not stop, pulled him up again. These baths are not an unmixed
pleasure, now that there is no possibility of drying or changing one's
clothes, and one must wear a chain mail of ice until they thaw and
dry on the body, which takes some time in this temperature. I took
an observation for longitude and a magnetic observation yesterday
morning, and have spent the whole forenoon to-day in calculations
(inside the bag) to find out our exact position. I find our latitude
yesterday was 86° 2.8' N. This is very little, but what can we do when
the ice is what it is? And these dogs cannot work harder than they do,
poor things. I sigh for the sledge-dogs from the Olenek daily now. The
longitude for yesterday was 98° 47.15'', variation 44.4°.

"I begin to think more and more that we ought to turn back before
the time we originally fixed. [14] It is probably 350 miles or so
to Petermann's Land (in point of fact it was about 450 miles to
Cape Fligely); but it will probably take us all we know to get over
them. The question resolves itself into this: Ought we not, at any
rate, to reach 87° N.? But I doubt whether we can manage it if the
ice does not improve.

"Saturday, April 6th. Two A.M., -11.4° Fahr. (-24.2° C). The ice grew
worse and worse. Yesterday it brought me to the verge of despair,
and when we stopped this morning I had almost decided to turn back. I
will go on one day longer, however, to see if the ice is really as
bad farther northward as it appears to be from the ridge, 30 feet in
height, where we are encamped. We hardly made 4 miles yesterday. Lanes,
ridges, and endless rough ice, it looks like an endless moraine
of ice-blocks; and this continual lifting of the sledges over every
irregularity is enough to tire out giants. Curious this rubble-ice. For
the most part it is not so very massive, and seems as if it had been
forced up somewhat recently, for it is incompletely covered with thin,
loose snow, through which one falls suddenly up to one's middle. And
thus it extends mile after mile northward, while every now and then
there are old floes, with mounds that have been rounded off by the
action of the sun in the summer--often very massive ice.

"I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that we are not doing any good
here. We shall not be able to get much farther north, and it will be
slow work indeed if there be much more of this sort of ice towards
Franz Josef Land. On the other hand, we should be able to make much
better use of our time there, if we should have any over. 8.30 P.M.,
-29.2° Fahr. (-34° C.).

"Monday, April 8th. No; the ice grew worse and worse, and we got no
way. Ridge after ridge, and nothing but rubble to travel over. We made
a start at 2 o'clock or so this morning, and kept at it as long as we
could, lifting the sledges all the time; but it grew too bad at last. I
went on a good way ahead on snowshoes, but saw no reasonable prospect
of advance, and from the highest hummocks only the same kind of ice
was to be seen. It was a veritable chaos of ice-blocks, stretching
as far as the horizon. There is not much sense in keeping on longer;
we are sacrificing valuable time and doing little. If there be much
more such ice between here and Franz Josef Land, we shall, indeed,
want all the time we have.

"I therefore determined to stop, and shape our course for Cape Fligely.

"On this northernmost camping-ground we indulged in a banquet,
consisting of lobscouse, bread-and-butter, dry chocolate, stewed
'tytlebær,' or red whortleberries, and our hot whey drink, and
then, with a delightful and unfamiliar feeling of repletion, crept
into the dear bag, our best friend. I took a meridian observation
yesterday, by which I see that we should be in latitude 86° 10'
N., or thereabouts. [15] This morning I took an observation for
longitude. At 8.30 A.M., -25.6° Fahr. (-32° C.).

"Tuesday, April 9th. Yesterday's was our first march homeward. We
expected the same impracticable ice, but, to our amazement, had not
gone far before we came on tolerably good ground, which improved
steadily, and, with only a few stoppages, we kept at it till this
morning. We came upon ridges, to be sure, but they always allowed
themselves to be negotiated pretty easily, and we did well. Started
yesterday about two in the afternoon, and kept going until one this
morning.

"Thursday, April 11th. Better and better. Found nothing but beautiful
level tracks of ice yesterday, with a few ridges, which were easy
to get over, and some lanes, with young ice on, which gave us rather
more trouble. They ran, however, about in our direction (our course
is now the magnetic S. 22° W., or about the true W.S.W.), and we
could go alongside them. At last, however, we had to make a crossing,
and accomplished it successfully, although the ice bent under us and
our sledges more than was desirable. Late in the afternoon we came
across a channel, which we proposed to cross in the same way. We
reached the other side with the first sledge safely enough, but not
so with the other. Hardly had the leaders of the team got out to the
dangerous place where the ice was thinnest, and where some water had
come up on to it, when they stopped and warily dipped their paws in
the water. Then through went one of them, splashing and struggling to
get out. The ice began to sink under the weight of the other dogs and
the sledge, and the water came flowing up. I dragged dogs and sledge
back as quickly as possible, and succeeded in driving them all on to
the firm ice again in safety. We tried once again at another place, I
running over first on snow-shoes and calling to the dogs, and Johansen
pushing behind, but the result was no better than the first time, as
'Suggen' fell in, and we had to go back. Only after a long detour,
and very much fagged, did we finally succeed in getting the last
two sledges over. We were lucky in finding a good camping-place,
and had the warmest night and the most comfortable (I might almost
say cozy) morning--spent, be it said, in repairs--that we have had
on the trip. I think we did the longest day's march yesterday that
we have yet achieved--about 15 miles. Two in the afternoon, -17.6°
Fahr. (-27.6° C.).

"Saturday, April 13th. We have traversed nothing but good ice for
three days. If this goes on, the return journey will be quicker than I
thought. I do not understand this sudden change in the nature of the
ice. Can it be that we are travelling in the same direction with the
trend of the ridges and irregularities, so that now we go along between
them instead of having to make our way over them? The lanes we have
come across seem all to point to this; they follow our course pretty
closely. We had the misfortune yesterday to let our watches run down;
the time between our getting into the bag on the previous night and
encamping yesterday was too long. Of course we wound them up again,
but the only thing I can now do to find Greenwich mean time is take a
time-observation and an observation for latitude, and then estimate
the approximate distance from our turning-point on April 8th, when
I took the last observation for longitude. By this means the error
will hardly be great.

"I conclude that we have not gone less than 14 miles a day on an
average the last three days, and have consequently advanced 40 or
more miles in a direction S. 22° W. (magnetic). When we stopped
here yesterday 'Barbara' was killed. These slaughterings are not
very pleasant episodes. Clear weather; at 6.30 this morning -22°
Fahr. (-30° C.); wind south (6 to 9 feet).

"April 14th. Easter-day. We were unfortunate with lanes yesterday,
and they forced us considerably out of our course. We were stopped at
last by a particularly awkward one, and after I had gone alongside it
to find a crossing for some distance without success, I thought we
had better, in the circumstances, pitch our tent and have a festive
Easter-eve. In addition, I wished to reckon out our latitude,
longitude, our observation for time, and our variation; it was a
question of getting the right time again as quickly as possible. The
tent up, and Johansen attending to the dogs, I crept into the bag;
but lying thawing in this frozen receptacle, with frozen clothes and
shoes, and simultaneously working out an observation and looking up
logarithms, with tender, frost-bitten fingers, is not pleasurable,
even if the temperature be only -22° Fahr. It is slow work, and
Easter-day has had to be devoted to the rest of the calculation,
so that we shall not get off before this evening. Meanwhile we had a
festive Easter-eve and regaled ourselves with the following delicacies:
hot whey and water, fish au gratin, stewed red whortleberries, and
lime-juice grog (i.e., lime-juice tablets and a little sugar dissolved
in hot water). Simply a splendid dinner; and, having feasted our fill,
we at last, at 2 o'clock, crept in under the cover.

"I have calculated our previous latitudes and longitudes over again
to see if I can discover any mistake in them. I find that we should
yesterday have come farther south than 86° 5.3' N.; but, according
to our reckoning, assuming that we covered 50 miles during the three
days, we should have come down to 85 degrees and 50 odd minutes. I
cannot explain it in any other manner than by the surmise that we
have been drifting rapidly northward, which is very good for the Fram,
but less so for us. The wind has been southerly the last few days. I
assume that we are now in longitude 86° E., and have reckoned the
present reading of our watches accordingly. [16] The variation here I
find to be 42.5°. Yesterday we steered S. 10° W. (magnetic); to-day
I will keep S. 5° W., and to-morrow due south. By way of a change
to-day the sky has been overcast; but this evening, when we partook
of our second breakfast, the sun was shining cheerily in through the
tent-wall. Johansen has patched clothes to-day, while I have made
calculations and pricked out the courses. So mild and balmy it has
not been before. 10 P. M. -14° Fahr. (-25.6° C.).

"Tuesday, April 16th. As we were about to start off at 1 o'clock
yesterday morning, 'Baro' sneaked away before we could harness him;
he had seen a couple of the other dogs being put to, and knew what
was coming. As I did not wish to lose the dog--he was the best I
had in my team--this caused some delay. I called and called, and
went peering round the hummocks in search of him, but saw nothing,
only the ice-pack, ridge upon ridge disappearing towards the horizon,
and farthest north the midnight sun shining over all. The world of
ice was dreaming in the bright, cool morning light. We had to leave
without the dog, but, to my great delight, I soon caught sight of
him far behind us in our wake; I thought I had seen his good face
for the last time. He was evidently ashamed of himself, and came and
stood quite still, looking up at me imploringly when I took him and
harnessed him. I had meant to whip the dog, but his eyes disarmed me.

"We found good passable ice, if not always quite flat, and made
satisfactory progress. Some ridges, however, forced us west of
our course. Later on in the morning I discovered that I had left
my compass behind at some place or other where I had had it out
to take our bearings. It could not be dispensed with, so I had to
return and look for it. I found it, too, but it was a hard pull-back,
and on the way I was inconvenienced for the first time by the heat;
the sun scorched quite unpleasantly. When I at last got back to the
sledges I felt rather slack; Johansen was sitting on the kayak fast
asleep, basking in the sun. Then on again, but the light and warmth
made us drowsy and slack, and, try as we would, we seemed to lag;
so at ten in the forenoon we decided to camp, and I was not a little
surprised, when I took the meteorological observation, to find that
the swing-thermometer showed -15.2° Fahr. (-26.2° C.). The tent was
accordingly pitched in the broiling sun, and nice and warm it soon
was inside. We had a comfortable Easter dinner, which did service for
both Easter-day and Easter-Monday. I reckon the distances we covered
on Easter-eve and yesterday at about 15 miles, and we should thus be
altogether 60 miles on our way home.

"Wednesday, April 17th. -18.4° Fahr. (-28° C.). Yesterday, without
doubt, we did our longest day's march. We began at half-past seven in
the morning, and ended at about nine at night, with a couple of hours'
rest in the bag at dinner-time. The ice was what I should previously
have called anything but good; it was throughout extremely uneven,
with pressed-up, rather new ice, and older, rounded-off ridges. There
were ridges here and there, but progress was possible everywhere,
and by lanes, happily, we were not hindered. The snow was rather
loose between all the irregularities of the ice; but the dogs hauled
alone everywhere, and there is no cause to complain of them. The ice
we are now stopping in seems to me to be something like that we had
around the Fram. We have about got down to the region where she is
drifting. I am certain we did 20 miles yesterday, and the distance
homeward should now be altogether 368 miles.

"The weather is glorious nowadays, not so cold as to inconvenience
one, and continual clear sunshine, without any wind to signify. There
is remarkable equableness and stagnancy in the atmosphere up here,
I think. We have travelled over this ice for upward of a month now,
and not once have we been stopped on account of bad weather--the
same bright sunshine the whole time, with the exception of a couple
of days, and even then the sun came out. Existence becomes more and
more enjoyable; the cold is gone, and we are pressing forward towards
land and summer. It is no trial now to turn out in the mornings,
with a good day's march before one, and cook, and lie snug and warm
in the bag and dream of the happy future when we get home. Home...?

"Have been engaged on an extensive sartorial undertaking to-day;
my trousers were getting the worse for wear. It seems quite mild
now to sit and sew in -18° Fahr. in comparison with -40° Fahr. Then
certainly it was not enjoyable to ply one's needle.

"Friday, April 19th. We now have provender for the dogs for two or
three days more, but I think of saving it a little longer and having
the worst dogs eaten first. Yesterday 'Perpetuum' was killed. This
killing of the animals, especially the actual slaughtering, is a
horrible affair. We have hitherto stuck them with a knife, but it
was not very satisfactory. Yesterday, however, we determined to try
a new method--strangulation. According to our usual custom, we led
the dog away behind a hummock, so that the others should not know
what was going on. Then we put a rope round the animal's neck, and
each pulled with all his might, but without effect, and at last we
could do no more. Our hands were losing all sense of feeling in the
cold, and there was nothing for it but to use the knife. Oh, it was
horrible! Naturally, to shoot them would be the most convenient and
merciful way, but we are loath to expend our precious ammunition on
them; the time may come when we shall need it sorely.

"The observations yesterday show that we have got down to 85° 37.8'
N., and the longitude should be 79° 26' E. This tallies well with
our reckoning. We have gone 50 miles or so since the last observation
(April 13th), just what I had assumed beforehand.

"Still the same brilliant sunshine day and night. Yesterday the wind
from the north freshened, and is still blowing to-day, but does not
trouble us much, as it is behind us. The temperature, which now keeps
from about 4° to 22° below zero (Fahr.), can only be described as
agreeable. This is undoubtedly fortunate for us; if it were warmer
the lanes would keep open a longer time. My greatest desire now is
to get under land before the lanes become too bad. What we shall do
then must be decided by circumstances.

"Sunday, April 21st. At 4 o'clock yesterday we got under way. During
the night we stopped to have something to eat. These halts for dinner,
when we take our food and crawl well down to the bottom of the bag,
where it is warm and comfortable, are unusually cozy. After a good
nap we set off again, but were soon stopped by the ugliest lane we
have yet come across. I set off along it to find a passage, but only
found myself going through bad rubble. The lane was everywhere equally
broad and uncompromising, equally full of aggregated blocks and brash,
testifying clearly to the manner in which, during a long period,
the ice here has been in motion and been crushed and disintegrated by
continual pressure. This was apparent, too, in numerous new ridges of
rubble and hummocky ice, and the cracks running in all directions. I
finally found a crossing, but when, after a long circuit, I had
conveyed the caravan there, it had changed in the interval, and I
did not think it advisable to make the attempt. But though I went
'farther than far,' as we say, I only found the same abominable lane,
full of lumps of ice, grinning at one, and high pressure-ridges on
each side. Things were becoming worse and worse. In several cases
these lumps of ice were, I noticed, intermixed with earthy matter. In
one place the whole floe, from which blocks had been pressed up into a
ridge, was entirely dark-brown in color, but whether this was from mud
or from organic matter I did not get near enough to determine. The
ridges were fairly high in some places, and reached a height of
25 feet or so. I had a good opportunity here of observing how they
assume forms like ice-mountains with high, straight sides, caused by
the splitting of old ridges transversely in several directions. I
have often on this journey seen massive high hummocks with similar
square sides, and of great circumference, sometimes quite resembling
snow-covered islands. They are of 'palæocrystic ice,' as good as any
one can wish. [17]

"I was constrained at last to return with my mission
unaccomplished. Nearly the most annoying thing about it was that
on the other side of the lane I could see fine flat ice stretching
southward--and now to be obliged to camp here and wait! I had, however,
already possessed my soul in patience, when, on coming back to our
original stopping-place, I found a tolerably good crossing close
by it. We eventually got to the other side, with the ice grinding
under our feet the while, and by that time it was 6 o'clock in the
morning. We kept at it a little while longer over beautiful flat ice,
but the dogs were tired, and it was nearly 48 hours since they had
been fed. As we were hastening along we suddenly came across an immense
piece of timber sticking up obliquely from the surface of the ice. It
was Siberian larch, as far as I could make out, and probably raised in
this manner through pressure long ago. Many a good meal could we have
cooked with it had we been able to drag it with us, but it was too
heavy. We marked it 'F. N., H. J., 85° 30' N.,' and went on our way.

"Plains of ice still before us. I am looking forward to getting
under way. Gliding over this flat surface on one's snow-shoes almost
reaches the ideal; land and home are nigher, and as one goes along
one's thoughts fly southward to everything that is beautiful. Six in
the morning, -22° Fahr. (-30° C.).

"Monday, April 22d. If we have made good progress the previous days,
yesterday simply outdid itself. I think I may reckon our day's march
at 25 miles, but, for the sake of certainty, lump the two last days
together and put them down at 40 miles. The dogs, though, are beginning
to get tired; it is approaching the time for us to camp. They are
impatient for food, and, grown more and more greedy for fresh dog's
flesh, throw themselves on it like wolves as soon as a smoking piece,
with hair and all on, is thrown to them. 'Kvik' and 'Barnet' only
still keep back as long as the flesh is warm, but let it become frozen,
and they eat it voraciously. Twelve midnight, -27.8° Fahr. (-33.3° C.).

"Friday, April 26th. -24.7° Fahr. (-31.5° C.). Minimum temperature,
-32° Fahr. (-35.7° C.). I was not a little surprised yesterday
morning when I suddenly saw the track of an animal in the snow. It
was that of a fox, came about W. S. W. true, and went in an easterly
direction. The trail was quite fresh. What in the world was that fox
doing up here? There were also unequivocal signs that it had not been
entirely without food. Were we in the vicinity of land? Involuntarily
I looked round for it, but the weather was thick all day yesterday,
and we might have been near it without seeing it. It is just as
probable, however, that this fox was following up some bear. In
any case, a warm-blooded mammal in the eighty-fifth parallel! We
had not gone far when we came across another fox-track; it went
in about the same direction as the other, and followed the trend
of the lane which had stopped us, and by which we had been obliged
to camp. It is incomprehensible what these animals live on up here,
but presumably they are able to snap up some crustacean in the open
waterways. But why do they leave the coasts? That is what puzzles
me most. Can they have gone astray? There seems little probability
of that. I am eager to see if we may not come across the trail of a
bear to-day. It would be quite a pleasure, and it would seem as if we
were getting nearer inhabited regions again. I have just pricked out
our course on the chart according to our bearings, calculating that
we have gone 69 miles in the four days since our last observation,
and I do not think this can be excessive. According to this, it should
not be much more than 138 miles to Petermann's Land, provided it lie
about where Payer determined it. I should have taken an observation
yesterday, but it was misty.

"At the end of our day, yesterday, we went across many lanes and
piled-up ridges; in one of the latter, which appeared to be quite
new, immense pieces of fresh-water ice had been pressed up. They were
closely intermixed with clay and gravel, the result of infiltration,
so that at a distance the blocks looked dark-brown, and might easily
be taken for stone; in fact, I really thought they were stone. I can
only imagine that this ice is river ice, probably from Siberia. I
often saw huge pieces of fresh-water ice of this kind farther north,
and even in latitude 86° there was clay on the ice.

"Sunday, April 28th. We made good way yesterday, presumably 20
miles. We began our march about half-past three in the afternoon the
day before yesterday, and kept at it till yesterday morning. Land
is drawing nigh, and the exciting time beginning, when we may expect
to see something on the horizon. Oh, how I am longing for land, for
something under one's feet that is not ice and snow; not to speak
of something to rest one's eyes on. Another fox-track yesterday; it
went in about the same direction as the previous ones. Later in the
day 'Gulen' gave in; it seemed to be a case of complete exhaustion,
he could hardly stand on his legs, reeled over, and when we placed
him on one of the loads he lay quite still without moving. We had
already decided to kill him that day. Poor beast; faithfully he worked
for us, good-tempered and willing to the end, and then, for thanks,
when he could do no more, to be killed for provender! He was born on
the Fram on December 13, 1893, and, true child of the polar night,
never saw aught but ice and snow.

"Monday, April 29th, -4°Fahr. (-20° C.). We had not gone far yesterday
when we were stopped by open water--a broad pool or lane which lay
almost straight across our course. We worked westward alongside it for
some distance, until it suddenly began to close violently together
at a place where it was comparatively narrow. In a few minutes the
ice was towering above us, and we got over by means of the noisy
pressure-ridge, which was thundering and crashing under our feet. It
was a case of bestirring ourselves and driving dogs and sledges
quickly over if we did not wish to get jammed between the rolling
blocks of ice. This ridge nearly swallowed up Johansen's snow-shoes,
which had been left behind for a minute while we got the last sledge
over. When at last we got to the other side of the lane the day was
far spent, and such work naturally deserved reward in the shape of
an extra ration of meat-chocolate.

"Annoying as it is to be stopped in the midst of beautiful flat ice
by a lane, when one is longing to get on, still, undeniably, it is a
wonderful feeling to see open water spread out in front of one, and the
sun playing on the light ripples caused by the wind. Fancy open water
again, and glittering waves, after such a long time. One's thoughts fly
back to home and summer. I scanned in vain to see if a seal's head were
not visible above the surface, or a bear along the side. The dogs are
beginning now to be very much reduced in strength and are difficult
to urge on. 'Barnet' was quite done (he was killed this evening),
and several of the others are very jaded. Even 'Baro,' my best dog,
is beginning to cool in his zeal, to say nothing of 'Kvik'; perhaps I
ought to cater a little more generously for them. The wind which was
about southeast in the morning subsequently went over to an easterly
direction, and I expect, to use Pettersen's customary expression on
board for a good southeaster which drove us northward to some purpose,
'a regular devil of a hiding.' I am only surprised the temperature
still seems low. I had noticed a thick bank of clouds for a long time
along the horizon in the south and southwest, and thought that this
must mean land. It now began to grow higher and come nearer us in
a suspicious manner. When, after having had dinner, we crept out of
the bag, we saw that the sky was entirely clouded over; and that the
'devil of a hiding' had come we felt when we went on.

"I saw another fox-track yesterday; it was almost effaced by the
snow, but went in about the same direction as the others. This is the
fourth we have come across, and seeing so many of them make me begin
to believe seriously in the proximity of land. Yes, I expect to see
it every minute; perhaps, though, it will be some days yet. [18]

"Tuesday, April 30th. -6.7° Fahr. (-21.4° C.). Yesterday, in
spite of everything, was a bad day. It began well, with brilliant
sunshine; was warm (4° below zero Fahr.), and there, bathed in the
slumbering sunlight and alluring us on, were stretches of beautiful
flat ice. Everything tended to predict a good day's work; but, alas,
who could see the ugly dark cracks which ran right across our course,
and which were destined to make life a burden to us. The wind had
packed the snow well together, and made the surface firm and good,
so that we made rapid progress; but we had not gone far before we were
stopped by a lane of entirely open water which stretched right across
our course. After following it some little distance we eventually
found a way across. [19] Not long afterwards we came across another
lane running in about the same direction. After a fairly long detour
we got safely over this too, with the minor misfortune that three dogs
fell into the water. A third lane we also got over, but the fourth was
too much for us altogether. It was broad, and we followed it a long way
in a westerly direction, but without finding a suitable crossing. Then
I continued some three or four miles alone to scan the country, but
as I could see no chance of getting over, I returned to Johansen and
the sledges. It is a fruitless task, this following a lane running
at right angles to one's course. Better to camp and make one's self
some good pemmican soup, à la Julienne (it was highly delectable),
and then give one's self up to sleep, in the hope of better things
in the future. Either the lanes will close together again or they
will freeze, now that it is tolerably cold. The weather is quiet, so
it is to be hoped new ones will not form. [20] If it keep like this
during the days we require to reach land, it will be a good thing;
when once we are on land as many lanes may form as they like. Should
matters become too bad before that time, there is nothing for us to
do but to mend and patch our kayaks. As they are now they will not
float. The continual capsizing of the sledges has cut holes in many
places, and they would fill the instant they were put on the water."

I ought perhaps to explain here that I had deferred mending the kayaks
as long as possible. This was partly because the work would take a
long time, and the days were precious, now that it was a question
of gaining land before the ice became impracticable; partly, too,
because, in the temperature we now had, it would have been difficult
to do the work properly; and also because the chances were that they
would soon get holes in them again from being upset. In addition to
this I was undesirous of crossing lanes at present; they were still
covered with young ice, which it would have been difficult to break
through, even had it been possible to protect the bows of the kayaks
from being cut, by means of a plate of German silver and some extra
canvas. As I have mentioned before, not the least drawback was the
fact that any water entering the kayaks would immediately have frozen
and have been impossible to remove, thus increasing the weight of our
loads at each crossing. It was undoubtedly a better plan to go round,
even if the way was long, than to incur the hinderances and casualties
that the other alternative would, most probably, have occasioned.

To continue quoting from my diary for the same day, I write: "The
dogs were at one of our precious pemmican grips last night; they
have torn off a corner of the bag and eaten some of its contents,
but happily not much. We have been fortunate, inasmuch as they have
let the provisions alone hitherto; but now hunger is becoming too
much for them, and nature is stronger than discipline.

"Wednesday, May 1st. -12.6° Fahr. (-24.8° C.). I 'half-soled' my
Finn shoes to-day with sail-cloth, so I hope they will last a while;
I feel as if I could hold my own again now. I have two pairs of Finn
shoes, so that for once one pair can be dried in the sun. They have
been wet the whole way, and it has made them the worse for wear."

The ice was now growing very bad again and our marches shorter. On
Friday, May 3d, I write in my diary: "We did not do so good a day's
work yesterday as we expected, although we made some progress. The
ice was flat and the going good at one time, and we kept steadily at
it for four hours or so; but then came several reaches with lanes
and rubble-ice, which, however, we managed to pull through, though
the ice was often packing under our feet. By degrees the wind from
the southeast increased, and while we were having dinner it veered
round to an easterly direction and became rather strong. The ice,
too, grew worse, with channels and rubble, and when the wind reached
a velocity of 29 to 33 feet in the second, and a driving snow-storm
set in, completely obliterating everything around us, stumbling
along through it all became anything but attractive. After being
delayed several times by newly formed rubble, I saw that the only
sensible thing to be done was to camp, if we could find a sheltered
spot. This was easier said than done, as the weather was so thick we
could hardly see anything; but at last we found a suitable place, and,
well content to be under shelter, ate our 'fiskegratin,' and crept into
the bag, while the wind rattled the tent walls and made drifts round
us outside. We had been constrained to pitch our tent close beside a
new ridge, which was hardly desirable, as packing might take place,
but we had no choice; it was the only lee to be found. Before I went
to sleep the ice under us began to creak, and soon the pressure-ridge
behind us was packing with the well-known jerks. I lay listening
and wondering whether it would be better for us to turn out before
the ice-blocks came tumbling on to us, but as I lay listening went
fast asleep and dreamed about an earthquake. When I woke up again,
some hours afterwards, everything was quiet except the wind, which
howled and rattled at the tent walls, lashing the snow up against them.

"Yesterday evening 'Potifar' was killed. We have now sixteen dogs
left; the numbers are diminishing horribly, and it is still so far
to land. If only we were there!

"Saturday, May 4th. Did fourteen miles yesterday; but the lanes
become worse and worse. When we got under way in the afternoon--after
having reloaded my sledge and kayak, and readjusted the dunnage
under Johansen's kayak--the wind had fallen, and it was snowing
quietly and silently, with big flakes, just as it does on a winter
day at home. It was bad in one way, however, as in such a light it
is difficult to see if the lay of the ground is against or with us;
but the going was fairly good, and we made progress. It was heavenly
to work in this mild weather, + 11.8° Fahr. (-11.3° C.), and be able
to use one's frost-bitten hands bare, without suffering torture untold
every time they came in contact with anything.

"Our life, however, was soon embittered by open water-ways. By means
of a circuitous route, and the expenditure of much valuable time,
we at last succeeded in getting over them. Then came long stretches
of good ice, and we went cheerfully on our way; by-and-bye, too,
the sun peeped out. It is wonderful what such encouragement does for
one. A little while ago, when I was ploughing alongside a horrible
lane, through rubble and over ridges, without a sign of any means
of getting on, I was ready to sink from exhaustion at every step;
no pleasure then could compare with that of being able to crawl into
the bag; and now, when luck again sheds her smiles on one and progress
is before one, all weariness is suddenly dissipated.

"During the night the ice began to be bad in earnest, lane after
lane, the one worse than the other, and they were only overcome by
deviations and intricate by-ways. It was terrible work, and when the
wind increased to a good 'mill-breeze' matters became desperate. This
is indeed toil without ceasing; what would I not give to have land,
to have a certain way before me, to be able to reckon on a certain
day's march, and be free from this never-ending anxiety and uncertainty
about the lanes. Nobody can tell how much trouble they may yet cause
us, and what adversities we may have to go through before we reach
land; and meanwhile the dogs are diminishing steadily. They haul all
they can, poor things, but what good does it do? I am so tired that I
stagger on my snow-shoes, and when I fall down only wish to lie there
to save myself the trouble of getting up again. But everything changes,
and we shall get to land in time.

"At five this morning we came to a broad lane, and as it was almost
impossible to get the dogs on any farther, we camped. Once well down
in the bag with a pot of savory-smelling lobscouse in front of one,
a feeling of well-being is the result, which neither lanes nor anything
else can disturb.

"The ice we have gone through has, on the whole, been flat, with
the exception of the newly formed lanes and rubble. These appear,
however, for the most part in limited stretches, with extensive
flat ice between, as yesterday. All the channels seem in the main to
go in the same direction--about straight across our course, with a
little deflection towards the southwest. They run about northeast
to west-southwest (by compass). This morning the temperature had
again sunk to +0.1° Fahr. (-17.8° C.), after having been up at +12.2°
Fahr. (-11° C.), and therefore I am still in hopes that the water may
freeze within a reasonable time. Perhaps it is wrong of us to curse
this wind, for on board the Fram they are rejoicing that a southeaster
has at last sprung up. However, in spite of our maledictions, I am
really glad for their sake, although I could wish it deferred till
we reach land.

"Wednesday, May 8th. The lanes still appear regularly in certain
places--as a rule, where the ice is very uneven, and where there are
old and new ridges alternately; between these places there are long,
flat stretches of ice without lanes. These are often perfectly even,
almost like 'inland ice.' The direction of the lanes is, as before,
very often athwart our course, or a little more southwesterly. Others,
again, seem to go in about the same direction as we do. This ice is
extraordinary; it seems to become more and more even as we approach
land, instead of the contrary, as we expected. If it would only keep
so! It is considerably flatter than it was about the Fram, it seems to
me. There are no really impracticable places, and the irregularities
there are seen to be of small dimensions--rubble-ice, and so forth;
no huge mounds and ridges, as we had farther north. Some of the lanes
here are narrow, and so far new that the water was only covered with
brash. This can be deceptive enough; it appears to be even ice, but
thrust one's staff in, and it goes right through and into the water.

"This morning I made out our latitude and longitude. The former was
(Sunday, May 5th) 84° 31' N., and the latter 66° 15' E. We were not
so far south as I expected, but considerably farther west. It is the
drift which has put us back and westward. I shall, therefore, for the
future, steer a more southerly course than before, about due south
(true), as we are still drifting westward, and, above everything,
I am afraid of getting too far in that direction. It is to be hoped
that we shall soon have land in sight, and we shall then know where
to steer. We undoubtedly ought to be there now.

"No dog was killed yesterday, as there were two-thirds left of 'Ulenka'
from the previous day, which provided an abundant repast. I now only
intend to slaughter one every other day, and perhaps we shall soon
come across a bear.

"Thursday, May 9th. +9° Fahr. (-13.3° C.). Yesterday was a fairly
good day. The ice was certainly not first-rate, rather rubbly, and the
going heavy, but all the same we are making steady way forward. There
were long, flat stretches every now and then. The weather had become
quite fine when we got under way, about 3 o'clock this morning. The sun
was shining through light cumulus clouds. It was hard work, however,
making head against the ice, and soon the fog came down with the wind,
which still blew from the same direction (N.N.E.).

"The work of hauling becomes heavier and heavier for the dogs,
in proportion as their numbers diminished. The wooden runners, too
(the under-runners), do not seem to ride well. I have long thought
of taking them off, and to-day really decided to try the sledges
without them. In spite of everything the dogs keep a very even pace,
with only a halt now and then. Yesterday there were only four dogs
for my sledge. One of them, 'Flint,' slipped his harness and ran away,
and we did not get hold of him again before the evening, when he was
killed by way of punishment. The ice was all along more uneven than
it has been the last few days. In the afternoon the weather thickened,
and the wind increased till, at about 3 o'clock, a regular snow-storm
was raging. No way was to be seen, only whiteness everywhere, except
in places where the pointed blue ice from the ridges stuck up through
the snow-drifts. After a while the ice grew worse, and I went headlong
on to ridges and irregularities without even seeing them. I hoped this
was only rough ice which we should pass through, but matters did not
improve, and we thought there was no sense in going on. Luckily we
had just then dropped on a good sheltered camping-ground; otherwise
it would have been difficult enough to find one in such weather,
where nothing could be discerned. Meanwhile we are getting southward,
and are more and more surprised at not seeing signs of land. We reckon
now to have left the eighty-fourth parallel behind us.

"Friday, May 10th. +16.2° Fahr. (-8.8° C.). Our life has many
difficulties to combat. Yesterday promised to be a good day, but thick
weather hindered our advance. When we crept out of the tent yesterday
forenoon it was fine, the sun was shining, the going was unusually
good, and the ice appeared to be unusually even. We had managed in
the snow-storm of the previous evening to get into a belt of foul
ice, which was merely local. Before we started we thought of taking
the removable wooden runners off the sledges, but on trying mine
beforehand found that it ran well as it was. I decided, therefore,
to wait a little longer, as I was afraid that removing the wooden
runners might weaken the sledge. Johansen, meanwhile, had taken them
off the middle sledge; but as we then discovered that one of the birch
runners had split right across under one of the uprights, there was
nothing for it but to put it on again. It was a pity, though, as the
sledge would have run much better on the newly tarred runners than on
the scratched under-runners. We made fairly good progress, in spite of
there being only 13 dogs left--4 to my sledge, 4 to the birch sledge,
and 5 to Johansen's. But later in the afternoon the weather thickened
rapidly and snow began to fall, which prevented our seeing anything
before us. The ice, however, was fairly even, and we kept going. We
came across a lane, but this we crossed by means of a detour. Not long
afterwards again we got among a number of abominable pressure-ridges,
and ran right into high mounds and over steep brinks without seeing
them. Wherever one turned there were sudden drops and pitfalls,
although everything looked so fair and even under its covering of
still-falling snow. As there seemed to be little good in continuing,
we decided to camp, have our dinner of savory hot lobscouse, make out
our longitude, and then pass the time until it should clear again;
and if this did not take place soon, then have a good sleep and be
ready to get under way as soon as the weather should permit. After
having slept for a couple of hours (it was 1 o'clock in the morning),
I turned out of the tent and was confronted with the same thick,
overcast weather, with only a strip of clear blue sky down by the
horizon in the southwest, so I let Johansen sleep on and reckoned
out our longitude, which proved to be 64° 20' E. We have drifted
considerably westward since I last made it out, if my calculations
be right. While I was thus occupied I heard a suspicious gnawing
noise outside in the direction of the kayaks. I listened, and--quite
right--it was the dogs up in Johansen's kayak. I ran out, caught
'Haren,' who was just lying gnawing at the portions of fresh dogs'
flesh destined for to-morrow's consumption, and gave him a good
thrashing for his pains. The casing over the opening in the kayak
was then properly secured, and snow-shoes and sticks piled on.

"The weather is still the same, overcast and thick; but the wind has
veered round to a more southerly direction, and the clear strip of blue
sky in the southwest has risen a little higher from the ice-margin--can
there be a west wind in prospect? Welcome, indeed, would it be, and
longing were the glances I directed towards that blue strip--there lay
sunshine and progress; perhaps even land was beneath it. I could see
the cumulus clouds sailing through the blue atmosphere, and thought
if only we were there, only had land under us, then all our troubles
would sink into oblivion. But material needs must not be forgotten,
and, perhaps, it would be better to get into the bag and have a good
sleep while waiting. Many times in the morning did I peep out of the
tent, but always saw the same cloudy sky and the same white prospect
wherever the eye turned. Down in the west and southwest was always the
same strip of clear blue sky, only that now it was lower again. When
we at last turned out in the forenoon the weather was just the same,
and the azure strip on the horizon in the southwest was still there. I
think it must have something to do with land, and it gives me hope
that this may not be so far off. It is a tougher job than we thought,
this gaining land, but we have had many enemies to make headway
against--not only foul ice and bad going, but also wind, water, and
thick weather--all of them equally obdurate adversaries to overcome.

"Sunday, May 12th. +0.6° Fahr. (-17.5° C.). Yesterday we had a better
time than we expected. Overcast and thick it was the whole time,
and we felt our way rather than saw it. The ice was not particularly
good either, but we pressed onward, and had the satisfaction now and
then of travelling over several long stretches of flat ice. A couple
of channels which had partly opened hindered us somewhat. Curiously
enough the strip of clear sky was still there in the S.S.W. (true),
and as we went along rose higher in the heavens. We kept expecting it
to spread, and that the weather would clear; we needed it sorely to
find our way; but the strip never rose any higher, and yet remained
there equally clear. Then it sank again, and only a small rim was
left visible on the margin of the sky. Then this also disappeared. I
cannot help thinking that this strip must have had something to do
with land. At 7 o'clock this morning we came to a belt of ice as bad,
almost, as I have ever seen it, and as I thought it unadvisable to
make an onslaught in such thick weather, we encamped. I hope we did
our 14 miles, and can reckon on only 90 more to land, if it lie in
83° latitude. The ice is undoubtedly of a different character from
what it was previously: it is less even, and old lanes and new ones,
with ridges and rubble, are more frequent--all seeming to point to
the vicinity of land.

"Meanwhile time is going, and the number of dogs diminishing. We
have now 12 left; yesterday 'Katta' was killed. And our provisions
are also gradually on the decrease, though, thank Heaven, we have a
good deal remaining. The first tin of petroleum (2 1/2 gallons) came
to an end three days ago, and we shall soon have finished our second
sack of bread. We do nothing but scan the horizon longingly for land,
but see nothing, even when I climb up on to the highest hummocks with
the telescope.

"Monday, May 13th. +8.6° Fahr. (-13° C.); minimum +6.6° Fahr. (-14.2°
C.). This is, indeed, a toilsome existence. The number of the dogs, and
likewise their hauling powers, diminish by degrees, and they are inert
and difficult to urge on. The ice grows worse and worse as we approach
land, and is, besides, covered with much deeper and looser snow than
before. It is particularly difficult to get on in the broken-up ice,
where the snow, although it covers up many irregularities, at the
same time lets one sink through almost up to one's thighs between the
pieces of ice as soon as one takes one's snow-shoes off to help the
sledge. It is extremely tiring and shaky on this sort of surface to
use one's snow-shoes not firmly secured to the feet, but one cannot
have them properly fastened on when one has to help the dogs at any
moment or pull and tug at these eternal sledges. I think in snow such
as this Indian snow-shoes would be preferable, and I only wish I had
some. Meanwhile, however, we covered some ground yesterday, and if
I reckon 20 miles for yesterday and to-day together I do not think
I shall be very far out. We should thus have only about 50 miles to
the 83d parallel and the land which Payer determined. We are keeping
a somewhat southerly course, about due south (true), as this continual
east wind is certainly driving us westward, and I do not like the idea
of drifting west past land. It is beginning to be tolerably warm inside
the bag at night now, and last night I could hardly sleep for heat.

"Tuesday, May 14th. +6.8° Fahr. (-14° C.). Yesterday was a cozy day
of rest. Just as we were about to get under way after breakfast it
clouded over, and a dense snow-storm set in, so that to start out in
such weather, in the uneven ice we have now before us, would not have
been worth while. I therefore made up my mind to halt for the time
being and get some trifles done, and in particular the shifting of
the load from the birch sledge on to the two others, and so at last
get rid of this third sledge, for which we can no longer spare any
dogs. This took some time; and as it was absolutely necessary to do
it, we lost nothing by stopping for a day.

"We had now so much wood from the sledge, together with broken
snow-shoe staves and the results of other casualties, that I thought
we should be able to use it as fuel for some time to come, and so
save the petroleum. We accordingly made a fire of it to cook the
supper with, contrived a cooking-pot out of the empty petroleum tin,
and hung it over in the approved fashion. At the first start-off we
lighted the fire just outside the tent door, but soon gave that up,
as, for the first thing, we nearly burned up the tent, and, secondly,
the smoke came in till we could hardly see out of our eyes. But it
warmed well and looked wonderfully cheerful. Then we moved it farther
off, where it could neither burn up the tent nor smoke us out; but
therewith all the joy of it was departed. When we had about burned
up the whole sledge and succeeded in getting a pot of boiling water,
with the further result of having nearly melted the floe through on
which we were living, I gave up the idea of cooking with sledges
and went back to our trusty friend, the 'Primus'--and a sociable
and entertaining friend, too, which one can have by one's side as
one lies in the bag. We have as much petroleum, I should imagine,
as we shall require for the journey before us, and why bother about
anything else? If the petroleum should come to an end too soon, why,
then we can get as much train-oil from bear and seal and walrus
as we shall require. I am very anxious to see the result of our
reloading. Our two kayak sledges have undoubtedly become somewhat
heavier, but then we shall have six dogs to each as long as they
last. Our patience has been rewarded at last with the most brilliant
sunshine and sparkling sky. It is so warm in the tent that I am lying
basking in the heat. One might almost think one's self under an awning
on a summer's day at home. Last night it was almost too warm to sleep."

The ice kept practicable to a certain extent during these days,
though the lanes provided us with many an obstacle to overcome. Then,
in addition to this, the dogs' strength was failing, they were
ready to stop at the slightest unevenness, and we did not make much
way. On Thursday, May 16th, I write in my diary: "Several of the
dogs seem to be much exhausted. 'Baro' (the leader of my team) gave
in yesterday. He could hardly move at last, and was slaughtered for
supper. Poor animal. He hauled faithfully to the end.

"It was Johansen's birthday yesterday; he completed his twenty-eighth
year, and of course a feast was held in honor of the occasion. It
consisted of lobscouse, his favorite dish, followed by some good hot
lime-juice grog. The midday sun made it warm and comfortable in the
tent. 6 A.M., +3.6° Fahr. (-15.8° C.).

"Have to-day calculated our latitude and longitude for yesterday, and
find it was 83° 36' N. and 59° 55' E. Our latitude agrees exactly with
what I supposed, according to the dead reckoning, but our longitude is
almost alarmingly westerly, in spite of the fact that our course has
been the whole time somewhat southerly. There appears to be a strong
drift in the ice here, and it will be better for us to keep east of
the south, in order not to drift past land. To be quite certain,
I have again reckoned out our observations of April 7th and 8th,
but find no error, and cannot think otherwise than that we are about
right. Still it seems remarkable that we have not yet seen any signs
of land. 10 P.M., +1.4° Fahr. (-17° C.).

"Friday, May 17th. +12.4° Fahr. (-10.9° C.); minimum, -19° C. To-day
is the 'Seventeenth of May'--Constitution-day. I felt quite certain
that by to-day, at any rate, we should have been on land somewhere
or other, but fate wills otherwise; we have not even seen a sign of
it yet. Alas! here I lie in the bag, dreaming day-dreams and thinking
of all the rejoicings at home, of the children's processions and the
undulating mass of people at this moment in the streets. How welcome
a sight to see the flags, with their red bunting, waving in the blue
spring atmosphere, and the sun shining through the delicate young green
of the leaves. And here we are in drifting ice, not knowing exactly
where we are, uncertain as to our distance from an unknown land,
where we hope to find means of sustaining life and thence carve our
way on towards home, with two teams of dogs whose numbers and strength
diminish day by day, with ice and water between us and our goal which
may cause us untold trouble, with sledges which now, at any rate, are
too heavy for our own powers. We press laboriously onward mile by mile;
and meanwhile, perhaps, the drift of the ice is carrying us westward
out to sea, beyond the land we are striving for. A toilsome life,
undeniably, but there will be an end to it some time; some time we
shall reach it, and meanwhile our flag for the 'Seventeenth of May'
shall wave above the eighty-third parallel, and if fate send us the
first sight of land to-day our joy will be two-fold.

"Yesterday was a hard day. The weather was fine, even brilliant, the
going splendid, and the ice good, so that one had a right to expect
progress were it not for the dogs. They pull up at everything, and
for the man ahead it is a continual going over the same ground three
times: first to find a way and make a track, and then back again to
drive on the dogs; it is slow work indeed. Across quite flat ice the
dogs keep up to the mark pretty well, but at the first difficulty
they stop. I tried harnessing myself in front of them yesterday,
and it answered pretty well; but when it came to finding the way in
foul ice it had to be abandoned.

"In spite of everything, we are pushing forward, and eventually shall
have our reward; but for the time being this would be ample could we
only reach land and land-ice without these execrable lanes. Yesterday
we had four of them. The first that stopped us did not cause immoderate
trouble; then we went over a short bit of middling ice, though, with
lane after lane and ridges. Then came another bad lane, necessitating
a circuit. After this we traversed some fairly good ice, this time
considerably more of it than previously, but soon came to a lane, or
rather a pool, of greater size than we had ever seen before--exactly
what the Russians would call a 'polynja.' It was covered with young
ice, too weak to bear. We started confidently alongside it in a
southwesterly direction (true), in the belief that we should soon find
a way across; but 'soon' did not come. Just where we expected to find
a crossing, an overwhelming sight presented itself to our gaze; the
pool stretched away in a southwesterly direction to the very horizon,
and we could see no end to it! In the mirage on the horizon, a couple
of detached blocks of ice rose above the level of the pool; they
appeared to be floating in open water, changed constantly in shape,
and disappeared and reappeared. Everything seemed to indicate that the
pool debouched right into the sea in the west. From the top of a high
hummock I could, however, with the glass, see ice on the other side,
heightened by the looming. But it was anything but certain that it
really was situated at the western end of the pool; more probably,
it indicated a curve in the direction of the latter. What was to be
done here? To get over seemed for the moment an impossibility. The
ice was too thin to bear and too thick to set the kayaks through,
even if we should mend them. How long it might take at this time of
year for the ice to become strong enough to bear, I did not know,
but one day would scarcely do it. To settle down and wait, therefore,
seemed too much. How far the pool extended and how long we might
have to travel along it before we found a crossing and could again
keep to our course no one could tell; but the probability was a long
time--perhaps days. On the other hand, to retreat in the direction
whence we came seemed an unattractive alternative; it would lead
us away from our goal, and also perhaps necessitate a long journey
in an opposite direction before we could find a crossing. The pool
extended true S. 50° W. To follow it would undoubtedly take us out
of our course, which ought now properly to be east of south; but on
the whole this direction was nearest the line of our advance, and
consequently we decided to try it. After a short time we came to a new
lane running in a transverse direction to the pool. Here the ice was
strong enough to bear, and on examining the ice on the pool itself
beyond the confluence of this lane I found a belt where the young
ice had, through pressure, been jammed up in several layers. This
happily was strong enough to bear, and we got safely over the pool,
the trend of which we had been prepared to follow for days. Then on we
went again, though in toil and tribulation, until at half-past eight
in the evening we again found ourselves confronted by a pool or lane
of exactly the same description as the former one, with the exception
only that this time the view to the 'sea' opened towards the northeast,
while in the southwest the sky-line was closed in by ice. The lane also
was covered with young ice, which in the middle was obviously of the
same age as that on the last pool. Near the edge there was some thicker
and older ice, which would bear, and over which I went on snowshoes
to look for a crossing, but found none as far as I went. The strip
of ice along the middle, sometimes broad and sometimes narrow, was
everywhere too thin to risk taking the sledges over. We consequently
decided to camp and wait till to-day, when it is to be hoped the ice
will be strong enough to bear. And here we are still with the same lane
in front of us. Heaven only knows what surprises the day will bring.

"Sunday, May 19th. The surprise which the Seventeenth brought us
was nothing less than that we found the lanes about here full of
narwhals. When we had just got under way, and were about to cross
over the lane we had been stopped by the previous day, I became aware
of a breathing noise, just like the blowing of whales. I thought at
first it must be from the dogs, but then I heard for certain that the
sound came from the lane. I listened. Johansen had heard the noise
the whole morning, he said, but thought it was only ice jamming
in the distance. No, that sound I knew well enough, I thought,
and looked over towards an opening in the ice whence I thought it
proceeded. Suddenly I saw a movement which could hardly be falling
ice, and--quite right--up came the head of a whale; then came the
body; it executed the well-known curve, and disappeared. Then up came
another, accompanied by the same sound. There was a whole school of
them. I shouted that they were whales, and, running to the sledge,
had my gun out in a second. Then came the adjusting of a harpoon, and
after a little work this was accomplished, and I was ready to start in
pursuit. Meanwhile the animals had disappeared from the opening in the
ice where I had first seen them, though I heard their breathing from
some openings farther east. I followed the lane in that direction,
but did not come within range, although I got rather near them once or
twice. They came up in comparatively small openings in the ice, which
were to be found along the whole length of the lane. There was every
prospect of being able to get a shot at them if we stopped for a day
to watch the holes; but we had no time to spare, and could not have
taken much with us had we got one, as the sledges were heavy enough
already. We soon found a passage over, and continued our journey
with the flags hoisted on the sledges in honor of the day. As we
were going so slowly now that it was hardly possible for things to
be worse, I determined at our dinner-hour that I really would take
off the under-runners from my sledge. The change was unmistakable; it
was not like the same sledge. Henceforth we got on well, and after a
while the under-runners from Johansen's sledge were also removed. As
we furthermore came on some good ice later in the day, our progress
was quite unexpectedly good, and when we stopped at half-past eleven
yesterday morning, I should think we had gone 10 miles during our
day's march. This brings us down to latitude 83° 20' or so.

"At last, then, we have come down to latitudes which have been reached
by human beings before us, and it cannot possibly be far to land. A
little while before we halted yesterday we crossed a lane or pool
exactly like the two previous ones, only broader still. Here, too, I
heard the blowing of whales, but although I was not far from the hole
whence the noise presumably came, and although the opening there was
quite small, I could perceive nothing. Johansen, who came afterwards
with the dogs, said that as soon as they reached the frozen lane they
got scent of something and wanted to go against the wind. Curious
that there should be so many narwhals in the lanes here.

"The ice we are now travelling over is surprisingly bad. There are few
or no new ridges, only small older irregularities, with now and then
deep snow in between, and then these curious broad, endless lanes,
which resemble each other, and run exactly parallel, and are all
unlike those we have met before. They are remarkable from the fact
that, while formerly I always observed the ice on the north side
of the lane to drift westward, in comparison with that which lay on
the south side, the reverse was here the case. It was the ice on the
south side which drifted westward.

"As I am afraid that we are continually drifting rapidly westward, I
have kept a somewhat easterly course--S.S.E. or east of that, according
as the drift necessitates. We kept the Seventeenth of May--on the
18th, it is true--by a feast of unsurpassed magnificence, consisting
of lobscouse, stewed red whortleberries mixed with vril-food, and
stamina lime-juice mead (i.e., a concoction of lime-juice tablets
and Frame Food stamina tablets dissolved in water), and then, having
eaten our fill, crawled into our bag."

As we gradually made our way southward the ice became more
impracticable and difficult to travel over. We still came across
occasional good flat plains, but they were often broken up by broad
belts of jammed-up ice, and in a measure by channels, which hindered
our advance. On May 19th I write: "I climbed to the top of the highest
hummock I have yet been up. I measured it roughly, and made it out to
be about 24 feet above the ice whence I had climbed up; but, as this
latter was considerably above the surface of the water, the height
was probably 30 feet or so. It formed the crest of quite a short and
crooked pressure-ridge, consisting of only small pieces of ice."

That day we came across the first tracks of bears which we had seen
on our journey over the ice. The certainty that we had got down
to regions where these animals are to be found, and the prospect
of a ham, made us very joyous. On May 20th there was a tremendous
snow-storm, through which it was impossible to see our way on the
uneven ice. "Consequently there is nothing for it but to creep under
the cover again and sleep as long as one can. Hunger at last, though,
is too much for us, and I turn out to make a stew of delicious liver
'pâté.' Then a cup of whey drink, and into the bag again, to write
or slumber as we list. Here we are, with nothing to do but to wait
till the weather changes and we can go on.

"We can hardly be far from 83° 10' N., and should have gained
Petermann's Land if it be where Payer supposed. Either we
must be unconscionably out of our bearings, or the country very
small. Meanwhile, I suppose, this east wind is driving us westward,
out to sea, in the direction of Spitzbergen. Heaven alone knows
what the velocity of the drift may be here. Oh, well, I am not in
the least downhearted. We still have 10 dogs, and should we drift
past Cape Fligely, there is land enough west of us, and that we can
hardly mistake. Starve we scarcely can; and if the worst should come
to the worst, and we have to make up our minds to winter up here, we
can face that too--if only there was nobody waiting at home. But we
shall get back before the winter. The barometer is falling steadily,
so that it will be a case of patience long drawn out, but we shall
manage all right."

On the afternoon of the following day (May 21st) we were at last
able to get off, though the weather was still thick and snowy, and
we often staggered along like blind men. "As the wind was strong and
right at our back, and as the ice was fairly even, I at last put a
sail to my sledge. It almost went by itself, but did not in the least
change the dogs' pace; they kept the same slow time as before. Poor
beasts, they become more and more tired, and the going is heavy and
loose. We passed over many newly frozen pools that day, and some time
previously there must have been a remarkable quantity of open water.

"I do not think I exceed when I put down our day's march at 14 miles,
and we ought to have latitude 83° behind us, but as yet no sign of
land. This is becoming rather exciting.

"Friday, May 24th. +18.8° Fahr. (-7.4° C.). Minimum -11.4° C. Yesterday
was the worst day we have yet had. The lane we had before us when we
stopped the previous day proved to be worse than any of the others
had been. After breakfast at 1 A.M., and while Johansen was engaged
in patching the tent, I trudged off to look for a passage across, but
was away for three hours without finding any. There was nothing for
it but to follow the bend of the lane eastward and trust to getting
over eventually, but it turned out to be a longer job than we had
anticipated. When we came to the place where it appeared to end,
the surrounding ice-mass was broken up in all directions, and the
floes were grinding against each other as they tore along. There was
no safe passage across to be found anywhere. Where at one moment,
perhaps, I might have crossed over, at the next, when I had brought
the sledges up, there was only open water. Meanwhile we executed
some intricate manoeuvring from floe to floe, always farther east,
in order to get round. The ice jammed under and around us, and it
was often a difficult matter to get through. Often did we think we
were well across, when still worse lanes and cracks in front of us
met our disappointed gaze. It was enough sometimes to make one despair.

"There seemed to be no end to it; wherever one turned were yawning
channels. On the overcast sky the dark, threatening reflection of
water was to be seen in all directions. It really seemed as if the
ice was entirely broken up. Hungry and almost tired to death we were,
but determined, if possible, to have our troubles behind us before we
stopped for dinner. But at last matters came to a hopeless pitch, and
at 1 o'clock, after nine hours' work, we decided to have a meal. It
is a remarkable fact that, let things be as bad as they may, once
in the bag, and with food in prospect, all one's troubles sink into
oblivion. The human being becomes a happy animal, which eats as long
as it can keep its eyes open, and goes to sleep with the food in its
mouth. Oh, blissful state of heedlessness! But at 4 o'clock we had
to turn to again at the apparently hopeless task of threading the
maze of lanes. As a last drop in our cup of misery the weather became
so thick and shadowless that one literally could not see if one were
walking up against a wall of ice or plunging into a pit. Alas, we have
only too much of this mist! How many lanes and cracks we went across,
how many huge ridges we clambered over, dragging the heavy sledges
after us, I cannot say, but very many. They twisted and turned in
all directions, and water and slush met us everywhere.

"But everything comes to an end, and so did this. After another
two-and-a-half hours' severe exertion we had put the last lane behind
us, and before us lay a lovely plain. Altogether we had now been at
this sort of work for nearly twelve hours, and I had, in addition,
followed the lane for three hours in the morning, which made fifteen
altogether. We were thoroughly done, and wet too. How many times we
had gone through the deceptive crust of snow which hides the water
between the pieces of ice it is impossible to say. Once during the
morning I had had a narrow escape. I was going confidently along on
snow-shoes over what I supposed to be solid ice when suddenly the
ground began to sink beneath me. Happily there were some pieces of ice
not far off on which I succeeded in throwing myself, while the water
washed over the snow I had just been standing on. I might have had
a long swim for it through the slush, which would have been anything
but pleasant, particularly seeing that I was alone.

"At last we had level ice before us; but, alas! our happiness was
destined to be short-lived. From the dark belt of clouds on the sky we
saw that a new channel was in prospect, and at eight in the evening we
had reached it. I was too tired to follow the trend of the lane (it
was not short) in order to find a crossing, particularly as another
channel was visible behind it. It was also impossible to see the
ice around one in the heavily falling snow. It was only a question,
therefore, of finding a camping-place, but this was easier said
than done. A strong north wind was blowing, and no shelter was to be
found from it on the level ice we had just got on to. Every mound and
irregularity was examined as we passed by it in the snow-storm, but
all were too small. We had to content ourselves at last with a little
pressed-up hummock, which we could just get under the lee of. Then,
again, there was too little snow, and only after considerable work
did we succeed in pitching the tent. At last, however, the 'Primus'
was singing cheerily inside it, the 'fiskegratin' diffusing its savory
odor, and two happy beings were ensconced comfortably inside the bag,
enjoying existence and satisfied, if not, indeed, at having done a
good day's march, yet in the knowledge of having overcome a difficulty.

"While we were having breakfast to-day I went out and took a meridian
altitude, which, to our delight, made us 82° 52' N.

"Sunday, May 26th. When the ice is as uneven as it is now, the
difficulty of making headway is incredible. The snow is loose, and if
one takes one's snow-shoes off for a moment one sinks in above one's
knees. It is impossible to fasten them on securely, as every minute
one must help the dogs with the sledges. Added to this, if the weather
be thick, as yesterday, one is apt to run into the largest ridges or
snow-drifts without seeing them; everything is equally white under
its covering of new snow, and the light comes from all directions,
so that it throws no shadows. Then one plunges in headlong, and with
difficulty can get up and on to one's snow-shoes again. This takes
place continually, and the longer it lasts the worse it gets. At last
one literally staggers on one's snow-shoes from fatigue, just as if
one were drunk. But we are gaining ground, and that is the chief
thing, be one's shins ever so bruised and tender. This manner of
progress is particularly injurious to the ankles, on account of the
constant unsteadiness and swerving of the snow-shoes, and many a day
have mine been much swollen. The dogs, too, are becoming exhausted,
which is worse.

"I have to-day reckoned out the observations made yesterday, and
find, to our joy, that the longitude is 61° 27' E., so that we have
not drifted westward, but have come about south, according to our
course. My constant fear of drifting past land is thus unfounded,
and we should be able to reckon on reaching it before very long. We
may possibly be farther east than we suppose, but hardly farther west,
so that if we now go due south for a while, and then southwest, we must
meet with land, and this within not many days. I reckon that we did
20 miles southward yesterday, and should thus be now in latitude 82°
40' N. A couple more days, and our latitude will be very satisfactory.

"The ice we have before us looks practicable, but, to judge by the sky,
we have a number of water-ways a little farther on; we must manage
somehow to fight our way across them. I should be very reluctant
to mend the kayaks just now, before we have reached land and firm
land ice. They require a thorough overhauling, both as to frames and
covers. My one thought now is to get on while we still have some dogs,
and thus use them up.

"A comfortable Sunday morning in the tent to-day. These observations
put me in good spirits; life seems to look bright before us. Soon we
must be able to start homeward at good speed and across open water. Oh,
what a pleasure it will be to handle paddle and gun again, instead of
this continual toil with the sledges! Then, too, the shouting to the
dogs to go on--it seems to wear and tear one's ears and every nerve
in one's body.

"Monday, May 27th. Ever since yesterday morning we have seen the
looming of water on the sky; it is the same looming that we saw on
the previous day, and I set our course direct for the place where,
to judge by it, there should be the greatest accumulation of ice,
and where, consequently, a crossing should be easiest. During the
course of the afternoon we came on one lane after the other, just as
the water-sky had denoted, and towards evening the dark heavens before
us augured open water of a worse kind. The reflection was particularly
dark and threatening, both in the west and in the east. By 7 o'clock
I could see a broad lane before us, stretching away west and east as
far as the eye could reach from the highest hummock. It was broad, and
appeared to be more impracticable than any of the previous ones. As
the dogs were tired, our day's march had been a good one, and we
had a splendid camping-place ready to hand, we decided to pitch the
tent. Well satisfied and certain that we were now in latitude 82 1/2°,
and that land must inevitably be near, we disappeared into the bag.

"During breakfast this morning I went out and took a meridian
altitude. It proves that we have not deceived ourselves. We are in
latitude 82° 30' N., perhaps even a minute or two farther south. But
it is growing more and more remarkable that we see no sign of land. I
cannot explain it in any other way than that we are some degrees
farther east than we suppose. [21] That we should be so much farther
west as to enable us to pass entirely clear of Petermann's Land and
Oscar's Land, and not so much as get a glimpse of them, I consider an
impossibility. I have again looked at our former observations; have
again gone through our dead reckoning, the velocity and directions of
the wind, and all the possibilities of drift during the days which
passed between our last certain observation for longitude (April
8th) and the day when, according to the dead reckoning, we assumed
ourselves to be in longitude 86° E. (April 13th). That there should be
any great mistake is inconceivable. The ice can hardly have had such
a considerable drift during those particular days, seeing that our
dead reckoning in other respects tallied so well with the observations.

"Yesterday evening 'Kvik' was slaughtered. Poor thing, she was quite
worn out, and did little or nothing in the hauling line. I was sorry
to part with her, but what was to be done? Even if we should get fresh
meat, it would have taken some time to feed her up again, and then,
perhaps, we should have had no use for her, and should only have had
to kill her, after all. But a fine big animal she was, and provided
food for three days for our remaining eight dogs.

"I am in a continual state of wonderment at the ice we are now
travelling over. It is flat and good, with only smallish pieces of
broken-up ice lying about, and a large mound or small ridge here and
there, but all of it is ice which can hardly be winter-old, or at
any rate has been formed since last summer. It is quite a rarity to
come across a small tract of older ice, or even a single old floe
which has lain the summer through--so rare, in fact, that at our
last camping-place it was impossible to find any ice which had been
exposed to the summer sun, and consequently freed from salt. We were
obliged to be content with snow for our drinking-water. [22] Certain
it is that where these great expanses of flat ice come from there
was open water last summer or autumn, and that of no little extent,
as we have passed over many miles of this compact ice the whole day
yesterday and a good part of the previous day, besides which there
were formerly a considerable number of such tracts in between older,
summer-old ice. There is little probability that this should have
been formed in the vicinity hereabouts. More probably it has come
from farther east or southeast, and was formed in open water on the
east side of Wilczek's Land. I believe, consequently, that this must
indicate that there can be not a little open water along the east or
northeast coast of Wilczek's Land in the summer or autumn months. [23]

"Now followed a time when the lanes grew worse than ever, and we
began to toil in grim earnest. Lanes and cracks went crosswise in
every direction. The ice was sometimes uneven, and the surface loose
and heavy between the irregularities.

"If one could get a bird's-eye view of this ice, the lanes would form
a veritable net-work of irregular meshes. Woe to him who lets himself
get entangled in it!

"Wednesday, May 29th. Yesterday I inaugurated a great change, and began
with 'komager.' It was an agreeable transition. One's feet keep nice
and dry now, and one is furthermore saved the trouble of attending
to the Finn shoes [24] night and morning. They were beginning in
this mild temperature to assume a texture like our native 'lefser,'
a kind of tough rye-cake. Then, too, one need no longer sleep with
wet rags on one's chest and legs to dry them."

That day we saw our first bird; a fulmar (Procellaria glacialis).

"Thursday, May 30th. At 5 o'clock yesterday morning we set forth with
the buoyancy born of the belief that now at last the whole network of
lanes was behind us; but we had not gone far before the reflection
of new channels appeared in front. I climbed up on to a hummock as
quickly as possible, but the sight which met my eyes was anything
but enlivening--lane after lane, crossing and recrossing, in front
of us and on each side, as far as the eye could reach. It looked
as if it mattered little what direction we chose: it would be of no
avail in getting out of the maze. I made a long excursion on ahead to
see if there might not be a way of slipping through and over on the
consecutive flat sheets as we had done before; but the ice appeared
to be broken up, and so it probably is all the way to land. It was
no longer with the compact, massive polar ice that we had to deal,
but with thin, broken-up pack-ice, at the mercy of every wind of
heaven, and we had to reconcile ourselves to the idea of scrambling
from floe to floe as best we might. What would I not have given at
this moment for it to be March, with all its cold and sufferings,
instead of the end of May, and the thermometer almost above 32°
Fahr.? It was just this end of May I had feared all along, the time
at which I considered it of the greatest importance to have gained
land. Unhappily my fears proved to be well founded. I almost began to
wish that it was a month or more later; the ice would then perhaps be
slacker here, with more open pools and lanes, so that in a measure one
could make one's way in a kayak. Well, who could tell? This miserable
thin young ice appeared to be utterly treacherous, and there was a
water-sky in every direction, but mostly far, far ahead. If only we
were there! if only we were under land! Perhaps, if the worst should
come to the worst, we may be reduced to waiting till over the time
when the mild weather and break-up of the ice come in earnest. But
have we provisions enough to wait till that time? This was, indeed,
more than doubtful.... As I stood sunk in these gloomy reflections on
the high hummock, and looking southward over the ice, seeing ridge
after ridge and lane after lane before me, I suddenly heard the
well-known sound of a whale blowing from a lead close behind. It
was the solution of my troubles. Starve we should not; there are
animals here, and we have guns, thank Heaven, and harpoons as well,
and we know how to use them. There was a whole school of narwhals in
the lane breathing and blowing ceaselessly. As some high ice hid them
from view for a great part, I could only see their gray backs, now and
then, as they arched themselves over the black surface of the water. I
stood a long while looking at them, and had I had my gun and harpoon,
it would have been an easy matter to get one. After all, the prospect
was not so bad at present; and meanwhile what we had to do was not to
mind lanes, but to keep on our course S.W. or S.W. to S. over them,
and push on the best we could. And with that resolution I returned
to the sledges. Neither of us, however, had a very firm belief that
we should get much farther, and therefore all the more elated did
we become as our advance proved by degrees to be tolerably easy,
in spite of our exhausted dogs.

"While we were making our way during the morning between some
lanes I suddenly saw a black object come rushing through the air;
it was a black guillemot (Uria grylle), and it circled round us
several times. Not long afterwards I heard a curious noise in a
southwesterly direction--something like the sound made by a goat's
horn when blown on; I heard it many times, and Johansen also remarked
it, but I could not make out what it was. An animal, at all events,
it must be, as human beings are hardly likely to be near us here. [25]
A little while later a fulmar came sailing towards us, and flew round
and round just over our heads. I got out my gun, but before I had a
cartridge in the bird had gone again. It is beginning to grow lively
here; it is cheering to see so much life, and gives one the feeling
that one is approaching land and kindlier regions. Later on I saw
a seal on the ice; it was a little ringed seal, which it would have
been a satisfaction to capture; but before I had quite made out which
it was it had disappeared into the water.

"At 10 o'clock we had dinner, which we shall no longer eat in the bag,
in order to save time. We have also decided to shorten our marches to
eight hours or so in the day on account of the dogs. At 11 o'clock,
after dinner, we started off again, and at three stopped and camped. I
should imagine we went 7 miles yesterday, or let me say between 12 and
15 during the last two days, the direction being about southwest--every
little counts.

"In front of us on the horizon we have a water-sky, or at any rate
a reflection which is so sharply defined and remains so immovable
that it must either be over open water or dark land; our course
just bears on it. It is a good way off, and the water it is over
can hardly be of small extent; I cannot help thinking that it must
be under land. May it be so! But between us, to judge by the sky,
there seem to be plenty of lanes.

"The ice is still the same nowadays, barely of the previous winter's
formation, where it is impossible to find any suitable for cooking. It
seems to me that it is here, if possible, thinner than ever, with
a thickness of from 2 to 3 feet. The reason of this I am still at a
loss to explain.

"Friday, May 31st. It is wonderful; the last day of May--this month
gone too without our reaching land, without even seeing it. June
cannot surely pass in the same manner--it is impossible that we can
have far to go now. I think everything seems to indicate this. The
ice becomes thinner and thinner, we see more and more life around us,
and in front is the same reflection of water or land, whichever it
may be. Yesterday I saw two ringed seals (Phoca foetida) in two small
lanes; a bird, probably a fulmar, flew over a lane here yesterday
evening, and at midday yesterday we came on the fresh tracks of a
bear and two small cubs, which had followed the side of a lane. There
seemed to be prospects of fresh food in such surroundings, though,
curiously enough, neither of us has any particular craving for it; we
are quite satisfied with the food we have; but for the dogs it would be
of great importance. We had to kill again last night; this time it was
'Pan,' our best dog. It could not be helped; he was quite worn out,
and could not do much more. The seven dogs we have left can now live
three days on the food he provided.

"This is quite unexpected: the ice is very much broken up here--mere
pack-ice, were it not for some large floes or flat spaces in
between. If this ice had time to slacken it would be easy enough
to row between the floes. Sometimes when we were stopped by lanes
yesterday, and I went up on to some high hummock to look ahead,
my heart sank within me, and I thought we should be constrained to
give up the hope of getting farther; it was looking out over a very
chaos of lumps of ice and brash mixed together in open water. To jump
from piece to piece in such waters, with dogs and two heavy sledges
following one, is not exactly easy; but by means of investigation
and experiment we managed eventually to get over this lane too, and
after going through rubble for a while came on to flat ice again;
and thus it kept on with new lanes repeatedly.

"The ice we are now travelling over is almost entirely new ice with
occasional older floes in between. It continues to grow thinner, here
it is for the greater part not more than 3 feet in thickness, and the
floes are as flat as when they were frozen. Yesterday evening, however,
we got on to a stretch of old ice, on which we are stationed now,
but how far it extends it is difficult to say. We camped yesterday
at half-past six in the evening and found fresh ice again for the
cooker, which was distinctly a pleasant change for the cook. We have
not had it since May 25th. [26] A disagreeable wind from the south,
it is true, has sprung up this evening, and it will be hard work going
against it. We have a great deal of bad weather here; it is overcast
nearly every day, with wind--south wind, which, above everything,
is least desirable just now. But what are we to do? To settle down
we have hardly provender enough; there is nothing for it, I suppose,
but to grind on.

"Took a meridian altitude to-day, and we should be in 82° 21' N.,
and still no glimpse of land; this is becoming more and more of an
enigma. What would I not give to set my foot on dry land now? But
patience--always patience."



CHAPTER VI

BY SLEDGE AND KAYAK


"Saturday, June 1st. So this is June. What has it in store for
us? Will not this month, either, bring us the land we are longing
for? Must hope and believe so, though the time is drawing out. Luck,
for the matter of that, is a wonderful thing. I expected this morning
as little of the day as was well possible; the weather was thick and
snowy, and we had a strong contrary wind. It was no better when we
came on a lane directly after we started, which appeared to be nearly
impassable; everything was dark and dull. However, the day turned out
to be better than we expected. By means of a detour to the northeast
I found a passage across the lane, and we got on to long, flat plains
which we went over until quite midday. And from five this afternoon we
had another hour and a half of good ice, but that was the end of it;
a lane which ran in several directions cut off every means of advance,
and although I spent more than an hour and a half in looking for a
crossing, none was to be found. There was nothing for it but to camp,
and hope that the morrow would bring an improvement.

Now the morrow has come, but whether the improvement has come likewise,
and the lane has closed more together, I do not yet know. We camped
about nine yesterday evening. As usual latterly, after nearly a whole
day of dismal snow, it suddenly cleared up as soon as we began to pitch
the tent. The wind also went down, and the weather became beautiful,
with blue sky and light white clouds, so that one might almost dream
one's self far away to summer at home. The horizon in the west and
southwest was clear enough, but nothing to be seen except the same
water-sky, which we have been steering for, and, happily, it is
obviously higher, so we are getting under it. If only we had reached
it! Yonder there must be a change; that I have no doubt of. How I
long for that change!

"Curious how different things are. If we only reach land before our
provisions give out we shall think ourselves well out of danger, while
to Payer it stood for certain starvation if he should have to remain
there and not find Tegethoff again. But then he had not been roaming
about in the drift-ice between 83° and 86° for two months and a half
without seeing a living creature. Just as were going to break up camp
yesterday morning we suddenly heard the angry cry of an ivory gull;
there, above us, beautiful and white, were two of them sailing right
over our heads. I thought of shooting them, but it seemed, on the
whole, hardly worth while to expend a cartridge apiece on such birds;
they disappeared again, too, directly. A little while afterwards we
heard them again. As we were lying in the bag to-day and waiting for
breakfast we suddenly heard a hoarse scream over the tent--something
like the croaking of a crow. I should imagine it must have been a gull
(Larus argentatus?).

"Is it not curious? The whole night long, whenever I was awake, did
the sun smile in to us through our silken walls, and it was so warm
and light that I lay and dreamed dreams of summer, far from lanes
and drudgery and endless toil. How fair life seems at such moments,
and how bright the future! But no sooner do I turn out to cook at
half-past nine than the sun veils his countenance and snow begins to
fall. This happens nearly every day now. Is it because he will have
us settle down here and wait, for the summer and the slackening of
the ice and open water will spare us the toil of finding a way over
this hopeless maze of lanes? I am loath, indeed, that this should come
to pass. Even if we could manage, as far as provisions are concerned,
by killing and eating the dogs, and with a chance of game in prospect,
our arrival in Spitzbergen would be late, and we might not improbably
have to pass the winter there, and then those at home would have
another year to wait.

"Sunday, June 2d. So it is on Whitsunday that this book [27]
finishes. I could hardly have imagined that we should still be in
the drift-ice without seeing land; but Fate wills otherwise, and she
knows no mercy.

"The lane which stopped us yesterday did not close, but opened wider
until there was a big sea to the west of us, and we were living on
a floe in the midst of it without a passage across anywhere. So, at
last, what we have so often been threatened with has come to pass:
we must set to work and make our kayaks seaworthy. But first of all
we moved the tent into a sheltered nook of the hummock, where we are
lying to, so that the wind does not reach us, and we can imagine it
is quite still outside, instead of a regular 'mill-breeze' blowing
from the southwest. To rip off the cover of my kayak and get it into
the tent to patch it was the work of a very short time, and then we
spent a comfortable, quiet Whitsunday evening in the tent. The cooker
was soon going, and we had some smoking-hot lobscouse for dinner,
and I hardly think either of us regretted he was not on the move;
it is undeniably good to make a halt sometimes. The cover was soon
patched and ready; then I had to go out and brace up the frame of my
kayak where most of the lashings are slack and must be lashed over
again; this will be no inconsiderable piece of work; there are at
least forty of them. However, only a couple of the ribs are split, so
the framework can easily be made just as good as before. Johansen also
took the cover off his kayak, and to-day it is going to be patched.

"When both the frames are put in order and the covers on we shall
be ready to start afresh and to meet every difficulty, be it lanes,
pools, or open sea. It will, indeed, be with a feeling of security
that we shall set forth, and there will be an end to this continual
anxiety lest we should meet with impassable lanes. I cannot conceive
that anything now can prevent us from soon reaching land. It can hardly
be long now before we meet with lanes and open water in which we can
row. There will be a difficulty with the remaining dogs, however,
and it will be a case of parting with them. The dogs' rations were
portioned out yesterday evening, and we still have part of 'Pan'
for supper; but 'Klapperslangen' must go, too. We shall then have
six dogs, which, I suppose, we can keep four days, and still get on
a good way with them.

"Whitsuntide!--there is something so lovely and summer-like in the
word. It is hard to think how beautiful everything is now at home,
and then to lie here still, in mist and wind and ice. How homesick
one grows; but what good does it do? Little Liv will go to dinner
with her grandmother to-day--perhaps they are dressing her in a new
frock at this very moment! Well, well, the time will come when I can
go with her; but when? I must set to work on the lashings, and it
will be all right."

We worked with ardor during the following days to get our kayaks ready,
and even grudged the time for eating. Twelve hours sometimes went by
between each meal, and our working day often lasted for twenty-four
hours. But all the same it took time to make these kayaks fully
seaworthy again. The worst of it was that we had to be so careful
with our materials, as the opportunities of acquiring more were not
immoderately abundant. When, for instance, a rib had to be relashed
we could not rip up the old lashing, but had to unwind it carefully
in order not to destroy the line; and when there are many scores of
such places to be relashed, this takes time. Then, too, several of the
bamboo ribs which run along the side of the framework (particularly
in Johansen's kayak) were split, and these had wholly or partly
to be taken out and new ones substituted, or to be strengthened by
lashings and side splints. When the covers were properly patched, and
the frames, after several days' work, again in order, the covers were
put on and carefully stretched. All this, of course, had to be done
with care, and was not quick work; but then we had the satisfaction of
knowing that the kayaks were fully seaworthy, and capable, if need be,
of weathering a storm on the way over to Spitzbergen.

Meanwhile the time flew by--our precious time; but then we hoped that
our kayaks would render us important assistance, and that we should
get on all the quicker in them. Thus, on Tuesday, June 4th, I wrote
in my diary: "It seems to me that it cannot be long before we come to
open water or slack ice. The latter is, hereabouts, so thin and broken
up, and the weather so summer-like. Yesterday the thermometer was a
little below freezing-point, and the snow which fell was more like
sleet than anything else; it melted on the tent, and it was difficult
to keep things from getting wet inside; the walls dripped if we even
went near them. We had abominable weather the whole day yesterday,
with falling snow, but for the matter of that we are used to it; we
have had nothing else lately. To-day, however, it is brilliant, clear
blue sky, and the sun has just come over the top of our hummock and
down into the tent. It will be a glorious day to sit out and work in;
not like yesterday, when all one's tackle got wet; it is worst of all
when one is lashing, for then one cannot keep the line taut. This sun
is a welcome friend; I thought I was almost tired of it before when
it was always there; but how glad we are to see it now, and how it
cheers one. I can hardly get it out of my head that it is a glorious,
fresh June morning home by the bay. Only let us soon have water, so
that we can use our kayaks, and it will not be long before we are home.

"To-day, [28] for the first time on the whole of this journey, we
have dealt out rations for breakfast, both of butter, 1 2/3 ounces,
and aleuronate bread, 6 2/3 ounces. We must keep to weights in order
to be certain the provisions will last out, and I shall take stock
properly of what we have left before we go farther.

"Happiness is, indeed, short-lived. The sun has gone again, the sky
is overcast, and snowflakes are beginning to fall.

"Wednesday, June 5th. Still at the same spot, but it is to be hoped
it will not be long before we are able to get off. The weather was
fine yesterday, after all, and so summer-like to sit out and work
and bask in the sun; and then to look out over the water and the ice,
with the glittering waves and snow!

"Yesterday we shot our first game. It was an ivory gull (Larus
eberneus), which went flying over the tent. There were other gulls
here, yesterday, too, and we saw as many as four at once; but they
kept at a distance. I went after them once and missed my mark. One
cartridge wasted; this must not be repeated. If we had taken the
trouble we could easily have got more gulls; but they are too small
game, and it is also too early to use up our ammunition. In the pool
here I saw a seal, and Johansen saw one too. We have both seen and
heard narwhals. There is life enough here, and if the kayaks were in
order, and we could row out on the water, I have no doubt we could
get something. However, it is not necessary yet. We have provisions
enough at present, and it is better to employ the time in getting
on, on account of the dogs, though it would be well if we could get
some big game, and not kill any more of them until our ice journey
is over and we take to the kayaks for good. Yesterday we had to kill
'Klapperslangen.' He gave twenty-five rations, which will last the six
remaining dogs four days. The slaughtering was now entirely Johansen's
business; he had achieved such celerity that with a single thrust of my
long Lapp knife he made an end of the animal, so that it had no time
to utter a sound, and after a few minutes, with the help of the knife
and our little axe, he had divided the animal into suitable doles. As
I mentioned before, we left the skin and hair on; the former was
carefully eaten up, and the only thing left after the dogs' meal was,
as a rule, a tuft of hair here and there on the ice, some claws, and,
perhaps, a well-gnawed cranium, the hard skull being too much for them.

"They are beginning to be pretty well starved now. Yesterday
'Lilleræven' ate up the toe-strap (the reindeer-skin which is placed
under the foot to prevent the snow from balling), and a little of the
wood of Johansen's snowshoes, which the dog had pulled down on to the
ice. The late 'Kvik' ate up her sail-cloth harness, and I am not so
sure these others do not indulge in a fragment of canvas now and then.

"I have just reckoned out our longitude according to an observation
taken with the theodolite yesterday, and make it to be 61° 16.5' E.;
our latitude was 82° 17.8' N. I cannot understand why we do not see
land. The only possible explanation must be that we are farther east
than we think, and that the land stretches southward in that direction;
but we cannot have much farther to go now. Just at this moment a bird
flew over us, which Johansen, who is standing just outside the tent,
took to be a kind of sandpiper.

"Thursday, June 6th. Still on the same spot. I am longing to get off,
see what things look like, and have a final solution of this riddle,
which is constantly before me. It will be a real pleasure to be under
way again with whole tackle, and I cannot help thinking that we shall
soon be able to use our kayaks in open water. Life would be another
thing then! Fancy, to get clear for good of this ice and these lanes,
this toil with the sledges and endless trouble with the dogs, only
one's self in a light craft dancing over the waves at play! It is
almost too much to think of. Perhaps we have still many a hard turn
before we reach it, many a dark hour; but some time it must come,
and then--then life will be life again!

"Yesterday, at last, we finished mending the framework of both
kayaks. We rigged up some plaited bamboo at the bottom of each to place
the provisions on, in order to prevent them from getting wet in case
the kayaks should leak. To-day we have only to go over them again,
test the lashings, and brace (support) those that may require it,
and finally put the covers on. To-morrow evening I hope we shall get
off. This repairing has taken it out of the cord; of our three balls
we have rather less than one left. This I am very anxious to keep,
as we may require it for fishing, and so forth.

"Our various provisions are beginning to dwindle. Weighed the butter
yesterday, and found that we only had 5 pounds 1 ounce. If we reckon
our daily ration at 1 1/3 ounces per man it will last another 23 days,
and by that time we shall have gone a little farther. To-day, for the
first time, I could note down a temperature above freezing-point--i.e.,
+35.6° Fahr. this morning. The snow outside was soft all through,
and the hummocks are dripping. It will not be long now before we
find water on the floes. Last night, too, it absolutely rained. It
was only a short shower; first of all it drizzled, then came large,
heavy drops, and we took shelter inside the tent in order not to get
wet--but it was rain, rain! It was quite a summer feeling to sit in
here and listen to the drops splashing on the tent wall. As regards
the going, this thaw will probably be a good thing if we should have
frost again; but if the snow is to continue as it is now, it will be a
fine mess to get through among all these ridges and hummocks. Instead
of such a contingency, it would be better to have as much rain as
possible, to melt and wash the ice clear of snow. Well, well, it must
do as it likes! It cannot be long now before it takes a turn for the
better--land or open water, whichever it may be.

"Saturday, June 8th. Finished and tried the kayaks yesterday at last,
but only by dint of sticking to our work from the evening of the day
before yesterday to the evening of yesterday. It is remarkable that
we are able to continue working so long at a stretch. If we were at
home we should be very tired and hungry, with so many working hours
between meals; but here it does not seem more than it should be,
although our appetites certainly are first-rate and our sleeping
powers good. It does not seem as if we were growing weak or sickening
for scurvy just yet. As a matter of fact, so far as I know, we are
unusually strong and healthy just now and in full elasticity.

"When we tried the kayaks in a little lane just here we found them
considerably leaky in the seams and also in the canvas, from their
rough usage on the way, but it is to be hoped no more so than will be
remedied when a little soaking makes the canvas swell out. It will not
be agreeable to ferry over lanes and have to put our kayaks dry and
leaky on the water. Our provisions may not improbably be reduced to a
pulp; but we shall have to put up with that, too, like everything else.

"And so we really mean to get off to-day, after a week's stay on
the same spot. Yesterday the southeast wind set in; it has increased
to-day and become rather strong, to judge by the whistling round the
hummocks outside. I lay here this morning fancying I heard the sound of
breakers a little way off. All the lanes about here closed yesterday,
and there was little open water to be seen. It is owing to this wind,
I suppose, and if it is going to close lanes for us, then let it blow
on. The snow is covered with a crust of ice, the going is as good
as possible, and the ice, it is to be hoped, is more or less flat,
so we shall be all right.

"Johansen shot another ivory gull yesterday, and we had it and another
one for dinner. It was our first taste of fresh food, and was, it
cannot be denied, very good; but all the same not so delightful as
one would expect, seeing that we have not had fresh meat for so many
months. It is a proof, no doubt, that the food we have is also good.

"Weighed the bread yesterday; found we had 26 pounds 4 ounces of
wheaten bread and 17 pounds 1 ounce of aleuronate bread; so, for that
matter, we can manage for another thirty-five or forty days, and how
far we shall then have got the gods alone know, but some part of the
way it must be.

"Sunday, June 9th. We got away from our camping-ground at last
yesterday, and we were more than pleased. In spite of the weather,
which was as bad as it could be, with a raging snow-storm from the
east, we were both glad to begin our wanderings again. It took some
time to fix grips under the kayaks, consisting of sack, sleeping-bag,
and blankets, and so load the sledges; but eventually we made a
start. We got well off the floe we had lived on so long, and did not
even have to use the kayaks which we had spent a week in patching for
that purpose. The wind had carefully closed the lanes. We found flat
ice-country, and made good way in spite of the most villanous going,
with newly fallen snow, which stuck to one's snow-shoes mercilessly,
and in which the sledges stood as if fixed to the spot as soon as they
stopped. The weather was such that one could not see many hundred feet
in front of one, and the snow which accumulated on one's clothes on the
weather-side wetted one to the skin; but still it was glorious to see
ourselves making progress--progress towards our stubborn goal. We came
across a number of lanes, and they were difficult to cross, with their
complicated net-work of cracks and ridges in all directions. Some of
them were broad and full of brash, which rendered it impossible to use
the kayaks. In some places, however, the brash was pressed so tightly
together that we could walk on it. But many journeys to and fro are
nearly always necessary before any reasonable opportunity of advance
is to be found. This time is often long to the one who remains behind
with the dogs, being blown through or wetted through meanwhile, as the
case may be. Often, when it seemed as if I were never coming back,
did Johansen think I had fallen through some lane and was gone for
good. As one sits there on the kayak, waiting and waiting, and gazing
in front of one into solitude, many strange thoughts pass through
one's brain. Several times he climbed the highest hummock near at
hand to scan the ice anxiously; and then, when at last he discovered
a little black speck moving about on the white flat surface far,
far away, his mind would be relieved. As Johansen was waiting in
this way yesterday, he remarked that the sides of the floe in front
of him were slowly moving up and down, [29] as they might if rocked
by a slight swell. Can open water be near? Can it be that the great
breakers from the sea have penetrated in here? How willingly would we
believe it! But perhaps it was only the wind which set the thin ice
we are now travelling over in wave-like motion. Or have we really
open water to the southeast? It is remarkable that this wind welds
the ice together, while the southwest wind here a little while ago
slackened it. When all is said, is it possible that we are not far
from the sea? I cannot help thinking of the water-reflections we have
seen on the sky before us. Johansen has just left the tent, and says
that he can see the same reflection in the south; it is higher now,
and the weather tolerably clear. What can it be? Only let us go on
and get there.

"We came across the track of a bear again yesterday. How old it
was could not easily be determined in this snow, which obliterates
everything in a few minutes; but it was probably from yesterday, for
'Haren' directly afterwards got scent of something and started off
against the wind, so that Johansen thought the bear must be somewhere
near. Well, well, old or new, a bear was there while we were a little
farther north, stitching at the kayaks, and one day it will come our
way, too, no doubt! The gull which Johansen shot brought up a large
piece of blubber when it fell, and this tends to confirm us in the
belief that bears are at hand, as it hardly could have done so had
it not been in such company.

"The weather was wet and wretched, and, to make things worse,
there was a thick mist, and the going was as heavy as could be. To
go on did not seem very attractive; but, on the other hand, a halt
for dinner in this slush was still less so. We therefore continued a
little while longer and stopped at 10 o'clock for good. What a welcome
change it was to be under the tent again! And the 'fiskegratin' was
delicious. It gives one such a sense of satisfaction to feel that,
in spite of everything, one is making a little way. The temperature
is beginning to be bad now; the snow is quite wet, and some water
has entered my kayak, which I suppose melted on the deck and ran
down through the open side where the lacing is, which we have not
yet sewn fast. We are waiting for good weather in order to get the
covers thoroughly dry first, and then stretch them well.

"Monday, June 10th. In spite of the most impenetrable mist and the most
detestable going on soppy snow, which has not yet been sufficiently
exposed to frost to become granular, and where the sledges rode their
very heaviest, we still managed to make good, even progress the whole
day yesterday. There were innumerable lanes, of course, to deal with,
and many crossings on loose pieces of ice, which we accomplished at a
pinch. But the ice is flat here everywhere, and every little counts. It
is the same thin winter-ice of about three feet in thickness. I only
saw a couple of old floes yesterday--they were in the neighborhood
of our camping-ground, which was also on an old floe; otherwise the
ice is new, and in places very new. We went over some large expanses
yesterday of ice one foot or less in thickness. The last of these
tracts in particular was very remarkable, and must at one time have
been an immense pool; the ice on it was so thin that it cannot be
long before it melts altogether. There was water on all this ice,
and it was like walking through gruel. As a matter of fact, the ice
about here is nothing else but pure broken-up sea-ice, consisting
of large and small floes, not infrequently very small floes closely
aggregated; but when they have the chance of slackening they will
spread over the whole sea hereabouts, and we shall have water enough
to row in any direction we please.

"The weather seems to-day to be of the same kind as yesterday, with
a southwest wind, which is tearing and rattling at the tent walls. A
thaw and wet snow. I do not know if we shall get any more frost, but
it would make the snow in splendid condition for our snow-shoes. I am
afraid, however, that the contrary will rather be the case, and that
we shall soon be in for the worst break-up of the winter. The lanes
otherwise are beginning to improve; they are no longer so full of
brash and slush; it is melting away, and bridges and such-like have
a better chance of forming in the clearer water.

"We scan the horizon unremittingly for land every time there is a
clear interval; but nothing, never anything, to be seen. Meanwhile we
constantly see signs of the proximity of land or open water. The gulls
increase conspicuously in number, and yesterday we saw a little auk
(Mergulus alle) in a lane. The atmosphere in the south and southwest
is always apt to be dark, but the weather has been such that we can
really see nothing. Yet I feel that the solution is approaching. But,
then, how long have I not thought so? There is nothing for it but
the noble virtue of patience.

"What beautiful ice this would have been to travel over in April before
all these lanes were formed--endless flat plains! For the lanes,
as far as we know, are all newly formed ones, with some ridges here
and there, which are also new.

"Tuesday, June 11th. A monotonous life this on the whole, as monotonous
as one can well imagine it--to turn out day after day, week after week,
month after month, to the same toil, over ice which is sometimes a
little better, sometimes a little worse (it now seems to be steadily
getting worse), always hoping to see an end to it, but always hoping
in vain--ever the same monotonous range of vision over ice, and again
ice. No sign of land in any direction and no open water, and now we
should be in the same latitude as Cape Fligely, or at most a couple
of minutes farther north. We do not know where we are, and we do not
know when this will end. Meanwhile our provisions are dwindling day
by day, and the number of our dogs is growing seriously less. Shall
we reach land while we yet have food, or shall we, when all is said,
ever reach it? It will soon be impossible to make any way against
this ice and snow. The latter is only slush; the dogs sink through at
every step, and we ourselves splash through it up above our knees when
we have to help the dogs or take a turn at the heavy sledges, which
happens frequently. It is hard to go on hoping in such circumstances,
but still we do so; though sometimes, perhaps, our hearts fail us when
we see the ice lying before us like an impenetrable maze of ridges,
lanes, brash, and huge blocks thrown together pell-mell, and one might
imagine one's self looking at suddenly congealed breakers. There are
moments when it seems impossible that any creature not possessed
of wings can get farther, and one longingly follows the flight of
a passing gull, and thinks how far away one would soon be could one
borrow its wings. But then, in spite of everything, one finds a way,
and hope springs eternal. Let the sun peep out a moment from the bank
of clouds, and the ice-plains glitter in all their whiteness; let the
sunbeams play on the water, and life seems beautiful in spite of all,
and worthy a struggle.

"It is wonderful how little it takes to give one fresh
courage. Yesterday I found dead in a lane a little polar cod (Gadus
polaris), and my eyes, I am sure, must have shone with pleasure when I
saw it. It was real treasure-trove. Where there is fish in the water
one can hardly starve, and before I crept into the tent this morning
I set a line in the lane beside us. But what a number of these little
fish it would require to feed one; many more in one day than one could
catch in a week, or perhaps in a month! Yet one is hopeful, and lies
counting the chances of there being larger fish in the water here,
and of being able to fish to one's heart's content.

"Advance yesterday was more difficult than on the previous days,
the ice more uneven and massive, and in some places with occasional
old floes in between. We were stopped by many bad lanes, too, so did
not make much way--I am afraid not more than three or four miles. I
think we may now reckon on being in latitude 82° 8' or 9' N. if this
continual southeast wind has not sent us northward again. The going
is getting worse and worse. The snow is water-soaked to the bottom,
and will not bear the dogs any longer, though it has become a little
more granular lately, and the sledges run well on it when they do
not cut through, which happens continually, and then they are almost
immovable. It is heavy for the dogs, and would be so even if they were
not so wretchedly worn out as they are; they stop at the slightest
thing, and have to be helped or driven forward with the whip. Poor
animals, they have a bad time of it! 'Lilleræven,' the last of my
original team, will soon be unable to go farther--and such a good
animal to haul! We have 5 dogs left ('Lilleræven,' 'Storræven,' and
'Kaifas' to my sledge, 'Suggen' and 'Haren' to Johansen's). We still
have enough food for them for three days, from 'Isbjön,' who was
killed yesterday morning; and before that time Johansen thinks the
riddle will be solved. Vain hope, I am afraid, although the water-sky
in the southeast or south-southeast (magnetic) seems always to keep
in the same position and has risen much higher.

"We began our march at half-past six yesterday afternoon, and
stopped before a lane at a quarter-past three this morning. I saw
fresh-water pools on the ice under some hummocks yesterday for the
first time. Where we stopped, however, there were none to be found,
so we had to melt water again this morning; but it will not often
be necessary hereafter, I hope, and we can save our oil, which,
by-the-way, is becoming alarmingly reduced. Outside, the weather and
snow are the same; no pleasure in turning out to the toils of the
day. I lie here thinking of our June at home--how the sun is shining
over forest and fjord and wooded hills, and there is--But some time
we shall get back to life, and then it will be fairer than it has
ever been before.

"Wednesday, June 12th. This is getting worse and worse. Yesterday we
did nothing, hardly advanced more than a mile. Wretched snow, uneven
ice, lanes, and villanous weather stopped us. There was certainly a
crust on the snow, on which the sledges ran well when they were on it;
but when they broke through--and they did it constantly--they stood
immovable. This crust, too, was bad for the dogs, poor things! They
sank through it into the deep snow between the irregularities, and
it was like swimming through slush for them. But all the same we made
way. Lanes stopped us, it is true, but we cleared them somehow. Over
one of them, the last, which looked nasty, we got by making a bridge
of small floes, which we guided to the narrowest place. But then a
shameless storm of wet snow, or, more correctly, sleet, with immense
flakes, set in, and the wind increased. We could not see our way in
this labyrinth of lanes and hummocks, and were as soaked as ducked
crows, as we say. The going was impossible, and the sledges as good as
immovable in the wet snow, which was soon deep enough to cling to our
'ski' underneath in great lumps, and prevent them from running. There
was hardly any choice but to find a camping-ground as soon as possible,
for to force one's way along in such weather and on such snow, and
make no progress, was of little use. We found a good camping-ground
and pitched our tent after only four hours' march, and went without
our dinner to make up.

"Here we are, then, hardly knowing what to do next. What the going
is like outside I do not know yet, but probably not much better than
yesterday, and whether we ought to push on the little we can, or go out
and try to capture a seal, I cannot decide. The worst of it is that
there do not seem to be many seals in the ice where we now are. We
have seen none the last few days. Perhaps it is too thick and compact
for them (?). The ice here is strikingly different in character from
that we have been travelling over of late. It is considerably more
uneven, for one thing, with mounds and somewhat old ridges--among
them some very large ones. Nor does it look so very old--in general,
I should say, of last winter's formation, though there are occasional
old floes in between. They appear to have been near land, as clay and
earthy matter are frequently to be seen, particularly in the newly
formed ridges.

"Johansen, who has gone out, says the same water-sky is to be seen
in the south. Why is it we cannot reach it? But there it is, all the
same, an alluring goal for us to make for, even if we do not reach it
very soon. We see it again and again, looking so blue and beautiful;
for us it is the color of hope.

"Friday, June 14th. It is three months to-day since we left the
Fram. A quarter of a year have we been wandering in this desert of
ice, and here we are still. When we shall see the end of it I can no
longer form any idea; I only hope whatever may be in store for us
is not very far off, open water or land--Wilczek Land, Zichy Land,
Spitzbergen, or some other country.

"Yesterday was not quite so bad a day as I expected. We really did
advance, though not very far--hardly more than a couple of miles--but
we must be content with that at this time of year. The dogs could not
manage to draw the sledges alone; if there was nobody beside them they
stopped at every other step. The only thing to be done was to make
a journey to and fro, and thus go over the ground three times. While
I went on ahead to explore, Johansen drove the sledges as far as he
could; first mine, and then back again after his own. By that time I
had returned and drove my own sledge as far as I had found a way; and
then this performance was repeated all over again. It was not rapid
progress, but progress it was of a kind, and that was something. The
ice we are going over is anything but even; it is still rather massive
and old, with hummocks and irregularities in every direction, and no
real flat tracts. When, added to this, after going a short distance,
we came to a place where the ice was broken up into small floes,
with high ridges and broad lanes filled with slush and brash, so
that the whole thing looked like a single mass of débris, where there
was hardly standing-room, to say nothing of any prospect of advance,
it was only human to lose courage and give up, for the time being,
trying to get on. Wherever I turned the way was closed, and it looked
as if advance was denied us for good. To launch the kayaks would be
of no avail, for we could hardly expect to propel them through this
accumulation of fragments, and I was on the point of making up my
mind to wait and try our luck with the net and line, and see if we
could not manage to find a seal somewhere in these lanes.

"These are moments full of anxiety, when from some hummock one looks
doubtingly over the ice, one's thoughts continually reverting to the
same question: have we provisions enough to wait for the time when
the snow will have melted and the ice have become slacker and more
intersected with lanes, so that one can row between the floes? Or is
there any probability of our being able to obtain sufficient food,
if that which we have should fall short? These are great and important
questions which I cannot yet answer for certain. That it will take a
long time before all this snow melts away and advance becomes fairly
practicable is certain; at what time the ice may become slacker,
and progress by means of the lanes possible, we cannot say; and up
to this we have taken nothing, with the exception of two ivory gulls
and a small fish. We did, indeed, see another fish swimming near the
surface of the water, but it was no larger than the other. Where we are
just now there seems to be little prospect of capturing anything. I
have not seen a single seal the last few days; though yesterday I
saw the snowed-down track of a bear. Meanwhile we see ivory gulls
continually; but they are still too small to be worth a cartridge;
yesterday, however, I saw a large gull, probably Larus argentatus.

"I determined to make one more attempt to get on by striking farther
east and this time I was successful in finding a passage across by
way of a number of small floes. On the other side there was rather
old compact ice, partially of formation a summer old, which seemed
to have been near land, as it was irregular, and much intermixed
with earthy matter. We have travelled over this ice-field ever since
without coming on lanes; but it was uneven, and we came to grief
several times. In other places again it was pretty good.

"We began our march at 8 o'clock on Wednesday afternoon, and halted
here at 5 o'clock this morning. [30] Later on in the forenoon the
wind went over to the northeast and the temperature fell. The snow
froze hard, and eventually the going became pretty good. The crust
on the snow bore the dogs up, and also the sledges to a certain
extent, and we looked forward to good going on the following day;
but in this we were doomed to disappointment. No sooner had we got
inside the tent than it began to snow, and kept briskly at it the
whole day while we slept; and yesterday evening, when we turned
out to get breakfast ready and start off, it was still snowing, and
deep, loose snow covered everything--a state of things bad beyond
description. There was no sense in going on, and we decided to wait
and see how matters would turn out. Meanwhile we were hungry, but a
full breakfast we could not afford, so I prepared a small portion of
fish soup, and we returned to the bag again--Johansen to sleep on,
I to rereckon all my observations from the time we left the Fram, and
see if some error might not explain the mystery why no land was yet
to be found. The sun had partially appeared, and I tried, though in
vain, to take an observation. I stood waiting for more than an hour
with the theodolite up, but the sun went in again and remained out
of sight. I have calculated and calculated and thought and thought,
but can find no mistake of any importance, and the whole thing is a
riddle to me. I am beginning seriously to doubt that we may be too far
west, after all. I simply cannot conceive that we are too far east;
for in such a case we cannot, at any rate, be more than 5° farther
east than our observations [31] make us. Supposing, for instance,
that our watches have gone too fast, 'Johannsen' [32] cannot, at
all events, have gained more than double its previous escapement. I
have assumed an escapement of five seconds; but supposing that the
escapement has been ten seconds, this does not make more difference
than 6' 40'' in eighty days (the time from our departure from the
Fram till the last observation)--that is, 1° 40' farther east than we
ought to be. Assuming, too, that I have calculated our days' marches
at too great length, in the days between April 8th and 13th, and that
instead of 36 English geographical miles, or, rather, more than 40
statute miles, we have only gone 24 English geographical miles, or
28 statute miles (less we cannot possibly have gone), we should then
have been in 89° E. instead of 86° E, on the 13th, as we supposed. That
is 3° farther east, or with the figures above, let us say together 5°
farther east--i.e., we now instead of being in longitude 61° E. should
be in 66° E., [33] or about 70 miles from Cape Fligely. But it seems
to me we ought to see land south of us just the same. Wilczek Land
cannot be so low and trend suddenly so far to the south, when Cape
Budapest is said to lie in about 61° E. and 82° N., and should thus
be not so much as 50 miles from us. No, this is inconceivable. On the
other hand, it is not any easier to suppose ourselves west of it; we
must have drifted very materially between April 8th and 13th, or my
watch must have stopped for a time before April 2d. The observations
from April 2d, 4th, and 8th seem, indeed, to indicate that we drifted
considerably westward. On the 2d we appeared to be in 103° 6' E., on
the 4th in 99° 59' E., and April 8th in 95° 7' E. Between these dates
there were no marches of importance; between the observations on the
2d and the 4th there was only a short half-day's march; and between
the 4th and the 7th a couple, which amounted to nothing, and could
only have carried us a little westward. This is as much as to say that
we must have drifted 8°, or let us reckon at any rate 7°, westward in
the six days and nights. Assuming that the drift was the same during
the five days and nights between the 8th and 13th, we then get 7°
farther west than we suppose. We should consequently now be in 54°
E., instead of in 61° E., and not more than 36 to 40 miles from Cape
Fligely, and close by Oscar's Land. We ought to see something of them,
I think. Let us assume meanwhile that the drift westward was strong
in the period before April 2d also, and grant the possibility that
my watch did stop at that time (which, I fear, is not excluded),
and we may then be any distance west for all we can tell. It is
this possibility which I begin to think of more and more. Meanwhile,
apparently there is nothing for it but to continue as we have done
already--perhaps a little more south--and a solution must come.

"When, after having concluded my calculations, I had taken a nap and
again turned out at midday to-day, the condition of the snow proved
to be no better; in fact, rather worse. The new snow was wet and
sticky and the going as heavy as it well could be. However, it was
necessary to make an attempt to get on; there was nothing gained by
waiting there, and progress is progress be it ever so little.

"I took a single altitude about midday, but it was not sharp.

"Saturday, June 15th. The middle of June, and still no prospect of an
end to this; things only became worse instead. So bad as yesterday,
though, it had never been, and worse, happily, it can hardly be. The
sledges ran terribly heavy in the loose, wet, newly fallen snow,
which was deep to boot; and sometimes when they stopped--and that was
continually--they stuck as if glued to the spot. It was all we could
do to move them when we pushed with all our might. Then to this was
added the fact that one's snow-shoes ran equally badly, and masses
of snow collected underneath them the minute one stopped; one's feet
kept twisting continually from this, and ice formed under them, so
that one suddenly slid off the snow-shoes and into the snow, till far
above one's knees, when one tried to pull or help the sledges; but
there was nothing for it but to scramble up and on to them again. To
wade along in such snow without them is an impossibility, and, as I
have said before, though fastening them on securely would have been a
better plan, yet it would have been too troublesome, seeing that we
had to take them off continually to get the sledges over ridges and
lanes. In addition to all this, wherever one turns, the ice is uneven
and full of mounds and old ridges, and it is only by wriggling along
like an eel, so to speak, that one can get on at all. There are lanes,
too, and they compel one to make long detours or go long distances
over thin, small floes, ridges, and other abominations. We struggled
along, however, a little way, working on our old plan of two turns,
but a quick method it could not be called. The dogs are becoming
more and more worn out. 'Lilleræven,' the last survivor of my team,
can now hardly walk--hauling there is no question of: he staggers
like a drunken man, and when he falls can hardly rise to his feet
again. To-day he is going to be killed, I am thankful to say, and one
will be spared seeing him. 'Storræven,' too, is getting very slack
in the traces; the only one of mine which pulls at all is 'Kaifas,'
and that is only as long as one of us is helping behind. To keep on
longer in such circumstances is only wearing out men and dogs to no
purpose, and is also using up more provender than is necessary. We
therefore renounced dinner, and halted at about ten yesterday evening,
after having begun the march at half-past four in the afternoon. I
had, however, stopped to take an observation on the way. It is not
easy to get hold of the sun nowadays, and one must make the most
of him when he is to be seen through the driving clouds; clear he
will never be. Yesterday afternoon, after an unconscionable wait,
and after having put up the instrument in vain a couple of times,
I finally got a wretched single altitude.

"Yesterday evening I reckoned out these observations and find that,
contrary to our expectations, we have drifted strongly westward,
having come from 61° 16' E., which was our longitude on June 4th,
right to about 57° 40' E. But then we have also drifted a good way
north again, up to 82° 26' N., after being down in 82° 17.8' on the
same date, and we have been pushing southward as hard as we could
the whole time. However, we are glad to see that there is so much
movement in the ice, for then there is hope of our drifting out
eventually towards open water; for that we can get there by our own
efforts alone over this shocking ice I am beginning to doubt. This
country and this going are too bad, and my hope now is in lanes and
slack ice. Happily, a northeast wind has sprung up. Yesterday there was
a fresh breeze from the north-northwest (magnetic), and the same again
to-day. Only let it blow on; if it has set us northwest it can also
set us southwest, and eventually out towards our goal--towards Franz
Josef Land or Spitzbergen. I doubt more than ever our being east of
Cape Fligely after this observation, and I begin to believe more and
more in the possibility that the first land we shall see--if we see
any, and I hope we may--will be Spitzbergen. In that case we should
not even get a glimpse of Franz Josef Land, the land of which I have
dreamed golden dreams day and night. But still, if it is not to be,
then well and good. Spitzbergen is good enough, and if we are as far
west as we seem to be, I have greater hope than before of finding
slacker ice and open water; and then for Spitzbergen! But there is
still a serious question to be faced, and that is to procure ourselves
enough food for the journey.

"I have slept here some time on purpose, after having spent a good
while on my calculations and speculations as to our drift and our
future. We have nothing to hurry for in this state of the snow; it
is hardly better to-day than it was yesterday, and then, on account
of the mild temperature, it is better to travel by night than by
day. The best thing to do is to spin out the time as long as possible
without consuming more than absolutely necessary of the provisions;
the summer cannot but improve matters, and we have still three months
of it before us. The question is, can we procure ourselves food during
that time? It would be strange, I think, if we could not. There are
birds about continually; I saw another large gull yesterday, probably
the herring or silver gull (Larus argentatus); but to support life for
any length of time on such small fry we have not cartridges enough. On
seal or bear all my hopes are fixed; just one before our provisions
give out, and the evil hour is warded off for a long time to come.

"Sunday, June 16th. Yesterday was as bad as it well could be--the
surface enough to make one desperate and the ice rough. I very much
doubted whether the wisest thing would not be to kill the dogs and keep
them as food for ourselves, and try to make our way on as best we could
without them. In that manner we should have provender for fifteen or
perhaps twenty days longer, and should be able to make some progress
at the same time. There does not seem much to be done in that line,
however, and perhaps the right thing to do is to wait. But, on the
other hand, perhaps, it is not far to land or open water, or, at any
rate, to slack ice, and then every mile we can make southward is of
importance. I have therefore come to the conclusion that we must use
the dogs to get on with as best we can--perhaps there will be a change
before we expect it; if nothing else, then, perhaps, some better ice,
like that we had before. Meanwhile we were obliged to kill two dogs
yesterday. 'Lilleræven' could hardly go when we started; his legs
seemed to be quite paralyzed, and he fell down and could not get up
again. After I had dragged him and the sledge for a time and had tried
in vain to make him go, I had to put him on the load, and when we came
to some hummocks where there was shelter from the north wind, Johansen
killed him, while I went forward to find a way. Meanwhile my other dog,
'Storræven,' was in almost as bad a plight. Haul he could not, and
the difficulty was to make him go on so that he was not dragged with
the sledge. He went a little way, stumbling and falling, and being
helped up repeatedly; but soon he was just as bad as 'Lilleræven'
had been, lagged behind, got the traces under the sledge runners,
and was dragged with it. As I thought I had enough to do in hauling
the sledge, I let him go, in the hope that he would, at any rate,
follow us. He did so for a little while, but then stopped behind,
and Johansen was compelled to fetch him and put him on his load,
and when we camped he was killed too.

"'Kaifas' is the only dog I have left to help me haul my sledge,
and Johansen has 'Haren' and 'Suggen.' We have rations for them
for ten days from the two slaughtered dogs, but how far we shall
be able to get with them the gods alone know. Not very far, I am
afraid. Meanwhile our hitherto somewhat primitive method of hauling
had to be improved on. With two dog-harnesses we accordingly made
ourselves proper hauling-gear, [34] and therewith all idea of using
snow-shoes not securely fastened on had to be abandoned. One's feet
twisted and slipped and slid off the snow-shoes and deep down into
the bottomless snow, which, in addition, turned to ice under our feet,
and with our smooth komager soles was as slippery as eelskin to stand
on. Then we fastened them on, and where the ice was even it really was
possible to drag the sledge, even with only one dog beside one. I saw
that, given passable snow and passable country to work on, we could
make some progress during the day, though as soon as there was the
slightest irregularity in the ice the sledges stood perfectly still. It
was necessary to strain at the harness all one knew, and then perhaps
fail to make the sledge budge an inch. Then back one had to go to it,
and after exerting one's strength to the utmost it would finally glide
over the obstacle and on towards a new one, where exactly the same
process had to be gone through. If it was wished to turn the sledge in
the deep snow where it stood embedded, matters were no better; it was
only by lifting it bodily that one could get it on at all. So we went
on step by step until perhaps we came on a small extent of level ice
where we could increase the pace. If, however, we came on lanes and
ridges, things were worse than ever; one man cannot manage a sledge
alone, but two must be put to each sledge. Then when we have followed
up the track I have marked out beforehand I have to start off again
and find a way between the hummocks. To go direct, hauling the sledge,
is not advisable where the ice is uneven, as it only means getting
into difficulties and being constrained eventually to turn back. In
this way we are grinding along, but it goes without saying that speed
and long marches are not the order of the day. But still, as it is we
make a little way, and that is better than nothing; it is, besides,
the only thing we can do, seeing that it is impossible to crawl into
a lair and hibernate for a month or so till progress is possible again.

"To judge by the sky, there must be a number of lanes in the south
and southwest. Perhaps our trying mode of advance is leading us
to something better. We began at about ten yesterday evening,
and stopped at six this morning. We have not had dinner the last
few days, in order to save a meal, as we do not think this ice and
our progress generally are worth much food. With the same object,
we this morning collected the blood of 'Storræven' and converted it
into a sort of porridge instead of the 'fiskegratin.' It was good,
even if it was only dog's blood, and at any rate we have a portion
of fish flour to the good. Before we turned into the bag last night
we inspected our cartridges, and found, to our joy, that we had
148 shot-gun cartridges, 181 rifle cartridges, and in addition 14
spherical-shot cartridges. With so much ammunition, we should be able
to increase our provisions for some time to come, if necessary; for
if nothing else should fall to our guns there would always be birds,
and 148 birds will go a long way. If we use half-charges we can eke
out our ammunition still further. We have, moreover, half a pound
of gunpowder and some spherical shot for the rifles, also caps for
reloading the cartridges. This discovery has put me in good spirits,
for, truth to tell, I did not think our prospects were inordinately
bright. We shall now, perhaps, be able to manage for three months,
and within that time something must happen. In addition to what we can
shoot, we can also catch gulls with a hook, and if the worst should
come to the worst, and we set seriously to work, we can probably take
some animalcula and the like with the net. It may happen that we shall
not get to Spitzbergen in time to find a vessel, and must winter there,
but it will be a life of luxury compared with this in the drift-ice,
not knowing where we are nor whither drifting, and not seeing our
goal, be it never so far away. I should not like to have this time
over again. We have paid dearly for letting our watches run down that
time. If there was no one waiting at home, a winter in Spitzbergen
would be quite enticing. I lie here and dream of how comfortably and
well we could manage there. Everything outside of this ice seems rosy,
and out of it we shall be some time or other. We must comfort ourselves
with the adage that night is darkest before the dawn. Of course it
somewhat depends on how dark the night is to be, and considerably
darker than it is now it might very well be. But our hopes are fixed
on the summer. Yes, it must be better as summer gradually comes on."

So on we went forward; and day after day we were going through exactly
the same toil, in the same heavy snow, in which the sledges stuck fast
ceaselessly. Dogs and men did their best, but with little effect, and
in addition we began to be uneasy as to our means of subsistence. The
dogs' rations were reduced to a minimum, to enable us to keep life
going as long as possible. We were hungry and toil-worn from morning
to night and from night to morning, all five of us. We determined
to shoot whatever came in our way, even gulls and fulmars; but now,
of course, none of this game ever came within range.

The lanes grew worse and worse, filled generally with slush and
brash. We were often compelled to go long distances over nothing
but small pieces, where one went through continually. On June 18th
"a strong wind from the west (magnetic) sprang up, which tears and
rattles at the tent. We are going back, I suppose, whence we came,
only farther north perhaps. So we are buffeted by wind and current,
and so it will go on, perhaps, the whole summer through, without our
being able to master it." A meridian altitude that day made us in 82°
19' N., so we had come down again a little. I saw and shot a couple
of fulmars and a Brünnich's guillemot (Uria brünnichii), and these
eked out our rations; but, to our distress, I fired at a couple of
seals in the lanes and missed my mark. How we wished we could get
hold of such a prize! "Meanwhile there is a good deal of life here
now," I write on June 20th. "Little auks fly backward and forward in
numbers, and they sit and chatter and show themselves just outside
the tent door; it is quite a pleasure to see them, but a pity they
are so small that they are not worth a shot. We have not seen them in
flocks yet, but in couples, as a rule. It is remarkable how bird-life
has increased since the west wind set in the day before yesterday. It
is particularly striking how the little auks have suddenly appeared
in myriads; they whiz past the tent here with their cheery twitter,
and it gives one the feeling of having come down to more hospitable
regions. This sudden finding of Brünnich's guillemots seems also
curious, but it does no good. Land is not to be descried, and the
snow is in as wretched a condition as it can be. A proper thaw, so
that the snow can disappear more quickly, does not come. Yesterday
morning before breakfast I went for a walk southward to see what were
our chances of advance. The ice was flat and good for a little way,
but lanes soon began which were worse than ever. Our only expedient
now is to resort to strong measures and launch the kayaks, in spite of
the fact that they leak; we must then travel as much as possible by way
of the lanes, and with this resolution I turn back. The snow is still
the same, very wet, so that one sank deep in between the hummocks,
and there are plenty of them. We could not afford a proper breakfast,
so we took 1 2/3 ounces bread and 1 2/3 ounces pemmican per man,
and then set to work to mend the pumps and put the kayaks in order
for ferrying, so that their contents should not be spoiled by water
leaking in. Among other things, a hole had to be patched in mine,
which I had not seen before.

"We had a frugal supper--2 ounces aleuronate bread and 1 ounce butter
per man--and crept into the bag to sleep as long as possible and kill
the time without eating. The only thing to be done is to try and hold
out till the snow has melted and advance is more practicable. At one
in the afternoon we turned out to a rather more abundant breakfast of
'fiskegratin,' but we do not dare to eat as much as we require any
longer. We are looking forward to trying our new tactics, and instead
of attempting to conquer nature, obeying her and taking advantage of
the lanes. We must get some way, at any rate, by this means; and the
farther south the more prospect of lanes and the greater chance of
something falling to our guns.

"Otherwise it is a dull existence enough, no prospect for the moment
of being able to get on, impassable packed ice in every direction,
rapidly diminishing provisions, and now, too, nothing to be caught
or shot. An attempt I made at fishing with the net failed entirely--a
pteropod (Clio borealis) and a few crustacea were the whole result. I
lie awake at night by the hour racking my brain to find a way out of
our difficulties. Well, well, there will be one eventually!

"Saturday, June 22d. Half-past 9 A.M.; after a good breakfast of
seal's-flesh, seal-liver, blubber, and soup, here I lie dreaming dreams
of brightness; life is all sunshine again. What a little incident
is necessary to change the whole aspect of affairs! Yesterday and
the last few days were dull and gloomy; everything seemed hopeless,
the ice impassable, no game to be found; and then comes the incident
of a seal rising near our kayaks and rolling about round us. Johansen
has time to give it a ball just as it is disappearing, and it floats
while I harpoon it--the first and only bearded seal (Phoca barbata)
we have seen yet--and we have abundance of food and fuel for upward
of a month. We need hurry no longer; we can settle down, adapt the
kayaks and sledges better for ferrying over the lanes, capture seals
if possible, and await a change in the state of the ice. We have eaten
our fill both at supper and breakfast, after being ravenous for many
days. The future seems bright and certain now; no clouds of darkness
to be seen any longer.

"It was hardly with great expectations that we started off on
Tuesday evening. A hard crust which had formed on the top of the soft
snow did not improve matters; the sledges often cut through this,
and were not to be moved before one lifted them forward again, and
when it was a case of turning amid the uneven ice they stuck fast
in the crust. The ice was uneven and bad, and the snow loose and
water-soaked, so that, even with snow-shoes on, we sank deep into
it ourselves. There were lanes besides, and though tolerably easy to
cross, as they were often packed together, they necessitated a winding
route. We saw clearly that to continue in this way was impossible. The
only resource was to disburden ourselves of everything which could in
any way be dispensed with, and start afresh as quickly as we could,
with only provisions, kayaks, guns, and the most necessary clothing,
in order, at any rate, to reach land before our last crumb of food
was eaten up. We went over the things to see what we could part with;
the medicine-bag, the spare horizontal bars belonging to the sledges,
reserve snow-shoes and thick, rough socks, soiled shirts, and the
tent. When it came to the sleeping-bag we drew a long sigh, but, wet
and heavy as it always is now, that had to go too. We had, moreover,
to contrive wooden grips under the kayaks, so that we can without
further trouble set the whole thing afloat when we have to cross a
lane and be able to drag the sledges up on the other side and go on
at once. If it should then, as now, be impossible for us to launch
the sledges, because sleeping-bag, clothes, and sacks of provender,
etc., are lying on them as a soft dunnage for the kayaks, it will
take too much time. At every lane we should be obliged to unlash the
loads, lift the kayaks off the sledges and into the water, lash them
together there, then place the sledges across them, and finally go
through the same manoeuvres in inverse order on the other side. We
should not get very far in the day in that manner.

"Firmly determined to make these alterations, the very next day we
started off. We soon came to a long pool, which it was necessary
to ferry over. The kayaks were soon launched and lying side by side
on the water, well stiffened, with the snow-shoes under the straps,
[35] a thoroughly steady fleet. Then the sledges, with their loads,
were run out to them, one forward, one astern. We had been concerned
about the dogs and how we should get them to go with us, but they
followed the sledges out on to the kayaks and lay down as if they
had done nothing else all their lives. 'Kaifas' seated himself in
the bow of my kayak, and the two others astern.

"A seal had come up near us while we were occupied with all this,
but I thought to wait before shooting it till the kayaks were ready,
and thus be certain of getting it before it sank. Of course it did not
show itself again. These seals seem to be enchanted, and as if they
were only sent to delay us. Twice that day before I had seen them
and watched for them to appear again in vain. I had even achieved
missing one--the third time I have missed my mark. It looks bad for
the ammunition if I am going on like this, but I have discovered that
I aimed too high for these short ranges, and had shot over them. So
then we set off across the blue waves on our first long voyage. A
highly remarkable convoy we must have been, laden as we were with
sledges, sacks, guns, and dogs; a tribe of gypsies, Johansen said
it was. If any one had suddenly come upon us then, he would hardly
have known what to make of the troupe, and certainly would not have
taken us for polar explorers. Paddling between the sledges and the
snow-shoes, which projected far out on either side, was not easy work;
but we managed to get along, and were soon of the opinion that we
should think ourselves lucky could we go on like this the whole day,
instead of hauling and wading through the snow. Our kayaks could hardly
have been called water-tight, and we had recourse to the pumps several
times; but we could easily have reconciled ourselves to that, and only
wished we had more open water to travel over. At last we reached the
end of the pool; I jumped ashore on the edge of the ice, to pull up
the kayaks, and suddenly heard a great splash beside us. It was a seal
which had been lying there. Soon afterwards I heard a similar splash
on the other side, and then for the third time a huge head appeared,
blowing and swimming backward and forward, but, alas! only to dive
deep under the edge of the ice before we had time to get the guns
out. It was a fine, large blue or bearded seal (Phoca barbata).

"We were quite sure that it had disappeared for good, but no sooner
had I got one of the sledges half-way up the side than the immense
head came up again close beside the kayaks, blowing and repeating the
same manoeuvres  as before. I looked round for my gun, but could not
reach it where it was lying on the kayak. 'Take the gun, Johansen,
quick, and blaze away; but quick! look sharp, quick!' In a moment he
had thrown the gun to his cheek, and just as the seal was on the point
of disappearing under the edge I heard the report. The animal made a
little turn, and then lay floating, the blood flowing from its head. I
dropped the sledge, seized the harpoon, and, quick as lightning,
threw it deep into the fat back of the seal, which lay quivering
on the surface of the water. Then it began to move; there was still
life in it; and, anxious lest the harpoon with its thin line should
not hold if the huge animal began to quicken in earnest, I pulled my
knife out of its sheath and stuck it into the seal's throat, whence
a stream of blood came flowing out. The water was red with it for
a long distance, and it made one quite sorry to see the wherewithal
for a good meal being wasted like this. But there was nothing to be
done; not on any account would I lose that animal, and for the sake
of safety gave it another harpoon. Meanwhile the sledge, which had
been half dragged up on to the ice, slid down again, and the kayaks,
with Johansen and the dogs, came adrift. He tried to pull the sledge
up on to the kayak, but without success, and so it remained with one
end in the water and one on the canoe. It heeled the whole fleet
over, and Johansen's kayak canted till one side was in the water;
it leaked, moreover, like a sieve, and the water rose in it with
alarming rapidity. The cooker, which was on the deck, fell off, and
drifted gayly away before the wind with all its valuable contents,
borne high up in the water by the aluminium cap, which happily was
watertight. The 'ski' fell off and floated about, and the fleet sank
deeper and deeper in. Meanwhile I stood holding our precious prize,
not daring to let go. The whole thing was a scene of the most complete
dissolution. Johansen's kayak had by this time heeled over to such
an extent that the water reached the open seam on the deck, and the
craft filled immediately. I had no choice left but to let go the seal
and drag up the kayak before it sank. This done, heavy as it was and
full of water, the seal's turn came next, and this was much worse. We
had our work cut out to haul the immense animal hand over hand up on
to the ice; but our rejoicings were loud when we at last succeeded,
and we almost fell to dancing round it in the excess of our delight. A
water-logged kayak and soaked effects we thought nothing of at such
a supreme moment. Here were food and fuel for a long time.

"Then came the rescuing and drying of our things. First and foremost,
of course, the ammunition; it was all our stock. But happily
the cartridges were fairly water-tight, and had not suffered much
damage. Even the shot cartridges, the cases of which were of paper,
had not lain long enough to become wholly permeated. Such, however,
was not the case with a supply of powder; the small tin box in which
we kept it was entirely full of water. The other things were not so
important, though it was hardly a comforting discovery to find that
the bread was soaked through with salt-water.

"We found a camping-ground not far off. The tent was soon pitched,
our catch cut up and placed in safety, and, I may say, seldom has
the drift-ice housed beings so well satisfied as the two who sat that
morning in the bag and feasted on seal's flesh, blubber, and soup as
long as they had any room to stow it in. We concurred in the opinion
that a better-meal we could not have had. Then down we crawled into
the dear bag, which for the present there was no need to part with,
and slept the sleep of the just in the knowledge that for the immediate
future, at any rate, we need have no anxiety.

"It is my opinion that for the time being we can do nothing better
than remain where we are, live on our catch, without encroaching on
the sledge provisions, and thus await the time when the ice shall
slacken more or the condition of the snow improve. Meanwhile we
will rig up wooden grips on our sledges, and try to make the kayaks
water-tight. Furthermore, we will lighten our equipment as much
as we possibly can. If we were to go on we should only be obliged
to leave a great deal of our meat and blubber behind us, and this,
in these circumstances, I think would be madness.

"Sunday, June 23d. So this is St.-John's-eve, and Sunday, too. How
merry and happy all the schoolboys are to-day! how the folk at
home are starting forth in crowds to the beautiful Norwegian woods
and valleys!... And here are we still in the drift-ice; cooking and
frying with blubber, eating it and seal's flesh until the train-oil
drips off us, and, above all, not knowing when there will be an end
to it all. Perhaps we still have a winter before us. I could hardly
have conceived that we should be here now!

"It is a pleasing change, however, after having reduced our rations
and fuel to a minimum to be able to launch out into excesses, and eat
as much and as often as we like. It is a state of things hardly to be
realized at present. The food is agreeable to the taste, and we like it
better and better. My own opinion is that blubber is excellent both raw
and fried, and it can well take the place of butter. The meat, in our
eyes, is as good as meat can be. We had it yesterday for breakfast,
in the shape of meat and soup served with raw blubber. For dinner I
fried a highly successful steak, not to be surpassed by the 'Grand'
[Hotel], though a good 'seidel' of bock-beer would have been a welcome
addition. For supper I made blood-pancakes fried in blubber instead of
butter, and they were a success, inasmuch as Johansen pronounced them
'first-class,' to say nothing of my own sentiments. This frying,
however, inside the tent over a train-oil lamp, is a doubtful
pleasure. If the lamp itself does not smoke the blubber does, causing
the unfortunate cook the most excruciating pain in the eyes; he can
hardly keep them open, and they water copiously. But the consequences
could be even worse. The train-oil lamp which I had contrived out
of a sheet of German silver became over-heated one day under the hot
frying-pan, and at last the whole thing caught fire, both the lumps
of blubber and the train-oil. The flame shot up into the air, while
I tried by every means in my power to put it out, but it only grew
worse. The best thing would have been to convey the whole lamp outside,
but there was no time for it. The tent began to fill with suffocating
smoke, and as a last resort I unfortunately seized a handful of snow
and threw it on to the burning train-oil. It sputtered and crackled,
boiling oil flew in all directions, and from the lamp itself rose a sea
of flames which filled the whole tent and burned everything they came
near. Half-suffocated, we both threw ourselves against the closed door,
bursting off the buttons, and dashed headlong into the open air--glad,
indeed, to have escaped with our lives. With this explosion the lamp
went out; but when we came to examine the tent we found an enormous
hole burned in the silk wall above the place where the frying-pan
had stood. One of our sledge-sails had to pay the penalty for that
hole. We crept back into the tent again, congratulating ourselves,
however, on having got off so easily, and, after a great deal of
trouble, rekindled a fire so that I could fry the last pancake. We
then ate it with sugar, in the best of spirits, and pronounced it
the most delicious fare we had ever tasted. We had good reason, too,
to be in spirits, for our observation for the day made us in 82° 4.3'
north latitude and 57° 48' east longitude. In spite of westerly and,
in a measure, southwesterly winds, we had come nearly 14' south
in three days and next to nothing east. A highly surprising and
satisfactory discovery. Outside, the north wind was still blowing,
and consequently we were drifting south towards more clement regions.

"Wednesday, June 26th. June 24th was naturally celebrated with
great festivities. In the first place, it was that day two years
since we started from home; secondly it was a hundred days since
we left the Fram (not really, it was two days more); and, thirdly,
it was Midsummer-day. It was, of course, a holiday, and we passed
it in dreaming of good times to come, in studying our charts, our
future prospects, and in reading anything readable that was to be
found--i.e., the almanac and navigation-tables. Johansen took a
walk along the lanes, and also managed to miss a ringed seal, or
'snad,' as we call it in Norwegian, in a pool here east of us. Then
came supper--rather late in the night--consisting of blood-pancakes
with sugar, and unsurpassed in flavor. The frying over the oil-lamp
took a long time, and in order to have them hot we had to eat each
one as it was fried, a mode of procedure which promoted a healthy
appetite between each pancake. Thereafter we stewed some of our red
whortleberries, and they tasted no less good, although they had been
soaked in salt-water in Johansen's kayak during the catastrophe of
a couple of days ago; and after a glorious meal we turned into the
bag at 8 o'clock yesterday morning.

"At midday, again, I got up and went out to take a meridian
altitude. The weather was brilliant, and it was so long since we had
had anything of the kind that I could hardly remember it. I sat up on
the hummock, waiting for the sun to come to the meridian, basking in
its rays, and looking out over the stretches of ice, where the snow
glittered and sparkled on all sides, and at the pool in front of me
lying shining and still as a mountain lake, and reflecting its icy
banks in the clear water. Not a breath of wind stirred--so still,
so still; and the sun baked, and I dreamed myself at home....

"Before going into the tent I went to fetch some salt-water for
the soup we were to have for breakfast; but just at that moment
a seal came up by the side of the ice, and I ran back for my gun
and kayak. Out on the water I discovered that it was leaking like a
sieve from lying in the sun, and I had to paddle back faster than I
had come out, to avoid sinking. As I was emptying the kayak, up came
the seal again in front of me, and this time my shot took effect; the
animal lay floating on the water like a cork. It was not many minutes
before I had the leaking craft on the water again, and my harpoon in
the animal's neck. I towed it in while the kayak gradually filled,
and my legs, or, rather, that part which follows closely above the
legs when one is sitting in a canoe, became soaked with water, and
my 'komager' gradually filled. After having dragged the seal up to
the tent, 'flensed' it, collected all the blood which was to be had,
and cut it up, I crept into the tent, put on some dry underclothes,
and into the bag again, while the wet ones were drying outside in the
sun. It is easy enough to keep one's self warm in the tent now. The
heat was so great inside it last night that we could hardly sleep,
although we lay on the bag instead of in it. When I came back with the
seal I discovered that Johansen's bare foot was sticking out of the
tent at a place where the peg had given way; he was sleeping soundly
and had no idea of it. After having a small piece of chocolate to
commemorate the happy capture, and, looking over my observations,
we again settled down to rest.

"It appears, remarkably enough, from our latitude that we are still
on the same spot, without any farther drifts southward, in spite of
the northerly winds. Can the ice be landlocked? It is not impossible;
far off land, at any rate, we cannot be.

"Thursday, June 27th. The same monotonous life, the same wind, the
same misty weather, and the same cogitations as to what the future
will bring. There was a gale from the north last night, with a fall
of hard granular snow, which lashed against the tent walls so that
one might think it to be good honest rain. It melted on the walls
directly, and the water ran down them. It is cozy in here, however,
and the wind does not reach us; we can lie in our warm bag, and listen
to the flapping of the tent, and imagine that we are drifting rapidly
westward, although perhaps we are not moving from the spot. But if
this wind does not move us, the only explanation is that the ice is
landlocked, and that we cannot be far off shore. We must wait for an
east wind, I suppose, to drive us farther west, and then afterwards
south. My hope is that we shall drift into the channel between Franz
Josef Land and Spitzbergen while we are lying here. The weather was
raw and windy with snowfall, so that it was hardly suitable for outdoor
work, particularly as, unfortunately, there was no need to hurry.

"The lanes have changed very much of late; there is hardly anything
left of the pool in front of us, over which we paddled, and there
has been pressure around us in all directions. I hope the ice will be
well ground into pieces, as this enables it to slacken more quickly
when the time comes; but that will not be before far on in July,
and we ought to have the patience to wait for it perhaps.

"Yesterday we cut some of the seal's flesh into thin slices and hung
them up to dry. We must increase our travelling store and prepare
pemmican or dried meat; it will be the easiest way of carrying it
with us. Johansen yesterday found a pond of fresh water close by,
which is very convenient, and we need no longer melt ice; it is the
first good water we have found for cooking purposes. If the seals
are few and far between, there are birds still, I am thankful to
say. Last night a couple of ivory-gulls (Larus eburneus), were bold
enough to settle down on our sealskin, close beside the tent wall,
and pecked at the blubber. They were sent off once or twice, but
returned. If the meat falls short we must resort to catching birds."

Thus the days passed by, one exactly like the other; we waited and
waited for the snow to melt, and worked desultorily meanwhile at
getting ourselves ready to proceed. This life reminded me of some
Eskimos who journeyed up a fjord to collect grass for hay; but
when they arrived at their destination found it quite short, and so
settled down and waited till it was long enough to cut. A suitable
condition of the snow was long in coming. On June 29th I write:
"Will not the temperature rise sufficiently to make something like
an effectual clearance of the snow? We try to pass the time as best
we can in talking of how delightful it will be when we get home,
and how we shall enjoy life and all its charms, and go through a
calculation of chances as to how soon that may be; but sometimes, too,
we talk of how well we will arrange for the winter in Spitzbergen,
if we should not reach home this year. If it should come to that,
we may not even get so far, but have to winter on some place ashore
here--no, it can never come to that!

"Sunday, June 30th. So this is the end of June, and we are about
the same place as when we began the month. And the state of the
snow? Well, better it certainly is not; but the day is fine. It is so
warm that we are quite hot lying here inside the tent. Through the
open door we can see out over the ice where the sun is glittering
through white sailing cirrus clouds on the dazzling whiteness. And
then there is a Sunday calm, with a faint breeze mostly from the
southeast, I think. Ah me! it is lovely at home to-day, I am sure,
with everything in bloom and the fjord quivering in the sunlight;
and you are sitting out on the point with Liv, perhaps, or are on
the water in your boat. And then one's eye wanders out through the
door again, and I am reminded there is many an ice-floe between now
and then, before the time when I shall see it all again.

"Here we lie far up in the north; two grim, black, soot-stained
barbarians, stirring a mess of soup in a kettle and surrounded on all
sides by ice; by ice and nothing else--shining and white, possessed
of all the purity we ourselves lack. Alas, it is all too pure! One's
eye searched to the very horizon for a dark spot to rest on, but in
vain. When will it really come to pass? Now we have waited for it two
months. All the birds seemed to have disappeared to-day; not even a
cheery little auk to be seen. They were here until yesterday, and we
have heard them flying north and south, probably to and from land,
where they have gone, I suppose, now that there is so little water
about in these parts. If only we could move as easily as they!

"Wednesday, July 3d. Why write again? What have I to commit to
these pages? Nothing but the same overpowering longing to be home
and away from this monotony. One day just like the other, with
the exception, perhaps, that before it was warm and quiet, while
the last two days there has been a south wind blowing, and we are
drifting northward. Found from a meridian altitude yesterday that we
have drifted back to 82° 8.4' N., while the longitude is about the
same. Both yesterday and the day before we had to a certain extent
really brilliant sunshine, and this for us is a great rarity. The
horizon in the south was fairly clear yesterday, which it had not
been for a long time; but we searched it in vain for land. I do not
understand it....

"We had a fall of snow last night, and it dripped in here so that the
bag became wet. This constant snowfall, which will not turn to rain,
is enough to make one despair. It generally takes the form of a thick
layer of new snow on the top of the old, and this delays the thaw.

"This wind seems to have formed some lanes in the ice again, and there
is a little more bird-life. We saw some little auks again yesterday;
they came from the south, probably from land.

"Saturday, July 6th. 33.8° Fahr. (+1° C.). Rain. At last, after a
fortnight, we seem to have got the weather we have been waiting for. It
has rained the whole night and forenoon, and is still at it--real,
good rain: so now, perhaps, this everlasting snow will take itself
off; it is as soft and loose as scum. If only this rain would go on
for many days! But before we have time to look round there will be a
cold wind with snow, a crust will form, and again we must wait. I am
too used to disappointment to believe in anything. This is a school
of patience; but nevertheless the rain has put us in good spirits.

"The days drag wearily by. We work in an intermittent way at the kayak
grips of wood for our sledges, and at calking and painting our kayaks
to make them water-tight. The painting, however, causes me a good deal
of trouble. I burned bones here for many days till the whole place
smelled like the bone-dust works at Lysaker; then came the toilsome
process of pounding and grating them to make them perfectly fine
and even. The bone-dust was thereupon mixed with train-oil, and at
last I got as far as a trial, but the paint proved uncompromisingly
to be perfectly useless. So now I must mix it with soot, as I had
first intended, and add more oil. I am now occupied in smoking
the place out in my attempts to make soot; but all my exertions,
when it comes to collecting it, only result in a little pinch,
although the smoke towered in the air, and they might have seen it
in Spitzbergen. There is a great deal to do battle with when one has
not a shop next door. What would I not give for a little bucket of
oil-paint, only common lampblack! Well, well; we shall find a way out
of the difficulty eventually, but meanwhile we are growing like sweeps.

"On Wednesday evening 'Haren' was killed; poor beast, he was not good
for much latterly, but he had been a first-rate dog, and it was hard,
I fancy, for Johansen to part with him; he looked sorrowfully at the
animal before it went to the happy hunting-grounds, or wherever it
may be draught-dogs go to. Perhaps to places where there are plains
of level ice and no ridges and lanes. There are only two dogs left
now--'Suggen' and 'Kaifas'--and we must keep them alive as long as
we can, and have use for them.

"The day before yesterday, in the evening, we suddenly discovered a
black hillock to the east. We examined it through the glass and it
looked absolutely like a black rock emerging from the snows. It also
somewhat exceeded the neighboring hummocks in height. I scrutinized
it carefully from the highest ridge hereabouts, but could not make
it out. I thought it too big to be only a piled-up hummock mixed with
black ice or earthy matter, and I had never seen anything of the kind
before. That it is an island seems highly improbable; for although we
are certainly drifting, it remains in the same position in relation to
us. We saw it yesterday, and see it still to-day in the same quarter. I
think the most reasonable supposition is that it is an iceberg.

"No sooner does the horizon clear in the south than one of us may be
seen taking his customary walk to the 'watch-tower' (a hummock beside
the tent) to scan for land, sometimes with a glass, sometimes without
it; but there is nothing to be seen but the same bare horizon. [36]

"Every day I take a turn round the ice in our neighborhood to see if
the snow has decreased, but it always seems to be about the same, and
sometimes I have moments of doubt as to whether it will clear away at
all this summer. If not, our prospects will be more than dark. The
best we can hope for will then be a winter somewhere or other on
Franz Josef Land. But now the rain has come. It is pouring down the
tent walls and dripping on the ice. Everything looks hopeful again,
and we are picturing the delights of the autumn and winter at home.

"Wednesday, July 10th. It is a curious thing that now, when I really
have something of a little more interest than usual to relate, I have
less inclination to write than ever. Everything seems to become more
and more indifferent. One longs only for one single thing, and still
the ice is lying out there covered with impassable snow.

"But what was it I had to say? Oh yes, that we made ourselves such
a good bed yesterday with bearskins under the bag; that we slept
the clock round without knowing it, and I thought it was six in the
morning when I turned out. When I came out of the tent I thought there
was something remarkable about the position of the sun, and pondered
over it for a little while, until I came to the conclusion that it was
six in the evening, and that we had slumbered for twenty-two hours. We
have not slept much of late, as we have been broken on the wheel, so
to speak, by the snow-shoes we had to place under the bag, in order to
keep it clear of the pools of water under us. The apologies for hair
still existing here and there on the skin at the bottom of the bag do
not afford much protection against the sharp edges of the snow-shoes.

"This beneficent rain continued the whole day on Saturday, doing away
with a fair amount of snow, and we rejoice to hear it. To celebrate
the good weather we determined to have chocolate for supper; otherwise
we live entirely on our catch. We had the chocolate accordingly, and
served with raw blubber it tasted quite excellent. It was the cause
of a great disappointment, however, for after having looked forward
immoderately to this, now so rare, treat, I managed clumsily to upset
my whole cup, so that all the precious contents ran out over the
ice. While I was lying waiting for a second cup--it was boiling over
the train-oil lamp--'Kaifas' began to bark outside. Not doubting but
that he had seen an animal, I jumped up to hurry off to the lookout
hummock to scan the ice. Not a little surprised was I when I poked my
head out of the tent door to see a bear come jogging up to the dogs and
begin sniffing at 'Kaifas.' I sprang to the gun, which stood ready in
the snow beside the tent, and pulled off the case, the bear meanwhile
standing astonished and glaring at me. I sent it a ball through the
shoulder and chest, certain that it would drop on the spot. It half
staggered over, and then turned round and made off, and before I could
extract a new cartridge from my pocket, which was full of everything
else, was away among the hummocks. I could not get a shot at it where
it was, and set off in pursuit. I had not gone many steps before we
saw (Johansen had followed me) two more heads appearing a little way
farther on. They belonged to two cubs, which were standing on their
hind-legs and looking at their mother, who came reeling towards them,
with a trail of blood behind her. Then off they went, all three, over
a lane, and a wild chase began over plains and ridges and lanes and
every kind of obstacle, but it made no difference to their pace. A
wonderful thing this love of sport; it is like setting fire to a
fuse. Where at other times it would be laborious work to get on at all,
where one sinks to the knees in the snow, and where one would hesitate
before choosing a way over the lane, let only the spark be kindled,
and one clears every obstacle without thinking about it. The bear was
severely wounded, and dragged her left fore-leg; she did not go fast,
but always so fast that I had my work cut out to keep near her. The
cubs ran round her in their solicitude, and generally a little way
in front, as if to get her to come with them; they little knew what
was the matter with her. Suddenly they all three looked back at me,
as I was crashing after them as fast as I could. I had been within
range many times, but the bear had had her hind quarters towards me,
and when I fired I meant to be sure of making an end of her, as I only
had three cartridges with me, one for each of them. At last, on the top
of a huge hummock, I got a sight of her broadside on, and there, too,
she dropped. The cubs hurried anxiously up to her when she fell--it
made one sorry to see them--they sniffed at and pushed her, and ran
round and round, at a loss what to do in their despair. Meanwhile I had
put another cartridge in the rifle, and picked off the other cub as it
was standing on a projection. It fell over the declivity with a growl,
and down on to its mother. Still more frightened than before, the other
cub hastened to its succor; but, poor thing, what could it do? While
its brother rolled over, growling, it stood there looking sorrowfully
sometimes at it, sometimes at the mother, who lay dying in a pool of
blood. When I approached, it turned its head away indifferently; what
did it care about me now? All its kindred, everything it held dear,
lay there mutilated and destroyed. It no longer knew whither to go,
and did not move from the spot. I went right up to it, and, with a
spherical ball through the breast, it fell dead beside its mother.

"Johansen soon came up. A lane had detained him, so that he had
lost ground. We opened the animals, took out the entrails, and
then went back to the tent to fetch the sledges and dogs and proper
flaying-knives. Our second cup of chocolate in the tent tasted very
good after this interruption. When we had skinned and cut up the two
bears we left them in a heap, covered over with the skins to protect
the meat from the gulls; the third one we took back with us. The
next day we fetched the others, and now have more meat food than we
shall be able to consume, I hope. It is a good thing, though, that we
can give the dogs as much raw meat as they will eat; they certainly
require it. 'Suggen,' poor thing, is in a very bad way, and it is a
question whether we can get any more work out of him. When we took
him with us after the bears the first day, he could not walk, and we
had to place him on the sledge; but then he howled so terrifically,
as much as to say it was beneath his dignity to be transported in this
way, that Johansen had to take him home again. The dogs seem to be
attacked with a paralysis of the legs; they fall down, and have the
greatest difficulty in rising. It has been the same with all of them,
from 'Gulen' downward. 'Kaifas,' however, is as fresh and well as ever.

"It is remarkable how large these cubs were. I could hardly imagine
that they were born this year, and should without hesitation have
put them down as a year old if the she-bear had not been in milk,
and it is hardly to be supposed that the cubs would suck for a year
and a half. Those we shot by the Fram on November 4th last year were
hardly half the size of these. It would seem as if the polar bear
produces its young at different times of the year. In the paunches
of the cubs were pieces of skin from a seal.

"Monday, July 15th. As we were working at the kayaks yesterday a Ross's
gull (Rhodostethia rosea) came flying by. It was a full-grown bird, and
made a turn when just over us, showing its pretty rose-colored breast,
and then disappeared again in the mist southward. On Thursday I saw
another adult Ross's gull, with a black ring round its neck; it came
from the northeast, and flew in a southwesterly direction. Otherwise
it is remarkable how all the birds have disappeared from here. The
little auk is no longer to be seen or heard; the only birds are an
ivory-gull now and then, and occasionally a fulmar.

"Wednesday, July 17th. At last the time is drawing near when we can
be off again and start homeward in earnest. The snow has decreased
sufficiently to make advance fairly easy. We are doing our utmost
to get ready. The grips on the sledges are nicely arranged, and
provided with cushions of bearskin on Johansen's and of cloth on
mine. This is in order to give the kayaks a firm and soft bed and
prevent chafing. The kayaks are painted with soot and train-oil, and
have been calked with pastels (for drawing), crushed and also mixed
with train-oil; that is to say, as far as these various ingredients
would go. We are now using a mixture of stearine, pitch, and resin,
[37] to finish up with. A thorough revision of our equipment will
take place, and everything not absolutely invaluable will be left
behind. We must say good-bye here to the sleeping-bag and tent. [38]
Our days of comfort are past, and henceforth until we are on board
the sloop [39] we will live under the open sky.

"Meanwhile we have lain here--'Longing Camp,' as we call it--and let
the time slip by. We have eaten bear-meat morning, noon, and night,
and, so far from being tired of it, have made the discovery that the
breast of the cubs is quite a delicacy. It is remarkable that this
exclusive meat and fat diet has not caused us the slightest discomfort
in any way, and we have no craving for farinaceous food, although we
might, perhaps, regard a large cake as the acme of happiness. Every now
and then we cheer ourselves up with lime-juice grog, a blood-pancake,
or some stewed whortleberries, and let our imaginations run riot over
all the amenities of civilization, which we mean to enjoy to the full
when we get home! Perhaps it will be many a long day before we get
there; perhaps there will be many a hard trial to overcome. But, no;
I will believe the best. There are still two months of summer left,
and in them something can be done.

"Friday, July 19th. Two full-grown Ross's gulls flew over here from
the northeast and went west this morning. When far off they uttered
cries which reminded me of that of the wryneck, and which I at first
thought came from a little auk. They flew quite low, just over my head,
and the rose-color of their under-parts could be seen plainly. Another
Ross's gull flew by here yesterday. It is strange that there should
be so many of them. Where are we?

"Tuesday, July 23d. Yesterday forenoon we at last got clear of
'Longing Camp,' and now, I am thankful to say, we are again on the
move. We have worked day and night to get off. First we thought it
would be on the 19th, then the 20th, and then the 21st, but something
always cropped up that had to be done before we could leave. The bread,
which had been soaked in sea-water, had to be carefully dried in the
frying-pan over the lamp, and this took several days; then the socks
had to be patched, and the kayaks carefully looked over, etc. We were
determined to start on our last journey home in good repair, and so we
did. Everything goes like wildfire. The chances of progress are better
than we expected, although the ice is anything but even; the sledges
are lighter to draw, now that everything that can be dispensed with is
left behind, and the snow, too, has decreased considerably. On the last
part of the journey yesterday we could even go without snow-shoes, and,
as a matter of course, progress among the ridges and irregularities,
where they are difficult to manage, is quicker without them. Johansen
performed a feat by crossing a lane alone in his kayak, with 'Suggen'
lying on the fore-deck, while he himself knelt on the after-deck and
balanced the craft as he paddled. I began to try the same with mine,
but found it too cranky to risk the attempt, and preferred to tow
it over, with 'Kaifas' on the deck, while I went carefully alongside
and jumped over on some pieces of ice.

"We have now the advantage of finding drinking-water everywhere. We
are also eating our old provender again; but, curiously enough,
neither Johansen nor I think the farinaceous food as good as one
might suppose after a month of meat diet. It is good to be under
way again, and not the least pleasant part about it is our lighter
sledges; but then we certainly left a good deal behind at 'Longing
Camp.' In addition to a respectable mound of meat and blubber, we
left three fine bearskins. Our friend, the bag, too, is lying on
the top of the bears; a quantity of wood, consisting of the boards
from under the sledges, the snow-shoes and other things, more than
half of Blessing's fine medicaments--plaster-of-Paris bandages,
soft steam-sterilized gauze bandages, hygroscopic cotton wadding--to
say nothing of a good aluminium horizon-glass, rope, our combined
frying-pan and melter, half an aluminium cap belonging to the cooker,
sheets of German silver, a train-oil lamp of the same, bags, tools,
sail-cloth, Finn shoes, our wolfskin fingerless gloves, also woollen
ones, a geological hammer, half a shirt, socks, and other sundries,
all strewn about in chaotic confusion. Instead of all these we have an
augmentation in the form of a sack of dried seal's and bear's flesh
and the other half of the aluminium cap full of blubber. We are now
thoroughly divested of all superfluous articles, and there is hardly
so much as a bit of wood to be had if one should want a stick to slip
through the end of the hauling-rope."



CHAPTER VII

LAND AT LAST


"Wednesday, July 24th. At last the marvel has come to pass--land,
land! and after we had almost given up our belief in it! After nearly
two years, we again see something rising above that never-ending white
line on the horizon yonder--a white line which for millennium after
millennium has stretched over this sea, and which for millenniums to
come shall stretch in the same way. We are leaving it, and leaving
no trace behind us, for the track of our little caravan across the
endless plains has long ago disappeared. A new life is beginning for
us; for the ice it is ever the same.

"It has long haunted our dreams, this land, and now it comes like a
vision, like fairly-land. Drift-white, it arches above the horizon like
distant clouds, which one is afraid will disappear every minute. The
most wonderful thing is that we have seen this land all the time
without knowing it. I examined it several times with the telescope
from 'Longing Camp' in the belief that it might be snow-fields, but
always came to the conclusion that it was only clouds, as I could never
discover any dark point. Then, too, it seemed to change form, which,
I suppose, must be attributed to the mist which always lay over it;
but it always came back again at the same place with its remarkable
regular curves. I now remember that dark crag we saw east of us at
the camp, and which I took to be an iceberg. It must certainly have
been a little islet [40] of some kind.

"The ice was worse and more broken than ever yesterday; it was,
indeed, a labor to force one's way over pressure-ridges like veritable
mountains, with valleys and clefts in between; but on we went in
good spirits, and made some progress. At lanes where a crossing was
difficult to find we did not hesitate to launch kayaks and sledges,
and were soon over in this manner. Sometimes after a very bad bit we
would come across some flat ice for a short distance, and over this
we would go like wildfire, splashing through ponds and puddles. While
I was on ahead at one time yesterday morning, Johansen went up on to
a hummock to look at the ice, and remarked a curious black stripe
over the horizon; but he supposed it to be only a cloud, he said,
and I thought no more about the matter. When, some while later, I also
ascended a hummock to look at the ice, I became aware of the same black
stripe; it ran obliquely from the horizon up into what I supposed
to be a white bank of clouds. The longer I looked at this bank and
stripe the more unusual I thought them, until I was constrained to
fetch the glass. No sooner had I fixed it on the black part than it
struck me at once that this must be land, and that not far off. There
was a large snow-field out of which black rocks projected. It was not
long before Johansen had the glass to his eye, and convinced himself
that we really had land before us. We both of us naturally became
in the highest spirits. I then saw a similar white arching outline a
little farther east; but it was for the most part covered with white
mist, from which it could hardly be distinguished, and, moreover,
was continually changing form. It soon, however, came out entirely,
and was considerably larger and higher than the former, but there
was not a black speck to be seen on it. So this was what land looked
like, now that we had come to it! I had imagined it in many forms,
with high peaks and glittering glaciers, but never like this. There
was nothing kindly about this, but it was indeed no less welcome; and
on the whole we could not expect it to be otherwise than snow-covered,
with all the snow which falls here.

"So then we pitched the tent and had a feast suited to the occasion:
lobscouse made of potatoes (for the last time but one; we had saved
them long for this occasion), pemmican, dried bear's and seal's flesh,
and bear tongues, chopped up together. After this was a second course,
consisting of bread-crumbs fried in bear's grease, also vril-food
and butter, and a piece of chocolate to wind up."

We thought this land so near that it could not possibly take long
to reach it, certainly not longer than till next evening. Johansen
was even certain that we should do it the same day, but nevertheless
thirteen days were to elapse, occupied in the same monotonous drudgery
over the drift-ice.

On July 25th I write: "When we stopped in the fog yesterday evening we
had a feeling that we must have come well under land. This morning,
when we turned out, the first thing Johansen did when he went to
fetch some water for me to cook with was, of course, to climb up on
the nearest hummock and look at the land. There it lay, considerably
nearer than before, and he is quite certain that we shall reach
it before night." I also discovered a new land to our west (S. 60°
W. magnetic) that day; a regular, shield-like, arched outline, similar
to the other land; and it was low above the horizon, and appeared to
be a long way off. [41]

We went on our way as fast as we could across lanes and rough ice,
but did not get far in the day, and the land did not seem to be much
nearer. In reality there was no difference to be seen, although we
tried to imagine that it was steadily growing higher. On Saturday,
July 27th, I seem to have a suspicion that in point of fact we were
drifting away from land, I write: "The wind began to blow from the
S.S.W. (magnetic) just as we were getting off yesterday, and increased
as the day went on. It was easy to perceive by the atmosphere that
the wind was driving the ice off the land, and land-lanes formed
particularly on the east side of it. When I was up on a hummock
yesterday evening I observed a black stripe on the horizon under
land; I examined it with the glass, and, as I had surmised, there
was an ice-edge or glacier stretching far in a westerly direction;
and there was plainly a broad lane in front of it, to judge by the
dark bank of mist which lay there. It seems to me that land cannot
be far off, and if the ice is tolerably passable we may reach it
to-day. The wind continued last night, but it has quieted down now,
and there is sunshine outside. We try by every means in our power to
get a comfortable night's rest in our new bag of blankets. We have
tried lying on the bare ice, on the 'ski,' and to-night on the bare
ice again; but it must be confessed that it is hard and never will
be very comfortable; a little chilly, too, when one is wet; but we
shall appreciate a good warm bed all the more when we get it.

"Tuesday, July 30th. We make incredibly slow progress; but we
are pushing our way nearer land all the same. [42] Every kind of
hinderance seems to beset us: now I am suffering so much from my back
(lumbago?) that yesterday it was only by exerting all my strength
of will that I could drag myself along. In difficult places Johansen
had to help me with my sledge. It began yesterday, and at the end of
our march he had to go first and find the way. Yesterday I was much
worse, and how I am to-day I do not know before I begin to walk; but
I ought to be thankful that I can drag myself along at all, though
it is with endless pain. We had to halt and camp on account of rain
yesterday morning at three, after only having gone nine hours. The
rain succeeded in making us wet before we had found a suitable place
for the tent. Here we have been a whole day while it has been pouring
down, and we have hardly become drier. There are puddles under us and
the bag is soaked on the under-side. The wind has gone round to the
west just now, and it has stopped raining, so we made some porridge
for breakfast and think of going on again; but if it should begin to
rain again we must stop, as it will not do to get wet through when we
have no change of clothes. It is anything but pleasant as it is to lie
with wet legs and feet that are like icicles, and not have a dry thread
to put on. Full-grown Ross's gulls were seen singly four times to-day,
and when Johansen was out to fetch water this morning he saw two. [43]

"Wednesday, July 31st. The ice is as disintegrated and impracticable
as can well be conceived. The continual friction and packing of
the floes against each other grind up the ice so that the water is
full of brash and small pieces; to ferry over this in the kayaks
is impossible, and the search is long before we eventually find a
hazardous crossing. Sometimes we have to form one by pushing small
floes together, or must ferry the sledges over on a little floe. We
spend much time and labor on each single lane, and progress becomes
slow in this way. My back still painful, Johansen had to go ahead
yesterday also; and evening and morning he is obliged to take off my
boots and socks, for I am unable to do it myself. He is touchingly
unselfish, and takes care of me as if I were a child; everything
he thinks can ease me he does quietly, without my knowing it. Poor
fellow, he has to work doubly hard now, and does not know how this
will end. I feel very much better to-day, however, and it is to be
hoped shall soon be all right.

"Thursday, August 1st. Ice with more obstacles than here--is it to
be found, I wonder? But we are working slowly on, and, that being
the case, we ought, perhaps, to be satisfied. We have also had a
change--a brilliantly fine day; but it seems to me the south wind
we have had, which opened the lanes, has put us a good way farther
off land again. We have also drifted a long distance to the east,
and no longer see the most westerly land with the black rocks, which
we remarked at first. It would seem as if the Ross's gulls keep to
land here; we see them daily.

"One thing, however, I am rejoicing over; my back is almost well,
so that I shall not delay our progress any more. I have some idea
now what it would be like if one of us became seriously ill. Our fate
would then be sealed, I think.

"Friday, August 2d. It seems as if everything conspired to delay us,
and that we shall never get away from this drift-ice. My back is well
again now; the ice was more passable yesterday than before, so that
we nearly made a good day's march; but in return wind and current
set us from shore, and we are farther away again. Against these two
enemies all fighting is in vain, I am afraid. We have drifted far off
to the southeast, have got the north point of the land about due west
of us, and we are now in about 81° 36' N. My only hope now is that
this drift eastward, away from land, may stop or alter its course,
and thus bring us nearer land. It is unfortunate that the lanes are
covered with young ice, which it would be disastrous to put the kayaks
through. If this gets worse, things will look very bad. Meanwhile we
have nothing to do but go on as fast as we can. If we are going to
drift back into the ice again, then--then--

"Saturday, August 3d. Inconceivable toil. We never could go on with
it were it not for the fact that we must. We have made wretchedly
little progress, even if we have made any at all. We have had no food
for the dogs the last few days except the ivory-gulls and fulmars we
have been able to shoot, and that has been a couple a day. Yesterday
the dogs only had a little bit of blubber each.

"Sunday, August 4th. These lanes are desperate work and tax one's
strength. We often have to go several hundred yards on mere brash, or
from block to block, dragging the sledges after us, and in constant
fear of their capsizing into the water. Johansen was very nearly in
yesterday, but, as always hitherto, he managed to save himself. The
dogs fall in and get a bath continually.

"Monday, August 5th. We have never had worse ice than yesterday,
but we managed to force our way on a little, nevertheless, and two
happy incidents marked the day: the first was that Johansen was not
eaten up by a bear, and the second, that we saw open water under the
glacier edge ashore.

"We set off about 7 o'clock yesterday morning and got on to ice as
bad it as could be. It was as if some giant had hurled down enormous
blocks pell-mell, and had strewn wet snow in between them with water
underneath; and into this we sank above our knees. There were also
numbers of deep pools in between the blocks. It was like toiling over
hill and dale, up and down over block after block and ridge after
ridge, with deep clefts in between; not a clear space big enough to
pitch a tent on even, and thus it went on the whole time. To put a
coping-stone to our misery, there was such a mist that we could not
see a hundred yards in front of us. After an exhausting march we at
last reached a lane where we had to ferry over in the kayaks. After
having cleared the side of the lane from young ice and brash, I drew
my sledge to the end of the ice, and was holding it to prevent it
slipping in, when I heard a scuffle behind me, and Johansen, who had
just turned round to pull his sledge flush with mine, [44] cried,
'Take the gun!' I turned round and saw an enormous bear throwing
itself on him, and Johansen on his back. I tried to seize my gun,
which was in its case on the fore-deck, but at the same moment the
kayak slipped into the water. My first thought was to throw myself
into the water over the kayak and fire from there, but I recognized
how risky it would be. I began to pull the kayak, with its heavy
cargo, on to the high edge of the ice again as quickly as I could,
and was on my knees pulling and tugging to get at my gun. I had no
time to look round and see what was going on behind me, when I heard
Johansen quietly say, 'You must look sharp if you want to be in time!'

"Look sharp? I should think so! At last I got hold of the butt-end,
dragged the gun out, turned round in a sitting posture, and cocked the
shot-barrel. The bear was standing not two yards off, ready to make
an end to my dog, 'Kaifas.' There was no time to lose in cocking the
other barrel, so I gave it a charge of shot behind the ear, and it
fell down dead between us.

"The bear must have followed our track like a cat, and, covered by the
ice-blocks, have slunk up while we were clearing the ice from the lane
and had our backs to him. We could see by the trail how it had crept
over a small ridge just behind us under cover of a mound by Johansen's
kayak. While the latter, without suspecting anything or looking round,
went back and stooped down to pick up the hauling-rope, he suddenly
caught sight of an animal crouched up at the end of the kayak, but
thought it was 'Suggen'; and before he had time to realize that it was
so big he received a cuff on the ear which made him see fireworks,
and then, as I mentioned before, over he went on his back. He tried
to defend himself as best he could with his fists. With one hand he
seized the throat of the animal, and held fast, clinching it with
all his might. It was just as the bear was about to bite Johansen in
the head that he uttered the memorable words, "Look sharp!" The bear
kept glancing at me continually, speculating, no doubt, as to what I
was going to do; but then caught sight of the dog and turned towards
it. Johansen let go as quick as thought, and wriggled himself away,
while the bear gave 'Suggen' a cuff which made him howl lustily,
just as he does when we thrash him. Then 'Kaifas' got a slap on the
nose. Meanwhile Johansen had struggled to his legs, and when I fired
had got his gun, which was sticking out of the kayak hole. The only
harm done was that the bear had scraped some grime off Johansen's
right cheek, so that he has a white stripe on it, and had given him a
slight wound in one hand; 'Kaifas' had also got a scratch on his nose.

"Hardly had the bear fallen before we saw two more, peeping over a
hummock a little way off--cubs, who naturally wanted to see the result
of the maternal chase. They were two large cubs. I thought it was not
worth while to sacrifice a cartridge on them, but Johansen expressed
his opinion that young bear's flesh was much more delicate in flavor
than old. He would only shoot one, he said, and started off. However,
the cubs took to their heels, although they came back a little while
later, and we could hear them at a long distance growling after
their mother.

"Johansen sent one of them a ball, but the range was too long, and
he only wounded it. With some terrific growls it started off again,
and Johansen after it; but he gave up the chase soon, as he saw it
promised to be a long one. While we were cutting up the she-bear the
cubs came back on the other side of the lane, and the whole time we
were there we had them walking round us. When we had fed the dogs well,
and had eaten some of the raw meat ourselves, and had furthermore
stowed away in the kayaks the meat we had cut off the legs, we at
last ferried over the lane and went on our way.

"The ice was not good; and, to make bad worse, we immediately came
on some terrible lanes, full of nothing but tightly packed lumps of
ice. In some places there were whole seas of it, and it was enough to
make one despair. Among all this loose ice we came on an unusually
thick old floe, with high mounds on it and pools in between. It
was from one of these mounds that I observed through the glass the
open water at the foot of the glacier, and now we cannot have far to
go. But the ice looks very bad on ahead, and each piece when it is
like this may take a long time to travel over.

"As we went along we heard the wounded bear lowing ceaselessly behind
us; it filled the whole of this silent world of ice with its bitter
plaint over the cruelty of man. It was miserable to hear it; and if
we had had time we should undoubtedly have gone back and sacrificed a
cartridge on it. We saw the cubs go off to the place where the mother
was lying, and thought to ourselves that we had got rid of them,
but heard them soon afterwards, and even when we had camped they were
not far off.

"Wednesday, August 7th. At last we are under land; at last the
drift-ice lies behind us, and before us is open water--open, it is to
be hoped, to the end. Yesterday was the day. When we came out of the
tent the evening of the day before yesterday we both thought we must
be nearer the edge of the glacier than ever, and with fresh courage,
and in the faint hope of reaching land that day, we started on our
journey. Yet we dared not think our life on the drift-ice was so
nearly at an end. After wandering about on it for five months and
suffering so many disappointments, we were only too well prepared for
a new defeat. We thought, however, that the ice looked more promising
farther on, though before we had gone far we came to broad lanes full
of slush and foul, uneven ice, with hills and dales, and deep snow and
water, into which we sank up to our thighs. After a couple of lanes
of this kind, matters improved a little, and we got on to some flat
ice. After having gone over this for a while, it became apparent how
much nearer we were to the edge of the glacier. It could not possibly
be far off now. We eagerly harnessed ourselves to the sledges again,
put on a spurt, and away we went through snow and water, over mounds
and ridges. We went as hard as we could, and what did we care if we
sank into water till far above our fur leggings, so that both they
and our 'komager' filled and gurgled like a pump? What did it matter
to us now, so long as we got on?

"We soon reached plains, and over them we went quicker and quicker. We
waded through ponds where the spray flew up on all sides. Nearer and
nearer we came, and by the dark water-sky before us, which continually
rose higher, we could see how we were drawing near to open water. We
did not even notice bears now. There seemed to be plenty about, tracks,
both old and new, crossing and recrossing; one had even inspected the
tent while we were asleep, and by the fresh trail we could see how
it had come down wind in lee of us. We had no use for a bear now;
we had food enough. We were soon able to see the open water under
the wall of the glacier, and our steps lengthened even more. As
I was striding along I thought of the march of the Ten Thousand
through Asia, when Xenophon's soldiers, after a year's war against
superior forces, at last saw the sea from a mountain and cried,
'Thalatta! thalatta!' Maybe this sea was just as welcome to us after
our months in the endless white drift-ice.

"At last, at last, I stood by the edge of the ice. Before me lay
the dark surface of the sea, with floating white floes; far away
the glacier wall rose abruptly from the water; over the whole lay
a sombre, foggy light. Joy welled up in our hearts at this sight,
and we could not give it expression in words. Behind us lay all our
troubles, before us the waterway home. I waved my hat to Johansen,
who was a little way behind, and he waved his in answer and shouted
'Hurrah!' Such an event had to be celebrated in some way, and we did
it by having a piece of chocolate each.

"While we were standing there looking at the water the large head
of a seal came up, and then disappeared silently; but soon more
appeared. It is very reassuring to know that we can procure food at
any minute we like.

"Now came the rigging of the kayaks for the voyage. Of course, the
better way would have been to paddle singly, but, with the long,
big sledges on the deck, this was not easy, and leave them behind I
dared not; we might have good use for them yet. For the time being,
therefore, there was nothing else to be done but to lash the two
kayaks together side by side in our usual manner, stiffen them out
with snow-shoes under the straps, and place the sledges athwart them,
one before and one behind.

"It was sad to think we could not take our two last dogs with us,
but we should probably have no further use for them, and it would
not have done to take them with us on the decks of our kayaks. We
were sorry to part with them; we had become very fond of these two
survivors. Faithful and enduring, they had followed us the whole
journey through; and, now that better times had come, they must say
farewell to life. Destroy them in the same way as the others we could
not; we sacrificed a cartridge on each of them. I shot Johansen's,
and he shot mine.

"So then we were ready to set off. It was a real pleasure to let
the kayaks dance over the water and hear the little waves plashing
against the sides. For two years we had not seen such a surface of
water before us. We had not gone far before we found that the wind
was so good that we ought to make use of it, and so we rigged up a
sail on our fleet. We glided easily before the wind in towards the
land we had so longed for all these many months. What a change, after
having forced one's way inch by inch and foot by foot on ice! The
mist had hidden the land from us for a while, but now it parted,
and we saw the glacier rising straight in front of us. At the same
moment the sun burst forth, and a more beautiful morning I can hardly
remember. We were soon underneath the glacier, and had to lower our
sail and paddle westward along the wall of ice, which was from 50 to
60 feet in height, and on which a landing was impossible. It seemed
as if there must be little movement in this glacier; the water had
eaten its way deep underneath it at the foot, and there was no noise
of falling fragments or the cracking of crevasses to be heard, as
there generally is with large glaciers. It was also quite even on
the top, and no crevasses were to be seen. Up the entire height of
the wall there was stratification, which was unusually marked. We
soon discovered that a tidal current was running westward along the
wall of the glacier with great rapidity, and took advantage of it to
make good progress. To find a camping-ground, however, was not easy,
and at last we were reduced to taking up our abode on a drifting
floe. It was glorious, though, to go to rest in the certainty that
we should not wake to drudgery in the drift-ice.

"When we turned out to-day we found that the ice had packed around
us, and I do not know yet how we shall get out of it, though there
is open water not far off to our west.

"Thursday, August 8th. After hauling our impedimenta over some floes
we got into open water yesterday without much difficulty. When
we had reached the edge of the water we made a paddle each from
our snow-shoe-staffs, to which we bound blades made of broken-off
snow-shoes. They were a great improvement on the somewhat clumsy
paddles, with canvas blades lashed to bamboo sticks. I was very much
inclined to chop off our sledges, so that they would only be half as
long as before; by so doing we could carry them on the after-deck of
the kayaks, and could thus each paddle alone, and our advance would
be much quicker than by paddling the twin kayaks. However, I thought,
perhaps, it was unadvisable. The water looked promising enough on
ahead, but there was mist, and we could not see far; we knew nothing
of the country or the coast we had come to, and might yet have good
use for the sledges. We therefore set off in our double kayak, as
before, with the sledges athwart the deck fore and aft.

"The mist soon rose a little. It was then a dead calm; the surface
of the water lay like a great mirror before us, with bits of ice and
an occasional floe drifting on it. It was a marvellously beautiful
sight, and it was indeed glorious to sit there in our light vessels
and glide over the surface without any exertion. Suddenly a seal rose
in front of us, and over us flew continually ivory-gulls and fulmars
and kittiwakes. Little auks we also saw, and some Ross's gulls, and
a couple of terns. There was no want of animal life here, nor of food
when we should require it.

"We found open water, broader and broader, as we paddled on our way
beside the wall of ice; but it would not clear so that we could see
something of our surroundings. The mist still hung obstinately over it.

"Our course at first lay west to north (magnetic); but the land always
trended more and more to the west and southwest; the expanse of water
grew greater, and soon it widened out to a large sea, stretching in a
southwesterly direction. A breeze sprang up from the north-northeast,
and there was considerable motion, which was not pleasant, as in our
double craft the seas continually washed up between the two and wetted
us. We put in towards evening and pitched the tent on the shore-ice,
and just as we did so it began to rain, so that it was high time to
be under a roof.

"Friday, August 9th. Yesterday morning we had again to drag the
sledges with the kayaks over some ice which had drifted in front of
our camping-ground, and during this operation I managed to fall into
the water and get wet. It was with difficulty we finally got through
and out into open water. After a while we again found our way closed,
and were obliged to take to hauling over some floes, but after this we
had good open water the whole day. It was a northeasterly wind which
had set the ice towards the land, and it was lucky we had got so far,
as behind us, to judge by the atmosphere, the sea was much blocked. The
mist hung over the land so that we saw little of it. According as
we advanced we were able to hold a more southerly course, and, the
wind being nearly on the quarter, we set sail about 1 o'clock, and
continued sailing all day till we stopped yesterday evening. Our sail,
however, was interrupted once when it was necessary to paddle round
an ice-point north of where we are now; the contrary current was so
strong that it was as much as we could do to make way against it, and
it was only after considerable exertion that we succeeded in doubling
the point. We have seen little of the land we are skirting up to this,
on account of the mist; but as far as I can make out it consists of
islands. First there was a large island covered with an ice-sheet;
then west of it a smaller one, on which are the two crags of rock
which first made us aware of the vicinity of land; next came a long
fjord or sound, with massive shore-ice in it; and then a small, low
headland, or rather an island, south of which we are now encamped. This
shore-ice lying along the land is very remarkable. It is unusually
massive and uneven; it seems to be composed of huge blocks welded
together, which in a great measure, at any rate, must proceed from
the ice-sheet. There has also, perhaps, been violent pressure against
the land, which has heaved the sea-ice up together with pieces of ice
from the calving of the glacier, and the whole has frozen together
into a conglomerate mass. A medium-sized iceberg lay off the headland
north of us, where the current was so strong. Where we are now lying,
however, there is flat fjord-ice between the low island here and a
larger one farther south.

"This land grows more of a problem, and I am more than ever at
a loss to know where we are. It is very remarkable to me that the
coast continually trends to the south instead of to the west. I could
explain it all best by supposing ourselves to be on the west coast of
the archipelago of Franz Josef Land, were it not that the variation,
I think, is too great, and also for the number of Ross's gulls there
still are. Not one has with certainty been seen in Spitzbergen, and
if my supposition is right, this should not be far off. Yesterday
we saw a number of them again; they are quite as common here as the
other species of gull.

"Saturday, August 10th. We went up on to the little islet we had camped
by. It was covered by a glacier, which curved over it in the shape of a
shield; there were slopes to all sides; but so slight was the gradient
that our snow-shoes would not even run of themselves on the crust
of snow. From the ridge we had a fair view, and, as the mist lifted
just then, we saw the land about us tolerably well. We now perceived
plainly that what we had been skirting along was only islands. The
first one was the biggest. The other land, with the two rocky crags,
had, as we could see, a strip of bare land along the shore on the
northwest side. Was it there, perhaps, the Ross's gulls congregated
and had their breeding-grounds? The island to our south also looked
large; it appeared to be entirely covered by a glacier. [45] Between
the islands, and as far as we could perceive southeast and east,
the sea was covered by perfectly flat fjord-ice, but no land was to
be discerned in that direction. There were no icebergs here, though
we saw some later in the day on the south side of the island lying
to the south of us.

"The glacier covering the little island on which we stood joined
the fjord-ice almost imperceptibly; only a few small fissures along
the shore indicated where it probably began. There could not be any
great rise and fall in the ice here, consequent on the tide, as the
fissures would then, as a matter of course, have been considerably
larger. This seemed remarkable, as the tidal current ran swift as a
river here. On the west side of the island there lay in front of the
glacier a rampart of ice and snow, which was probably formed of pieces
of glacier-ice and sea-ice welded together. It had the same character
as the massive shore-ice which we had seen previously running along
the land. This rampart went over imperceptibly with an even slope
into the glacier within it.

"About three in the afternoon we finally set off in open water and
sailed till eight or so in the evening; the water was then closed,
and we were compelled to haul the fleet over flat ice to open water
on the other side. But here, too, our progress seemed blocked, and
as the current was against us we pitched the tent."

On August 10th we were "compelled partly to haul our sledges over the
ice, partly to row in open water in a southwesterly direction. When we
reached navigable waters again, we passed a flock of walruses lying on
a floe. It was a pleasure to see so much food collected at one spot,
but we did not take any notice of them, as, for the time being, we
have meat and blubber enough. After dinner we managed, in the mist, to
wander down a long bay into the shore-ice, where there was no outlet;
we had to turn back, and this delayed us considerably. We now kept
a more westerly course, following the often massive and uneven edge
of the ice; but the current was dead against us, and, in addition,
young ice had been forming all day as we rowed along; the weather
had been cold and still, with falling snow, and this began to be so
thick that we could not make way against it any longer. We therefore
went ashore on the ice, and hauled until ten in the evening.

"Bear-tracks, old and new, in all directions--both the single ones of
old bachelors and those of she-bears with cubs. It looks as if they
had had a general rendezvous, or as if a flock of them had roamed
backward and forward. I have never seen so many bear-tracks in one
place in my life.

"We have certainly done 14 or 25 miles to-day; but still I think our
progress is too slow if we are to reach Spitzbergen this year, and I
am always wondering if we ought not to cut the ends off our sledges,
so that each can paddle his own kayak. This young ice, however, which
grows steadily worse, and the eleven degrees below freezing we now
have, make me hold my hand. Perhaps winter is upon us, and then the
sledges may be very necessary.

"It is a curious sensation to paddle in the mist, as we are doing,
without being able to see a mile in front of us. The land we found
we have left behind us. We are always in hopes of clear weather, in
order to see where the land lies in front of us--for land there must
be. This flat, unbroken ice must be attached to land of some kind;
but clear weather we are not to have, it appears. Mist without ceasing;
we must push on as it is."

After having hauled some distance farther over the ice we came to
open water again the following day (August 11th) and paddled for four
or five hours. While I was on a hummock inspecting the waters ahead,
a huge monster of a walrus came up quite near us. It lay puffing and
glaring at us on the surface of the water, but we took no notice of
it, got into our kayaks, and went on. Suddenly it came up again by
the side of us, raised itself high out of the water, snorted so that
the air shook, and threatened to thrust its tusks into our frail
craft. We seized our guns, but at the same moment it disappeared,
and came up immediately afterwards on the other side, by Johansen's
kayak, where it repeated the same manoeuvre. I said to him that if
the animal showed signs of attacking us we must spend a cartridge
on it. It came up several times and disappeared again; we could see
it down in the water, passing rapidly on its side under our vessels,
and, afraid lest it should make a hole in the bottom with its tusks,
we thrust our paddles down into the water and frightened it away; but
suddenly it came up again right by Johansen's kayak, and more savage
than ever. He sent it a charge straight in the eyes, it uttered a
terrific bellow, rolled over, and disappeared, leaving a trail of
blood on the water behind it. We paddled on as hard as we could,
knowing that the shot might have dangerous consequences, but we were
relieved when we heard the walrus come up far behind us at the place
where it had disappeared.

We had paddled quietly on, and had long forgotten all about the
walrus, when I suddenly saw Johansen jump into the air and felt his
kayak receive a violent shock. I had no idea what it was, and looked
round to see if some block of floating ice had capsized and struck the
bottom of his kayak; but suddenly I saw another walrus rise up in the
water beside us. I seized my gun, and as the animal would not turn its
head so that I could aim at a spot behind the ear, where it is more
easily wounded, I was constrained to put a ball in the middle of its
forehead; there was no time to be lost. Happily this was enough, and
it lay there dead and floating on the water. With great difficulty we
managed to make a hole in the thick skin, and after cutting ourselves
some strips of blubber and meat from the back we went on our way again.

At seven in the evening the tidal current turned and the channel
closed. There was no more water to be found. Instead of taking to
hauling over the ice, we determined to wait for the opening of the
channel when the tide should turn next day, and meanwhile to cut off
the ends of our sledges, as I had so long been thinking of doing,
and make ourselves some good double paddles, so that we could put on
greater pace, and, in our single kayaks, make the most of the channel
during the time it was open. While we were occupied in doing this
the mist cleared off at last, and there lay land stretched out in
front of us, extending a long way south and west from S.E. right up
to N.N.W. It appeared to be a chain of islands with sounds between
them. They were chiefly covered with glaciers, only here and there
were perpendicular black mountain-walls to be seen. It was a sight
to make one rejoice to see so much land at one time. But where were
we? This seemed a more difficult question to answer than ever. Could
we, after all, have arrived at the east side of Franz Josef Land? It
seemed very reasonable to suppose this to be the case. But then we
must be very far east, and must expect a long voyage before we could
reach Cape Fligely, on Crown Prince Rudolf Land. Meanwhile we worked
hard to get the sledges ready; but as the mist gradually lifted and
it became clearer and clearer, we could not help continually leaving
them, to climb up on to the hummock beside us to look at the country,
and speculate on this insoluble problem. We did not get to bed till
seven in the morning of August 12th.

"Tuesday, August 13th. After having slept a few hours, we turned out
of the bag again, for the current had turned, and there was a wide
channel. In our single kayaks, we made good headway, but after going
about five miles the channel closed, and we had to clamber on to the
ice. We thought it advisable to wait until the tidal current turned,
and see if there were not a channel running farther. If not, we must
lash proper grips of wood to our curtailed sledges, and commence
hauling towards a sound running through the land, which I see about
W.N.W. (true), and which, according to Payer's chart, I take to be
Rawlinson's Sound."

But the crack did not open, and when it came to the point we had to
continue on our way hauling.

"Wednesday, August 14th. We dragged our sledges and loads over a
number of floes and ferried across lanes, arriving finally at a lane
which ran westward, in which we could paddle; but it soon packed
together again, and we were stopped. The ivory-gulls are very bold,
and last night stole a piece of blubber lying close by the tent wall."

The following day we had to make our way as well as we could by
paddling short distances in the lanes or hauling our loads over floes
smaller or larger, as the case might be. The current, which was running
like a mill-race, ground them together in its career. Our progress with
our short, stumpy sledges was nothing very great, and of water suitable
for paddling in we found less and less. We stopped several times and
waited for the ice to open at the turn of the tide, but it did not do
so, and on the morning of August 15th we gave it up, turned inward,
and took to the shore-ice for good. We set our course westward towards
the sound we had seen for several days now, and had struggled so to
reach. The surface of the ice was tolerably even and we got over the
ground well. On the way we passed a frozen-in iceberg, which was the
highest we saw in these parts--some 50 to 60 feet, I should say. [46]
I wished to go up it to get a better view of our environment, but it
was too steep, and we did not get higher than a third part up the side.

"In the evening we at last reached the islands we had been steering
for for the last few days, and for the first time for two years had
bare land under foot. The delight of the feeling of being able to jump
from block to block of granite [47] is indescribable, and the delight
was not lessened when in a little sheltered corner among the stones
we found moss and flowers, beautiful poppies (Papaver nudicaule)
Saxifraga nivalis, and a Stellaria (sp.?). It goes without saying
that the Norwegian flag had to wave over this our first bare land,
and a banquet was prepared. Our petroleum, meanwhile, had given out
several days previously, and we had to contrive another lamp in which
train-oil could be used. The smoking hot lobscouse, made of pemmican
and the last of our potatoes, was delicious, and we sat inside the
tent and kicked the bare grit under us to our heart's content.

"Where we are is becoming more and more incomprehensible. There appears
to be a broad sound west of us, but what is it? The island [48] we
are now on, and where we have slept splendidly (this is written on
the morning of August 16th) on dry land, with no melting of the ice
in puddles underneath us, is a long moraine-like ridge running about
north and south (magnetic), and consists almost exclusively of small
and large--generally very large--blocks of stone, with, I should say,
occasional stationary crags. The blocks are in a measure rounded off,
but I have found no striation on them. The whole island barely rises
above the snow-field in which it lies, and which slopes in a gradual
decline down to the surrounding ice. On our west there is a bare
island, somewhat higher, which we have seen for several days. Along
the shore there is a decided strand-line (terrace). North of us are
two small islets and a small rock or skerry.

"As I mentioned before (August 13th) I had at first supposed the sound
on our west to be Rawlinson's Sound, but this now appeared impossible,
as there was nothing to be seen of Dove Glacier, by which it is bounded
on one side. If this was now our position, we must have traversed the
glacier and Wilczek Land without noticing any trace of either; for we
had travelled westward a good half degree south of Cape Buda-Pesth. The
possibility that we could be in this region we consequently now held
to be finally excluded. We must have come to a new land in the western
part of Franz Josef Land or Archipelago, and so far west that we had
seen nothing of the countries discovered by Payer. But so far west
that we had not even seen anything of Oscar's Land, which ought to
be situated in 82° N. and 52° E.? This was indeed incomprehensible;
but was there any other explanation?

"Saturday, August 17th. Yesterday was a good day. We are in open water
on the west coast of Franz Josef Land, as far as I can make out, and
may again hope to get home this year. About noon yesterday we walked
across the ice from our moraine-islet to the higher island west of
us. As I was ready before Johansen, I went on first to examine the
island a little. As he was following me he caught sight of a bear
on the level ice to leeward. It came jogging up against the wind
straight towards him. He had his gun ready, but when a little nearer
the bear stopped, reconsidered the situation, suddenly turned tail,
and was soon out of sight.

"This island [49] we came to seemed to me to be one of the most
lovely spots on the face of the earth. A beautiful flat beach,
an old strand-line with shells strewn about, a narrow belt of
clear water along the shore, where snails and sea-urchins (Echinus)
were visible at the bottom and amphipoda were swimming about. In the
cliffs overhead were hundreds of screaming little auks, and beside us
the snow-buntings fluttered from stone to stone with their cheerful
twitter. Suddenly the sun burst forth through the light fleecy clouds,
and the day seemed to be all sunshine. Here were life and bare land;
we were no longer on the eternal drift-ice! At the bottom of the sea
just beyond the beach I could see whole forests of seaweed (Laminaria
and Fucus). Under the cliffs here and there were drifts of beautiful
rose-colored snow. [50]

"On the north side of the island we found the breeding-place of numbers
of black-backed gulls; they were sitting with their young in ledges
of the cliffs. Of course we had to climb up and secure a photograph
of this unusual scene of family life, and as we stood there high up
on the cliff's side we could see the drift-ice whence we had come. It
lay beneath us like a white plain, and disappeared far away on the
horizon. Beyond this it was we had journeyed, and farther away still
the Fram and our comrades were drifting yet.

"I had thought of going to the top of this island to get a better view,
and perhaps come nearer solving the problem of our whereabouts. But
when we were on the west side of it the mist came back and settled on
the top; we had to content ourselves with only going a little way up
the slope to look at our future course westward. Some way out we saw
open water; it looked like the sea itself, but before one could get
to it there was a good deal of ice. We came down again and started
off. Along the land there was a channel running some distance farther,
and we tried it, but it was covered everywhere with a thin layer of
new ice, which we did not dare to break through in our kayaks, and
risk cutting a hole in them; so, finally, a little way farther south
we put in to drag up the kayaks and take to the ice again. While we
were doing this one huge bearded seal after another stuck its head up
by the side of the ice and gazed wonderingly at us with its great eyes;
then, with a violent header, and splashing the water in all directions,
it would disappear, to come up again soon afterwards on the other
side. They kept playing around us, blowing, diving, reappearing,
and throwing themselves over so that the water foamed round them. It
would have been easy enough to capture one had we required it.

"At last, after a good deal of exertion, we stood at the margin of
the ice; the blue expanse of water lay before us as far as the eye
could reach, and we thought that for the future we had to do with it
alone. To the north [51] there was land, the steep, black, basalt
cliffs of which fell perpendicularly into the sea. We saw headland
after headland standing out northward, and farthest off of all we
could descry a bluish glacier. The interior was everywhere covered
with an ice-sheet. Below the clouds, and over the land, was a strip
of ruddy night sky, which was reflected in the melancholy, rocking sea.

"So we paddled on along the side of the glacier which covered the
whole country south of us. We became more and more excited as we
approached the headland to the west. Would the coast trend south
here, and was there no more land westward? It was this we expected
to decide our fate--decide whether we should reach home that year or
be compelled to winter somewhere on land. Nearer and nearer we came
to it along the edge of the perpendicular wall of ice. At last we
reached the headland, and our hearts bounded with joy to see so much
water--only water--westward, and the coast trending southwest. We
also saw a bare mountain projecting from the ice-sheet a little way
farther on; it was a curious high ridge, as sharp as a knife-blade. It
was as steep and sharp as anything I have seen; it was all of dark,
columnar basalt, and so jagged and peaked that it looked like a
comb. In the middle of the mountain there was a gap or couloir,
and there we crept up to inspect the sea-way southward. The wall of
rock was anything but broad there, and fell away on the south side
in a perpendicular drop of several hundred feet. A cutting wind was
blowing in the couloir. While we were lying there, I suddenly heard a
noise behind me, and on looking around I saw two foxes fighting over
a little auk which they had just caught. They clawed and tugged and
bit as hard as they could on the very edge of the chasm; then they
suddenly caught sight of us, not twenty feet away from them. They
stopped fighting, looked up wonderingly, and began to run around
and peep at us, first from one side, then from the other. Over us
myriads of little auks flew backward and forward, screaming shrilly
from the ledges in the mountain-side. So far as we could make out,
there appeared to be open sea along the land to the westward. The wind
was favorable, and although we were tired we decided to take advantage
of the opportunity, have something to eat, rig up mast and sail on
our canoes, and get afloat. We sailed till the morning, when the wind
went down, and then we landed on the shore-ice again and camped. [52]

"I am as happy as a child in the thought that we are now at last
really on the west coast of Franz Josef Land, with open water before
us, and independent of ice and currents.

"Wednesday, August 24th. The vicissitudes of this life will never come
to an end. When I wrote last I was full of hope and courage; and here
we are stopped by stress of weather for four days and three nights,
with the ice packed as tight as it can be against the coast. We
see nothing but piled-up ridges, hummocks, and broken ice in all
directions. Courage is still here, but hope--the hope of soon being
home--that was relinquished a long time ago, and before us lies the
certainty of a long, dark winter in these surroundings.

"It was at midnight between the 17th and 18th that we set off from
our last camping-ground in splendid weather. Though it was cloudy and
the sun invisible, there was along the horizon in the north the most
glorious ruddy glow with golden sun-tipped clouds, and the sea lay
shining and dreamy in the distance: a marvellous night.... On the
surface of the sea, smooth as a mirror, without a block of ice as
far as the eye could reach, glided the kayaks, the water purling off
the paddles at every silent stroke. It was like being in a gondola on
the Canale Grande. But there was something almost uncanny about all
this stillness, and the barometer had gone down rapidly. Meanwhile, we
sped towards the headland in the south-southwest, which I thought was
about 12 miles off. [53] After some hours we espied ice ahead, but both
of us thought that it was only a loose chain of pieces drifting with
the current, and we paddled confidently on. But as we gradually drew
nearer we saw that the ice was fairly compact, and extended a greater
and greater distance; though from the low kayaks it was not easy to see
the exact extent of the pack. We accordingly disembarked and climbed
up on a hummock to find out our best route. The sight which met us
was anything but encouraging. Off the headland we were steering for
were a number of islets and rocks, extending some distance out to sea;
it was they that were locking the ice, which lay in every direction,
between them and outside them. Near us it was slack, but farther off
it looked much worse, so that further advance by sea was altogether
out of the question. Our only expedient was to take to the edge of
the shore-ice, and hope for the chance that a lane might run along it
some way farther on. On the way in we passed a seal lying on a floe,
and as our larder was beginning to grow empty, I tried to get a shot
at it, but it dived into the water before we came within range.

"As we were paddling along through some small bits of ice my
kayak suddenly received a violent shock from underneath. I looked
round in amazement, as I had not noticed any large piece of ice
hereabouts. There was nothing of the kind to be seen either, but
worse enemies were about. No sooner had I glanced down than I saw a
huge walrus cleaving through the water astern, and it suddenly came
up, raised itself and stood on end just before Johansen, who was
following in my wake. Afraid lest the animal should have its tusks
through the deck of his craft the next minute, he backed as hard as
he could and felt for his gun, which he had down in the kayak. I was
not long either in pulling my gun out of its cover. The animal crashed
snorting into the water again, however, dived under Johansen's kayak,
and came up just behind him. Johansen, thinking he had had enough
of such a neighbor, scrambled incontinently on to the floe nearest
him. After having waited awhile, with my gun ready for the walrus to
come up close by me, I followed his example. I very nearly came in for
the cold bath which the walrus had omitted to give me, for the edge of
the ice gave way just as I set my foot on it, and the kayak drifted
off with me standing upright in it, and trying to balance it as best
I could, in order not to capsize. If the walrus had reappeared at that
moment I should certainly have received it in its own element. Finally,
I succeeded in getting up on to the ice, and for a long time afterwards
the walrus swam round and round our floe, where we made the best of the
situation by having dinner. Sometimes it was near Johansen's kayak,
sometimes near mine. We could see how it darted about in the water
under the kayaks, and it had evidently the greatest desire to attack
us again. We thought of giving it a ball to get rid of it, but had no
great wish to part with a cartridge, and, besides, it only showed us
its nose and forehead, which are not exactly the most vital spots to
aim at, when one's object is to kill with one shot. It was a great
ox-walrus. There is something remarkably fantastic and prehistoric
about these monsters. I could not help thinking of a merman, or
something of the kind, as it lay there just under the surface of
the water, blowing and snorting for quite a long while at a time,
and glaring at us with its round glassy eyes. After having continued
in this way for some time, it disappeared just as tracklessly as it
had come; and as we had finished our dinner we were able to go on our
way again, glad, a second time, not to have been upset or destroyed
by its tusks. The most curious thing about it was that it came so
entirely without warning--suddenly rising up from the deep. Johansen
had certainly heard a great splash behind him some time before,
which he took to be a seal, but perhaps it may have been the walrus.

"The lane along the shore-ice gave us little satisfaction, as it
was completely covered with young ice and we could make no way. In
addition to this, a wind from the S.S.W. sprang up, which drove the
ice on to us, so there was nothing for it but to put in to the edge
of the ice and wait until it should slacken again. We spread out the
bag, folded the tent over us, and prepared for rest in the hope of
soon being able to go on. But this was not to be; the wind freshened,
the ice packed tighter and tighter, there was soon no open water to
be seen in any direction, and even the open sea, whence we had come,
disappeared; all our hopes of getting home that year sank at one
blow. After a while we realized that there was nothing to be done
but to drag our loads farther in on to the shore-ice and camp. To
try and haul the canoes farther over this pack, which was worse than
any ice we had come across since we began our voyage, we thought was
useless. We should get very little distance in the day, and it might
cost us dear with the kayaks on the short sledges, among all these
ridges and hummocks; and so we lay there day and night waiting for
the wind to go down or to change. But it blew from the same quarter
the whole time, and matters were not improved by a heavy fall of snow
which made the ice absolutely impracticable.

"Our situation was not an attractive one; in front of us massive broken
sea-ice close by land, and the gods alone know if it will open again
this year; a good way behind us land [54] which looked anything but
inviting to spend the winter on; around us impassable ice, and our
provender very much on the decline. The south coast of the country
and Eira Harbor now appeared to our imagination a veritable land of
Canaan, and we thought that if only we were there all our troubles
would be over. We hoped to be able to find Leigh Smith's hut there,
or, at any rate, some remains of it, so that we should have something
to live in; and we also hoped that where there no doubt was much
open water it would be easy to find game. We regretted not having
shot some seals while they were numerous; on the night when we left
our last camping-place there were plenty of them about. As Johansen
was standing on the edge of the ice doing something to his kayak,
a seal came up just in front of him. He thought it was of a kind
he had not seen before, and shouted to me. But at the same moment
up came one black poll after another quiet and silent, from ten to
twenty in number, all gazing at him with their great eyes. He was
quite nonplussed, thought there was something uncanny about it,
and then they disappeared just as noiselessly as they had come.

"I consoled him by telling him they really were of a kind we had not
seen before on our journey; they were young harp, or saddleback seal
(Phoca groenlandica). We saw several schools of them again later in
the day.

"Meanwhile we killed time as best we could--chiefly by sleeping. On
the early morning of the 21st, just as I lay thinking what would
become of us if the ice should not slacken and we had no opportunity
of adding to our larder--the chances, I thought, did not seem very
promising--I heard something pawing and moving outside. It might, as
usual, be the packing of the ice, but still I thought it was more like
something on four legs. I jumped up, saying to Johansen that it must
be a bear, and then I suddenly heard it sniffing by the tent wall. I
peeped out through some holes in one side of it and saw nothing;
then I went across to a big hole on the other side of the tent, and
there I saw an enormous bear just outside. It caught sight of me,
too, at the same moment and slunk away, but then stopped again and
looked at the tent. I snatched my gun down from the tent-pole, stuck
it through the hole, and sent the bear a ball in the middle of the
chest. It fell forward; but raised itself again and struggled off,
so I had to give it the contents of the other barrel in the side. It
still staggered on, but fell down between some hummocks a little way
off. An unusually large he-bear, and for the time all our troubles
for food were ended. The wind, however, continued steadily from the
same quarter. As there was not much shelter where we were encamped,
and, furthermore, as we were uncomfortably near the ridge where the
ice was continually packing, we removed and took up our abode farther
in on the shore-ice, where we are still lying. Last night there was
a bear about again, but not quite so near the tent.

"We went on an excursion inland [55] yesterday to see what our
prospects might be if we should be forced to spend a winter here. I
had hoped to find flatter ice farther in, but instead it grew worse
and worse the nearer we went to land, and right in by the headland
it was towering up, and almost impassable. The ice was piled against
the very wall of the glacier. We went up on the glacier and looked
at the sound to the north of the headland. A little way in the ice
appeared to be flatter, more like fjord-ice, but nowhere could we
see lanes where there might be a chance of capturing seal. There
was no place for a hut either about here; while, on the other hand,
we found on the south side of the headland quite a smiling spot where
the ground was fairly level, and where there was some herbage, and an
abundance of moss and stones for building purposes. But outside it,
again, the ice towered up on the shore in chaotic confusion on all
sides. It was a little more level in the direction of the fjord or
sound which ran far inland to the south, and there it soon turned to
flat fjord-ice; but there were no lanes there either where we could
hope to capture seal. There did not seem much prospect of game, but
we comforted ourselves with the reflection that there were tracks
of bears in every direction, and bears would, in case of necessity,
be our one resource for both food and clothes. In the cliffs above
us crowds of little auks had their nests, as on all such places
that we have passed by. We also saw a fox. The rock formation was a
coarse-grained basalt; but by the side of the glacier we discovered a
mound of loose, half-crumbled argillaceous schist, in which, however,
we did not find any fossils. Some blocks which we thought very much
like granite were also strewn about. [56] Everywhere along the beach
the glaciers were covered with red snow, which had a very beautiful
effect in the sunshine.

"We were both agreed that it might be possible to winter here,
but hoped it was the first and last time we should set foot on the
spot. The way to it, too, was so bad that we hardly knew how we should
get the sledges and kayaks there.

"To-day, at last, the change we have longed and waited for so long
has come. Last night the southwest wind quieted down; the barometer,
which I have been tapping daily in vain, has at last begun to rise
a little, and the wind has gone round to the opposite quarter. The
question now is whether, if it keep there, it will be able to drive
the ice out again."

Here comes a great gap in my diary, and not till far on in the winter
(Friday, December 6th) do I write: "I must at last try and patch the
hole in my diary. There has been so much to see about that I have
got no writing done; that excuse, however, is no longer available,
as we sleep nearly the whole twenty-four hours."

After having written my journal for August 24th I went out to look
for a better and more sheltered place, as the wind had changed, and
now blew straight into the tent. I hoped, too, that this land-wind
might open up the ice, and I therefore first set off to see whether
any sign of slackening was to be discovered at the edge of the
shore-ice; but the floes lay packed together as solidly as ever. I
found, however, a capital place for pitching the tent, and we were
busy moving thither when we suddenly discovered that the ice had
split off to the landward, and already there was a broad channel. We
certainly wanted the ice to open up, but not on our landward side;
and now it was a question of getting across on to the shore-ice again
at any price, so as not to drift out to sea with the pack. But the
wind had risen to a stiff breeze, and it seemed more than doubtful
whether we could manage to pull up against it, even for so short a
distance as across the channel. This was rapidly growing broader and
broader. We had, however, to make an attempt, and, therefore, set off
along the edge towards a spot farther east, which we thought would
give us a little more shelter for launching our kayaks. On arriving,
however, we found that it would be no easy matter to launch them
here either without getting them filled with water. It blew so that
the spoondrift was driven over the sea, and the spray was dashed
far in over the ice. There was little else to be done but to pitch
our tent and wait for better times. We were now more than ever in
need of shelter to keep the tent from being torn by the wind, but,
search and tramp up and down as we might, we could find no permanent
resting-place, and at last had to content ourselves with the scant
shelter of a little elevation which we thought would do. We had
not lain long before the gusts of wind made such onslaughts on the
tent that we found it advisable to take it down, to avoid having it
torn to pieces. We could now sleep securely in our bags beneath the
prostrate tent, and let the wind rage above us. After a time I awoke,
and noticed that the wind had subsided so much that we could once
more raise our tent, and I crept out to look at the weather. I was
less pleasantly surprised on discovering that we were already far
out to sea; we must have drifted eight or ten miles from land, and
between it and us lay open sea. The land now lay quite low, far off on
the horizon. In the meantime, however, the weather had considerably
improved, and we once more set out along the edge of the ice to try
to get our kayaks launched. But it was no easy matter. It was still
blowing hard, and the sea ran high. In addition to this, there were
a number of loose floes beyond, and these were in constant motion, so
that we had to be on the alert to prevent the kayaks from being crushed
between them. After some futile attempts we at length got afloat,
but only to discover that the wind and the waves were too strong;
we should scarcely be able to make any progress against them. Our
only resource, therefore, was to sail, if this were practicable. We
went alongside an ice promontory, lashed the kayaks together, raised
the mast, and again put to sea. We soon had our single sail hoisted,
and to our unspeakable satisfaction we now found that we got along
capitally. At last we should be able to bid farewell to the ice,
where we had been compelled to abandon our hope of reaching home
that year. We now continued sailing hour after hour, and made good
progress; but then the wind dropped too much for our single sail,
and I ventured to set the whole double sail. Hardly had we done so,
when the wind again sprang up, and we dashed foaming through the
water. This soon, however, became a little too much; the sea washed
over the lee kayak, the mast bent dangerously, and the situation did
not look very pleasant; there was nothing for it but to lower the
sail again as quickly as possible. The single sail was again hoisted,
and we were cured for some time of wishing to try anything more.

We sailed steadily and well the whole day, and now at last had to
pass the difficult cape; but it was evening before we left it behind,
and now the wind dropped so much that the whole double sail had to be
hoisted again, and even then progress was slow. We kept on, however,
during the night, along the shore, determined to make as much use of
the wind as possible. We passed a low promontory covered by a gently
sloping glacier; [57] around it lay a number of islands, which must,
we thought, have held the ice fast. A little farther on we came under
some high basaltic cliffs, and here the wind dropped completely. As
it was also hazy, and we could discern land and islands both to right
and left of us, so that we did not know in what direction to steer, we
put in here, drew the kayaks up on shore, pitched the tent, and cooked
ourselves a good meal of warm food, which we relished greatly, from the
consciousness of having done a good day's work. Above our heads, all
up the face of the cliff, the little auks kept up a continual hubbub,
faithfully supported by the ivory-gulls, kittiwakes, burgomasters,
and skuas. We slept none the worse for that, however. This was a
beautiful mountain. It consisted of the finest columnar basalt one
could wish to see, with its buttresses and niches up the face of
the cliff, and its countless points and spires along every crest,
reminding one of Milan Cathedral. From top to bottom it was only
column upon column; at the base they were all lost in the talus.

When we turned out the following morning, the weather had so far
cleared that we could better see the way we ought to take. It appeared
as if a deep fjord or sound ran in eastward in front of us; and our
way distinctly lay round a promontory which we had to the S.S.W. on
the other side of the fjord. In that direction the water appeared
to be open, while within the fjord lay solid ice, and out to sea
drift-ice lay everywhere. Through the misty atmosphere we could also
distinguish several islands. [58] Here, too, as we usually found in
the morning, a great quantity of ice had drifted in in the course of
the night--great, flat, and thin floes, which had settled themselves
in front of us--and it looked as if we should have hard work to get out
into open water. Things went a little better than we expected, however,
and we got through before it closed in entirely. In front of us now lay
open water right past the promontory far ahead; the weather was good,
and everything seemed to promise a successful day. As it began to blow
a little from the fjord, and we hoped it might become a sailing-wind,
we put in beside a little rocky island, which looked just like a great
stone [59] sticking up out of the sea, and there rigged up mast and
sail. But the sailing-wind came to nothing, and we were soon obliged to
unrig and take to paddling. We had not paddled far when the wind went
round to the opposite quarter, the southwest. It increased rapidly,
and soon the sea ran high, the sky became overcast in the south,
and it looked as if the weather might become stormy. We were still
several miles from the land on the other side of the fjord, and we
might have many hours of hard paddling before we gained it. This land,
too, looked far from inviting, as it lay there, entirely covered with
glacier from the summit right to the shore; only in one place did a
little rock emerge. To leeward we had the margin of the shore-ice,
low, and affording no protection. The waves broke right upon it,
and it would not be a good place to seek refuge in, should such a
proceeding become necessary; it would be best to get in under land
and see how the weather would turn out. We did not like the prospect
of once more being enclosed in the drift-ice; we had had enough of
that by this time, so we made for some land which lay a little way
behind us, and looked very inviting. Should matters turn out badly,
a good place for wintering in might be found there.

Scarcely had I set foot on land when I saw a bear a little way up
the shore and drew up our kayaks to go and shoot it. In the meantime
it came shambling along the shore towards us, so we lay down quietly
behind the kayaks and waited. When close up to us it caught sight of
our footprints in the snow, and while it was sniffing at them Johansen
sent a bullet behind its shoulder. The bear roared and tried to run,
but the bullet had gone through the spine, and the hind part of its
body was paralyzed and refused to perform its functions. In perplexity
the bear sat down, and bit and tore its hind-paws until the blood
flowed; it was as if it were chastising them to make them do their
duty. Then it tried again to move away, but with the same result; the
hind part of its body was no longer amenable to discipline, and dragged
behind, so that it could only shuffle along on its fore-legs, going
round in a ring. A ball through the skull put an end to its sufferings.

When we had skinned it we made an excursion inland to inspect our new
domain, and were now not a little surprised to see two walruses lying
quietly on the ice close to the spot where I had first caught sight
of the bear. This seemed to me to show how little heed walruses pay
to bears, who will never attack them if they can help it. I had more
decisive proofs of this subsequently. In the sea beyond we also saw
a walrus, which kept putting up its head and breathing so hard that
it could be heard a long way off. A little later I saw him approach
the edge of the ice and disappear, only to appear again in the
tidal channel close to the shore, a good way from the edge of the
ice. He struck his great tusks into the edge of the ice, while he
lay breathing hard, just like an exhausted swimmer. Then he raised
himself high up on his tusks, and looked across the ice towards the
others lying there, and then dived down again. He soon reappeared,
with a great deal of noise, farther in, and the same performance
was gone through again. A walrus's head is not a beautiful object
as it appears above the ice. With its huge tusks, its coarse whisker
bristles, and clumsy shape, there is something wild and goblin-like
about it which, I can easily understand, might inspire fear in more
superstitious times, and give rise to the idea of fabulous monsters,
with which in ancient days these seas were thought to swarm. At last
the walrus came up in the hole beside which the others were lying,
and raised himself a little way up on to the edge of the ice by his
tusks; but upon this the bigger of the two, a huge old bull, suddenly
awoke to life. He grunted menacingly, and moved about restlessly. The
new-comer bowed his head respectfully down to the ice, but soon pulled
himself cautiously up on to the floe, so as to get a hold with his
fore-paddle, and then drew himself a little way in. Now the old bull
was thoroughly roused. He turned round, bellowed, and floundered up
to the new-comer in order to dig his enormous tusks into his back. The
latter, who appeared to be the old bull's equal both as regards tusks
and size, bowed humbly, and laid his head down upon the ice just like
a slave before his sultan. The old bull returned to his companion,
and lay quietly down as before, but no sooner did the new-comer stir,
after having lain for some time in this servile posture, than the
old bull grunted and thrust at him, and he once more respectfully
drew back. This was repeated several times. At length, after much
manoeuvring backward and forward, the new-comer succeeded in drawing
himself on to the floe, and finally up beside the others. I thought the
tender passion must have something to do with these proceedings; but
I discovered afterwards that all three were males. And it is in this
friendly manner that walruses receive their guests. It appears to be a
specially chosen member of the flock that has these hospitable duties
to perform. I am inclined to think it is the leader, who is asserting
his dignity, and wishes to impress upon every new-comer that he is to
be obeyed. These animals must be exceedingly sociable, when, in spite
of such treatment, they thus constantly seek one another's society,
and always lie close together. When we returned a little later to
look at them another had arrived, and by the following morning six
lay there side by side. It is not easy to believe that these lumps
lying on the ice are living animals. With head drawn in and hind-legs
flat beneath the body, they will lie motionless hour after hour,
looking like enormous sausages. It is easy to see that these fellows
lie there in security, and fearful of nothing in the world.

After having seen as much as we wanted of the walruses at close
quarters, we went back, prepared a good meal from the newly
slaughtered bear, and lay down to sleep. On the shore below the tent,
the ivory-gulls were making a fearful hubbub. They had gathered in
scores from all quarters, and could not agree as to the fair division
of the bear's entrails; they fought incessantly, filling the air with
their angry cries. It is one of nature's unaccountable freaks to have
made this bird so pretty, while giving it such an ugly voice. At a
little distance the burgomasters sat solemnly looking on and uttering
their somewhat more melodious notes. Out in the sea the walruses were
blowing and bellowing incessantly, but everything passed unheeded by
the two weary warriors in the tent; they slept soundly, with the bare
ground for their couch. In the middle of the night we were awakened,
however, by a peculiar sound; it was just like some one whimpering
and crying, and making great ado. I started up, and looked out of
the peep-hole. Two bears were standing down beside our bear's flesh,
a she-bear and her young one, and both sniffing at the bloody marks
in the snow, while the she-bear wailed as if mourning for a dear
departed one. I lost no time in seizing my gun, and was just putting it
cautiously out, when the she-bear caught sight of me at the peep-hole,
and off they both set, the mother in front, and the young one trotting
after as fast as it could. I just let them run--we had really no use
for them--and then we turned over and went to sleep again.

Nothing came of the storm we had feared. The wind blew hard enough,
however, to rend and tear our now well-worn tent, and there was no
shelter where we lay. We hoped to go on on the following day, but
found, to our disappointment, that the way was blocked; the wind
had again driven the ice in. We must remain for the present where
we were; but in that case we would make ourselves as comfortable
as possible. The first thing to be done was to seek for a warm,
well-sheltered place for the tent, but this was not to be found. There
was nothing for it but to get something built up of stone. We quarried
stone in the débris at the bottom of the cliff, and got together as
much as we could. The only quarrying implement we had was a runner
that had been cut off a hand-sledge; but our two hands were what we
had to use most. We worked away during the night. What we had at
first only intended to be a shelter from the wind grew, little by
little, into four walls; and we now kept at it until we had finished
a small hut. It was nothing very wonderful, Heaven knows, not long
enough for a man of my height to lie straight inside--I had to stick
my feet out at the door--and just broad enough to admit of our lying
side by side and leave room for the cooking apparatus. It was worse,
however, with regard to the height. There was room to lie down, but
to sit up decently straight was an impossibility for me. The roof
was made of our thin and fragile silk tent, spread over snow-shoes
and bamboo rods. We closed the doorway with our coats, and the walls
were so loosely put together that we could see daylight between the
stones on all sides. We afterwards called it the den, and a dreadful
den it was, too; but we were none the less proud of our handiwork. It
would not blow down at any rate, even though the wind did blow right
through it. When we had got our bearskin in as a couch and lay warm
and comfortable in our bag, while a good potful of meat bubbled over
the train-oil lamp, we thought existence a pleasure; and the fact
of there being so much smoke that our eyes became red and the tears
streamed down our cheeks could not destroy our feeling of content.

As progress southward was blocked also on the following day (August
28th), and as autumn was now drawing on, I at last resolved on
remaining here for the winter. I thought that we still had more than
138 miles to travel in order to reach Eira Harbor or Leigh Smith's
wintering-place. [60] It might take us a long time to get there,
and then we were not sure of finding any hut; and when we did get
there, it would be more than doubtful if, before the winter set in,
there would be time to build a house and also gather stores for
the winter. It was undoubtedly the safest plan to begin at once to
prepare for wintering while there was still plenty of game to be had;
and this was a good spot to winter in. The first thing I should like
to have done was to have shot the walruses that had been lying on
the ice during the first day or two; but now, of course, they were
gone. The sea, however, was swarming with them; they bellowed and blew
night and day, and, in order to be ready for an encounter with them,
we emptied our kayaks to make them more easy of manipulation in this
somewhat dangerous chase. While thus engaged, Johansen caught sight
of two bears--a she-bear and her cub--coming along the edge of the
ice from the south. We lost no time in getting our guns and setting
off towards them. By the time they reached the shore they were within
range, and Johansen sent a bullet through the mother's chest. She
roared, bit at the wound, staggered a few steps, and fell. The young
one could not make out what was the matter with its mother, and ran
round, sniffing at her. When we approached, it went off a little way
up the slope, but soon came back again and took up a position over
its mother, as if to defend her against us. A charge of small shot
put an end to its life.

This was a good beginning to our winter store. As I was returning
to the hut to fetch the seal-knives, I heard cries in the air above
me. There were actually two geese flying south! With what longing
I looked after them as they disappeared, only wishing that I could
have followed them to the land towards which they were now wending
their flight!

Next to food and fuel the most important thing was to get a hut
built. To build the walls of this was not difficult; there was
plenty of stone and moss. The roof presented greater difficulty,
and we had as yet no idea what to make it of. Fortunately, I found
a sound driftwood pine-log thrown up on to the shore not far from
our den; this would make a capital ridge-piece for the roof of our
future house. And if there was one, there might be others. One of our
first acts, therefore, was to make an excursion up along the shore
and search; but all we found was one short, rotten piece of wood,
which was good for nothing, and some chips of another piece. I then
began to think of using walrus-hides for the roof instead.

The following day (August 29th) we prepared to try our luck at
walrus-hunting. We had no great desire to attack the animals in single
kayaks; we had had enough of that, I thought, and the prospect of
being upset or of having a tusk driven through the bottom of the
kayak or into one's thigh was not altogether alluring. The kayaks
were therefore lashed together, and, seated upon the ring, we put out
towards the big bull which lay and dived just outside. We were well
equipped with guns and harpoons, and thought that it was all quite
simple. Nor was it difficult to get within range, and we emptied our
barrels into the animal's head. It lay stunned for a moment, and we
rowed towards it, but suddenly it began to splash and whirl round
in the water, completely beside itself. I shouted out that we must
back, but it was too late: the walrus got under the kayaks, and we
received several blows underneath, in the violence of its contortions,
before it finally dived. It soon came up again, and now the sound of
its breathing resounded on all sides, while blood streamed from its
mouth and nostrils, and dyed the surrounding water. We lost no time
in rowing up to it and pouring a fresh volley into its head. Again it
dived, and we cautiously drew back, to avoid receiving an attack from
below. It soon appeared again, and we once more rowed up to it. These
manoeuvres were repeated, and each time it came to the surface it
received at least one bullet in the head, and grew more and more
exhausted; but, as it always faced us, it was difficult to give it
a mortal wound behind the ear. The blood, however, now flowed in
streams. During one of these manoeuvres I was in the act of placing
my gun hurriedly in its case on the deck, in order to row nearer,
forgetting that it was cocked, when all at once it went off. I was
rather alarmed, thinking the ball had gone through the bottom of the
kayak, and I began feeling my legs. They were uninjured, however, and
as I did not hear the water rushing in either I was reassured. The
ball had passed through the deck and out through the side a little
above the water-line. We had now had enough of this sport, however;
the walrus only lay gasping for breath, and just as we rowed towards it
it turned its head a little, and received two bullets just behind the
ear. It lay still, and we rowed up to throw our harpoon; but before we
got near enough it sank and disappeared. It was a melancholy ending to
the affair. In all, nine cartridges had been expended to no purpose,
and we silently rowed to shore, not a little crestfallen. We tried
no more walrus-hunting from kayaks that day; but we now saw that a
walrus had come up on to the shore-ice a little way off. Perhaps we
were to receive compensation there for the one we had just lost. It
was not long before another came up beside the first. After having
taken an observation and given them time to compose themselves, we set
off. Having bellowed and made a horrible noise out there for some time,
they now lay asleep and unsuspecting, and we stole cautiously up to
them, I in front and Johansen close at my heels. I first went up to
the head of the nearer one, which was lying with its back to us. As
it had drawn its head well down, and it was difficult to get a shot
at a vulnerable point, I passed behind it, and up to the head of the
other one. The animals still lay motionless, asleep in the sun. The
second was in a better position for a shot, and, when I saw Johansen
standing ready at the head of the first, I fired at the back of the
neck. The animal turned over a little, and lay there dead. At the
report the first started up, but at the same moment received Johansen's
bullet. Half stunned, it turned its gigantic body round towards us;
in a moment I had discharged the ball from my smooth-bore at it, but,
like Johansen, I hit too far forward in the head. The blood streamed
from its nostrils and mouth, and it breathed and coughed till the air
vibrated. Supporting itself upon its enormous tusks, it now lay still,
coughing blood like a consumptive person, and quite indifferent to
us. In spite of its huge body and shapeless appearance, which called
up to the imagination bogy, giant, and kraken, and other evil things,
there was something so gently supplicating and helpless in its round
eyes as it lay there that its goblin exterior and one's own need
were forgotten in pity for it. It almost seemed like murder. I put
an end to its sufferings by a bullet behind the ear, but those eyes
haunt me yet; it seemed as if in them lay the prayer for existence
of the whole helpless walrus race. But it is lost; it has man as its
pursuer. It cannot, however, be denied that we rejoiced at the thought
of all the meat and blubber we had now brought down in one encounter;
it made up for the cartridges expended upon the one that had sunk. But
we had not got them on land yet, and it would be a long piece of work
to get them skinned and cut up and brought home. The first thing we
did was to go after sledges and knives. As there was a possibility,
too, of the ice breaking off and being set adrift, I also thought
it wise to take the kayaks on the sledges at the same time, for it
had begun to blow a little from the fjord. But for this fortunate
precaution it is not easy to say what would have become of us. While
we were engaged in skinning, the wind rose rapidly, and soon became
a storm. To landward of us was the narrow channel or lane beside
which the walruses had been lying. I feared that the ice might open
here, and we drift away. While we worked I therefore kept an eye on
it to see if it grew broader. It remained unchanged, and we went on
skinning as fast as we could. When the first walrus was half skinned,
I happened to look landward across the ice, and discovered that it
had broken off a good way from us, and that the part on which we
stood had already been drifting for some time; there was black water
between us and the shore-ice, and the wind was blowing so that the
spray flew from the foaming waves. There was no time to be lost; it
was more than doubtful whether we should be able to paddle any great
distance against that wind and sea, but as yet the ice did not appear
to have drifted a greater distance from the land than we could cross,
if we made haste. We could not bring ourselves to give up entirely the
huge animals we had brought down, and we hurriedly cut off as much
flesh as we could get at and flung it into the kayaks. We then cut
off about a quarter of the skin, with the blubber on it, and threw it
on the top, and then set off for the shore. We had scarcely abandoned
our booty before the gulls bore down in scores upon the half-skinned
carcass. Happy creatures! Wind and waves and drifting were nothing to
them; they screamed and made a hubbub and thought what a feast they
were having. As long as we could see the carcasses as they drifted
out to sea, we saw the birds continually gathering in larger and
larger flocks about them like clouds of snow. In the meantime we were
doing our utmost to gain the ice, but it had developed cracks and
channels in every direction. We managed to get some distance in the
kayaks; but while I was crossing a wide channel on some loose floes I
alighted on such poor ice that it sank under my weight, and I had to
jump back quickly to escape a bath. We tried in several places, but
everywhere it sank beneath us and our sledges, and there was nothing
for it but to take to the water, keeping along the lee-side of the
ice. But we had not rowed far before we perceived that it was of
no use to have our kayaks lashed together in such a wind; we had to
row singly, and sacrifice the walrus hide and blubber, which it then
became impossible to take with us. At present it was lying across the
stern of both kayaks. While we were busy effecting these changes we
were surrounded, before we were aware of it, by ice, and had to pull
the kayaks up hastily to save them from being crushed. We now tried
to get out at several places, but the ice was in constant motion;
it ground round as in a whirlpool. If a channel opened, we had no
sooner launched our kayaks than it once more closed violently, and
we had to snatch them up in the greatest haste. Several times they
were within a hair's-breadth of being smashed. Meanwhile the storm
was steadily increasing, the spray dashed over us, and we drifted
farther and farther out to sea. The situation was not pleasant.

At length, however, we got clear, and now discovered, to our joy,
that by exerting our utmost strength we could just force the kayaks on
against the wind. It was a hard pull, and our arms ached; but still
we crept slowly on towards land. The sea was choppy and bad, but our
kayaks were good sea-boats; and even mine, with the bullet-hole in it,
did so well that I kept to some extent dry. The wind came now and
then in such gusts that we felt as if it might lift us out of the
water and upset us; but gradually, as we drew nearer in under the
high cliffs, it became quieter, and at last, after a long time, we
reached the shore, and could take breath. We then rowed in smoother
water along the shore up to our camping-place. It was with genuine
satisfaction that we clambered on shore that night, and how unspeakably
comfortable it was to be lying again snugly within four walls in our
little den, wet though we were! A good potful of meat was prepared,
and our appetite was ravenous. It was, indeed, with sorrow that we
thought of the lost walruses now drifting out there in the storm;
but we were glad that we were not still in their company.

I had not slept long, when I was awakened by Johansen, who said there
was a bear outside. Even when only half awake, I heard a strange,
low grunting just outside the doorway. I started up, seized my gun,
and crept out. A she-bear with two large cubs was going up the shore;
they had just passed close by our door. I aimed at the she-bear, but,
in my haste, I missed her. She started and looked round; and as she
turned her broadside to me I sent a bullet through her chest. She gave
a fearful roar, and all three started off down the shore. There the
mother dropped in a pool on the ice, but the young ones ran on and
rushed into the sea, dashing up the foam as they went, and began to
swim out. I hastened down to the mother, who was striving and striving
to get out of the pool, but in vain. To save ourselves the labor of
dragging the heavy animal out, I waited until she had drawn herself up
on to the edge, and then put an end to her existence. Meanwhile the
young ones had reached a piece of ice. It was very close quarters
for two, and only just large enough to hold them; but there they
sat, balancing and dipping up and down in the waves. Every now and
then one of them fell off, but patiently clambered up again. They
cried plaintively and incessantly, and kept looking towards land,
unable to understand why their mother was so long in coming. The
wind was still high, and they drifted quickly out to sea before it
with the current. We thought they would at last swim to land to look
for their mother, and that we must wait; we therefore hid ourselves
among the stones, so that they should not be afraid of coming on our
account. We could still hear them complaining, but the sound became
more and more distant, and they grew smaller and smaller out there
on the blue waves, till at last it was all we could do to distinguish
them as two white dots far out upon the dark plain. We had long been
tired of this, and went to our kayaks. But here a sad sight met our
eyes. All the walrus flesh which we had brought home with so much
trouble lay scattered about on the shore, torn and mangled; and every
bit of fat or blubber to be found on it had been devoured. The bears
must have been rummaging finely here while we slept. One of the kayaks
in which the meat had been lying was thrown half into the water, the
other high up among the stones. The bears had been right into them
and dragged out the meat; but, fortunately, they were none the worse,
so it was easy to forgive the bears, and we benefited by the exchange
of bear's flesh for walrus flesh.

We then launched the kayaks, and put off to chase the young ones to
land. As soon as ever they saw us on the water they became uneasy, and
while we were still some way off one of them took to the water. The
other hesitated for a while, as if afraid of the water, while the
first waited impatiently; but at last they both went in. We made a
wide circuit round them, and began to drive them towards the land, one
of us on each side of them. It was easy to make them go in whatever
direction we wanted, and Johansen could not say enough in praise of
this simple method of getting bears from one place to another. We did
not need to row hard to keep up with them; we went slowly and easily,
but surely, towards land. We saw several walruses in the vicinity, but
fortunately escaped being attacked by any of them. From the very first
it was evident how much better the bear that first went into the water
swam, although it was the smaller and thinner. It waited, however,
patiently for the other, and kept it company; but at last the pace of
the latter became too slow for its companion, who struck out for the
shore, the distance between the two growing greater and greater. They
had kept incessantly turning their heads to look anxiously at us, and
now the one that was left behind looked round even more helplessly
than before. While I set off after the first bear, Johansen watched
the second, and we drove them ashore by our den, and shot them there.

We had thus taken three bears on that day, and this was a good
set-off against our walruses, which had drifted out to sea, and,
what was no less fortunate, we found the sunken walrus from the day
before floating just at the edge of the shore. We lost no time in
towing it into a place of safety in a creek and making it fast. It
made a difference to our winter store.

It was late before we turned in that night after having skinned the
bears, laid them in a heap, and covered them with the skins to prevent
the gulls from getting at them. We slept well, for we had to make up
for two nights.

It was not until September 2d that we could set to work on the skinning
of our walrus, which still lay in the water. Close to our den there
was an opening in the strand-ice, [61] connecting the inner channel
between the strand-ice and the land with the outer sea. It was in this
opening that we had made it fast, and we hoped to be able to draw it on
land here; the glacier-ice went with a gentle incline right out into
the water, so that it seemed to promise well. We rounded off the edge
of the ice, made a tackle by drawing the rope through a loop we cut
in the skin of the head, used our broken-off runner of a sledge as a
handspike at the end of the rope, and cut notches in the ice up the
beach as a fulcrum for the handspike. But work and toil as we might,
it was all we could do to get the huge head up over the edge of the
ice. In the midst of this Johansen cried, "I say, look there!" I
turned. A large walrus was swimming straight up the channel towards
us. It did not seem to be in any hurry, but only opened wide its round
eyes, and gazed in astonishment at us and at what we were doing. I
suppose that, seeing a comrade, it had come in to see what we were
doing with him. Quietly, slowly, and with dignity it came right up to
the edge where we stood. Fortunately we had our guns with us, and when
I approached with mine it only rose up in the water and gazed long
and searchingly at me. I waited patiently until it turned a little,
and then sent a bullet into the back of its head. It was stunned for a
time, but soon began to move, so that more shots were required. While
Johansen ran for cartridges and a harpoon I had to fight with it as
I best could, and try to prevent it, with a stick, from splashing
out of the channel again. At last Johansen returned, and I did for
this walrus. We were delighted over our good fortune; but what the
walrus wanted in that narrow channel we have always wondered. These
animals must be uncommonly curious. While we were skinning the bears
two days before, a walrus with its young one came close in to the
edge of the ice and gazed at us; it dived several times, but always
returned, and at last drew the whole of the forepart of its body
up on to the ice in order to see better. This it did several times,
and my approaching to within a few yards of it did not drive it away;
it was only when I went up close to it with my gun that it suddenly
came to its senses and threw itself backward into the water again, and
we could see it far below moving off with its young one by its side.

We now had two great walruses with enormous tusks floating in our
channel. We tried once more to drag one of them up, but the attempt
was as unsuccessful as before. At last we saw that our only course
was to skin them in the water; but this was neither an easy nor an
agreeable task. When at last, late in the evening, we had got one side
of one animal skinned, it was low-water; the walrus lay on the bottom,
and there was no possibility of turning it over, no matter how we
toiled and pulled. We had to wait for high tide the following day,
in order to get at the other side.

While we were busy with the walruses that day we suddenly saw the
whole fjord white with white whales gambolling all round as far as the
eye could see. There was an incredible number of them. In the course
of an hour they had entirely disappeared. Where they came from and
whither they went I was not able to discover.

During the succeeding days we toiled at our task of skinning and
cutting up the walruses, and bringing all up into a safe place on the
beach. It was disgusting work, lying on the animals out in the water
and having to cut down as far as one could reach below the surface of
the water. We could put up with getting wet, for one gets dry in time;
but what was worse was that we could not avoid being saturated with
blubber and oil and blood from head to foot; and our poor clothes, that
we should have to live in for another year before we could change,
fared badly during those days. They so absorbed oil that it went
right through to the skin. This walrus business was unquestionably
the worst work of the whole expedition, and had it not been a sheer
necessity we should have let the animals lie where they were; but we
needed fuel for the winter, even if we could have done without the
meat. When at last the task was completed, and we had two great heaps
of blubber and meat on shore, well covered by the thick walrus hides,
we were not a little pleased.

During this time the gulls were living in luxury. There was abundance
of refuse, blubber, entrails, and other internal organs. They gathered
in large flocks from all quarters, both ivory and glaucus gulls, and
kept up a perpetual screaming and noise both night and day. When they
had eaten as much as they could manage they generally sat out on the
ice-hummocks and chattered together. When we came down to skin they
withdrew only a very little way from the carcasses, and sat waiting
patiently in long rows on the ice beside us, or, led on by a few bold
officers, drew continually nearer. No sooner did a little scrap of
blubber fall than two or three ivory-gulls would pounce upon it, often
at our very feet, and fight over it until the feathers flew. Outside
the fulmars were sailing in their silent, ghost-like flight to and
fro over the surface of the water. Up and down the edge of the shore
flocks of kittiwakes moved incessantly, darting like an arrow, with
a dull splash, towards the surface of the water, whenever a little
crustacean appeared there. We were particularly fond of these birds,
for they kept exclusively to the marine animals and left our blubber
alone; and then they were so light and pretty. But up and down along
the shore the skua (Stercorarius crepidatus) chased incessantly, and
every now and again we were startled by a pitiful cry of distress
above our heads; it was a kittiwake pursued by a skua. How often
we followed with our eyes that wild chase up in the air, until at
last the kittiwake had to drop its booty, and down shot the skua,
catching it even before it touched the water! Happy creatures that
can move with such freedom up there! Out in the water lay walruses,
diving and bellowing, often whole herds of them; and high up in
the air, to and fro, flew the little auks in swarms; you could hear
the whir of their wings far off. There were cries and life on all
sides. But soon the sun will sink, the sea will close in, the birds
will disappear one after another towards the south, the polar night
will begin, and there will be profound, unbroken silence.

It was with pleasure that we at last, on September 7th, set to work
to build our hut. We had selected a good site in the neighborhood,
and from this time forward we might have been seen daily going out in
the morning like other laborers, with a can of drinking-water in one
hand and a gun in the other. We quarried stones up among the débris
from the cliff, dragged them together, dug out the site, and built
walls as well as we could. We had no tools worth mentioning; those
we used most were our two hands. The cut-off sledge-runner again did
duty as a pick with which to loosen the fast-frozen stones, and when
we could not manage to dig up the earth on our site with our hands we
used a snow-shoe staff with an iron ferrule. We made a spade out of
the shoulder-blade of a walrus tied to a piece of a broken snow-shoe
staff, and a mattock out of a walrus tusk tied to the crosstree of
a sledge. They were poor things to work with, but we managed it with
patience, and little by little there arose solid walls of stone with
moss and earth between. The weather was growing gradually colder,
and hindered us not a little in our work. The soil we had to dig
in hardened, and the stones that had to be quarried froze fast;
and there came snow too. But great was our surprise when we crept
out of our den on the morning of the 12th of September to find the
most delightful thaw, with 4° (C.) of heat (39.2° Fahr.). This was
almost the highest temperature we had experienced throughout the
expedition. On every side streams were tumbling in foaming falls
down from mountain and glacier, humming along merrily among the
stones down to the sea. Water trickled and tinkled everywhere;
as if by a stroke of magic, life had returned to frozen nature,
and the hill looked green all over. One could fancy one's self far
south, and forget that a long, long winter was drawing near. The day
after, everything was changed again. The gentle gods of the south,
who yesterday had put forth their last energies, had once more fled;
the cold had returned, snow had fallen and covered every trace: it
would not yield again. This little strip of bare ground, too, was in
the power of the genii of the cold and darkness; they held sway now,
right down to the sea. I stood looking out over it. How desolate and
forsaken this spell-bound nature looked! My eye fell upon the ground
at my feet. Down there among the stones, the poppy still reared its
beautiful blossoms above the snow; the last rays of the departing
sun would once more kiss its yellow petals, and then it would creep
beneath its covering to sleep through the long winter, and awake
again to new life in the spring. Ah to be able to do the same!

After a week's work the walls of our hut were finished. They were not
high, scarcely 3 feet above the ground; but we had dug down the same
distance into the ground, so we reckoned that it would be high enough
to stand up in. Now the thing was to get it roofed, but this was not so
easy. The only materials we had towards it were, as before mentioned,
the log we had found and the walrus hides. The log, which was quite
12 inches across, Johansen at last, after a day's work, succeeded in
cutting in two with our little axe, and with no less labor we rolled
it up over the talus and on to the level, and it was laid on the roof
as the ridgepiece. Then there were the hides; but they were stiff and
frozen fast to the meat and blubber heaps which they covered. With much
difficulty we at length loosened them by using wedges of walrus tusks,
stone, and wood. To transport these great skins over the long distance
to our hut was a no less difficult matter. However, by rolling them,
carrying them, and dragging them we accomplished this too; but to
get the frozen skins stretched over the hut was the worst of all. We
got on pretty well with three half-skins, just managing to bend them
a little; but the fourth half was frozen quite stiff, and we had to
find a hole in the ice, and sink it in the sea, to thaw it.

It was almost a cause for anxiety, I thought, that all this time
we saw nothing of any bears. They were what we had to live upon all
through the winter, and the six we had would not go far. I thought,
however, that it might easily be accounted for, as the fjord-ice,
to which the bear prefers to keep, had taken its departure on the
day when we had nearly drifted out to sea with the walruses, and I
thought that, when the ice now formed again, bears would appear once
more. It was therefore a relief when one morning (September 23d)
I caught sight of a bear in front of me, just as I came round the
promontory to look at the skin that we had in soak in the sea. It was
standing on the shore close by the skin. It had not seen me, and I
quickly drew back to let Johansen, who was following with his gun,
pass me, while I ran back to fetch mine. When I returned, Johansen
lay on the same spot behind a stone, and had not fired. There were
two bears, one by the hut and one by the shore; and Johansen could
not get up to the one without being seen by the other. When I had
gone after my gun the bear had turned its steps towards the hut;
but just as it reached it Johansen suddenly saw two bear's paws come
quickly over the edge of the wall and hit out at the first bear, and
a head followed immediately after. This fellow was busily gnawing at
our roof hides, which he had torn down and bent, so that we had to
put them into the sea too, to get them thawed. The first bear had to
retreat to the shore once more, where we afterwards discovered it had
drawn up our hide and had been scraping the fat off it. Under cover
of some hummocks we now ran towards it. It noticed us, and set off
running, and I was only able to send a bullet through its body from
behind. Shouting out to Johansen that he must look after the other
bear, I set off running, and after a couple of hours' pursuit up
the fjord I at last chased it up under the wall of a glacier, where
it prepared to defend itself. I went right up to it, but it growled
and hissed, and made one or two attacks on me from the elevation on
which it stood before I finally put an end to its existence. When
I got back Johansen was busy skinning the other bear. It had been
alarmed by us when we attacked the first, and had gone a long way
out over the ice; it had then returned to look for its companion,
and Johansen had shot it. Our winter store was increasing.

The next day (September 24th), as we were setting out to work at
our hut, we saw a large herd of walruses lying out on the ice. We
had both had more than enough of these animals, and had very little
inclination for them. Johansen was of candid opinion that we had no
need for them, and could let them lie in peace; but I thought it was
rather improvident to have food and fuel lying at one's very door
and make no use of them so we set off with our guns. To steal up to
the animals, under cover of some elevations on the ice, was a matter
of small difficulty, and we had soon come within 40 feet of them,
and could lie there quietly and watch them. The point was to choose
one's victim, and make good use of one's shot, so as not to waste
cartridges. There were both old and young animals, and, having had
more than enough of big ones, we decided to try for the two smallest
that we could see; we thought we had no need of more than two. As
we lay waiting for them to turn their heads and give us the chance
of a good shot, we had plenty of opportunity to watch them. They are
strange animals. They lay incessantly poking one another in the back
with their huge tusks, both the big old ones and the little young
ones. If one of them turned over a little, so as to come near and
disturb his neighbor, the latter immediately raised itself, grunting,
and dug its tusks into the back of the first. It was by no means a
gentle caress, and it is well for them that they have such a thick
hide; but, as it was, the blood ran down the backs of several of
them. The other would, perhaps, start up too, and return the little
attention in the same manner. But it was when another guest came up
from the sea that there was a stir in the camp; they all grunted in
chorus, and one of the old bulls that lay nearest to the new arrival
gave him some well-meant blows. The new-comer, however, drew himself
cautiously up, bowed respectfully, and little by little drew himself
in among the others, who also then gave him as many blows as time and
circumstances would permit, until they finally composed themselves
again, and lay quiet until another interruption came. We waited in
vain for the animals we had picked out to turn their heads enough
to let us get a good shot; but as they were comparatively small we
thought that a bullet in the middle of the forehead might be enough
for them, and at last we fired. They started up, however, and turned
over, half stunned, into the water. Then there was a commotion! The
whole herd quickly raised their ugly heads, glared at us, and one
by one plunged out over the edge of the ice. We had hastily loaded
again, and as it was not difficult now to get a good shot we fired,
and there lay two animals, one young and one old. Most of the others
dived, only one remaining quietly lying, and looking wonderingly,
now at its two dead companions, and now at us as we came up to it. We
did not quite know what to do; we thought that the two that were now
lying there would give us more than enough to do, but nevertheless it
was tempting to take this great monster as well, while we were about
it. While Johansen was standing with his gun, considering whether he
should fire or not, I took the opportunity of photographing both him
and the walrus. It ended, however, in our letting it go unharmed;
we did not think we could afford to sacrifice more cartridges upon
it. Meantime the water beyond was seething with furious animals,
as they broke up the ice round about and filled the air with their
roaring. The big bull himself seemed especially anxious to get at us;
he kept returning to the edge of the ice, getting half up on to it
to grunt and bellow at us and look long at his dead comrades, whom
he evidently wished to take with him. But we would not waste more
cartridges upon them, and he threw himself back, only to return again
immediately. Gradually the whole herd departed, and we could hear the
big bull's grunting becoming more and more distant; but suddenly his
huge head appeared again at the edge of the ice, close to us, as he
challenged us with a roar, and then disappeared again as quickly as
he had come. This was repeated three or four times after our having in
the intervals heard him far out; but at last he disappeared entirely,
and we continued our work of skinning in peace. We very quickly skinned
the smaller of the walruses; it was easy to manipulate compared to
those we were accustomed to. The other, however, was a great fellow
that could not be easily turned over in the hollow in the snow where
he lay; so we contented ourselves with skinning one side from head
to tail, and then went home again with our blubber and skins. We now
thought we should have blubber enough for winter fuel, and had also
abundance of skins for covering the roof of our hut.

The walruses still kept near us for some time. Every now and then we
would hear some violent blows on the ice from beneath, two or three in
succession, and then a great head would burst up with a crash through
the ice. It would remain there for a time panting and puffing so that
it would be heard a long way off, and then vanish again. On September
25th, while we were pulling our roof hides out of the water at a hole
near the shore, we heard the same crashing in the ice a little farther
out, and a walrus came up and then dived again. "Look there! It won't
be long before we have him in this hole." The words were scarcely
spoken, when our hide in the water was pushed aside and a huge head,
with bristles and two long tusks, popped up in front of us. It gazed
fixedly and wickedly at us standing there, then there was a tremendous
splash and it was gone.

Our hides were now so far softened in the sea that we could stretch
them over the roof. They were so long that they reached from one side
of the hut right over the ridge-piece down to the other side, and
we stretched them by hanging large stones at both ends, attached by
strips of hide, thus weighing them down over the edges of the wall,
and we then piled stones upon them. By the aid of stones, moss,
strips of hide, and snow to cover everything, we made the edges of
the walls to some extent close-fitting. To make the hut habitable we
still had to construct benches of stone to lie upon inside it, and
also a door. This consisted of an opening in one corner of the wall,
which led into a short passage dug out in the ground and subsequently
roofed over with blocks of ice, on very much the same principle as the
passage to an Eskimo's house. We had not dug this passage so long as we
wished before the ground was frozen too hard for our implements. It was
so low that we had to creep through it in a squatting posture to get
into the hut. The inner opening was covered with a bearskin curtain,
sewed firmly to the walrus hide of the roof; the outer end was covered
with a loose bearskin laid over the opening. It began to grow cold now,
as low as -20° C. (4° below zero, Fahr.); and living in our low den,
where we had not room to move, became more and more intolerable. The
smoke, too, from the oil-lamp, when we did any cooking, always affected
our eyes. We grew daily more impatient to move into our new house,
which now appeared to us the acme of comfort. Our ever-recurring remark
while we were building was, how nice and snug it would be when we got
in, and we depicted to each other the many pleasant hours we should
spend there. We were, of course, anxious to discover all the bright
points that we could in our existence. The hut was certainly not
large; it was 10 feet long and 6 feet wide, and when you lay across
it you kicked the wall on one side and butted it on the other. You
could move in it a little, however, and even I could almost stand
upright under the roof. This was a thought which especially appealed
to us. Fancy having a place sheltered from the wind where you could
stretch your limbs a little! We had not had that since last March,
on board the Fram. It was long, however, before everything was in
order, and we would not move in until it was quite finished.

The day we had skinned our last walruses I had taken several tendons
from their backs, thinking they might be very useful when we made
ourselves clothes for the winter, for we were entirely without thread
for that purpose. Not until a few days afterwards (September 26th)
did I recollect that these tendons had been left on the ice beside the
carcasses. I went out there to look for them, but found, to my sorrow,
that gulls and foxes had long since made away with them. It was some
comfort, however, to find traces of a bear, which must have been at
the carcasses during the night, and as I looked about I caught sight
of Johansen running after me, making signs and pointing out towards
the sea. I turned that way, and there was a large bear, walking to
and fro and looking at us. We had soon fetched our guns, and while
Johansen remained near the land to receive the bear if it came that
way, I made a wide circuit round it on the ice to drive it landward,
if it should prove to be frightened. In the meantime, it had lain
down out there beside some holes, I suppose to watch for seals. I
stole up to it; it saw me and at first came nearer, but then thought
better of it, and moved away again, slowly and majestically, out over
the new ice. I had no great desire to follow it in that direction,
and though the range was long I thought I must try it. First one
shot; it passed over. Then one more; that hit. The bear started,
made several leaps, and then in anger struck the ice until it broke,
and the bear fell through. There it lay, splashing and splashing and
breaking the thin ice with its weight as it tried to get out again. I
was soon beside it, but did not want to sacrifice another cartridge;
I had faint hopes, too, that it would manage to get out of the water by
itself, and thus save us the trouble of dragging such a heavy animal
out. I called to Johansen to come with a rope, sledges, and knives,
and in the meantime I walked up and down waiting and watching. The bear
labored hard, and made the opening in the ice larger and larger. It
was wounded in one of its fore-legs, so that it could use only the
other, and the two hind-legs. It kept on taking hold and pulling
itself up. But no sooner had it got half up than the ice gave way,
and it sank down again. By degrees its movements became more and
more feeble, till at last it only lay still and panted. Then came a
few spasms, its legs stiffened, its head sank down into the water,
and all was still. While I was walking up and down I several times
heard walruses round about, as they butted holes in the ice and
put their heads through; and I was thinking to myself that I should
soon have them here too. At that moment the bear received a violent
blow from beneath, pushing it to one side, and up came a huge head
with great tusks; it snorted, looked contemptuously at the bear,
then gazed for a while wonderingly at me as I stood on the ice, and
finally disappeared again. This had the effect of making me think the
old solid ice a little farther in a pleasanter place of sojourn than
the new ice. My suspicion that the walrus entertains no fear for the
bear was more than ever strengthened. At last Johansen came with a
rope. We slipped a running noose round the bear's neck and tried to
haul it out, but soon discovered that this was beyond our power; all
we did was to break the ice under the animal, wherever we tried. It
seemed hard to have to give it up; it was a big bear and seemed to be
unusually fat; but to continue in this way until we had towed up to
the edge of the thick ice would be a lengthy proceeding. By cutting
quite a narrow crack in the new ice, only wide enough to draw the
rope through, up to the edge of a large piece of ice which was quite
near, we got pretty well out of the difficulty. It was now an easy
matter to draw the bear thither under the ice, and after breaking
a sufficiently large hole we drew it out there. At last we had got
it skinned and cut up, and, heavily laden with our booty, we turned
our steps homeward late in the evening to our den. As we approached
the beach where our kayaks were lying upon one of our heaps of
walrus blubber and meat, Johansen suddenly whispered to me, "I say,
look there!" I looked up, and there stood three bears on the heaps,
tearing at the blubber. They were a she-bear and two young ones. "Oh
dear!" said I; "shall we have to set to at bears again?" I was tired,
and, to tell the truth, had far more desire for our sleeping-bag and
a good potful of meat. In a trice we had got our guns out, and were
approaching cautiously; but they had caught sight of us, and set off
over the ice. It was with an undeniable feeling of gratitude that we
watched their retreating forms. A little later, while I was standing
cutting up the meat and Johansen had gone to fetch water, I heard him
whistle. I looked up, and he pointed out over the ice. There in the
dusk were the three bears coming back--our blubber-heap had been too
tempting for them. I crept with my gun behind some stones close to the
heap. The bears came straight on, looking neither to right nor left,
and as they passed me I took as good an aim at the she-bear as the
darkness would allow, and fired. She roared, bit her side, and all
three set off out over the ice. There the mother fell, and the young
ones stood astonished and troubled beside her until we approached,
when they fled, and it was impossible to get within range of them. They
kept at a respectful distance, and watched us while we dragged the
dead bear to land and skinned it. When we went out next morning,
they were standing sniffing at the skin and meat; but before we
could get within range they saw us, and were off again. We now
saw that they had been there all night, and had eaten up their own
mother's stomach, which had contained some pieces of blubber. In the
afternoon they returned once more; and again we attempted, but in
vain, to get a shot at them. Next morning (Saturday, September 28th),
when we crawled out, we caught sight of a large bear lying asleep on
our blubber-heap. Johansen crept up close to it under cover of some
stones. The bear heard something moving, raised its head, and looked
round. At the same instant Johansen fired, and the bullet went right
through the bear's throat, just below the cranium. It got slowly up,
looked contemptuously at Johansen, considered a little, and then walked
quietly away with long, measured steps, as if nothing had happened. It
soon had a couple of bullets from each of us in its body, and fell
out on the thin ice. It was so full of food that, as it lay there,
blubber and oil and water ran out of its mouth on to the ice, which
began gradually to sink under its weight, until it lay in a large
pool, and we hastily dragged it in to the shore, before the ice gave
way beneath it. It was one of the largest bears I have ever seen,
but also one of the leanest; for there was not a trace of fat upon
it, neither underneath the skin nor among the entrails. It must have
been fasting for a long time and been uncommonly hungry; for it had
consumed an incredible quantity of our blubber. And how it had pulled
it about! First it had thrown one kayak off, then it had scattered
the blubber about in all directions, scraping off the best of the
fat upon almost every single piece; then it had gathered the blubber
together again in another place, and then, happy with the happiness
of satiety, had lain down to sleep upon it, perhaps so as to have it
handy when it woke up again. Previous to attacking the blubber-heap it
had accomplished another piece of work, which we only discovered later
on. It had killed both the young bears that had been visiting us;
we found them not far off, with broken skulls and frozen stiff. We
could see by the footprints how it had run after them out over the
new ice, first one and then the other, and had dragged them on land,
and laid them down without touching them again. What pleasure it can
have in doing this I do not understand, but it must have regarded
them as competitors in the struggle for food. Or was it, perhaps,
a cross old gentleman who did not like young people? "It is so nice
and quiet here now," said the ogre, when he had cleared the country.

Our winter store now began quite to inspire confidence.

At length, on the evening of that day, we moved into our new hut;
but our first night there was a cold one. Hitherto we had slept in
one bag all the time, and even the one we had made by sewing together
our two blankets had been fairly adequate. But now we thought it
would not be necessary to sleep in one bag any longer, as we should
make the hut so warm by burning train-oil lamps in it that we could
very well lie each in our own berth with a blanket over us, and so
we had unpicked the bag. Lamps were made by turning up the corners
of some sheets of German silver, filling them with crushed blubber,
and laying in this, by way of a wick, some pieces of stuff from the
bandages in the medicine-bag. They burned capitally, and gave such a
good light, too, that we thought it looked very snug; but it neither
was nor ever would be sufficient to warm our still rather permeable
hut, and we lay and shivered with cold all night. We almost thought
it was the coldest night we had had. Breakfast next morning tasted
excellent, and the quantity of bear-broth we consumed in order to put
a little warmth into our bodies is incredible. We at once decided to
alter this by making along the back wall of the hut a sleeping-shelf
broad enough for us to lie beside one another. The blankets were
sewed together again, we spread bearskins under us, and were as
comfortable as we could be under the circumstances; and we made no
further attempt to part company at night. It was impossible to make
the substratum at all even, with the rough, angular stones which,
now that everything was frozen, were all we had at our disposal,
and therefore we lay tossing and twisting the whole winter to find
something like a comfortable place among all the knobs. But it was
hard, and remained so; and we always had some tender spots on our
body, and even sores on our hips, with lying. But, for all that,
we slept. In one corner of the hut we made a little hearth to boil
and roast upon. In the roof above we cut a round hole in the walrus
hide, and made a smoke-board up to it of bearskin. We had not used
this hearth long before we saw the necessity of building a chimney
to prevent the wind from beating down, and so filling the hut with
smoke as to make it sometimes intolerable. The only materials we
had for building this were ice and snow; but with these we erected
a grand chimney on the roof, which served its purpose, and made a
good draught. It was not quite permanent, however; the hole in it
constantly widened with use, and it was not altogether guiltless of
sometimes dripping down on to the hearth; but there was abundance of
this building material, and it was not difficult to renew the chimney
when it was in need of repair. This had to be done two or three times
during the course of the winter. On more exposed spots we employed
walrus flesh, bone, and such-like materials to strengthen it.

Our cookery was as simple as possible. It consisted in boiling
bear's flesh and soup (bouillon) in the morning and frying steak
in the evening. We consumed large quantities at every meal, and,
strange to say, we never grew tired of this food, but always ate it
with a ravenous appetite. We sometimes either ate blubber with it or
dipped the pieces of meat in a little oil. A long time might often
pass when we ate almost nothing but meat, and scarcely tasted fat;
but when one of us felt inclined for it again he would, perhaps,
fish up some pieces of burnt blubber out of the lamps, or eat what
was left of the blubber from which we had melted the lamp-oil. We
called these cakes, and thought them uncommonly nice, and we were
always talking of how delicious they would have been if we could have
had a little sugar on them.

We still had some of the provisions we had brought from the Fram, but
these we decided not to use during the winter. They were placed in a
depot to be kept until the spring, when we should move on. The depot
was well loaded with stones to prevent the foxes from running away
with the bags. They were impudent enough already, and took all the
movable property they could lay hold of. I discovered, for instance,
on October 10th, that they had gone off with a quantity of odds and
ends I had left in another depot during the erection of the hut;
they had taken everything that they could possibly carry with them,
such as pieces of bamboo, steel wire, harpoons and harpoon-lines,
my collection of stones, mosses, etc., which were stored in small
sail-cloth bags. Perhaps the worst of all was that they had gone
off with a large ball of twine, which had been our hope and comfort
when thinking of the time when we should want to make clothes, shoes,
and sleeping-bags of bearskin for the winter; for we had reckoned on
making thread out of the twine. It was fortunate that they had not gone
off with the theodolite and our other instruments which stood there;
but these must have been too heavy for them. I was angry when I made
this discovery, and, what made it more aggravating, it happened on my
birthday. And matters did not improve when, while hunting about in
the twilight on the beach above the place where the things had been
lying, to see if I could at any rate discover tracks to show which way
those demons had taken them, I met a fox that stopped at a distance
of 20 feet from me, sat down, and uttered some exasperating howls, so
piercing and weird that I had to stop my ears. It was evidently on its
way to my things again, and was now provoked at being disturbed. I got
hold of some large stones and flung them at it. It ran off a little
way, but then seated itself upon the edge of the glacier and howled
on, while I went home to the hut in a rage, lay down, and speculated
as to what we should do to be revenged on the obnoxious animals. We
could not spare cartridges to shoot them with, but we might make a
trap of stones. This we determined to do, but nothing ever came of
it; there were always so many other things to occupy us at first,
while we still had the opportunity, before the snow covered the talus,
and while it was light enough to find suitable stones. Meanwhile the
foxes continued to annoy us. One day they had taken our thermometer,
[62] which we always kept outside the hut, and gone off with it. We
searched for it in vain for a long time, until at last we found it
buried in a heap of snow a little way off. From that time we were
very careful to place a stone over it at night, but one morning found
that the foxes had turned over the stone, and had gone off with the
thermometer again. The only thing we found this time was the case,
which they had thrown away a little way off. The thermometer itself
we were never to see again; the snow had unfortunately drifted in
the night, so that the tracks had disappeared. Goodness only knows
what fox-hole it now adorns; but from that day we learned a lesson,
and henceforward fastened our last thermometer securely.

Meanwhile time passed. The sun sank lower and lower, until on October
15th we saw it for the last time above the ridge to the south; the
days grew rapidly darker, and then began our third polar night.

We shot two more bears in the autumn, one on the 8th and one on
the 21st of October; but from that time we saw no more until the
following spring. When I awoke on the morning of October 8th I heard
the crunching of heavy steps in the snow outside, and then began a
rummaging about among our meat and blubber up on the roof. I could hear
it was a bear, and crept out with my gun; but when I came out of the
passage I could see nothing in the moonlight. The animal had noticed
me, and had already disappeared. We did not altogether regret this,
as we had no great desire to set to at the cold task of skinning now,
in a wind, and with 39° (70.2° Fahr.) of frost.

There was not much variety in our life. It consisted in cooking and
eating breakfast in the morning. Then, perhaps, came another nap,
after which we would go out to get a little exercise. Of this, however,
we took no more than was necessary, as our clothes, saturated as they
were with fat, and worn and torn in many places, were not exactly
adapted for remaining in the open air in winter. Our wind clothes,
which we should have had outside as a protection against the wind,
were so worn and torn that we could not use them; and we had so little
thread to patch them with that I did not think we ought to use any
of it until the spring, when we had to prepare for our start. I had
counted on being able to make ourselves clothes of bearskins, but
it took time to cleanse them from all blubber and fat, and it was
even a slower business getting them dried. The only way to do this
was to spread them out under the roof of the hut; but there was room
for only one at a time. When at last one was ready we had, first of
all, to use it on our bed, for we were lying on raw, greasy skins,
which were gradually rotting. When our bed had been put in order with
dried skins we had to think about making a sleeping-bag, as, after a
time, the blanket-bag that we had got rather cold to sleep in. About
Christmas-time, accordingly, we at last managed to make ourselves a
bearskin bag. In this way all the skins we could prepare were used up,
and we continued to wear the clothes we had throughout the winter.

These walks, too, were a doubtful pleasure, because there is always
a wind there, and it blew hard under the steep cliff. We felt it a
wonderful relief when it occasionally happened to be almost calm. As
a rule, the wind howled above us and lashed the snow along, so that
everything was wrapped in mist. Many days would sometimes pass almost
without our putting our heads out of the passage, and it was only
bare necessity that drove us out to fetch ice for drinking-water,
or a leg or carcass of a bear for food, or some blubber for fuel. As
a rule, we also brought in some sea-water ice, or, if there were an
opening or a crack to be found, a little sea-water for our soup.

When we came in, and had mustered up appetite for another meal, we
had to prepare supper, eat till we were satisfied, and then get into
our bag and sleep as long as possible to pass the time. On the whole,
we had quite a comfortable time in our hut. By means of our train-oil
lamps we could keep the temperature in the middle of the room at
about freezing-point. Near the wall, however, it was considerably
colder, and there the damp deposited itself in the shape of beautiful
hoar-frost crystals, so that the stones were quite white; and in happy
moments we could dream that we dwelt in marble halls. This splendor,
however, had its disadvantages, for when the outside temperature rose,
or when we heated up the hut a little, rivulets ran down the wall into
our sleeping-bag. We took turns at being cook, and Tuesday, when one
ended his cooking-week and the other began, afforded on that account
the one variation in our lives, and formed a boundary-mark by which
we divided out our time. We always reckoned up how many cooking-weeks
we had before we should break up our camp in the spring. I had hoped
to get so much done this winter--work up my observations and notes,
and write some of the account of our journey; but very little was
done. It was not only the poor, flickering light of the oil-lamp which
hindered me, nor yet the uncomfortable position--either lying on one's
back, or sitting up and fidgeting about on the hard stones, while the
part of the body thus exposed to pressure ached; but altogether these
surroundings did not predispose one to work. The brain worked dully,
and I never felt inclined to write anything. Perhaps, too, this was
owing to the impossibility of keeping what you wrote upon clean; if
you only took hold of a piece of paper your fingers left a dark-brown,
greasy mark, and if a corner of your clothes brushed across it, a dark
streak appeared. Our journals of this period look dreadful. They are
"black books" in the literal sense of the term. Ah! how we longed for
the time when we should once more be able to write on clean white paper
and with black ink! I often had difficulty in reading the pencil notes
I had written the day before, and now, in writing this book, it is all
I can do to find out what was once written on these dirty, dark-brown
pages. I expose them to all possible lights, I examine them with a
magnifying-glass; but, notwithstanding, I often have to give it up.

The entries in my journal for this time are exceedingly meagre; there
are sometimes weeks when there is nothing but the most necessary
meteorological observations with remarks. The chief reason for this
is that our life was so monotonous that there was nothing to write
about. The same thoughts came and went day after day; there was no
more variety in them than in our conversation. The very emptiness of
the journal really gives the best representation of our life during
the nine months we lived there.

"Wednesday, November 27th. -23° C. (9.4° below zero, Fahr.). It is
windy weather, the snow whirling about your ears, directly you put your
head out of the passage. Everything is gray; the black stones can be
made out in the snow a little way up the beach, and above you can just
divine the presence of the dark cliff; but wherever else the gaze is
turned, out to sea or up the fjord, there is the same leaden darkness;
one is shut out from the wide world, shut into one's self. The wind
comes in sharp gusts, driving the snow before it; but up under the
crest of the mountain it whistles and roars in the crevices and holes
of the basaltic walls--the same never-ending song that it has sung
through the thousands of years that are past, and will go on singing
through thousands of years to come. And the snow whirls along in its
age-old dance; it spreads itself in all the crevices and hollows, but
it does not succeed in covering up the stones on the beach; black as
ever, they project into the night. On the open space in front of the
hut two figures are running up and down like shadows in the winter
darkness to keep themselves warm, and so they will run up and down on
the path they have trampled out, day after day, till the spring comes.

"Sunday, December 1st. Wonderfully beautiful weather for the last few
days; one can never weary of going up and down outside, while the
moon transforms the whole of this ice-world into a fairy-land. The
hut is still in shadow under the mountain which hangs above it, dark
and lowering; but the moonlight floats over ice and fjord, and is
cast back glittering from every snowy ridge and hill. A weird beauty,
without feeling, as though of a dead planet, built of shining white
marble. Just so must the mountains stand there, frozen and icy cold;
just so must the lakes lie congealed beneath their snowy covering; and
now as ever the moon sails silently and slowly on her endless course
through the lifeless space. And everything so still, so awfully still,
with the silence that shall one day reign when the earth again becomes
desolate and empty, when the fox will no more haunt these moraines,
when the bear will no longer wander about on the ice out there, when
even the wind will not rage--infinite silence! In the flaming aurora
borealis the spirit of space hovers over the frozen waters. The soul
bows down before the majesty of night and death.

"Monday, December 2d. Morning. To-day I can hear it blowing again
outside, and we shall have an unpleasant walk. It is bitterly cold now
in our worn, greasy clothes. It is not so bad when there is no wind;
but even if there is only a little it goes right through one. But
what does it matter? Will not the spring one day come here too? Yes;
and over us arches the same heaven now as always, high and calm as
ever; and as we walk up and down here shivering we gaze into the
boundless starry space, and all our privations and sorrows shrink
into nothingness. Starlit night, thou art sublimely beautiful! But
dost thou not lend our spirit too mighty wings, greater than we
can control? Couldst thou but solve the riddle of existence! We
feel ourselves the centre of the universe, and struggle for life,
for immortality--one seeking it here, another hereafter--while
thy silent splendor proclaims: At the command of the Eternal,
you came into existence on a paltry planet, as diminutive links in
the endless chain of transformations; at another command, you will
be wiped out again. Who then, through an eternity of eternities,
will remember that there once was an ephemeral being who could bind
sound and light in chains, and who was purblind enough to spend years
of his brief existence in drifting through frozen seas? Is, then,
the whole thing but the meteor of a moment? Will the whole history
of the world evaporate like a dark, gold-edged cloud in the glow of
evening--achieving nothing, leaving no trace, passing like a caprice?

"Evening. That fox is playing us a great many tricks; whatever he can
move he goes off with. He has once gnawed off the band with which the
door-skin is fastened, and every now and then we hear him at it again,
and have to go out and knock on the roof of the passage. To-day he went
off with one of our sails, in which our salt-water ice was lying. We
were not a little alarmed when we went to fetch ice and found sail and
all gone. We had no doubt as to who had been there, but we could not
under any circumstances afford to lose our precious sail, on which we
depended for our voyage to Spitzbergen in the spring, and we tramped
about in the dark, up the beach, over the level, and down towards the
sea. We looked everywhere, but nothing was to be seen of it. At last
we had almost given it up when Johansen, in going on to the ice to get
more salt-water ice, found it at the edge of the shore. Our joy was
great; but it was wonderful that the fox had been able to drag that
great sail, full of ice too, so far. Down there, however, it had come
unfolded, and then he could do nothing with it. But what does he want
with things like this? Is it to lie upon in his winter den? One would
almost think so. I only wish I could come upon that den, and find
the thermometer again, and the ball of twine, and the harpoon-line,
and all the other precious things he has taken, the brute!

"Thursday, December 5th. It seems as if it would never end. But
patience a little longer, and spring will come, the fairest spring
that earth can give us. There is furious weather outside, and snow,
and it is pleasant to lie here in our warm hut, eating steak, and
listening to the wind raging over us.

"Tuesday, December 10th. It has been a bad wind. Johansen discovered
to-day that his kayak had disappeared. After some search he found
it again several hundred feet off, up the beach; it was a good deal
knocked about, too. The wind must first have lifted it right over my
kayak, and then over one big stone after another. It begins to be
too much of a good thing when even the kayaks take to flying about
in the air. The atmosphere is dark out over the sea, so the wind
has probably broken up the ice, and driven it out, and there is open
water once more. [63]

"Last night it all at once grew wonderfully calm, and the air was
surprisingly mild. It was delightful to be out, and it is long since
we have had such a long walk on our beat. It does one good to stretch
one's legs now and then, otherwise I suppose we should become quite
stiff here in our winter lair. Fancy, only 12° (21 1/2° Fahr.) of
frost in the middle of December! We might almost imagine ourselves
at home--forget that we were in a land of snow to the north of the
eighty-first parallel.

"Thursday, December 12th. Between six and nine this morning there
were a number of shooting-stars, most of them in Serpentarius. Some
came right from the Great Bear; afterwards they chiefly came from the
Bull, or Aldebaran, or the Pleiades. Several of them were very bright,
and some drew a streak of shining dust after them. Lovely weather. But
night and day are now equally dark. We walk up and down, up and down,
on the level, in the darkness. Heaven only knows how many steps we
shall take on that level before the winter ends. Through the gloom
we could see faintly only the black cliffs, and the rocky ridges,
and the great stones on the beach, which the wind always sweeps
clean. Above us the sky, clear and brilliant with stars, sheds its
peace over the earth; far in the west falls shower after shower of
stars, some faint, scarcely visible, others bright like Roman candles,
all with a message from distant worlds. Low in the south lies a bank
of clouds, now and again outlined by the gleam of the northern lights;
but out over the sea the sky is dark; there is open water there. It
is quite pleasant to look at it; one does not feel so shut in; it is
like a connecting link with life, that dark sea, the mighty artery
of the world, which carries tidings from land to land, from people to
people, on which civilization is borne victorious through the earth;
next summer it will carry us home.

"Thursday, December 19th. -28.5°(19.3° below zero, Fahr.). It has
turned cold again, and is bitter weather to be out in. But what does
it signify? We are comfortable and warm in here, and do not need to go
out more than we like. All the out-of-door work we have is to bring in
fresh and salt water ice two or three times a week, meat and blubber
now and again, and very occasionally a skin to dry under the roof. And
Christmas, the season of rejoicing, is drawing near. At home, every one
is busy now, scarcely knowing how to get time for everything; but here
there is no bustle; all we want is to make the time pass. Ah, to sleep,
sleep! The pot is simmering pleasantly over the hearth; I am sitting
waiting for breakfast, and gazing into the flickering flames, while my
thoughts travel far away. What is the strange power in fire and light
that all created beings seek them, from the primary lump of protoplasm
in the sea to the roving child of man, who stops in his wanderings,
makes up a fire in the wood, and sits down to dismiss all care and
revel in the crackling warmth. Involuntarily do these snake-like,
fiery tongues arrest the eye; you gaze down into them as if you could
read your fate there, and memories glide past in motley train. What,
then, is privation? What the present? Forget it, forget yourself;
you have the power to recall all that is beautiful, and then wait for
the summer.... By the light of the lamp she sits sewing in the winter
evening. Beside her stands a little maiden with blue eyes and golden
hair, playing with a doll. She looks tenderly at the child and strokes
her hair; but her eyes fill, and the big tears fall upon her work.

"Johansen is lying beside me asleep; he smiles in his sleep. Poor
fellow! he must be dreaming he is at home at Christmas-time with those
he loves. But sleep on--sleep and dream, while the winter passes;
for then comes spring--the spring of life!

"Sunday, December 22d. Walked about outside for a long time yesterday
evening, while Johansen was having a thorough clearing in the hut in
preparation for Christmas. This consisted chiefly in scraping the
ashes out of the hearth, gathering up the refuse of bone and meat,
and throwing it away, and then breaking up the ice which has frozen
together with all kinds of rubbish and refuse into a thick layer upon
the floor, making the hut rather low in the roof.

"The northern lights were wonderful. However often we see this weird
play of light, we never tire of gazing at it; it seems to cast a spell
over both sight and sense till it is impossible to tear one's self
away. It begins to dawn with a pale, yellow, spectral light behind
the mountain in the east, like the reflection of a fire far away. It
broadens, and soon the whole of the eastern sky is one glowing mass
of fire. Now it fades again, and gathers in a brightly luminous belt
of mist stretching towards the southwest, with only a few patches
of luminous haze visible here and there. After a while scattered
rays suddenly shoot up from the fiery mist, almost reaching to the
zenith; then more; they play over the belt in a wild chase from east
to west. They seem to be always darting nearer from a long, long way
off. But suddenly a perfect veil of rays showers from the zenith out
over the northern sky; they are so fine and bright, like the finest
of glittering silver threads. Is it the fire-giant Surt himself,
striking his mighty silver harp, so that the strings tremble and
sparkle in the glow of the flames of Muspellsheim? Yes, it is harp
music, wildly storming in the darkness; it is the riotous war-dance
of Surt's sons. And again at times it is like softly playing, gently
rocking, silvery waves, on which dreams travel into unknown worlds.

"The winter solstice has come, and the sun is at its lowest; but still
at midday we can just see a faint glimmer of it over the ridges in
the south. Now it is again beginning to mount northward; day by day
it will grow lighter and lighter, and the time will pass rapidly. Oh,
how well I can now understand our forefathers' old custom of holding
an uproarious sacrificial banquet in the middle of winter, when the
power of the winter darkness was broken. We would hold an uproarious
feast here if we had anything to feast with; but we have nothing. What
need is there, either? We shall hold our silent festival in the spirit,
and think of the spring.

"In my walk I look at Jupiter over there above the crest of the
mountain--Jupiter, the planet of the home; it seems to smile at us,
and I recognize my good attendant spirit. Am I superstitious? This
life and this scenery might well make one so; and, in fact, is not
every one superstitious, each in his own way? Have not I a firm belief
in my star, and that we shall meet again? It has scarcely forsaken me
for a day. Death, I believe, can never approach before one's mission
is accomplished--never comes without one feeling its proximity;
and yet a cold fate may one day cut the thread without warning.

"Tuesday, December 24th. At 2 P.M. to-day -24° C. (11.2° below zero,
Fahr.). And this is Christmas-eve--cold and windy out-of-doors, and
cold and draughty indoors. How desolate it is! Never before have we
had such a Christmas-eve.

"At home the bells are now ringing Christmas in. I can hear their
sound as it swings through the air from the church tower. How beautiful
it is!

"Now the candles are being lighted on the Christmas-trees, the
children are let in and dance round in joyous delight. I must have
a Christmas party for children when I get home. This is the time
of rejoicing, and there is feasting in every cottage at home. And
we are keeping the festival in our little way. Johansen has turned
his shirt and put the outside shirt next him; I have done the same,
and then I have changed my drawers, and put on the others that I had
wrung out in warm water. And I have washed myself, too, in a quarter
of a cup of warm water, with the discarded drawers as sponge and
towel. Now I feel quite another being; my clothes do not stick to
my body as much as they did. Then for supper we had 'fiskegratin,'
made of powdered fish and maize-meal, with train-oil to it instead
of butter, both fried and boiled (one as dry as the other), and for
dessert we had bread fried in train-oil. To-morrow morning we are
going to have chocolate and bread." [64]

"Wednesday, December 25th. We have got lovely Christmas weather,
hardly any wind, and such bright, beautiful moonlight. It gives one
quite a solemn feeling. It is the peace of thousands of years. In the
afternoon the northern lights were exceptionally beautiful. When I came
out at 6 o'clock there was a bright, pale-yellow bow in the southern
sky. It remained for a long time almost unchanged, and then began to
grow much brighter at the upper margin of the bow behind the mountain
crests in the east. It smouldered for some time, and then all at once
light darted out westward along the bow; streamers shot up all along
it towards the zenith, and in an instant the whole of the southern
sky from the arc to the zenith was aflame. It flickered and blazed,
it whirled round like a whirlwind (moving with the sun), rays darted
backward and forward, now red and reddish-violet, now yellow, green,
and dazzling white; now the rays were red at the bottom and yellow
and green farther up, and then again this order was inverted. Higher
and higher it rose; now it came on the north side of the zenith too;
for a moment there was a splendid corona, and then it all became one
whirling mass of fire up there; it was like a whirlpool of fire in
red, yellow, and green, and the eye was dazzled with looking at it. It
then drew across to the northern sky, where it remained a long time,
but not in such brilliancy. The arc from which it had sprung in the
south was still visible, but soon disappeared. The movement of the
rays was chiefly from west to east, but sometimes the reverse. It
afterwards flared up brightly several times in the northern sky;
I counted as many as six parallel bands at one time, but they did
not attain to the brightness of the former ones.

"And this is Christmas-day! There are family dinners going on at
home. I can see the dignified old father standing smiling and happy
in the doorway to welcome children and grandchildren. Out-of-doors
the snow is falling softly and silently in big flakes; the young
folk come rushing in fresh and rosy, stamp the snow off their feet in
the passage, shake their things and hang them up, and then enter the
drawing-room, where the fire is crackling comfortably and cozily in
the stove, and they can see the snowflakes falling outside and covering
the Christmas corn-sheaf. A delicious smell of roasting comes from the
kitchen, and in the dining-room the long table is laid for a good,
old-fashioned dinner with good old wine. How nice and comfortable
everything is! One might fall ill with longing to be home. But wait,
wait; when summer comes....

"Oh, the road to the stars is both long and difficult!

"Tuesday, December 31st. And this year too is vanishing. It has been
strange, but, after all, it has perhaps not been so bad.

"They are ringing out the old year now at home. Our church-bell is
the icy wind howling over glacier and snow-field, howling fiercely as
it whirls the drifting snow on high in cloud after cloud, and sweeps
it down upon us from the crest of the mountain up yonder. Far in up
the fjord you can see the clouds of snow chasing one another over the
ice in front of the gusts of wind, and the snow-dust glittering in
the moonlight. And the full moon sails silent and still out of one
year into another. She shines alike upon the good and the evil, nor
does she notice the wants and yearnings of the new year. Solitary,
forsaken, hundreds of miles from all that one holds dear; but the
thoughts flit restlessly to and fro on their silent paths. Once more
a leaf is turned in the book of eternity, a new blank page is opened,
and no one knows what will be written on it."



CHAPTER VIII

THE NEW YEAR, 1896


"Wednesday, January 1, 1896. -41.5° C. (42.2° below zero, Fahr.). So
a new year has come, the year of joy and home-coming. In bright
moonlight 1895 departed, and in bright moonlight 1896 begins; but it
is bitterly cold, the coldest days we have yet known here. I felt it,
too, yesterday, when all my finger-tips were frost-bitten. I thought
I had done with all that last spring.

"Friday, January 3d. Morning. It is still clear and cold out-of-doors;
I can hear reports from the glacier. It lies up there on the
crest of the mountain like a mighty ice-giant peering down at us
through the clefts. It spreads its giant body all over the land,
and stretches out its limbs on all sides into the sea. But whenever
it turns cold--colder than it has hitherto been--it writhes horribly,
and crevice after crevice appears in the huge body; there is a noise
like the discharge of guns, and the sky and the earth tremble so that
I can feel the ground that I am lying on quake. One is almost afraid
that it will some day come rolling over upon one. [65]

"Johansen is asleep, and making the hut resound. I am glad his mother
cannot see him now. She would certainly pity her boy, so black and
grimy and ragged as he is, with sooty streaks all over his face. But
wait, only wait! She shall have him again, safe and sound and fresh
and rosy.

"Wednesday, January 8th. Last night the wind blew the sledge to
which our thermometer was hanging out over the slope. Stormy weather
outside--furious weather, almost taking away your breath if you put
your head out. We lie here trying to sleep--sleep the time away. But
we cannot always do it. Oh, those long sleepless nights when you turn
from side to side, kick your feet to put a little warmth into them,
and wish for only one thing in the world--sleep! The thoughts are
constantly busy with everything at home, but the long, heavy body lies
here trying in vain to find an endurable position among the rough
stones. However, time crawls on, and now little Liv's birthday has
come. She is three years old to-day, and must be a big girl now. Poor
little thing! You don't miss your father now, and next birthday I shall
be with you, I hope. What good friends we shall be! You shall ride
a-cockhorse, and I will tell you stories from the north about bears,
foxes, walruses, and all the strange animals up there in the ice. No,
I can't bear to think of it.

"Saturday, February 1st. Here I am down with the rheumatism. Outside
it is growing gradually lighter day by day; the sky above the glaciers
in the south grows redder, until at last one day the sun will rise
above the crest, and our last winter night be past. Spring is coming! I
have often thought spring sad. Was it because it vanished so quickly,
because it carried promises that summer never fulfilled? But there
is no sadness in this spring; its promises will be kept; it would be
too cruel if they were not."

It was a strange existence, lying thus in a hut underground the whole
winter through, without a thing to turn one's hand to. How we longed
for a book! How delightful our life on board the Fram appeared, when
we had the whole library to fall back upon! We would often tell each
other how beautiful this sort of life would have been, after all,
if we had only had anything to read. Johansen always spoke with
a sigh of Heyse's novels; he had specially liked those on board,
and he had not been able to finish the last one he was reading. The
little readable matter which was to be found in our navigation-table
and almanac I had read so many times already that I knew it almost
by heart--all about the Norwegian royal family, all about persons
apparently drowned, and all about self-help for fishermen. Yet it
was always a comfort to see these books; the sight of the printed
letters gave one a feeling that there was, after all, a little bit
of the civilized man left. All that we really had to talk about had
long ago been thoroughly thrashed out, and, indeed, there were not
many thoughts of common interest that we had not exchanged. The chief
pleasure left to us was to picture to each other how we should make
up next winter at home for everything we had missed during our sojourn
here. We felt that we should have learned for good and all to set store
by all the good things of life, such as food, drink, clothes, shoes,
house, home, good neighbors, and all the rest of it. Frequently we
occupied ourselves, too, in calculating how far the Fram could have
drifted, and whether there was any possibility of her getting home to
Norway before us. It seemed a safe assumption that she might drift out
into the sea between Spitzbergen and Greenland next summer or autumn,
and probability seemed to point to her being in Norway in August or
September. But there was just the possibility that she might arrive
earlier in the summer; or, on the other hand, we might not reach home
until later in the autumn. This was the great question to which we
could give no certain answer, and we reflected with sorrow that she
might perhaps get home first. What would our friends then think about
us? Scarcely any one would have the least hope of seeing us again,
not even our comrades on board the Fram. It seemed to us, however,
that this could scarcely happen; we could not but reach home in July,
and it was hardly to be expected that the Fram could be free from
the ice so early in the summer.

But where were we? And how great was the distance we had to
travel? Over and over again I reckoned out our observations of the
autumn and summer and spring, but the whole matter was a perpetual
puzzle. It seemed clear, indeed, that we must be lying somewhere
far to the west, perhaps off the west coast of Franz Josef Land, a
little north of Cape Lofley, as I had conjectured in the autumn. But,
if that were so, what could the lands be which we had seen to the
northward? And what was the land to which we had first come? From the
first group of islands, which I had called White Land (Hvidtenland),
to where we now lie, we had passed about 7° of longitude--that our
observations proved conclusively. But if we were now in the longitude
of Cape Fligely these islands must lie on a meridian so far east that
it would fall between King Oscar's Land and Crown Prince Rudolf Land;
and yet we had been much farther east and had seen nothing of these
lands. How was this to be explained? And, furthermore, the land we
saw had disappeared to the southward; and we saw no indication of
islands farther east. No, we could not have been near any known land;
we must be upon some island lying farther west, in the strait between
Franz Josef Land and Spitzbergen; and we could not but think of the
hitherto so enigmatic Gillies Land. But this, too, seemed difficult
to explain; for it was hard to understand how, in this comparatively
narrow strait, such an extensive mass of land as this could find
room without coming so near the Northeast Land of Spitzbergen that it
could easily be seen from it. No other conclusion, however seemed at
all plausible. We had long ago given up the idea that our watches
could be even approximately right; for in that case, as already
mentioned, we must have come right across Payer's Wilczek Land and
Dove Glacier without having noticed them. This theory was consequently
excluded. There were other things, too, that greatly puzzled me. If we
were on a new land, near Spitzbergen, why were the rosy gulls never
seen there, while we had found them in flocks here to the north? And
then there was the great variation of the compass. Unfortunately,
I had no chart of the variations with me, and I could not remember
where the zero meridian of variation lay--the boundary-line between
easterly and westerly variation. I thought, however, that it lay
somewhere near the Northeast Land; and here we had still a variation
of about 20°. The whole thing was, and remained, an insoluble riddle.

As the daylight began to lengthen later in the spring, I made a
discovery which had the effect of still more hopelessly bewildering
us. At two points on the horizon, about W.S.W., I fancied that I could
see land looming in the air. The appearance recurred again and again,
and at last I was quite certain that it really was land; but it must
be very far away--at least 69 miles, I thought. [66] If it had been
difficult to find room between Franz Josef Land and Northeast Land
for the islands we had hitherto seen, it was more difficult still
to find room for these new ones. Could it be the Northeast Land
itself? This seemed scarcely credible. This land must lie in about 81°
or so northward, while the Northeast Land does not reach much north of
80°. But at least these islands must be pretty near Northeast Land,
and if we once reached them, we could not have much farther to go,
and would perhaps find open water all the way to the Tromsö sloop,
on which our fancy had now dwelt for over a year, and which was to
take us home.

The thought of all the good things we should find on board that sloop
was what comforted us whenever the time hung unendurably heavy on our
hands. Our life was not, indeed, altogether luxurious. How we longed
for a change in the uniformity of our diet! If only we could have had
a little sugar and farinaceous food, in addition to all the excellent
meat we had, we could have lived like princes. Our thoughts dwelt
longingly on great platters full of cakes, not to mention bread and
potatoes. How we would make up for lost time when we got back! And
we would begin as soon as we got on board that Tromsö sloop. Would
they have potatoes on board? Would they have fresh bread? At worst,
even hard ship's bread would not be so bad, especially if we could
get it fried in sugar and butter. But better even than food would be
the clean clothes we could put on. And then books--only to think of
books! Ugh, the clothes we lived in were horrible! and when we wanted
to enjoy a really delightful hour we would set to work imagining a
great, bright, clean shop, where the walls were hung with nothing
but new, clean, soft woollen clothes, from which we could pick
out everything we wanted. Only to think of shirts, vests, drawers,
soft and warm woollen trousers, deliciously comfortable jerseys,
and then clean woollen stockings and warm felt slippers--could
anything more delightful be imagined? And then a Turkish bath! We
would sit up side by side in our sleeping-bag for hours at a time
and talk of all these things. They seemed almost unimaginable. Fancy
being able to throw away all the heavy, oily rags we had to live in,
glued as they were to our bodies! Our legs suffered most; for there
our trousers stuck fast to our knees, so that when we moved they
abraded and tore the skin inside our thighs till it was all raw and
bleeding. I had the greatest difficulty in keeping these sores from
becoming altogether too ingrained with fat and dirt, and had to be
perpetually washing them with moss, or a rag from one of the bandages
in our medicine-bag, and a little water, which I warmed in a cup over
the lamp. I have never before understood what a magnificent invention
soap really is. We made all sorts of attempts to wash the worst of
the dirt away; but they were all equally unsuccessful. Water had no
effect upon all this grease; it was better to scour one's self with
moss and sand. We could find plenty of sand in the walls of the hut,
when we hacked the ice off them. The best method, however, was to get
our hands thoroughly lubricated with warm bear's blood and train-oil,
and then scrub it off again with moss. They thus became as white and
soft as the hands of the most delicate lady, and we could scarcely
believe that they belonged to our own bodies. When there was none of
this toilet preparation to be had, we found the next best plan was
to scrape our skin with a knife.

If it was difficult to get our own bodies clean, it was a sheer
impossibility as regards our clothes. We tried all possible ways;
we washed them both in Eskimo fashion and in our own; but neither was
of much avail. We boiled our shirts in the pot hour after hour, but
took them out only to find them just as full of grease as when we put
them in. Then we took to wringing the train-oil out of them. This was
a little better; but the only thing that produced any real effect was
to boil them, and then scrape them with a knife while they were still
warm. By holding them in our teeth and our left hand and stretching
them out, while we scraped them all over with the right hand, we
managed to get amazing quantities of fat out of them; and we could
almost have believed that they were quite clean when we put them on
again after they were dry. The fat which we scraped off was, of course,
a welcome addition to our fuel.

In the meanwhile our hair and beard grew entirely wild. It is true we
had scissors and could have cut them; but as our supply of clothes was
by no means too lavish, we thought it kept us a little warmer to have
all this hair, which began to flow down over our shoulders. But it was
coal-black like our faces, and we thought our teeth and the whites of
our eyes shone with an uncanny whiteness, now that we could see each
other again in the daylight of the spring. On the whole, however, we
were so accustomed to each other's appearance that we really found
nothing remarkable about it; and not until we fell in with other
people and found that they were precisely of that opinion did we
begin to recognize that our outer man was, perhaps, open to criticism.

It was a strange life, and in many ways it put our patience to a
severe test; but it was not so unendurable as one might suppose. We
at any rate thought that, all things considered, we were fairly well
off. Our spirits were good the whole time; we looked serenely towards
the future, and rejoiced in the thought of all the delights it had in
store for us. We did not even have recourse to quarrelling to while
away the time. After our return, Johansen was once asked how we two
had got on during the winter, and whether we had managed not to fall
out with each other; for it is said to be a severe test for two men
to live so long together in perfect isolation. "Oh no," he answered,
"we didn't quarrel; the only thing was that I had the bad habit of
snoring in my sleep, and then Nansen used to kick me in the back." I
cannot deny that this is the case; I gave him many a well-meant kick,
but fortunately he only shook himself a little and slept calmly on.

Thus did our time pass. We did our best to sleep away as much as
possible of it. We carried this art to a high pitch of perfection,
and could sometimes put in as much as 20 hours' sleep in the 24. If
any one still holds to the old superstition that scurvy is due to
lack of exercise, he may look upon us as living evidences to the
contrary; for all the time our health was excellent. As the light now
began to return with the spring, however, we were more inclined to go
out. Besides, it was not always so cold now, and we had to restrict our
sleep a little. Then, too, the time for our departure was approaching,
and we had plenty to occupy us in the way of preparation and so forth.

"Tuesday, February 25th. Lovely weather to be out in to-day; it is
as though spring were beginning. We have seen the first birds--first
a flock of half a score of little auks (Mergulus alle), then a flock
of four; they came from the south along the land, evidently through
the sound in the southeast, and disappeared behind the mountain crest
to the northwest of us. Once more we heard their cheerful twittering,
and it roused a responsive echo in the soul. A little later we heard
it again, and then it seemed as if they were perched on the mountain
above us. It was the first greeting from life. Blessed birds, how
welcome you are!

"It was quite like a spring evening at home; the sun's red glow faded
little by little into golden clouds, and the moon rose. I went up
and down outside, and dreamt I was in Norway on a spring evening.

"Wednesday, February 26th. To-day we ought to have had the sun again,
but the sky was cloudy.

"Friday, February 28th. I have discovered that it is possible to get
12 threads out of a bit of twine, and am as happy as a king. We have
thread enough now, and our wind clothes shall be whole once more. It
is possible, too, to ravel out the canvas in the bags, and use it
for thread.

"Saturday, February 29th. The sun high above the glacier to-day. We
must begin to economize in train-oil in earnest now if we are to get
away from here, or there will be too little blubber for the journey.

"Wednesday, March 4th. When Johansen went out this morning the mountain
above us was covered with little auks, which flew twittering from
crest to crest, and sat all over the glacier. When we went out again
later on they were gone.

"Friday, March 6th. We are faring badly now. We have to sleep in the
dark to save oil, and can only cook once a day.

"Sunday, March 8th. Shot a bear. Johansen saw ten flocks of little
auks flying up the sound this morning.

"Tuesday, March 10th. That bear the day before yesterday came in the
nick of time, and an amusing fellow he was, too. We were very badly
off both for blubber and meat, but most for blubber, and we were
longing for a bear; we thought it must be about time for them to
come again now. I had just spent Sunday morning in mending my wind
trousers and patching my 'komager,' so as to be all ready if a bear
should come. Johansen, whose cooking week it was, had been sewing a
little too, and was just cleaning up the hut for Sunday and taking
out some bone and meat--he had taken it as far as the passage. But no
sooner had he raised the skin over the opening out there than I heard
him come tumbling head foremost in again over the bone heap and say,
'There's a bear standing just outside the door.' He snatched his gun
down from where it hung under the roof and again put his head into
the passage, but drew it quickly back, saying, 'He is standing close
by, and must be thinking about coming in.' He managed to draw aside a
corner of the door-skin, just enough to give him elbow-room to shoot;
but it was not altogether easy. The passage was narrow enough before,
and now, in addition, it was full of all the backbones and scraps of
meat. I saw him once lift the gun to his shoulder as he lay crouched
together, but take it down again; he had forgotten to cock it, and
the bear had moved a little away, so that he only saw its muzzle and
paws. But now it began scraping down in the passage with one paw, as
if it wanted to come in, and Johansen thought he must fire, even if
he could not see. He put out his gun, pointing the barrel at the upper
edge of the opening; he thought the shot must go right into the bear's
breast, and so he fired. I heard a dull growl and the crunching of the
snow under heavy footsteps, which went up towards the talus. Johansen
loaded again, and put his head out at the opening. He said he saw it
going up there, and that it didn't seem up to much, and forthwith he
rushed after it. I, meanwhile, was lying head foremost in the bag,
hunting for a sock which I could not find. At last, after a long
search, I found it--on the floor, of course. Then I, too, was ready;
and well equipped with gun, cartridges, knife, and file (to sharpen
the seal-knife), I followed. I had my wind trousers on, too; they had
been hanging unused all through the winter's cold, for want of thread
to mend them with, but now, when the temperature was only -2°C. (28.4°
Fahr.), they of course had to come out. I followed the tracks; they
went westward and northward along the shore. After a little while I
at last met Johansen, who said that the bear lay farther on; he had
at last got up to it, and finished it with a shot in the back. While
he returned to fetch the sledges I went on to begin skinning. It was
not to be done quite so quickly, however. As I approached the place
where I thought it must be lying, I caught sight of the 'dead bear'
far ahead, trotting pretty briskly along the shore. Now and then it
stopped to look round at me. I ran out on to the ice, to get outside
it, if possible, and drive it back, so that we should not have so far
to drag it. When I had kept on at this for some time, and was about
on a level with it, it began clambering up the glacier and under some
ragged rock. I had not reckoned on a 'dead bear' being able to do this,
and the only thing was to stop it as soon as possible; but just as I
got within range it disappeared over the crest. Soon I saw it again,
a good deal higher up, and far out of range. It was craning its neck
to see if I were following. I went up some way after it, but as it
went on along the mountain more quickly than I could follow it in the
deep snow, under which, moreover, there were crevices into which I
kept falling up to my waist, I preferred to clamber down on to the
fjord-ice again. In a little while the bear emerged from beneath a
perpendicular cliff with a precipitous bit of talus beneath it. Here
it began to crawl carefully along at the very top of the talus. I
was now afraid of its lying down in a place like this, where we could
not get at it, and even though the range was long I felt I must fire
and see if I could not make it fall over. It did not look as if it
had too firm a footing up there. It was blowing like anything here
under the cliff, and I saw that the bear had to lie flat down and
hold on with its claws when the worst gusts came, and then, too,
it had only three paws to hold on with; the right fore-leg had been
broken. I went up to a big stone at the lower edge of the talus,
took good aim, and fired. I saw the bullet strike the snow just
beneath it, but, whether it was hit or not, it started up and tried
to jump over a drift, but slipped, and rolled over. It tried several
times to stop itself, but went on, until at last it found its feet
and began to crawl slowly up again. Meanwhile I had loaded again,
and the range was now shorter. I fired once more. It stood still a
moment, then slipped farther and farther down the drift, at first
slowly, then quicker and quicker rolling over and over. I thought
it was coming straight towards me, but comforted myself with the
thought that the stone I was standing behind was a good solid one. I
squatted down and quickly put a fresh cartridge into my gun. The bear
had now arrived at the talus below the drift; it came tearing down,
together with stones and lumps of snow, in a series of leaps, each
longer than the last. It was a strange sight, this great white body
flying through the air, and turning somersault after somersault, as
if it had been a piece of wood. At last it took one tremendous leap,
and landed against an enormous stone. There was a regular crash,
and there it lay close beside me; a few spasms passed through it,
and all was over. It was an uncommonly large he-bear, with a beautiful
thick fur, which one might well wish to have at home; but the best
thing of all was that it was very fat. It was so windy that the
gusts were apt to blow you over if you were not prepared for them;
but with the air so mild as it was, wind did not matter much; it
would not have been such bad work to skin it had it not been that
it was lying in a hollow and was so big that one man could not stir
it. After a time, however, Johansen came, and at last we had got it
dismembered, and had dragged it down to the ice and piled it on the
sledge. We had not gone far, however, before we found that it would be
too heavy for us to draw all at once against this wind and for such
a distance. We laid half of it in a heap on the ice and spread the
skin over it, intending to fetch it in a day or two; and even then we
had difficulty enough in fighting on against the wind in the dark,
so that it was late at night before we got home. But it was long
since we had so much enjoyed our home-coming and being able to lie
down in our bag and sup off fresh meat and hot soup."

We lived on that bear for six weeks.

"When Johansen was out this morning at six, he thought he saw little
auks in millions flying up the sound. When we went out at two in
the afternoon there was an unceasing passage of flock after flock
out to sea, and this continued until late in the afternoon. I saw
two guillemots (Uria grylle), too, fly over our heads. They are the
first we have seen. [67]

"Wednesday, March 25th. There is the same dark water-sky behind the
promontory in the southwest, stretching thence westward almost to
the extreme west. It has been there all through this mild weather,
with southwesterly wind, from the very beginning of the month. There
seems to be always open water there, for no sooner is the sky overcast
than the reflection of water appears in that quarter.

"Thursday, April 2d. As I awoke at about eight this evening (our
morning happened to fall in the evening to-day), we heard an animal
rustling about outside and gnawing at something. We did not take much
notice of it, thinking it was a fox, busy as usual with some meat up
on the roof; and if it did seem to be making rather more noise than we
had of late been accustomed to hear from foxes, yet it was scarcely
noise enough to come from a bear. We did not take into consideration
that the snow was not so cold and crackling now as it had been earlier
in the winter. When Johansen went out to read the thermometer, he saw
that it was a bear that had been there. It had gone round the hut, but
had evidently not liked all the bears' carcasses, and had not ventured
past them up to the walrus blubber on the roof. At the opening of
the passage and the chimney it had sniffed hard, doubtless enjoying
the delicious scent of burnt blubber and live human flesh. Then it
had dragged a walrus hide that was lying outside a little way off and
scraped the blubber off it. It had come from the ice obliquely up the
hill following the scent, had then followed our footsteps from the hut
to the place where we get salt-water, and had thence gone farther out
over the ice until it had got scent of the walrus carcasses out there,
and was going towards them when Johansen caught sight of it. There
it set to work to gnaw. As my gun was not fit to use at the moment,
I took Johansen's and went alone. The bear was so busy gnawing and
tearing pieces off the carcass that I could get close up to it from
behind without troubling about cover. Wishing to try how near I could
get, I went on, and it was not until I was so near that I could almost
touch it with the muzzle of my gun that it heard my steps, so busy
had it been. It started round, gazed defiantly and astonished at me,
and I saluted it with a charge right in its face. It threw up its head,
sneezed, and blew blood out over the snow as it turned round again and
galloped away. I was going to load again, but the cartridge jammed,
and it was only by using my knife that I got it out. While I was
doing this the bear had bethought himself, stopped, turned towards me,
and snorted angrily, as he made up his mind to set upon me. He then
went up on to a piece of ice close by, placed himself in an attitude
of defence, and stretched out his neck towards me, while the blood
poured from his mouth and nostrils. The ball had gone right through
his head, but without touching the brain. At last I had put another
cartridge in, but had to give him five shots before I finally killed
him. At each shot he fell, but got up again. I was not accustomed to
the sights on Johansen's gun, and shot rather too high with it. At
last I grew angry, rushed up to him, and finished him off."

We were beginning to be well supplied with blubber and meat for the
journey south, and were now busy fitting ourselves out. And there
was a great deal to be done. We had to begin to make ourselves new
clothes out of our blankets; our wind clothes had to be patched and
mended; our "komager" had to be soled, and we had to make socks and
gloves out of bearskin. Then we had to make a light, good sleeping-bag
of bearskin. All this would take time; and from this time we worked
industriously at our needle from early morning till late at night. Our
hut was suddenly transformed into a busy tailor's and shoemaker's
workroom, where we sat side by side in the sleeping-bag upon the stone
bed, and sewed and sewed and thought about the home-coming. We got
thread by unravelling the cotton canvas of some provision bags. It
need hardly be said that we were always talking about the prospects
for our journey, and we found great comfort in the persistence of
the dark sky in the southwest, which indicated much open water in
that direction. I consequently thought we should have good use for our
kayaks on the journey to Spitzbergen. I mention this open water several
times in my journal. For instance, on April 12th: "Open water from the
promontory in the southwest, northward as far as we can see." By this
I mean, of course, that there was dark air over the whole horizon in
this direction, showing clearly that there was open water there. This
could not really surprise us; indeed, we ought to have been prepared
for it, since Payer had found open water in the middle of April at a
more northerly point on the west coast of Crown Prince Rudolf Land;
and this had been continually in my thoughts all through the winter.

Another thing which made us believe in the close vicinity of the sea
was that we were daily visited by ivory-gulls and fulmars (Procellaria
glacialis), sometimes skuas also. We saw the first ivory-gulls on March
12th; throughout April they became more and more numerous, and soon
we had plenty, both of them and of the burgomasters (Larus glaucus),
sitting on our roof and round the hut, and drumming and pecking at the
bones and remains of bears they found there. During the winter the
continual gnawing of the foxes at the meat up there had entertained
us, and reminded us that we were not quite forsaken by living things;
when half asleep we could often imagine that we were in our beds at
home and heard the rats and mice holding their revels in the attic
above us. With the coming of daylight the foxes vanished. They now
found plenty of little auks up in the clefts of the mountains, and
had no longer to depend on our stone-hard frozen bear-meat. But now
we had the drumming of the gulls instead; but they did not call up
the same illusions, and, when we had them on the roof just over our
heads, were often very tiresome, and even disturbed our sleep, so
that we had to knock on the roof or go out and frighten them away,
which, however, had the desired effect only for a few minutes.

On the 18th of April, while I was at work on some solar-time
observations, I happened to look up, and was surprised to see a bear
standing just opposite to me down on the ice by the shore. It must
have been standing there a long time, wondering what I was about. I
ran to the hut for a gun, but when I returned it took to its heels,
and I was not eager to follow it.

"Sunday, April 19th. I was awakened at 7 o'clock this morning by the
heavy steps of a bear outside. I wakened Johansen, who struck a light,
and I got on my trousers and 'komager' and crept out with loaded
gun. During the night a great deal of snow had, as usual, drifted
over the skin that covered the opening, and was difficult to break
through. At last, by kicking with all my might from below, I managed
to knock the snow off, and put my head out into the daylight, which
was quite dazzling after the darkness down in the hut. I saw nothing,
but knew that the bear must be standing just behind the hut. Then
I heard a snorting and blowing, and off went the brute in a clumsy
bear's gallop up the slope. I did not know whether to shoot or not,
and, to tell the truth, I had little inclination for bear-skinning
in this bitter weather; but half at random I sent a shot after it,
which of course missed, and I was not sorry. I did not shoot again; the
one shot was enough to frighten it, and keep it from coming again for
the present; we did not want it, if only it would leave our things in
peace. At the cleft to the north it looked back, and then went on. As
usual it had come against the wind, and must have scented us far west
upon the ice. It had made several tacks to leeward to us, had been at
the entrance of the hut, where it had left a visiting-card, and had
then gone straight to a mound at the back of us, where there is some
walrus blubber, surrounded on all sides by bears' carcasses. These
had no terrors for it. The bearskin which covered it, it had dragged
a long way, but fortunately it had not succeeded in getting anything
eaten before I came.

"Sunday, May 3d. When Johansen came in this morning he said he had
seen a bear out on the ice; it was coming in. He went out a little
later to look for it, but did not see it; it had probably gone into
the bay to the north. We expected a visit from it, however, as the
wind was that way; and as we sat later in the day, sewing as hard as we
could sew, we heard heavy footsteps on the snow outside. They stopped,
went backward and forward a little, and then something was drawn along,
and all was quiet. Johansen crept cautiously out with his gun. When he
put his head out of the hole, and his eyes had recovered from the first
dazzling effects of the daylight, he saw the bear standing gnawing at
a bearskin. A bullet through the head killed it on the spot It was
a lean little animal, but worth taking, inasmuch as it saved us the
trouble of thawing up carcasses in order to cut provisions for our
journey off them. Frozen stiff as they now are, we cannot cut them up
outside in the cold, but have to bring them into the hut and soften
them in the warmth before we can cut anything off them and this takes
time. Two bears were here on a visit last night, but they turned back
again at the sledge, which is stuck up on end in the moraine to the
west of us, to serve as a stand for our thermometer."

As we were breakfasting on May 9th we again heard a bear's footstep
outside, and being afraid that it was going to eat up our blubber,
we had no other resource than to shoot it. We now had far more meat
than we required, and did not care to use more cartridges on these
animals for the present; but what grieved us most was the thought
of all the beautiful bearskins which we should leave behind us. The
time was now drawing near when we should break up our camp, and we
worked eagerly at our preparations. Our clothes were now ready. The
entry for Tuesday, May 12th, runs thus: "Took leave to-day of my old
trousers. I was quite sad at the thought of the good service they
had done; but they are now so heavy with oil and dirt that they must
be several times their original weight, and, if they were squeezed,
oil would ooze out of them." It was undeniably pleasant to put on the
new, light, soft trousers of blanket, which were, to some extent,
free from grease. As, however, this material was loose in texture,
I was afraid it might wear out before we reached Spitzbergen, and we
had therefore strengthened it both inside and outside with pieces of
an old pair of drawers and of a shirt to protect it from wear.

While I was taking some observations outside the hut on Saturday,
May 16th, I saw a bear with quite a small young one out on the
ice. I had just taken a turn out there, and they were examining my
tracks. The mother went first, going up on to all the hummocks I
had been upon, turning round and sniffing and looking at the tracks,
and then descending again and going on. The tiny young one trotted
along behind, exactly repeating the movements of its mother. At last
they grew tired of this, and turned their steps towards the shore,
disappearing behind the promontory to the north of us. Shortly after
Johansen came out, and I told him about it, and said: "I expect
we shall soon see them in the cleft up there, as the wind is that
way." I had scarcely said it, when, looking across, we saw them
both standing, stretching their necks, sniffing, and looking at us
and the hut. We did not want to shoot them, as we had abundance of
food; but we thought it would be amusing to go nearer and watch them,
and then, if possible, frighten them sufficiently to keep them from
visiting us in the night, so that we could sleep in peace. When we
approached, the mother snorted angrily, turned several times as if to
go, pushing the young one on first, but turned back again to observe us
more closely. At last they jogged slowly off, continually hesitating
and looking back. When they got down to the shore, they again went
quite slowly among the hummocks, and I ran after them. The mother
went first, the young one trotting after exactly in her footsteps. I
was soon close to them, the mother saw me, started, and tried to get
the young one to go with her; but I now discovered that it could run
no faster than I could follow it. As soon as the mother saw this,
she turned round, snorted, and came storming right at me. I halted,
and prepared to shoot in case she should come too near, and in the
meantime the little one tramped on as fast as it could. The mother
halted at the distance of a few paces from me, snorted and hissed
again, looked round at the young one, and when the latter had got
a good way on trotted after it. I ran on again and overtook the
young one, and again the mother went through the same manoeuvres;
she seemed to have the greatest possible desire to strike me to the
earth, but then the young one had again got ahead a little, and she
did not wait to do it, but trotted after. This was repeated several
times, and then they began to clamber up the glacier, the mother in
front, the young one after. But the latter did not get on very fast;
it trudged along as well as it could in its mother's footprints in
the deep snow. It reminded me exactly of a child in trousers, as it
clambered up and kept looking round, half frightened, half curious. It
was touching to see how incessantly the mother turned round to hasten
it on, now and then jogging it with her head, hissing and snorting
all the while at me standing quietly below and looking on. When they
reached the crest the mother stopped and hissed worse than ever,
and when she had let the young one pass her, they both disappeared
over the glacier, and I went back to continue my work.

For the last few weeks a feverish activity had reigned in our hut. We
had become more and more impatient to make a start; but there was still
a great deal to be done. We realized in bitter earnest that we had no
longer the Fram's stores to fall back upon. On board the Fram there
might be one or two things lacking; but here we lacked practically
everything. What would we not have given even for a single box of
dog-biscuits--for ourselves--out of the Fram's abundance? Where were
we to find all that we needed? "For a sledge expedition one must lay
in light and nourishing provisions, which at the same time afford
as much variety as possible; one must have light and warm clothing,
strong and practical sledges," etc., etc.--we knew by heart all these
maxims of the Arctic text-book. The journey that lay before us, indeed,
was not a very great one; the thing was simply to reach Spitzbergen
and get on board the sloop; but it was long enough, after all, to
make it necessary for us to take certain measures of precaution.

When we dug up the stores which we had buried at the beginning of the
winter, and opened the bags, we found that there were some miserable
remains of a commissariat which had once, indeed, been good, but was
now for the most part mouldy and spoiled by the damp of the previous
autumn. Our flour--our precious flour--had got mildewed, and had to
be thrown away. The chocolate had been dissolved by the damp, and no
longer existed; and the pemmican--well, it had a strange appearance,
and when we tasted it--ugh! It too had to be thrown away. There
remained a certain quantity of fish flour, some aleuronate flour, and
some damp half-moulded bread, which we carefully boiled in train-oil,
partly to dry it, as all damp was expelled by the boiling oil, partly
to render it more nutritious by impregnating it with fat. We thought
it tasted delightful, and preserved it carefully for festal occasions
and times when all other food failed us. Had we been able to dry bear's
flesh we should have managed very well; but the weather was too raw and
cold, and the strips of flesh we hung up became only half dry. There
was nothing for it but to lay in a store of as much cut-up raw flesh
and blubber as we could carry with us. Then we filled the three tin
boxes that had held our petroleum with train-oil, which we used as
fuel. For cooking on the journey we would use the pot belonging to our
cooking apparatus; and our lamp we used as a brazier in which to burn
blubber and train-oil together. These provisions and this fuel did not
constitute a particularly light equipment; but it had this advantage,
that we should probably be able to replace what we consumed of it by
the way. It was to be hoped that we should find plenty of game.

Our short sledges were a greater trouble to us, for of course we
could not get them lengthened now. If we failed to find open water
all the way over to Spitzbergen, and were compelled to drag them over
the uneven drift-ice, we could scarcely imagine how we should get on
with the kayaks lying on these short sledges, without getting them
knocked to pieces on hummocks and pressure-ridges; for the kayaks were
supported only at the middle, while both ends projected far beyond
the sledge, and at the slightest inequality these ends hacked against
the ice, and scraped holes in the sail-cloth. We had to protect them
well by lashing bearskins under them; and then we had to make the
best grips we could contrive out of the scanty wood we had to fix on
the sledges. This was no easy matter, for the great point was to make
the grips high in order to raise the kayaks as much as possible and
keep them clear of the ice; and then they had to be well lashed in
order to keep their places. But we had no cord to lash them with,
and had to make it for ourselves of raw bearskin or walrus hide,
which is not the best possible material for lashings. This difficulty,
too, we overcame, and got our kayaks to lie steadily and well. We
of course laid the heaviest part of their cargo as much as possible
in the middle, so that the ends should not be broken down by the
weight. Our own personal equipment was quite as difficult to get
in order. I have mentioned that we made ourselves new clothes, and
this took a long time, with two such inexpert tailors; but practice
made us gradually more skilful, and I think we had good reason to be
proud of the results we finally achieved. When we at last put them on,
the clothes had quite an imposing appearance--so we thought, at any
rate. We saved them up, and kept them hanging as long as possible,
in order that they might still be new when we started; Johansen,
I believe, did not wear his new coat before we fell in with other
people. He declared he must keep it fresh till we arrived in Norway;
he could not go about like a pirate when he got among his countrymen
again. The poor remains of underclothes that we possessed had, of
course, to be thoroughly washed before we started, so that it should
be possible to move in them without their rasping too many holes
in our skin. The washing we accomplished as above described. Our
foot-gear was in anything but a satisfactory condition. Socks,
indeed, we could make of bearskin; but the worst of it was that the
soles of our "komager" were almost worn out. We managed, however, to
make soles of a sort out of walrus hide, by scraping about half its
thickness away and then drying it over the lamp. With these soles we
mended our "komager," after the fashion of the Finns; we had plenty of
"senne" thread (sedge thread), and we managed to get our "komagers"
pretty well water-tight again. Thus, in spite of everything, we were
tolerably well off for clothes, though it cannot be said that those
we had were remarkable for their cleanliness. To protect us against
wind and rain we had still our wind clothes, which we had patched and
stitched together as well as we could; but it took a terrible time, for
the whole garments now consisted of scarcely anything else but patches
and seams, and when you had sewed up a hole at one place they split at
another the next time you put them on. The sleeves were particularly
bad, and at last I tore both sleeves off my jacket, so that I should
not have the annoyance of seeing them perpetually stripped away.

It was very desirable, too, that we should have a tolerably light
sleeping-bag. The one we had brought with us no longer existed, as
we had made clothes out of the blankets; so the only thing was to
try and make as light a bag as possible out of bearskin. By picking
out the thinnest skins we possessed, we managed to make one not so
much heavier than the reindeer-skin bag which we had taken with us on
leaving the Fram. A greater difficulty was to procure a practicable
tent. The one we had had was out of the question. It had been worn
and torn to pieces on our five months' journey of the year before,
and what was left of it the foxes had made an end of, as we had
had it lying spread over our meat and blubber heap in the autumn
to protect it against the gulls. The foxes had gnawed and torn it
in all directions, and had carried off great strips of it, which we
found scattered around. We speculated a great deal as to how we could
make ourselves a new tent. The only thing we could think of was to
put our sledges, with the kayaks upon them, parallel to each other
at the distance of about a man's height, then pile snow around them
at the sides until they were closed in, lay our snowshoes and bamboo
staffs across, and then spread our two sails, laced together, over
the whole, so that they should reach the ground on both sides. In
this way we managed to make ourselves a quite effective shelter,
the kayaks forming the roof ridges, and the sails the side walls of
the tent. It was not quite impervious to drifting snow, and we had
usually a good deal of trouble in stopping up cracks and openings
with our wind clothes and things of that sort.

But the most important part of our equipment was, after all,
our firearms, and these, fortunately, we had kept in tolerably
good order. We cleaned the rifles thoroughly and rubbed them with
train-oil. We had also a little vaseline and gun-oil left for the
locks. On taking stock of our ammunition, we found, to our joy,
that we still had about 100 rifle cartridges and 110 small-shot
cartridges. We had thus enough, if necessary, for several more winters.



CHAPTER IX

THE JOURNEY SOUTHWARD


At last, on Tuesday, May 19th, we were ready for the start. Our sledges
stood loaded and lashed. The last thing we did was to photograph our
hut, both outside and inside, and to leave in it a short report of
our journey. It ran thus:


"Tuesday, May 19, 1896. We were frozen in north of Kotelnoi at about
78° 43' north latitude, September 22, 1893. Drifted northwestward
during the following year, as we had expected to do. Johansen and
I left the Fram, March 14, 1895, at about 84° 4' north latitude and
103° east longitude, [68] to push on northward. The command of the
remainder of the expedition was transferred to Sverdrup. Found no
land northward. On April 6, 1895, we had to turn back at 86° 14'
north latitude and about 95° east longitude, the ice having become
impassable. Shaped our course for Cape Fligely; but our watches having
stopped, we did not know our longitude with certainty, and arrived
on August 6, 1895, at four glacier-covered islands to the north of
this line of islands, at about 81° 30' north latitude, and about 7°
E. of this place. Reached this place August 26, 1895, and thought
it safest to winter here. Lived on bear's flesh. Are starting to-day
southwestward along the land, intending to cross over to Spitzbergen
at the nearest point. We conjecture that we are on Gillies Land.

"Fridtjof Nansen."


This earliest report of our journey was deposited in a brass tube which
had formed the cylinder of the airpump of our "Primus." The tube was
closed with a plug of wood and hung by a wire to the roof-tree of
the hut.

At length, on Tuesday, the 19th of May, we were ready, and at 7
P.M. left our winter lair and began our journey south. After having
had so little exercise all the winter, we were not much disposed
for walking, and thought our sledges with the loaded kayaks heavy to
pull along. In order not to do too much at first, but make our joints
supple before we began to exert ourselves seriously, we walked for
only a few hours the first day, and then, well satisfied, pitched our
camp. There was such a wonderfully happy feeling in knowing that we
were, at last, on the move, and that we were actually going homeward.

The following day (Wednesday, May 20th) we also did only a short
day's march. We were making for the promontory to the southwest
of us that we had been looking at all the winter. Judging from the
sky, it was on the farther side of this headland that we should find
open water. We were very eager to see how the land lay ahead of this
point. If we were north of Cape Lofley, the land must begin to trend
to the southeast. If, on the other hand, the trend of the coast was
to the southwest, then this must be a new land farther west, and near
Gillies Land.

The next day (Thursday, May 21st) we reached this promontory, and
pitched our camp there. All through the winter we had called it
the Cape of Good Hope, as we expected to find different conditions
there which would facilitate our advance; and our hopes were not to
be disappointed. From the crest of the mountain I saw open water not
far off to the south, and also two new snow-lands, one large one in
front (in the south, 40° W.), and one not much smaller in the west
(S. 85° W.). It was completely covered with glacier, and looked like
an evenly vaulted shield. I could not see clearly how the coast ran
on account of a headland to the southward. But it did not seem to
trend to the southeast, so that we could not be near Cape Lofley. We
now hoped that we might be able to launch our kayaks the very next
day, and that we should then make rapid progress in a southwesterly
direction; but in this we were disappointed. The next day there was
a snow-storm, and we had to stay where we were. As I lay in the bag
in the morning, preparing breakfast, I all at once caught sight of a
bear walking quietly past us at a distance of about twenty paces. It
looked at us and our kayaks once or twice, but could not quite make
out what we were, as the wind was in another direction and it could
not get scent of us, so it continued its way. I let it go unharmed;
we still had food enough.

On Saturday, May 23d, the weather was still bad, but we went ahead a
little way to examine our road onward. The point to be found out was
whether we ought at once to make for the open water, that lay on the
other side of an island to the west, or whether we ought to travel
southward upon the shore-ice along the land. We came to a headland
consisting of uncommonly marked columnar basalt, which on account of
its peculiar form we called the "Castle." [69] We here saw that the
land stretched farther in a southerly direction, and that the open
water went the same way, only separated from the land by a belt of
shore-ice. As the latter appeared to be full of cracks, we decided
to go over to the island in the west, and put to sea as quickly as
possible. We therefore returned and made all ready. Our preparations
consisted, first and foremost, in carefully calking the seams of our
kayaks by melting stearine over them, and then restowing the cargo so
as to leave room for us to sit in them. The following day (Sunday,
May 24th) we moved on westward towards the island, and as the wind
was easterly and we were able to employ sails on the sledges we got
on pretty quickly across the flat ice. As we approached the island,
however, a storm blew up from the southwest, and after the sledges
had upset several times we were obliged to take down our sails. The
sky became overcast, the air grew misty, and we worked our way against
the strong wind in towards the land. The thing was to get to land as
quickly as possible, as we might evidently expect bad weather. But
now the ice became treacherous. As we approached the land there were
a number of cracks in every direction, and these were covered with a
layer of snow, so that it was difficult to see them. While Johansen
was busy lashing the sail and mast securely to the deck of his kayak,
so that the wind should not carry them away, I went on ahead as fast
as I could to look for a camping-ground; but all of a sudden the ice
sank beneath me, and I lay in the water in a broad crack which had
been concealed by the snow. I tried to get out again, but with my
snow-shoes firmly fastened it was not possible to get them through
all the rubble of snow and lumps of ice that had fallen into the
water on the top of them. In addition to this, I was fastened to the
sledge by the harness, so that I could not turn round. Fortunately,
in the act of falling, I had dug my pikestaff into the ice on the
opposite side of the crack, and, holding myself up by its aid and
the one arm that I had got above the edge of the ice, I lay waiting
patiently for Johansen to come and pull me out. I was sure he must
have seen me fall in, but could not turn enough to look back. When I
thought a long time had passed, and I felt the staff giving way and
the water creeping farther and farther up my body, I began to call out,
but received no answer. I shouted louder for help, and at last heard a
"Hullo!" far behind. After some little time, when the water was up to
my chest, and it would not have been long before I was right under,
Johansen came up and I was pulled out. He had been so occupied with his
sledge that he had not noticed that I was in the water until the last
time I called. This experience had the effect of making me careful in
the future not to go on such deceitful ice with my snow-shoes firmly
attached. By observing a little more caution, we at length reached
the land, and found a camping-place where there was a certain amount
of shelter. To our surprise, we discovered a number of walruses lying
along the shore here, herd upon herd, beside the cracks; but we took
no notice of them either, for the present; we thought we still had
a sufficient supply of food and blubber to draw upon.

During the succeeding days the storm raged, and we could not move. The
entry for Tuesday, May 26th, is as follows: "We have lain weather-bound
yesterday and to-day beneath the glacier cliff on the north side of
this island. The snow is so wet that it will be difficult to get
anywhere; but it is to be hoped that the open channel outside is
not far off, and we shall get on quickly there when once the storm
abates. We shall then make up for this long delay." But our stay
was to be longer than we thought. On Thursday, May 28th, the journal
says: "We were up on the island yesterday, and saw open sea to the
south, but are still lying weather-bound as before. I only moved our
tent-place a little on account of the cracks; the ice threatened to
open just beneath us. There are a great many walruses here. When we
go out over the ice the fellows follow us and come up in the cracks
beside us. We can often hear them grunting as they go, and butting
at the ice under our feet."

That day, however, the storm so far abated that we were able to move
southward along the east side of the island. On the way we passed a
large open pool in the shore-ice between this island and the land. It
must have been shallow here, for there was a strong current, which
was probably the cause of this pool being kept open. We passed two or
three herds of walruses lying on the ice near it. Concerning these
I wrote that evening: "I went up to one herd of about nine to take
photographs of the animals. I went close up to them, behind a little
mound, and they did not see me; but directly I rose up, not more than
20 feet away from them, a female with her young one plunged into the
water through a hole close by. I could not get the others to stir,
however much I shouted. Johansen now joined me, and, although he
threw lumps of snow and ice at them, they would not move; they only
struck their tusks into the lumps and sniffed at them, while I kept
on photographing them. When I went right up to them, most of them at
last got up and floundered away towards the hole, and one plunged in;
but the others stopped and composed themselves to sleep again. Soon,
too, the one that had first disappeared came back and crept on to
the ice. The two that lay nearest to me never stirred at all; they
raised their heads a little once or twice, looked contemptuously at
me as I stood three paces from them, laid their heads down and went
to sleep again. They barely moved when I pricked them in the snout
with my pikestaff, but I was able to get a pretty good photograph
of them. I thought I now had enough, but before I went I gave the
nearest one a parting poke in the snout with my pikestaff; it got
right up, grunted discontentedly, looked in astonishment at me with
its great round eyes, and then quietly began to scratch the back of
its head, and I got another photograph, whereupon it again lay quietly
down. When we went on, they all immediately settled themselves again,
and were lying like immovable masses of flesh when we finally rounded
the promontory and lost sight of them."

Once more we had snow-storms, and now lay weather-bound on the south
side of the island.

"Friday, May 29th. Lying weather-bound.

"Saturday, May 30th. Lying weather-bound, stopping up the tent against
the driving snow while the wind flits round us, attacking first one
side and then another." It was all we could do to keep ourselves
tolerably dry during this time, with the snow drifting in through
the cracks on all sides, on us and our bag, melting and saturating
everything.

"Monday, June 1st. Yesterday it at last grew a little calmer, and
cleared up so that we had bright sunshine in the evening. We rejoiced
in the thought of moving on, got our kayaks and everything ready to
launch, and crept into our bag, to turn out early this morning for a
fine day, as we thought. The only thing that made it a little doubtful
was that the barometer had ceased rising--had fallen again 1 millim.,
in fact. In the night the storm came on again--the same driving snow,
only with this difference, that now the wind is going round the compass
with the sun, so there must soon be an end of it. This is beginning to
be too much of a good thing; I am now seriously afraid that the Fram
will get home before us. I went for a walk inland yesterday. There
were flat clay and gravel stretches everywhere. I saw numerous traces
of geese, and in one place some white egg-shell, undoubtedly belonging
to a goose's egg." We therefore called the island Goose Island. [70]

"Tuesday, June 2d. Still lay weather-bound last night, and to-day it
has been windier than ever. But now, towards evening, it has begun
to abate a little, with a brightening sky and sunshine now and again;
so we hope that there will really be a change for the better. Here we
lie in a hollow in the snow, getting wetter and wetter, and thinking
that it is June already and everything looks beautiful at home, while
we have got no farther than this. But it cannot be much longer before
we are there. Oh, it is too much to think of! If only I could be sure
about the Fram! If she arrives before us, ah! what will those poor
waiting ones do?"

At length, on Wednesday, June 3d, we went on; but now the west wind
had driven the ice landward, so that there was no longer open sea to
travel south upon, and there was nothing for it but to go over the
ice along the land. However, the wind was from the north, and we could
put up a sail on our sledges, and thus get along pretty fast. We still
saw several walruses on the ice, and there were also some in the water
that were continually putting their heads up in the cracks and grunting
after us. The ice we were crossing here was remarkably thin and bad,
and as we got farther south it became even worse. It was so weighed
down with the masses of snow that lay upon it that there was water
beneath the snow wherever we turned. We had to make towards land as
quickly as possible, as it looked still worse farther south. By going
on snow-shoes, however, we kept fairly well on the top of the snow,
though often both sledge and snow-shoes sank down into the water
below and stuck fast, and no little trouble would be caused in getting
everything safely on to firmer ice again. At last, however, we got in
under a high, perpendicular basaltic cliff, [71] which swarmed with
auks. This was the first time we had seen these birds in any great
quantity; hitherto we had only seen one or two singly. We took it as
a sign that we were approaching better-known regions. Alongside of
it, to the southeast, there was a small rocky knoll, where numbers
of fulmar (Procellaria glacialis) seemed to be breeding. Our supply
of food was now getting very low, and we had been hoping for a visit
from some bear or other; but now that we needed them they of course
kept away. We then determined to shoot birds, but the auks flew too
high, and all we got was a couple of fulmars. As we just then passed
a herd of walruses we determined to take some of this despised food,
and we shot one of them, killing it on the spot. At the report the
others raised their heads a little, but only to let them fall again,
and went on sleeping. To get our prize skinned with these brutes lying
around us was not to be thought of, and we must drive them into the
water in some way or other. This was no easy matter, however. We went
up to them, shouted and halloed, but they only looked at us lazily,
and did not move. Then we hit them with snow-shoe staves; they became
angry, and struck their tusks into the ice until the chips flew, but
still would not move. At last, however, by continuing to poke and beat,
we drove the whole herd into the water, but it was not quick work. In
stately, dignified procession they drew back and shambled slowly off,
one after the other, to the water's edge. Here they again looked round
at us, grunting discontentedly, and then plunged into the water one
by one. But while we were cutting up their comrade they kept coming
up again in the crack beside us, grunting and creeping half up on
the ice, as if to demand an explanation of our conduct.

After having supplied ourselves with as much meat and blubber as we
thought we needed for the moment, as well as a quantity of blood, we
pitched our tent close by and boiled a good mess of blood porridge,
which consisted of a wonderful mixture of blood, powdered fish,
Indian meal, and blubber. We still had a good wind, and sailed away
merrily with our sledges all night. When we got to the promontory to
the south of us we came to open water, which here ran right up to the
edge of the glacier-covered land; and all we had to do was to launch
our kayaks and set off along by the glacier cliff, in open sea for
the first time this year. It was strange to be using paddles again
and to see the water swarming with birds--auks and little auks and
kittiwakes all round. The land was covered with glaciers, the basaltic
rock only projecting in one or two places. There were moraines, too,
in several places on the glaciers. We were not a little surprised,
after going some way, when we discovered a flock of eider-ducks on the
water. A little later we saw two geese sitting on the shore, and felt
as if we had come into quite civilized regions again. After a couple
of hours' paddling our progress south was stopped by shore-ice, while
the open water extended due west towards some land we had previously
seen in that direction, but which was now covered by mist. We were
very much in doubt as to which way to choose, whether to go on in
the open water westward--which must take us towards Spitzbergen--or
to leave it and again take to our sledges over the smooth shore-ice
to the south. Although the air was thick and we could not see far, we
felt convinced that by going over the ice we should at last reach open
water on the south side of these islands among which we were. Perhaps
we might there find a shorter route to Spitzbergen. In the meantime
morning was far advanced (June 5th), and we pitched our camp, well
pleased at having got so far south. [72]

As it was still so hazy the following day (Saturday, June 6th)
that we could not see any more of our surroundings than before,
and as there was a strong north wind, which would be inconvenient in
crossing the open sea westward, we determined on going southward over
the shore-ice. We were once more able to use a sail on our sledges, and
we got on better than ever. We often went along without any exertion;
we could stand on our snow-shoes, each in front of our sledge,
holding the steering-pole (a bamboo cane bound firmly to the stem
of the kayaks) and letting the wind carry us along. In the gusts we
often went along like feathers, at other times we had to pull a little
ourselves. We made good progress, and kept on until far into the night,
as we wanted to make as much use of the wind as possible. We crossed
right over the broad sound we had had in front of us, and did not stop
until we were able to pitch our camp by an island on its southern side.

Next evening (Sunday, June 7th) we went on again, still southward,
before the same northerly wind, and we could sail well. We had
hoped to be able to reach the land before we again pitched our camp,
but it was farther than we had thought, and at last, when morning
(Monday, June 8th) was far advanced, we had to stop in the middle
of the ice in a furious storm. The numerous islands among which we
now were seemed more and more mysterious to us. I find in my journal
for that day: "Are continually discovering new islands or lands to
the south. There is one great land of snow beyond us in the west,
and it seems to extend southward a long way." This snow land seemed
to us extremely mysterious; we had not yet discovered a single dark
patch upon it, only snow and ice everywhere. We had no clear idea of
its extent, as we had only caught glimpses of it now and then when the
mist lifted a little. It seemed to be quite low, but we thought that
it must be of a wider extent than any of the lands we had hitherto
travelled along. To the east we found island upon island, and sounds
and fjords the whole way along. We mapped it all as well as we could,
but this did not help us to find out where we were; they seemed to
be only a crowd of small islands, and every now and then a view of
what we took to be the ocean to the east opened up between them.

The ice over which we were now travelling was remarkably different
from that which we had had farther north, near our winter-hut; it
was considerably thinner, and covered, too, with very thick snow,
so that it was not in a good condition for travelling over. When,
therefore, the following day (Tuesday, June 9th), it also began to
stick in lumps to our snow-shoes and the sledge-runners, they both
worked rather heavily; but the wind was still favorable, and we
sailed along well notwithstanding. As we were sailing full speed,
flying before the wind, and had almost reached the land, Johansen
and his sledge suddenly sank down, and it was with difficulty that
he managed to back himself and his things against the wind and on to
the firmer ice. As I was rushing along, I saw that the snow in front
of me had a suspiciously wet color, and my snow-shoes began to cut
through; but fortunately I still had time to luff before any further
misfortune occurred. We had to take down our sails and make a long
detour westward, before we could continue our sail. Next day, also,
the snow clogged, but the wind had freshened, and we sailed better
than ever. As the land to the east [73] now appeared to trend to the
southeast, we steered for the southernmost point of a land to the
southwest. [74] It began to be more and more exciting. We thought we
must have covered about 14 miles that day, and reckoned that we must
be in 80° 8' north latitude, and we still had land in the south. If
it continued far in that direction it was certain that we could not
be on Franz Josef Land (as I still thought might be the case); but we
could not see far in this hazy atmosphere, and then it was remarkable
that the coast on the east began to run in an easterly direction. I
thought it might agree with Leigh-Smith's map of Markham Sound. In
that case we must have come south through a sound which neither he
nor Payer could have seen, and we were therefore not so far out of
our longitude, after all. But no! in our journey southward we could
not possibly have passed right across Payer's Dove Glacier and his
various islands and lands without having seen them. There must still be
a land farther west of this, between Franz Josef Land and Spitzbergen;
Payer's map could not be altogether wrong. I wanted to reach the land
in the southwest, but had to stop on the ice; it was too far.

"Our provisions are getting low; we have a little meat for one more
day, but there is no living thing to be seen, not a seal on the ice,
and no open water anywhere. How long is this going on? If we do not
soon reach open sea again, where there may be game to be had, things
will not look very pleasant.

"Tuesday, June 16th. The last few days have been so eventful that there
has been no time to write. I must try to make up for lost time this
beautiful morning, while the sun is peeping in under the tent. The
sea lies blue and shining outside, and one can lie and fancy one's
self at home on a June morning."

On Friday, June 12th, we started again at 4 A.M. with sails on our
sledges. There had been frost, so the snow was in much better condition
again. It had been very windy in the night, too, so we hoped for a good
day. On the preceding day it had cleared up so that we could at last
see distinctly the lands around. We now discovered that we must steer
in a more westerly direction than we had done during the preceding
days, in order to reach the south point of the land to the west. The
lands to the east disappeared eastward, so we had said good-bye to
them the day before. We now saw, too, that there was a broad sound
in the land to the west, [75] and that it was not one entire land,
as we had taken it to be. The land north of this sound was now so
far away that I could only just see it. In the meantime the wind had
dropped a good deal; the ice, too, became more and more uneven--it
was evident that we had come to the drift-ice, and it was much harder
work than we had expected. We could see by the air that there must
be open water to the south, and as we went on we heard, to our joy,
the sound of breakers. At 6 A.M. we stopped to rest a little, and on
going up on to a hummock to take a longitude observation I saw the
water not far off. From a higher piece of glacier-ice we could see
it better. It extended towards the promontory to the southwest. Even
though the wind had become a little westerly now, we still hoped to
be able to sail along the edge of the ice, and determined to go to
the water by the shortest way. We were quickly at the edge of the ice,
and once more saw the blue water spread out before us. We soon had our
kayaks lashed together and the sail up, and put to sea. Nor were our
hopes disappointed; we sailed well all day long. At times the wind
was so strong that we cut through the water, and the waves washed
unpleasantly over our kayaks; but we got on, and we had to put up with
being a little wet. We soon passed the point we had been making for,
[76] and here we saw that the land ran westward, that the edge of
the unbroken shore-ice extended in the same direction, and that we
had water in front of us. In good spirits, we sailed westward along
the margin of the ice. So we were at last at the south of the land
in which we had been wandering for so long, and where we had spent a
long winter. It struck me more than ever that, in spite of everything,
this south coast would agree well with Leigh Smith's map of Franz
Josef Land and the country surrounding their winter quarters; but
then I remembered Payer's map and dismissed the thought.

In the evening we put in to the edge of the ice, so as to stretch our
legs a little; they were stiff with sitting in the kayak all day, and
we wanted to get a little view over the water to the west by ascending
a hummock. As we went ashore the question arose as to how we should
moor our precious vessel. "Take one of the braces," said Johansen; he
was standing on the ice. "But is it strong enough?" "Yes," he answered;
"I have used it as a halyard on my sledge-sail all the time." "Oh,
well, it doesn't require much to hold these light kayaks," said I,
a little ashamed of having been so timid, and I moored them with the
halyard, which was a strap cut from a raw walrus hide. We had been on
the ice a little while, moving up and down close to the kayaks. The
wind had dropped considerably, and seemed to be more westerly, making
it doubtful whether we could make use of it any longer, and we went
up on to a hummock close by to ascertain this better. As we stood
there, Johansen suddenly cried, "I say! the kayaks are adrift!" We
ran down as hard as we could. They were already a little way out,
and were drifting quickly off; the painter had given way. "Here,
take my watch!" I said to Johansen, giving it to him; and as quickly
as possible I threw off some clothing, so as to be able to swim more
easily. I did not dare to take everything off, as I might so easily
get cramp. I sprang into the water, but the wind was off the ice, and
the light kayaks, with their high rigging, gave it a good hold. They
were already well out, and were drifting rapidly. The water was icy
cold; it was hard work swimming with clothes on; and the kayaks
drifted farther and farther, often quicker than I could swim. It
seemed more than doubtful whether I could manage it. But all our hope
was drifting there; all we possessed was on board--we had not even a
knife with us; and whether I got cramp and sank here, or turned back
without the kayaks, it would come to pretty much the same thing; so
I exerted myself to the utmost. When I got tired I turned over, and
swam on my back, and then I could see Johansen walking restlessly up
and down on the ice. Poor lad! He could not stand still, and thought
it dreadful not to be able to do anything. He had not much hope that
I could do it, but it would not improve matters in the least if he
threw himself into the water too. He said afterwards that these were
the worst moments he had ever lived through. But when I turned over
again and saw that I was nearer the kayaks, my courage rose, and I
redoubled my exertions. I felt, however, that my limbs were gradually
stiffening and losing all feeling, and I knew that in a short time
I should not be able to move them. But there was not far to go now;
if I could only hold out a little longer we should be saved--and I
went on. The strokes became more and more feeble, but the distance
became shorter and shorter, and I began to think I should reach the
kayaks. At last I was able to stretch out my hand to the snow-shoe
which lay across the sterns. I grasped it, pulled myself in to the
edge of the kayak--and we were saved! I tried to pull myself up,
but the whole of my body was so stiff with cold that this was an
impossibility. For a moment I thought that, after all, it was too
late; I was to get so far, but not be able to get in. After a little,
however, I managed to swing one leg up on to the edge of the sledge
which lay on the deck, and in this way managed to tumble up. There I
sat, but so stiff with cold that I had difficulty in paddling. Nor
was it easy to paddle in the double vessel, where I first had to
take one or two strokes on one side, and then step into the other
kayak to take a few strokes on the other side. If I had been able
to separate them, and row in one while I towed the other, it would
have been easy enough; but I could not undertake that piece of work,
for I should have been stiff before it was done; the thing to be done
was to keep warm by rowing as hard as I could. The cold had robbed my
whole body of feeling, but when the gusts of wind came they seemed to
go right through me as I stood there in my thin, wet woollen shirt. I
shivered, my teeth chattered, and I was numb almost all over; but I
could still use the paddle, and I should get warm when I got back on to
the ice again. Two auks were lying close to the bow, and the thought
of having auk for supper was too tempting; we were in want of food
now. I got hold of my gun and shot them with one discharge. Johansen
said afterwards that be started at the report, thinking some accident
had happened, and could not understand what I was about out there,
but when he saw me paddle and pick up two birds he thought I had gone
out of my mind. At last I managed to reach the edge of the ice, but
the current had driven me a long way from our landing-place. Johansen
came along the edge of the ice, jumped into the kayak beside me, and
we soon got back to our place, I was undeniably a good deal exhausted,
and could barely manage to crawl on land. I could scarcely stand;
and while I shook and trembled all over Johansen had to pull off the
wet things I had on, put on the few dry ones I still had in reserve,
and spread the sleeping-bag out upon the ice. I packed myself well
into it, and he covered me with the sail and everything he could find
to keep out the cold air. There I lay shivering for a long time, but
gradually the warmth began to return to my body. For some time longer,
however, my feet had no more feeling in them than icicles, for they
had been partly naked in the water. While Johansen put up the tent and
prepared supper, consisting of my two auks, I fell asleep. He let me
sleep quietly, and when I awoke supper had been ready for some time,
and stood simmering over the fire. Auk and hot soup soon effaced the
last traces of my swim. During the night my clothes were hung out to
dry, and the next day were all nearly dry again.

As the tidal current was strong here, and there was no wind for
sailing, we had to wait for the turn of the tide, so as not to have
the current against us; and it was not until late the following evening
that we went on again. We paddled and got on well until towards morning
(June 14th), when we came to some great herds of walrus on the ice. Our
supply of meat was exhausted but for some auks we had shot, and we
had not many pieces of blubber left. We would rather have had a bear,
but as we had seen none lately it was perhaps best to supply ourselves
here. We put in, and went up to one herd behind a hummock. We preferred
young ones, as they were much easier to manipulate; and there were
several here. I first shot one quite small, and then another. The
full-grown animals started up at the first report and looked round,
and at the second shot the whole herd began to go into the water. The
mothers, however, would not leave their dead young ones. One sniffed
at its young one, and pushed it, evidently unable to make out what
was the matter; it only saw the blood spurting from its head. It
cried and wailed like a human being. At last, when the herd began
to plunge in, the mother pushed her young one before her towards the
water. I now feared that I should lose my booty, and ran forward to
save it; but she was too quick for me. She took the young one by one
fore-leg, and disappeared with it like lightning into the depths. The
other mother did the same. I hardly knew how it had all happened, and
remained standing at the edge looking down after them. I thought the
young ones must rise to the surface again, but there was nothing to
be seen; they had disappeared for good. The mothers must have taken
them a long way. I then went towards another herd, where there were
also young ones, and shot one of them; but, made wiser by experience,
I shot the mother too. It was a touching sight to see her bend over her
dead young one before she was shot, and even in death she lay holding
it with one fore-leg. So now we had meat and blubber enough to last a
long time, and meat, too, that was delicious, for the side of young
walrus tastes like loin of mutton. To this we added a dozen auks,
so our larder was now well furnished with good food; and if we needed
more the water was full of auks and other food, so there was no dearth.

The walruses here were innumerable. The herds that had been lying on
the ice and had now disappeared were large; but there had been many
more in the water outside. It seemed to seethe with them on every
side, great and small; and when I estimate their number to have been
at least 300, it is certainly not over the mark.

At 1.30 the next morning (Monday, June 15th) we proceeded on our
way in beautifully calm weather. As walruses swarmed on all sides,
we did not much like paddling singly, and for some distance lashed
the kayaks together; for we knew how obtrusive these gentlemen could
be. The day before they had come pretty near, popped up close beside
my kayak, and several times followed us closely a long distance, but
without doing us any harm. I was inclined to think it was curiosity,
and that they were not really dangerous; but Johansen was not so sure
of this. He thought we had had experience to the contrary, and urged
that at any rate caution could do no harm. All day long we saw herds,
that often followed us a long way, pressing in round the kayaks. We
kept close to the edge of the ice; and if any came too near, we put
in, if possible, on an ice-foot. [77] We also kept close together
or beside one another. We paddled past one large herd on the ice,
and could hear them a long way off lowing like cows.

We glided quickly on along the coast, but unfortunately a mist hung
over it, so that it was often impossible to determine whether they
were channels or glaciers between the dark patches which we could just
distinguish upon it. I wanted very much to have seen a little more of
this land. My suspicion that we were in the neighborhood of the Leigh
Smith winter quarters had become stronger than ever. Our latitude, as
also the direction of the coast-line and the situation of the islands
and sounds, seemed to agree far too well to admit of the possibility
of imagining that another such group of islands could lie in the short
distance between Franz Josef Land and Spitzbergen. Such a coincidence
would be altogether too remarkable. Moreover, we caught glimpses
of land in the far west which in that case could not lie far from
Northeast Land. But Payer's map of the land north of this? Johansen
maintained, with reason, that Payer could not possibly have made such
mistakes as we should in that case be obliged to assume.

Towards morning we rowed for some time without seeing any walrus,
and now felt more secure. Just then we saw a solitary rover pop up
a little in front of us. Johansen, who was in front at the time,
put in to a sunken ledge of ice; and although I really thought that
this was caution carried to excess, I was on the point of following
his example. I had not got so far, however, when suddenly the walrus
shot up beside me, threw itself on to the edge of the kayak, took
hold farther over the deck with one fore-flipper, and, as it tried
to upset me, aimed a blow at the kayak with its tusks. I held on
as tightly as possible, so as not to be upset into the water, and
struck at the animal's head with the paddle as hard as I could. It
took hold of the kayak once more and tilted me up, so that the deck
was almost under water, then let go, and raised itself right up. I
seized my gun, but at the same moment it turned round and disappeared
as quickly as it had come. The whole thing had happened in a moment,
and I was just going to remark to Johansen that we were fortunate in
escaping so easily from that adventure, when I noticed that my legs
were wet. I listened, and now heard the water trickling into the kayak
under me. To turn and run her in on to the sunken ledge of ice was the
work of a moment, but I sank there. The thing was to get out and on
to the ice, the kayak all the time getting fuller. The edge of the ice
was high and loose, but I managed to get up; and Johansen, by tilting
the sinking kayak over to starboard, so that the leak came above the
water, managed to bring her to a place where the ice was low enough to
admit of our drawing her up. All I possessed was floating about inside,
soaked through. "What I most regret is that the water has got into the
photographic apparatus, and perhaps my precious photographs are ruined.

"So here we lie, with all our worldly goods spread out to dry and a
kayak that must be mended before we can face the walrus again. It is
a good big rent that he has made, at least six inches long; but it
is fortunate that it was no worse. How easily he might have wounded
me in the thigh with that tusk of his! And it would have fared ill
with me if we had been farther out, and not just at such a convenient
place by the edge of the ice, where there was a sunken ledge. The
sleeping-bag was soaking wet; we wrung it out as well as we could,
turned the hair outside, and have spent a capital night in it."

On the evening of the same day I wrote: "To-day I have patched
my kayak, and we have gone over all the seams in both kayaks with
stearine; so now we hope we shall be able to go on in quite sound
boats. In the meantime the walruses are lying outside, staring at us
with their great, round eyes, grunting and blowing, and now and then
clambering up on the edge of the ice, as though they wanted to drive
us away.

"Tuesday, June 23d.


                  "'Do I sleep? Do I dream?
                      Do I wonder and doubt?
                    Are things what they seem?
                      Or are visions about?'


What has happened? I can still scarcely grasp it. How incessant are
the vicissitudes in this wandering life! A few days ago swimming
in the water for dear life, attacked by walrus, living the savage
life which I have lived for more than a year now, and sure of a long
journey before us over ice and sea through unknown regions before we
should meet with other human beings--a journey full of the same ups
and downs, the same disappointments, that we have become so accustomed
to--and now living the life of a civilized European, surrounded by
everything that civilization can afford of luxury and good living, with
abundance of water, soap, towels, clean, soft woollen clothes, books,
and everything that we have been sighing for all these weary months.

"It was past midday on June 17th when I turned out to prepare
breakfast. I had been down to the edge of the ice to fetch salt-water,
had made up the fire, cut up the meat and put it in the pot, and had
already taken off one boot, preparatory to creeping into the bag again,
when I saw that the mist over the land had risen a little since the
preceding day. I thought it would be as well to take the opportunity
of having a look round, so I put on my boot again and went up on to
a hummock near to look at the land beyond. A gentle breeze came from
the land, bearing with it a confused noise of thousands of bird-voices
from the mountain there. As I listened to these sounds of life and
movement, watched flocks of auks flying to and fro above my head,
and as my eye followed the line of coast, stopping at the dark,
naked cliffs, glancing at the cold, icy plains and glaciers in a
land which I believed to be unseen by any human eye and untrodden
by any human foot, reposing in Arctic majesty behind its mantle of
mist--a sound suddenly reached my ear so like the barking of a dog
that I started. It was only a couple of barks, but it could not be
anything else. I strained my ears, but heard no more, only the same
bubbling noise of thousands of birds. I must have been mistaken,
after all; it was only birds I had heard; and again my eye passed
from sound to island in the west. Then the barking came again--first
single barks, then full cry; there was one deep bark, and one sharper;
there was no longer any room for doubt. At that moment I remembered
having heard two reports the day before which I thought sounded
like shots, but I had explained them away as noises in the ice. I
now shouted to Johansen that I heard dogs farther inland. Johansen
started up from the bag where he lay sleeping and tumbled out of the
tent. 'Dogs?' He could not quite take it in, but had to get up and
listen with his own ears while I got breakfast ready. He very much
doubted the possibility of such a thing, yet fancied once or twice
that he heard something which might be taken for the barking of dogs;
but then it was drowned again in the bird-noises, and, everything
considered, he thought that what I had heard was nothing more than
that. I said he might believe what he liked, but I meant to set off as
quickly as possible, and was impatient to get breakfast swallowed. I
had emptied the last of the Indian meal into the soup, feeling sure
that we should have farinaceous food enough by the evening. As we
were eating we discussed who it could be, whether our countrymen or
Englishmen. If it was the English expedition to Franz Josef Land which
had been in contemplation when we started, what should we do? 'Oh,
we'll just have to remain with them a day or two,' said Johansen,
'and then we'll have to go on to Spitzbergen, else it will be too long
before we get home.' We were quite agreed on this point; but we would
take care to get some good provisions for the voyage out of them. While
I went on, Johansen was to stay behind and mind the kayaks, so that we
should run no risk of their drifting away with the ice. I got out my
snow-shoes, glass, and gun, and was ready. Before starting I went up
once more to listen and look out a road across the uneven ice to the
land. But there was not a sound like the barking of dogs, only noisy
auks, harsh-toned little auks, and screaming kittiwakes. Was it these,
after all, that I had heard? I set off in doubt. Then in front of me
I saw the fresh tracks of an animal. They could hardly have been made
by a fox, for if they were, the foxes here must be bigger than any
I had ever seen. But dogs? Could a dog have been no more than a few
hundred paces from us in the night without barking, or without our
having heard it? It seemed scarcely probable; but, whatever it was,
it could never have been a fox. A wolf, then? I went on, my mind full
of strange thoughts, hovering between certainty and doubt. Was all
our toil, were all our troubles, privations, and sufferings to end
here? It seemed incredible, and yet--Out of the shadow-land of doubt,
certainty was at last beginning to dawn. Again the sound of a dog
yelping reached my ear, more distinctly than ever; I saw more and
more tracks which could be nothing but those of a dog. Among them
were foxes' tracks, and how small they looked! A long time passed,
and nothing was to be heard but the noise of the birds. Again arose
doubt as to whether it was all an illusion. Perhaps it was only a
dream. But then I remembered the dogs' tracks; they, at any rate,
were no delusion. But if there were people here we could scarcely be
on Gillies Land or a new land, as we had believed all the winter. We
must, after all, be on the south side of Franz Josef Land, and the
suspicion I had had a few days ago was correct, namely, that we had
come south through an unknown sound and out between Hooker Island
and Northbrook Island, and were now off the latter, in spite of the
impossibility of reconciling our position with Payer's map.

"It was with a strange mixture of feelings that I made my way in
towards land among the numerous hummocks and inequalities. Suddenly I
thought I heard a shout from a human voice, a strange voice, the first
for three years. How my heart beat and the blood rushed to my brain
as I ran up on to a hummock and hallooed with all the strength of my
lungs! Behind that one human voice in the midst of the icy desert--this
one message from life--stood home and she who was waiting there; and I
saw nothing else as I made my way between bergs and ice-ridges. Soon
I heard another shout, and saw, too, from an ice-ridge, a dark form
moving among the hummocks farther in. It was a dog; but farther off
came another figure, and that was a man. Who was it? Was it Jackson,
or one of his companions, or was it perhaps a fellow-countryman? We
approached one another quickly. I waved my hat; he did the same. I
heard him speak to the dog, and I listened. It was English, and as
I drew nearer I thought I recognized Mr. Jackson, whom I remembered
once to have seen.

"I raised my hat; we extended a hand to one another, with a hearty
'How do you do?' Above us a roof of mist shutting out the world
around, beneath our feet the rugged, packed drift-ice, and in the
background a glimpse of the land, all ice, glacier, and mist. On one
side the civilized European in an English check suit and high rubber
water-boots, well shaved, well groomed, bringing with him a perfume
of scented soap, perceptible to the wild man's sharpened senses; on
the other side the wild man clad in dirty rags, black with oil and
soot, with long uncombed hair and shaggy beard, black with smoke,
with a face in which the natural fair complexion could not possibly
be discerned through the thick layer of fat and soot which a winter's
endeavors with warm water, moss, rags, and at last a knife, had sought
in vain to remove. No one suspected who he was or whence he came.

"Jackson: 'I'm immensely glad to see you.'

"'Thank you; I also.'

"'Have you a ship here?'

"'No; my ship is not here.'

"'How many are there of you?'

"'I have one companion at the ice-edge.'

"As we talked, we had begun to go in towards land. I took it for
granted that he had recognized me, or at any rate understood who it
was that was hidden behind this savage exterior, not thinking that
a total stranger would be received so heartily. Suddenly he stopped,
looked me full in the face, and said, quickly:

"'Aren't you Nansen?'

"'Yes, I am.'

"'By Jove! I am glad to see you!'

"And he seized my hand and shook it again, while his whole face became
one smile of welcome, and delight at the unexpected meeting beamed
from his dark eyes.

"'Where have you come from now?' he asked.

"'I left the Fram in 84° north latitude, after having drifted for two
years, and I reached the 86° 15' parallel, where we had to turn and
make for Franz Josef Land. We were, however, obliged to stop for the
winter somewhere north here, and are now on our route to Spitzbergen.'

"'I congratulate you most heartily. You have made a good trip of it,
and I am awfully glad to be the first person to congratulate you on
your return.'

"Once more he seized my hand and shook it heartily. I could not
have been welcomed more warmly; that hand-shake was more than a mere
form. In his hospitable English manner, he said at once that he had
'plenty of room' for us, and that he was expecting his ship every
day. By 'plenty of room' I discovered afterwards that he meant that
there were still a few square feet on the floor of their hut that
were not occupied at night by himself and his sleeping companions. But
'heart-room makes house-room,' and of the former there was no lack. As
soon as I could get a word in, I asked how things were getting on
at home, and he was able to give me the welcome intelligence that
my wife and child had both been in the best of health when he left
two years ago. Then came Norway's turn, and Norwegian politics; but
he knew nothing about that, and I took it as a sign that they must
be all right too. He now asked if we could not go out at once and
fetch Johansen and our belongings; but I thought that our kayaks
would be too heavy for us to drag over this packed-up ice alone,
and that if he had men enough it would certainly be better to send
them out. If we only gave Johansen notice by a salute from our guns he
would wait patiently; so we each fired two shots. We soon met several
men--Mr. Armitage, the second in command; Mr. Child, the photographer;
and the doctor, Mr. Koetlitz. As they approached, Jackson gave them
a sign, and let them understand who I was; and I was again welcomed
heartily. We met yet others--the botanist, Mr. Fisher; Mr. Burgess,
and the Finn Blomqvist (his real name was Melenius). Fisher has since
told me that he at once thought it must be me when he saw a man out
on the ice; but he quite gave up that idea when he met me, for he had
seen me described as a fair man, and here was a dark man, with black
hair and beard. When they were all there, Jackson said that I had
reached 86° 15' north latitude, and from seven powerful lungs I was
given a triple British cheer that echoed among the hummocks. Jackson
immediately sent his men off to fetch sledges and go out to Johansen,
while we went on towards the house, which I now thought I could see on
the shore. Jackson now told me that he had letters for me from home,
and that both last spring and this he had had them with him when he
went north, on the chance of our meeting. We now found that in March
he must have been at no great distance south of our winter-hut, [78]
but had to turn there, as he was stopped by open water--the same open
water over which we had seen the dark atmosphere all the winter. Only
when we came up nearly to the houses did he inquire more particularly
about the Fram and our drifting, and I briefly told him our story. He
told me afterwards that from the time we met he had believed that the
ship had been destroyed, and that we two were the only survivors of the
expedition. He thought he had seen a sad expression in my face when he
first asked about the ship, and was afraid of touching on the subject
again. Indeed, he had even quietly warned his men not to ask. It was
only through a chance remark of mine that he found out his mistake,
and began to inquire more particularly about the Fram and the others.

"Then we arrived at the house, a low Russian timber hut lying on a
flat terrace, an old shore-line beneath the mountain, and 50 feet above
the sea. It was surrounded by a stable and four circular tent-houses,
in which stores were kept. We entered a comfortable, warm nest in
the midst of these desolate, wintry surroundings, the roof and walls
covered with green cloth. On the walls hung photographs, etchings,
photo-lithographs, and shelves everywhere, containing books and
instruments; under the roof clothes and shoes hung drying, and from
the little stove in the middle of the floor of this cozy room the
warm coal fire shone out a hospitable welcome. A strange feeling came
over me as I seated myself in a comfortable chair in these unwonted
surroundings. At one stroke of changing fate all responsibility,
all troubles were swept away from a mind that had been oppressed by
them during three long years; I was in a safe haven, in the midst of
the ice, and the longings of three years were lulled in the golden
sunshine of the dawning day. My duty was done; my task was ended;
now I could rest, only rest and wait.

"A carefully soldered tin packet was handed to me; it contained letters
from Norway. It was almost with a trembling hand and a beating heart
that I opened it; and there were tidings, only good tidings, from
home. A delightful feeling of peace settled upon the soul.

"Then dinner was served, and how nice it was to have bread, butter,
milk, sugar, coffee, and everything that a year had taught us to do
without and yet to long for! But the height of comfort was reached
when we were able to throw off our dirty rags, have a warm bath,
and get rid of as much dirt as was possible in one bout; but we only
succeeded in becoming anything like clean after several days and
many attempts. Then clean, soft clothes from head to foot, hair cut,
and the shaggy beard shaved off, and the transformation from savage
to European was complete, and even more sudden than in the reverse
direction. How delightfully comfortable it was to be able to put on
one's clothes without being made greasy, but, most of all, to be able
to move without feeling them stick to the body with every movement!

"It was not very long before Johansen and the others followed, with
the kayaks and our things. Johansen related how these warm-hearted
Englishmen had given him and the Norwegian flag a hearty cheer when
they came up and saw it waving beside a dirty woollen shirt on a
bamboo rod, which he had put up by my orders, so that I could find my
way back to him. On the way hither they had not allowed him to touch
the sledges, he had only to walk beside them like a passenger, and he
said that, of all the ways in which we had travelled over drift-ice,
this was without comparison the most comfortable. His reception in the
hut was scarcely less hospitable than mine, and he soon went through
the same transformation that I had undergone. I no longer recognize my
comrade of the long winter night, and search in vain for any trace of
the tramp who wandered up and down that desolate shore, beneath the
steep talus and the dark basalt cliff, outside the low underground
hut. The black, sooty troglodyte has vanished, and in his place sits a
well-favored, healthy-looking European citizen in a comfortable chair,
puffing away at a short pipe or a cigar, and with a book before him,
doing his best to learn English. It seems to me that he gets fatter
and fatter every day, with an almost alarming rapidity. It is indeed
surprising that we have both gained considerably in weight since we
left the Fram. When I came here I myself weighed about 14 1/2 stone,
or nearly 22 pounds more than I did when I left the Fram; while
Johansen weighs over 11 stone 11 pounds, having gained a little more
than 13 pounds. This is the result of a winter's feeding on nothing
but bear's meat and fat in an Arctic climate. It is not quite like
the experiences of others in parallel circumstances; it must be
our laziness that has done it. And here we are, living in peace and
quietness, waiting for the ship from home and for what the future will
bring us, while everything is being done for us to make us forget a
winter's privations. We could not have fallen into better hands, and
it is impossible to describe the unequalled hospitality and kindness
we meet with on all hands, and the comfort we feel. Is it the year's
privations and want of human society, is it common interests, that so
draw us to these men in these desolate regions? I do not know; but we
are never tired of talking, and it seems as if we had known one another
for years, instead of having met for the first time a few days ago.

"Wednesday, June 23d. It is now three years since we left home. As
we sat at the dinner-table this evening, Hayward, the cook, came
rushing in and said there was a bear outside. We went out, Jackson
with his camera and I with my rifle. We saw the head of the bear
above the edge of the shore; it was sniffing the air in the direction
of the hut, while a couple of dogs stood at a respectful distance
and barked. As we approached, it came right up over the edge to us,
stopped, showed its teeth, and hissed, then turned round and went
slowly back down towards the shore. To hinder it enough for Jackson
to get near and photograph it, I sent a bullet into its hind-quarters
as it disappeared over the edge. This helped, and a ball in the left
shoulder still more. Surrounded by a few dogs, it now made a stand. The
dogs grew bolder, and a couple of shots in the muzzle from Jackson's
revolver made the bear quite furious. It sprang first at one dog,
'Misère,' caught hold of it by the back, and flung it a good way out
over the ice, then sprang at the other, seizing it by one paw and
tearing one toe badly. It then found an old tin box, bit it flat,
and flung it far away. It was wild with fury, but a ball behind the
ear ended its sufferings. It was a she-bear with milk in the breast;
but there was no sign of any embryo, and no young one was discovered
in the neighborhood.

"Sunday, July 15th. This evening, when Jackson and the doctor were up
on the mountain shooting auks, the dogs began to make a tremendous
row (especially the bear-dog 'Nimrod,' which is chained outside
the door), and howled and whined in a suspicious manner. Armitage
went out, coming back a little while after and asking if I cared to
shoot a bear. I accompanied him with my rifle and camera. The bear
had taken flight to a little hummock out on the ice south of the
house, and was lying at full length on the top of it, with 'Misère'
and a couple of puppies round it, standing at a little distance and
barking persistently. As we approached it fled over the ice. The
range was long, but, nevertheless, we sent a few shots after it,
thinking we might perhaps retard its progress. With one of these
I was fortunate enough to hit it in the hind-quarters, and it now
fled to a new ice-hill. Here I was able to get nearer to it. It was
evidently very much enraged; and when I came under the hummock where
it stood it showed its teeth and hissed at me, and repeatedly gave
signs of wanting to jump down on to the top of me. On these occasions
I rapidly got ready my rifle instead of the camera. It scraped away
the loose snow from under its feet to get a better footing for the
leap which, however, it never took; and I re-exchanged my rifle for
my camera. In the meantime, Jackson had arrived with his camera on
the other side; and when we had taken all the photographs we wanted
we shot the bear. It was an unusually large she-bear."

One of the first things we did when we came to Mr. Jackson's station
was of course to make a close comparison of our watches with his
chronometer; and Mr. Armitage was also kind enough to take careful
time-observations for me. It now appears that we had not been so far
out, after all. We had put our watches about 26 minutes wrong, making
a difference of about 6 1/2° in longitude. A protracted comparison
undertaken by Mr. Armitage also showed that the escapement of our
watches was very nearly what we had assumed. With the help of this
information I was now enabled to work out our longitude observations
pretty correctly; and one of the first tasks I here set about, now
that we once more had access to paper, writing and drawing materials,
and all that we had longed for so much during the winter, was to
prepare a sketch-map of Franz Josef Land, as our observations led me to
conclude that it must actually be. Mr. Jackson very kindly allowed me
to consult the map he had made of that part of the land which he had
explored. This enabled me to dispense with the labor of reckoning out
my own observations in these localities. Furthermore, I have to thank
Mr. Jackson for aid in every possible way, with navigation-tables,
nautical almanac, [79] scales, and all sorts of drawing material.

It is by a comparison of Payer's map, Jackson's map, and my own
observations that I have made out the sketch-map reproduced on page
599. I have altered Payer's and Jackson's map only at places where my
observations differ essentially from theirs. I make no pretence to give
more than a provisional sketch; I had not even time to work out my own
observations with absolute accuracy. When this has been done, and if I
can gain access to all Payer's material, no doubt a considerably more
trustworthy map can be produced. The only importance which I claim for
the accompanying map is that it shows roughly how what we have hitherto
called Franz Josef Land is cut up into innumerable small islands,
without any continuous and extensive mass of land. Much of Payer's
map I found to coincide well enough with our observations. But the
enigma over which we had pondered the whole winter still remained
unsolved. Where was Dove Glacier and the whole northern part of
Wilczek Land? Where were the islands which Payer had named Braun
Island, Hoffmann Island, and Freeden Island? The last might, no
doubt, be identified with the southernmost island of Hvidtenland
(White Land), but the others had completely disappeared. I pondered
for a long time over the question how such a mistake could have
crept into a map by such a man as Payer--an experienced topographer,
whose maps, as a rule, bear the stamp of great accuracy and care,
and a polar traveller for whose ability I have always entertained
a high respect. I examined his account of his voyage, and there
I found that he expressly mentions that during the time he was
coasting along this Dove Glacier he had a great deal of fog, which
quite concealed the land ahead. But one day (it was April 7, 1874)
he says: [80] "At this latitude (81° 23') it seemed as if Wilczek
Land suddenly terminated, but when the sun scattered the driving
mists we saw the glittering ranges of its enormous glaciers--the Dove
Glaciers--shining down on us. Towards the northeast we could trace
land trending to a cape lying in the gray distance: Cape Buda-Pesth,
as it was afterwards called. The prospect thus opened to us of a vast
glacier land conflicted with the general impression we had formed of
the resemblance between the newly discovered region and Spitzbergen;
for glaciers of such extraordinary magnitude presuppose the existence
of a country stretching far into the interior."

I have often thought over this description, and I cannot find
in Payer's book any other information that throws light upon the
mystery. Although, according to this, it would appear as if they
had had clear weather that day, there must, nevertheless, have been
fog-banks lying over Hvidtenland, uniting it with Wilczek Land to
the south and stretching northward towards Crown Prince Rudolf
Land. The sun shining on these fog-banks must have glittered so
that they were taken for glaciers along a continuous coast. I can
all the more easily understand this mistake, as I was myself on the
point of falling into it. As before related, if the weather had not
cleared on the evening of June 11th, enabling us to discern the sound
between Northbrook Island and Peter Head (Alexandra Land), we should
have remained under the impression that we had here continuous land,
and should have represented it as such in mapping this region.

Mr. Jackson and I frequently discussed the naming of the lands we had
explored. I asked him whether he would object to my naming the land on
which I had wintered "Frederick Jackson's Island," as a small token
of our gratitude for the hospitality he had shown us. We had made
the discovery that this island was separated by sounds from the land
farther north which Payer had named Karl Alexander Land. For the rest,
I refrained from giving names to any of the places which Jackson had
seen before I saw them.

The country around Cape Flora proved to be very interesting from
the geological point of view, and as often as time permitted I
investigated its structure, either alone, or more frequently in
company with the doctor and geologist of the English expedition,
Dr. Koetlitz. Many an interesting excursion did we make together up
and down those steep moraines in search of fossils, which in certain
places we found in great numbers. It appeared that from the sea-level
up to a height of about 500 or 600 feet the land consisted of a soft
clay mixed with lumps of a red-brown clay sandstone, in which lumps
the fossils chiefly abounded. But the earth was so overstrewn with
loose stones, which had rolled down from the basalt walls above,
that it was difficult to reach it. For a long time I maintained
that all this clay was only a comparatively late strand formation;
but the doctor was indefatigable in his efforts to convince me that
it really was an old and very extensive formation, stretching right
under the superimposed basalt. At last I had to yield, when we arrived
at the topmost stratum of the clay and I saw it actually going under
the basalt, and found some shallower strata of basalt lower down in
the clay. An examination of the fossils, which consisted for the most
part of ammonites and belemnites, convinced me that the whole of this
clay formation must date from the Jurassic period. At several places
Dr. Koetlitz had found thin strata of coal in the clay. Petrified
wood was also of common occurrence. But over the clay formation
lay a mighty bed of basalt 600 or 700 feet in height, which was
certainly not the least interesting feature of the country. It was
distinguished by its coarse-grained structure from the majority of
typical basalts, and seemed to be closely related to those which are
found in Spitsbergen and Northeast Land. [81] The basalt, however,
seems to vary a good deal in appearance here in Franz Josef Land. That
which we found farther north--for example, at Cape M'Clintock and on
Goose Island--was considerably more coarse-grained than that which
we found here. The situation of the basalt here on Northbrook Island
and the surrounding islands was also very different from that which we
had observed farther north. It is here met with, as a rule, only at a
height of 500 or 600 feet above the sea, while on the more northerly
islands--from 81° northward--it reached right to the shore. Thus
it dropped in an almost perpendicular wall straight into the sea at
Jackson's Cape Fisher, in 81°. It was the same at Cape M'Clintock,
at our winter cabin, at the headland of columnar basalt where we
passed the night of August 25, 1895, at Cape Clements Markham, and at
the sharp point of rock where we landed on the night between August
16th and 17th. The structure seemed to be similar, too, so far as we
had seen, on the south side of Crown Prince Rudolf's Land. Wherever
we had been to the northward I had kept a sharp lookout for strata
whose fossils could give us any information as to the geological
age of this country. According to what I here found at Cape Flora,
it appeared as if a great part at least of this basalt dated from the
Jurassic period, as it lay immediately above, and was partly intermixed
with, strata of this age. Moreover, on the top of the basalt, as will
presently appear, vegetable fossils were found dating from the later
part of the Jurassic period. It thus seems as though Franz Josef Land
were of a comparatively old formation. All these horizontal strata
of basalt, stretching over all the islands at about the same height,
seem to indicate that there was once a continuous mass of land here,
which in the course of time, being exposed to various disintegrating
forces, such as frost, damp, snow, glaciers, and the sea, has been
split up and worn away, and has in part disappeared under the sea,
so that now only scattered islands and rocks remain, separated from
each other by fjords and sounds. As these formations bear a certain
resemblance to what has been found in several places in Spitzbergen
and Northeast Land, we may plausibly assume that these two groups
of islands originally belonged to the same mass of land. It would
therefore be interesting to investigate the as yet unknown region which
separates them, the region which we should have had to traverse had
we not fallen in with Jackson and his expedition. There is doubtless
much that is new, and especially many new islands, to be found in this
strait--possibly a continuous series of islands, so that there may be
some difficulty in determining where the one archipelago ends and the
other begins. The investigation of this region is a problem of no small
scientific importance, which we may hope that the Jackson-Harmsworth
expedition will succeed in solving.

How far the Franz Josef Land archipelago stretches towards the
north cannot as yet be determined with certainty. According to our
experience, indeed, it would seem improbable that there is land of
any great extent in that direction. It is true that Payer, when he
was upon Crown Prince Rudolf's Land, saw Petermann's Land and Oscar's
Land, the first to the north and the second to the west; but that
Petermann's Land, at any rate, cannot be of any size seems to be
proved by our observations, since we saw no land at all as we came
southward a good way east of it, and the ice seemed to drift to the
westward practically unimpeded when we were in its latitude. That
King Oscar's Land also cannot be of any great extent seems to me
evident from what we saw in the course of the winter and spring,
as the wind swept the ice unhindered away from the land, so that
there can scarcely be any extensive and continuous mass of land to
the north or northwest to keep it back.

It is, perhaps, even more difficult to determine how far the Franz
Josef Land archipelago stretches to the eastward. From all we saw,
I should judge that Wilczek Land cannot be of any great extent;
but there may nevertheless be new islands farther to the east. This
seems probable, indeed, from the fact that in June and July, 1895,
we remained almost motionless at about 82° 5' north latitude, in spite
of a long continuance of northerly winds; whence it seemed that there
must be a stretch of land south of us obstructing, like a long wall,
the farther drift of the ice to the southward. But it is useless to
discuss this question minutely here, as it, too, will doubtless be
answered authoritatively by the English expedition.

Another feature of Northbrook Island which greatly interested me was
the evidence it presented of changes in the level of the sea. I have
already mentioned that Jackson's hut lay on an old strand-line or
terrace about from 40 to 50 feet high, but there were also several
other strand-lines, both lower and higher. Thus I found that Leigh
Smith, who also had wintered on this headland, had built his hut upon
an old strand-line 17 feet above the sea-level, while at other places
I found strand-lines at a height of 80 feet. I had already noticed
such strand-lines at different elevations when I first arrived in the
previous autumn at the more northern part of this region (for example,
on Torup's Island). Indeed, we had lived all winter on such a terrace.

Jackson had found whales' skeletons at several places about Cape
Flora. Close to his hut, for instance, at a height of 50 feet, there
lay the skull of a whale, a balæna, possibly a Greenland whale (Balæna
mysticetus?). At a point farther north there lay fragments of a whole
skeleton, probably of the same species. The underjaw was 18 feet 3
inches long; but these bones lay at an elevation of not more than 9
feet above the present sea-level. I also found other indications that
the sea must at a comparatively recent period have risen above these
low strand-terraces. For instance, they were at many points strewn
with mussel-shells. This land, then, seems to have been subjected
to changes of level analogous to those which have occurred in other
northern countries, of which, as above mentioned, I had also seen
indications on the north coast of Asia.

One day when Mr. Jackson and Dr. Koetlitz were out on an excursion
together they found on a "nunatak," or spur of rock, projecting above a
glacier on the north side of Cape Flora, two places which were strewn
with vegetable fossils. This discovery, of course, aroused my keenest
interest, and on July 17th Dr. Koetlitz and I set out for the spot
together. The spur of rock consisted entirely of basalt, at some points
showing a marked columnar structure, and projected in the middle of
the glacier, at a height which I estimated at 600 or 700 feet above
the sea. Unfortunately, there was no time to measure its elevation
exactly. At two points on the surface of the basalt there was a layer
consisting of innumerable fragments of sandstone. In almost every
one of these impressions were to be found, for the most part, of the
needles and leaves of pine-trees, but also of small fern-leaves. We
picked up as many of these treasures as we could carry, and returned
that evening heavily laden and in high contentment. On a snow-shoe
excursion some days later Johansen also chanced unwittingly upon the
same place, and gathered fossils, which he brought to me. Since my
return home this collection of vegetable fossils has been examined by
Professor Nathorst, and it appears that Mr. Jackson and Dr. Koetlitz
have here made an extremely interesting find.



Professor Nathorst writes to me as follows: "In spite of their very
fragmentary condition the vegetable fossils brought home by you
are of great interest, as they give us our first insight into the
plant-world in regions north of the eightieth degree of latitude during
the latter part of the Jurassic period. The most common are leaves
of a fir-tree (Pinus) which resembles the Pinus Nordenskiöldi (Heer)
found in the Jurassic strata of Spitzbergen, East Siberia, and Japan,
but which probably belongs to a different species. There occur also
narrower leaves of another species, and furthermore male flowers and
fragments of a pine cone [82] with several seeds (Figs. 1-3), one of
which (Fig. 1) suggests the Pinus Maakiana (Heer) from the Jurassic
strata of Siberia. Among traces of other pine-trees may be mentioned
those of a broad-leaved Taxites, resembling Taxites gramineus (Heer),
specially found in the Jurassic strata of Spitzbergen and Siberia,
which has leaves of about the same size as those of the Cephalotaxus
Fortunei, at present existing in China and Japan. It is interesting,
too, to find remains of the genus Feildenia (Figs. 4 and 5), which has
as yet been found only in the polar regions. It was first discovered
by Nordenskiöld in the Tertiary strata near Cape Staratschin,
on Spitzbergen, in 1868, and was described by Heer under the name
of Torellia. It was subsequently found by Feilden in the Tertiary
strata at Discovery Bay, in Grinnell Land, during the English Polar
Expedition of 1875-76; and Heer now changed the generic name to
Feildenia, as Torellia had already been employed as the name of a
mussel. This species has since been found by me in 1882 in the Upper
Jurassic strata of Spitzbergen. The leaves remind one of the leaves
of the subspecies nageia of the existing genus Podocarpus.

"The finest specimens of the whole collection are the leaves of a small
Gingko, of which one is complete (Fig. 6). This genus, with plum-like
seeds and with leaves which, unlike those of other pine-trees, have
a real leaf-blade, is found at present, in one single species only,
in Japan, but existed in former times in numerous forms and in many
regions. During the Jurassic period it flourished especially in East
Siberia, and has also been found on Spitzbergen, in East Greenland
(at Scoresby Sound), and at many places in Europe, etc. During the
Cretaceous and the Tertiary periods it was still found on the west
coast of Greenland at 70° north latitude. The leaf here reproduced
belongs to a new species, which might be called Gingko polaris, and
which is most closely related to the G. flabellata (Heer) from the
Jurassic strata of Siberia. It bears a certain habitual resemblance
to Gingko digitata (Lindley and Hutton), particularly as found in
the brown Jurassic strata of England and Spitzbergen; but its leaves
are considerably smaller. Besides this species, one or two others may
also occur in this collection, as well as fragments of the leaves of
the genus Czekanowskia, related to the Gingko family, but with narrow
leaf-blades resembling pine-needles.

"Ferns are very scantily represented. Such fragments as there are
belong to four different types; but the species can scarcely be
determined. One fragment belongs to the genus Cladophlebis, common
in Jurassic strata; another suggests the Thyrsopteris, found in the
Jurassic strata of East Siberia and of England; a third suggests the
Onychiopsis characteristic of the Upper Jurassic strata. The fourth,
again, seems to be closely related to the Asplenium (Petruschinense),
which Heer has described, found in the Siberian Jurassic strata. The
specimen is remarkable from the fact that the epidermis cells of the
leaf have left a clear impression on the rock.

"With its wealth of pine leaves, its poverty of ferns, and its
lack of Cycadaceæ, this Franz Josef Land flora has somewhat the same
character as that of the Upper Jurassic flora of Spitzbergen, although
the species are somewhat different. Like the Spitzbergen flora, it
does not indicate a particularly genial climate, although doubtless
enormously more so than that of the present day. The deposits must
doubtless have occurred in the neighborhood of a pine forest. So far as
the specimens enable one to judge, the flora seems to belong rather to
the Upper (White) Jurassic system than to the Middle (Brown) system."



It was undeniably a sudden transition to come straight from our
long inert life in our winter lair, where one's scientific interests
found little enough stimulus, right into the midst of this scientific
oasis, where there was plenty of opportunity for work, where books
and all necessary apparatus were at hand, and where one could employ
one's leisure moments in discussing with men of similar tastes all
sorts of scientific questions connected with the Arctic zone. In the
botanist of the expedition, Mr. Harry Fisher, I found a man full of
the warmest interest in the fauna and flora of the polar regions, and
the exhaustive investigations which his residence here has enabled him
to make into the plant-life and animal-life (especially the former) of
the locality, both by sea and land, will certainly augment in a most
valuable degree our knowledge of its biological conditions. I shall
not easily forget the many pleasant talks in which he communicated to
me his discoveries and observations. They were all eagerly absorbed
by a mind long deprived of such sustenance. I felt like a piece of
parched soil drinking in rain after a drouth of a whole year.

But other diversions were also available. If my brain grew fatigued
with unwonted labor, I could set off with Jackson for the top of
the moraine to shoot auks, which swarmed under the basalt walls. They
roosted in hundreds and hundreds on the shelves and ledges above us; at
other places the kittiwakes brooded on their nests. It was a refreshing
scene of life and activity. As we stood up there at a height of 500
feet, and could look far out over the sea, the auks flew in swarms
backward and forward over our heads, and every now and then we would
knock over one or two as they passed. Every time a gun was fired the
report echoed through all the rocky clefts, and thousands of birds flew
shrieking down from the ledges. It seemed as though a blast of wind
had swept a great dust-cloud down from the crest above; but little by
little they returned to their nests, many of them meanwhile falling
to our guns. Jackson had here a capital larder, and he made ample
use of it. Almost every day he was up under the rock shooting auks,
which formed a daily dish at dinner. In the autumn great stores of
them were laid in to last through the winter. At other times Jackson
and Blomqvist would go up and gather eggs. They dragged a ladder up
with them, and by its aid Jackson clambered up the perpendicular
cliffs. This egg-hunting among the loose basalt cliffs, where the
stones were perpetually slipping away from under one, appeared to
me such dare-devil work that I was chary in taking part in it. Far
be it from me to deny, however, that the eggs made delicious eating,
whether we had them soft-boiled for breakfast or made into pancakes for
dinner. It was remarkable how entirely I had got out of training for
climbing in precipitous places. I well remember that the first time I
went up the moraine with Jackson I had to stop and take breath every
hundred paces or so. This was, no doubt, due to our long inactivity;
perhaps, too, I had become somewhat anæmic during the winter in our
lair. But there was more than that in it; the very height and steepness
made me uneasy; I was inclined to turn dizzy, and had great difficulty
in coming down again, preferring, if possible, simply to sit down
and slide. After a while this passed off a little, and I became more
accustomed to the heights again. I also became less short-winded,
and at last I could climb almost like a normal human being.

In the meantime the days wore on, and still we saw nothing of the
Windward. Johansen and I began to get a little impatient. We discussed
the possibility that the ship might not make its way through the
ice, and that we should have to winter here, after all. This idea
was not particularly attractive to us--to be so near home and yet
not to reach home. We regretted that we had not at once pushed on
for Spitzbergen; perhaps we should by this time have reached the
much-talked-of sloop. When we came to think of it, why on earth had
we stopped here? That was easily explained. These people were so kind
and hospitable to us that it would have been more than Spartan had we
been able to resist their amiability. And then we had gone through a
good deal before we arrived, and here was a warm, cozy nest, where
we had nothing to do but to sit down and wait. Waiting, however,
is not always the easiest of work, and we began seriously to think
of setting off again for Spitzbergen. But had we not delayed too
long? It was the middle of July, and although we should probably
get on quickly enough, we might meet with unexpected impediments,
and it might take us a month or more to reach the waters in which
we could hope to find a ship. That would bring us to the middle or
perhaps to the end of August, by which time the sloops had begun to
make for home. If we did not come across one at once, when we got
into September it would be difficult enough to get hold of one, and
then we should perhaps be in for another winter of it, after all. No,
it was best to remain here, for there was every chance that the ship
would make its appearance. The best time for navigating these waters
is August and the beginning of September, when there is generally
the least ice. We must trust to that, and let the time pass as best
it might. There were others than we who waited impatiently for the
ship. Four members of the English expedition were also to go home in
her, after two years' absence.

"Monday, July 20th. We begin to get more and more impatient for
the arrival of the vessel, but the ice is still tolerably thick
here. Jackson says that she should have been here by the middle
of June, and thinks that there has several times been sufficiently
open water for her to have got through; but I have my doubts about
that. Though only a little scattered ice is to be seen here, even from
a height of 500 feet, that does not mean much; there may be more ice
farther south blocking the way. One day Jackson and the doctor were on
the top of the mountain here, and from that point, too, there seemed
to be very little ice in the south; but I am not convinced any the
more. I think all experience goes to show that there must still be
plenty of ice in the sea to the south. What Mr. Jackson says about the
Windward having been able to get through as early as July last year
without needing to touch the ice, adding that then, too, there was
no ice to be seen from here, I do not find at all conclusive. During
the last few days more ice has again come drifting in from the east. I
long to get away. What if we are shut in here all the winter? Then we
shall have done wrong in stopping here. Why did we not continue our
journey to Spitzbergen? We should have been at home by now. The eye
wanders out over the boundless white plain. Not one dark streak of
water--ice, ice!--shut out from the world, from the throbbing life,
the life that we believed to be so near.

"Low down on the horizon there is a strip of blue-gray cloud. Far,
far away beyond the ice there is open water, and perhaps there, rocked
on long swelling billows from the great ocean, lies the vessel which
is to bear us to the familiar shores, the vessel which brings tidings
from home and from those we love.

"Dream, dream of home and beauty! Stray bird, here among the ice and
snow you will seek for them all in vain. Dream the golden dream of
future reunion!

"Tuesday, July 21st. Have at last got a good wind from the north which
is sending the ice out to sea. There is nothing but open sea to be
seen this evening; now perhaps there is hope of soon seeing the vessel.

"Wednesday, July 22d. Continual changes and continual
disappointments. Yesterday hope was strong; to-day the wind has
changed to the southeast, and driven the ice in again. We may still
have to wait a long time.

"Sunday, July 26th. The vessel has come at last. I was awakened this
morning by feeling some one pull my legs. It was Jackson, who, with
beaming countenance, announced that the Windward had come. I jumped
up and looked out of the window. There she was, just beyond the edge
of the ice, steaming slowly in to find an anchorage. Wonderful to
see a ship again! How high the rigging seemed, and the hull! It was
like an island. There would be tidings on board from the great world
far beyond."

There was a great stir. Every man was up, arrayed in the most wonderful
costumes, to gaze out of the window. Jackson and Blomqvist rushed off
as soon as they had got on their clothes. As I scarcely had anything
to do on board at present I went to bed again, but it was not long
before Blomqvist came panting back, sent by the thoughtful Jackson,
to say that all was well at home, and that nothing had been heard of
the Fram. This was the first thing Jackson had asked about. I felt my
heart as light as a feather. He said, too, that when Jackson had told
the men who had come to meet him on the ice about us and our journey,
they had greeted the intelligence with three hearty cheers.

I had hardly slept two hours that night, and not much more the night
before. I tried to sleep, but there was no rest to be had; I might just
as well dress and go on board. As I drew near the vessel I was greeted
with ringing cheers by the whole crew gathered on the deck, where I
was heartily received by the excellent Captain Brown, commander of the
Windward; by Dr. Bruce and Mr. Wilton, who were both to winter with
Jackson, and by the ship's company. We went below into the roomy, snug
cabin, and all kinds of news were eagerly swallowed by listening ears,
while an excellent breakfast with fresh potatoes and other delicacies
glided down past a palate which needed less than that to satisfy
it. There were remarkable pieces of news indeed. One of the first was
that now they could photograph people through doors several inches
thick. I confess I pricked up my ears at this information. That they
could photograph a bullet buried in a person's body was wonderful too,
but nothing to this. And then we heard that the Japanese had thrashed
the Chinese, and a good deal more. Not least remarkable, we thought,
was the interest which the whole world now seemed to take in the
Arctic regions. Spitzbergen had become a tourist country; a Norwegian
steamship company (the Vesteraalen) had started a regular passenger
service to it, [83] a hotel had been built up there, and there was
a post-office and a Spitzbergen stamp. And then we heard that Andrée
was there waiting for wind to go to the Pole in a balloon. If we had
pursued our course to Spitzbergen we should thus have dropped into the
very middle of all this. We should have found a hotel and tourists,
and should have been brought home in a comfortable modern steamboat,
very different from the whaling-sloop we had been talking of all the
winter, and, indeed, all the previous year. People are apt to think
that it would be amusing to see themselves, and I form no exception to
this rule. I would have given a good deal to see us in our unwashed,
unsophisticated condition, as we came out of our winter lair, plumping
into the middle of a band of English tourists, male and female. I doubt
whether there would then have been much embracing or shaking of hands,
but I don't doubt that there would have been a great deal of peering
through ventilators or any other loophole that could have been found.

The Windward had left London on June 9th, and Vardö on the 25th. They
had brought four reindeer with them for Jackson, but no horses,
as he had expected. [84] One reindeer had died on the voyage.

Every one was now busily employed in unlading the Windward, and
bringing to land the supplies of provisions, coal, reindeer-moss,
and other such things which it had brought for the expedition. Both
the ship's crew and the members of the English expedition took part
in this work, which proceeded rapidly, and had soon made a level road
over the uneven ice; and now load after load was driven on sledges to
land. In less than a week Captain Brown was ready to start for home,
and only awaited Jackson's letters and telegrams. They took a few
more days, and then everything was ready. In the meantime, however,
a gale had sprung up, blowing on the shore, the Windward's moorings
at the edge of the ice had given way, she was set adrift and obliged
to seek a haven farther in, where, however, it was so shallow that
there was only one or two feet of water beneath her keel. Meanwhile,
the wind drove the ice in, the navigable water closed in all round it
outside, and the floes were continually drawing nearer. For a time the
situation looked anything but pleasant; but fortunately the ice did
not reach the vessel, and she thus escaped being screwed out of the
water. After a delay of a couple of days on this account the vessel
got out again.

And now we were to bid adieu to this last station on our route, where
we had met with such a cordial and hospitable reception. A feverish
energy came over the little colony. Those who were going home had to
make themselves ready for the voyage, and those who were to remain
had to bring their letters and other things on board. This, however,
was sufficiently difficult. The vessel lay waiting impatiently and
incessantly sounding her steam-whistle; and a quantity of loose ice
had packed itself together outside the edge of the shore-ice, so that
it was not easy to move. At last, however, those who were to remain had
gone on shore, and we who were going home were all on board--that is to
say, Mr. Fisher, the botanist; Mr. Child, the chemist; Mr. Burgess; and
the Finn, Blomqvist, of the English expedition, along with Johansen and
myself. As the sun burst through the clouds above Cape Flora we waved
our hats, and sent our last cheer as a farewell to the six men standing
like a little dark spot on the floe in that great icy solitude; and
under full sail and steam we set out on August 7th, with a fair wind,
over the undulating surface of the ocean, towards the south.

Fortune favored us. On her northward voyage the Windward had much and
difficult ice to combat with before she at last broke through and came
in to land. Now, too, we met a quantity of ice, but it was slack and
comparatively easy to get through. We were stopped in a few places,
and had to break a way through with the engine; but the ship was
in good hands. From his long experience as a whaler, Captain Brown
knew well how to contend with greater odds than the thin ice we met
with here--the only ice that is found in this sea. From morning till
night he sat up in the crow's-nest as long as there was a bit of ice
in the water. He gave himself little time for sleep; the point was,
as he often said to me, to bring us home before the Fram arrived,
for he understood well what a blow it would give to those near and
dear to us if she got home before us. Thanks to him, we had as short
and pleasant a homeward voyage as few, if any, can have had from
these inhospitable regions, where we had spent three years. From the
moment we set foot on deck, he did everything to make us comfortable
and at home on board, and we spent many a pleasant hour together,
which will never be forgotten by either of us. But it was not only
the captain who treated us in this way. Every man of the excellent
crew showed us kindness and goodwill in every way. I cannot think of
them--of the little steward, for instance, when he popped his head
into the cabin to ask what he could get for us, or wakened me in the
morning with his cheery voice, or sang his songs for us--without a
feeling of unspeakable well-being and happiness. Then, too, we were
continually drawing nearer home; we could count the days and hours
that must pass before we could reach a Norwegian port and be once
more in communication with the world.

From the experience he had had on the northward voyage, Captain Brown
had come to the conclusion that he would find his way out of the ice
most easily by first steering in a southeasterly direction towards
Novaya Zemlya, which he thought would be the nearest way to the open
sea. This proved also to be exactly the case. After having gone about
220 knots through the ice, we came into the open sea at the end of
a long bay, which ran northward into the ice. It was just at the
right spot; had we been a little farther east or a little farther
west, we might have spent as many weeks drifting about in the ice
as we now spent days in it. Once more we saw the blue ocean itself
in front of us, and we shaped our course straight for Vardö. It was
an indescribably delightful feeling once more to gaze over the blue
expanse, as we paced up and down the deck, and were day by day carried
nearer home. One morning, as we stood looking over the sea, our gaze
was arrested by something; what could that be on the horizon? We ran
on to the bridge and looked through the glass. The first sail. Fancy
being once more in waters where other people went to and fro! But
it was far away; we could not go to it. Then we saw more, and later
in the day four great monsters ahead. They were British men-of-war,
probably on their way home after having been at Vadsö for the eclipse
of the sun, which was to have taken place on August 9th. Later in
the evening (August 12th) I saw something dark ahead, low down on the
horizon. What was it? I saw it on the starboard bow, stretching low
and even towards the south. I looked again and again. It was land,
it was Norway! I stood as if turned to stone, and gazed and gazed out
into the night at this same dark line, and fear began to tremble in
my breast. What were the tidings that awaited me there?

When I came on deck next morning we were close under the land. It was
a bare and naked shore we had come up to, scarcely more inviting than
the land we had left up in the mist of the Arctic Ocean--but it was
Norway. The captain had mistaken the coast in the night and had come
in too far north, and we were still to have some labor in beating down
against wind and sea before we could reach Vardö. We passed several
vessels, and dipped our flag to them. We passed the revenue-cutter;
she came alongside, but they had nothing to do there, and no one came
on board. Then came pilots, father and son. They greeted Brown, but
were not prepared to meet a countryman on board an English vessel. They
were a little surprised to hear me speak Norwegian, but did not pay
much attention to it. But when Brown asked them if they knew who I was,
the old man gazed at me again, and a gleam, as it were, of a possible
recognition crept over his face. But when the name Nansen dropped
from the lips of the warm-hearted Brown, as he took the old man by the
shoulders and shook him in his delight at being able to give him such
news, an expression came into the old pilot's weather-beaten face, a
mixture of joy and petrified astonishment, which was indescribable. He
seized my hand, and wished me welcome back to life; the people here
at home had long ago laid me in my grave. And then came questions
as to news from the expedition, and news from home. Nothing had yet
been heard of the Fram, and a load was lifted from my breast when I
knew that those at home had been spared that anxiety.

Then, silently and unobserved, the Windward glided with colors
flying into Vardö Haven. Before the anchor was dropped, I was in
a boat with Johansen on our way to the telegraph-station. We put
in at the quay, but there was still so much of our former piratical
appearance left that no one recognized us; they scarcely looked at us,
and the only being that took any notice of the returned wanderers was
an intelligent cow, which stopped in the middle of a narrow street
and stared at us in astonishment as we tried to pass. That cow was
so delightfully summery to look at that I felt inclined to go up
and pat her; I felt now that I really was in Norway. When I got to
the telegraph-station I laid a huge bundle down on the counter, and
said that it consisted of telegrams that I should like to have sent
as soon as possible. There were nearly a hundred of them, one or two
rather long, of about a thousand words each.

The head of the telegraph-office looked hard at me, and quietly took
up the bundle; but as his eye fell upon the signature of the telegram
that lay on the top, his face suddenly changed, he wheeled sharp round,
and went over to the lady clerk who was sitting at the table. When he
again turned and came towards me his face was radiant, and he bade me
a hearty welcome. The telegrams should be despatched as quickly as
possible, he said; but it would take several days and nights to get
them all through. And then the instrument began to tick and tick and
to send through the country and the world the news that two members
of the Norwegian Polar Expedition had returned safe and sound, and
that I expected the Fram home in the course of the autumn. I pitied
the four young ladies in the telegraph-office at Vardö; they had hard
work of it during the following days. Not only had all my telegrams
to be despatched, but hundreds streamed in from the south--both to
us and to the people in the town, begging them to obtain information
about us. Among the first were telegrams to my wife, to the King of
Norway, and to the Norwegian Government. The last ran as follows:



"To his Excellency Secretary Hagerup:

"I have the pleasure of announcing to you and to the Norwegian
Government that the expedition has carried out its plan, has traversed
the unknown Polar Sea from north of the New Siberian Islands, and
has explored the region north of Franz Josef Land as far as 86° 14'
north latitude. No land was seen north of 82°.

"Lieutenant Johansen and I left the Fram, and the other members of
the expedition on March 14, 1895, in 84° north latitude and 102° 27'
east longitude. We went northward to explore the sea north of the
Fram's course, and then came south to Franz Josef Land, whence the
Windward has now brought us.

"I expect the Fram to return this year.

"Fridtjof Nansen."



As I was leaving the telegraph-office the manager told me that my
friend Professor Mohn was in the town, staying, he understood,
at the hotel. Strange that Mohn, a man so intimately connected
with the expedition, should be the first friend I was to meet! Even
while we were handing in our telegrams the news of our arrival had
begun to filter through the town, and people were gradually flocking
together to see the two polar bears who strode through the streets
to the hotel. I rushed in and inquired for Mohn. He was in his room,
number so-and-so, they told me, but he was taking his siesta. I had
no respect for siestas at that moment; I thundered at the door and
tore it open. There lay Mohn on the sofa, reading, with a long pipe
in his mouth. He started up and stared fixedly, like a madman, at the
long figure standing on the threshold; his pipe fell to the ground,
his face twitched, and then he burst out, "Can it be true? Is it
Fridtjof Nansen?" I believe he was alarmed about himself, thinking
he had seen an apparition; but when he heard my well-known voice
the tears came to his eyes, and, crying, "Thank God, you're still
alive!" he rushed into my arms. Then came Johansen's turn. It was a
moment of wild rejoicing, and numberless were the questions asked
and answered on both sides. As one thing after another came into
our heads, the questions rained around without coherence and almost
without meaning. The whole thing seemed so incredible that a long
time passed before we even collected ourselves sufficiently to sit
down, and I could tell him in a somewhat more connected fashion what
experiences we had gone through during these three years. But where
was the Fram? Had we left her? Where were the others? Was anything
amiss? These questions poured forth with breathless anxiety, and it
was no doubt the hardest thing of all to understand that there was
nothing amiss, and yet that we had left our splendid ship. But little
by little even that became comprehensible; and then all was rejoicing,
and champagne and cigars presently appeared on the scene. Another
acquaintance from the south was also in the hotel; he came in to
speak to Mohn; but, seeing that he had visitors, was on the point
of going again. Then he stopped, stared at us, discovered who the
visitors were, and stood as though nailed to the spot; and then
we all drank to the expedition and to Norway. It was clear that we
must stop there that evening, and we sat the whole afternoon talking
and talking without a pause. But meanwhile the whole town had learnt
the names of its newly arrived guests, and when we looked out of the
window the street was full of people, and from all the flagstaffs over
the town, and from all the masts in the harbor, the Norwegian flag
waved in the evening sunshine. And then came telegrams in torrents,
all of them bringing good news. Now all our troubles were over. Only
the arrival of the Fram was wanting to complete things; but we were
quite at ease about her; she would soon turn up. The first thing we
had to do, now that we were on Norwegian soil and could look about
us a little, was to replenish our wardrobe. But it was now no joke
to make our way through the streets, and if we went into a shop it
was soon overflowing with people.

Thus we spent some never-to-be-forgotten days in Vardö, and the
hospitality which we met was lavish and cordial. After we had said
good-bye to our hosts on board the Windward and thanked them for all
the kindness they had shown us, Captain Brown weighed anchor on the
morning of Sunday, the 16th, to go on to Hammerfest. He wanted to pay
his respects to my wife, who was to meet us there. On August 21st
Johansen and I arrived at Hammerfest. Everywhere on the way people
had greeted us with flowers and flags, and now, as we sailed into its
harbor, the northernmost town in Norway was in festal array from the
sea to the highest hilltop, and thousands of people were afoot. To
my surprise, I also met here my old friend Sir George Baden-Powell,
whose fine yacht, the Otaria, was in the harbor. He had just returned
from a very successful scientific expedition to Novaya Zemlya, where
he had been with several English astronomers to observe the solar
eclipse of August 9th. With true English hospitality, he placed his
yacht entirely at my disposal and I willingly accepted his generous
invitation. Sir George Baden-Powell was one of the last people I had
seen in England. When we parted--it was in the autumn of 1892--he
asked me where we ought to be looked for if we were too long away. I
answered that it would be of little use to look for us--it would be
like searching for a needle in a hay-stack. He told me I must not think
that people would be content to sit still and do nothing. In England,
at any rate, he was sure that something would be done--and where ought
they to go? "Well," I replied, "I can scarcely think of any other
place than Franz Josef Land; for if the Fram goes to the bottom, or
we are obliged to abandon her, we must come out that way. If the Fram
does not go to the bottom, and the drift is as I believe it to be,
we shall reach the open sea between Spitzbergen and Greenland." Sir
George now thought that the time had come to look for us, and since he
could not do more for the present, it was his intention, after having
carried out his expedition to Novaya Zemlya, to skirt along the edge
of the ice, and see if he could not pick up any news of us. Then,
just at the right moment, we made our appearance at Hammerfest. In
the evening, my wife arrived, and my secretary, Christofersen; and
after having attended a brilliant fête given that night by the town of
Hammerfest in our honor, we took up our quarters on board the Otaria,
where the days now glided past so smoothly that we scarcely noticed
the lapse of time. Telegrams of congratulation, and testimonies of
goodwill and hearty rejoicing, arrived in an unbroken stream from
all quarters of the world.

But the Fram? I had telegraphed confidently that I expected her home
this year; but why had she not already arrived? I began more and
more to think over this, and the more I calculated all chances and
possibilities, the more firmly was I convinced that she ought to be
out of the ice by this time if nothing had gone amiss. It was strange
that she was not already here, and I thought with horror that if the
autumn should pass without news of her, the coming winter and summer
would be anything but pleasant.

Just as I had turned out on the morning of August 20th, Sir George
knocked at my door and said there was a man there who insisted on
speaking to me. I answered that I wasn't dressed yet, but that I
would come immediately. "Oh, that doesn't matter," said he; "come
as you are." I was a little surprised at all this urgency, and asked
what it was all about. He said he did not know, but it was evidently
something pressing. I nevertheless put on my clothes, and then went
out into the saloon. There stood a gentleman with a telegram in his
hand, who introduced himself as the head of the telegraph-office, and
said that he had a telegram to deliver to me which he thought would
interest me, so he had come with it himself. Something that would
interest me? There was only one thing left in the world that could
really interest me. With trembling hands I tore open the telegram:



"Fridtjof Nansen:

"Fram arrived in good condition. All well on board. Shall start at
once for Tromsö. Welcome home!

"Otto Sverdrup."



I felt as if I should have choked, and all I could say was, "The
Fram has arrived!" Sir George, who was standing by, gave a great
leap of joy; Johansen's face was radiant; Christofersen was quite
overcome with gladness; and there in the midst of us stood the head
of the telegraph-office enjoying the effect he had produced. In an
instant I dashed into my cabin to shout to my wife that the Fram had
arrived. She was dressed and out in double-quick time. But I could
scarcely believe it--it seemed like a fairy tale. I read the telegram
again and again before I could assure myself that it was not all a
dream; and then there came a strange, serene happiness over my mind
such as I had never known before.

There was jubilation on board and over all the harbor and town. From
the Windward, which was just weighing anchor to precede us to Tromsö,
we heard ringing cheers for the Fram and the Norwegian flag. We had
intended to start for Tromsö that afternoon, but now we agreed to get
under way as quickly as possible, so as to try to overtake the Fram
at Skjærvö, which lay just on our route. I attempted to stop her by
a telegram to Sverdrup, but it arrived too late.

It was a lively breakfast we had that morning. Johansen and I spoke
of how incredible it seemed that we should soon press our comrades'
hands again. Sir George was almost beside himself with joy. Every now
and then he would spring up from his chair, thump the table, and cry,
"The Fram has arrived! The Fram has really arrived!" Lady Baden-Powell
was quietly happy; she enjoyed our joy.

The next day we entered Tromsö harbor, and there lay the Fram, strong
and broad and weather-beaten. It was strange to see again that high
rigging and the hull we knew so well. When last we saw her she was half
buried in the ice; now she floated freely and proudly on the blue sea,
in Norwegian waters. We glided alongside of her. The crew of the Otaria
greeted the gallant ship with three times three English cheers, and the
Fram replied with a ninefold Norwegian hurrah. We dropped our anchor,
and the next moment the Otaria was boarded by the Fram's sturdy crew.

The meeting which followed I shall not attempt to describe. I don't
think any of us knew anything clearly, except that we were all together
again--we were in Norway--and the expedition had fulfilled its task.

Then we set off together southward along the Norwegian coast. First
came the tug Haalogaland, chartered by the government; then the Fram,
heavy and slow, but so much the surer; and last the elegant Otaria,
with my wife and me on board--which was to take us to Trondhjem. What
a blessed sensation it was to sit in peace at last, and see others
take the lead and pick out the way!

Wherever we passed, the heart of the Norwegian people went out to us,
from the steamers crowded with holiday-making townsfolk, and from the
poorest fishing-boat that lay alone among the skerries. It seemed
as if old Mother Norway were proud of us, as if she pressed us in
a close and warm embrace, and thanked us for what we had done. And
what was it, after all? We had only done our duty; we had simply
accomplished the task we had undertaken; and it was we who owed her
thanks for the right to sail under her flag. I remember one morning
in particular. It was in Brönösund--the morning was still gray and
chill when I was called up--there were so many people who wanted to
greet us. I was half asleep when I came on deck. The whole sound was
crowded with boats. We had been going slowly through them, but now
the Haalogaland in front put on more speed, and we too went a little
quicker. A fisherman in his boat toiled at the oars to keep up with
us; it was no easy work. Then he shouted up to me:

"You don't want to buy any fish, do you?"

"No, I don't think we do."

"I suppose you can't tell me where Nansen is? Is he on board the Fram?"

"No, I believe he's on board this ship," was the reply.

"Oh, I wonder if I couldn't get on board? I'm so desperately anxious
to see him."

"It can hardly be done, I'm afraid; they haven't time to stop now."

"That's a pity. I want to see the man himself."

He went on rowing. It became harder and harder to keep up, but
he stared fixedly at me as I leaned on the rail smiling, while
Christofersen stood laughing at my side.

"Since you're so anxious to see the man himself, I may tell you that
you see him now," said I.

"Is it you? Is it you? Didn't I guess as much! Welcome home again!"

And thereupon the fisherman dropped his oars, stood up in his boat,
and took off his cap. As we went on through the splendor of the
morning, and I sat on the deck of the luxurious English yacht and
saw the beautiful barren coast stretching ahead in the sunshine, I
realized to the full for the first time how near this land and this
people lay to my heart. If we had sent a single gleam of sunlight
over their lives, these three years had not been wasted.


    "This Norway, this Norway...
    It is dear to us, so dear,
And no people has a fairer land than this our homeland here.
    Oh, the shepherding in spring,
    When the birds begin to sing,
When the mountain-peak glitters and green grows the lea,
And the turbulent river sweeps brown to the sea!...
    Whoso knows Norway must well understand
    How her sons can suffer for such a land."


One felt all the vitality and vigor throbbing in this people, and
saw as in a vision its great and rich future, when all its prisoned
forces shall be unfettered and set free.

Now one had returned to life, and it stretched before one full of
light and hope. Then came the evenings when the sun sank far out
behind the blue sea, and the clear melancholy of autumn lay over the
face of the waters. It was too beautiful to believe in. A feeling of
dread came over one; but the silhouette of a woman's form, standing
out against the glow of the evening sky, gave peace and security.

So we passed from town to town, from fête to fête, along the
coast of Norway. It was on September 9th that the Fram steamed up
Christiania Fjord and met with such a reception as a prince might
have envied. The stout old men-of-war Nordstjernen and Elida, the new
and elegant Valkyrie, and the nimble little torpedo-boats led the way
for us. Steamboats swarmed around, all black with people. There were
flags high and low, salutes, hurrahs, waving of handkerchiefs and
hats, radiant faces everywhere, the whole fjord one multitudinous
welcome. There lay home, and the well-known strand before it,
glittering and smiling in the sunshine. Then steamers on steamers
again, shouts after shouts; and we all stood, hat in hand, bowing as
they cheered.

The whole of Peppervik was one mass of boats and people and flags
and waving pennants. Then the men-of-war saluted with thirteen guns
apiece, and the old fort of Akershus followed with its thirteen peals
of thunder, that echoed from the hills around.

In the evening I stood on the strand out by the fjord. The echoes had
died away, and the pine woods stood silent and dark around. On the
headland the last embers of a bonfire of welcome still smouldered and
smoked, and the sea rippling at my feet seemed to whisper, "Now you
are at home." The deep peace of the autumn evening sank beneficently
over the weary spirit.

I could not but recall that rainy morning in June when I last set
foot on this strand. More than three years had passed; we had toiled
and we had sown, and now the harvest had come. In my heart I sobbed
and wept for joy and thankfulness.

The ice and the long moonlit polar nights, with all their yearning,
seemed like a far-off dream from another world--a dream that had come
and passed away. But what would life be worth without its dreams?



    The Mean Temperature of Every Month during Nansen and
    Johansen's Sledge Journey

    Date           Mean Temperature     Maximum     Minimum
                            (Fahr.)
                                  °           °           °
    March (16-31), 1895         -37          -9         -51
    April, 1895                 -20          -2         -35
    May, 1895                   -24          28         -11
    June, 1895                   30          38           9
    July, 1895                   32          37          28
    August, 1895                 29          36          19
    September, 1895             +20          41          -4
    October, 1895                -1          16         -13
    November, 1895              -13          10         -35
    December, 1895              -13          12         -37
    January, 1896               -14          19         -46
    February, 1896              -10          30         -40
    March, 1896                  10          30         -29
    April, 1896                   8          27         -16
    May, 1896                    18          43         -11
    June (1-16), 1896            29          39          23



APPENDIX


REPORT OF CAPTAIN OTTO SVERDRUP ON THE DRIFTING OF THE "FRAM"
FROM MARCH 14, 1895


CHAPTER I

MARCH 15 TO JUNE 22, 1895


As far back as February 26th Dr. Nansen had officially informed the
crew that after he left the ship I was to be chief officer of the
expedition, and Lieutenant Scott-Hansen second in command. Before
starting, he handed me a letter, or set of instructions, which have
been mentioned earlier in the volume. [85]

The day after that on which the postscript to my instructions is
dated--i.e., on Thursday, March 14th, at 11.30 A.M.--Dr. Nansen and
Johansen left the Fram and set forth on their sledge expedition. We
gave them a parting salute with flag, pennant, and guns. Scott-Hansen,
Henriksen, and Pettersen accompanied them as far as the first
camping-place, 7 or 8 miles from the vessel, and returned the next
day at 2.30 P.M.

In the morning they had helped to harness the dogs and put them to
the three sledges. In the team of the last sledge there were "Barnet"
and "Pan," who all the time had been mortal enemies. [86] They began
to fight, and Henriksen had to give "Barnet" a good thrashing in
order to part him from the other. In consequence of this fight the
last team was somewhat behind in starting. The other dogs were all
the while hauling with all their might, and when the thrashing scene
was over, and the disturbers of the peace suddenly commenced to pull,
the sledge started off faster than Johansen had calculated, and he was
left behind and had to strike out well on his snowshoes. Scott-Hansen
and the others followed the sledging party with their eyes until they
looked like little black dots far, far away on the boundless plain
of ice. With a last sad lingering look after the two whom, perhaps,
they might never see again, they put on their snow-shoes and started
on their journey back.

At the time when the sledge expedition started the Fram lay in 84°
4' north latitude and 102° east longitude. The situation was briefly
as follows: The vessel was ice-bound in about 25 feet of ice, with a
slight list to starboard. She had thus a layer of ice, several feet
in thickness, underneath her keel. Piled high against the vessel's
side, to port, along her entire length, there extended from S.S.E. to
N.N.W. a pressure-ridge reaching up to about the height of the rail
on the half-deck aft and slanting slightly eastward from the ship. At
a distance of about 160 yards to the northwest there extended in the
direction from south to north a long and fairly broad ice-mound, the
so-called "great hummock," as much as 22 feet high in places. Midway
between the Fram and the great hummock there was a newly formed open
lane about 50 yards wide, while across her bow, at a distance of
50 yards, there was an old channel that had been closed up by the
ice-pressure, but which opened later on in the spring.

Upon the "great hummock," which had been formed by the violent
ice-pressure on January 27, 1894, we had established our depot on
the slope looking towards the ship. The depot consisted of piled-up
tin boxes, containing provisions and other necessaries, and formed
six or seven small mounds covered with sail-cloth. Moreover, our
snow-shoes and sledges were stored there. Half-way between the vessel
and the great hummock lay the petroleum launch, which, when the new
channel or rift had opened right under her, had to be drawn a little
way farther out on to the ice. Finally, there was our forge. This
was situated about 30 yards off, a little abaft the port quarter,
and was hewn out in the slope of the above-mentioned pressure-ridge,
the roof being made of a quantity of spars over which blocks of ice
were piled, with a layer of snow on the top, all frozen together so
as to form a compact mass. A tarpaulin served in place of a door.

The first and most pressing work which we had to take in hand was
to remove part of the high-pressure ridge on the port side. I was
afraid that if the ice-pressure continued the vessel might be forced
down instead of upward while she had so high a ridge of ice resting
against the whole of her port side. The work was commenced by all
hands on March 19th. We had five sledges, and a box on each, and each
worked by two men. There were two parties at work simultaneously with
one sledge each--forward, and two parties aft--working towards each
other, while the fifth party, of two men with one sledge, were cutting
a passage 13 feet wide right up to the middle of the vessel. The layer
of ice which was in this way removed from all along the vessel's side
reached to double the height of a man, except in the central passage,
where it had previously been removed to a depth of about three yards,
partly in view of possible ice-pressure against this, the lowest part
of the hull, and partly in order to clear the gangway, by which the
dogs passed to and from the vessel.

The carting away of ice commenced on the 19th and concluded on March
27th. The whole of the pressure-ridge on the port side was removed
down to such a depth that two and a half planks of the ship's ice-skin
were free. All the time while this work was going on the weather was
fairly cold, the temperature down to -38° and -40°C. (-36.4° and -40°
Fahr.). However, all passed off well and successfully, except that
Scott-Hansen was unfortunate enough to have one of his big toes frozen.

The doctor and I were together at the same sledge. My diary says:
"He always suspected me of being out of temper, and I him." As a
matter of fact, it is my habit to dislike talking when I am busy
with any work, while the reverse is the case with the doctor. As,
according to my custom, I kept silence, the doctor believed that I
was in a bad humor, and in the same way I fancied that he was in the
sulks, because he abstained from chatting. But the misunderstanding
was soon cleared up, and we laughed heartily at it.

As Dr. Nansen's and Johansen's departure afforded an opportunity for
a more comfortable redistribution of quarters, I moved into Nansen's
cabin, after having packed in cases the effects he left behind, and
stowed them away in the forehold. Jacobsen, the mate, who was formerly
quartered with four of the crew in the large cabin on the port side,
had my cabin allotted to him; and in the starboard cabin, where four
men had been quartered, there were now only three. The workroom, too,
was restored to its former honor and dignity. The lamp-glasses of the
oil-stove there had got broken in the course of the year. Amundsen
now replaced these with chimneys of tin, and fitted thin sheets of
mica over the peep-holes. The stove having thus been repaired, the
workroom became the busiest and most comfortable compartment in the
whole vessel.

After the various operations of shifting and putting in order the
things on board and in the depot, our next care was to insure easy and
convenient access to the vessel by constructing a proper gangway aft,
consisting of two spars with packing-case planks nailed between them
and a rope hand-rail attached.

When all this was done we set to work at the long and manifold
preparations of every kind for a sledge journey southward, in the event
(which, as a matter of fact, none of us considered likely) of our
being obliged to abandon the Fram. We constructed sledges and kayaks,
sewed bags for our stores, selected and weighed out provisions and
other necessaries, etc., etc. This work kept us busy for a long time.

In addition to all the other things we had to provide ourselves with
more snow-shoes, as we were scantily supplied with them. Snow-shoes
we must have, good strong ones, at least one pair to every man. But
where were the materials to come from? There was no more wood fit
for making snow-shoes to be found on board. It is true that we had
a large piece of oak timber left available, but we were in need of
a suitable instrument to split it with, as it could not be cut up
with the small saws we had on board. In our dilemma we had recourse
to the ice-saw. Amundsen converted it (by filing it in a different
way) into a rip-saw; Bentzen made handles for it; and as soon as it
was ready, Mogstad and Henriksen commenced to saw the beam of oak to
pieces. At first the work went slowly, most of the time being taken
up with filing and setting the saw; but gradually it went better,
and on April 6th the timber was cut up into six pairs of good boards
for making snow-shoes, which we temporarily deposited in the saloon
for drying. As I consider Canadian snowshoes superior to Norwegian
snow-shoes, when it is a question of hauling heavily loaded sledges
over such a rough and uneven surface as is presented by polar ice,
I directed Mogstad to make ten Canadian pairs of maple-wood, of which
we had a quantity on board. Instead of the netting of reindeer-skin
we stretched sail-cloth over the frames. This did the same service as
network, while it had the advantage of being easier to repair. With
the snow-shoes which we had we undertook frequent excursions, more
particularly Scott-Hansen and myself. While out on one of these trips,
on which Amundsen, Nordahl, and Pettersen also accompanied us, 3 miles
west of the vessel we came across a large hummock, which we named
"Lovunden," on account of its resemblance to the island "Lovunden," off
the coast of Heligoland. This hummock presented very good snow-shoeing
slopes, and we practised there to our heart's content.

On May 1st we had finished the snow-shoes intended for daily use, and
I gave orders that, henceforth, daily snow-shoe trips should be made
by all hands from 11 A.M. till 1 P.M., if the weather was good. These
snow-shoe runs were to everybody's taste, and were necessary, not only
in order to afford brisk exercise in the open air, but also in order
to impart to those who were less accustomed to snow-shoes a sufficient
degree of skill in the event of our having to abandon the Fram.

While the removal of the ridge was proceeding there continued to be
a good deal of disturbance in the ice. Twenty yards from the vessel
a new lane was formed running parallel to the old one between us from
the depot; and in addition to this a number of larger or smaller cracks
had opened in all directions. A little later on, during the time from
April 11th to May 9th, there was on the whole considerable disturbance
in the ice, with several violent pressures in the lanes around the
vessel. On the first-mentioned day, in the evening, Scott-Hansen and
I took a snow-shoe trip towards the northeast, along the new channel
between the vessel and the depot. On our way back pressure set in in
the channel, and we had an opportunity of witnessing a "screwing"
such as I had never seen equalled. First there was quite a narrow
channel, running parallel to the principal channel, which was covered
over with young ice about 2 feet thick. Thereupon a larger channel
opened just beyond the first and running alongside it. During the
pressure which then followed, the edges crashed against each other
with such violence as to force the ice down, so that we frequently
saw it from 3 to 4 fathoms deep under water.

Newly frozen sea-ice is marvellously elastic, and will bend to an
astonishing degree without breaking. In another place we saw how the
new ice had bulged up in large wave-like eminences, without breaking.

On May 5th the wide lane aft was jammed up by ice-pressure, and in its
stead a rift was formed in the ice on the port side about 100 yards
from us, and approximately parallel to the ship. Thus we now lay in an
altered position, inasmuch as the Fram was no longer connected with
and dependent on one solid and continuous ice-field, but separated
from it by more or less open channels and attached to a large floe
which was daily decreasing in size as new cracks were formed.

The principal channel aft of the vessel continued to open out during
the latter part of April, and on the 29th had become very wide. It
extended north as far as the eye could reach, and was conspicuous,
moreover, by reason of the dark reflection which seemed to hover above
it in the sky. It probably attained its maximum width on May 1st, when
Scott-Hansen and I measured it and found that just astern of the vessel
it was 975 yards, and farther north over 1500 yards (1432 metres) in
width. Had the Fram been loose at the time I should have gone north
in the channel as far as possible; but this was not to be thought of,
seeing how the ship had been raised up on and walled in by the ice.

No later than May 2d the principal channel closed up again. The mate,
Nordahl, and Amundsen, who just then happened to be out on a snow-shoe
trip south along the channel, were eye-witnesses of the jamming of
the ice, which they described as having been a grand sight. The fresh
southeasterly wind had imparted a considerable impetus to the ice,
and when the edges of the ice approached each other with considerable
velocity and force, two large projecting tongues first came into
collision with a crash like thunder, and in a moment were forced up
in a hummock about 20 feet high, only to collapse soon after, and
disappear with equal suddenness under the edge of the ice. Wherever
the ice was not forced up into the air, the one ice-edge would slide
over or under the other, while all the projecting tongues and blocks
of ice were crushed to thousands of fragments, which filled up pretty
evenly any small crevices still remaining of what had before been
such a mighty opening.

Our drift towards the north during the first month was almost nil. For
instance, on April 19th we had not advanced more than 4 minutes of
latitude (about 4 miles) to the north. Nor did we drift much to the
west in the same period. Later on we made better headway, but not,
by a long way, as much as in 1894. On May 23d I wrote in the Journal
as follows: "We are all very anxious to see what will be the net
result of our spring drift. If we could reach 60° east longitude by
the summer or autumn, I believe we could be certain to get back home
about the autumn of 1896. The spring drift this year is considerably
less strong than last year, but perhaps it may continue longer into the
summer. If we were to drift this year as far as last, during the time
from May 16th to June 16th, we should reach 68° east longitude, but it
will not be possible now to reach that longitude so early. Possibly
we may manage this year to escape the strong back-drift during the
summer, make a little headway instead, and if so it will be all the
better for us. The ice is not so much cut up by channels this year
as it was this time last year. It is true there are a good many;
but last year we could scarcely get about at all, simply on account
of the lanes. This year we have large sheets of ice ahead of us in
which scarcely any openings are to be found."

In order to observe the drift of the ice we prepared a kind of
log-line, from 100 to 150 fathoms in length, to the end of which
there was attached a conical open bag of loosely woven material,
in which small animals could be caught up. Immediately above the
bag a lead was fitted to the line, so that the bag itself might drag
freely in the water. The log was lowered through a fairly wide hole
in the ice, which it was a most difficult task to keep open during
the cold season. Several times a day the line was examined and the
"angle of drift" was measured. For this measurement we had constructed
a quadrant fitted with a plumb-line. Now and then we would haul in
the log-line to see whether it was still in order and to collect
whatever the bag might contain in the way of little animals or other
objects. As a rule the contents were insignificant, consisting only
of a few specimens of low organisms.

At the end of May the "spring drift" was over. The wind veered round
to the S.W., W., and N.W. The back-drift or "summer drift" then set
in. However, it was not of long duration, as by June 8th we again
had an easterly wind with a good drift to the west, so that on the
22d we were at 84° 31.7' north latitude and 80° 58' east longitude;
and during the last days of June and the greater part of July the
drift went still better.

A circumstance which helped to increase the monotony of our drift in
the ice during the winter and spring, 1895, was the great scarcity
of animal life in that part of the Polar Sea. For long periods at a
stretch we did not see a single living thing; even the polar bears,
who roam so far, were not to be seen. Hence the appearance in the
afternoon of May 7th of a small seal in a newly opened lane, close by
the vessel, was hailed with universal delight. It was the first seal
that we had set eyes upon since March. Subsequently we often saw seals
of the same kind in the open channels, but they were very shy, so that
it was not until well on in the summer that we succeeded in killing
one, and this was so small that we ate the whole of it at one meal.

On May 14th Pettersen told us that he had seen a white bird, as
he thought an ice-gull, flying westward. On the 22d Mogstad saw a
snow-bunting, which circled round the vessel, and after this the
harbingers of spring became daily more numerous.

Our hunting-bags, however, were very scanty. It was not until June 10th
that we secured the first game, when the doctor succeeded in shooting
a fulmar and a kittiwake (Larus tridactylus). True, he prefaced
these exploits by sundry misses, but in the end he managed to hit
the birds, and "all's well that ends well." As regards the fulmar,
it was an exciting chase, as it had only been winged, and took refuge
in the open channel. Pettersen was the first to go after it, followed
by Amundsen, the doctor, Scott-Hansen, and the whole pack of dogs,
and at last they managed to secure it.

After this it was a matter of daily occurrence to see birds quite near,
and in order to be better able to secure them, and seals to boot,
we moored our sealing-boat in the open channel. This was equipped
with a sail, and with ballast composed of some of the castings from
the windmill; which we had been obliged to take down; and the very
first evening after the boat had been put on the water, Scott-Hansen,
Henriksen, and Bentzen went for a sail in the channel. The dogs seized
this occasion to take some capital exercise. They took it into their
heads to follow the boat along the edge of the channel backward and
forward as the boat tacked; it was stiff work for them to keep always
abreast of it, as they had to make many detours round small channels
and bays in the ice, and when at last they had got near it, panting,
and with their tongues protruding far from their mouths, the boat
would go about, and they had to cover the same ground over again.

On June 20th the doctor and I shot one black guillemot each. We also
saw some little auks, but the dogs, entering too eagerly into the
sport, as a welcome break in the prolonged oppressive solitude and
monotony, rushed ahead of us and scared the birds away before we
could get a shot at them.

As I have already mentioned, the mill had to be taken down. The
shaft broke one fine day below the upper driving-wheel, and had to
be removed and taken to the forge for repair. Pettersen welded it
together again, and on May 9th the mill was again in sufficiently
good order for use. But it wore out very speedily, more especially
in the gearings, so that, after the first week or two in June, it
was almost useless. We therefore pulled it down, and stowed away
all wooden parts and castings on the ridge on the port side, except
portions of hard wood, which we kept on board, and found very useful
for making up into sledge-shafts and other things.

The weather was good all through March, April, and May, with mild
easterly breezes or calms, and, as a rule, a clear atmosphere. Once or
twice the wind veered round to the south or west, but these changes
were invariably of short duration. This settled calm weather at last
became quite a trial to us, as it contributed in a great measure to
increase the dreariness and monotony of the scene around us, and
had a depressing effect on our spirits. Matters improved a little
towards the end of May, when for a time we had a fresh westerly
breeze. To be sure this was a contrary wind, but it was, at any rate,
a little change. On June 8th the wind veered round to the east again,
and now increased in strength, so that on Sunday, the 9th, we had
half a gale from the E.S.E., with a velocity of 33 feet per second,
being the strongest fair wind we had had for a long time.

It was astonishing what a change a single day of fair wind would
work in the spirits of all on board. Those who previously moved
about dreamily and listlessly now awakened to fresh courage and
enterprise. Every face beamed with satisfaction. Previously our daily
intercourse consisted of the monosyllables "Yes" and "No"; now we were
brimming over with jokes and fun from morning to night: laughter and
song and lively chat was heard all around. And with our spirits rose
our hopes for a favorable drift. The chart was brought out again and
again, and the forecasts made were apt to be sanguine enough. "If the
wind keeps long in this quarter we shall be at such and such a spot on
such and such a day. It is as clear as daylight we shall be home some
time in the autumn of 1896. Just see how we have drifted up to now,
and the farther we get west the faster we shall go," and so forth.

The cold which in the middle of March did not exceed -40° C., kept
steadily at from -30° to -25° during April, but it decreased at a
comparatively rapid rate in May, so that by about the middle of the
month the thermometer registered -14°, and in the latter part only
-6°. On June 3d--so far the warmest day--a large pond of water had
formed close to the vessel, although the highest temperature attained
that day was -2°, and the weather was overcast. [87]

On June 5th the thermometer for the first time stood above
freezing-point--viz., at +0.2°. It then fell again for a few days,
going down to -6°; but on the 11th it rose again to about 2° above
freezing-point, and so on.

The amount of atmospheric moisture deposited during the above-mentioned
period was most insignificant; only a very slight snowfall now
and then. However, Thursday, June 6th, was an exception. The wind,
which for several days had been blowing from the south and west,
veered round to the northwest during the night, and at 8 A.M. next
morning it changed to the north, blowing a fresh breeze, with an
exceptionally heavy snowfall.

We saw the midnight sun for the first time during the night of
April 2d.

One of the scientific tasks of the expedition was to investigate
the depth of the Polar Sea. Our lines, which were weak and not very
suitable for this purpose, were soon so worn by friction, corrosion,
oxidation, etc., that we were compelled not only to use them most
cautiously, but also to limit the number of soundings far more than
was desirable. It sometimes happened that the line would break while
being hauled in, so that a good deal of it was lost.

The first sounding after the departure of Dr. Nansen and Johansen was
taken on April 23d. We thought we should be able to lower away down
to 3000 metres (1625 fathoms) in one run, but as the line commenced
to slacken at 1900 metres (1029 fathoms) we thought we had touched
bottom and hauled the line up again. As it appeared that the line
had not reached the bottom, we now let down 3000 metres of line
(1625 fathoms), but in doing so we lost about 900 metres of line
(487 fathoms). Accordingly I assumed that we had touched ground at
2100 metres (1138 fathoms), and I therefore lowered the line to that
depth without touching bottom. The next day we took new soundings
at depths of 2100, 2300, 2500, and 3000 metres respectively (1137,
1245, 1353, and 1625 fathoms), but all without touching bottom. On
the third day, April 25th, we sounded first at 3000 metres, and then
at 3200 metres (1625 and 1733 fathoms) without touching bottom. The
steel-line being too short we had to lengthen it with a hemp-line,
and now went down to 3400 metres (1841 fathoms). While hauling up we
perceived that the line broke, and found that, in addition to the
110 fathoms' length of hemp-line, we had lost about 275 fathoms of
steel-line. We then stopped taking soundings till July 22d, as the
hemp-lines were so badly worn that we dared not venture to use them
again until milder weather set in.

Wind and weather were, of course, a favorite topic on board the Fram,
especially in connection with our drift. As is but right and proper,
we had a weather-prophet on board--to wit, Pettersen. His specialty was
to predict fair wind, and in this respect he was untiring, although
his predictions were by no means invariably fulfilled. But he also
posed as a prophet in other departments, and nothing seemed to delight
him more than the offer of a bet with him on his predictions. If he
won he was beaming with good humor for days at a stretch, and if he
lost he often knew how to shroud both his forecast and the result
in oracular mystery and darkness so that both parties appeared to
be right. At times, as already hinted, he was unlucky, and then he
was mercilessly chaffed; but at other times he would have a run of
astounding luck, and then his courage would rise to such an extent
that he was ready to prophesy and bet about anything.

Among his great misfortunes was a bet made with the mate on May 4th
that we should have land in sight by the end of October. And on May
24th he made a bet with Nordahl that by Monday night (the 27th) we
should be at 80° east longitude. Needless to say we all wished that
his incredible predictions might come true; but alas! the miracle
did not happen, for it was not until June 27th that the Fram passed
the 80th degree of longitude.

During the latter part of May the sun and the spring weather commenced
to disperse the layer of snow around the vessel to such an extent as
to make quite a little pond of snow-water on the ice forward. As at
that part especially, but also all along the side of the vessel, the
snow was full of soot, refuse, and the clearings from the kennels,
it was greatly to be feared that an injurious, or, at any rate,
obnoxious smell might arise, and if, besides this, as was the case
last year, a pond should form round the vessel, the water in it would
be too impure to be used in flushing the deck. I therefore set all
hands to work to cart away the snow from the starboard side--a job
which took about two days.

The setting in of spring now kept us busy with various things for
some time, both on board and on the ice. One of the first things to
be done was to bring our depot safely on board, as lanes and rifts
were now forming more frequently in the ice, and some of the goods
in the depot would not bear exposure to damp.

The action of the sun's rays on the awning or tent soon became so
strong that the snow underneath the boats and on the davits began to
melt. All snow and ice had therefore to be removed or scraped away
not only under the awning but also under the boats, on the deck-house,
in the passage on the starboard side, in the holds, and wherever else
it was necessary. In the after-hold there was much more ice now than
last winter, probably owing to the fact that we had kept the saloon
much warmer this winter than before.

In the saloon, the library, and the cabins we had a thorough "spring
cleaning." This was very badly needed, as the ceilings, walls, and
all the furniture and fittings, in the course of the long polar night,
had got covered with a thick, grimy-looking coating composed of soot,
grease, smoke, dust, and other ingredients.

I myself took in hand the painting of the saloon and of my own cabin,
which little by little had assumed the same dusky ground-tint as their
surroundings, and on the whole looked rather enigmatic. By dint of
much labor, and the application of a liberal supply of soap and water,
I succeeded in restoring them to something like their pristine beauty.

We finished our general clean-up on Whitsun-eve, June 1st, and thus
spent a really comfortable Whitsuntide, with butter-porridge for
supper and a few extra delicacies afterwards.

After Whitsuntide we again took in hand various things required in
view of the season, and of the possibility that the Fram might get
afloat in the course of the summer. On the great hummock were many
things I thought might be left there for the present--for instance,
the greater part of our dogs' food. The cases containing this were
piled up to four different heights so as to form a sloping roof off
which the water could easily run, and I had the whole covered over
with tarpaulin. The long-boat on the port side, which I proposed
to leave on the ice till the winter, was deposited in a safe place
about 50 yards from the ship, and provided with sails, rigging, oars,
and a full equipment, ready for any emergency.

The scraping away of the ice in the holds and on the half-deck was
finished on June 12th. We tried to cut the steam-pipe aft (the pipe
for rinse-water) out of the ice, but had to abandon the attempt. One
end of this pipe had been resting ever since last year on the ice,
and it was now so deeply frozen in that we could not release it. We
cut a hole all round it 4 feet deep, but the hole quickly filled with
water, so we left it to the summer heat to thaw the pipe loose.

So much water commenced to accumulate in the engine-room about this
time that we had to bale out considerable quantities--certainly 130
gallons per day. We at first thought that the water was produced by
the thawing of the ice on board, but it subsequently appeared that
it was mainly due to leakages, which probably arose from the fact
that ice forming in the different layers of the ship's skin forced
the planking somewhat apart.

The state of health continued excellent, and the doctor had virtually
nothing to do in his professional capacity. In the way of "casualties"
there were only a few of the most trifling nature, such as a frozen
big toe, a little skin-chafing here and there, a sore eye or two; that
was all. However, we led a very regular life, with the twenty-four
hours suitably distributed between work, exercise, and rest. We
slept well and fed well, and so we were very little concerned at the
fact that when being weighed on May 7th we were found to have lost
flesh. However, the falling off was not great; the aggregate weight
of the whole party was barely 8 pounds less than the month before.

There was, however, one complaint that we suffered from--a contagious
one, though not of a dangerous nature. It became a fashion, or,
if you like, a fashionable complaint, on board the Fram, to shave
one's head. It was said that an infallible method of producing a more
luxuriant growth of hair was to shave away the little hair that still
adorned the head of the patient. Juell first started it, and then a
regular mania set in, the others following his example one by one,
with the exception of myself and one or two more. Like a cautious
general, I first waited a while to see whether the expected harvest
sprouted on my comrades' shaven polls; and as the hair did not seem
to grow any stronger than before, I preferred a recipe ordered by the
doctor--viz., to wash the head daily with soft soap and subsequently
rub in an ointment. To make this treatment more effectual, however, and
let the ointment get at the scalp, I followed the example of the others
and shaved my head several times. Personally I do not believe that the
process did any good, but Pettersen was of a different opinion. "The
deuce take me," said he, one day afterwards when cutting my hair,
"if the captain hasn't got some jolly strong bristles on his crown
after that treatment."

The Seventeenth of May brought the finest weather that could be
imagined. A clear, bright sky, dazzling sunshine, 10° to 12° of
cold, and an almost perfect calm. The sun, which at this time of
the year never sets throughout the twenty-four hours, was already
high in the heavens, when at 8 A.M. we were awakened by the firing
of a gun, and by joyous strains of the organ. We jumped into our
clothes more speedily than usual, swallowed our breakfast, and with
the liveliest expectation prepared for what was in store; for the
"Festival Committee" had been very busy the previous day. Punctually
at 11 o'clock the various corporations assembled under their flags and
insignia, and were assigned their position in the grand procession. I
marched at the head with the Norwegian flag. Next came Scott-Hansen
with the Fram's pennant, and then followed Mogstad with the banner of
the Meteorological Department, richly bedecked with "cyclonic centres"
and "prospects of fair weather." He was seated on a box covered with
bearskin placed on a sledge drawn by seven dogs, the banner waving
behind him on a pole rigged as a mast. Amundsen was No. 4, bearing a
demonstration banner in favor of "the Pure Flag," and he was followed
by his esquire, Nordahl, on snow-shoes with a spear in his hand and a
rifle slung on his back. The flag showed on the red ground a picture
of an old Norwegian warrior breaking his spear over his knee, with the
inscription "Onward! Onward! [Fram! Fram!], ye Norseman! Your own flag
in your own land. What we do we do for Norway." Fifth in the procession
came the mate, with the Norwegian arms on a red background, and sixth
was Pettersen with the flag of the Mechanical Department. Last came
the "Band," represented by Bentzen with an accordion. The procession
was followed by the public dressed in their best--viz., the doctor,
Juell, and Henriksen in picturesque confusion.

To the waving of banners and strains of music the procession wended
its way past the corner of the University (viz., the Fram), down "Karl
Johan's Street" and "Church Street" (a road laid out by Scott-Hansen
for the occasion across the rift in front and the pressure-ridge),
past Engebret's (the depot on the ice), and then wheeled round to the
"Fortification Parade" [88] (viz., the top of the great hummock),
where it stopped and faced round with flags erect.

There I called for cheers in honor of the festive occasion, in
response to which there rose a ninefold hurrah from the densely
packed multitude.

At exactly 12 o'clock the official salute of the Seventeenth May was
fired from our big bow guns. Then came a splendid banquet; the doctor
had contributed a bottle of aqua vitæ, and every man had a bottle of
genuine Crown Malt Extract, from the "Royal Brewery" in Copenhagen.

When the roast was served Scott-Hansen proposed the health of our
dear ones at home and of our two absent comrades, who he hoped might
achieve the task they had set themselves and return home safely. This
toast was accompanied by a salute of two guns.

At 4 P.M. a great popular festival was held on the ice. The place was
prettily decorated with flags and other emblems, and the programme
offered a rich variety of entertainments. There was rope-dancing,
gymnastics, shooting at running hares, and many other items. The public
were in a highly festive mood throughout, and vigorously applauded the
artists in all their performances. After a supper which was not far
behind the dinner in excellence we gathered at night in the saloon
around a steaming bowl of punch. The doctor, amid loud applause,
proposed the health of the organizing committee, and I proposed the
Fram. After this we kept it up in the merriest and most cordial spirit
until far into the night.



CHAPTER II

JUNE 22 TO AUGUST 15, 1895


As spring advanced the disturbance in the ice increased, and new lanes
and pools were formed in every direction. At the same time there was
a daily increase in the number of aquatic animals and birds around us.

On the night of June 22d I was awakened by the watch, who told me that
there were whales in the lane on the starboard side. Every one hurried
on deck, and we now saw that some seven or eight female narwhals were
gambolling in the channel close upon us. We fired some shots at them,
but these did not seem to affect them. Later in the day I went after
them in the sealing-boat, but without getting within range. In order
to be able to give effectual chase, should they, as we hoped, pay
us a visit in the future, we made ready two harpoon-bladders and an
oak anchor, which we attached to the end of the harpoon line. Should
the whale, when harpooned, prove too strong for us, we would let go
the anchor and the bladders, and if the fates were not against us,
we might be successful.

We were quite anxious to try the new apparatus, and therefore kept a
sharp lookout for the whales. One or two were seen occasionally in the
channel, but they disappeared again so quickly that we had no time to
pursue them. On the evening of July 2d we had the prospect of a good
hunt. The lane swarmed with whales, and we quickly started out with the
boat in pursuit. But this time, too, they were so shy that we could
not get at them. One of them remained some time in a small channel,
which was so narrow that we could throw across it. We attempted to
steal on him along the edge, but as soon as we had got within a short
distance of him he took alarm, and swam out into the large channel,
where he remained rolling about, turning over on his back for some
four or five minutes at a time with his head above water, puffing
away, and positively jeering at us. When at length we had wearily
worked our way back again to the large channel, intending to assist
him a little in his performances--pop, away he went.

Some days later we again received a visit from a troupe of these
comedians in another channel newly formed in close proximity to the
vessel. Three of them had long, heavy tusks, which they showed high
above the water, and then used to scratch their female friends on the
back with. We immediately prepared ourselves with rifles and harpoons,
and ran towards the channel as fast as our legs would carry us. But
before we got there the beasts had fled. It was of no use trying to
get within range of these shy creatures, so, after that, as a rule,
we allowed them to remain unmolested.

Once, however, during the spring of 1896, we were near catching
a narwhal. I had been out fowling, and was just busily taking out
of the boat the birds I had shot, when suddenly a narwhal appeared
in the channel close to our usual landing-place, where the harpoon
with the line attached lay ready for immediate use. I quickly seized
the harpoon, but the coil of line was too short, and when I had got
this right the whale dived below the water, just as I was ready to
harpoon him.

An occasional large seal (Phoca barbata) also appeared at this time;
we chased them sometimes, but without success; they were too shy.

With the fowling our luck was better, and so early as June 7th we
shot so many black guillemots, gulls, fulmars, and little auks that
we partook on that day of our first meal of fresh meat during the
year. The flesh of these birds is not, as a rule, valued very much,
but we ate it with ravenous appetites, and found that it had an
excellent flavor--better than the tenderest young ptarmigan.

One day three gulls appeared, and settled down at some distance
from the vessel. Pettersen fired twice at them and missed, they
meanwhile resting calmly on the snow, and regarding him with intense
admiration. Finally they flew away, accompanied by sundry blessings
from the hunter, who was exasperated at his "mishap," as he called
it. The eye-witnesses of the bombardment had another idea of the
"mishap," and many were the jokes that rained down upon the fellow
when he returned empty-handed.

However, Pettersen soon became an ardent sportsman, and declared that
one of the first things he would do when he returned home would be to
buy a fowling-piece. He appeared to have some talent as a marksman,
though he had hardly ever fired a shot before he came on board the
Fram. Like all beginners, he had to put up with a good many misses
before he got so far as to hit his mark. But practice makes perfect;
and one fine day he began to win our respect as a marksman, for
he actually hit a bird on the wing. But then came a succession of
"mishaps" for some time, and he lost faith in his power of killing his
game on the wing, and sought less ambitious outlets for his skill. Long
afterwards the real cause of his many bad shots came to light. A wag,
who thought that Pettersen was doing too much execution among the game,
had quietly reloaded his cartridges, so that Pettersen had all the
time been shooting with salt instead of lead, and that, of course,
would make a little difference.

Besides the animals named, it appears that Greenland sharks are also
found in these latitudes. One day Henriksen went to remove the blubber
from some bearskins, which he had had hanging out in the channel for
a week or so; he found that the two smallest skins had been nearly
devoured, so that only a few shreds were left. It could hardly have
been any other animal than the Greenland shark which had played us
this trick. We put out a big hook with a piece of blubber on it,
to try if we could catch one of the thieves, but it was of no use.

One day in the beginning of August the mate and Mogstad were out
upon the ice trying to find the keel of the petroleum launch, which
had been forgotten. They said that they had seen fresh tracks of a
bear, which had been trotting about the great hummock. It was now
almost a year since we last had a bear in our neighborhood, and we
felt, therefore, much elated at the prospect of a welcome change
in our bill of fare. For a long time, however, we had nothing but
the prospect. True, Mogstad saw a bear at the great hummock, but,
as it was far off to begin with, and going rapidly farther, it was
not pursued. Almost half a year elapsed before another bear paid us
a visit--it was not till February 28, 1896.

As I said before, the Fram had, ever since the first week in May,
been fast embedded in a large floe of ice, which daily diminished
in extent. Cracks were constantly formed in all directions, and new
lanes were opened, often only to close up again in a few hours. When
the edges of the ice crashed against each other with their tremendous
force, all the projecting points were broken off, forming smaller
floes, and pushed over and under each other, or piled up into large or
small hummocks, which would collapse again when the pressure ceased,
and break off large floes in their fall. In consequence of these
repeated disturbances the cracks in our floe constantly increased,
particularly after a very violent pressure on July 14th, when rifts
and channels were formed right through the old pressure-ridge to port,
and close up to the side of the vessel, so that it appeared for a time
as if the Fram would soon slip down into the water. For the time being,
however, she remained in her old berth, but frequently veered round
to different points of the compass during all these disturbances in
the ice. The great hummock, which constantly increased its distance
from the vessel, also drifted very irregularly, so that it was at
one time abeam, at another right ahead.

On July 27th there was a disturbance in the ice such as we had
not experienced since we got fast. Wide lanes were formed in every
direction, and the floe upon which the smith's forge was placed danced
round in an incessant whirl, making us fear we might lose the whole
apparatus at any moment. Scott-Hansen and Bentzen, who were just about
to have a sail in the fresh breeze, undertook to transport the forge
and all its belongings to the floe on which we were lying. They took
two men to help them, and succeeded, with great difficulty, in saving
the things. At the same time there was a violent disturbance in the
water around the vessel. She turned round with the floe, so that
she rapidly came to head W. 1/2 S., instead of N.E. All hands were
busy getting back into the ship all the things which had been placed
upon the floes, and this was successfully accomplished, although it
was no trifling labor, and not without danger to the boats, owing to
the strong breeze and the violent working of the floes and blocks of
ice. The floe with the ruins of the forge was slowly bearing away in
the same direction as the great hummock, and served for some time as
a kind of beacon for us. Indeed, in the distance it looked like one,
crowned as it was on its summit with a dark skull-cap, a huge iron
kettle, which lay there bottom upward. The kettle was originally
bought by Trontheim, and came on board at Khabarova, together with
the dogs. He had used it on the trip through Siberia for cooking the
food for the dogs. We used to keep blubber and other dogs' food in
it. In the course of its long service the rust had eaten holes in
the bottom, and it was therefore cashiered, and thrown away upon the
pressure-ridge close to the smithy. It now served, as I have said,
as a beacon, and is perhaps to-day drifting about in the Polar Sea
in that capacity--unless it has been found and taken possession of
by some Eskimo housewife on the east coast of Greenland.

As the sun and mild weather brought their influence to bear upon the
surface of the ice and the snow, the vessel rose daily higher and
higher above the ice, so that by July 23d we had three and a half
planks of the greenheart ice-hide clear on the port side and ten
planks to starboard. In the evening of August 8th our floe cracked
on the port, and the Fram altered her list from 7° to port to 1.5°
starboard side, with respectively four and two planks of the ice-hide
clear, and eleven bow-irons clear forward.

I feared that the small floe in which we were now embedded might drift
off down the channel if the ice slackened any more, and I therefore
ordered the mate to moor the vessel to the main flow, where many of
our things were stored. The order, however, was not quickly enough
executed, and when I came on deck half an hour later the Fram was
already drifting down through the channel. All hands were called up
immediately, and with our united strength we succeeded in hauling
the vessel up to the floe again and mooring her securely.

As we were desirous of getting the Fram quite clear of the ice-bed
in which she had been lying so long, I determined to try blasting
her loose. The next day, therefore, August 9th, at 7.30 P.M., we
fired a mine of about 7 pounds of gunpowder, placed under the floe 6
feet from the stern of the vessel. There was a violent shock in the
vessel when the mine exploded, but the ice was apparently unbroken. A
lively discussion arose touching the question of blasting. The
majority believed that the mine was not powerful enough; one even
maintained that the quantity of gunpowder used should have been 40
or 50 pounds. But just as we were in the heat of the debate the floe
suddenly burst. Big lumps of ice from below the ship came driving up
through the openings: the Fram gave a great heave with her stern,
started forward and began to roll heavily, as if to shake off the
fetters of ice, and then plunged with a great splash out into the
water. The way on her was so strong that one of the bow hawsers parted,
but otherwise the launch went so smoothly that no ship-builder could
have wished it better. We moored the stern to the solid edge of ice
by means of ice-anchors, which we had recently forged for this purpose.

Scott-Hansen and Pettersen, however, were very near getting a cold
bath. Having laid the mine under the floe, they placed themselves
abaft with the "pram," [89] in order to haul in the string of the
fuse. When the floe burst, and the Fram plunged, and the remainder of
the floe capsized as soon as it became free of its 600 tons' burden,
the two men in the boat were in no pleasant predicament right in the
midst of the dangerous maelstrom of waves and pieces of ice; their
faces, especially Pettersen's, were worth seeing while the boat was
dancing about with them in the caldron.

The vessel now had a slight list to starboard (0.75°), and floated
considerably lighter upon the water than before, as three oak planks
were clear to starboard, and somewhat more to port, with nine bow-irons
clear forward. So far as we could see, her hull had suffered no damage
whatever, either from the many and occasionally violent pressures to
which she had been subjected, or from the recent launching.

The only fault about the vessel was that she still leaked a little,
rendering it necessary to use the pumps frequently. For a short time,
indeed, she was nearly tight, which made us inclined to believe that
the leakage must be above the water-line, but we soon found we were
in error about this, when she began to make more water than ever.

For the rest, she was lying very well now, with the port side along an
even and rather low edge of ice, and with an open channel to starboard;
the channel soon closed up, but still left a small opening, about
200 yards long and 120 yards wide. I only wished that winter would
soon come, so that we might freeze securely into this favorable
position. But it was too early in the year, and there was too much
disturbance in the ice to allow of that. We had still many a tussle
to get through before the Fram settled in her last winter haven.

Our drift westward in the latter half of June and the greater
part of July was, on the whole, satisfactory. I give the following
observations:


        Date         Latitude  Longitude  Direction
                        °  '      °  '    of Wind

        June 22d       84 32     80 58    N.
        June 27th      84 44     79 35    N. by E.
        June 29th      84 33     79 50    E.N.E.
        July 5th       84 48     75  3    S.E.
        July 7th       84 48     74  7    W.S.W.
        July 12th      84 41     76 20    W.S.W.
        July 22d       84 36     72 56    N.N.W.
        July 27th      84 29     73 49    S.W. by S.
        July 31st      84 27     76 10    S.W.
        August 8th     84 38     77 36    N.W.
        August 22d     84  9     78 47    S.W.
        August 25th    84 17     79  2    E. by N.
        September 2d   84 47     77 17    S.E.
        September 6th  84 43     79 52    S.W.


As will be seen from the above, there were comparatively small
deviations towards the south and the north in the line of the drift,
whereas the deviations to east and west were much greater.

From June 22d to the 29th it bore rapidly westward, then back some
distance in the beginning of July; again for a couple of days quickly
towards the west, and then a rapid return till July 12th. From this
day until the 22d we again drifted well to the west, to 72° 56', but
from that time the backward drift predominated, placing us at 79° 52'
on September 6th, or about the same longitude as we started from on
June 29th.

During this period the weather was, on the whole, fair and
mild. Occasionally we had some bad weather, with drift-snow and sleet,
compelling us to stay indoors. However, the bad weather did not worry
us much; on the contrary, we looked rather eagerly for changes in
the weather, especially if they revived our hopes of a good drift
westward, with a prospect of soon getting out of our prison. It must
not be understood that we dreaded another winter in the ice before
getting home. We had provisions enough, and everything else needful
to get over some two or three polar winters, if necessary, and we had
a ship in which we all placed the fullest confidence, in view of the
many tests she had been put to. We were all sound and healthy, and had
learned to stick ever closer to one another for better and for worse.

With regard to Nansen and Johansen, hardly any of us entertained
serious fears; however dangerous their trip was, we were not afraid
that they would succumb to their hardships on the way, and be
prevented from reaching Franz Josef Land, and thence getting back
to Norway before the year was out. On the contrary, we rejoiced at
the thought that they would soon be home, telling our friends that
we were getting on all right, and that there was every prospect of
our return in the autumn of 1896. It is no wonder, however, that we
were impatient, and that both body and soul suffered when the drift
was slow, or when a protracted contrary wind and back-drift seemed
to make it highly improbable that we should be able to reach home by
the time we were expected.

Furthermore, the most important part of our mission was in a way
accomplished. There was hardly any prospect that the drift would
carry us much farther northward than we were now, and whatever
could be done to explore the regions to the north would be done by
Nansen and Johansen. It was our object, therefore, in compliance
with the instructions from Dr. Nansen, to make for open water and
home by the shortest way and in the safest manner, doing, however,
everything within our power to carry home with us the best possible
scientific results. These results, to judge from our experience up to
this point, were almost a foregone conclusion--to wit, that the Polar
Sea retained its character almost unchanged as we drifted westward,
showing the same depths, the same conditions of ice and currents,
and the same temperatures. No islands, rocks, shoals, and, still
less, no mainland, appeared in the neighborhood of our frequently
irregular course; wherever we looked there was the same monotonous
and desolate plain of more or less rugged ice, holding us firmly, and
carrying us willy-nilly along with it. Our scientific observations were
continued uninterruptedly, as regularly and accurately as possible, and
comprised, besides the usual meteorological observations, soundings,
measurement of the thickness of the ice, longitude and latitude,
taking the temperature of the sea at various depths, determining its
salinity, collecting specimens of the fauna of the sea, magnetic and
electrical observations, and so forth.



CHAPTER III

AUGUST 15 TO JANUARY 1, 1896


With the rise in the temperature the snow surface became daily worse,
so that it was seldom fit for snow-shoeing; even with "truger" [90]
on it was most laborious to get along, for the snow was so soft
that we sank in up to our knees. Now and then for an odd day or so
the surface would be fit, even in the month of July, and we took
these opportunities of making short excursions for shooting and the
like. Then the surface would be as bad as ever again, and one day when
I had to go out on the ice to fetch a fulmar which had been wounded,
the snow was so soft that I constantly sank in up to my waist. Before I
could reach the bird the whole pack of dogs came tearing by, got hold
of it, and killed it. One of the dogs seized the bird in his mouth,
and then there was a wild race between it and the others. At last
the whole pack turned back towards the lane in the ice again, and I
watched my opportunity and snatched the bird from them. I had paid
pretty dearly for my booty, all spent and dripping with perspiration
as I was from plodding through that bottomless morass of snow.

Our chief occupation was still the work at our sledges and kayaks. The
sledges, which were all brought on board from the great hummock
where they had lain all the winter, were repaired and fitted with
runners. By July 16th they were all in good order--eight hand-sledges
and two dog-sledges.

The kayaks, upon which we had long been engaged, were finished
about the same time. We had now in all five double and one single
kayak. Of these I myself made one, the single kayak, which weighed 32
pounds. All of them were tested in the channel, and proved sound and
watertight. Both the kayaks and the sledges were hoisted on the davits,
so that they could be let down at a moment's notice in case of need.

The petroleum launch, which was of no use to us as it was, but would
afford good materials for runners and other things, was brought from
the great hummock and taken to pieces. It was built of choice elm,
and a couple of planks were immediately used for runners to those of
the sledges, which, for lack of material, were as yet unprovided with
these appliances.

The medicine-chest, which had also lain in depot at the great hummock,
was fetched and stowed away in one of the long-boats, which had been
placed on the pressure-ridge hard by the ship. The contents had taken
no harm, and nothing had burst with the frost, although there were
several medicines in the chest which contained no more than 10 per
cent. of alcohol.

At that time we were also busy selecting and weighing provisions and
stores for eleven men for a seventy days' sledging expedition and
a six months' sojourn on the ice. The kinds of provisions and their
weight will be seen from the accompanying table:


    Seventy Days' Sledge Provisions for Eleven Men

                                                     Pounds

    Cadbury's chocolate, 5 boxes of 48 pounds           240
    Meat chocolate                                       25
    Wheaten bread, 16 boxes of 44 pounds                704
    Danish butter, 12 tins of 28 pounds                 336
    Lime-juice tablets                                    2
    Fish flour (Professor Våge's)                        50
    Viking potatoes, 3 tins of 26 pounds                 78
    Knorr's pea-soup                                      5
      ,,    lentil-soup                                   5
      ,,    bean-soup                                     5
    Bovril, 2 boxes                                     104
    Vril-food, 1 box                                     48
    Oatmeal, 1 box                                       80
    Serin powder, 1 box                                  50
    Aleuronate bread, 5 boxes of 50 pounds              250
    Pemmican, 6 boxes                                   340
       ,,     7 sacks                                   592
    Liver, 1 sack                                       102
                                                       ----
        Total                                          3016


Besides these we took salt, pepper, and mustard.


    Provisions for Eleven Men During a Six Months' Stay
    on the Ice

                                                      Pounds

    Roast and boiled beef, 14 tins of 72 pounds         1008
    Minced collops, 3 tins of 48 pounds                  144
    Corned beef, 3 tins of 84 pounds                     252
    Compressed ham, 3 tins of 84 pounds                  252
    Corned mutton, 17 tins of 6 pounds                   102
    Bread, 37 tins of 50 pounds                         1850
    Knorr's soups, various, 2 tins of 56 1/2 pounds      113
    Vegetables: white cabbage, julienne, pot-herbs        60
    Flour, sugar, 3 cases of 40 pounds                   120
    Oatmeal, 4 cases of 80 pounds                        320
    Groats, 4 cases of 80 pounds                         320
    Cranberry, 2 cases of 10 pounds                       20
    Margarine, 20 jars of 28 pounds                      560
    Lunch tongue, 1 case                                  20
    Danish butter, 2 cases                               336
    Stearine candles, 5 cases                            200
    Preserved fish, 1 tin                                 22
    Macaroni, 1 case                                      50
    Viking potatoes, 4 cases                             208
    Våge's fish flour, 2 cases                           200
    Frame-food jelly, 1 jar                              190
    Marmalade jelly, 1 jar                                54
    Lime-juice jelly, 1 jar                               54
    Cadbury's chocolate, 3 cases                         144
    Lactoserin cocoa, 1 case                              18
    Milk, 10 cases of 48 tins                            480
    Tea, 1 case                                           20
    English pemmican, 13 cases                           756
    Danish pemmican, 1 case                               68
    Dried liver patties, 3 cases                         204
    Vril-food, 5 cases                                   208


Besides these, 2 tins of salt, 1 tin of mustard, and 1 tin of pepper.



When all the stores were ready and packed, they were provisionally
stowed at certain fixed points on deck, under the awning forward. I
did not want them taken out on the ice until later in the year, or
until circumstances rendered it necessary. We had still abundance of
coal--about 100 tons. I considered that 20 tons would be about enough
for six months' consumption on the ice. With that quantity, therefore,
we filled butts, casks, and sacks, and took it out on the ice, together
with 1400 pounds of tinned potatoes, about 45 gallons of petroleum,
about 80 gallons of gas-oil, and about 34 gallons of coal-oil.

As the ship was still deeply laden, I wished to lighten her as much as
possible, if only it could be managed without exposing to risk any of
the stores which had to be unloaded. After the windmill was worn out
and taken away we had, of course, no use for the battery and dynamo,
so we took the whole concern to pieces and packed it up, with lamps,
globes, and everything belonging to it. The same was done with the
petroleum motor. The "horse-mill" was also taken down and put out on
the ice, with a lot of heavy materials. One long-boat had been put out
earlier, and now we took the other down from the davits and took it up
to the great hummock. But as the hummock shortly afterwards drifted a
good way off from us, the boat, with everything else that lay there,
was brought back again and placed upon the great ice-floe to which we
were moored--our "estate," as we used to call it. On top of the davits,
and right aft to the half-deck, we ran a platform of planks, on which
the sledges, kayaks, and other things were to be laid up in the winter.

On July 22d we continued our deep-sea soundings, taking two on that
day, the first to 1354 fathoms (2500 metres) and the second to 1625
fathoms (3000 metres), without touching bottom either time. In order
to make sure that the lead should sink, we lowered away the line
very slowly, so that it took two hours and a quarter to reach a depth
of 3000 metres. On the 23d we again took two soundings, one of 1840
fathoms (3400 metres), without finding bottom, and then one in which
we found bottom at 2056 fathoms (3800 metres). It took two hours
and a half to lower the lead to the latter depth. Finally, on July
24th we again took a sounding of 3600 metres without finding bottom,
and therefore concluded the depth to be from 3700 to 3800 metres.

On July 7th the doctor rowed out in the "pram" in search of algæ,
but came back empty-handed. There were remarkably few algæ to be
found this summer, nor did there seem to be so much animal life in
the water as there had been the year before.

For a few days after she got loose, the Fram lay in a very good
position in the pool; but during the night of August 14th a high block
of ice came floating down the lane, which had now widened a little,
and jammed itself between the ship's side and the farther edge of
the pool, which it thus entirely blocked. As we did not like having
this uncomfortable and dangerous colossus close at our side, in case
we should remain at the same spot throughout the autumn and winter,
we determined to blast it away. Scott-Hansen and Nordahl at once took
this in hand, and accomplished the task after several days' labor.

On Saturday afternoon, August 17th, a pretty strong ice-pressure
suddenly set in around us. In the course of a few minutes the Fram was
lifted 22 inches by the stern, and 14 inches by the bow. In stately
fashion, with no noise, and without heeling over in the least, the
heavy vessel was swiftly and lightly raised, as if she had been a
feather--a spectacle at once impressive and reassuring.

The next day the ice slackened a little again, and the ship was
once more afloat. So it lay quietly until the morning of the 21st,
when another strong pressure began. The ship now lay in a very
awkward position, with a high hummock on each side, which gripped
her amidships for a space of about 9 yards, and screwed her up 6 or
8 inches. But the pressure ended in half an hour or so, and the Fram
sank again into her former berth.

When there were symptoms of pressure we always tried to warp the ship
as far away as possible from the threatening point, and occasionally
we succeeded. But during the stormy weather, with southerly winds,
which prevailed at this time, it was often quite impossible to get
her to budge; for she offered a great surface to the wind, with
her heavy rigging and the high awning forward. Our united forces
were often unable to move her an inch, and ice-anchors, moorings,
and warping-cables were perpetually breaking.

At last, on August 22d, we succeeded in warping the ship along a bit,
so that we might hope to escape pressure if the ice should again begin
to pinch. As the ice soon after slackened a good deal, and became
more broken than before, we some days later made another attempt to
haul her a little farther, but had soon to give it up; there was not
enough space between the two great floes on either hand of us. We
now lay at the same spot until September 2d, with half a gale blowing
continually from the southwest, and with heavy rain now and then. On
the evening of August 30th, for instance, we had a violent rain-storm,
which loosened the ice-coating of the rigging and made a frightful
racket as it brought the pieces of ice clattering down upon the deck,
the deck-house, and the awning.

Our "estate" was very thoroughly ploughed, harrowed, and drained
at this time by wind, rain, pressure, and other such doughty
laborers. Then came the tiresome business of moving the things out
from the ship, which involved the cutting up and parcelling out of
almost the whole "estate," so that what was left open to us was scanty
and cramped enough.

Thus reduced, the "estate" now formed an approximately oblong floe,
with its greatest length from east to west, and surrounded on all
sides by more or less open rifts and lanes. The Fram lay moored to
the north side close to the northeast point, with her bow heading
west. Immediately astern of her, and separated from the point only by
a narrow lane, lay a large floe, upon which was stowed, among other
things, a part of our provision of coal. Far off to the westward the
great hummock still lay drifting.

While the other sides of the "estate" were pretty nearly straight,
the east side formed a concave arc or bay, which offered an excellent
winter berth for the Fram. But there was no possibility of getting the
ship into it so long as the channel between the "estate" and the floe
to eastward remained closed. Late in the afternoon of September 2d
the ice at last slackened so much that we could make an attempt. By
the help of our tackle we managed to get her warped a ship's length
eastward, but it was impossible for the moment to get her any farther,
as the new ice was already pretty thick (the night temperature was
-5° C.), and also a good deal packed. Nor was it any use to bring
the ice-saw into play and cut a channel, for the slush was so deep
that we could not shove the fragments aside or under each other.

The next day began with half a gale from the southeast and rain; but at
6 o'clock the wind moderated and veered to the south, and at 8 o'clock
the ice around the lane began to slacken a good deal. As there was
now more room, we made good progress with cutting our way through the
new ice, and before midday we had got the Fram hauled into the bay and
moored in the winter harbor which we all hoped might prove her last.

When Nansen and Johansen set out, they left seven dogs behind, the
bitch "Sussi" and the six youngest puppies: "Kobben," "Snadden,"
"Bella," "Skvint," "Axel," and "Boris." On April 25th "Sussi" gave
birth to twelve puppies. We had made a cozy little kennel for her
on deck, lining it with reindeer-skin. Pettersen came down in the
morning, and told us that "Sussi" was running round whining and
howling. Mogstad and I went up and shut her into the kennel, where
she at once gave birth to a puppy. When the afternoon came, and we
saw that more and more citizens were being added to our community,
we feared that the mother would not be able to warm all her litter,
and consequently removed the whole family into the saloon. All
the puppies were large and handsome, most of them quite white, and
looking as though they would turn out regular little "bjelkier," as
the Samoyedes call all white dogs. They grew and throve excellently
as saloon passengers, and were petted and spoiled by every one. They
made their home in the saloon for a month, and then we transferred
them to the above-mentioned kennel on deck. After they had been up
there for some weeks it appeared as though they had suddenly stopped
growing, although they were constantly well fed with raw bear's-flesh,
milk, and the broken meat from our table. About the second week of
August two of the puppies died of convulsions. The doctor managed to
save a third by means of warm baths and careful nursing. At the end
of the month another of them was seized with convulsions and died,
although it, too, was treated with warm baths and comfortably housed,
first in the saloon, and afterwards in the work-room.

In the beginning of September, when the frequent rain made things
very moist and uncomfortable in the kennel and on deck, we built a
kennel out on the ice with a tarpaulin roof and a floor of planks,
with plenty of shavings spread over them. While it was being built we
let the whole pack of dogs out upon the ice; but after playing for half
an hour the puppies, one after another, began to have convulsions. The
attacks passed quickly over, however. We drenched them with soap and
water, and then settled them in their new abode.

As the puppies grew older we had to keep a sharp watch upon them
when we let them out upon the ice. They romped and gambolled with
such ungovernable glee that it often happened that one or other of
them plumped into the water, and had to be laboriously fished out
again by the Master of the Hounds for the time being or whoever else
happened to be at hand. Moreover, they soon acquired a taste for
longer excursions, and followed our tracks far over the ice.

One day the doctor and I were out photographing. At a considerable
distance from the ship we came upon a large pool of fresh water,
and took a little rest upon its inviting, mirror-like ice. While we
lay there chatting at our ease, we saw "Kobben" coming after us. As
soon as he caught sight of us, he stopped and stood wondering what
strange creatures we could be. Then we began to creep on all-fours
towards him; and the moment we did so, "Kobben" found his legs to some
purpose. He set off homeward as though he were running for dear life;
and even when we got back to the ship and several other puppies met
us and knew us, the poor creature was still so panic-stricken that
it was a good while before he ventured to come near us.

On September 28th we again lost one of the puppies. It was seized
with convulsions, and lay whining and howling all day. As the evening
advanced, and it became paralyzed along one side, there was no hope
of saving it, so we put an end to its misery. It was pitiful to see
how these pretty little creatures suffered when the convulsions came
upon them.

On October 9th "Skvint" gave birth to puppies, but as so young an
animal could not have brought them up, especially in such a cold
season, we allowed her to keep only one of them as an experiment;
the others were at once killed. A week later "Sussi" produced a second
litter, two he-dogs and nine she-dogs. We let her keep the two males
and one of the females.

It proved inadvisable to have both the mothers with their families
in the same kennel. If one of the mothers went out for a moment, the
other at once took all the puppies into her keeping, and then there
was a battle royal when the first one returned and wanted to reclaim
her property. Something of this sort had, no doubt, occurred one
night in the case of "Skvint," whom Henriksen found in the morning
lying at the door of the kennel frozen so fast to the ice that it
cost us a good deal of trouble to get her loose again. She must have
had anything but a pleasant night--the thermometer had been down to
-33° C. (-27.4° Fahr.)--and her tail was frozen fast to one of her
hind-legs, so that we had to take her down into the saloon to get her
thawed. To obviate such misadventures for the future I had a detached
villa built for her where she could be at peace with her child.

One evening, when Mogstad was housing the puppies for the night,
two of them were missing. Henriksen and I at once set off with
lanterns and guns to hunt for them. We thought that there had been
a bear in the neighborhood, as we had heard a great deal of barking
earlier in the day out upon the ice to the east of the ship; but
we could find no tracks. After supper we set out again, five of us,
all carrying lanterns. After an hour's search along the lanes and up
in the pressure-ridges we at last found the puppies on the other side
of a new lane. Although the new ice on the lane was strong enough to
bear them, they were so terrified after having been in the water that
they dared not come over to us, and we had to make a long detour to
get hold of them.

In the middle of December we took the youngest puppies on board, as
they had now grown so big, and ran away if they were not very closely
watched. The gangway was left open at night so that the mothers could
come into them from the ice whenever they wanted to.

In respect to temper, there was a great difference between the
generation of dogs we had originally taken on board and those we now
had. While the former were great fighters, perpetually at feud with
each other, and often to the death, the latter were exceedingly quiet
and well-behaved, although wild and fierce enough when it came to
chasing a bear. Now and then there would be a little squabble among
them, but this was rare. "Axel" was the worst of them. Shortly before
Christmas he all of a sudden made a fierce attack upon the unoffending
"Kobben," against whom he bore a grudge. But he got the rope's-end
for supper several times, and that improved his manners amazingly.

During the first half of September the weather was very unsettled,
with prevailing westerly and southwesterly winds, a good deal of rain
and snow, especially rain, and frequent disturbance in the ice. The
frost at night, which sometimes reached 10° or 11°, soon made the new
ice strong enough to bear a man, except just at the stern of the ship,
where all the slops were thrown out. Here the ice was much broken
up, and formed a thick slush, the surface of which was frozen over,
but so thinly that it would not bear much weight. Thus it happened
one day that three men got a ducking, one after another, at the
same treacherous spot. The first was Pettersen. He had to go round
the stern to look to the log-line which hung from the ship's side to
port; but before he got so far, down he went through the ice. Shortly
after the same thing happened to Nordahl, and half an hour later it
was Bentzen's turn to plump in. He plunged right up to his neck, but
at once bobbed up again like a cork, and scrambled gallantly up on
to the edge of the ice without a moment's delay. The observation of
the log-line had to be postponed, while a grand changing and drying
of clothes took place on board.

On September 15th the ice slackened so much that there was quite a
little sea between us and the great hummock. The following day the
ice was still so much disturbed that we had to think seriously of
fetching back the things which still lay there. About midday I took
a walk over towards the hummock to find out a suitable transport
path, and discovered an excellent one. But some hours later, when I
set off with men and sledges to fetch back the things, so many lanes
had opened around the "estate" that we had to give up the attempt for
that day. During the whole of September, and well on in October, there
was almost incessant disturbance in the ice. New lanes opened on all
sides, some close to the ship, and there were frequent pressures. The
winter harbor we had found proved an excellent one. There was very
little disturbance in the bay where the Fram was moored, thanks to
the new ice we here had around us, of which the pressure was quite
inconsiderable. It was quickly broken up, and the fragments forced
over or under each other, while the two solid points of the bay bore
the brunt of the attacks. Once or twice it seemed as though the Fram
would be afloat again before the winter finally chained her in its
icy fetters. On October 25th, for instance, it slackened so much in
the lane nearest us that the ship lay free from the stern right to the
fore-chains; but soon the ice packed together again, so that she was
once more frozen quite fast. The hardest pressure occurred on October
26th and 27th, but the ship was not very severely attacked. Pressure,
however, is more unpleasant in winter, on account of the deafening
noise it makes when the ice is hurled against the ship's side. It was
quite different in summer, when the ice is more tough and elastic,
and the pressure goes on calmly and quietly.

After November 1st a more peaceful period set in; the pressures almost
entirely ceased, the cold increased, the wind remained easterly,
and we drifted at a steady rate northward and westward for the rest
of the year.

During the autumn the drift had put our patience to a severe
test. Owing to the prevailing westerly winds it bore steadily eastward,
and day after day we looked in vain for a change. The only thing that
kept our spirits up was the knowledge that, if we were going backward,
it was slowly, sometimes very slowly, indeed. Even several days of
westerly wind did not take us so far to the east but that a day or
two of favorable wind would enable us to make up what we had lost,
with something to boot.

September 22d was the second anniversary of our being frozen in, and
the event was celebrated with a little festivity in the evening. We
had reason to be satisfied with the second year's drift, since we
had advanced nearly double as far as during the first year, and,
if this continued, there could scarcely be any doubt that we should
get clear of the ice in the autumn of 1896.

As will be seen from the following table, September 22d also brought
us a marked change for the better. On that day the winter drift set
in for good, and lasted without intermission through the remainder
of the year, so that between that day and the second week in January
we drifted from 82° 5' to 41° 41' east longitude.


    Date                    Latitude    Longitude   Direction
                                                    of Wind
                               °  '         °  '

    September 6th, 1895       84 43        79 52       S.W.
    September 11th, 1895      84 59        78 15       E.
    September 22d, 1895       85  2        82  5       Calm.
    October 9th, 1895         85  4        79 30       E.
    October 19th, 1895        85 45        78 21       E. to N.
    October 25th, 1895        85 46        73 25       N.E.
    October 30th, 1895        85 46        70 50       N.N.W.
    November 8th, 1895        85 41        65  2       E.
    November 15th, 1895       85 55.5      66 31       E.N.E.
    November 25th, 1895       85 47.5      62 56       N.E. to N.
    December 1st, 1895        85 28        58 45       E.
    December 7th, 1895        85 26        54 40       N.E.
    December 14th, 1895       85 24        50  2       Calm.
    December 21st, 1895       85 15        47 56       N.E.
    December 28th, 1895       85 24        48 22       N.W.
    January 9th, 1896         84 57        41 41       N.


On October 11th we hauled up the log-line and cut a new hole for it
in the ice right astern. Hitherto the log had had only 100 metres
(54 fathoms) of line; now we gave it 300 metres (162 fathoms).

After the middle of September the cold steadily increased, as the
following observations will show:


        Date                  Minimum Temperature
                         Centigrade         Fahrenheit
                                °                  °

        September 18th      -12.5               +9.6
        September 26th      -24.0              -11.2
        October 19th        -30.0              -22.0
        November 5th        -32.2              -25.8
        November 9th        -38.3              -36.8
        November 22d        -43.6              -46.4
        December 31st       -44.6              -48.2


The weather was, as a rule, fine during the last three months of 1895,
with clear air and light breezes; only now and then (for example, on
October 29th, and November 11th, 26th, and 27th) the wind freshened
to half a gale, with a velocity of as much as 48 feet per second.

In the beginning of September we found that the Fram was drawing more
and more water, so that we had a stiff job every day to pump and bale
her empty. But from the 23d onward the leakage steadily declined,
and about the second week of October the engine-room was quite
water-tight. It still leaked a little, however, in the main hold;
but soon the leak ceased here also, the water having frozen in the
ship's side. For the rest, we employed our time in all sorts of work
about the ship, cutting up and removing ice in the hold, cleaning,
putting things in order, etc.

Not until September 23d did the state of the ice permit us to carry out
our intention of fetching back the things from the great hummock. The
surface was that day excellent for sledges with German-silver runners;
wooden runners, on the other hand, went rather heavily. We had also
done some road-making here and there, so that the conveyance of the
goods went on easily and rapidly. We brought back to the ship, in all,
thirty-six boxes of dog biscuits, and four barrels of petroleum. Next
day we brought all that was left, and stacked it on the ice close to
the ship.

On September 16th Scott-Hansen and Nordahl set about preparations
for building a proper house for their magnetic observations. Their
building material consisted of great blocks of new ice, which they
piled upon sledges and drove with the aid of the dogs to the site they
had chosen. Except for one or two trial trips which Scott-Hansen had
previously made with the dogs, this was the first time they had been
employed as draught-animals. They drew well, and the carting went
excellently. The house was built entirely of hewn blocks of ice,
which were ranged above each other with an inward slant, so that
when finished it formed a compact circular dome of ice, in form and
appearance not unlike a Finn tent. A covered passage of ice led into
the house, with a wooden flap for a door.

When this observatory was finished, Scott-Hansen gave a house-warming,
the hut being magnificently decorated for the occasion. It was
furnished with a sofa, and with arm-chairs covered with bear and
reindeer skins. The pedestal in the middle of the floor, on which the
magnetic instruments were to be established, was covered with a flag,
and an ice-floe served as a table. On the table stood a lamp with
a red shade, and along the walls were fixed a number of red paper
lanterns. The effect was quite festal, and we all sat round the room
in the highest of spirits. Our amiable host addressed little humorous
speeches to every one. Pettersen expressed the wish that this might
be the last ice-hut Scott-Hansen should build on this trip, and that
we might all be home again this time next autumn, and "none the worse
for it all." Pettersen's artless little address was received with
frantic enthusiasm.

For the rest, Pettersen had just about this time entered upon a
new office, having from September 10th onward undertaken the whole
charge of Juell's former domain, the galley, a department to which he
gave his whole heart, and in which his performances denoted entire
satisfaction to every one. The only branch of the culinary art
with which he would have nothing to do was the baking of Christmas
cakes. This Juell himself had to attend to when the time came.

When winter set in we built ourselves a new smithy in the place
of the one which drifted off on July 27th. It was constructed on
the pressure-ridge where the boats and part of the stores from the
great hummock had been placed. Its plan was very much like that of the
former smithy. We first hollowed out a cavity of sufficient size in the
pressure-ridge, and then roofed it over with blocks of ice and snow.

As the year waned, and the winter night impended, all the sea
animals and birds of passage which had swarmed around us and awakened
our longings during the short summer deserted us one by one. They
set off for the south, towards sunshine and light and hospitable
shores, while we lay there in the ice and darkness for yet another
winter. On September 6th we saw the last narwhals gambolling in the
lanes around the ship, and a few days later the last flock of skuas
(Lestris parasiticus) took their departure. The sun moves quickly in
these latitudes from the first day that he peers over the horizon in
the south till he circles round the heavens all day and all night;
but still quicker do his movements seem when he is on the downward
path in autumn. Before you know where you are he has disappeared,
and the crushing darkness of the Arctic night surrounds you once more.

On September 12th we should have seen the midnight sun for the last
time if it had been clear; and no later than October 8th we caught
the last glimpse of the sun's rim at midday. Thus we plunged into
the longest Arctic night any human beings have yet lived through, in
about 85° north latitude. Henceforth there was nothing that could for
a moment be called daylight, and by October 26th there was scarcely
any perceptible difference between day and night.

Whenever time permitted and the surface was at all favorable we
wandered about on snow-shoes in the neighborhood of the ship, either
singly or several together. On October 7th, when all of us were out
snow-shoeing in the morning, the mate found a log of drift-wood 7
feet long and 7 inches thick. Part of the root was still attached
to the trunk. The mate and I went out in the afternoon and brought
it in on a hand-sledge. No doubt it had grown in one of the Siberian
forests, had been swept away by a flood or by the current of a river,
and carried out to sea to be conveyed hither by the drift-ice.

Besides snow-shoeing, we also took frequent walks on the ice, and on
November 20th I gave orders that every man should take two hours'
exercise a day in the fresh air. I myself was very fond of these
walks, which freshened up both soul and body, and I often wandered
backward and forward on the ice four or five hours a day--as a rule,
two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon.

On October 8th Scott-Hansen and Mogstad made an experiment in dragging
sledges with 230 pounds of freight. They started at half-past nine
and returned at five in the afternoon, after having been about four
miles from the ship, and traversed pretty heavy country.

We did not believe, indeed, that the Fram ran the slightest risk of
being crushed in any ice-pressure; but it was obviously possible,
or at least conceivable, so that it was our duty to be prepared for
all contingencies. Accordingly we devoted much labor and care to
securing ourselves against being taken by surprise.

At the end of October we established a new depot on the ice consisting
of provisions for six months, with a full equipment of sledges,
kayaks, snow-shoes, etc. The provisions were divided into five
different piles, and stacked so that the boxes in each pile formed an
arch. Thus stored, not more than two cases could well be lost even if
the worst happened, and the ice split up right under the heap. The
provisions consisted partly of pemmican, as may be seen by the list
quoted--a very nutritious article of diet, which makes an excellent
sort of Irish stew (lobscouse). With 200 grammes of pemmican, 100
grammes of bread, and 120 grammes of potatoes you can make a very
satisfying and palatable dish.

On November 28th we passed the sixtieth degree of longitude, and
celebrated the occasion by a little feast. The saloon was decorated
with flags, and a rather more sumptuous dinner than usual was served,
with coffee after it, while supper was followed by a dessert of fruits
and preserves. This meridian passes near Cape Fligely in Franz Josef
Land, and through Khabarova, where we two years ago had bidden farewell
to the last faint traces of civilization. So it seemed as though we
really felt ourselves nearer the world and life.



CHAPTER IV

JANUARY 1 TO MAY 17, 1896


New-year's-day came with fine, clear weather, moonlight, and about
43 degrees of cold. The ice kept remarkably quiet for about a month,
but on February 4th the pressure commenced again. It was not of long
duration, but made a great noise while it lasted; the ice all round
us roared and screamed as if a tremendous gale were blowing. I took
a walk on the ice for the purpose, if possible, of observing the
pressure more closely, but could see nothing. The following day we
again sallied forth on the ice, and found a comparatively new channel
and a large new pressure-ridge about a mile from the ship. It was
impossible, however, to get any comprehensive view of the state of
the ice, as it was still too dark, even at midday. The surface of the
snow was hard and good, but the hollow edges of the snow-drifts were
so deceptive that we every now and then tumbled head over heels.

On February 7th Scott-Hansen, Henriksen, Amundsen, and myself took a
run northward from the ship. The farther north we went the more broken
and uneven the ice became, and at last we had to turn, as we came to
a new and wide lane. During the morning a dark bank of clouds had
been gathering in the southwest, and now the fog got so thick that
it was not easy to find our way back to the ship again. At last we
heard the voice of "Sussi," and from the top of a pressure-ridge which
we ascended we got sight of the crow's-nest and the main-topmast of
the Fram, towering above the fog, only a little way off. Close as we
were to the ship, it was not so easy to get on board again. We were
stopped by a large lane which had formed just abaft the ship during
our absence, and we had to skirt it a long way westward before we could
cross it. Those on board told us that the opening of the lane had given
the ship a great shock, very much like the shock felt when we blasted
the Fram loose in August. At 12.30 at night we felt another shock in
the ice. When we came on deck we found that the ice had cracked about
30 yards abaft the ship, parallel with the large lane. The crack passed
along the side of the nearest long-boat, and right through one of the
coal-heaps. On the heap a barrel was standing, which would have been
lost if the crack had not divided itself in front of it at about right
angles and then joined again, after passing through the outer edges
of the heap. On the island thus formed the barrel and some coal-bags
floated about in the channel. However, we soon got the island hooked to
shore, and the coals were all saved, with the exception of a sack of
one hundredweight, which went to the bottom. By way of making sure,
I gave orders that the depot should be inspected once during each
watch, or oftener if the pressure began again.

On February 13th Henriksen, Amundsen, and I made an expedition
southward to examine into the state of the ice in that direction. We
found that it was very uneven there, too, and full of comparatively
new lanes. The channel abaft the ship widened during the forenoon, and
gave off such masses of fog that we soon lost sight of the ship. The
next day it opened still more, and on the 16th there was a very strong
pressure in it. The ice trembled and roared like a great waterfall,
and splintered into small horizontal flakes on the surface. The
pressure was repeated almost every day, and more cracks and lanes
were constantly to be seen for some time. But after that the ice was
comparatively quiet until April 10th, when it again began to be very
restless. On the night of the 15th the pressure was very strong in
the lane on the port side. We were obliged to haul up the log-line
with the bag and shift the sounding apparatus. The same night the
ice split under two of the provision depots, so that we had to get
them closer to the ship.

On the morning of the 21st we were awakened by a violent pressure
astern. Nordahl came down and woke me, saying that the ice threatened
to rush in over the vessel. We found that a tremendous ice-floe had
been pressed up over the edge of the ice astern, and came gliding
along unchecked until it ran right against our stern. But the Fram
had borne shocks like this before, and now again she held her own
well. The ice was split against the strong stern, and lay shattered
on both sides of the ship on a level with the edge of the half-deck
all the way forward to the mizzen-shrouds. The ship now lay almost
loose in her berth, and the ice round about was broken up into a mass
of smaller floes. As these were passed down by the heavy drifts, it
was hard work to get round the ship, as one ran the risk of plumping
down into the slush at any moment.

Late in the afternoon of May 13th the lane between the forge and
the ship began to widen very much, so that in a couple of hours'
time it was about 90 yards wide. From the crow's-nest I saw on the
southeast a large channel extending southward as far as I could
see, and the channel abaft us extended to the northeast as far as
my sight could reach. I therefore went out in the "pram" to try to
find a passage through to the channel on the southeast, but without
result. After supper I was off again southward, but I could not find
any thoroughfare. At 10 o'clock in the evening I again went up in the
crow's-nest, and now saw that the channel had widened considerably
and reached away southward as far as the eye could reach, with dark
air over it.

Scott-Hansen and I deliberated as to what was to be done. Although
I did not believe it would do much good under the circumstances, we
decided upon an attempt to blast the vessel free. We agreed to try some
mines right aft, and all hands were at once put to this work. First
we fired six powder-mines at about the same spot, but without much
result. Then we made an unsuccessful trial with gun-cotton. At 3
o'clock in the morning we concluded operations for the time being,
as the ice was so thick that the drill did not reach through,
and the slush so bad that it was impossible to get the ice-floes
shoved away. At 8 o'clock the next morning we laid two new mines,
which Scott-Hansen and Nordahl had made ready during the night, but
neither of them would go off. One or two of the mines which we had
fired during the day had produced some effect, but so little that it
was not worth while to continue. We were obliged to wait for a more
favorable condition of the ice.

The weather during the two first weeks of January was settled and
good, with clear air and 40 to 50 degrees of cold. The coldest day
was January 15th, when the thermometer showed from -50° C. (-58°
Fahr.) to -52° C. (-61.6° Fahr.). The last two weeks of January the
temperature was considerably higher, but dropped again in February,
until on the 13th it was about -48° C. (-54.4° Fahr.), after which it
was somewhat higher: about -35° C. (-41° Fahr.) during the remainder of
February. On March 5th the thermometer again showed 40 degrees of cold;
but from that time the temperature rose quickly. Thus on March 12th
it was -12°, on the 27th -6°, with a few colder days of course now and
then. April was somewhat cold throughout, about -25°; the coldest day
was the 13th, with -34°. The first week of May was also somewhat cold,
about -20° to -25°, the second week somewhat milder, about -14°, and
on May 21st we had the first rise above freezing-point of this year,
the maximum thermometer showing at the evening observation +0.9°.

Some days during this winter were remarkable for very great and sudden
changes in temperature. One instance was Friday, February 21st. In the
morning it was cloudy, with a stiff breeze from the southeast. Late in
the afternoon the wind suddenly changed to the southwest, and slackened
off to a velocity of 14 feet; and the temperature went down from -7°
in the morning to -25° shortly before the change in the wind, rapidly
rising again to -6.2° at 8 o'clock P.M.

In my Journal I wrote of this day as follows: "I was walking on deck
to-night, and before I went down had a lookout astern. When I put my
head out of the tent I felt so warm a current of air that my first
thought was that there must be fire somewhere on board. I soon made
out, however, that it was the temperature which had risen so greatly
since I was under the open sky. Scott-Hansen and I afterwards went
up and placed a thermometer under the ship's tent, where it showed
-19°, while the thermometer outside showed only -6°. We walked for
some time backward and forward, and breathed the warm air in deep
draughts. It was beyond all description pleasant to feel the mild wind
caress one's cheek. Yes, there is a great difference between living
in such a temperature and daily breathing an air 40° to 50° below
freezing-point. Personally, I am not very much incommoded by it, but
many complain that they feel a pain deep in the chest. I only find when
I have been taking a good deal of exercise that my mouth is parched."

The following day, February 22d, it first blew from the S.S.E., but
later the wind changed to half a gale from the west, with a velocity
of 55 feet per second. The barometer showed the lowest reading during
the whole voyage up till then--namely, 723.6 mm. The air was so full
of drifting snow that we could not see 6 feet from the ship, and the
thermometer-house out on the ice was in a few minutes so packed with
drift-snow that it was impossible to read off the instruments. It
was not very comfortable down in the saloon, as it was impossible
to create any draught. We made unsuccessful attempts to light the
stoves, but soon had to take the fire away, to prevent suffocation by
smoke. Sunday night the storm abated, but on Monday and Tuesday there
was again half a gale, with snowfall and drift, and nearly 28 degrees
of frost. Not before Wednesday afternoon did the weather improve
in earnest; it then cleared up, and the wind slackened to 20 feet,
so both we and the dogs could get out on the ice and take a little
exercise. The dogs wanted to get out of their kennels in the morning,
but even they found the weather too bad, and slunk in again.

We had a good many rough-weather days like this, not only in the
winter, but also in the summer; but as a rule the rough weather lasted
only a day at a time, and did not involve any great discomfort. On the
contrary, we had no objection to a little rough weather, especially
when it was accompanied by a fresh breeze that might drift the ice
speedily westward. Of course, what most interested us was the drifting
and everything connected with it. Our spirits were often far better
in rough weather than on glittering days of clear weather, with only
a slight breeze or a calm and a brilliant aurora borealis at night.

With the drift we had reason to be well satisfied, especially in
January and the first week in February. During that time we drifted
all the way from the 48th to the 25th degree of longitude, while our
latitude kept steady--about 84° 50'. The best drift we had was from
January 28th to February 3d, when there was a constant stiff breeze
blowing from the east, which on Sunday, February 2d, increased to a
speed of 58 feet 6 inches to 69 feet a second, or even more during
squalls. This was, however, the only real gale during the whole of our
voyage. On Saturday, February 1st, we passed the longitude of Vardö,
and celebrated the occasion by some festivities in the evening. On
February 15th we were in 84° 20' north latitude and 23° 28' east
longitude, and we now drifted some distance back, so that on February
29th we were in 27° east longitude. Afterwards the drift westward
was very slow, but it was better towards the south, so that on May
16th we were at 83° 45' north latitude and 12° 50' east longitude.

The drift gave occasion to many bets, especially when it was good,
and spirits proportionately high. One day at the end of January,
when the line showed that we were drifting briskly in the right
direction, Henriksen found his voice and said: "We have never made
a bet before, captain; suppose we make a bet now as to how far south
we have got." "All right," I said, and we accordingly made a bet of a
ration of salmon, I that we were not south of 84° 40', or between 40'
and 41', and he said we were between 36' and 37'. Scott-Hansen then
took an observation, and found that Henriksen had lost. The latitude
was 84° 40.2'.

Since the last bird of passage left us we had nowhere seen a single
living creature, right up to February 28th. Not even a bear had been
seen during our many rambles on the ice.

At 6 A.M. Pettersen came rushing into the cabin, and told me that he
saw two bears near the ship. I hurried up on deck, but it was still so
dark that I could not at once get sight of them, although Pettersen
was pointing in their direction. At last I saw them trotting along
slowly towards the ship. About 150 yards away they stopped. I tried to
take aim at them, but as it was still too dark to be sure of my shot,
I waited a little, hoping that they would come nearer. They stood for
a time staring at the ship, but then wheeled round and sneaked off
again. I asked Pettersen if he had something to fry which would smell
really nice and strong and attract the bears back. He stood ruminating
a little, then ran down-stairs, and came up again with a pan of fried
butter and onions. "I am blowed if I haven't got something savory
for them," he said, and tossed the pan up on the rail. The bears had
long been out of sight. It was cold, 35 degrees I should think, and I
hurried down to get my fur coat on, but before I had done so Bentzen
came running down and told me to make haste, as the bears were coming
back. We tore on deck at full speed, and now had the animals well
within range, about 100 yards away. I squatted down behind the rail,
took a good aim, and--missed fire. The bears were a little startled,
and seemed to be contemplating a retreat. I quickly cocked the rifle
again and fired at the largest one. It fell head over heels, with a
tremendous roar. Then I fired at the second one. It first turned a fine
somersault before it fell. After that they both got up and took a few
steps forward, but then they both came down again. I gave them each
one of the two cartridges I had left, but still this was not enough
for these long-lived animals. Pettersen was very much interested in
the sport. Without any weapon he ran down the gangway and away towards
the bears, but then he suddenly had misgivings and called to Bentzen to
follow him. Bentzen, who had no weapons either, was naturally not very
keen about running after two wounded bears. After getting some more
cartridges I met Pettersen midway between the bears and the Fram. The
animals were now crawling along a pressure-ridge. I stopped at a
distance of 30 yards, but first of all I had to shout to Pettersen,
who, in his eagerness, hurried on before me, and now stood just in
the line of fire. At last the great she-bear got her death-wound,
and I ran along the pressure-ridge in order to see where the other
one had got to. Suddenly it stuck its head up over the ridge, and I
at once sent a shot through its neck close up to the head.

All hands were then called out, and great was the rejoicing. Our
mouths watered at the thought of the delicious fresh meat we should
now enjoy for a long time. It was about 16 months since we had
last shot a bear, and for 14 months we had not had any fresh meat,
except one or two dishes of seals and birds shot during the summer. We
blessed Pettersen's savory frying-pan. The bears were cut up and made
into steaks, rissoles, roasts, etc. Even the bones we laid aside
to make soup of. The ribs were the most succulent. We had them for
dinner, and everybody voted that a sirloin of bear was a dish for a
king. Accordingly we all ate very large helpings, with heartfelt wishes
that it might not be long before some bears again paid us a visit.

After this Pettersen became so infatuated with bear-hunting that he
talked of it early and late. One day he got it into his head that
some bears would come during the night. He had such a belief in his
forebodings that he made all possible preparations for the night and
got Bentzen to join forces with him. Bentzen had the morning watch,
and was to call him as soon as the bears appeared. A merry fellow,
who wanted to make sure of seeing Pettersen bear-hunting, had taken the
precaution to hang a little bell on Bentzen's rifle, so that he could
hear when they started. Unfortunately no bear appeared. Pettersen,
however, had so set his heart on shooting a bear, that I had to promise
to let him have a shot some time when I myself was by and had a charge
ready, in case the inconceivable should happen, and Pettersen should
miss--a mishap which he would find it very hard to get over.

On Sunday, March 8th, we had another instance of a sudden change in
temperature like that of February 21st. In the morning it was cloudy,
with a fresh breeze from the E.N.E., but at 3 P.M. the wind fell,
and at 6 o'clock changed to a light S.S.E. breeze. At the same time
the temperature rose from -26° to -8°, and it was very pleasant to
saunter round on the half-deck in the evening and breathe the mild air.

On March 4th we saw the sun for the first time. It should have
been visible the day before, but then it was too cloudy. By way of
compensation it was now a double festival day, as we could celebrate
both the return of the sun and Nordahl's birthday in one.

On March 14th it was one year since Nansen and Johansen commenced
their long ice-journey. The day was celebrated by a better dinner,
with coffee afterwards and a punch-bowl in the evening.

Besides the usual scientific observations, which were continued without
any interruptions worth mentioning, we also took soundings during the
winter, but did not reach bottom with a 3000-metre line (1625 fathoms).

On April 13th Scott-Hansen and I took an observation with the
theodolite, and Nordahl an observation with the sextant, on the natural
horizon. According to the theodolite, the latitude was 84° 11.5', and
by the sextant 84° 13'. We had previously ascertained that there was
a difference of about two minutes between the artificial and natural
horizons. In using the natural horizon a smaller latitude is obtained,
even though there is no mirage. The deviation will, however, under
favorable circumstances, seldom exceed two minutes. But if there is
much mirage, it becomes almost impossible to obtain a fairly correct
result. As a rule, therefore, in taking observations in the drift-ice,
one has to use the artificial horizon or theodolite, if a very exact
result is desired.

As the time passed on towards spring the days became longer, and
more rifts and channels were formed round the ship. It was time
to think of beginning preparations for forcing the Fram ahead as
soon as sufficiently large openings should appear in the ice. The
things stored on the ice had been frequently shifted about in the
course of the winter, but as the ice became more broken up, it was
of little use to shift them. So in the middle of April we took the
winter depot on board and stowed it away in the main hold. We also
took on board the sacks from the coal depot, while the barrels and
hogsheads, together with the dog-biscuits, kayaks, and sledges, were
for the present left upon the ice. The sun at this time became so
strong that on April 19th the snow began to melt away on the tent;
along the ship's side it had been melting for several days.

The first harbinger of spring we saw this year was a snow-bunting,
which made its appearance on the evening of April 25th. It took up
permanent quarters in one of the sealing-boats, where it was treated
with groats and scraps of food, and soon got very tame. It favored us
with its presence for several days, and then flew away. The Fram had
evidently been a welcome resting-place for it; it had eaten its fill,
and gathered new strength for the remainder of its journey. On May 3d
we were again visited by a snow-bunting, and a couple of days later
by two more. I fancy it was our former guest, who in the meantime
had found its mate, and now returned with her to call and thank us
for our hospitality. They remained with us about an hour, and did
their best to cheer us with their chirping and twittering; but as
the dogs would not give them any peace, but chased them everywhere,
they finally took flight, and did not return again.

After the first few days in May we removed the temporary deck, which
had been laid over the davits, cleared the main-deck, and took both
the sealing-boats and the long-boats on board. The gangway was also
removed, and a ladder put in its place. Next we shipped the rest
of the coal depot, the dog provisions, and the sledges; in fact,
we took in everything that was left on the ice. All that was now
left to be done was to get the engine ready for getting up steam,
and this we set about on May 18th.

The dogs got on well in their kennels on the ice, in spite of
the prolonged and strong cold, and we had very little trouble with
them. But after the first month in the new year some of the bigger dogs
became so fierce towards the smaller ones that we had to take two of
the worst tyrants on board and keep them locked up for a time. They
also did a good deal of mischief whenever they had an opportunity. One
day, for instance, they began to gnaw at the kayaks that were placed
on the top of the largest dog-kennel. However, we got hold of them
in time before any serious damage was done, and cleared away the snow
round the kennel, so that they could not climb up again to go on with
this amusement.

On February 10th one of "Sussi's" puppies littered. We took her on
board, and laid her in a large box filled with shavings. We allowed
her to keep only one of her five pups; we killed two at once, one
was born dead, and she had devoured her first-born, the cannibal!

Some days later "Kara" had a litter. She was the only one of the dogs
who manifested any maternal instinct. It was quite touching to see her,
and we felt sorry to have to take the pups away from her; but we were
forced to make away with them, not only because it was impossible to
bring them up at that time of the year, but also because the mother
herself was only a puppy, delicate and diminutive.

In the beginning of March the October whelps were let out all day,
and on March 5th we put them, with the older dogs, under the hood
of the fore-companion. In the evening the cover was put on, and when
during the night the hole near the edge of the ice became filled up
with snow, it got so warm in the hutch that the hoar-frost and ice
melted and all the dogs got wet. The pups felt the cold terribly
when they were let out in the morning, and we therefore took them
down into the saloon until they were warm again.



CHAPTER V

THE THIRD SUMMER


On the Seventeenth of May the Fram was in about 83° 45' north latitude
and 12° 50' east longitude. We again celebrated the day with a flag
procession, as on the previous Seventeenth of May. Mogstad sat on
the bearskins in the sledge, driving a team of seven dogs, and with
the band (i.e., Bentzen) at his side. Just as we were arranging the
procession for the march upon the ice, five female narwhals suddenly
appeared, and immediately afterwards a small seal was seen in the
lane abreast of the ship--an enlivening sight, which we accepted as
a good omen for the coming summer.

The great hummock, which was the scene of our merry-makings on the
Seventeenth of May last year, was now so far away and so difficult to
reach on account of lanes and rugged ice that the festivities in the
open air were limited to the flag procession. The cortège took its way
southward, past the thermometer-hut, to the lane, thence northward
along the lane, and then back to the ship, where it dispersed, but
not before it had been photographed.

At 12 o'clock a salute was fired, after which we sat down to an
excellent dinner, with genuine "Château la Fram," vintage 1896. [91]
The table was laid with great taste, and there was an elegant paper
napkin at each cover, with the word Fram in the corner and the
following inscription:


       "The Seventeenth May, our memorial day,
          Recalls what our fathers have done;
        It cheers us and heartens us on to the fray,
        And shows us that where there's a will there's a way,
        And, with right on our side, we may hope to display
          The proud banner of victory won."


During the dinner speeches were made in honor of the day, of Norway,
of Nansen and Johansen, etc.

During the days following May 17th we were occupied in getting
the engine and its appurtenances ready for work and clearing the
rudder-well and the propeller-well. First we attempted to pump water
into the boiler through a hose let down into a hole out upon the
ice. But the cold was still so intense that the water froze in the
pump. We were obliged to carry water in buckets and pour it into the
boiler by means of a canvas hose, made for the occasion and carried
from the boiler to the hatchway above the engine-room. Amundsen thought
at first that he had got the bottom cock clear so that he could let
the water run direct into the boiler, but it soon became evident
that it was too slow work as long as there was still any ice around
the cock. Later on we hoisted the funnel and lighted the furnaces,
and on the afternoon of May 19th the steam was up for the first time
since we got into the ice in the autumn of 1893.

Next we cut away as much of the ice as possible in the propeller-well,
and carried a steam hose down into it. It was very effectual. We
also attempted to use the steam for melting away the ice in the
propeller-sheath around the shaft, but without apparent success. We
easily procured water for the boiler now by filling the water-tank
on the deck with ice and melting it with steam.

After supper we went down into the engine-room to try to turn
the shaft, and finally we succeeded in giving it a three-quarters
turn. This was victory, and we were all fully satisfied with the
day's work.

The following day we melted away the ice in the rudder-well by steam,
and at 1.30 P.M. Amundsen began to "move" the engine. Some large pieces
of ice floated up from the rudder-stock or frame; we fished them up,
and everything was in order. Amundsen let the engine work some time,
and everybody was down with him to see the wonder with their own eyes,
and to be convinced that he really had got it to turn round.

This was quite an event for us. It filled us with renewed courage
and hope of soon getting out of our long captivity, though the way
might be ever so long and weary. The Fram was no longer a helpless
ball, tossed to and fro at the caprice of the drift-ice. Our gallant
ship had awakened to renewed life after her year-long winter sleep,
and we rejoiced to feel the first pulsations of her strongly beating
heart. It seemed as if the Fram understood us, and wanted to say:
"Onward! southward! homeward!"

The state of the ice around the ship, however, was still far
from being so favorable as to give us any prospect of getting out
just at present. It is true that symptoms of spring began to show
themselves; the temperature rose, and the snow vanished rapidly;
but we still remained at about the same latitude where we had been
lying for months--namely, at about 84°. From the crow's-nest, indeed,
we could see a large channel, which extended southward as far as the
eye could reach; but to get through the belt of ice, over 200 yards
wide, which separated us from it, was impossible before the thick
pack-ice slackened somewhat. We therefore made no attempt to blast
the ship free, but devoted our time to various duties on board, did
whatever was left undone, got the steam windlass in order, examined
all our cordage, and so forth.

In the hole in the ice which was always kept open for the striking of
the log-line, we had placed the heads of the two bears, so that the
amphipodes might pick off the meat for us, a task which they usually
perform quickly and effectually. One day, when a swarm of amphipodes
appeared above the bears' heads, Scott-Hansen caught a lot of them in a
bag-net, and had them cooked for supper, intending to give us a regular
treat. But we were sadly disappointed. There was not a particle of meat
on the miserable creatures--nothing but shells and emptiness. If we
put a couple of dozen into our mouths at a time they tasted somewhat
like shrimps. But I am afraid that were we limited to such fare,
and nothing else, we should soon diminish unpleasantly in weight.

In the later days of May the prospects became brighter, as the wind
changed to half a gale from the east and north. The ice began to
drift slowly towards the southwest, and continued to slacken at the
same time, so that on May 29th we could see to the southward a good
deal of open water, with dark air above, as far as the eye could reach.

After several requests had been made to me, I decided to make an
attempt at blasting the vessel clear. At 1 P.M. we set off a mine
of 110 pounds of gunpowder. It had an astonishingly good effect,
wrenching up heavy masses of ice and sending them rushing out into
the channel. Our hopes revived, and it really seemed that another
such blasting would entirely liberate the vessel. Immediately after
dinner we went to work to lay out another large mine 20 yards abaft
the stern. It gave us an incredible amount of work to make a hole
in the ice to get the charge down. We first bored a hole; then we
tried to make it larger by blowing it out by means of small gunpowder
charges, and later with gun-cotton; but it was of no avail. Then we
had to resort to lances, ice-picks, steam--in short, to every possible
means; but all in vain. The ice had, however, got so cracked in all
directions, owing to the many charges which had been exploded in
the same place, that we presumed that a large mine in the log-line
hole would blow up the whole mass. As the ice was thinner at that
part, the mine was lowered to a depth of 10 yards. It exploded with
terrific effect. A mighty column of water was forced as high as the
foretop. It did not consist of water alone, but contained a good
many lumps of ice, which rained down for some distance round. One
piece of over one hundredweight came down right through the tent and
on to the forecastle; other pieces flew over the vessel, and fell on
the starboard side. Scott-Hansen and Henriksen, who were standing on
the ice at the electric battery used for firing the mine, were not
pleasantly situated when the mine exploded. When the shock came they
of course started to run as fast as their legs would carry them, but
they did not get away quickly enough to reach the deep snow. The pieces
of ice rained unmercifully down upon their backs. After a great deal
of trouble we laid and fired two other large gunpowder mines, besides
some smaller ones, but without much effect. We then began to bore holes
for two gun-cotton mines, which were to be fired simultaneously. But
when we had got down two and a half drill-lengths the screw broke,
and before we could proceed new grooves had to be filed on the other
drill before we could use it again. At 12 o'clock at night we knocked
off work, after having been at it unceasingly since the morning.

Next day at 6 o'clock the boring was continued. But the ice was so
hard and difficult to work at that, although four men were handling
the drill, we had to erect a small crane with tackle to hoist the
drill out every time it got clogged up. The ice was so thick that
it took four drill-lengths (about 20 feet) to make a hole through
it. One of the gun-cotton mines was now lowered into the hole, while
the other was put beneath the edge of an old channel by means of a long
pole. Both mines were fired simultaneously, but only one exploded. We
connected the wires, and then the other went off too. But the result
was far from answering our expectations. Although the large mines
were carried down to a depth of 20 yards where the ice was thin,
the resistance was too great for us.

The blasting was now discontinued till June 2d, when during the night
the ice opened up along the old lane close to the vessel. First we
fired a gun-cotton mine right abaft. It took effect, and split the ice
close to the stern. Next we drilled a hole about 16 feet deep right
abreast of the ship, and loaded it with 10 prismer, or 330 grammes, of
gun-cotton (equivalent to about 30 pounds of ordinary gunpowder); but
as I thought it would be too risky to explode a mine of this strength
so near the vessel, we first fired a small gunpowder mine of 11 pounds,
to see what effect it would have. The result was insignificant, so the
large mine was fired. It made things lively indeed! The ship received
such a shock that one of the paintings and a rifle fell down on the
floor in the saloon, and the clock in my cabin was hurled from the
wall. It was evidently felt in the engine-room as well, for Amundsen
had a bottle and a lamp-chimney smashed. On the ice the explosion
took such good effect that the ship nearly broke loose at one blow;
she was now merely hanging on a little forward and aft. With a little
more work we might have got quite clear the same evening, but I left
her as she was to avoid the trouble of mooring her. Instead of that
we had something extra after supper; we considered that we had done
such a good stroke of work that day that we deserved a reward.

Next morning we blew away the ice that held our bow. I myself took a
pickaxe and commenced to hack away at the ice which held the stern
fast. I had hardly been at work at this for more than four or five
minutes before the vessel suddenly gave a lurch, settled a little
deeper at the stern, and moved away from the edge of the ice, until
the hawsers became taut. She now lay about 6 inches higher at the bow
than when she froze fast in the autumn. Thus the Fram was free, and
ready to force her way through the ice as soon as the circumstances
would permit. But we were still unable to move.

Even in the month of May there had been signs of whales and seals
in the channels, and an occasional sea-bird had also put in an
appearance. During the months of June and July there was still more
animal life around us, so that we could soon go in for hunting to
our hearts' content. During the summer we not only shot a number of
fulmars, black guillemots, skuas, auks, and little auks, but also a
couple of eider-ducks, and even a brace of broad-beaked snipe. We also
shot a number of small seals, but only got hold of six; the others
sank so rapidly that we could not reach them in time. As a matter
of course, we welcomed every opportunity of a hunting expedition,
especially when there was a bear in the case. It was not often he did
us the honor, but the greater was the excitement and interest when
his appearance was announced. Then the lads would get lively, and
hastily prepare to give the visitor a suitable reception. Altogether
we killed sixteen or seventeen full-grown bears during the summer,
and a young one, which we captured alive, but had to kill later on,
as it made a fearful noise on board.

One night in the beginning of June, when Henriksen was on his way to
the observation-house to take the readings of the instruments, a bear
suddenly came upon him. Before starting on his scientific quest he
had been prudent enough to go up on the bridge to have a look around
and see whether the coast was clear, but he did not observe anything
suspicious. When he approached the observation-house he suddenly heard
a hissing sound close by, and caught sight of a grinning bear, which
was standing at a pressure-ridge staring at him. Naturally Henriksen
felt anything but comfortable at this unexpected meeting, unarmed as he
was. He at first considered whether he should beat a dignified retreat,
or whether he should fly at the top of his speed. Both parties were
equally far from the vessel, and if the bear had evil intentions it
might be advisable to retreat without delay before he approached any
nearer. He started off as fast as he could, and was not sure whether
the beast was not at his heels; but he reached the vessel safely and
seized his gun, which was standing ready on deck. Before he came
out upon the ice again the dogs had scented the bear, and at once
attacked him. The bear at first jumped up on the observation-house,
but the dogs followed, so down he went again, and with such alacrity,
too, that Henriksen had no time to fire. The bear started off to
the nearest channel, where he disappeared both from the dogs and
the hunter. In his eagerness "Gorm" jumped out upon some pieces of
ice which were floating in the thick brash in the channel, and now
he was afraid to jump back again. There he sat howling. I heard the
wailing, and soon caught sight of him from the crow's-nest, whereupon
Scott-Hansen and I started off and rescued him.

Some days later, at about 10 o'clock in the morning, we heard Nordahl
crying, "Bear!" and all hurried on deck with our rifles. But the
dogs had had the start of us, and had already put the bears to
flight. Mogstad perceived, however, from the crow's-nest, that the
dogs had come up with them at a small lane, where they had taken
the water, and he then came down to tell me. He and I started off in
pursuit. The condition of the ice was good, and we made rapid progress;
but as we had the wind on our side, it was some time before we could
distinguish the barking of the dogs so as to be able to guide ourselves
by it. Presently I caught sight of one of the dogs behind a small
ridge; soon I saw some more, and at last I sighted the bears. They
were both sitting on a floe in the channel, leaning with their backs
against a big piece of ice. Two of the dogs had jumped out upon the
floe, while the others stood on guard round the channel or pool. The
dogs had played their part well, keeping such a close watch upon the
bears that we had no difficulty in giving them their quietus. They
both tumbled over on the spot; but as they moved slightly, we gave
them a final shot, just to make sure.

Well, there they lay. But to get out to them was not so easy. Finally,
having walked round the pool, we succeeded in getting out upon the
floe from the other side, where the distance from the solid ice was
less and where some small floes formed a kind of bridge. We cleaned the
game, and then tried to haul the bodies over upon the solid ice. This
we accomplished by putting a running noose over the muzzles of the
bears and pulling them through the water to the edge of the ice,
where we pushed some small floes beneath them; and then, with our
united strength, we hauled them up. When homeward bound we met Nordahl,
Pettersen, Bentzen, Henriksen, and the mate, who had guessed from the
report of our guns that there was business on hand, and had started
out to meet us with sledges and harness for the dogs. The sledges
were lashed together, one bear was placed on each, and, with nine dogs
harnessed to them and a man sitting astride each bear, off they went
at such a speed that the rest of us had to run to keep pace with them.

On the night of June 24th we again received a visit from two
bears. Nordahl discovered them when, at 12 o'clock, he went out to
the observation-house; he came running back, and called those who
had not yet gone to bed. But when they hurried out upon the ice the
bears saw them immediately and disappeared.

Three days later a she-bear, with a young cub, came trotting towards
the vessel at noon. We burned some blubber in order to attract them,
but the bear was very cautious, and it was some time before she
approached to within 200 to 300 yards. Then the mate could not restrain
himself any longer and fired, so the rest of us sent her a few shots
at the same time, and she fell after walking a few paces. Some of us
took the "pram" and pulled across to the place, as there was a wide
channel between the bear and the vessel. The cub, poor thing, was a
fine little fellow, with almost perfectly white fur and a dark muzzle;
it was about the size of one of our smallest dogs. When they came
up, he sat down on his mother's body, remained there quite still,
and seeming for the present to take matters calmly. Henriksen put
a strap around his neck, and when the mother was conveyed to the
channel he followed quite willingly, and sat down on her back again
when she was towed across. But when, on arriving at the ship, he
found he was to be separated from his mother and brought on board,
it was quite another story. He resisted with all his strength, and
was in a perfect rage. He got worse when he was let loose under the
companion-hood on board. He carried on like a frenzied being, biting,
tearing, growling, and howling with wild rage, like a veritable fiend,
ceasing only as long as he was occupied in devouring the pieces of
meat thrown to him. Never have I seen in any one creature such a
combination of all the most savage qualities of wild beasts as I
found in this little monster. And he was still quite a cub! In the
evening I gave orders to rid us of this unpleasant passenger, and
Mogstad ended his days with a well-aimed blow of the hatchet.

For about a fortnight we saw no bears, but during the night of July
12th we had a visit from three, one of which, after a hot pursuit,
was killed by Scott-Hansen, the mate, Nordahl, and Bentzen. The dogs,
too, did good service this time. The other two bears sneaked off at
the first shot, and were lost to sight in the fog.

On the evening of July 18th Mogstad and I shot a bear, which we
should hardly have got hold of but for the sagacity and alacrity of
"Bella." The dogs at first attacked him once or twice, but after
a short resistance he jumped into the water, and crossed over two
broad lanes, which it took the dogs a long time to get round. He was
just about to plunge into a third channel when "Bella," who in the
meantime had come round, intercepted him not 20 feet from the edge. At
a distance of 200 or 300 yards Mogstad fired, and was lucky enough
to hit him in the head, bringing him down, and he now made only some
feeble attempts to keep the dogs off. I then sent him a shot behind
the shoulder; but, as he was not quite dead, Mogstad gave him the
final one.

On July 20th the mate shot a large bear, which came swimming across
a channel; and we killed our last bear on the evening of August 6th,
but in such an awkward position that we had to leave the meat, and
it was as much as we could do to get the hide on board.

In the matter of birds, we were also pretty fortunate. For instance,
Scott-Hansen and I one night shot 9 little auks, 1 kittiwake,
and 1 skua, and the following day 21 more little auks and 2 black
guillemots. Henriksen in one day's shooting bagged 18 little auks and
1 black guillemot, and Nordahl, 26 little auks and 1 black guillemot;
and, later on, when there had been an abundance of game for some days,
we killed as many as 30 to 40 birds in the course of a few hours.

This hunting life had not only a beneficial effect upon our spirits,
which occasionally were rather low, but it also gave us an appetite,
which sometimes was quite ravenous. When we were weighed at the end
of the month we found that, whereas some of us had previously been
losing weight, we had now steadily and uniformly increased from the
time when auk's breast, roast guillemot, stewed kittiwake, skua soup,
and last, but not least, ribs of bear, became the daily fare on board.

Indeed, we stood in need of all the encouragement and good living
which our hunting procured us. The state of the ice was anything but
cheering, and the prospect of getting out of it during the present
year became less every day.

During the first days following the release of the Fram the ice
was comparatively quiet; but on June 8th and 9th we had some bad
pressures, especially on the latter day, when the stern of the vessel
was pressed about 6 feet upward, so that the rudder-well was quite
out of the water, while the bow was raised about 2 feet, with 4°
list to port. On the 10th and 11th the pressure was also strong,
especially during the night, from 11.30 P.M. till 3 or 4 A.M.

Finally the ice slackened so much on the morning of June 12th that
there was a prospect of warping the vessel some distance ahead. As
the brash was still very thick we did not think it possible to haul
ourselves along without using the steam windlass, so I gave orders to
start a fire under the boiler. But before steam was up the channel
opened so much that we succeeded in warping the ship through the
narrowest passage. When steam was up we steamed through the pool,
where I had found a good berth for the ship. As the rudder was not
yet shipped I had sometimes to go astern, so as to be able to turn
the vessel. We remained there till June 14th, when the ice slackened a
little, and we saw a channel in a S.S.W. direction, and determined to
make for it. So we lighted the furnace, shipped the rudder, and made
at full speed for a narrow rift, which led into the channel. Time
after time we forced the vessel into the rift, but all in vain:
the edges would not budge a hair's-breadth. I let the vessel remain
for some time, working at full speed endeavoring to force the rift,
altering the position of the rudder occasionally. This manoeuvre was
partially successful, as we got the vessel into the rift as far as the
fore-rigging. But that was all we could do. The opening began to close
up, and we had to return and moor in the same place as before. This
was all the more provoking as the whole opening was not longer than
about three-fourths the ship's length.

We remained there till the evening of the 27th, when the ice slackened
so much that I decided to make a new attempt. We got up steam and
commenced to force the ice at 11.30. It was slow work in the heavy
ice, and at 2 o'clock we had to moor the ship, having advanced about 2
miles S.E. by S. We tried the engine this time as a compound engine,
with a favorable result. It made 160 revolutions per minute; but the
consumption of coal was of course correspondingly greater, almost
twice as much as usual. We remained there about a week, until on July
3d the ice opened sufficiently to allow us to advance about 3 miles
through a channel, which ran S.S.W. During the night between the 6th
and the 7th we made another attempt to force the ice, but had only
made about 1 mile when we had to moor again.

The southerly wind which predominated at that time held the ice
thickly packed together, and there was no drift to speak of. On the
other hand, there had been since the middle of June a good deal
of current, owing to the set of the tide. We could not, however,
observe that the current really flowed in any definite direction;
sometimes the line would show every point in the compass during the
twenty-four hours. The current was, however, often very strong,
and would occasionally spin the ice-floes around in the channels
in a way that made you uncomfortable to look at it. The ship, too,
would often receive such violent shocks from these dancing floes and
blocks of ice that loose objects tumbled down, and the whole rigging
shook. The sea continued very deep. For instance, on July 6th we could
not get bottom at 3000 metres (1625 fathoms); but two days later--we
were then about 83° 2' north latitude--we took soundings and reached
bottom at 3400 metres (1841 fathoms).

On July 6th we succeeded in warping the ship some two or three short
stretches at a time, but it was slow and hard work: the ice was bad,
and the contrary wind impeded us very much. But though progress was
slow, yet progress it was, and I gave orders that the ship should
be hauled along as often as there was any opportunity to advance a
little southward.

But although we struggled along in this manner by short distances
at a time, the observation on the 13th revealed to us the fact that
we had actually been drifting a considerable way backward, having
returned to 83° 12' north latitude. It might seem ridiculous, under
such circumstances, to continue pushing forward; but, gloomy as the
prospects were, we tried to keep up our hopes, and were ready to
utilize the very first chance which should present itself.

Late in the evening of July 17th the ice began to slacken so much
that we decided to get up steam. True, it closed up again at once,
but nevertheless we kept up steam. Nor were we disappointed, for at 1
o'clock in the morning the water opened so much that we were able to
steam ahead, and we made 3 miles in a southerly direction. Later in
the morning we were stopped by an immense floe of ice, extending many
miles; and we had to make fast. The whole day following we remained
there. About midnight the ice slackened a good deal, but the fog was
so dense that we could see nothing. At last, on the 19th, we made
what we considered excellent headway. Starting when the fog lifted a
little in the forenoon, we made about 10 miles from 12.30 P.M. till
8 P.M. This stroke of good luck made our spirits revive wonderfully,
and they rose still more the following day when, notwithstanding the
fog and though we had to stop three times, we advanced from 83° 14'
in the morning to 82° 52' at noon and 82° 39' midnight. From the 20th
to the 27th we continued to make good progress. By midnight on the
last-named day we had reached 81° 32' north latitude.

From July 27th till August 2d it was slow and tiresome work. By
August 2d we had not got beyond 81° 26' north latitude. At the same
time we had been carried some distance eastward--namely, to 13° 41'
east longitude.

On Monday, August 3d, we made about 2 miles to the southwest, but had
to remain moored in impossible waters till the 8th, when it slackened
so much around the vessel that we were able to proceed again at 9
A.M. However, we had only made about 6 miles, when we were stopped
by a long, narrow strait. We tried blasting with ordinary gunpowder,
and later with gun-cotton, and time after time we steamed full speed
against the smaller floes that blocked the strait, but without
effect. These floes, as a rule, are not so small and innocent as
they appear. They consist generally of the fragments of old, thick,
and very tough pressure-ridges which have been broken up. When these
pieces get free, they sink deep below the surface of the water, leaving
only a comparatively insignificant part of them discernible, while
the lower parts may be very large. It was precisely this description
of floe that blocked the channel against us. They were so tough that
it was useless to try to break them with the stem of the vessel,
although we repeatedly made at them with full speed. We could plainly
see how the tough old ice bent and rose up at the shock without
breaking. The blasting of such floes was frequently impracticable,
as they were of such a thickness that we were unable to lay the mine
under them. And even if we succeeded in blowing up one of these floes
we gained little or nothing, as the channel was too narrow to allow
the pieces to float astern, and they were too heavy and thick to be
forced beneath the solid edge of ice.

Occasionally it happened that old, thick ice suddenly emerged from
beneath the water in a channel or opening which we were just about
to pass into, thus blocking up the passage before us. On one of these
occasions the Fram received a blow in the ribs that hardly any other
vessel would have withstood. As we were passing through an open channel
I saw from the crow's-nest one end of a large submerged floe appearing
above the edge of the solid ice, and I immediately gave orders to
steer clear so as to pass round it. But at the very moment when we
reckoned to clear it the floe was released, and came to the surface
with such a rush that the spray rose high into the air and struck the
Fram at the fore-rigging on the starboard side with such tremendous
force that the ship lurched violently and fell about 10 points out
of her course, until she ran up against some small floes. When the
monster floe emerged it lifted a huge mass of water and sent it like
a roaring cataract out into the channel.

Something similar happened when we occasionally touched a drifting
hummock that was just on the point of rolling over, owing to the
quicker melting of the ice below the water-line. The slightest push
would be enough to capsize the hummock and turn it over in such a
violent way that the sea around us would become as agitated as during
a storm.

On August 9th we worked the whole day clearing the channel, but only
made slight headway. On the 10th the work was continued, and in the
course of the forenoon we finally succeeded in getting through. During
the rest of the day we also made some headway to the south until the
ice became impassable, and we were compelled to make fast at 10 P.M.,
having made about 2 miles.

On account of the fog we were unable to take any observation until
the 9th, when we found ourselves in 81° 48' north latitude, the last
latitude observation we made in the drift-ice.

On Tuesday, the 11th, we again proceeded southward by dint of arduous
labor in clearing floes and brash, which often blocked our way. At
7.30 P.M. we had to make fast in a narrow strait, until, in the course
of the night, we cleared the obstacles away and were able to proceed
to the southwest. Progress was, however, slow, and on the morning
of August 12th we were stopped by a very awkward floe. We tried to
blast it away, but while we were at work on this the ice tightened up
quickly, and left the vessel imprisoned between two big floes. In the
course of a couple of hours it slackened again in a S.W. direction,
and we steamed off in comparatively fair channels until 12.30 P.M.,
when a floe stopped our farther progress. We had made 9 1/2 miles in
about five hours this forenoon. Some thin ice now appeared, and from
the crow's-nest we could see, when the fog cleared off a little for a
few moments, several large channels running in a southerly direction
both east and west of our position. Besides, we noticed an increase
in the number of birds and small seals, and we also saw an occasional
bearded seal--all evidences that we could not be very far from the
open water.

Between 3 and 4 P.M. we were released from the floes which had held
us enclosed, and at 5.30 P.M. we steamed off in a S.E. direction
through steadily improving ice. The ice now became noticeably thin
and brittle, so that we were able to force the smaller floes. From
5.30 P.M. till midnight we advanced about 16 miles; the engine was
used as compound during the last watch.

After midnight on August 13th we steered S.W., then S. and S.E.,
the ice continuing to grow slacker. At 3 o'clock we sighted a dark
expanse of water to the S.S.E., and at 3.45 we steered through the
last ice-floes out into open water. [92]

WE WERE FREE! Behind us lay three years of work and hardships, with
their burden of sad thought during the long nights, before us life and
reunion with all those who were dear to us. Just a few more days! A
chaos of contending feelings came over each and every one. For some
time it seemed as if we could hardly realize what we saw, as if the
deep blue, lapping water at the bow were an illusion, a dream. We
were still a good way above the eightieth degree of latitude, and it
is only in very favorable summers that ice-free water stretches so
far north. Were we, perhaps, in a large, open pool? Had we still a
great belt of ice to clear?

No, it was real! The free, unbounded sea was around us on every side;
and we felt, with a sense of rapture, how the Fram gently pitched
with the first feeble swells.

We paid the final honors to our vanquished antagonist by firing a
thundering salute as a farewell. One more gaze at the last faint
outlines of hummocks and floes, and the mist concealed them from
our view.

We now shaped our course by the compass S.S.E., as the fog was still
so dense that no observation could be taken. Our plan was at first
to steer towards Red Bay, get our landfall, and thence to follow
the west coast of Spitzbergen southward till we found a suitable
anchoring-place, where we could take in water, shift the coal from the
hold into the bunkers, and, in fact, make the Fram quite ship-shape
for our homeward trip.

At 7 A.M., when the fog lifted slightly, we sighted a sail on to port,
and shaped our course for her, in order to speak to her and try to
get some news of Dr. Nansen and Johansen. In an hour or so we were
quite near her. She was lying to, and did not seem to have sighted us
until we were close on her. The mate then ran down to announce that a
monster ship was bearing down upon them in the fog. Soon the deck was
crowded with people, and just as the captain put his head out the Fram
passed close up on the weather-side of the vessel, and we greeted her
in passing with a thundering broadside from our starboard cannon. We
then turned round astern of her, and fired another salute to leeward,
after which "hostilities" were discontinued. No doubt it was a rather
demonstrative way of making ourselves known to our countrymen, who were
lying there so peacefully, drifting in the morning mist, and probably
thinking more of seals and whales than of the Fram. But we trust that
Captain Botolfsen and his crew will forgive us our overflowing joy
at this our first meeting with human beings after three long years.

The vessel was the galliot Söstrene (The Sisters), of Tromsö. The first
question which was shouted to him as we passed alongside was this:
"Have Nansen and Johansen arrived?" We had hoped to receive a roaring
"Yes," and were ready to greet the answer with a thundering "Hurrah"
and salute; but the answer we got was short and sad "No."

Captain Botolfsen and some of his crew came on board to us, and had
to go through a regular cross-fire of questions of every conceivable
kind. Such an examination they had certainly never been subjected to,
and probably never will be again.

Among the many items of news which we received was one to the effect
that the Swedish aeronaut, Engineer Andrée, had arrived at Danes
Island, intending to proceed thence by balloon to discover the
North Pole.

Botolfsen came with us as a passenger, leaving his vessel in charge
of the mate, and accompanied us as far as Tromsö. We reshaped our
course about noon for Red Bay, intending to steam from there to Danes
Island and see Mr. Andrée. About midnight we sighted land ahead,
and supposed it to be the cape immediately to the west of Red Bay. It
was 1041 days since we last saw land.

We lay to for some time at this point, waiting for the fog to clear
away sufficiently to allow us to find the landmarks. As it did not
clear, we steamed slowly westward, taking frequent soundings, and
soon found ourselves, as we anticipated, right in "Norsksundet"
(Norwegian Sound), and proceeding up, we anchored at 9.30 A.M.,
off "Hollændernæset" (Dutch Cape). The fog was now cleared, and
we soon saw the steamship Virgo, of the Andrée Expedition, and the
balloon-house ashore.

Through the telescope we could see that our arrival had been observed,
and a steam-launch soon came alongside with Mr. Andrée, the other
members of the expedition, and Captain Zachau, of the Virgo.

Neither could these gentlemen give us any news of the fate of our
comrades. Our spirits became still more depressed than before. We
had confidently expected that Nansen and Johansen would reach home
before us. Now it seemed as if we were to be the first to arrive.

We did not, however, entertain any serious fears for their safety,
especially when we learned that the Jackson expedition had spent two
winters in Franz Josef Land. It was highly probable that Dr. Nansen and
Johansen would sooner or later meet with this expedition, and were,
perhaps, only waiting for a chance of getting home. But if they had
not met with Jackson, something had evidently gone amiss with them,
in which case they needed assistance, and that as soon as possible.

Our plans were soon laid. We would hurry home to Tromsö to get reliable
information, and, in case nothing had been learned there either,
we would complete our coal supply--we were not in want of anything
else--and immediately proceed to Franz Josef Land, to make a search
for them, and, as we hoped, have the unspeakable pleasure of bringing
them home to our expectant fatherland in our own faithful Fram.

Our stay at Danes Island was consequently cut as short as possible. We
paid visits to the Virgo, saw the balloon, which was now ready to start
as soon as a favorable wind would permit of it, and received return
visits from our amiable Swedish friends. During the night we finished
taking in water and shifting the coal; the vessel was ready for sea,
and at 3 A.M. on August 15th the Fram steamed off, with sails set,
through Sneerenburg Bay and out to sea.

During the passage across we had good weather and a fair and often
fresh breeze, the vessel making good speed: upward of 9 1/4 knots.

At 9 A.M. on the 19th we saw the first blue ridges of our native
mountains. By noon we sighted Lögö, and at 8 P.M. the north point
of Loppen. Then we steered into Kvænangen Fjord, and anchored off
Skjærvö at 2 o'clock in the morning of August 20th.

As soon as the anchor had fallen, I called the doctor and Scott-Hansen,
who both wanted to go ashore with me. But as they were too slow with
their toilet, I asked Bentzen to put me ashore in the pram, and was
soon at the telegraph station, where I tried to knock life into the
people by thundering with my clinched fist first at one door, then at
another, but for a long time in vain. At last a man put his head out
of a window on the second floor to inquire what kind of night-prowlers
were making such a disturbance. It was the chief of the telegraph
station himself. He describes the nocturnal incident in a letter to
one of the Christiania newspapers in the following pleasant manner:


"It was with anything but amiable feelings and intentions that at
about half-past four I turned out to see what wretch it was who was
making such a lively rattle at my front door. Rather lightly clad,
I put my head out of the window, and roared out, 'Hallo! What's the
matter? Deuce of a noise to make at this time of night!'

"A man dressed in gray, with a heavy beard, stepped forward. There
was something about his appearance that made me think at once that I
had perhaps been somewhat too hasty in giving vent to my displeasure
at being called up, and I felt a little crestfallen when he slyly
remarked, 'Yes, that's true; but all the same I must ask you to open
the door. I come from the Fram.' Immediately it dawned upon me who it
was. It could be none other than Sverdrup. 'Coming directly, captain,'
I answered, and jumping into the most necessary clothes, down I went
to let him in. He was not at all annoyed at the long waiting, or the
unfriendly words with which he had been received, when he set foot
again in his native country after the long and famous expedition,
but was very kind and good-humored when I begged his pardon for the
rudeness with which I had received him. In my inmost heart I made an
even warmer apology than I had stammered out in my first embarrassment.

"When Sverdrup was seated, the first question was naturally as to
the way he had come. They had just arrived from off the coast of
Spitzbergen. On the 13th they had got out into open water, where
they almost immediately met with Captain Botolfsen, from Tromsö,
who was there with his whaling-ship. They had brought him with
them. They had next visited Andrée, who was about to pack up and go
home, and had then proceeded to this place. They had first learned
from Botolfsen, and then from Andrée, who ought to have had some of
the latest tidings from Norway, that nothing was known about Nansen,
whom they hoped to find at home, and the joy they were feeling at the
prospect of reaching home soon was considerably damped by this news.

"'Ah, but I can give you news of Nansen,' said I. 'He arrived at Vardö
on August 13th, and is now at Hammerfest. He's probably starting for
Tromsö to-day in an English yacht.'

"'Has Nansen arrived?'

"The stalwart form bounded up in a state of excitement rarely shown
by this man, and exclaiming, 'I must tell the others at once,' he
vanished out of the door.

"A moment later he returned, accompanied by Scott-Hansen, Blessing,
Mogstad, and Bentzen, all of them perfectly wild with joy at the latest
news, which crowned all, and allowed them to give full vent to their
exultation at being once more in their native land after their long
and wearisome absence, which the uncertain fate of their leader and
his comrade would otherwise have damped. And they did rejoice! 'Is
it true? Has Nansen arrived?' was repeated on all sides. 'What a day
this is, what joy! And what a curious coincidence that Nansen should
arrive on the same day that we cleared the last ice and steered
homeward!' And they congratulated each other, all quivering with
emotion, these sturdy fellows.

"In the early morning two thundering reports were suddenly heard from
the Fram, followed by the ringing cheers of the crew in honor of
their absent comrades. The inhabitants of the place, who were fast
asleep, were quite startled, and soon got out of bed; but when it
finally dawned upon them that it could be none other than the Fram,
they were not slow in turning out to have a look at her.

"As they anchored here, the fragrance of the new-mown hay was
wafted to them from the shore, and to them it seemed marvellous. The
green meadows with their humble flowers, and the few trees bent and
almost withered by the merciless wind and weather, looked to them
so delightful that our poor island was a veritable Eden in their
eyes. 'Yes, to-day they would have a good roll on the grass.'

"For the rest, Mother Nature was as smiling and festally arrayed as
could be expected so late in the year in these northern latitudes. The
fjord was calm, as though it feared by the faintest ripple to interrupt
the tranquillity which enveloped the tried and weather-beaten warrior
now resting upon its smooth surface.

"They were all quite enthusiastic about the vessel. I do not believe
there is a man on board who does not love the Fram. Sverdrup declared
that a 'stronger and finer ship had never been built, and was not to
be found in the wide world!'"


On my way to the fjord I met five of our comrades. Nordahl hurried at
once on board with the glad tidings, while the rest of us settled down
with the telegraph manager around a smoking cup of coffee, which tasted
delicious. A better welcome we could not have had. But it did not end
with the coffee or with the telegraph manager. Soon the popping of
champagne corks sounded successively in the houses of the store-keeper
and local magistrate, while the telegraph manager sent message upon
message announcing our arrival to Dr. Nansen, his Majesty the King,
the Norwegian Government, and to relations and friends.

At 10 A.M. we weighed anchor and set off to meet Nansen and Johansen
at Tromsö, passed to the north of Skjærvö, and steamed south. Off
Ulfstinden we met the steamer King Halfdan, with 600 passengers on
board, coming from Tromsö to meet us. We accepted the offer to take us
in tow, and at 8.30 P.M. the Fram glided into the harbor of Tromsö,
accompanied by hundreds of flag-covered boats, and was received with
cheers and hearty welcome.

Next day, August 25th, at 4 P.M., Sir George Baden-Powell's steam-yacht
Otaria, with Dr. Nansen and Johansen on board, arrived. After a
separation of seventeen months, our number was again complete, and
the Norwegian Polar Expedition was once more united.



CONCLUSION

By Dr. Nansen


What, then, are the results of the Norwegian Polar Expedition? This
is a question which the reader might fairly expect to find answered
here; but the scientific observations brought back are so varied
and voluminous that it will be some time yet before they can be
dealt with by specialists and before any general estimate of their
significance can be formed. It will, therefore, be necessary to
publish these results in separate scientific publications; and if
I now attempted to give an idea of them, it would necessarily be
imperfect, and might easily prove misleading. I shall, therefore,
confine myself to pointing out a few of their more important features.

In the first place, we have demonstrated that the sea in the immediate
neighborhood of the Pole, and in which, in my opinion, the Pole
itself in all probability lies, is a deep basin, not a shallow one,
containing many expanses of land and islands, as people were formerly
inclined to assume. It is certainly a continuation of the deep channel
which extends from the Atlantic Ocean northward between Spitzbergen
and Greenland. The extent of this deep sea is a question which it is
not at present easy to answer; but we at least know that it extends
a long way north of Franz Josef Land, and eastward right to the New
Siberian Islands. I believe that it extends still farther east, as,
I think, may be inferred from the fact that the more the Jeannette
expedition drifted north, the greater depth of sea did they find. For
various reasons, I am led to believe that in a northerly direction
also this deep sea is of considerable extent. In the first place,
nothing was observed, either during the drift of the Fram or during our
sledge expedition to the north, that would point to the proximity of
any considerable expanse of land; the ice seemed to drift unimpeded,
particularly in a northerly direction. The way in which the drift set
straight to the north as soon as there was a southerly wind was most
striking. It was with the greatest difficulty that the wind could head
the drift back towards the southeast. Had there been any considerable
expanse of land within reasonable distance to the north of us, it would
have blocked the free movement of the ice in that direction. Besides,
the large quantity of drift-ice, which drifts southward with great
rapidity along the east coast of Greenland all the way down to Cape
Farewell and beyond it, seems to point in the same direction. Such
extensive ice-fields must have a still larger breadth of sea to come
from than that through which we drifted. Had the Fram continued
her drift instead of breaking loose to the north of Spitzbergen,
she would certainly have come down along the coast of Greenland;
but probably she would not have got close in to that coast, but would
have had a certain quantity of ice between her and it; and that ice
must come from a sea lying north of our route. On the other hand,
it is quite probable that land may exist to a considerable extent on
the other side of the Pole between the Pole and the North American
archipelago. It appears to me only reasonable to assume that this
multitude of islands must extend farther towards the north.

As a result of our expedition, I think we can now form a fairly clear
idea of the way in which the drift-ice is continually moving from
one side of the polar basin north of Bering Strait and the coast of
Siberia, and across the regions around the Pole, and out towards
the Atlantic Ocean. Where geographers at one time were disposed
to locate a solid, immovable, and massive ice-mantle, covering the
northern extremity of our globe, we now find a continually breaking
and shifting expanse of drift-ice. The evidence which even before our
expedition had induced me to believe most strongly in this theory is
supplied by the Siberian drift-wood that is continually being carried
to Greenland, as well as the mud found on the ice, as it could scarcely
be of other than Siberian origin. We found several indications of this
kind during our expedition, even when we were as far north as 86°,
furnishing valuable indications as to the movement of the ice.

The force which sets this ice in motion is certainly for the most
part supplied by the winds; and as in the sea north of Siberia the
prevailing winds are southeasterly or easterly, whereas north of
Spitzbergen they are northeasterly, they must carry the ice in the
direction in which we found the drift. From the numerous observations
I made I established the existence of a slow current in the water
under the ice, travelling in the same direction. But it will be some
time before the results of these investigations can be calculated
and checked.

The hydrographic observations made during the expedition furnished
some surprising data. Thus, for instance, it was customary to look
upon the polar basin as being filled with cold water, the temperature
of which stood somewhere about -1.5° C. Consequently our observations
showing that under the cold surface there was warmer water, sometimes
at a temperature as high as +1° C., were surprising. Again, this
water was more briny than the water of the polar basin has been
assumed to be. This warmer and more strongly saline water must
clearly originate from the warmer current of the Atlantic Ocean
(the Gulf Stream), flowing in a north and northeasterly direction
off Novaya Zemlya and along the west coast of Spitzbergen, and then
diving under the colder, but lighter and less briny, water of the
Polar Sea, and filling up the depths of the polar basin. As I have
stated in the course of my narrative, this more briny water was,
as a rule, warmest at a depth of from 200 to 250 fathoms, beyond
which it would decrease in temperature, though not uniformly, as the
depth increased. Near the bottom the temperature rose again, though
only slightly. These hydrographic observations appear to modify to
a not inconsiderable extent the theories hitherto entertained as
to the direction of the currents in the northern seas; but it is a
difficult matter to deal with, as there is a great mass of material,
and its further treatment will demand both time and patience. It must
therefore be left to subsequent scientific publications.

Still less do I contemplate attempting to enter here into a discussion
on the numerous magnetic, astronomical, and meteorological observations
taken. At the end of this work I merely give a table showing the mean
temperatures for each month during the drift of the Fram and during
our sledging expedition.

On the whole, it may probably be said that, although the expedition
has left many problems for the future to solve in connection with
the polar area, it has, nevertheless, gone far to lift the veil of
mystery which has hitherto shrouded those regions, and we have been
put in a position to form a tolerably clear and reasonable idea of
a portion of our globe that formerly lay in darkness, which only the
imagination could penetrate. And should we in the near future get a
bird's-eye view of the regions around the Pole as seen from a balloon,
all the most material features will be familiar to us.

But there still remains a great deal to be investigated, and this
can only be done by years of observation, to which end a new drift,
like that of the Fram, would be invaluable. Guided by our experience,
explorers will be in a position to equip themselves still better; but
a more convenient method for the scientific investigation of unknown
regions cannot easily be imagined. On board a vessel of this kind
explorers may settle themselves quite as comfortably as in a fixed
scientific station. They can carry their laboratories with them,
and the most delicate experiments of all kinds can be carried out. I
hope that such an expedition may be undertaken ere long, and if it
goes through Bering Strait and thence northward, or perhaps slightly
to the northeast, I shall be very much surprised if observations are
not taken which will prove of far greater scope and importance than
those made by us. But it will require patience: the drift will be
more protracted than ours, and the explorers must be well equipped.

There is also another lesson which I think our expedition
has taught--namely, that a good deal can be achieved with small
resources. Even if explorers have to live in Eskimo fashion and content
themselves with the barest necessaries, they may, provided they are
suitably equipped, make good headway and cover considerable distances
in regions which have hitherto been regarded as almost inaccessible.



            Mean Temperatures (Fahr.) for every Month
            during the Drift of the "Fram"

            Months      1893    1894    1895    1896
                           °       °       °       °

            January     --     -32.3   -28.1   -35.3
            February    --     -32.1   -34.2   -30.5
            March       --     -35.1   -30.6   - 1.7
            April       --     - 6.1   -19.7   - 0.6
            May         --     +13.8   +10.2   +12.6
            June        --     +29.3   +28.0   +28.9
            July        --     +32.4   +32.5   +31.8
            August      --     +30.2   +27.3   +34.1
            September  +29.1   +17.1   +14.9    --
            October    - 1.1   - 8.5   - 6.2    --
            November   -11.6   -23.4   -23.6    --
            December   -20.6   -30.8   -27.2    --



Continuous Periods of Temperature under -40°

Years       Dates
            January     February  March     November  December

1894        11 to 12     3 to  7   5 to 15  14 to 15   8 to 10
            14 to 15    11 to 19  17 to 19     --     17 to 18
            27 to 29    23 to 24  25 to 26     --     30 to 1 [93]

1895        14 to 18     9 to 10  19 to 23  20 to 23   7 to  8
            23 to 26    13 to 16  26 to 28     --        --
               --       18 to 22     --        --        --

1896      29 [94] to 18  4 to  9   4 to  5     --        --
               --       11 to 20     --        --        --



    The Mean Temperature of the Twenty-four Hours for these
    Periods

    Years  January February    March November December
                °         °        °        °        °

    1894     -36.8    -48.5    -47.9    --     -40.7
             -39.1    -43.4    -45.8   -42.3   -37.3
             -40.5    -38.6    -40.2    --     -42.7

    1895     -41.1    -41.4    -39.8    --      --
             -46.3    -43.1    -37.7   -41.1   -39.5
              --      -42.2     --      --      --

    1896     -45.8    -41.1    -35.7    --      --
              --     -43.2  --  --  --



NOTES


[1] He did not return, after all.

[2] We had used for this purpose our pure grape-spirit.

[3] The word svalkelem, which has throughout been translated "gangway,"
means rather a sort of port-hole. As the svalkelem, however, was the
means of exit from and entrance to the ship, "gangway" seemed the
most convenient expression for it.

[4] The crossbars on the sledge that connect the perpendicular supports
of the runners with each other.

[5] The sledge runners were connected in front by a bow, consisting
of three or four pieces of rattan cane lashed together; it is to this
bow the hauling-lines are fastened.

[6] This odometer had been made on board, shortly before starting, out
of the works of an old anemometer. The odometer was fastened behind the
last sledge, and indicated fairly correctly the distance covered by us.

[7] They were 12 feet long, 1 foot 9 1/2 inches broad, and rode about
5 inches above the snow.

[8] Compare my description of "finsko," in The First Crossing of
Greenland, pp. 47 and 48.

[9] I had also had prepared a large quantity of pemmican, consisting of
equal parts of meat-powder and vegetable fat (from the cocoanut). This
pemmican, however, proved to be rather an unfortunate invention;
even the dogs would not eat it after they had tasted it once or
twice. Perhaps this is accounted for by the fact that vegetable fat
is heavily digested, and contains acids which irritate the mucous
membranes of the stomach and throat.

[10] It was not advisable, for many reasons, to cross the lanes in
the kayaks, now that the temperature was so low. Even if the water
in them had not nearly always been covered with a more or less thick
layer of ice, the kayaks would have become much heavier from the
immediate freezing of the water which would have entered, as they
proved to be not absolutely impervious; and this ice we had then no
means of dislodging.

[11] Used by the Lapps to their dog.--Trans.

[12] Whereas eating snow may increase the above-mentioned feeling of
thirst, and have disagreeable consequences in other ways, sucking a
piece of ice, which will soon quench it, may safely be resorted to,
particularly if it be held in the hand a little while before putting it
in the mouth. Many travellers have, no doubt, had the same experience.

[13] We always kept a supply of our various provisions in small bags
inside the kayaks, so that we could get out whatever we wanted for
our daily consumption without undoing the big sacks, which were sewed
up or securely fastened in other ways.

[14] When I left the ship I had purposed to travel northward for 50
days, for which time we had taken provender for the dogs.

[15] This was the latitude I got by a rough estimation, but on further
calculation it proved to be 86° 13.6' N.; the longitude was about
95° E.

[16] I felt convinced we could not have reached such a westerly
longitude, but assumed this for the sake of certainty, as I would
rather come down on the east side of Franz Josef Land than on the
west side. Should we reach the latitude of Petermann's Land or Prince
Rudolf Land without seeing them, I should in the former case be
certain that we had them on our west, and could then look for them
in that direction, whereas, in the event of our not finding land
and being uncertain whether we were too far east or too far west,
we should not then know in what direction we ought to look for it.

[17] We saw no real ice-mountains at any period of our journey before
we got under land; everything was sea-ice. The same was the case
during the drift of the Fram.

[18] In point of fact it was nearly three months (till July 24)
before this marvel happened.

[19] As on the previous day, the ice on the north side of the lane
was moving westward, in comparison with that on the south side. The
same thing was the case, or could be seen to have been so, with the
lanes we met with later in the day. We naturally conceived this to
mean that there was a strong westerly drift in the ice northward,
while that southward was retained by land.

[20] The lanes form most frequently in windy weather, as the ice is
then set in motion.

[21] In point of fact, we were then about 6° farther east than
we thought. I had on April 14th, it will be remembered (compare my
notes for that day), surmised that the longitude I then set down (86°
E.) was more westerly than that we were actually in.

[22] For melting water in the cooker it is better to use ice than
snow, particularly if the latter be not old and granular. Newly fallen
snow gives little water, and requires considerably more heat to warm
it. That part of salt-water ice which is above the surface of the sea,
and, in particular, prominent pieces which have been exposed to the
rays of the sun during a summer and are thus freed from the greater
part of their salt, furnish excellent drinking-water. Some expeditions
have harbored the superstition that drinking-water from ice in which
there was the least salt was injurious. This is a mistake which cost,
for instance, the members of the Jeannette expedition much unnecessary
trouble, as they thought it imperative to distil the water before
they could drink it without incurring the risk of scurvy.

[23] As will be understood by our later discoveries, my surmises were
not quite correct. We really were at that time north or northeast
of Wilczek's Land, which seems to be only a little island. Meanwhile
there must have been extensive open water the previous autumn where
this ice was formed. But when it is shown later how much open water
we saw on the northwest coast of Franz Josef Land even in winter,
this can easily be imagined.

[24] Whereas Finn shoes are made of reindeer-skin with the
hair on, "komager" are made of under-tanned hide without hair,
generally from the ox or bearded seal (Phoca barbata), with tops
of reindeer-skin. They are strong and water-proof. (See description
of equipment.)

[25] It was undoubtedly from seals, which often utter a sound like
a protracted "ho!"

[26] It was from about 82° 52' N. south to 82° 19' N. that we travelled
over young ice of this description; that is to say, there must have
been open water over a distance of fully 32 English geographical miles
(33' of latitude). We also found ice of this kind farther south for
a long distance, and the open sea must have been considerably greater.

[27] It was the first diary I used on the sledge journey.

[28] Until this day we had eaten what we required without weighing out
rations. It proved that, after all, we did not eat more than what I
had originally allowed per day--i.e., 1 kilo. of dried food. We now
reduced these day's rations considerably.

[29] It was probably pressure of the floes against each other which
caused this movement. We noticed the same motion several times later.

[30] We found water on the ice here suitable for cooking for the
first time. It was, however, somewhat salt, so that the "fiskegratin"
was too well seasoned.

[31] As it proved later, we were, in reality, about 6° farther east
than we thought.

[32] I called my watch thus after Johannsen, the watchmaker in London
who supplied it.

[33] In reality we were somewhat near the point I here assume (we
were in 67° E., approximately). The reason why we did not see the
land here mentioned was because it does not exist, as was proved later.

[34] A proper hauling harness is an important item, and in the long run
is much less trying than the ordinary hauling strap or rope crosswise
over the chest and one shoulder. The form of harness I use consists of
two straps, which are passed over both shoulders, like the straps of a
knap-sack, and are fastened crosswise over the back to a leather belt,
where the hauling-rope from the sledge is also attached. It is thus in
one's power during the work of hauling to distribute the strain equally
between both shoulders and the belt (i.e., the thighs and abdomen). The
hauling "centre of gravity" is in this manner lower in the body, just
above the legs, which do the work, and the hauling-rope does not,
as is usually the case, press only on the upper part of the body.

[35] Certain straps which are fixed on the kayak, just in front of
the occupant, and through which the paddle is passed when shooting,
etc. The blade thus lying laterally on the water very much increases
the steadiness of the occupants.

[36] Compare, however, what I say on this subject later--i.e.,
July 24th.

[37] This was taken in case it might be wanted for soldering the
cooking apparatus or the German-silver plates under the sledge-runners.

[38] We eventually decided to retain this, however.

[39] The vessel we expected to catch in Spitzbergen.

[40] This supposition is extremely doubtful.

[41] It proved later that this must be Crown Prince Rudolf Land.

[42] In reality we were probably farther from it than before.

[43] We saw more and more of these remarkable birds the farther
we went.

[44] As a rule, we crossed the lanes in this manner; we placed the
sledges, with the kayaks on, side by side, lashed them together,
stiffened them by running the snow-shoes across under the straps,
which also steadied them, and then launched them as they were, with
the sledges lashed underneath. When across, we had only to haul them
up on the other side.

[45] The first island I called "Eva's Island," the second "Liv's
Island," and the little one we were then on "Adelaide's Island." The
fourth island south of us had, perhaps, already been seen by Payer,
and named by him "Freeden Island." The whole group of islands I named
"Hvidtenland" (White Land).

[46] Icebergs of considerable size have been described as having been
seen off Franz Josef Land, but I can only say with reference to this
that during the whole of our voyage through this archipelago we saw
nothing of the kind. The one mentioned here was the biggest of all
those we came across, and they were, compared with the Greenland
icebergs, quite insignificant masses of glacier-ice.

[47] I have called it granite in my diary, but it was in reality a
very coarse-grained basalt. The specimens I took have unfortunately
been lost.

[48] "Houen's Island."

[49] "Torup's Island."

[50] This color is owing to a beautiful minute red alga, which
grows on the snow (generally Spaerella nivalis). There were also
some yellowish-green patches in this snow, which must certainly be
attributed to another species of alga.

[51] It proved later to be Crown Prince Rudolf's Land.

[52] Off Brögger's Foreland.

[53] Clements Markham's Foreland.

[54] Helland's Foreland.

[55] On Helland's Foreland.

[56] I took specimens of the different rock formations, lichens, etc.,
that we came across; but in the course of the winter the collection
was stolen by the foxes, and I thus brought little home from the
tracts north of our winter hut.

[57] As this promontory is probably the land Jackson saw farthest north
in the spring of 1895, it has no name upon my map. It is otherwise
with the islands outside, which he did not notice. They are only
indicated approximately (as Geelmuyden Island and Alexander's Island),
as I am not certain of either their number or their exact situation.

[58] These three islands, whose bearings we were subsequently enabled
to take, and which we could see from our winter hut, are probably
the land which Jackson saw and took to be "King Oscar Land." In
consequence of his having seen them from only one point (his Cape
Fisher), due south, in 81°, he has placed them 40' too far north,
in 82°), having overestimated their distance. (See his map in the
Geographical Journal, Vol. VII., No. 6, December, 1896, London.)

[59] Called Steinen on the map.

[60] I now thought I could safely conclude that we were on the west
coast of Franz Josef Land, and were at this moment a little north of
Leigh Smith's most northwesterly point, Cape Lofley, which should lie
a little south of 81° north latitude, while our observation that day
made us about 81° 19' north latitude.

[61] Ice which is frozen fast to the bottom, and is therefore often
left lying like an icy base along the shore even after the sea is
free from ice. On account of the warm water which comes from the land,
an open channel is often formed between this ice-base and the shore.

[62] It was a registering thermometer, which was also used as a
sling-thermometer.

[63] It often blew very fresh there under the mountain. Another time,
one of my snow-shoes, which was stuck into the snowdrift beside the
hut, was broken short off by the wind. It was a strong piece of maple.

[64] Christmas-eve and New-year's-eve were the only occasions on
which we allowed ourselves to take any of the provisions which we
were keeping for our journey southward.

[65] These rumblings in the glacier are due to rifts which are formed
in the mass of ice when the cold causes it to contract. New rifts
seemed to be formed only when the temperature sank lower than it had
previously been in the course of that winter; at least, it was only
then that we heard the rumblings.

[66] It proved afterwards that the distance was about 56 miles.

[67] We had now, as the spring advanced, a good opportunity of seeing
how the little auk in great flocks and the black guillemots in smaller
numbers,  invariably set forth from land at certain times of the day
towards the open sea, and then at other times returned in unbroken
lines up the ice-bound fjords to their nest-rocks again.

[68] This was a slip of the pen; it ought to be 102° east longitude.

[69] Jackson's "Cape M'Clintock."

[70] Jackson, who saw it in the spring of 1895, called it Mary
Elizabeth Island.

[71] Jackson's "Cape Fisher."

[72] This was on the south side of Jackson's "Cape Richthofen," the
most northerly point which Jackson had reached earlier the same spring.

[73] It proved afterwards to be "Hooker Island."

[74] It proved to be "Northbrook Island."

[75] The sound between Northbrook Island and Bruce Island on the one
side and Peter Head, on Alexandra Land, on the other side.

[76] Cape Barents.

[77] The ice-foot is the part of a floe which often projects into
the water under the surface. It is formed through the thawing of the
upper part of the ice in the summer-time by the warmer surface layer
of the sea.

[78] He had reached Cape Richthofen, about 35 miles to the south of us.

[79] We had not any nautical almanac for 1896, and had hitherto used
the almanac for the previous year.

[80] New Lands within the Arctic Circle. By J. Payer, Vol. II., p. 129.

[81] Where they are generally called diabases.

[82] Leigh Smith had already brought back from Spitzbergen a fossil
cone, which Carruthers classified as a Pinus; but he regarded it as
belonging to the upper part of the cretaceous system.

[83] I did not dream that Sverdrup a year after would be in command
of this steamer.

[84] Jackson had brought with him several Russian horses, which he
had used along with dogs on his sledge expeditions. Only one of these
horses was alive at the time of our arrival.

[85] Vide pp. 91-98, Vol. II.

[86] Little "Barnet," who weighed only 38 pounds, and was one of
the smallest of the dogs, was a regular fighter, and, as a rule,
the aggressor.

[87] On April 18th, when the doctor and I were out looking for a
suitable piece of ice for determining the specific gravity of the ice,
we observed a remarkable drop of water hanging under a projecting
corner of a large block of ice, reared up high by pressure. There
it hung, in the shade, quivering in the fresh breeze, although the
thermometer registered about -23° of frost. "That must be very salt,"
I said, and tasted it--"Phew!" It was salt in very truth--rank salt,
like the strongest brine.

[88] These are well-known localities in Christiania, Engebret's being
a restaurant.

[89] A small keelless boat.

[90] A round wicker snow-shoe like a basket-lid.

[91] This claret was made for the occasion, and consisted of the
juice of dried red whortleberries and bilberries, with the addition
of a little spirits. I was highly complimented on this beverage,
and served it again on other occasions.

[92] Twenty-eight days' work of forcing this more or less closely
packed ice had brought us a distance of 180 miles.

[93] January

[94] December





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