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Title: North-Pole Voyages
Author: Mudge, Zachariah Atwell
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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[Transcriber's Note: This author often uses "run" where we to-day would
use "ran." This was retained.]


[Illustration: Captain C. F. Hall.

See page 289]



NORTH-POLE VOYAGES:

EMBRACING

SKETCHES OF THE IMPORTANT FACTS AND INCIDENTS

IN THE LATEST

AMERICAN EFFORTS TO REACH THE NORTH POLE

FROM THE SECOND GRINNELL EXPEDITION TO THAT OF THE POLARIS.

BY REV. Z. A. MUDGE,

    AUTHOR OF "VIEWS FROM PLYMOUTH ROCK," "WITCH HILL," "ARCTIC
    HEROES," ETC., ETC.

    Five Illustrations.

    NEW YORK:

    NELSON & PHILLIPS

    CINCINNATI: HITCHCOCK & WALDEN.

    SUNDAY-SCHOOL DEPARTMENT.



    Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by

    NELSON & PHILLIPS,

    in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.



PREFACE.


FOR more than three hundred years an intense desire has been felt by
explorers to discover and reveal to the world the secrets of the
immediate regions of the North Pole. Nor has this desire been confined
to mere adventurers. Learned geographers, skillful navigators, and
scientific men of broad and accurate study, have engaged in these
enterprises with enthusiastic interest. The great governments of the
Christian world have bestowed upon them liberally the resources of their
wealth and science, and never to a greater extent than within the last
three years. Failure seems but to stimulate exertion. Scarcely have the
tears dried on the faces of the friends of those who have perished in
the undertaking before we hear of the departure of a fresh expedition.
Something like a divine inspiration has attended these explorations from
the first, and their moral tone has been excellent.

This volume sketches the latest American efforts, second to no others in
heroism and success, and abounding in instructive and intensely
interesting adventures both grave and gay.

We have followed in this volume, as in its companion volume, "The Arctic
Heroes," the orthography of Professor Dall, of the Smithsonian
Institution, in some frequently-occurring Arctic words.



CONTENTS.


  CHAPTER                                         PAGE
        I. NORTHWARD                                 9
       II. ANCHORED AT LAST                         17
      III. THRILLING INCIDENTS                      23
       IV. LOST AND RESCUED                         31
        V. MORE HEROIC EXCURSIONS                   43
       VI. THE OPEN SEA                             53
      VII. AN IMPORTANT MOVEMENT                    60
     VIII. TREATY MAKING                            68
       IX. ARCTIC HUNTING                           75
        X. THEE ESCAPING PARTY                      89
       XI. A GREEN SPOT                             99
      XII. NETLIK                                  109
     XIII. THE HUT                                 120
      XIV. ESQUIMO TREACHERY                       131
       XV. LIGHTS AND SHADOWS                      142
      XVI. DRUGGED ESQUIMO                         150
     XVII. BACK AGAIN                              160
    XVIII. SCARES                                  171
      XIX. SEEKING THE ESQUIMO                     179
       XX. DESERTERS                               186
      XXI. CLOSING INCIDENTS OF THE IMPRISONMENT   194
     XXII. HOMEWARD BOUND                          201
    XXIII. NARROW ESCAPES                          209
     XXIV. ESQUIMO KINDNESS                        216
      XXV. MELVILLE BAY                            221
     XXVI. SAVED                                   228
    XXVII. OFF AGAIN                               234
   XXVIII. COLLIDING FLOES                         241
     XXIX. THE WINTER HOME                         249
      XXX. GLACIERS                                255
     XXXI. A STRANGE DREAM AND ITS FULFILLMENT     263
    XXXII. THE CROWNING SLEDGE JOURNEY             270
   XXXIII. LAST INCIDENTS OF THE EXPEDITION        279
    XXXIV. SOMETHING NEW                           287
     XXXV. A FEARFUL STORM                         295
    XXXVI. THE AURORA                              304
   XXXVII. THE DYING ESQUIMO                       311
  XXXVIII. CUNNING HUNTERS                         317
    XXXIX. ROUND FROBISHER BAY                     326
       XL. THE "POLARIS"                           333
      XLI. DISASTER                                344
     XLII. THE LAST OF THE "POLARIS"               357
    XLIII. THE FEARFUL SITUATION                   364
     XLIV. THE WONDERFUL DRIFT                     371
      XLV. THE WONDERFUL ESCAPE                    380


Illustrations.

  CAPTAIN C. F. HALL                                 2
  WALRUSES--A FAMILY PARTY                          81
  CAPTAIN BUDDINGTON                               337
  UNLOADING STORES FROM THE "POLARIS"              345
  PERILOUS SITUATION OF THE "POLARIS"              354



NORTH-POLE VOYAGES.



CHAPTER I.

NORTHWARD.


THE readers who have been with us before into the arctic regions will
recollect the good American brig Advance, and her wonderful drift during
live months, in 1851, from the upper waters of the Wellington Channel,
until she was dropped in the Atlantic Ocean by the ice-field which
inclosed her. Dr. Kane, then her surgeon, took command of this same
vessel, in 1853, for another search for the lost Franklin. We have seen
that the place of Franklin's disasters and death was found while Kane
was away on this voyage, so the interest of the present story will not
connect with that great commander, except in the noble purposes of its
heroes.

The Advance left New York on the thirtieth of May, having on board, all
counted, eighteen men. Kind hearts and generous purses had secured for
her a fair outfit in provisions for the comfort of the adventurers, in
facilities for fighting the ice and cold, and in the means of securing
desired scientific results. Of the thousands who waved them a kind
adieu from the shore many said sadly, "They will never return."

We shall make the acquaintance of the officers and men as we voyage with
them, and a very agreeable acquaintance we are sure it will be. The
rules by which all agreed to be governed were these and no others:
"Absolute obedience to the officer in command; no profane swearing; no
liquor drunk except by special order."

The voyagers touched at St. John's, and among other kindnesses shown
them was the gift by the governor of a noble team of nine Newfoundland
dogs.

At Fiskernaes, the first Greenland port which they entered, they added
to their company Hans Christian, an Esquimo hunter, nineteen years of
age. Hans was expert with the Esquimo spear and kayak. He will appear
often in our story, and act a conspicuous part; he at once, however,
prepossesses us in his favor by stipulating with Dr. Kane to leave two
barrels of bread and fifty pounds of pork with his mother in addition to
the wages he is to receive. The doctor made his cup of joy overflow by
adding to these gifts to his mother the present for himself of a rifle
and new kayak.

The expedition next touched at Lichtenfels. Dr. Kane obtained here a
valuable addition to his outfit of fur clothing. Stopping at Proven, a
supply of Esquimo dogs was completed; lying to briefly at Upernavik, the
most northern port of civilization, their equipment in furs, ice-tools,
and other necessary articles known to arctic voyagers, was rendered
still more complete. At this last port the services of Carl Petersen
were engaged for the expedition. We have met this intelligent, heroic
Dane among our "Arctic Heroes." He will for a long time appear in the
shifting scenes of our story.

On the twenty-seventh of July the "Advance" drew near to Melville Bay.
The reader who has accompanied the earlier arctic explorers into this
region will remember their terrific experience in this bay. Every arctic
enemy of the navigator lurks there. Their attacks are made singly and in
solid combinations. At one time they steal upon their victim like a
Bengal tiger; at other times they rush upon him with a shout and yell,
like a band of our own savages. Giant icebergs; fierce storms; cruel
nips; silent, unseen, irresistible currents; with ever-changing,
treacherous "packs" and "floes," and the all-pervading, relentless cold,
are some of these enemies. A favorite movement of these forces is to so
adjust themselves as to promise the advancing explorer or whaler a
speedy and complete success; then, suddenly changing front, to crush and
sink him at once, or to bind him in icy fetters, a helpless, writhing
victim, for days, weeks, or months, and finally, perhaps, to bury both
ship and men in the dark, deep waters of the bay.

The "Advance" was at this time treated by these guardians of the
approach to the North Pole with exceptional courtesy. We suspect that
they secretly purposed to follow them into more northern regions, and
there to attack them at even greater advantage. This they certainly did.

But just to show them what it could and was minded to do, the evil
spirit of the bay invited them at one time to escape impending danger by
fastening to a huge berg. This they did, after eight hours of warping,
heaving, and planting ice-anchors, a labor of prostrating exhaustion.
Hardly had they begun to enjoy the invited hospitality of the berg, when
it began to shower upon them, like big drops from a summer cloud, pieces
of ice the size of a walnut, accompanied by a crackling, threatening
noise from above. A gale from out of its hiding-place on shore came
sweeping upon them at the same time, driving before it its icy
supporter. Mischief was evidently intended. The "Advance" retreated from
the berg with all possible haste, and had barely gone beyond its reach
when it launched after it its whole broadside, which came crashing into
the water with a roar like a whole park of artillery. Could any thing be
rougher? But then it was true to its icebergy character.

The "Advance" was not injured, but the ice held as a trophy more than
two thousand feet of good whale line, which had to be cut in the
retreat.

These bergs, though thus harsh and treacherous as a rule, _can_ do a
generous thing. May be, like some people, they are all the more
dangerous on account of exceptional generosity. The loose ice, soon
after this incident, was drifting south, and would have borne the
navigators with it back from whence they had come, perhaps for hundreds
of miles. But a majestic berg came along whose sunken base took hold of
the deep water current, and so, impelled by this current, it sailed
grandly northward, sweeping a wide path through the rotten floes. It
condescendingly offered to do tugboat service for the "Advance," and
invited its captain to throw aboard an ice-anchor. We wonder he dared to
trust it, but he did, and, grappling its crystal sides, made good
headway for awhile until other means of favorable voyaging were
presented.

Soon after the explorers parted from this bergy friend the midnight sun
came out over its northern crest, kindling on every part of its surface
fires of varied colors, and scattering over the ice all around blazing
carbuncles, sparkling rubies, and molten gold.

August fifth the "Advance," fairly clearing the hated Melville Bay,
sailed along the western coast of the "North Water" of Baffin Bay. At
Northumberland Island, at the mouth of Whale Sound, their eyes were
again delighted by an exhibition of beautiful colors, delicately tinted,
but this time not made by a gorgeous sunrise over a gigantic iceberg.
The snow of the island and its vicinity bore, over vast areas, a reddish
hue, and great patches of beautiful green mosses broke its monotony,
while here and there the protruding sandstone threw in a rich shading of
brown. So God paints the dreariest lands in colors of great beauty, and
scatters over them profusely at times the richest sunlit gems.

On the sixth of August they passed the frowning headland of Smith's
Sound, known as Cape Alexander. It stands like the charred trunk and
limbs of some mighty oak, at the entrance of an unexplored, gloomy
forest, seen in the murky darkness. Cape Alexander seemed a mighty
sentinel of evil purpose, toward all who dared pass to the mysterious
regions beyond. It inspired the sailors with superstitious fear, and
admonished their officers that eternal vigilance must be the price of
safety in the waters beyond.

Arriving at Littleton Island, our explorers built a monument of stones
as a conspicuous object from the sea, surmounted by the stripes and
stars, put under it a record of their voyage thus far, and, two miles
north and east, upon the mainland, deposited a metallic life-boat, with
provisions and various stores. These were for a resort in case of
accident in their further progress.

While making this deposit they discovered the remains of Esquimo huts,
and graves of some of their former occupants. The dead had been buried
in a sitting posture, their knees drawn close to their bodies; the few
simple implements belonging to the deceased were buried with them. In
one grave was a child's toy spear. So even the rude Esquimo child has
its toys, and, no doubt, the mother looks upon its trinkets, as she lays
them beside its dead body, with tearful interest.

Soon after making these deposits in the life-boat, the "Advance," while
making a vigorous struggle with the broken ice, was borne into a
land-locked inlet, which Dr. Kane called Refuge Harbor. It was rather a
cosy place for an arctic shore, and in it the explorers waited for the
movement of the ice.

While here they were much annoyed by their dogs, fifty in number. Two
bears had been shot, which were the only game which had been taken for
them. They were now on short allowance, and were as ravenous as wolves.
They gulped down almost any thing which could go down their throats,
even devouring at one time a part of a feather-bed. Dr. Kane's specimens
of natural history fared hard at their jaws. He happened once to set
down in their way two nests of large sea-fowl. They were filled with
feathers, filth, moss and pebbles--a full peck, but the dogs made a rush
for them and gobbled down the whole. There were plenty of wolves not far
from the brig, on which they delighted to feed. But the hunters had no
luck in trying to take them. Rifle balls glanced from their thick hides
as if they had been peas from a toy gun. They needed the Esquimo harpoon
and the Esquimo skill. But fortunately a dead narwhal, or sea-unicorn,
was found. Under its soothing influence, when fed out to them, the dogs
became more quiet.

After remaining a few days at Refuge Harbor, a desperate push was made
to get the vessel farther north and east. For twelve days they manfully
battled with the ice, and made forty miles. This brought them to the
bottom of a broad shallow bay, which they named Force Bay. Here they
fastened the brig to a shelving, rocky ledge near the shore.



CHAPTER II.

ANCHORED AT LAST.


ON Wednesday, August seventeenth, the heralds of a storm from the South
reached the brig. They made their announcement by hurling against her
sides some heavy floe-pieces. Understanding this hint of what was
coming, the explorers clung to their rocky breakwater by three heavy
hawsers. Louder and louder roared the blast, and more fiercely crashed
the ice which it hurled against the ledge. At midnight one of the
cables, the smaller of the three, parted, and the storm seemed to shout
its triumph at this success as it assailed the writhing vessel more
vigorously. But the ledge broke the power in a measure of the wind and
ice, and was, indeed, a godsend to the imperiled men, so they put it
down on their chart as Godsend Ledge.

The next day the huge, human-faced walrus came quite near the brig in
great numbers, shaking their grim, dripping fronts. The dovekies, more
cheerful visitors, scud past toward the land. Both walrus and fowls
proclaimed in their way the terribleness of the increasing tempest. The
place of the broken hawser had been supplied, and the worried craft
strained away at three strong lines which held on bravely. Everything on
board was stowed away, or lashed securely, which could invite an
assault by the wind.

Saturday, late in the afternoon, Dr. Kane, wet, and weary with watching,
went below and threw himself for rest and warmth into his berth.
Scarcely had he done this before a sharp, loud twang brought him to his
feet. One of the six-inch hawsers had parted; its sound had scarcely
been lost in the uproar before a sharp and shrill "twang! twang!"
announced the snapping of the whale line. The brig now clung to the
ledge by a single cable--a new ten-inch manilla line, which held on
grandly. The mate came waddling down into the cabin as the doctor was
drawing on his last article of clothing to go on deck. "Captain Kane,"
he exclaimed, "she wont hold much longer; it's blowing the devil
himself."

All hands now gathered about the brave manilla line on which their fate
seemed to depend. Its deep Eolian chant mingled solemnly with the rattle
of the rigging and the moaning of the shrouds, and died away in the
tumult of the conflicting wind and sea. The sailors were loud in its
praises as they watched it with bated breath. It was singing its death
song, for, with the noise of a shotted gun, and a wreath of smoke, it
gave way, and out plunged the brig into the rushing current of the
tempest-tossed ice.

Two hours of hard and skillful labor were bestowed on the vessel to get
her back to the ledge; first by beating, or trying to do so, up into the
wind; and then by warping along the edge of the solid floe, but all in
vain. A light sail was then set, that they might keep command of the
helm, and away they scud through a tortuous lead filled with heavy,
broken ice.

At seven o'clock on Sunday morning the vessel was heading, under full
way, upon huge masses of ice. The heaviest anchor was thrown out to stay
her speed. But the ice-torrent so crowded upon the poor craft that a
buoy was hastily fastened to the chain, and it was slipped, and away
went "the best bower," the sailor's trusted friend in such dangers.

The vessel now went banging and scraping against the floes, one of which
was forty feet thick, and many of which were thirty feet. These
collisions smashed in her bulwarks, and covered her deck with icy
fragments. Yet the plucky little brig returned to the conflict after
every blow with only surface wounds.

These assaults failing to turn back or to destroy the little invading
stranger, the arctic warriors now brought into the field their mightiest
champions. Not far ahead, and apparently closing the lead, was a whole
battalion of icebergs. It was an unequal light, and down upon them, with
unwilling haste, came the "Advance." As it approached it was seen that a
narrow line of clear water ran between the bergs and the solid, high
wall of the floe. Into this the vessel shot, with the high wind directly
after it. The sailors, caps in hand, were almost ready to send to the
baffled enemy a shout of triumph, when the wind died away into a lull,
which amounted, for a moment, to almost a dead calm. But on that moment
the fate of the expedition appeared to hang. The enemy saw his
opportunity and began to close up. There seemed no possible escape for
the brig. On one side was the steep ice-wall of the floe, on which there
could be no warping. On the other were the slowly but steadily advancing
bergs in a compact line. Just in time, the anxious, waiting, and almost
breathless crew, hailed their deliverer. It was a broad, low,
platform-shaped berg, over which the water washed. It came sailing
swiftly by, and into it they planted an ice-anchor attached to a tow
line. Away galloped their crystal racer, outrunning the "pale horse"
which followed them! So narrow became the channel between the bergs and
floe e'er they reached the open water beyond, that the yards had to be
"squared" to prevent them from being carried away, and the boats
suspended over the sides were taken on deck to prevent them from being
crushed. They came round under the lee of a great berg, making the enemy
of a moment ago their protector now. Dr. Kane says: "Never did
heart-tried men acknowledge with greater gratitude their merciful
deliverance from a wretched death."

But the fight was not over. A sudden flaw puffed the "Advance" from its
hiding-place, and drove it again into the drifting ice along the edge of
the solid floe. Once she was lifted high in the air on the crest of a
great wave, and, as it slipped from under her, she came down with
tremendous force against the floe. The masts quivered like reeds in the
wind, and the poor craft groaned like a struck bullock.

At last they reached a little pond of water near the shore. They had
drifted since morning across Force Bay, ten miles. A berg, with
pretended friendliness, came and anchored between the brig and the
storm. The situation seemed to warrant a little rest, and the men went
below and threw themselves into their bunks. Dr. Kane was yet on deck,
distrusting the treacherous ice. Scarcely had the men begun to sleep
before the vessel received a thump and a jerk upward. All hands were
instantly on deck. Great ice-tables, twenty feet thick, crowding forward
from the shore side with a force as from a sliding mountain, pressed the
vessel against the shore front of the berg; had this been a
perpendicular wall, no wood and iron wrought into a vessel could have
prevented a general crash. But the unseen Hand was apparent again. The
berg was sloping, and up its inclined plane the vessel went, in
successive jerks. The men leaped upon the ice to await the result.
Personal effects, such as could be carried and were deemed
indispensable, were in readiness in the cabin for leave-taking. Sledge
equipments and camping conveniences were put in order and placed at
hand. The explorers had experienced a midnight assault, and were ready
for the flight. But Dr. Kane bears warm testimony concerning the
coolness and self-possession of every man. While awaiting the fate of
the vessel, on which hung their own fate also, not a sound was heard
save the roaring of the wind, the crashing ice, and the groaning of the
vessel's timbers, as she received shock after shock, and mounted
steadily up the ice-mountain. Having attained a cradle high and dry
above the sea, the brig rested there several hours. Finally she quietly
settled down into her old position among the ice rubbish of the sea.

When the escape was apparent, there was for a moment a deep-breathing
silence among the men, before the rapturous outburst of joyful
congratulation.

While this last thrilling incident had been transpiring, four of the men
were missing. They had gone upon the ice some hours before to carry out
a warp, and had been carried away on an ice-raft. When the morning came,
and the vessel grounded in a safe place, a rescue party was sent out,
who soon returned with them. A little rest was now obtained by all.



CHAPTER III.

THRILLING INCIDENTS.


AFTER a brief rest our explorers continued their voyage. They warped the
vessel round the cape near which they found shelter, into a bay which
opened to the north and west. Along the shore of this bay they toiled
for several days and reached its head. It seemed impossible to go
farther, for the ice was already thick and the winter at hand. A
majority of the officers, in view of these facts, advised a return
south. But Dr. Kane thought they might winter where they were, or
further north if the vessel could be pushed through the ice, and their
explorations be made with dog-sledges. To learn more fully the
practicability of his view he planned a boat excursion. While this was
in contemplation an incident came near ending all further progress of
the expedition. The brig grounded in the night, and was left suddenly by
the receding tide on her beam ends. The stove in the cabin, which was
full of burning coal, upset and put the cabin in a blaze. It was choked
by a pilot-cloth overcoat until water could be brought. No other harm
was done than the loss of the coat and a big scare.

About the first of September the doctor and seven volunteers started in
the boat "Forlorn Hope" to see the more northern shore-line. The boat
was abandoned at the end of twenty-four hours, all the water having
turned to ice, and the party tramped many a weary mile, carrying their
food and a few other necessary things. Dr. Kane attained an elevation of
eleven hundred feet, from which, with his telescope, he looked north
beyond the eightieth degree of latitude, and through a wide extent of
country east and west. From this observation he decided that sledging
with dogs into and beyond this region was practicable. This had seemed
doubtful before. He therefore returned with the decision to put the
"Advance" into winter-quarters immediately.

A few facts interesting to the scientific were learned on this
excursion. A skeleton of a musk ox was found, showing they had been, at
no distant time, visitors to this coast. Additions were made to their
flowering plants, and up to this date twenty-two varieties had been
found.

The brig was now drawn in between two islands, and the mooring lines
carried out. The explorers were in a sheltered, and, as to the ice, safe
winter home. They called it Rensselaer Harbor. Near them an iceberg had
anchored as if to watch their movements. A fresh-water pond on the
upland promised them its precious treasure if they would _cut_ for it.
An island a few rods distant they named Butler Island, and on this they
built a store-house. A canal was cut from the brig to this island, and
kept open by renewed cutting every morning. They then run the boat
through this canal, thus transferring the stores from the hold to the
store-house.

While one party was thus engaged, others were equally busy in other
directions. The scientific corps selected a small island which they
called Fern Rock, and put up a rude "observatory," from which not only
the stars were to be watched, but the weather, the meteors, and the
electrical currents were to be noted.

While this outside work was going on Dr. Kane was taxing his ingenuity
to arrange the brig, now made roomy by the removal of the stores, so as
to have it combine the greatest convenience, warmth, and healthfulness.
A roof was put over the upper deck, which was then made to answer for a
promenade deck for pleasure and health.

Even the wolfish Esquimo dogs were remembered in this general planning.
A nice dog house, cozy and near, was made for them on Butler Island. But
the dogs had notions of their own about their quarters. Though so savage
at all times as to be willing to eat their masters if not kept in abject
fear, yet they refused to sleep out of the sound of their voices. They
would leave their comfortable quarters on the island and huddle together
in the snow, exposed to the severest cold, to be within the sound of
human voices. So they had to be indulged with kennels on deck.

While these matters were being attended to the hunters scoured the
country to learn what the prospect was for game. They extended their
excursions ninety miles, and returned with a report not very
encouraging. They saw a few reindeer, and numerous hares and rabbits. It
was plain that hunting would not make large returns.

The winter came on with its shroud of darkness. On the tenth of
September the sun made but a short circuit above the horizon before it
disappeared again. In one month it would cease to show its disk above
the surrounding hills; then would come a midday twilight for a few days,
followed by nearly a hundred days of darkness in which no man could
work. Even now, at noon, the stars glowed brightly in the heavens,
though but few of them were the familiar stars of the home sky.

While the work of which we have spoken was going on Dr. Kane's thoughts
were much upon the necessity of establishing, before the winter nights
fully set in, provision depots at given distances northward for at least
sixty miles. These would be necessary for a good start in the early
spring of a dog-sledge journey North Poleward. For the spring work the
Newfoundland dogs, of which he had ten, were in daily training.
Harnessed to a small, strong, beautifully made sledge called "Little
Willie," the doctor drove his team around the brig in gallant style.
These Newfoundlanders were a dependence for heavy draught. The Esquimo
dogs were in reserve for the long, perilous raids of the earnest
exploration into darkness and over hummocks.

While all this busy preparation was going on the morning and evening
prayers were strictly maintained, bringing with them a soothing
assurance of the Divine care.

On the twentieth of September the provision deposit party started on an
experimental journey. It consisted of seven men in all, M'Gary and
Bonsall officers. They carried about fourteen hundred pounds of mixed
stores for the "cairns." They took these stores upon the strong,
thorough-built sledge "Faith," and drew it themselves, by a harness for
each man, consisting of a "rue-raddy," or shoulder-belt, and track-line.
The men then generously did a service they would in future have the dogs
do.

While this party was gone the home work went on, enlivened by several
incidents involving the most appalling dangers, yet not without some
comic elements.

The first was occasioned by rats. What right these creatures had in the
expedition is not apparent; nor do we see what motive impelled them to
come at all. If it was a mere love of adventure, they, as do most
adventurers, found that the results hardly paid the cost. They were
voted a nuisance, but how to abate it was a difficult question. The
first experiment consisted of a removal of the men to a camp on deck for
a night, and a fumigation below, where the rats remained, of a vile
compound of brimstone, burnt leather, and arsenic. But the rats survived
it bravely.

The next experiment was with carbonic acid gas. This proved a weapon
dangerous to handle. Dr. Hays burnt a quantity of charcoal, and the
hatches were shut down after starting three stoves.

The gas generated below rapidly, and nobody was expected, of course, to
go where it was. But the French cook, Pierre Schubert, thinking his soup
needed seasoning, stole into the cook room. He was discerned by Morton,
staggering in the dark; and, at the risk of his own life, he sprung to
his relief, and both reached the deck bewildered, the cook entirely
insensible.

Soon after this Dr. Kane thought he smelt a strange odor. The hatches
were removed and he went below. After a short tour between decks, he was
passing the door which led to the carpenter's room, and he was amazed to
see three feet of the deck near it a glowing fire. Beating a hasty
retreat, he fell senseless to the floor at the foot of the stairs which
led to the upper deck. The situation was critical. A puff of air might
envelope the hold in flames, with the doctor an easy victim; but the
divine Hand still covered him. Mr. Brooks, reaching down, drew him out.
Coming to the air the doctor recovered immediately and communicated his
startling discovery quietly to those only near him. Water was passed up
from the "fire-hole" along side, kept open for just such emergencies.
Dr. Kane and Ohlsen went below, water was dashed on, and they were safe.

The dead bodies of twenty-eight rats were the net result of this
onslaught with carbonic acid gas. But they were but few among so many.
The rat army was yet in fighting order.

The other incident was less serious, yet quite on the verge of fatal
consequences. Several Esquimo dogs became the mothers of nice little
families. Now these young folks in the kennels were considered intruders
by the master of the vessel--rather hard on them since they were not to
blame in the matter. But it happens with dogs as with the human race,
that they sometimes suffer without fault of their own. Six puppies were
thrown overboard; two died for the good their skins might do as mittens;
and, alas! seven died more dreadful deaths--they were eaten by their
mammas! Whether these puppy calamities bore heavily upon the brains of
the dog mothers or not we cannot tell, but the fact recorded is that one
of them went distracted. She walked up and down the deck with a drooping
head and staggering gait. Finally she snapped at Petersen, foamed at the
mouth, and fell at his feet. "She is mad!" exclaimed Petersen.
"Hydrophobia!" was the dreadful cry which passed about the deck. Dr.
Kane ran for his gun. He was not a moment too soon in reappearing with
it. The dog had recommenced her running and snapping at those near. The
Newfoundland dogs were not out of her reach, and the hatches leading
below were open. But a well-directed shot ended at once her life and the
danger.

It was now the tenth of October. The sun, though just appearing above
the horizon to the surrounding country, only sparkled along the edge of
the hill-tops to the gazers from the "Advance." The depot party had been
gone twenty days, and Dr. Kane was beginning to feel anxious about
them. He harnessed four of his best Newfoundlanders into the "Little
Willie," and, accompanied by John Blake, started in search of them.

For a little time the party progressed very well. But after awhile the
new ice between the broken floes was found thin. The seams thus frozen
had to be leaped. Sometimes they were wide, and the dogs in their
attempts to spring across broke in. Three times in less than as many
hours one had received an arctic bath. The men trotted along side,
leaping, walking, running, and shouting to the dogs. Extended and
exhausting diversions were made to avoid impassable chasms or too steep
hummocks. Thus four days had passed in a fruitless search for the
missing ones.

On the morning of the fifth day, about two hours before the transient
sun showed his glowing disk, Dr. Kane climbed an iceberg to get a sight
of the road ahead. In the dim distance on the snow a black spot was
seen. Is it a bear? No, it now stretches out into a dark line. It is the
sledge party! They see their leader's tent by the edge of a
thinly-frozen lead; into this they launch their boat and come on,
singing as they come. The doctor, in breathless suspense, waits until
they draw near, and counts them: one, two, three, four, five, six,
seven! They are all safe! Three cheers go up from both parties, followed
by hearty hand-shaking and congratulations. The depot enterprise was a
success.



CHAPTER IV.

LOST AND RESCUED.


THE sun had disappeared, but the moon completed her circuit in the
heavens with great beauty. Her nearest approach to the horizon was
twenty-five degrees. For eight days after the return of the party to the
vessel it shone with almost unclouded brightness, as if to give them a
joyful welcome.

When November came our explorers were well settled in their
winter-quarters. They had made them by judicious ventilation and a
careful distribution of heat tolerably comfortable. Below decks they had
a uniform temperature of sixty-five degrees above zero, and under the
housing of the upper deck it never went below zero, while outside the
thermometer averaged twenty-five degrees minus.

While shut up in the darkness, relieved only by the light from the
sparkling stars and the glowing moon, the daily routine of the ship's'
duties were strictly performed. Each had his assigned work. The
monotonous meals came at the stated hour, and the bell noted the
changing watches. The morning and evening prayers, and the religious
observance of the Sabbath, were pleasant and profitable prompters to
serious thought. These became more and more needed as the inactive
season progressed. The continued darkness without, made dense often by
heavy clouds, wore upon the spirits of the men; besides, their light
within became less cheerful by the failure of the supply of oil. The
lamps refused to burn poor lard, and muddy corks and wads of cotton
floating as tapers in saucers filled with it gave but a lurid light and
emitted an offensive smoke and odor. It would be strange, indeed, if in
this ice-imprisoned company there were no homesick ones, however bravely
the feeling might be suppressed. Hans, the Esquimo, at one time packed
his clothes and shouldered his rifle to bid the brig's company good-bye.
A desperate, lone journey homeward he would have had of it! It was
whispered that in addition to his drawings to his mother there was at
Fiskernes a lady-love. He, however, was persuaded to stay on shipboard,
and Dr. Kane gave him for his sickness a dose of salts and promotion.
They worked well, and he seems to have been very contented afterward.

The usual resort was had to dramatic performances, fancy balls, and the
publication of a paper called the "Ice-blink." A favorite sport was the
"fox-chase," in which each sailor in turn led off as fox in a run round
the upper deck, followed by the rest in chase. Dr. Kane offered a
Guernsey shirt as a prize to the man who held out the longest in the
chase. William Godfrey sustained the chase for fourteen minutes, and
_wore_ off the shirt.

November twenty-seventh the commander sent out a volunteer party under
Bonsall to see if the Esquimo had returned to the huts which had been
seen in the fall. The darkness at noonday was too great for reading, and
the cold was terrible. The party returned after one night's encamping,
the sledge having broken, and the tent and luggage being left behind. A
few days after Morton started alone to recover the lost articles. In two
days and a half he returned bringing every thing. He tramped in that
time, with the cold forty degrees below zero, sixty-two miles, making
only three halts. The darkness during the time was such that a hummock
of ice fifty paces ahead could hardly be seen.

The effect of the darkness on the dogs was very marked, but so long as
there was any sledging for them to do their spirits kept up. One of the
Newfoundlands, named Grim, was a character. He was noted for a profound
appreciation of his dinner, of which he never had enough, for a
disrelish for work, and a remarkable knowledge of the arts of hypocrisy.
His cunning fawning, and the beseeching wink of his eye, procured for
him warm quarters in the deck-house, and a bed on the captain's fur
coat, while his fellows had to be content with their kennel. Though Grim
thus proved his knowledge of the best place at the dog-table, and the
best bits it afforded, as well as the best place to sleep, he never
could understand a call to the sledge-harness. He always happened at
such times to be out of the way. Once, when the dog-team was about to
start, he was found hid in a barrel, and was bid join the party. But
Grim was equal to the occasion. He went limping across the deck, as much
as to say, Would you have a poor lame dog go? The joke was so cute that
he was allowed to remain at home, and after that he became suddenly lame
as soon as a movement toward the sledges was made. Grim thus attained
the usual success of shallow-brained, flattering hypocrisy--many favors
and universal contempt. His end, too, was very befitting his life. His
master, thinking he was becoming too fat in his lazy dignity, commanded
him to join a sledge party. Grown presumptuous by indulgence, he
refused, and showed his teeth, besides pleading lameness. But the order
was peremptory this time, and a rope was put round his body and attached
to the sledge, and he was made to trot after his faithful fellows. At
the first halt he contrived to break the rope, and, carrying a few feet
of it dragging after him, started in the darkness for the ship. Not
having come home when the party returned, search was made for him with
lanterns, as it was thought the rope might have caught and detained him
in the hummock. His tracks were found not far from the vessel, and then
they led away to the shore. Old Grim was never seen again.

Grim could be spared, but the explorers were much alarmed soon after his
death by a strange disease among the whole pack. They were at times
frenzied, and then became stupid. They were taken below, nursed, tended,
and doctored with anxiety and care, for on them much depended. But all
died except six. Their death threw a cloud over the prospect of further
successful exploration.

But a still darker event threatened the explorers. Every man was more or
less touched with the scurvy, except two, and some were prostrate. It
was with great joy, therefore, that, on the twenty-first of January,
1854, they saw the orange-colored tints of the sun faintly tracing the
top of the distant hills. Daylight and game would be important medicines
for the sick. A month later and Dr. Kane made a long walk, and a hard
scramble up a projecting crag of a headland of the bay, and bathed in
his welcome rays. It was about a week later before he was seen from the
deck of the "Advance."

A very busy company now was that on board the brig, making preparations
for spring work. The carpenter was making and mending sledges; the
tinker making and mending cooking apparatus for the journeys; many busy
hands were at work on the furs and blankets for a complete renewed
outfit for wearing and sleeping. But though March had come, the average
cold was greater than at any time before. Still a sledge party was in
readiness to start by the middle of the month, to carry provisions for a
new deposit beyond those made in the fall. The party consisted of eight
men. A new sledge had been made, smaller than the "Faith," and adapted
to the reduced dog-team. To this the load was lashed, a light boat
being, placed on top. The men harnessed in but could hardly start it.
The boat was then removed and two hundred pounds of the load, and thus
relieved away they went, cheered by the hearty "God bless you!" of their
shipmates. Dr. Kane had added to their provisions by the way, as an
expression of good-will, the whole of his brother's "great wedding
cake."

But as they started their ever watchful commander thought he saw more
good-will than ability to draw the load, and a suspicion, too, impressed
him that the new sledge was not all right. So he followed, and found
them in camp only five miles away. He said nothing about any new orders
for the morning, laughed at the rueful faces of some of them, and heard
Petersen's defense of _his_ new sledge as the best which could be made.
He saw them all tucked away in their buffaloes, and returned to the
brig. We have before referred to a sledge called the "Faith." It was
built by Dr. Kane's order, after an English pattern, except that the
runners were made lower and wider. It had been thought too large for the
present party. The doctor now called up all his remaining men. The
"Faith" was put on deck, her runners polished, lashings, a canvas
covering, and track-lines were adjusted to her. By one o'clock that
night the discarded two hundred pounds of provisions and the boat were
lashed on, and away the men went for their sleeping comrades. They were
still sound asleep when the "Faith" arrived. The load of the new boat
was quietly placed upon it, all put in traveling order, and it was
started off on an experimental trip with five men. The success was
perfect. The sleepers were then awakened, and all were delighted at the
easier draught of the heavier load. Dr. Kane and his party returned to
the vessel with the discarded sledge.

Ten days slipped away, and no tidings from the depot party. The work of
clearing up the ship, and putting the finishing touch to the preparation
for the distant northern excursion, which was to crown the efforts of
the expedition, and unlock, it was hoped, at last, some of the secrets
of the North Pole, progressed daily. At midnight of the eleventh day a
sudden tramp was heard on deck, and immediately Sontag, Ohlsen, and
Petersen entered the cabin. Their sudden coming was not so startling as
their woe-begone, bewildered looks. It was with difficulty that they
made their sad tale known. Brooks, Baker, Wilson, and Schubert were all
lying on the ice, disabled, with Irish Tom Hickey, who alone was able to
minister to their wants. The escaped party had come, at the peril of
their own lives, to get aid. They had evidently come a long distance,
but how far, and where they had left the suffering ones, they could not
tell, nor were they in a condition to be questioned.

While the urgent necessities of the new comers were being attended to,
Dr. Kane and others were getting ready the "Little Willie," with a
buffalo cover, a small tent, and a package of prepared meat called
pemmican. Ohlsen seemed to have his senses more than the others, though
he was sinking with exhaustion, having been fifty hours without rest.
Dr. Kane feeling that he _must_ have a guide or fail to find the lost
ones, Ohlsen was put in a fur bag, his legs wrapped up in dog-skins and
eider down, and then he was strapped on the sledge.

Off dashed the rescue party, nine men besides their commander, carrying
only the clothes on their backs. The cold was seventy-eight degrees
below the freezing point.

Guided by icebergs of colossal size, they hurried across the bay, and
traveled sixteen hours with some certainty that they were on the right
track. They then began to lose their way. Ohlsen, utterly exhausted, had
fallen asleep, and when awakened was plainly bewildered. He could tell
nothing about the way, nor the position of the lost ones. He had before
said that it was drifting heavily round them when they were left. The
situation of the rescue party was becoming critical, and the chance of
helping the lost seemed small indeed; they might be anywhere within
forty miles.

Thus situated Dr. Kane moved on ahead, and clambered up some ice-piles
and found himself upon a long, level floe. Thinking the provision party
might have been attracted by this as a place to camp, he determined to
examine it carefully. He gave orders to liberate Ohlsen, now just able
to walk, from his fur bag, and to pitch the tent; then leaving tent,
sledge, and every thing behind, except a small allowance of food taken
by each man, he commanded the men to proceed across the floe at a good
distance from each other. All obeyed cheerfully and promptly, and moved
off at a lively step to keep from freezing; yet somehow, either from a
sense of loneliness, or involuntarily, there was a constant tendency of
the men to huddle together. Exhaustion and cold told fearfully upon
them; the stoutest were seized with trembling fits and short breath, and
Dr. Kane fell twice fainting on the snow. They had now been eighteen
hours out without food or rest, and the darkness of their situation
seemed to have no ray of light, when Hans shouted that he thought he saw
a sledge track. Hardly daring to believe that their senses did not
deceive them, they traced it until footsteps were apparent; following
these with religious care they came after awhile in sight of a small
American flag fluttering from a hummock. Lower down they espied a little
Masonic banner hanging from a tent pole barely above the drift. It was
the camp of the lost ones! It was found after an unfaltering march of
twenty-one hours. The little tent was nearly covered by the drift.

Dr. Kane was the last to come up, and when he reached the tent his men
were standing in solemn silence upon each side of it. With great
kindness and delicacy of feeling they intimated their wish that he
should be the first to go in.

He lifted the canvas and crawled in, and in the darkness felt for the
poor fellows, who were stretched upon their backs. A burst of welcome
within was answered by a joyful shout without. "We expected you," said
one, embracing the doctor; "we _knew_ you would come!" For the moment
all perils, hunger, and exhaustion were forgotten amid the
congratulations and gratitude.

The company now numbered fifteen, the cold was intense, but one half the
number had to keep stirring outside while the rest crowded into the
little tent to sleep. Each took a turn of two hours, and then
preparations were made to start homeward.

They took the tent, furs for the rescued party, and food for fifty
hours, and abandoned every thing else. The tent was folded and laid on
the sledge, a bed was then made of eight buffalo skins, the sick, having
their limbs carefully sewed up in reindeer skins, were then put in a
reclining position on the bed, and other furs and blanket bags thrown
around them. The whole was lashed together, allowing only a breathing
place opposite the mouth. This _embalming_ of the sufferers, and getting
them a good meal, cost four hours of exposure in a cold that had become
fifty-five degrees minus. Most of the rescuers had their fingers nipped
by the frost.

When all was ready the whole company united in a short prayer.

Now commenced the fearful journey. The sledge and its load weighed
eleven hundred pounds. The hummocks were many; some of them were high,
and long deviations round them must be made; some which they climbed
over, lifting the sledge after them, were crossed by narrow chasms
filled with light snow--fearful traps into which if one fell his death
was almost certain. Across these the sledge was drawn, some of them
being too wide for it to bridge them, so it had to be sustained by the
rope, and steadily too, for the sick could not bear to be lashed so
tight as not to be liable to roll off, and the load was top-heavy.

In spite of these obstacles all went bravely for six hours. The
abandoned tent was nine miles ahead, the sledge on which life depended
bravely bore every strain, the new floe was gained, and the traveling
improved, so that good hope was entertained that the tent, its covert
and rest, would be gained. Just then a strange feeling came over nearly
the whole party. Some begged the privilege of sleeping. They were not
cold, they said; they did not mind the wind now; all they wanted was a
little sleep. Others dropped on the snow and refused to get up. One
stood bolt upright, and, with closed eyes, could not be made to speak.
The commander boxed, jeered, argued, and reprimanded his men to no
purpose. A halt was made and the tent pitched. No fire could be
obtained, for nobody's fingers were limber enough to strike fire, so no
food or water could be had.

Leaving the company in charge of M'Gary, with orders to come on after
four hours' rest, Dr. Kane and Godfrey went forward to the tent to get
ready a fire and cooked food. They reached the tent in a strange sort of
stupor. They remembered nothing only that a bear trotted leisurely
ahead of them, stopping once to tear a jumper to pieces which one of the
men had dropped the day before, and pausing to toss the tent
contemptuously aside. They set it up with difficulty, crept into their
fur bags, and slept intensely for three hours. They then arose,
succeeded in lighting the cooking lamp, and had a steaming soup ready
when the rest arrived.

Refreshed with food and rest, the feeble re-adjusted, they commenced the
home stretch. Once the old sleepiness came over them, and they in turn
slept three minutes by the watch and were benefited. They all reached
the brig at one o'clock P.M. All were more or less delirious when they
arrived, and could remember nothing of what had happened on the way,
with slight exception. The rescue party had been out seventy-two hours;
of this time only eight hours were spent in halting. They had traveled
about eighty-five miles, most of the distance dragging their sledge.

Dr. Hayes took the sick in hand. Two lost one or more toes; and two,
Jefferson Baker, a boyhood playfellow of Dr. Kane, and Pierre Schubert,
the French cook, died.



CHAPTER V.

MORE HEROIC EXCURSIONS.


ON the seventh of April, a week after the return of the party just
noted, our explorers were startled by shouts from the shore. Dark
figures were seen standing along the edges of the land ice, or running
to and fro in wild excitement. It was not difficult to make them out as
a company of Esquimo. Dr. Kane, seeing by their wild gesticulations that
they were unarmed, walked out and beckoned to a brawny savage, who
seemed to be a leader, to approach. He understood the sign, and came
forward without fear. He was full a head taller than the doctor, and his
limbs seemed to have the strength of those of the bear. He was dressed
with a fox skin, hooded jumper, white bear-skin trousers, and bear-skin
boots tipped with the claws. Though he had evidently never before seen a
white man, he manifested no fear. His followers soon crowded around and
began to use great freedom, showing an inclination to rush on board the
ship. This they were made to understand they must not do. Petersen came
out and acted as interpreter, and matters went on more smoothly. The
leader, whose name was Metek, was taken on board, while the rest
remained on the ice. They brought up from behind the floes fifty-six
dogs and their sledges, and, thrusting a spear into the ice, picketed
them about the vessel.

While Dr. Kane and Metek were having their interview in the cabin, word
was sent out that others might come on board. Nine or ten mounted the
ladder with boisterous shouts, though ignorant of how Metek had fared.
They went every-where, handled every thing, talked and laughed
incessantly, and stole whatever they could. Finally all hands had to be
mustered, and restraint laid upon the Esquimo to keep them within due
bounds. This they took good naturedly; ran out and in the vessel, ate,
and finally _sat_ down like tired children, their heads drooping upon
their breasts, and slept, snoring the while most famously.

In the morning, before they departed, the commander assembled them on
deck for an official interview. He enlarged upon his wonderful qualities
as a chief, and the great benefits to his visitors of his friendship. He
then entered into a treaty with them, the terms of which were very few
and simple, that it might be understood, and the benefits mutual, that
it might be kept. He then showed his beneficence by buying all their
spare walrus meat and four dogs, enriching them in compensation with a
few needles, beads, and treasures of old cask staves. The Esquimo were
jubilant. They voted, in their way, Dr. Kane a great captain, promised
vociferously to return in a few days with plenty of walrus meat, and
loan their dogs and sledges for the great northern journey, all of which
they never remembered to do.

When the visitors had gone, it was ascertained that an ax, a saw, and
some knives, had gone with them. Besides, the store-house on Butler
Island had been entered, and a careful survey of the vicinity revealed
the fact that a train of sledges were slyly waiting behind some distant
hummocks for a freight of its treasures.

All this had a hard look for friendly relations with the Esquimo; but
our explorers felt that conciliation, with quiet firmness, was their
best policy. The savages could do their sledge excursions much harm,
and, if they would, could greatly aid them.

The next day there came to the vessel five natives--two old men, a
middle aged man, and two awkward boys. They were treated with marked
kindness, some presents were given them, but they were told that no
Esquimo would in future be admitted to the brig until every stolen
article was restored. They were overjoyed at the gifts, and departed,
lifting up their hands in holy horror on the mention of theft; yet in
passing round Butler Island they bore away a coal barrel. M'Gary was
watching them, and he hastened their departure by a charge of fine shot.
Notwithstanding all this, one of the old men, known afterward as
Shung-hu, made a circuit round the hummocks, and came upon an
India-rubber boat which had been left upon the floe, and cut it in
pieces and carried off the wood of the frame-work.

Soon after this a sprightly youth, good-looking, with a fine dog team,
drove up to the vessel in open day. When asked his name, he replied
promptly, "Myouk I am." He spoke freely of his place of residence and
people, but when asked about the stolen articles he affected great
ignorance. Dr. Kane ordered him to be confined in the hold. He took this
very hard, at first refusing food. He soon after began to sing in a
dolorous strain, then to talk and cry, and then to sing again. The
hearts of his captors were made quite tender toward him, and when in the
morning it was found that the prisoner had lifted the hatches and fled,
taking his dogs with him, even the commander secretly rejoiced.

April twenty-fifth, M'Gary and five men started with the sledge "Faith,"
on another exploring excursion. They took a small stock only of
provisions, depending on the supply depots which had been made in the
fall. The plan this time was, to follow the eastern coast line a while,
which run north and west, cross over Smith Sound to the American side,
where it was hoped smooth ice would be found; and once on such a
highway, they anticipated that the Polar Sea would greet their delighted
vision, and may be speak to them of the fate of the lost Franklin.

Two days after M'Gary's party left, Dr. Kane and Godfrey followed with
the dog sledge loaded with additional comforts for the journey, the men
trotting by its side. Only three dogs remained of the original supplies,
which, harnessed with the four purchased of the Esquimo, made a
tolerable team.

Ten men, four in health and six invalids, were left to keep the vessel.
Orders were left by the commander to treat the Esquimo, should they come
again, with fairness and conciliation, but if necessity demanded to use
fire arms, but to waste no powder or shot. The credit of the gun must be
sustained as the bearer of certain death to the white man's enemies.

Dr. Kane and his companions overtook the advanced party in two days.
They pushed forward together with tolerable success for four days more,
when they all became involved in deep snow-drifts. The dogs floundered
about nearly suffocated, and unable to draw the sledge. The men were
compelled to take the load on their backs, and kick a path for the dogs
to follow. In the midst of these toils the scurvy appeared among the
men, and some of the strongest were ready to yield the conflict
altogether. The next day, May fourth, Dr. Kane, while taking an
observation for latitude fainted, and was obliged to ride on the sledge.
Still the party pushed on; but they soon met with an obstacle no heroism
could overcome. They were without food for further journeying! The bears
had destroyed their carefully deposited stores. They had removed stones
which had required the full strength of three men to lift. They had
broken the iron meat casks into small pieces. An alcohol cask, which had
cost Dr. Kane a special journey in the late fall to deposit, was so
completely crushed that a whole stave could not be found.

On the fifth of May Dr. Kane became delirious, and was lashed to the
sledge, while his brave, though nearly fainting, men took the back
track. They arrived at the brig in nine days, and their commander was
borne to his berth, where he lay for many days, between life and death,
with the scurvy and typhoid fever. Thus closed another effort to unlock
the secrets of the extreme polar region.

Hans made himself exceedingly useful at this time. He was promoted to
the post of hunter, and excused from all other duties; he was besides
promised presents to his lady-love on reaching his home at Fiskernaes.
He brought in two deer, the first taken, on the day of this special
appointment. The little snow-birds had come, of which he shot many. The
seal, too, were abundant, and some of them were added to the fresh
provisions. These wonderfully improved those touched by the scurvy.

One day Hans was sent to hunt toward the Esquimo huts, that he might get
information concerning the nearness to the brig of clear water. He did
not come back that night, and Dr. Hays and Mr. Ohlsen were sent with the
dog-sledge to hunt him up. They found him lying on the ice about five
miles from the vessel, rolled up in his furs and sound asleep. At his
side lay a large seal, shot, as usual, in the head. He had dragged this
seal seven hours, and, getting weary, had made his simple camp and was
resting sweetly.

May twentieth, Dr. Hays and Godfrey started with the dog team, to make
another attempt to cross Smith Strait and reach, along the American
side, the unknown north. The doctor was a fresh man, not having been
with any previous party. The dogs were rested, well fed, and full of
wolfish energy. The second day he fortunately struck into a track free
from heavy ice, and made fifty miles! But this success was after the
arctic fashion, made to give bitterness to immediate failure. On the
third day they encountered hummocks, piled in long ridges across their
path; some of them were twenty feet high. Over some of these they
climbed, dragging after them both sledge and dogs. Long diversions were
made at other times, and their path became in this way so very tortuous
that in making ninety miles advance northward they traveled two hundred
and seventy miles!

Snow-blindness seized Dr. Hays in the midst of these toils. But, nothing
daunted, after short halts, in which his sight improved, he pushed on.
But Godfrey soon broke down, though one of the hardiest of explorers.
Their dogs, too, began to droop; the provisions were running low, and so
the homeward track was taken. Before they reached the vessel they were
obliged to lighten their load by throwing away fifty pounds weight of
furs, the heaviest of which had been used as sleeping bags.

This excursion resulted in valuable additions to the extreme northern
coast-line survey.

On the afternoon of June fourth, M'Gary, with four men, started on a
last desperate effort to push the survey, on the Greenland side, a
hundred miles farther, by which Dr. Kane thought the limits of the ice
in that direction might be reached. Morton, one of the company, was to
keep himself as fresh as possible, so that when the rest came to a final
halt he might be able to push on farther. Hans was kept at the vessel
until the tenth, four days later, when he started light with the
dog-sledge to join them. His part was to accompany Morton on the final
run.

The hunter of the vessel being gone, Dr. Kane, who was now much better,
took his rifle to try his skill at seal hunting. This animal is not
easily taken by unpracticed game seekers. He lies near the hole which he
keeps open in the ice, and at the slightest noise plunges out of sight.
Seeing one lying lazily in the sun, the doctor lay down and drew himself
along softly behind the little knobs of ice. It was a cold, tedious
process, but finally getting within a long rifle shot, the seal rolled
sluggishly to one side, raised his head, and strained his neck, as if
seeing something in an opposite direction. Just then the doctor saw with
surprise a rival hunter. A large bear lay, like himself, on his belly,
creeping stealthily toward the game. Here was a critical position. If he
shot the seal, the bear would probably have no scruples about taking it
off his hands, and, perhaps, by way of showing that might makes right,
take him before his rifle could be reloaded. While the doctor was
debating the matter the seal made another movement which stirred his
hunter blood, and he pulled the trigger. The cap only exploded. The
seal, alarmed, descended into the deep with a floundering splash; and
the bear, with a few vigorous leaps, stood, a disappointed hunter,
looking after him from the edge of the hole. Bruin and Dr. Kane were now
face to face. By all the rules of game-taking the bear should have
eaten the man; he was the stronger party, the gun was for the moment
useless, he was hungry, and had lost his dinner probably by the
intrusive coming of the stranger, and, as to running, there was no
danger of his escape in that way. But the bear magnanimously turned and
ran away. Not to be outdone in Courtesy, Dr. Kane turned and ran with
all his might in the opposite direction.

On the twenty-sixth, M'Gary, Bonsall, Hickey, and Riley returned. The
snow had almost made them blind; otherwise they were well. They had been
gone about three weeks, had made valuable surveys, and fully satisfied
the expectations of their commander. Hans caught up with them after two
weeks of heroic travel alone with his dogs and sledge. He and Morton
had, in accordance with the programme, pressed on farther northward.

The returned party had their adventure with a bear to tell. They had all
lain down to sleep in their tent after a wearisome day of travel. The
midnight hour had passed when Bonsall felt something scratching at the
snow near his head, and, starting up, ascertained that a huge bear was
making careful observations around the outside of the tent. He had, in
looking round, already observed, no doubt, the important fact that the
guns, and every thing like a defensive weapon, were left on the sledge
some distance off, though perhaps the importance to him of this fact he
did not appreciate. There was consternation, of course, in the camp, and
a council of war was called. It had hardly convened before bruin, as a
party concerned, thrust his head into the tent door. A volley of lucifer
matches was fired at him, and a paper torch was thrust into his face.
Without minding these discourteous acts, the bear deliberately sat down
and commenced eating a seal which had been shot the day before and
happened to be in his way. By the laws of arctic hospitality this should
have been considered fair by the tent's company, for strangers are
expected to come and go as they please, and eat what they find, not even
saying, "By your leave." But the stranger did not conform to the usage
of the country. Tom Hickey cut a hole in the back of the tent, seized a
boat-hook, which made one of its supporters, and attacked the enemy in
the rear. He turned on his assailant and received a well-aimed blow on
his nose, by which he was persuaded to retire beyond the sledge and
there to pause and consider what to do next. While the bear was thus in
council with himself, Hickey sprang forward, seized a rifle from the
sledge, almost under the nose of the enemy, and fell back upon his
companions. Bonsall took the deadly weapon and sent a ball through and
through the bear, and the disturber of the rest of our explorers
afforded them many bountiful repasts.



CHAPTER VI.

THE OPEN SEA.


MORTON and Hans returned to the brig on the tenth of July, after having
been on their separate exploration three weeks and a half. Their story
is full of thrilling incidents and important results.

The first day they made twenty-eight miles, and were greatly encouraged.
The next day the arctic enemies of exploration appeared on the field,
skirmishing with deep snow through which dogs and men had to wade. Next
came a compact host of icebergs. They were not the surface-worn,
dingy-looking specimens of Baffin Bay, but fresh productions from the
grand glacier near which they lay. Their color was bluish white, and
their outlines clearly and beautifully defined. Some were square, often
a quarter of a mile each side. Others were not less than a mile long,
and narrow. Now and then one of colossal size lifted its head far above
its fellows, like a grand observatory. Between these giant bergs were
crowded smaller ones of every imaginable size and form.

Through these our explorers had to pick their way. Beginning one night
at eight, they dashed along through a narrow lane, turning this way and
that, for seven hours. Then they came against the face of a solid
ice-cliff, closing the path altogether. Back they urged their weary
dogs, and their own weary selves, looking for an opening by which they
might turn north, but none appeared until they reached the camp from
which they had started. Resting awhile, they commenced anew.

Sometimes they climbed over an ice hillock, making a ladder of their
sledge. Morton would climb up first, and then draw up the dogs, around
whose bodies Hans tied a rope; then the load was passed up; lastly Hans
mounted, and drew up the sledge.

Having broken through the bergy detachment of their arctic foes and
reached smoother ice, other opposing columns met them. Dense mists,
giving evidence of open water, chilled and bewildered them; but the
welcome birds, giving other proof of the nearness of the Polar Sea,
cheered them on.

The next attack was in the form of insecure ice. The dogs were dashing
on in their wild flight when it began to yield beneath them. The dogs
trembled with fear and lay down, as is their habit in such cases. Hans,
by a skillful mingling of force and coaxing, succeeding in getting the
party out of the danger.

At one time a long, wide channel presented its protest to their farther
progress. To this they were obliged so far to yield as to go ten miles
out of their way to reach its northern side.

Their right of way was also challenged by seams in the ice often four
feet deep, filled with water, and too wide for their best jumping
ability. These they filled up by attacking the nearest hummocks with
their axes and tumbling the fragments into it until a bridge was made.
This work often caused hours of delay.

The signs of open water became more and more apparent. The birds were so
plenty that Hans brought down two at one shot. Soon they struck the icy
edge of a channel. Along this they coasted on the land side. It brought
them to a cape around which the channel run close to a craggy point.
Here they deposited a part of their provisions to lighten the sledge.
Morton went ahead to learn the condition of the land-ice round the
point. He found it narrow and decaying, so that he feared there would be
none on their return; yet, forward! was the word. The dogs were unloosed
and driven forward alone; then Hans and Morton tilted the sledge
edgewise and drew it along, while far below the gurgling waters were
rushing southward with a freight of crushed ice.

The cape passed, they opened into a bay of clear water extending far and
wide. Along its shore was a wide, smooth ice-belt. Over this the dogs
scampered with their sledge and men with wonderful fleetness, making
sixty miles the first day! The land grew more and more sloping to the
bay as they advanced until it opened from the sea into a plain between
two elevated rocky ranges. Into this they entered, steering north, until
they struck the entrance of a bay; but the rugged ice across their path
forbid farther sledge-travel in that direction. So they picketed,
securely, as they thought, the dogs, took each a back load of
provisions, and went forward. Their trusty rifles were in hand, and
their boat-hook and a few scientific instruments were carefully secured
to their persons. Thus equipped, they had tramped about nine miles from
the last camp when an exciting scene occurred. It was a bear fight,
shaded this time with the tender and tragic. A mother-bear and her child
came in sight. They were a loving couple, and had plainly been engaged
in a frolic together. Their tracks were scattered profusely about, like
those of school children at recess in a recent snow. There were also
long furrows down the sloping side of an ice-hill, upon and around which
the footprints were seen. Morton declared that they had been coasting
down this slope on their haunches, and this opinion was supported by the
fact that Dr. Kane did, at another time, see bears thus coasting!

Five of the dogs had broken away from their cords and had overtaken
their masters. So they were on hand for the fight.

Mother and child fled with nimble feet, and the dogs followed in hot
pursuit. The bear, being overtaken by her enemies, began a most skillful
and heroic skirmishing. The cub could not keep up with its mother, so
she turned back, put her head under its haunches and threw it some
distance ahead, intimating to it to run, while she faced the dogs. But
the little simpleton always stopped just where it alighted, and waited
for mamma to give it another throw! To vary the mode of operation, she
occasionally seized it by the nape of the neck and flung it out of harms
way, and then snapped at the dogs with an earnestness that meant
business. Sometimes the mother would run a little ahead and then turn,
as if to coax the little one to run to her, watching at the same time
the enemy.

For a while the bear contrived to make good speed; but the little one
became tired and she came to a halt. The men came up with their rifles
and the fight became unequal, yet the mother's courage was unabated. She
sat upon her haunches and took the cub between her hind legs, and fought
the dogs with her paws. "Never," says Morton, "was animal more
distressed; her roaring could have been heard a mile! She would stretch
her neck and snap at the nearest dog with her shining teeth, whirling
her paws like the arms of a windmill." Missing her intended victim, she
sent after him a terrific growl of baffled rage.

When the men came up the little one was so far rested as to nimbly turn
with its mother and so keep front of her belly. The dogs, in heartless
mockery of her situation, continued a lively frisking on every side of
her, torturing her at a safe distance for themselves.

Such was the position of the contending parties when Hans threw himself
upon the ice, rested upon his elbows, took deliberate aim, and sent a
ball through the heroic mother's head. She dropped, rolled over,
relieved at once of her agony and her life.

The cub sprung upon the dead body of its mother and for the first time
showed fight. The dogs, thinking the conflict ended, rushed upon the
prostrate foe, tearing away mouthfuls of hair. But they were glad to
retreat with whole skins to their own backs. It growled hoarsely, and
fought with genuine fury.

The dogs were called off, and Hans sent a ball through its head; yet it
contrived to rise after falling, and climbed again upon its mother's
body. It was mercifully dispatched by another ball.

The men took the skin of the mother and the little one for their share
of the spoils, and the dogs gorged themselves on the greater carcass.

After this incident the journey of our explorers soon ended. Hans gave
out, and was ordered to turn leisurely aside and examine the bend of the
bay into which they had entered. Morton continued on toward the
termination of a cape which rose abruptly two thousand feet. He tried to
get round it, but the ice-foot was gone. He climbed up its sides until
he reached a position four hundred and forty feet, commanding a horizon
of forty miles. The view was grand. The sea seemed almost boundless, and
dashed in noisy surges below, while the birds curveted and screamed
above. Making a flag-staff of his walking-stick, he threw to the wind a
Grinnell flag. It had made the far southern voyage with Commodore
Wilkes, and had come on a second arctic voyage. It now floated over the
most northern known land of the globe.

Feasting his eyes with the scenery for an hour and a half, Morton struck
his flag and rejoined Hans. The run home had its perils and narrow
escapes, but was made without accident, and with some additional
surveys.



CHAPTER VII.

AN IMPORTANT MOVEMENT.


IT was now well into July. The last proposed survey was made, and all
hands were on shipboard. But the arctic fetters still bound the
"Advance," with no signs of loosening. The garb of midwinter was yet
covering land and sea, and in every breeze there was a dismal whisper to
the explorers of another winter in the ice. The thought was appalling to
both officers and men. They had neither health, food, nor fuel for such
an experience. To abandon the vessel and try to escape with the boats
and sledges was impossible in the prostrate condition of the men.

Having carefully studied the situation Dr. Kane resolved to try to reach
Beechy Island, and thus communicate with the British exploring
expedition, or by good luck with some whaler, and so secure relief. This
island we have often visited in our voyages with the "Arctic Heroes." It
is, it will be recollected, at the mouth of Wellington Channel.

When this plan was announced to the officers it was approved cordially.
Both officers and men were ready to volunteer to accompany him; he chose
five only--M'Gary, Morton, Riley, Hickey, and Hans. Their boat was the
old "Forlorn Hope." The outfit was the best possible, though poor
enough. The "Hope" was mounted on the sledge "Faith;" the provisions
were put on a "St. John's sledge." The "Faith" started off ahead; the
smaller sledge, to which Dr. Kane and two of the men attached
themselves, followed.

It took five days of incessant toil, with many head flows, to reach the
water and launch the "Hope," though the distance from the brig was only
twenty miles.

The boat behaved well, and they reached Littleton Island, where they
were rejoiced to see numerous ducks. Watching their course as they flew
away, the explorers were led to several islets, whose rocky ledges were
covered with their nests, and around which they hovered in clouds. The
young birds were taking their first lesson in flying, or were still
nestling under their mothers' wings. In a few hours over two hundred
birds were taken, the gun bringing down several at one shot, and others
were knocked over with stones. But the men were not the only enemies of
the ducks. Near by was a settlement of a large, voracious species of
gull. They swooped down, seized, gobbled up, and bore away to their
nests the young eiders, without seeming to doubt that they were doing a
fair and, to themselves, a pleasant business. The gulls would seize the
little eiders with their great yellow bills, throw their heads up, and
then their victims would disappear down their throats, and in a few
moments after they would be ejected into their nests and go down the
throats of their young. The ducks fought the gulls bravely in the
interests of their brood, but the victory was with the stronger.

Our voyagers pitied, of course, the bereaved eider mothers, despised the
cormorant gulls, but gladly increased their stock of needed provisions
with both. They filled four large india rubber bags with these sea-fowl
after cleaning and rudely boning them.

Leaving this profitable camping place, the boat was soon in the open
sea-way. One day's pleasant sailing was quite as much in that way as
experience taught them to expect. A violent storm arose, the waves ran
high, and their clumsy boat, trembling under the strain, was in danger
of sinking at any moment. The safety of the whole company depended
entirely upon the skill and nerve of M'Gary. For twenty-two successive
hours he held in his strong grasp the steering oar and kept the head of
the boat to the sea. A break of the oar or a slip from his hand and all
was lost! They finally grappled an old floe in a slightly sheltered
place, and rode out the storm.

For twelve days heroic exertions were made to get the boat through the
pack which now beset them, with the view of working south and west.
Little progress was made and the men, wet, weary, and worn, began to
fail. In view of this state of things the commander directed his course
to Northumberland Island, near which they were coasting. Here they found
three recently occupied, but now forsaken, Esquimo huts. The foxes were
abundant, and their young ones greeted the strangers with vociferous
barking. They found here, too, what was more valuable--the scurvy grass.
Rest, fresh fowl, and cochlearia greatly refreshed the whole party.
Seeing the utter impossibility of going south, they made the best of
their way back to the brig. It was a sad and joyful meeting with their
old comrades. Their return safely was joyful, but the return spoke of
another winter.

By great exertions the brig was loosened from her icy cradle and warped
to a position more favorable for an escape should the open water reach
the vicinity. On the seventeenth of August, instead of a glad breaking
up of the old ice, came the formation of new ice, thick enough to bear a
man. The question of an escape of the brig seemed settled. The allowance
of wood was fixed to six pounds a meal; this gave them coffee twice a
day and soup, once. Darkness was ahead, and if the fuel utterly failed
it would be doubly cheerless. The Sabbath rest and devotions became more
solemn. The prayer, "Lord, accept our gratitude and bless our
undertakings," was changed to, "Lord, accept our gratitude and restore
us to our homes."

Affairs looked so dark that Dr. Kane deemed it wise to leave a record of
the expedition on some conspicuous spot. A position was selected on a
high cliff which commanded an extensive view over the icy waste. On its
broad, rocky face the words, "'Advance,' A. D. 1853-54," were painted in
large letters which could be read afar off. A pyramid of heavy stones
was built above it and marked with a cross. Beneath it they reverently
buried the bodies of their deceased companions. Near this a hole was
worked into the rock, and a paper, inclosed in a glass vessel sealed
with lead, was deposited. On this paper was written the names of the
officers and crew, the results in general thus far of the expedition,
and their present condition. They proposed to add to the deposit a paper
containing the date of their departure, should they ever get away, and
showing their plans of escape.

Now, more earnestly than ever, the winter and what to do was looked in
the face. Some thought that an escape to South Greenland was still
possible, and even the best thing to do. The question of detaching a
part of the company to make the experiment was debated, but the
commander arrived at a settled conviction that such an enterprise was
impracticable.

In the mean time the ice and tides were closely examined for a
considerable distance, for the slightest evidence of a coming liberation
of the poor ice-bound craft.

As early as August twenty-fourth all hopes of such a liberation seemed
to have faded from every mind. The whole company, officers and crew,
were assembled in council. The commander gave the members his reasons in
full for deeming it wise to stand by the vessel. He then gave his
permission for any part of the company who chose to do so to depart on
their own responsibility. He required of such to renounce in writing
all claims upon the captain and those who remained. The roll was then
called, and nine out of the seventeen decided to make the hazardous
experiment. At the head of this party was Dr. Hayes and Petersen.
Besides the hope of a successful escape, they were influenced in the
course they were taking by the thought that the quarters in the brig
were so straitened that the health and comfort of those remaining would
be increased, and the causes of disease and death diminished by their
departure; and still further, if the withdrawing party perished, an
equal number was likely to die if all remained.

The decision having been made, Dr. Kane gave them a liberal portion of
the resources of the brig, a good-bye blessing, with written assurances
of a brother's welcome should they return. They left August
twenty-eight.

Those who remained with Dr. Kane were Brooks, M'Gary, Wilson,
Goodfellow, Morton, Ohlsen, Hickey, and Hans. The situation of these was
increasedly dreary on the departure of half of their companions. They
felt the necessity of immediate systematic action to drive away
desponding thoughts, as well as to make the best possible preparation
for the coming struggle with darkness, cold, poverty, and disease. The
discipline of the vessel, with all its formality of duties, was strictly
maintained. The ceremonies of the table, the religious services, the
regular watching, in which every man took his turn unless prevented by
sickness, the scientific observations of the sky, the weather and the
tides, the detailed care of the fire and the lights, all went on as if
there was no burdens of mind to embarrass them.

In view of the small stock of fuel, they commenced turning the brig into
something like an Esquimo igloë or hut. A space in the cabin measuring
twenty feet by eighteen was set off as a room for all hands. Every one
then went to work, and, according to his measure of strength, gathered,
moss. With this an inner wall was made for the cabin, reaching from the
floor to the ceiling. The floor itself was calked with plaster of Paris
and common paste, then two inches of Manilla oakum was thrown over it,
and upon this a canvas carpet was spread. From this room an avenue three
feet high, and two and a half feet wide, was made. It was twelve feet
long, and descended four feet, opening into the hold. It was moss-lined,
and closed with a door at each end. It answered to the _tossut_ of the
Esquimo hut, or the sort of tunnel through which they creep into their
one room. All ingress and egress of our explorers were through this
avenue on their hands and knees. From the dark hold they groped their
way to the main hatchway, up which, by a stairway of boxes, they
ascended into the open air.

The quarter-deck also was well padded with turf and moss. When this was
done, no frost king but the one presiding over the polar regions could
have entered. Even he had to drop his crown of icicles at the outer door
of the avenue.

The next step was to secure, so far as possible, a supply of fuel for
the coming darkness. A small quantity of coal yet remained for an
emergency. They began now, September tenth, to strip off some of the
extra planking outside of the deck, and to pile it up for stove use.

Having thus put the brig itself into winter trim, they went diligently
to work to arrange its immediate vicinity on the floe. Their beef-house
came first, which was simply a carefully stowed pile of barrels
containing their water-soaked beef and pork. Next was a kind of
block-house, made of the barrels of flour, beans, and dried apples. From
a flag-staff on one corner of this fluttered a red and white ensign,
which gave way on Sundays to a Grinnell flag. From the block-house
opened a traveled way, which they called New London Avenue. On this were
the boats. Around all this was a rope barrier, which said to the outside
world, Thus far only shalt thou come! Outside of this was a magnificent
hut made of barrel frames and snow, for the special use of Esquimo
visitors. It was in great danger of a tearing down for its coveted
wood.



CHAPTER VIII.

TREATY MAKING.


THE stock of fresh provisions was now alarmingly low. To secure a fresh
supply, Dr. Kane and Hans started with the dog team on a seal hunt. The
doctor was armed with his Kentucky rifle, and Hans with a harpoon and
attached line. They carried a light Esquimo boat to secure the prey if
shot. They expected to find seal after a ten miles' run, but the ice was
solid until they had traveled another hour. Now they entered upon an icy
plain smooth as a house floor. On the dogs galloped, in fine spirits,
seeming to anticipate the shout which soon came from Hans--"Pusey,
puseymut!"--seal, seal! Just ahead were crowds of seals playing in the
water. But the joy of the hunters was instantly turned into a chill of
horror. The ice was bending under the weight of the sledge, and rolling
in wavy swells before it, as if made of leather. To pause was certain
death to dogs and men. The solid floe was a mile ahead. Hans shouted
fiercely to his dogs, and added the merciless crack of his whip to give
speed to his team; but the poor creatures were already terror-stricken,
and rushed forward like a steam-car. A profound silence followed, as
painful as the hush of the wind before the destructive tornado. Nothing
more could be done; the faithful dogs were doing their utmost to save
themselves and their masters. They passed through a scattered group of
seals, which, breast-high out of water, mocked them with their curious,
complacent gaze. The rolling, crackling ice increased its din, and, when
within fifty paces of the solid floe the frightened dogs became
dismayed, and they paused! In went the left runner and the leading dog,
then followed the entire left-hand runner. In the next instant Dr. Kane,
the sledge and dogs, were mixed up in the snow and water. Hans had
stepped off upon ice which had not yet given way, and was uttering in
his broken English, piteous moans, while he in vain reached forward to
help his master. He was ordered to lay down, spread out his hands and
feet, and draw himself to the floe by striking his knife into the ice.
The doctor cut the leader's harness and let him scramble out, for he was
crying touchingly, and drowning his master by his caresses. Relieved of
the dog he tried the sledge, but it sunk under him; he then paddled
round the hole endeavoring to mount the ice, but it gave way at every
effort, thus enlarging the sphere of operation most uncomfortably, and
exhausting his strength. Hans in the mean time had reached solid
footing, and was on his knees praying incoherently in English and
Esquimo, and at every crushing-in of the ice which plunged his master
afresh into the sea exclaimed, "God!" When the fatal crisis was just at
hand, deliverance came by a _seeming_ accident. How often does God
deliver by such seeming accidents! One of the dogs still remained
attached to the sledge, and in struggling to clear himself drew one of
the runners broadside against the edge of the circle. It was the
drowning man's last chance. He threw himself on his back so as to lessen
his weight, and placed the nape of his neck on the rim of the ice
opposite to but not far from the sledge. He then drew his legs up slowly
and placed the ball of his moccasin foot against the runner, pressing
cautiously and steadily, listening the while to the sound of the
half-yielding ice against which the other runner rested, as to a note
which proclaimed his sentence of life or death. The ice, holding the
sledge, only faintly yielded, while he felt his wet fur jumper sliding
up the surface; now his shoulders are on; now his whole body steadily
ascends; he is safe.

Hans rubbed his master with frantic earnestness until the flesh glowed
again. The dogs were all saved, but the sledge, Esquimo boat, tent,
guns, and snow-shoes were all left frozen in to await a return trip. A
run of twelve miles brought them, worn and weary, but full of gratitude,
to the brig. The fire was kindled, one of the few remaining birds
cooked, a warm welcome given, so that the peril was forgotten except in
the occasion it gave for increased love to the _Deliverer_.

We have had no occasion to notice the Esquimo since the escape from
prison of young Myouk. Soon after Dr. Hayes's party left, three natives
came. They had evidently noted the departure of half of the number of
the strangers, and came to learn the condition of those left behind. It
was Dr. Kane's policy to conciliate them, while carrying toward them a
steady, and when needed, as it was often, a restraining hand.

These visitors were quartered in a tent in the hold. A copper lamp, a
cooking-basin, and a full supply of fat for fuel, was given them. They
ate, slept, awoke, ate and slept again. Dr. Kane left them eating at two
o'clock in the morning when he retired to the cabin to sleep. They
seemed soon after to be sleeping so soundly that the watch set over them
also slept. In the morning there were no Esquimo on board. They had
stolen the lamp, boiler, and cooking-pot used at their feast; to these
they added the best dog--the only one not too weary from the late
excursion to travel. Besides, finding some buffalo robes and an
india-rubber cloth accidentally left on the floe, they took them along
also.

This would not do. The savages must be taught to fear as well as to
respect and love the white men. Morton and Riley, two of the best
walkers, were sent in hot pursuit. Reaching the hut at Anoatok, they
found young Myouk with the wives of two absent occupants, the latter
making themselves delightfully comfortable, having tailored already the
stolen robes into garments worn on their backs. By searching, the
cooking utensils, and other articles stolen from the brig but not
missed, were found.

The white officers of the law acted promptly, as became their dignity.
They stripped the women of these stolen goods and tied them. They were
then loaded with all the articles stolen, to which was added as much
walrus meat of their own as would pay their jail fees. The three were
then marched peremptorily back to the brig; though it was thirty miles
they did not complain, neither did their police guardians in walking the
twice thirty. It was scarcely twenty-four hours after these thieves had
left the brig with their booty before they were prisoners in the hold.
"A dreadful white man" was placed over them as keeper, who never spoke
to them except in words of terrifying reproof, and whose scowl exhibited
a studied variety of threatening and satanic expressions. The women were
deprived of the comfort of even Myouk's company. He was dispatched to
Metek, "head-man of Etah and others," "with the message of a
melo-dramatic tyrant," to negotiate for their ransom. For five long days
the women sighed and cried, and sung in solitary confinement, though
their appetites continued excellent. At last the great Metek and another
Esquimo notable arrived, drawing quite a sledge load of returned stolen
goods. Now commenced the treaty making. There were "big talks," and a
display on the part of Dr. Kane of the splendors and resources of his
capital, its arts and sciences, not forgetting the "fire-death," whose
terrific power so amazed the Etah dignitaries. On the part of the
Esquimo there were many adjournments of the diplomatic conferences to
eat and sleep. This was well for the explorers no doubt, as plenty of
sleep and a good dinner are very pacific, it is well known, in their
influence even on savages. In the final result the Esquimo agreed: Not
to steal, to bring fresh meat, to sell or lend dogs, to attend the white
men when desired, and to show them where to find the game. On the part
of _Kablunah_ (the white men) Dr. Kane promised: Not to visit the
_Inuit_ (Esquimo) with death or sorcery; to shoot for them on the hunt;
to welcome them on board the ship; to give them presents of needles,
pins, two kinds of knives, a hoop, three bits of hard wood, some kinds
of fat, an awl, and some sewing-thread; to trade with them of these, and
all other things they might want, for walrus and seal meat of the first
quality.

Dr. Kane sent Hans and Morton to Etah, on the return of Metek, as his
representatives, and this treaty was there ratified in a full assembly
of its people.

This treaty was really of much importance to the famishing, ice-bound,
scurvy-smitten strangers. It was faithfully kept on the part of the
natives, but it was believed that the example of the white man's
prodigious power given by Morton and Riley, in the tramp of sixty miles
in twenty-four hours, had quite as much to do with its faithful
observance as any regard to their promise. They might not understand the
binding nature of promises however solemnly made, but they could
comprehend the meaning of strong arms and swift feet.

Having made peace with the Etahites, Dr. Kane sent M'Gary and Morton to
the hut at Anoatok on a like errand. They found there of men, Myouk,
Ootuniah, and Awatok--Seal Bladder--who were at first shy. The rogue,
Myouk, suspected their visit might mean to him another arrest. Seeing it
did not, all went merry as a marriage-bell. The treaty was ratified by
acclamation.



CHAPTER IX.

ARCTIC HUNTING.


EARLY in October the Esquimo disappeared from the range of travel from
the brig. Hans and Hickey were sent to the hunting grounds, and they
returned with the unwelcome news, no walrus, no Esquimo. Where could
they have gone? Were they hovering on the track of the escaping party
under Dr. Hayes? and where were these? Would the natives return from a
trip south, and bring any news of the battle they were fighting with the
ice and cold?

While such queries may have been indulged by the brig party, they had
serious thoughts concerning their own condition. Their fresh provisions
were nearly exhausted. Without walrus or bear meat, their old enemy,
scurvy, would come down upon them like an armed man. There was now
plainly another occasion for one of those accidental occurrences,
through which the eye of a devout Christian sees God's kind hand. In the
midst of these painful thoughts the shout by Hans was heard ringing
through the brig: "Nannook! nannook!"

"A bear! a bear!" chimed in Morton.

The men seized their guns and ran on deck. The dogs were already in
battle array with the bear, which was attended by a five-months-old
cub. Not a gun was in readiness on the instant, and while they were
being loaded the canines were having rough sport with bruin. Tudla, a
champion fighter, had been seized twice, by the nape of his neck, and
made to travel several yards without touching the ground. Jenny, a
favorite in the sledge, had made a grand somerset by a slight jerk of
the head of the bear, and had alighted senseless. Old Whitey, brave but
not bear-wise, had rushed headlong into the combat, and was yelping his
utter dissatisfaction with the result while stretched helpless upon the
snow. Nannook considered the field of battle already won, and proceeded,
as victors have always done, to a very cool investigation of the spoils.
She first turned over a beef barrel, and began to nose out the choice
bits for herself and child. But there was a party interested in this
operation whom she had not consulted. Their first protest was in the
form of a pistol ball in the side of her cub. This, to say the least,
was rather a harsh beginning. The next hint was a rifle ball in the side
of the mother, which she resented by taking her child between her hind
legs and retreating behind the beef-house. Here, with her strong
forearms, she pulled down three solid rows of beef barrels which made
one wall of the house. She then mounted the rubbish, seized a half
barrel of herring with her teeth, and with it beat a retreat. Turning
her back on the enemy was not safe, for she immediately received, at
half pistol range, six buck shots. She fell, but was instantly on her
feet again, trotting off with her cub under her nose. She would have
escaped after all but for two of the dogs. These belonged to the
immediate region, and had been trained for the bear hunt. They
embarrassed her speed but did not attack her. One would run along ahead
of her, so near as to provoke the bear to attempt to catch him, and then
he would give her a useless chase to the right or left, the other one,
at the right moment, making a diversion by a nip in her rear. So coolly
and systematically was this done that poor Nannook was hindered and
exhausted without being able to hurt her tormentors in the least.

This game of the dogs brought again Dr. Kane and Hans on the field of
conflict. They found the bear still holding out in the running fight,
and making good speed away from the brig. Two rifle balls brought her to
a stand-still. She faced about, took her little one between her fore
legs, and growled defiance. It took six more balls to lay her lifeless
on the blood-stained snow!

This method of conquering the foe was no doubt, from the bear point of
view, mean and cowardly; instead of the hand-to-paw fight, recognized as
the Arctic lawful way of fighting, it was sending fire-death at a safe
distance for the attacking party. With her own chosen weapons--two
powerful arms, and a set of almost resistless teeth--the bear was the
stronger party. But then it was the old game of brains against brute
force, with the almost sure result. As to the cruelty, the bear had no
reason to complain. She came to the brig seeking, if haply she might
find, a man, or men, to appease her craving hunger and feed her child.
The men sought and obtained her life that they might stay the progress
of their bitter enemy, the scurvy, and save their own lives!

When the mother fell, her child sprung upon her body and made a fierce
defense. After much trouble, and, we should think, some danger from her
paws and teeth, both of which she used as if trained for the fight, she
was, caught with a line looped into a running knot between her jaws and
the back of her head, somewhat as farmers catch hogs for the slaughter.
She was marched off to the brig and chained outside, causing a great
uproar among the dogs.

The mother-bear's carcass weighed when cleaned three hundred pounds;
before dressing, the body weighed six hundred and fifty. The _little_
one weighed on her feet one hundred and fourteen pounds. They both
proved most savory meat, and were eaten with gratitude, as the special
gifts of the great Giver.

This bear capture was soon followed by one no less exciting and truly
Arctic in its character. It was the hunt and capture of a walrus, the
lion of the sea, as the bear is the tiger of the ice. The story is as
follows:---

About the middle of October Morton and Hans were sent again to try to
find the Esquimo. They reached on the fourth day a little village beyond
Anoatok, seventy miles from the brig. Here they found four huts, two
occupied and two forsaken. In one was Myouk, his parents and his brother
and sister; in the other was Awahtok, Ootuniah, their wives, and three
young children. The strangers were made to feel at home. Their moccasins
were dried, their feet rubbed, two lamps set ablaze to cook them a
supper, and a walrus skin spread on the raised floor for them to stretch
and rest their weary limbs. The lamps and the addition to the huts'
company sent the thermometer up to ninety degrees above zero, while
outside it was thirty below. The natives endured this degree of heat
finely, as the men and children wore only the apparel nature gave them,
and the women made only a slight, but becoming, addition to it. The
strangers after devouring six small sea-birds a piece enjoyed a night of
profuse perspiration and sound sleep.

In the morning Morton perceived that Myouk and his father were preparing
for a walrus hunt, and he cordially invited himself and Hans to go with
them. The two strangers accepted the invitation thus given, and the
party of four were soon off.

A large size walrus is eighteen feet long, with a tusk thirty inches.
His whole development is elephantine, and his look grim and ferocious.

The Esquimo of this party carried three sledges; one they hid under the
snow and ice on the way, and the other two were carried to the hunting
ground at the open water, about ten miles from the huts. They had nine
dogs to these two sledges, and by turns one man rode while the other
walked.

As they neared the new ice, and saw by the murky fog that the open water
was near, the Esquimo removed their hoods and listened. After a while
Myouk's countenance showed that the wished-for sound had entered his
ear, though Morton, as attentively listening, could hear nothing. Soon
they were startled by the bellowing of a walrus bull; the noise, round
and full, was something between the mooing of a cow and the deep baying
of a mastiff, varied by an oft-repeated quick bark. The performer was
evidently pleased with his own music, for it continued without cessation
while our hunters crept forward stealthily in single file. When within
half a mile of some discolored spots showing very thin ice surrounded by
that which was thicker, they scattered, and each man crawled toward a
separate pool, Morton on his hands and knees following Myouk. Soon the
walruses were in sight. They were five in number, at times rising
altogether out of the deep, breaking the ice and giving an explosive
puff which might have been heard, through the thin, clear atmosphere, a
mile away. Two grim-looking males were noticeable as the leaders of the
group.

[Illustration: Walruses--A Family Party.]

Now came the fight between Myouk, the crafty, expert hunter, and a
strong, maddened, persistent walrus. Morton was the interested
looker-on, following the hunter like a shadow, ready, if it had been
wanted, to put in his contribution to the fight in the form of a
rifle-ball. When the walrus's head is above water, and peering
curiously around, the hunter is flat and still. As the head begins to
disappear in the deep he is up and stirring, and ready to dart toward
the game. From his hiding-place behind a projecting ice knoll the hunter
seems not only to know when his victim will return, but where he will
rise. In this way, hiding and darting forward, Myouk, with Morton at his
heels, approaches the pool near the edge of which the walruses are at
play. Now the stolid face of Myouk glows with animation; he lies still,
biding his time, a coil of walrus hide many yards in length lying at his
side. He quickly slips one end of the line into an iron barb, holding
the other, the looped end, in his hand, and fixes the barb to a locket
on the end of a shaft made of a unicorn's horn. Now the water is in
motion, and only twelve feet from him the walrus rises, puffing with
pent up respiration, and looks grimly and complacently around. What need
_he_ fear, the mighty monarch of the Arctic sea! Myouk coolly, slowly
rises, throws back his right arm, while his left arm lies close to his
side. The walrus looks round again and shakes his dripping head. Up goes
the hunter's left arm. His victim rises breast-high to give one curious
look before he plunges, and the swift, barbed shaft is buried in his
vitals! In an instant the walrus is down, down in the deep, while Myouk
is making his best speed from the battlefield, holding firmly the looped
end of his harpoon-line, at the same time paying out the coil as he
runs. He has snatched up and carries in one hand a small stick of bone
rudely pointed with iron; he stops, drives it into the ice and fastens
his line to it, pressing it to the ice with his foot.

Now commence the frantic struggles of the wounded walrus. Myouk keeps
his station, now letting out his line, and then drawing it in. His
victim, rising out of the water, endeavors to throw himself upon the
ice, as if to rush at his tormenter. The ice breaks under his great
weight, and he roars fearfully with rage. For a moment all is quiet. The
hunter knows what it means, and he is on the alert. Crash goes the ice,
and up come two walrusses only a few yards from where he stands; they
aimed at the very spot but will do better next time. But when the game
comes up where he last saw the hunter he has pulled up his stake and run
off, line in hand, and fixed it as before, but in a new direction. This
play goes on until the wounded beast becomes exhausted, and is
approached and pierced with the lance by Myouk.

Four hours this fight went on, the walrus receiving seventy lance
thrusts, dangling all the while at the end of the line with the cruel
harpoon fixed in his body. When dying at last, hooked by his tusk to the
margin of the ice, his female, which had faithfully followed all his
bloody fortune, still swam at his side; she retired only when her spouse
was dead, and she herself was pricked by the lance.

Morton says the last three hours wore the aspect of a doubtful battle.
He witnessed it with breathless interest.

The game was, by a sort of "double purchase," a clever contrivance of
the Esquimo, drawn upon the ice and cut up at leisure. Its weight was
estimated at seven hundred pounds.

The intestines and the larger part of the carcass, were buried in the
crevices of an iceberg--a splendid ice-house! Two sledges were loaded
with the remainder, and the hunters started toward home. As they came
near the village the women came out to meet them; the shout of welcome
brought all hands with their knives. Each one having his portion
assigned, according to a well understood Esquimo rule, the evening was
given up to eating. In groups of two or three around a forty pound
joint, squatting crook-legged, knife in hand, they cut, ate, and slept,
and cut and ate again. Hans, in his description of the feast to Dr.
Kane, says: "Why, Cappen Ken, sir, even the children ate all night. You
know the little two-year-old that Aroin carried in her hood--the one
that bit you when you tickled it?"

"Yes."

"Well, Cappen Ken, sir, that baby cut for herself, sir, with a knife
made out of an iron hoop, and so heavy it could hardly lift it, cut and
ate, sir, and ate and cut, as long as I looked at it."

Morton and Hans returned to the brig with two hundred pounds of walrus
meat and two foxes, to make glad the hearts of their comrades.

Besides these Arctic monsters of the sea, and shaggy prowlers of the
land and ice, there was another sort of game, requiring a different kind
of hunting, found nearer home.

We have related the experiment, a year before this, of the explorers
with the rats. They had failed to smoke them out by a villainous
compound, and, as the experience came near burning up the vessel, it was
not repeated. They bred like locusts in spite of the darkness, cold, and
short rations, and went every-where--under the stove, into the steward's
drawers, into the cushions, about the beds, among the furs, woolens, and
specimens of natural history. They took up their abode among the bedding
of the men in the forecastle, and in such other places as seemed to them
cosy and comfortable. When their rights as tenants were disputed they
fought for them with boldness and skill.

At one time a mother rat had chosen a bear-skin mitten as a homestead
for herself and family of little ones. Dr. Kane thrust his hand into it
not knowing that it was occupied, and received a sharp bite. Of course
his hand left the premises in rather quick time, and before he could
suck the blood from his finger the family had disappeared, taking their
home with them.

Rhina, a brave bear-dog, which had come out of encounters with his
shaggy majesty with special honors, was sent down into the citadel of
the rats. She lay down with composure and slept for a while. But the
vermin gnawed the horny skin of her paws, nipped her on this side, and
bit her on that, and dodged into their hiding-places. They were so
many, and so nimble, that poor Rhina yelled in vexation and pain. She
was taken on deck to her kennel, a cowed and vanquished dog.

Hans, true to his hunter's propensity, amused himself during the dreary
hours of his turn on the night watch, by shooting them with his bow and
arrow. Dr. Kane had these carefully dressed and made into a soup, of
which he educated himself to eat, to the advantage of his health. No
other one of the vessel's company cared to share his pottage.

Hans had one competitor in this "small deer" hunting, as the sailors
called it. Dr. Kane had caught a young fox alive, and domesticated it in
the cabin. These "deer" were not quick enough to escape his nimble feet
and sharp teeth. But unfortunately he would kill only when and what he
wanted to eat.

December came in gloomily. Nearly every man was down with the scurvy.
The necessary work to be done dragged heavily. The courage of the little
company was severely taxed but not broken. But where were the escaping
party under Dr. Hayes? Were they yet dragging painfully over their
perilous way? were they safe at Upernavik? or had they perished?

While such queries might have occupied the thoughts of the dwellers in
the "Advance," on the seventh of the month Petersen and Bonsall of that
party returned; five days later Dr. Hayes arrived, with the remainder
of his company. Their adventures had been marvelous, and their escape
wonderful. It will be a pleasant fancy for us to consider ourselves as
sitting down in the cabin of the "Advance," and listening to their story
from the lips of one of their party.



CHAPTER X.

THE ESCAPING PARTY.


HAVING, as has been seen, provided for all the contingencies of our
journey as well as circumstances permitted, we moved slowly down the
ice-foot away from the brig. The companions we were leaving waved us a
silent adieu. A strong resolution gave firmness to our step, but our way
was too dark and perilous for lightness of heart. At ten miles distance
we should reach a cape near which we expected to find open water, where
we could exchange the heavy work of dragging the sledges for the
pleasanter sailing in the boat. This we reached early the second day.
But here we experienced our first keen disappointment. As far as the eye
could reach was only ice. Before us, a thousand miles away, was
Upernavik, at which we aimed, the first refuge of a civilized character
in that direction. As we gazed at this intervening frozen wilderness it
did indeed seem afar off. Yet every man stood firm through fourteen
hours of toil before we encamped, facing a strong wind and occasional
gusts of snow. After this the shelter of our tent, and a supper of cold
pork and bread with hot coffee, made us almost forget the wind, which
began to roar like a tempest.

We looked out in the morning, after a good night's rest, hoping to see
the broken floe fleeing before the gale, giving us our coveted open sea.
But no change had taken place. We had no resort but to weary sledging.
We carried forward our freight in small parcels, a mile on our journey,
finally bringing up the boat.

We took from under a cliff of the cape the boat "Forlorn Hope," which
Dr. Kane had deposited there. It was damaged by the falling of a stone
upon it from a considerable height. Petersen's skillful mending made it
only a tolerable affair. Thus wearied and baffled in our efforts at
progress, we returned early to our tent, and slept soundly until three
o'clock in the morning, when we were aroused by shouting without. It
came from three Esquimo, a boy eighteen years old, and two women. The
boy we had before seen, but the women were strangers. They were filthy
and ragged--in fact scarcely clothed at all. The matted hair of the
women was tied with a piece of leather on the top of the head; the boy's
hair was cut square across his eyebrows. One of the women carried a baby
about six months old. It was thrust naked, feet foremost, into the hood
of her jumper, and hung from the back of her neck. It peered innocently
out of its hiding-place, like a little chicken from the brooding wing of
its mother.

They shivered with cold, and asked for fire and food, which we readily
gave them, and they were soon off down the coast in good spirits.

These visitors were only well started when Hans rushed into our camp,
excited and panting for breath. He was too full of wrath to command his
poor English, and he rattled away to Petersen in his own language. When
he had recovered somewhat his breath, we caught snatches of his
exclamations as he turned to us with, "Smit Soun Esquimo no koot! no
koot! all same dog! Steal me bag! steal Nalegak buffalo."

The fact finally came out that our visitors had been to the brig and
stolen, among other things, a wolf-skin bag and a small buffalo skin
belonging to Hans, presents from Dr. Kane. Hans took a lunch, a cup of
coffee, and continued his run after the thieves.

The ice had now given way a little, and small leads opened near us.
Loading the boat, we tried what could be done at navigation. But the
water in the lead soon froze over and became too thick for boating,
while yet it was too thin for sledging; so after trying various
expedients we again unloaded the boats and took to the land-ice. But
this was too sloping for the sledges, so we took our cargo in small
parcels on our backs, carrying them forward a mile and a half, and
finally bringing the sledges and boat. Bonsall had, on one of these
trips, taken a keg of molasses on the back of his neck, grasping the two
ends with his hands. This was an awkward position in which to command
his footing along a sideling, icy path. His foot slipped, the keg shot
over his head, and glided down into the sea. Coffee without molasses was
not pleasant to think of, and then it was two hours after our day's work
was done before we could find even water. Our supper was not eaten and
we ready to go to bed until ten. We slept the better, however, from
hearing, just as we were retiring, that Bonsall and Godfrey had
recovered the keg of molasses from four feet of water.

The next morning we resolved to try the floe again. It was plain we
could make no satisfactory progress on the land-ice, so we loaded first
the small sledge and run it safely down the slippery slope. Then the
large sledge, "Faith," was packed with our more valuable articles.
Cautiously it was started, men in the rear holding it back by ropes. But
the foothold of the men being insecure, they slipped, lost their control
both of themselves and the sledge, and away it dashed. The ice as it
reached the floe was thin; first one runner broke through, now both have
gone down; over goes the freight, and the whole is plunged into the
water! Fortunately every thing floated. A part of our clothes were in
rubber bags and was kept dry; all else was thoroughly wet. No great
damage was done except in one case. Petersen had a bed of eider-down, in
which he was wont snugly to stow himself at night. When moving it was
compressed into a ball no larger than his head. It was a nice thing,
costing forty Danish dollars. It was, of course, spoiled. So rueful was
his face that, though we really pitied him, we could not repress a
little merriment as he held up his dripping treasure. Seeing a smile on
Dr. Hayes's face, he hastily rolled it up into a wad, and, in the
bitterness of his vexation, hurled it among the rocks, muttering
something in Danish, of which we could detect only the words "doctor"
and "Satan."

Our situation seemed gloomy enough. The men's courage was giving way,
and one took a final leave and returned to the "Advance." Yet we pressed
forward; we were not long in readjusting the load of the "Faith," and
met with no further accident during the day; but our fourteen hours toil
left us six more hours of ice-travel before we could reach what seemed
to be a long stretch of clear sea.

Hans returned from his pursuit, having overtaken the thieves, but did
not find about them the stolen goods. He proposed to remain and help us,
but we could go no farther that night. We encamped, and obtained much
needed rest and sleep.

We were awakened at midnight to a new and unexpected discouragement.
M'Gary and Goodfellow arrived from the "Advance" bringing a peremptory
order from Dr. Kane to bring back the "Faith." We could not understand
this. We had been promised its use until we reached the open sea. We had
only one other, which was very poor and utterly insufficient for our
purpose. We were sure it was not needed at the brig; what could the
order mean? But there it was in black and white, so we delivered it up,
and the messengers returned with it on the instant.

This journey of Goodfellow and M'Gary was a wonderful exhibition of
endurance. They had worked hard all day; having eaten supper, they were
dispatched with the message. They were back to the brig to breakfast,
having traveled in all to and fro thirty miles without food or rest.

Our sledging, almost insufferable before, was more difficult now.
Petersen exhausted his skill in improving our poor sledge with little
success. We made about six miles during the day, gained the land at the
head of Force Bay, and pitched our tent. We had shipped and unshipped
our cargo, and had experienced the usual variety of boating and
sledging. Several of us had broken through the ice and been thoroughly
wet. Old rheumatic and scurvy complaints renewed their attacks upon the
men.

While the supper was cooking, three of the officers climbed a bluff and
looked out upon the icy sea. To our joy they reported the open water
only six miles away. With a good sledge we could reach it in one day's
pull. With our shaky affair it would take three. Indeed, it seemed a
hopeless task to make at all six miles with it. Such was the situation
when our supper was eaten and we had lain down to sleep. Its solace had
scarcely come to our relief when Morton's welcome voice startled us. He
had come to bring back the "Faith." How timely! And then he brought also
a satisfactory explanation of its being taken away. Dr. Kane had been
informed that a dissension existed among us, and that the sledge was not
in the hands of the officers. The next morning the good sledge "Faith"
was loaded, and the men, now in good spirits, made fine speed toward
the open sea. Morton pushed on after the thieves. Late in the afternoon
he returned with them. He had overtaken them where they had halted to
turn their goods into clothing. They had thrown aside their rags, and
were strutting proudly in the new garments they had made of the stolen
skins. Morton soon left, with his prisoners, to return to the "Advance."

We did not reach the open water until midnight. Every thing was now put
on board the boat, and we sailed about two miles and drew up against
Esquimo Point, pitched our tent on a grounded ice-raft, and obtained
brief rest.

In the morning, Riley, who had been sent to us for that purpose,
returned to the "Advance" with the "Faith." We packed away eight men and
their baggage in the "Forlorn Hope." It was an ordinary New London
whale-boat rigged with a mainsail, foresail, and a jib. Her cargo and
passengers on this occasion brought her gunwale within four inches of
the water. But for five miles we made fine progress. Then suddenly the
ice closed in upon us, compelling us to draw the "Hope" up upon a solid
ice-raft, where we encamped for the night. Near was a stranded berg from
which we obtained a good supply of birds, of which we ate eight for
supper.

In the morning, while our breakfast was cooking, the ice scattered and a
path for us through the sea was again opened, and we bore away joyously
for the capes of "Refuge Harbor." With varying fortune, we passed under
the walls of Cape Heatherton, and sighted the low lands of Life-boat
Bay. There, as has been stated, in August, 1853, Dr. Kane left a Francis
metallic life-boat. Could we reach this bay and possess ourselves of
this life-boat, a great step would have been taken, we thought, toward
success. For awhile all went well; then came the shout from the officer
on the lookout, "Ice ahead!" We run down upon it before a spanking
breeze, and got into the bend of a great horseshoe, while seeking an
open way through the floe. We could turn neither to the right nor left,
and we were too deep in the water to attempt to lay-to. The waves rolled
higher and higher, and the breeze was increasing to a tempest. Our
cargo, piled above the sides of the boat, left no room to handle the
oars, if they had been of any use. There was no resort but to let her
drive against the floe. John sat in the stern, steering-oar in hand;
Petersen stood on the lookout to give him steering orders; Bonsall and
Stephenson stood by the sails; the rest of us, with boat-hooks and
poles, stood ready to "fend off." The sails were so drawn up as to take
the wind out of them. Petersen directed the boat's head toward that part
of the ice which seemed weakest, and on we bounded. "'See any opening,
Petersen!' 'No sir.' An anxious five minutes followed, 'I see what looks
like a lead. We must try for it.' 'Give the word, Petersen.' On flew the
boat. 'Let her fall off a little--off! Ease off the sheet--so--steady! A
little more off--so! Steady there--steady as she goes.'"

Petersen, cool and skillful, was running us through a narrow lead which
brought us into a small opening of clear water. We were beginning to
think that we should get through the pack when he shouted, "I see no
opening! Tight every-where! Let go the sheet! Fend off."

Thump went the boat against the floe! But the poles and boat-hooks, in
strong, steady hands, broke the force of the collision. Out sprang every
man upon the ice.

No serious damage was done to our craft. Our first thought was that we
were in a safe, ice-bound harbor. But no! See, the floe is on the move!
We unshipped the cargo in haste, and drew up the "Hope" out of the way
of the nips. The stores were next removed farther from the water's edge,
the spray beginning to sprinkle them. The whole pack was instantly in
wild confusion, ice smiting ice, filling the air with dismal sounds. But
it was a moment for _action_, not of moping fear. Our ice-raft suddenly
separated, the crack running between the cargo and the "Hope!" This
would not do! A boat without a cargo, or a cargo without a boat, were
neither the condition of things we desired; but as the ice bearing the
boat shot into the surging water, it was evident no _human_ power could
hinder it. Yet _divine_ power could and did prevent it--just that Hand
always so ready to help us in our time of need, and seeming now almost
visible. The boat's raft, after whirling in the eddying waters, swung
round, and struck one corner of ours. In a minute of time the "Hope"
was run off, and boat, cargo, and men were once more together.

Soon the commotion brought down a heavy floe against that on which we
had taken refuge, and no open water was within a hundred yards of us.



CHAPTER XI.

A GREEN SPOT.


WE seemed now to be in a safe resting-place. Dr. Hayes and Mr. Bonsall,
accompanied by John and Godfrey, took the advantage of this security to
go in search of the life-boat, which they judged was not more than two
miles away.

After a walk over the floe of one hour they found it. It had not been
disturbed, and the articles deposited under it were in good order. There
were, besides the oars and sails, two barrels of bread, a barrel of
pork, and one of beef; thirty pounds of rice, thirty pounds of sugar, a
saucepan, an empty keg, a gallon can of alcohol, a bale of blankets, an
ice anchor, an ice chisel, a gun, a hatchet, a few small poles, and some
pieces of wood. They took of these a barrel of bread, the saucepan
filled with sugar, a small quantity of rice, the gun, the hatchet, and
the boat's equipments. They were to carry this cargo, and drag the
life-boat, back to the camp, unless a fortunate lead should enable them
to take to the boat.

They ascended a hill, before starting, to get a view of the present
state of the fickle ice. All was fast in the direct line through which
they came. But, a mile away, washing a piece of the shore of Littleton
Island, was open water. They concluded to push forward in that
direction, and wait the coming of their companions in the "Hope."

They reached this open water in six hours--a slow march of one mile--but
it must be remembered that they had to carry their cargo, piece by
piece, then go back and draw along the boat, thus going over the
distance many times. Besides, they had to climb the hummocks with their
load, and lower it down the other side and tumble about generally over
the rough way.

The island thus reached was three fourths of a mile in diameter. They
landed in a tumultuous sea, which only a life-boat could survive. There
was no good hiding-place from the storm, which was increasing. They were
completely wet by the spray, and ready to faint with cold and hunger. In
a crevice of the rock a fire was kindled, the saucepan half filled with
sea water, and an eider duck John had knocked over with his oar was put
into it to stew. To this was added four biscuit from the bread barrel.
The hot meal thus cooked refreshed them, but it was their only
refreshment. Bonsall and Godfrey crept under the sail taken from the
boat, and, from sheer exhaustion, fell asleep. John and Dr. Hayes sought
warmth in a run about the island. Dr. Hayes wandered to a rocky point,
which commanded a view of the channel between the island and the "Hope."
He watched every object, expecting to see her and her crew adrift. He
had not watched long before a dark object was seen upon a whirling
ice-raft. After a close and careful second look, he saw that it was
John. He called but received no answer. John's raft now touched the floe
and away he went, jumping the fearful cracks, and disappearing in the
darkness. What could inspire so reckless an adventure? Had he seen the
"Hope" in peril, and was this a manly effort to save her and his
comrades? He was going in the direction in which he had left them.

Bonsall and Godfrey were soon frozen out of their comfortless tent, and
joined Dr. Hayes on the rocky point. They took places of observation a
short distance apart, and watched with intense anxiety both for the
"Hope" and John. The morning came, the sea grew less wild, and the wind
subsided, but nothing was seen of the boat.

Leaving Dr. Hayes and his party thus watching on the island, we will
glance at the experience of those of us who were left in the camp.

Soon after they left, the wind and the waves played free and wild. The
spray wet our clothes, buffaloes, and blankets, as it flew past us in
dense clouds. Our bread-bag, wrapped in an india rubber cloth, was kept
dry. We pitched our tent in the safest place possible, but were driven
out by the increasing deluge of spray. We tried to cook our supper, but
the water put out the lamp. So we obtained for thirty hours neither rest
nor a warm meal. Dry, hard bread without water, was our only food.
Finally the floe broke up, and, hastily packing, ourselves and stores
into the "Hope," we went scudding through the leads, earnestly desiring
but scarcely daring to hope that we should fall in with Dr. Hayes and
his party. As we approached Littleton Island the lead closed, and the
pack for a moment shut us in. As we waited and watched, we saw a dark
object moving over the floe in the misty distance. Had we been on the
lookout for a bear, we might have sent a bullet after it at a venture.
But a moment only intervened before John, nimbly jumping the drifting
ice-cakes, sprung into the boat! He brought the welcome news of the
whereabouts of our companions with the life-boat, and his needed help in
our peril. Soon a change of tide brought open water, through which, with
all sails set, we bore down on the island. About eight o'clock we saw
Dr. Hayes watching for our coming from his bleak, rocky lookout.

So rough was the sea that we could not land, but rowed round Cape
Ohlsen, the nearest main-land, where we found a snug harbor with a low
beach. The life-boat and her crew followed. The cargoes were taken from
the boats, and they were hauled up. From a little stream of melted snow
which trickled down the hill-side our kettles were filled. The camp was
set ablaze, some young eiders and a burgomaster, shot just before we
landed, were soon cooked, a steaming pot of coffee served up, and we
talked over our adventures as we satisfied our craving hunger. John was
questioned concerning his wild adventure. He had not seen the "Hope,"
nor did he know where she was. But he was concerned about her, and
"wanted to hunt her up."

After dinner we set ourselves at work, preparing the boats for a renewed
voyage, which we had some reason to hope would be one of fewer
interruptions. The "Hope" was repatched and calked by Petersen. A mast
and sail was put into the life-boat, which we named the "Ironsides." The
heavier part of the freight was put on board the "Hope," of which
Petersen took command, with Sontag, George Stephenson, and George
Whipple as companions and helpers. Dr. Hayes commanded in the
"Ironsides," with whom was Bonsall, John, Blake, and William Godfrey.

Having spread our sails to a favoring breeze, we gave three cheers and
bore away for Cape Alexander, about fourteen miles distant. As we sped
onward the scene was delightful. On our left was Hartstene Bay, with its
dark, precipitous shore-line, and white glacier fields in the
background. The outlines of Cape Alexander grew clearer over our bows,
and cheered us onward. But a dark, threatening cloud crept up the
northern sky, sending after us an increasing breeze, and tipping the
waves with caps of snowy whiteness. The storm-king came on in frequent
squalls, giving earnest of his wrath. We could not turn back, nor did
such a course at all accord with our wishes; nor could we run toward the
shore on the left, where only frowning rocks awaited us. We could only
scud before the tempest toward Cape Alexander, come what would. The wind
roared louder and the waves rolled higher, yet on we flew. We came
within half a mile of the cape unharmed. Now the current, as it swept
swiftly round the cape, produced a "chopping sea." The "Hope," being
made for a heavy sea, rounded the point in good style. The "Ironsides"
was shorter, stood more out of the water, and was, therefore, less
manageable. John, who was intrusted with the steering-oar, in minding
the business of Bonsall and Godfrey instead of his own, let it fly out
of the water, and so permitted the boat to come round broadside to the
current. Of course the sea broke over us at its pleasure, filling every
part which could be filled and sinking us deep in the water. But for its
metallic structure and air-tight apartment we should have sunk; as it
was we held fast to the sides and mast to prevent being washed
overboard, and thus we drifted ingloriously round the cape.

Here we found our consort, ready to come to our assistance; but as the
water was smooth under sheltering land, we bailed out our boat, took in
our sails, unshipped the mast, and rowed for a small rock called
Sutherland's Island, hoping to find a harbor. But we found none, nor was
it safe to land anywhere upon the island. There was nothing to do but to
pull back again in the face of the wind. The men were weary and
disheartened; the sun had set and it was growing dark; our clothes were
frozen and unyielding as a coat of mail; cutting sleet pelted our faces,
and we were often compelled to lose for a moment part of what we had
with such toil gained. But the sheltering main-land of the cape was at
last gained, and we coasted slowly along for some distance looking for a
haven. We finally came to a low rocky point, behind which lay a snug
little harbor. "A harbor! here we are boys; a harbor!" shouted the
lookout. The men responded with a faint cheer--they were too much
exhausted for "a rouser."

The boats were unladen and drawn upon the land. Every thing in the
"Ironsides" was wet, but the stores of the "Hope" were in perfect order.
We pitched our tent, cooked our supper, and lay down to sleep. The sea
roared angrily as its waves broke upon the rocky coast, and the wind
howled as it came rushing down the hill-side; but they did but lull us
to rest as we slept away our weariness and disappointment.

Two days we were detained in this place. Once a little fox peered at us
from the edge of the cliff, which set our men upon a fruitless hunt for
either his curious little self or some of his kindred. We greatly
desired a fox stew, but fox cunning was too much for us.

We started for Northumberland Island on the eighth of September. To
reach it we must pass through a wide expanse of sea which was now clear;
not a berg greeted our vision, no fragments of drifting ice-packs met
our sight. The wind was nearly "after us," and the boats glided through
the waves as gloriously as if carrying a picnic party in our own home
waters. The spirits of the men run over with glee. "Isn't this
glorious?" cried Whipple as the boats came near enough together to
exchange salutations; "we have it watch and watch about."

"And so have we," replied Godfrey.

"We're shipping a galley and mean to have some supper," shouted
Stephenson.

"And we have got ours already!" exclaimed John. "Look at this!" he
added, flourishing in the air a pot of steaming coffee.

But these joys were emphatically of the _arctic_ kind, which are in
themselves prophecies of ill. Bergs were soon seen lifting their
unwelcome heads in the distance, and sending through the intervening
waters their tidings of evil. Next came long, narrow lines of ice; then
these were united together by a thin, recent formation. We were now
compelled to dodge about to find open lanes. Coming to a full stop, the
officers climbed an iceberg to get a view of the situation. The pack was
every-where, though in no direction was it without narrow runs of open
water. Then and there they were compelled, after careful consultation,
to decide a question deeply concerning our enterprise. It was this:
Should we take the outer passage, or the one lying along shore. The
first would afford a better chance of open water, but if this failed us,
as it was even likely to do at this late season, we must certainly
perish. The second gave us a smaller chance of boating, but some chance
to live if it failed. But we were on a desperate enterprise, and were
inclined to desperate measures. But Petersen, who had twenty years'
experience in these waters, counseled the inner route, and by his
counsel the officers felt bound to abide.

While this consultation was going on the sea became calm, and the boats
could be urged only by the oars. It was night before we found a
sheltered, sloping land behind a projecting rock. The boats were
anchored in the usual way--by taking out their loads and lifting them
upon the land.

The tents were pitched upon a terrace a few yards above the boats. This
terrace, we were surprised to find, was covered with a green sod, full
of thrifty vegetation. The sloping hill-side above had the same
greenness. A little seeking brought to our wondering sight an abundant
supply of sorrel and "_cochlearia_," anti-scurvy plants which our men
much needed. Some of the men soon filled their caps with them. A fox had
been shot and was already in the cook's steaming pot, to which a good
supply of the green plants was added. Such a supper as we had! Nothing
like it had been tasted since we left home! Our scurvy plague spots
disappeared before its wonderful healing power. The men became as
hilarious as boys when school is out. They reveled and rolled upon the
green arctic carpet like young calves in a newly found clover field.
They smoked their pipes, "spun yarns," and laughed cheerily, as if their
lives had not just now been in peril, and as if no imminent dangers lay
at their door. Our camp had indeed been pitched by the all-guiding Hand
in a goodly place. The men declared on retiring that they felt the
healing _cochlearia_ in their very bones, and it is certain that we all
felt the glow of our changed condition throughout our whole being.

The next day two of us climbed the highest land of the island for a
glance at our situation. We found it as depressing as our paradise of
greenness had been encouraging. We could see southward the closed
ice-pack for twenty miles, and faint indications of the same condition
of the sea could be discerned for twenty more miles.

We returned, and a council was called in which all, men and officers,
were called upon freely to discuss, and finally to decide by vote, the
question, Shall we go forward or attempt to return to the "Advance." All
the facts so far as known were fairly brought out. Upernavik was six
hundred miles in a straight line; the brig was four hundred. Dangers, if
not death, were everywhere, yet none desponded. Whipple, or "Long
George," as his messmates called him, made a heroic speech which
expressed the feelings of all. He exclaimed: "The ice can't remain long;
I'll bet it will open to-morrow. The winter is a long way off yet. If we
have such luck as we have had since leaving Cape Alexander, we shall be
in Upernavik in two weeks. You say it is not more than six hundred miles
there in a straight line. We have food for that time and fuel for a
week. Before that's gone we'll shoot a seal."

We voted with one voice--"Upernavik or nothing." The decision was made.



CHAPTER XII.

NETLIK.


WE were unwillingly detained on the island several days more. During the
detention we were visited by an Esquimo, who came most unexpectedly upon
us. His name was Amalatok. He had been at the ship last winter, and had
seen Dr. Kane in his August trip. His dress was strikingly arctic--a
bird-skin coat, feathers turned in; bear-skin pants, hair outward;
seal-skin boots; and dog-skin stockings. He carried in his hand two sea
birds, a bladder filled with oil, some half-putrid walrus flesh, and a
seal thong. He sat down on a rock and talked with animation. While thus
engaged he twisted the neck from one of the birds, inserted the
fore-finger of his right hand under the skin of its neck, drew it down
its back, and thus instantly skinned it. Then running his long thumb
nail along the breastbone, he produced two fine fat lumps of flesh,
which he offered in turn to each of our company. These were politely
declined, to his great disgust, and he bolted them down himself, sending
after them a hearty draught of oil from the bladder. The other bird, the
remaining oil, and the coil of seal-hide we purchased of him for three
needles.

Soon after Amalatok's wife came up with a boy--her nephew. The woman
was old, and exceedingly ugly looking; the boy was fine looking,
wide-awake, and thievish--we watched him narrowly. In the evening the
Esquimo left for their home on the easternly side of the island.

In the afternoon of the fourteenth of September we left the island, and
set our course toward Cape Parry. The sky had been clear, the air soft
and balmy, and the open sea invited us onward. But a cold mist soon
settled down upon us, succeeded by a curtain of snow, shutting out all
landmarks, and leaving us in great doubt as to our course. The compass
refused to do its office, the needle remaining where it was placed. We
struck into an ice-field and became perfectly bewildered. As we groped
about we struck an old floating ice-island, about twelve feet square. On
this we crawled and pitched our tent. The cook contrived, with much
perseverance and delay, to light the lamp, melt some snow, and make a
pot of coffee. This warmed and encouraged us. But as the snow fell
faster and faster, we could not unwrap our bedding without getting it
wet; so we huddled together under the tent to keep each other warm. None
slept, and the night wore slowly away as our ice-island floated we knew
not whither. There was great occasion for despondency, but the men were
wonderfully cheerful. Godfrey sung negro melodies with a gusto; Petersen
told the stories of his boyhood life in Copenhagen and Iceland; John
gave items of a "runner's" life in San Francisco; Whipple related the
horrors of the forecastle of a Liverpool packet; and Bonsall "brought
down the house" by striking up,

    "Who wouldn't sell his farm and go to sea?"

During this merriment a piece of our raft broke off, and came near
plunging two of the men into the sea.

The morning dawned and showed the dim outlines of some large object near
us, whether iceberg or land we could not tell. Before we could well make
it out we were near a sandy beach covered with bowlders. We tumbled into
the boats and were soon ashore. As we landed, Petersen's gun brought
down two large sea-fowl. We were in a little time high on the land, our
tent pitched, and all but John, the cook, lay down in the dry, warm
buffalo-skins and slept away our weariness. John in the meantime
contended through six long hours with the wind, which put out his lamp,
the snow, which wet his tinder when he attempted to relight it, and the
cold, which froze the water in the kettle during the delay, as well as
chilled his fingers and face, and cooked us at last a supper of sea-fowl
and fox. As we ate with appetites sharpened by a fast of twenty-four
hours, we heard the storm, which raged fearfully, with thankfulness for
our timely covert. God, and not our wisdom, had brought us hither.

When the morning broke we learned that we had drifted far up Whale
Sound, and were camped on Herbert Island. After a little delay we
entered our boats, rowed for several hours through "the slush" the snow
had created near the shore, and then spreading our canvas, we sailed for
the mainland. We struck the coast twenty miles above Cape Parry.

We had scarcely time to glance at our situation before we heard the
"Huk! Huk! Huk!" of Esquimo voices. It was the hailing cry of a man and
a boy who came running to the shore. While Petersen talked with the man,
the boy scampered off.

The man was Kalutunah, "the Angekok" or priest of his tribe. He had
been, as will be recollected, at the ship in the winter. He said the
village was only a short distance up the bay, where was plenty of
blubber and meat, which we might have if we would allow him to enter our
"oomiak" and pilot us there!

While we were talking with Kalutunah, the boy had spread the news of our
visit through the village. On came a troop of men, women, and children,
rushing along the shore, and throwing their arms about, and shouting
merrily, with howling dogs at their heels. The "Kablunah" and
"Oomiak"--white men and ship--had come and they were happy.

We took on board Kalutunah from a rocky point, before the crowd could
reach it, and pushed off and rowed up the bay. Our passenger was
delighted, having never before voyaged in this wise. He stood up in the
boat and called to his envious countrymen who ran abreast of us along
the shore, exclaiming, "See me! See me!"

We landed in a little cove, at the head of which we pitched our tent.
The sailors drew up the boat over the gentle slope, shouting,
"Heave-oh!" At this the natives broke out into uproarious laughter.
Nothing of all the strange shouts and sights brought to their notice so
pleased them. They took hold of the ropes and sides of the boats, and
tugged away shouting, "I-e-u! I-e-u! I-e-u!" the nearest approach they
could make to the strange sound of the white faces.

A short distance from the beach, on the slope, stood the
_settlement_--two stone huts twenty yards apart. They were surrounded by
rocks and bowlders, looking more like the lurking places of wild beasts
than the abodes of men.

The entertainment given us by our new friends was most cordial. A young
woman ran off to the valley with a troop of boys and girls at her heels,
and filled our kettles with water. Kalutunah's wife brought us a steak
of seal and a goodly piece of liver. The lookers-on laughed at our
canvas-wick lamp, as it sputtered and slowly burned, and the chief's
daughter ran off and brought their lamp of dried moss and seal fat.

We gave them some of our supper, as they expected of course that we
would. They made wry faces at the coffee, and only sipped a little; but
Kalutunah with more dignity persevered and drank freely of it. We passed
round some hard biscuit, which they did not regard as food until they
saw us eat them. They then nibbled away, laughing and nibbling awhile
until their teeth seemed to be sore. They then thrust them into their
boots, the general receptacles of curious things.

After supper the white men lighted their pipes. This to the natives was
the crowning wonder. They stared at the strangers, and then looked
knowingly at each other. The solemn faces of the smokers, the devout
look which they gave at the ascending smoke from their mouths as it
curled upward, impressed the Esquimo that this was a religious ceremony.
They, too, preserved a becoming gravity. But the ludicrous scene was too
much for our men, and their faces relaxed into smiles. This was a signal
for a general explosion. The Esquimo burst into loud laughter, springing
to their feet and clapping their hands. The religious meeting was over.

The "Angekok," who seemed desirous to show his people that he could do
any thing which the strangers could, desired to be allowed to smoke. We
gave him a pipe, and directed him to draw in his breath with all his
might. He did so, and was fully satisfied to lay the pipe down. His
awful grimaces brought down upon him shouts and laughter from his
people.

The mimic puffs, and the poorly executed echoes of the sailors'
"Heave-oh," went merrily round the village.

Having established good feeling between ourselves and the Esquimo, we
entered upon negotiations for such articles of food as they could spare.
But they in fact had only a small supply. They wanted, of course, our
needles, knives, wood, and iron, and were profuse in their promises of
what they would do, but their game was in the sea.

It was midnight before the Esquimo retired and we lay down to sleep. Dr.
Hayes and Stephenson remained on guard, for our very plausible friends
were not to be trusted where any thing could be stolen. The stars
twinkled in the clear atmosphere while yet the twilight hung upon the
mountain, and all nature was hushed to an oppressive silence, save when
it was broken by the sudden outburst of laughter from the Esquimo, or
the cawing of a solitary raven.

Leaving Stephenson on guard, Dr. Hayes walked toward the huts. Kalutunah
hearing his footsteps came out to meet him, expressing his welcome by
grinning in his face and patting his back. The huts were square in front
and sloped back into the hill. They were entered by a long
passage-way--tossut--of twelve feet, at the end of which was an ascent
into the hut through an opening in the floor near the front. Into this
the chief led the way, creeping on all fours, with a lighted torch of
moss saturated with fat. Snarling dogs and half-grown puppies were
sleeping in this narrow way, who naturally resented in their own amiable
way this midnight disturbance. Arriving at the upright shaft, the chief
crowded himself aside to let his visitor pass in. A glare of light,
suffocating odors, and a motley sight, greeted the doctor. Crowded into
the den, on a raised stone bench around three sides, were human beings
of both sexes, and of all ages. They huddled together still closer to
make room for the stranger, whom they greeted with an uproarious laugh.
In one of the front corners, on a raised stone bench, was a mother-dog
with a family of puppies. In the other corner was a joint of meat. The
whole interior was about ten feet in diameter, and five and a half high.
The walls were made of stone and the bones of animals, and chinked with
moss. They were not arched, but drawn in from the foundation, and capped
above with slabs of slate-stone.

The doctor's visit was one of curiosity, but the curiosity of the
Esquimo in reference to him was more intense and must first be
gratified. They hung upon his arms and legs and shoulders; they patted
him on the back, and stroked his long beard, which to these beardless
people was a wonder. The woolen clothes puzzled them, and their
profoundest thought was at fault in deciding the question of the kind of
animal from whose body the material was taken. They had no conception of
clothing not made of skins.

The boys' hands soon found their way into the doctor's pockets, and they
drew out a pipe, which passed with much merriment from hand to hand, and
mouth to mouth.

Kalutunah drew the doctor's knife from its sheath, pressed it fondly to
his heart, and then with a mischievous side glance stuck it into his own
boot. The doctor shook his head, and it was returned with a laugh to its
place. A dozen times he took it out, hugged it, and returned it to its
place, saying beseechingly, "Me! me! give me!" He did want it _so much_!
The visitor's pistol was handled with great caution and seriousness.
They had been given a hint of its power at the sea-shore, where Bonsall
had brought a large sea-fowl down into their midst by a shot from his
gun.

While this examination of the doctor was going on he examined more
closely the objects about him. There was a window, or opening, above the
entrance, over which dried intestines, sewed together, were stretched to
let in light. The wall was covered with seal and fox skins stretched to
dry.

There were in the hut three families and one or two visitors, in all
eighteen or twenty persons. The female head of each family was attending
in different parts of the hut, to her family cooking. They had each a
stone, scooped out like a clam shell, in which was put a piece of moss
soaked in blubber. This was both lamp and stove, and was kept burning by
feeding with fat. Over this a stone pot was hung from the ceiling, in
which the food was kept simmering. These, and the animal heat of the
inmates, made the hut intensely warm. Seeing the white man panting for
breath, some boys and girls laid hold of his clothes to strip him, after
their own fashion. This act of Esquimo courtesy he declined. They then
urged him to eat, and he answered, "Koyenuck"--I thank you--at which
they all laughed. Though he had dreaded this invitation, he did not
think it good policy to declare it. A young girl brought him the
contents of one of the stone pots in a skin dish, first tasting it
herself to see if it was too hot.

All eyes were upon the visitor. Not to take their proffered pottage
would be a great affront. To him the dose seemed insufferable, though of
necessity to be taken. Shutting his eyes, and holding his nose, he
bolted it down. He was afterward informed that it was one of the
delicacies of their table, made by boiling together blood, oil, and seal
intestines!

After thus partaking of their hospitality, the doctor left the Esquimo
quarters, escorted by "the Angekok" and his daughter.

We were astir at dawn, preparing to leave this little village known as
Netlik. We had obtained a valuable addition to our slender store of
blubber, and a few pairs of fur boots and mittens, for which we amply
paid them.

Knowing that the Esquimo had never heard of the commandment, "Thou shalt
not covet," and that they did not understand well the law of "mine" and
"thine," we watched them closely as our stores were being passed into
the boat. When we were ready to push off it was ascertained that the
hatchet was missing. Petersen openly charged them, as they stood upon
the shore, with the theft. They all threw up their hands with
expressions of injured innocence. "My people _never_ steal!" exclaimed
the affronted chief.

One fellow was so loud in his protestations of innocence that Petersen
suspected him. The Dane approached him with a flash of anger in his
eye, which told its own story. The Esquimo stepped back, stooped, picked
up the hatchet, on which he had been standing, and gave it to Petersen
with one hand, and with the other presented him a pair of mittens as a
peace-offering.

We pushed off, and they stood shouting upon the beach until their voices
died away in the distance as we pulled across the bay.



CHAPTER XIII.

THE HUT.


WE now made for Cape Parry with all speed, though this was slow speed.
The young ice which covered the bay was too old for us, or, at any rate,
it was too strong for easy progress. It was sunset when we reached the
cape. Beyond this there had been open water seen by us for many days
past, from the elevated points of observation which we had sought. From
this point, therefore, we expected free sailing southward, and rapid
progress toward safety and our homes. But here we were at last at Cape
Parry against a pack which extended far southward. In our desperation we
tried to force the boats through. The "Ironsides" was badly battered,
and the "Hope" made sadly leaky by the operation, and no progress was
made. We then pushed slowly down the shore through a lead, and having
gone about seven miles, darkness and the ice brought us to a stand, and
we drew up for the night.

In the morning we observed a lead going south from the shore at a point
twelve miles distant. For six days, bringing us to the twenty-seventh of
September, we fought hard to reach the lead, but failed. We could now
neither retreat nor go forward. Ice and snow were every-where. The sun
was running low in the heavens, seeming to rise only to set; and soon
the night, which was to have no sunrise morning until February, would be
upon us. Our food was sufficient for not more than two weeks, and our
fuel of blubber for the lamp only was but enough for eight or ten days.
Our condition seemed almost without hope, but it had entered into our
calculations as a possible contingency, and we girded ourselves for the
struggle for life, trusting in the Great Deliverer.

We were about sixteen miles below Cape Parry, and about midway between
Whale Sound and Wolstenholme Sound. We pitched our tent thirty yards
from the sea on a rocky upland. After securing in a safe place the boats
and equipments, we began to look about us for a place to build a hut. It
was, indeed, a dreary, death-threatening region. Time was too pressing
for us to think of building an Esquimo hut, if, indeed, our strength and
skill was sufficient.

While we were looking round and debating what to build and where, one of
our party found a crevice in a rock. This crevice ran parallel with the
coast, and was opposite to, and near, the landing. It was eight feet in
width, and level on the bottom. The rock on the east side was six feet
high, its face smooth and perpendicular, except breaks in two places,
making at each a shelf. On the other--the ocean side--the wall was
scarcely four feet high, round and sloping; but a cleft through it made
an opening to the crevice from the west.

We at once determined to make our hut here, as the natural walls would
save much work in its construction. The only material to be thought of
was rocks. These we had to find beneath the snow, and then loosen them
from the grasp of the frost. For this we fortunately had an
ice-chisel--a bar of iron an inch in diameter and four feet long, bent
at one end for a handle, and tempered and sharpened at the other. With
this Bonsall loosened the rocks, and others bore them on their shoulders
to the crevice. When a goodly pile was made we began to construct the
walls. Instead of mortar we had sand to fill in between the stones. This
was as hard to obtain as the stones themselves, as it had to be first
picked to pieces with the ice-chisel, then scooped up with our tin
dinner plates into cast-off bread-bags, and thus borne to the builders.

This work was done by four of us only, the other four being engaged in
hunting, to keep away threatened starvation. In two days our walls were
up. They run across the crevice, that is, east and west, were fourteen
feet apart, four feet high, and three thick. The natural walls being
eight feet apart, our hut was thus in measurement fourteen feet by
eight. The entrance was through the cleft, from the ocean side. We laid
across the top of this door-way the rudder of the "Hope," and erected on
it the "gable." One of the boat's masts was used for a ridgepole, and
the oars for rafters. Over these we laid the boats' sails, drew them
tightly, and secured them with heavy stones. Being sadly deficient in
lumber, Petersen constructed a door of light frame-work and covered it
with canvas; he hung it on an angle, so that when opened it shut of its
own weight. A place was left for a window over the door-way, across
which we drew a piece of old muslin well greased with blubber, and
through which the somber light streamed when there was any outside.

We then endeavored to thatch the roof and "batten" the cracks
every-where with moss. But to obtain this article we had to scour the
country far and near, dig through the deep snow, having tin dinner
plates for shovels, wrench it from the grip of the frost with our
ice-chisel, put it in our bread-bags and "back it" home.

In four days, in spite of all obstacles, our hut assumed a homelike
appearance--at least homelike compared with our present quarters. We
said: "To-morrow we shall move into it and be comparatively
comfortable." But that day brought the advance force of a terrific storm
of wind and snow. It caught some of us three miles from the tent. We
huddled together in our thin hemp canvas tent and slept as best we
could. Two of our company crawled out in the morning to prepare our
scanty meal. They found the hut half full of snow, which had sifted
through the crevices. But they brought to the tent's company a hot
breakfast after some hours' toil; we ate and our spirits revived.

We tried all possible expedients to pass away the time, but the hours
moved slowly. The storm continued to howl and roar about us with
unceasing fury for four days. Our little stock of food was diminishing,
our hut was unfinished, and winter was upon us in earnest. Our situation
was one of almost unmitigated misery.

On Friday, October sixth, the storm subsided, and nature put on a
smiling face. We renewed our work on the hut, clearing it of snow with
our dinner-plate shovels, and then, under greater difficulties than
ever, because the snow was deeper and our strength less, we finished it.
The internal arrangements were as follows: an aisle or floor, three feet
wide, extended from the door across the hut. On the right, as one
entered, was a raised platform of stone and sand about eighteen inches
high. On this we spread our skins and blankets. Here five of us were to
sleep. On the back corner of the other side was a similar platform, or
"breck" as the Esquimo would call it; here three men were to sleep. In
the left-hand corner, near the door, Petersen had extemporized a stove
out of some tin sheathing torn from the "Hope," with a funnel of the
same material running out of the roof. This sort of fire-place stove
held two lamps, a saucepan, and kettle. On a post which supported the
roof hung a small lamp.

Into this hut we moved October ninth. Compared with the tent it was
comfortable. It was evening when we were settled. At sundown Petersen
came in with eight sea-fowl, so we celebrated the occasion with a stew
of fresh game, cooked in our stove with the staves of our blubber kegs,
and we added to our meal a pot of hot coffee.

The supper done, we talked by the dim light of our moss taper. A storm,
which was heralded during the day, was raging without in full force,
burying us in a huge snow-bank. We discussed calmly our duties and
trials, and we all lay down prayerfully to sleep.

What shall we do now? was the question of the morning. Indeed, it was
the continual question. John reported our stores thus: "There's three
quarters of a small barrel of bread, a capful of meat biscuit, half as
much rice and flour, a double handful of lard--and that's all." Our
vigilant hunting thus far had resulted in seventeen small birds; that
was all. Some of us had tried to eat the "stone moss," a miserable
lichen which clung tenaciously to the stones beneath the snow. But it
did little more than stop for awhile the gnawings of hunger, often
inducing serious illness; yet this seemed our only resort.

The storm still raged. We were all reclining upon the brecks except
John, who was trying to cook by a fire which filled our hut with smoke,
when we were startled by a strange sound. "What is it?" we asked. We
could not get out, so we listened at the window. "It was the wind," we
said, for we could hear nothing more. In a half hour it was repeated
clearer and louder. We opened the door by drawing the snow into the
house, and made a little opening through the drift so we could see
daylight. "It was the barking of a fox," says one. "No," said another,
"it was the growling of a bear." Whipple, who was half asleep,
muttered, "It was just nothing at all."

While these remarks were being made the Esquimo shout was clearly
recognized. Petersen put his mouth to the aperture in the snow and
shouted, "Huk! huk! huk!" After much shouting, two bewildered Esquimo
entered our hut. They were from Netlik, the village we had last left,
and one was Kalutunah. Their fur dress had a thick covering of snow,
and, hardy though they were, they looked weary almost to faintness. They
each held in one hand a dog-whip, and in the other a piece of meat and
blubber. They threw down the food, thrust their whip-stocks under the
rafters, hung their wet outer furs upon them, and at once made
themselves at home. The chief hung around Dr. Hayes, saying fondly,
"Doctee! doctee!"

John put out his smoking fire, at the Angekok's request, and used his
blubber in cooking a good joint of the bear meat. We all had a good meal
at our guests' expense. Necessity was more than courtesy with hungry
men.

While the cooking and eating were going on, we listened to the marvelous
story of the Esquimo. They left Netlik, forty miles north, the morning
of the previous day on a hunting excursion with two dog-sledges. The
storm overtook them far out upon the ice in search of bear, and they
sheltered themselves in a snow hut for the night. Fearing the ice might
break up they turned to the land, which they happened to strike near our
boats and tent. Knowing we must be near, they picketed their dogs under
a sheltering rock and commenced tramping and shouting.

The supper eaten, the story told, and the curiosity of our visitors
satisfied in closely observing every thing, we made for them the best
bed possible, tucked them in, and they were soon snoring lustily.

In the morning we tunneled a hole from our door through the snow.
Kalutunah and Dr. Hayes went to the sea-shore. The dogs were howling
piteously, having been exposed to all the fury of the storm during the
night without the liberty of stirring beyond their tethers. Besides,
they had been forty-eight hours without food, having come from home in
that time through a widely deviating track. Every thing about them was
carefully secured which could be eaten, and they were loosened.

Dr. Hayes turned toward the hut, and having reached the snow-tunnel he
was about to stoop down to crawl through it, when he observed the whole
pack of thirteen snapping, savage brutes at his heels. Had he been on
his knees they would have made at once a meal of him. They stood at bay
for a moment, but seeing he had no means of attack, one of them
commenced the assault by springing upon him. Dr. Hayes caught him on his
arm, and kicked him down the hill. This caused a momentary pause. No
help was near, and to run was sure death. It was a fearful moment, and
his blood chilled at the prospect of dying by the jaws of wolfish dogs,
whose fierce and flashing eyes assured him that hunger had given them a
terrible earnestness. His eye improved the moment's respite in sweeping
the circle of the enemy for the means of escape, and he caught a glimpse
of a dog-whip about ten feet off. Instantly he sprang as only a man thus
situated could spring, and clearing the back of the largest of the dogs,
seized the whip. He was now master of the situation. Never amiable, and
terribly savage when prompted by hunger, yet the Esquimo dog is always a
coward. Dr. Hayes's vigorous blows, laid on at right and left with much
effect and more sound and fury, sent the pack yelping away.

In our discussions of the question of subsistence, we had about decided
that we must draw our supplies from the Esquimo or perish. Our hunting
was a failure, and our supply of food was about exhausted. So when
Kalutunah came back we proposed to him through Petersen to purchase
blubber and bear meat with our treasures of needles, knives, etc., so
valuable in the eyes of the natives. He looked at our sunken cheeks and
desolate home with a knowing twinkle of his eye, and a crafty expression
on his besotted face. This was followed by the questions, "How much
shoot with mighty guns? how much food you bring from ship?" These
questions, and the speaking eye and tell-tale face, were windows through
which we saw into the workings of his dark heathen mind. They meant, as
we understood them, "If you are going to starve we had better let you.
We shall then get your nice things without paying for them."

But Petersen understood and outmanaged the crafty chief.

"How we going to live?" he boldly exclaimed, facing the questioner.
"Live! Shoot bear when we get hungry, sleep when we get tired; Esquimo
will bring us bear, we shall give them presents, and sleep all the time.
White man easily get plenty to eat. Always plenty to eat, plenty sleep."

The glory of life from the Esquimo point of view is plenty to eat and
nothing to do. They held those who had attained to this high estate in
profound respect. The starving could scarcely be brought within the
range of their consideration. Hence the policy adopted by Petersen, and
it had its desired effect. Kalutunah and his companion tarried another
night, and departed promising to return with such food as the hunt
afforded, and exchange it for our valuables.

Two weeks--days of misery--passed before their return. We set fox-traps,
constructed much after the style of the rabbit-traps of the boys at
home, tramping for this purpose over the coast-line for ten miles. One
little prisoner only rewarded our pains, while the saucy villains showed
themselves boldly by day, barking at us from the top of a rock, dodging
across our path at the right and left, and even following us within
sight of the hut. But all this was done at a safe distance from our
guns.

Petersen went far out to sea on the ice, but neither bear nor seal
rewarded his toil. We had burned up our lard keg for our semi-daily fire
to cook our scanty meals, and now, with a sorrow that went to our
hearts, began to break up the "Hope." We knew this step argued badly for
the future, but what could we do? Besides, it was poor, water-soaked
fuel, and would last but a little while. We saved the straightest and
best pieces for trade with the Esquimo.

Our scanty meals, badly helped by the stone moss, told upon our health.
Stephenson gasped for breath with a heart trouble; Godfrey fainted, and
was happily saved a serious fall by being caught in John's arms.



CHAPTER XIV.

ESQUIMO TREACHERY.


THE kind Providence which had interfered for us in so many cases came
with timely help. October twenty-sixth, Kalutunah and his companion
returned. They had been south to Cape York, nearly a hundred miles,
calling on their way at the village called Akbat, thirty miles off. They
had killed three bears, the most of which they had upon their sledges.
They sold us, reluctantly, enough for a few days. We ate of the
refreshing meat like starving men, as we really were. Our sunken eyes
and hollow cheeks _seemed_ to leave us at a single meal. The faint
revived, and our despondency departed. Our past sufferings were for the
moment at least forgotten, and we looked hopefully upon the future.

The next day the Esquimo called and left a little more meat and blubber.
We caught two small foxes, one of them in a trap, and the other was
arrested by a shot from Dr. Hayes's gun. The audacious little fellow run
over the roof of our hut and awoke the doctor, who, without dressing,
seized his double-barreled gun, and bolted into the cold without. It was
dark, and he fired at random. The first shot missed, but the second
wounded him, and he went limping down the hill. The doctor gave chase
and returned with the game, but came near paying dear for his prize,
barely escaping without frozen feet.

On Sunday, the twenty-ninth, in the midst of pensive allusions, and more
pensive thoughts, concerning home, in which even Petersen's
weather-beaten face betrayed a tear, an Esquimo boy came in from Akbat.
His bearing was manly, his countenance fresh and agreeable, if not
handsome, and his dress, of the usual material, was new. He drove a fine
team with decided spirit. He was evidently somebody's pet, and we
thought we saw a mother's partial stamp upon him. He was on his way to
Netlik, and our curious inquiries brought from him the blushing
acknowledgment that he was going "a courting!" He was nothing loath to
talk of his sweetheart, and he bore her a bundle of bird-skins to make
her an under garment as love-token. We gave him a pocket-knife and a
piece of wood, to which we added two needles for his lady-love. He was
full of joy at this good fortune, but when Sontag added a string of
beads for her his cup run over. He had on his sledge two small pieces of
blubber, a pound of bear's meat, a bit of bear's skin. These he laid at
our feet, and dashed off toward Netlik in fine spirits.

When he was gone we renewed our ever-returning, perplexing,
never-settled question, What shall we do? We could agree on no plans of
escape, for all seemed impossible of execution. Yet we did agree in the
expediency of opening a communication with the brig. But how to do it
was the question.

Our dependence upon the Esquimo growing more humiliatingly absolute
every day, pained us. We feared their treachery, of which we already saw
some signs. "What _shall we do_?" was ever repeated.

While thus perplexed, Kalutunah made his appearance. With him were a
young hunter, and a woman with a six months' old baby. The little one
was wrapped in fox-skin, and thrust into its mother's hood, which hung
on her neck behind. It peered out of its hiding-place with a contented
and curious expression of face. Its mother had come forty miles,
sometimes walking over the hummocky way, with the thermometer
thirty-eight degrees below zero, with a liability of encountering
terrific storms, and all to see the white men and their _igloë_. Mother
and child arrived in good condition.

We conversed with the chief about our plan of going to Upernavik on
sledges, and proposed to buy teams of his people, or hire them to drive
us there. He received the proposal with a decided dissent, amounting
almost to resentment. His people, he said, would not sell dogs at any
price; they had only enough to preserve their own lives.

This we knew to be false. We offered a great price, but he scorned the
bribe, and talked with an expression of horror about our plan of passing
with sledges over the Frozen Sea, as he called Melville Bay.

While we were urging the sale by him of dogs and sledges he looked
quizzically at our emaciated forms and sunken cheeks, and turning to the
woman with a significant twinkle in his eye, he sucked in his cheeks.
She returned the knowing glance, and sucked in her cheeks. This meant:
We shall get all the white men's coveted things without paying when we
find them starved and dead. This was a comforting view of the case--for
them.

We dropped the plan of going south, and proposed to the chief to carry
some of our party to the ship. This he readily assented to, and said at
least four sledges should go with Petersen, if to each driver should be
given a knife and piece of wood. We closed the bargain gladly, and
Petersen was to start in the morning.

Guests and entertainers now sought rest. We gave the mother and child
our bed in the corner. This was to us a self-denying act of courtesy,
compelled by policy. We had usually given a good distance between us and
such lodgers on account of certain specimens of natural history which
swarmed upon their bodies, which, though starving, we did not desire.
But to put her in a meaner place would be a serious affront, for which
we might be obliged to pay dearly.

About midnight voices were heard outside, and soon our young lover, the
boy-hunter, entered, accompanied by a widow who was neither young, nor
beautiful. The hut was in instant confusion. There was but little more
sleep for the night, which was peculiarly hard on Petersen, who was to
start in the morning on his long journey.

We had no food with which to treat our guests, which they saw, and so
supped upon the provisions which they brought. The widow ate raw young
birds, of which she brought a supply saved over from the summer. The
Angekok had decided that her husband's spirit had taken temporary
residence in a walrus, so she was forbidden that animal. She chewed
choice bits of her bird and offered them to us. We tried _politely_ to
decline the kindness, but our refusal plainly offended her.

The widow's husband had been carried out to sea on an ice-raft on the
sudden breaking up of the floe, and had never been heard from. Whenever
his name was mentioned she burst into tears. Petersen told us that,
according to Esquimo custom in such cases, we were expected to join in
the weeping.

At the first attempt our success was very indifferent. On the next
occasion we equaled in sincerity and naturalness the expressed sorrow of
the heirs of a rich miser over his mortal remains. Even the tears we
managed so well that the widow, charitably forgetting our former
affront, offered us more chewed meat.

In the morning Petersen was off, Godfrey accompanying him at his own
option.

The same evening John and Sontag went south with the widow and young
hunter. Thus four of us only were left in the hut, and of these, one,
Stephenson, was seriously sick. His death at any time would not have
been a surprise to us. The hut was colder than ever, and our food nearly
gone. A few books, among which was a little Bible, the gift of a friend,
were a great source of comfort.

In a few days John and Sontag returned. They had fared well during their
absence. They were accompanied by two Esquimo, who brought us food for a
few days, for which they demanded an exorbitant price. They, like people
claiming a higher civilization, took advantage of our necessity. When
they were about to depart on a bear hunt, Dr. Hayes proposed that two of
us accompany them with our guns, but they declined. We went with them to
the beach, saw them start, watched them as they swiftly glided over the
ice, and, dodging skillfully around the hummocks, faded into a black
speck in the distance.

The day was spent as one of rest by four of our number, while two of us
visited the traps, returning as usual with nothing. The evening came. A
cup of good coffee revived us. The temperature of our den _came up_ to
the freezing point. We were in the midst of this feast of hot coffee and
increased warmth, when we heard a footfall. We hailed in Esquimo, but no
answer. Soon the outer door of our passage way opened, a man entered and
fell prostrate with a deep moan. It was Petersen. He crept slowly in as
we opened the door, staggered across the hut, and fell exhausted on the
breck.

Godfrey soon followed, even more exhausted. They both called piteously
for "water! water!"

They were in no condition to explain what had happened. We stripped them
of their frozen garments, rubbed their stiffened limbs, and rolled them
in warm blankets. We gave them of our hot coffee, and the warmth of the
hut and dry clothes revived them, but the sudden and great change was
followed by a brief cloud over their minds. They fell into a disturbed
sleep, and their sudden starts, groans, and mutterings, told of some
terrible distress.

Petersen, while sipping his coffee, had told us that the Esquimo had
thrown off their disguise and had attempted to murder them; that he and
Godfrey had walked all the way from Netlik with the Esquimo in hot
pursuit. We must watch, he said, for if off our guard they might
overwhelm us with numbers.

This much it was necessary for us to know; the details of their terrible
experience he was in no mood to give.

We immediately set a watch outside, who was relieved every hour; he was
armed with Bonsall's rifle. Our other guns we fired off and carefully
reloaded, hanging them upon their pegs for instant use.

Petersen and Godfrey awoke once, ate, and lay down to their agitated
sleep. No others slept, or even made the attempt. The creak of the boots
of the sentinel as he tramped his beat near the hut, on a little plain
cleared of snow by the wind, was the only sound which broke the solemn
silence. The enemy would not dare attack us except unawares, knowing, as
they did, that there were eight of us, armed with guns. At midnight
noises were heard about the rocks of the coast. They were watching, but
seeing the sentinel, and finding it a chilling business to wait for our
cessation of vigilance, they sneaked away. In the morning one of our men
visited the rocky coverts and found their fresh tracks.

We received at the earliest opportunity the details of Petersen's story.
They left us on the third of November, and were gone four days. They
arrived in Netlik in nine hours, and were lodged one in each of the two
_igloës_. Their welcome had a seeming heartiness. They had a full supply
set before them of tender young bear-steak and choice puppy stew. Many
strangers were present, and they continued to come until the huts were
crowded.

The next day the hunters all started early on the chase, to get, as
Kalutunah said, a good supply for their excursion to the ship, as well
as a store for their families. This looked reasonable, but when night
came the chief and a majority of the men returned not, nor did they
appear the next day. The moon had just passed its full, no time could be
spared for trifling, and Petersen grew uneasy. This feeling was
increased by the strangers which continued to come, the running to and
fro of the women, the side glances, and the covert laugh among the
crowd.

Kalutunah returned on the evening of the third day of our men at the
hut. Several sledges accompanied him, and one of them was driven by a
brawny savage by the name of Sipsu. He had shown his ugly face once at
our hut. He was above the usual height, broad-chested and strong limbed.
He had a few bristly hairs upon his chin and upper lip, and dark, heavy
eyebrows overshadowed his well set, evil-looking eyes. He was every inch
a savage. While the crowd laughed, joked, and fluttered curiously about
the strangers, Sipsu was dignified, sullen, or full of dismal stories.
He had, he said, killed two men of his tribe. They were poor hunters, so
he stole upon them from behind a hummock, and harpooned them in the
back.

Whatever shrewdness Sipsu possessed, he did not have wit enough to hide
his true character from his intended victims.

About twelve sledges were now collected, and Petersen supposed they
would start early in the morning for the "Advance," so he ventured to
try to hurry them a few hours by suggesting midnight for the departure.
To this suggestion they replied that they would not go at all, and that
they never intended to go. The crowd in the hut greeted this
announcement with uproarious laughter.

Petersen maintained a bold bearing. He rose and went to the other hut
and put Godfrey upon the watch, telling him what had happened. He then
returned and demanded good faith from the chiefs. They only muttered
that they could not go north; they could not pass that "blowing
place"--Cape Alexander. He then asked them to sell him a dog-team; he
would pay them well. They evaded this question, and Sipsu said to
Kalutunah, in a side whisper, "We can get his things in a cheaper way."

Now commenced the game of wait and watch between the two parties; the
chiefs waited and watched to kill Petersen, and he waited and watched
not to be killed. He had his gun outside, because the moisture of the
hut condensing on the lock might prevent it from going off. He had told
the crowd that if they touched it it might kill them, and this fear was
its safety. Those inside thought he had a pistol concealed under his
garments. They had seen such articles, and witnessed their deadly power.
Their purpose now was to get possession of this weapon, and Sipsu was
the man to do it.

Petersen, cool as he was prompt and skillful, had not betrayed his
suspicions of them; so he threw himself upon the breck and feigned
himself asleep, to draw out their plans.

The strategy worked well. The gossiping tongues of men, women, and
children loosened when they thought him asleep, and they revealed all
their secrets. Petersen and Godfrey were to be killed on the spot, and
our hut was to be surprised before Sontag and John returned from the
south. Sipsu the while moved softly toward Petersen to search for the
pistol. Just at this moment Godfrey came to the window and hallooed to
learn if his chief was alive. Petersen rose from his sham sleep and went
out. A crowd were at the door and about the gun, but they dared not
touch it. The intended victims kept a bold front, and coolly proposed a
hunt. This the natives declined, and they declared they would go alone.

It was late in the night when our beset and worried men started. They
were watched sullenly until they were two miles away, and then the
sledges were harnessed for the pursuit. Fifty yelping dogs mingled their
cries with those of the men, and made a fiendish din in the ears of the
flying fugitives. What could they do if the dogs were let loose upon
them, having only a single rifle! One thing they intended should be
sure; Sipsu or Kalutunah should die in the attack.

When the pursuers seemed at the very heels of our men, _that one gun_
made cowards of the Esquimo chiefs. They seemed to understand _their_
danger. The whole pack of dogs and men turned seaward, and disappeared
among the hummocks. They meant a covert attack.

Keeping the shore and avoiding the hiding-places, Petersen and Godfrey
pressed on. The night was calm and clear, but the cold was over fifty
degrees below zero. When half way, at Cape Parry, they well-nigh fainted
and fell. But encouraging each other, they still hurried onward, and
made the fifty miles (it was forty in a straight line) in twenty-four
hours. The reader understands why they arrived in such distress and
exhaustion.



CHAPTER XV.

LIGHTS AND SHADOWS.


DURING the two days following the return of Petersen and Godfrey we
spent our working hours in building a wall about our hut. It was made of
frozen snow, sawed in blocks by our small saw. This wall served a double
purpose, that of breaking the wind from our hut, and as a defense
against the Esquimo. It gave our abode the appearance of a fort, and we
called it Fort Desolation. John muttered: Better call it Fort
Starvation! This was in fact no unfitting designation. Our food was
nearly gone. Those who alone could keep us from starving were seeking
our lives. A feeble, flickering light made the darkness of our hut
visible. Darkness, and dampness, and destitution were within, and
without were fears. We could not be blamed, perhaps, if the death which
threatened us seemed more desirable than life. Yet we could not forget
Him who had so often snatched us from the jaws of our enemies--cold,
hunger, and savages--and we trusted him to again deliver us. And this he
did, for the next day Kalutunah and another hunter appeared. They did
not come as enemies, but as angel messengers of mercy from the
All-Merciful!

The chief was at first shy, nor could he so far lay aside the cowardice
of conscious guilt as to lay down for a moment his harpoon, at other
times left at the hut door. He brought, to conciliate us, a goodly piece
of walrus meat. After spending an hour with us he dashed out upon the
ice on a moonlight hunt for bears.

Petersen spent the day in making knives for the Esquimo, in anticipation
of restored friendship. With an old file he filed down some pieces of an
iron hoop, punching rivet holes with the file, and whittling a handle
from a fragment of the "Hope." Though the knife, when done, was not like
one of "Rogers's best," it was no mean article for an Esquimo blubber
and bear meat knife.

The next day four sledges and six Esquimo made us a call. One of them
was our old friend the widow, with her bundle of birds under her arm.

They were all shy at first, showing a knowledge at least of the wrong
intended us, but we soon made them feel at home. It was indeed for our
interest to do so. They bartered gladly walrus, seal, bear, and bird
meat, a hundred pounds in all. It made a goodly pile, enough for four
days, but, alas! the duty of hospitality, which we could not wisely
decline, compelled us to treat our guests with it, and they ate one
third! In three hours they were off toward Netlik.

The next day an Esquimo man came from Northumberland Island; we had not
seen him before, and he did not appear to have been in the council of
the plotters against us. He sold us walrus meat, blubber, and fifty
little sea fowl.

Our health absolutely demanding a more generous diet, we ate three full
meals, such as we had not had since leaving the ship. Our new friend's
name was Kingiktok--which is, by interpretation, a rock. Mr. Rock was a
man of few words, and of very civil behavior. We fancied him, and
courted his favor by a few presents for himself and wife. They were
gifts well bestowed, for he at once opened his mouth in valuable and
startling communications. He said that he and his brother Amalatok were
the only two men in the tribe who were friendly to us. Amalatok was the
man we met on Northumberland Island, who will be remembered as skinning
a bird so adroitly, and offering us lumps of fat scraped from its
breast-bone with his thumb nail.

Mr. Rock's talk run thus: He and this brother were in deadly hostility
to Sipsu. The reason of this hostility was very curious. The brother's
wife, whom we thought decidedly hag-like in her looks, was accounted a
witch. _Why_ she was so regarded was not stated. Now the law of custom
with this people is that witches may be put to death by any one who will
do it by stealth. She may be pounced upon from behind a hummock and a
harpoon or any deadly weapon may deal the fatal blow in the back, but a
face to face execution was not allowed. It was understood that Sipsu
assumed the office of executioner, and was watching the favoring
circumstances. On the other hand the husband, and his brother, Mr.
Rock, watched with courage and vigilance in behalf of the accused, while
she lacked neither in her own watching. Thus the family had no fraternal
relations with the villagers, though visits were exchanged between them.

Concerning the conspiracy, Mr. Rock thus testified: Sipsu had for a long
time counseled the tribe not to visit nor sell food to the white men,
holding that they could not kill the bear, walrus, and seal, and would
soon starve, and so all the coveted things would fall into Esquimo
hands. Kalutunah, on the other hand, held that their "booms"--guns--could
secure them any game, and that our poverty of food was owing to a dislike
of work.

There had arisen, too, a jealousy about the presents we gave. Sipsu's
let-alone policy caused his wife to complain that she only of the women
was without even a needle. This drove him to a reluctant visit to us in
which he got but little, so the matter was not bettered.

Besides this, the condition of apparent starvation, in which the
visitors found us from time to time, finally gave popularity to Sipsu's
position, and Kalutunah yielded to the older and stronger chief.

When Petersen and Godfrey arrived at Netlik, Kalutunah went fifty miles
to inform Sipsu at his home of the good occasion offered to kill them.
Sipsu was to lead the attack, and Kalutunah follow. The arrangement was
as we have stated, but failed on account of Sipsu's fear of the
"auleit"--pistol. Having failed, his chagrin and anger led to the hot
pursuit, in which he intended to set the dogs upon our men. But this
failed when he saw how near he must himself venture to the "_boom_."

This story agreed so well with what Petersen and Godfrey saw and
suspected that we fully believed it.

Mr. Rock left us in the morning, and that evening eleven natives, one of
whom was Kalutunah, called upon us on their way from Akbat to Netlik.
The Angekok was full of talk and smiles. He gave us a quarter of a young
bear, for which we gave him one of Petersen's hoop-iron knives. He was
not pleased with it, for he had learned before the difference between
iron and steel. He attempted to cut a piece of frozen liver with it and
it bent. He then bent it in the form of a U, and threw it spitefully
away, grunting, "No good." We satisfied him with a piece of wood to
patch his sledge.

Among our guests were two widows having each a child. One of the little
ones was stripped to the skin, and turned loose to root at liberty. It
was three years old, and plainly the dirt upon its greasy skin had been
accumulating just that length of time.

One of the hunters was attended by his wife and two children--a girl
four, and boy seven years old.

The fat fires of the several families were soon in full blaze, which,
added to the heat of nineteen persons, warmed our hut as it was never
warmed before. The heat set the ceiling and walls dripping with the
melted frost-work, and every thing was wet or made damp. Besides, the
air became insufferable with bad odors. It was now Fort Misery.

But the frozen meat at which we had been nibbling was soon thrown aside
for hot coffee, steaming stew, and thawed blubber. Strips of blubber
varying from three inches to a foot in length and an inch thick
circulate about the hut. Strips of bear and walrus also go round. These
strips are seized with the fingers, the head is thrown back, and the
mouth is opened, one end is thrust in a convenient distance, the teeth
are closed, it is cut off at the lips, and the piece is swallowed
quickly, with the least possible chewing, that dispatch may be made, and
the process repeated. The seven-year-old boy stood against a post,
astride a big chunk of walrus, naked to the waist, as all the guests
were. He was sucking down in good style a strip of blubber, his face and
hands besmeared with blood and fat, which ran in a purple stream off his
chin, and from thence streamed over the shining skin below. Our
disconsolate widow supped apart, as usual, on her supply of sea-fowls.
Four, each about the size of a half-grown domestic hen, was all she
appeared to be able to eat!

We all ate, and had enough. Then followed freedom of talk such as is
wont to follow satisfied appetites, and jokes and songs went round.
Godfrey amused the women and children with negro melodies, accompanied
by a fancied banjo. Dr. Hayes and Kalutunah try to teach each other
their languages. Bonsall looks on and helps. The chief is given "yes"
and "no," and taught what Esquimo word they stand for. He tries to
pronounce them, says "ee's" and "noe," and inquiringly says, "_tyma?_"
(right?) Dr. Hayes nods, "tyma" with an encouraging smile, at which the
chief laughs at the "_doctee's_" badly pronounced Esquimo.

They try to count, and the Angekok says "_une_" for one, strains hard at
"too" for two, and fails utterly at the "th" in three.

The "doctee" tries the Esquimo one, gets patted on the back with "tyma!
tyma!" accompanied with merry laughs. The chief tries again, gets
prompted by punches in the ribs, and significant commendation in
twitches of his left ear.

Having reached ten, the Esquimo numerals are exhausted. Sontag, with the
help of Petersen, questions one of the hunters about his people's
astronomy. The result in part is as follows, and is very curious.

The heavenly bodies are the spirits of deceased Esquimo, or of some of
the lower animals. The sun and moon, are brother and sister. The stars
we call "the dipper" are reindeer. The stars of "Orion's belt" are
hunters who have lost their way. The "Pleiades" are a pack of dogs in
pursuit of a bear. The _aurora borealis_ is caused by the spirits at
play with one another.

It has other teachings on the science of the heavens equally wise. But
they are close observers of the movements of the stars. We went out at
midnight to look after the dogs, and Petersen asked Kalutunah when they
intended to go. He pointed to a star standing over Saunders Island, in
the south. Passing his finger slowly around to the west he pointed at
another star, saying, "When that star gets where the other is we will
start."

Our guests at last lay down to sleep, but we could not lie down near
them nor allow them our blankets; so we watched out the night.



CHAPTER XVI.

DRUGGED ESQUIMO.


THE visitors left in the morning. We were now all well except
Stephenson. Though we had just eaten and were refreshed, in a few days
we might be starving, so we renewed our planning. To open a
communication with the "Advance" seemed a necessity. Petersen
volunteered to make another effort if he could have one companion.
Bonsall promptly answered, "I will be that companion," at which we all
rejoiced, as he was the fittest man for the journey next to the Dane.

A dog-team and a sledge were an acquisition now most needed for the
proposed enterprise. In a few days an old man came in whom we had never
seen, belonging far up Whale Sound; then came a hunter from Akbat with
his family. Of these men after much bartering we purchased four dogs.
Petersen commenced at once the manufacture of a sledge out of the wood
left of the "Hope." All of his excellent skill was needed to make a
serviceable article with his poor tools and materials.

On the twentieth of November the sledge was nearly finished, and a
breakfast on our last piece of meat assured us that what was done for
our rescue must be done soon. But God's hand was, as usual, opened to
supply us; in the evening a fox was found in our trap. Stephenson, who
had been cheered by our tea, received the last cup.

We were reduced to stone-moss, boiled in blubber, and coffee, and a
short allowance of these, when two hunters left us three birds, on which
we supped.

We were now out of food. The Esquimo had, most of them, gone north,
owing to the failure of game at the south; soon all would be gone.
Further discussion led us to the conclusion that we must all return to
the "Advance," and start soon unless we chose to die where we were. So
we commenced preparations for the desperate enterprise.

To carry out this plan it was absolutely necessary to have two more
dogs, for which we must trust to our Esquimo visitors. A sledge drawn by
six dogs could convey our small outfit and poor invalid Stephenson. We
purposed to direct our course straight for Northumberland Island, which
we hoped to reach by lodging one night in a snow-hut. For each person
there must be a pair of blankets. Our clothing was wholly insufficient
for such a journey, so we set at work to improve it the best we could.
Our buffalo robes had been spread upon the stone breck for beds. They
were of course frozen down; in some places solid ice of several inches'
thickness had accumulated, into which they were imbedded. When
disengaged, as they had to be with much care and great labor, the under
side was covered with closely adhering pebble-stones. The robes were
hung up to dry before we could work upon them. We now slept on a double
blanket spread on the stones and pebbles--a sleeping which refreshed us
as little as our moss food.

We now, under the instructions of Petersen, cut up the buffalo robes and
sewed them into garments to wear on our journey. We refreshed ourselves
with frequent sips of coffee, of which, fortunately, we had a plenty,
and made out one meal at night on walrus hide boiled or fried in oil, as
we fancied. It was very tough eating.

At the close of the second day's tailoring four hunters came in from
Akbat, with five women and seven children. We stowed them all away for
the night, and gladly did so for the opportunity of purchasing
forty-eight small birds, a small quantity of dried seal meat, and some
dried seal intestines imperfectly cleansed; but better, if possible, was
the purchase of two dogs. Our team of six was complete. The hand of the
great Provider was plainly manifested.

The visitors were soon gone, but the four hunters came back the next
day. They were bent on mischief. They stole, or tried to steal, whatever
they saw, and seemed glad to annoy us. Unfortunately for us, close upon
their heels came another party, from the south also, and equally bent on
mischief. Among them was an old evil-eyed woman. Whatever she saw she
coveted, and all that she could she stole. Going to her sledge as the
party was about to start, we found a mixed collection of our articles,
some of which could have been of no use to her. But we had missed two
drinking cups which we could not find. We charged her with the theft,
but she protested innocence. We threatened to search her sledge, and she
straightway produced them, and, to conciliate us, threw down three
sea-fowl. We were gladly thus conciliated.

The whole party became so troublesome that we were compelled to drive
them away. The hunters lingered about, intending, we feared, to steal
our dogs, two of which were purchased of them. We set a watch until they
seemed to have left the vicinity, but no sooner was the sentinel's back
turned than one of them and one of the dogs were seen scampering off
together. Bonsall seized his rifle, and a sudden turn round a rock by
the thief saved him from the salutation of an ounce of lead.

On the twenty-ninth of November we were ready for a start. Our outfit
was meager enough. It consisted of eight blankets, a field lamp and
kettle, two tin drinking cups, coffee for ten days, eight pounds of
blubber, and two days' meat. This last consisted of sea-fowls boiled,
boned, and cut into small pieces. They were frozen into a solid lump. We
hoped to be at Northumberland Island in two days, and get fresh
supplies.

The sled was taken out through the roof of the hut, loaded, and the load
well secured, and poor Stephenson carried out and placed on top of it.
The dogs were then harnessed, and we moved away.

The thermometer was forty-four degrees below zero when we left the hut,
but it was calm, and the moon shone with a splendid light. We were weary
and ready to faint at the end of one hour, how then could we endure days
of travel! The sledge was a poor one, the runners, the best our material
afforded, were rough, and the dogs could not drag the sledge without two
of us pushed, which we did in turn. We had thus gone about eight miles
when Stephenson said he would walk. This we refused to let him do,
knowing his extreme weakness. But soon after he slid off the sledge. Dr.
Hayes assisted him to rise, and supported his attempt to walk. He had
thus gone about a mile when he fell and fainted.

Near us was an iceberg in whose side was a recess something like a
grotto. Into this we bore our companion, and added to the shelter by
piling up blocks of snow. The lamp was lighted to prepare him hot
coffee. For some time he remained insensible, and when he came to
himself he begged us to leave him and save ourselves. He could never, he
said, reach the "Advance," and he might as well die then as at a later
hour.

Go without Stephenson we would not. Go with him seemed impossible. In
fact we were all too weary to take another step, so we concluded to
camp. But this, after unloading our sledge and making some effort, we
could not do. We had no strength to make a hut, and we were already
bitten by the frost; so we resolved to repack the sledge and return to
the hut.

All arrived at the hut that day, but how and exactly at what time we did
not know, only that some were an hour behind others, and that several
finished the journey by creeping on their hands and knees. We had just
enough consciousness left to bring in our blankets and spread them on
those we left on the breck, and to close up the hole in the roof. We
then lay down and slept through uncounted hours.

When we awoke it was nearly noon. Though hungry, cold, and weak, we were
not badly frost-bitten. The first desirable thing was a fire. The
tinder-box with its fixings could not be found. The one having it in
charge remembered it was used at the berg, and this we all knew, and
that was all any one knew about it. Without this we could have no fire.
Never before in all our exigencies was such a feeling of despair
expressed on our countenances. In this plight one in attempting to walk
across the tent struck something with his foot. We all knew the
tinder-box by its rattle. Our lamp was soon lighted, coffee was made,
and half of our meat warmed. The other half was given to Petersen and
Bonsall, who started immediately to go, as we had once before planned,
to the brig, while the rest remained in the hut.

Dr. Hayes and Sontag accompanied them to the shore. The last words of
the noble Petersen were: "If we ever reach the ship we will come back
to you, or perish in the attempt, so sure as there is a God in heaven."

Four days passed, after our companions left us, of accumulating misery.
The hut was colder than ever, and we were in utter darkness most of the
time. Our food was now scraps of old hide, so hard that the dogs had
refused it.

In this our condition of absolute starvation, three hunters, with each a
dog-team, came to us from Netlik, one of whom was Kalutunah. They
entered our hut with only two small pieces of meat in their hands,
enough for a scanty meal for themselves. We appropriated one piece to
ourselves without ceremony. The visitors frowned and protested, but this
was not a moment with us for words. We soon satisfied, or seemed to
satisfy, them by presents, and both pieces were soon steaming.

Dr. Hayes renewed his proposal for the Netlik people to carry us to the
"Advance." Kalutunah refused curtly. Would they _let_ teams to us for
that purpose? No! The spirit of the refusal was, We won't help you. We
know you must starve, and we desire you to do so that we may possess
your goods. It was evident they understood our desperate condition
perfectly.

These convictions of their purposes and feelings were confirmed when one
of our number found buried in the snow, near their sledges, several
large pieces of bear and walrus meat. This they were evidently
determined we should not taste.

Kalutunah did not pretend that destitution or short supplies at Netlik
made a journey to the brig inconvenient, but, as if to taunt us, said
that a bear, a walrus, and three seals had been taken the day before.

The case then, as we saw it, stood thus: Six civilized men must die
because three savages, who had plenty, choose to let them, that they
might be benefited by their death. We at once and unanimously decided
that it should not be so, and that the Esquimo should not thus leave us.

Not willing to do them unnecessary harm, Dr. Hayes proposed to give them
a dose of opium; then to take the dogs and sledge and push forward to
Northumberland Island, leaving them to come along at their leisure when
they awoke. We could, we thought, push forward fast enough to be out of
the reach of any alarm that might reach Netlik.

To this proposal all agreed. To carry it into execution we became
specially sociable, and free with our presents. To crown the freeness of
our hospitality we set before them the stew just prepared, into which
Dr. Hayes had turned slyly when it was over the fire a small vial of
laudanum. To prevent any one getting an over dose it had been turned out
into three vessels, an equal portion for each. It was, of course, very
bitter.

They at first swallowed it very greedily, but tasting the bitter
ingredient only ate half of it.

The next few moments were those of intense anxiety. Would it stupefy
them? Soon, however, their eyes looked heavy, and their heads drooped.
They begged to lie down, and we tucked them up this time in our
blankets.

We were in our traveling suits ready for a start, dog-whips at hand. As
a last act Godfrey reached up to a shelf for a cup, and down came its
entire contents with a startling noise. Dr. Hayes put out the light with
his mitten, and cuddled down instantly by the side of Kalutunah. The
chief awoke, as was feared, grunted, and asked what was the matter. The
"doctee" patted him and whispered, "Singikok," (sleep.) He laughed,
muttered something, and was soon snoring.

Fearing from this incident that we could not trust the soundness nor
length of time of their sleep, we carried off their boots, coats, and
mittens, that they might be detained in the tent until relief came.
Stephenson was, most fortunately, better than he had been for some time,
being able to carry a gun and walk. All the firearms being secured, Dr.
Hayes stood at one side of the door outside with a double-barrelled
shot-gun, and Stephenson on the other with a rifle. The purpose was if
they awoke to compel them, at the mouth of the guns, to drive us north.

Sontag and the others brought up the most of the meat which was buried
in the snow, and put it in the passage way. This would last five or six
days, and keep the prisoners from starving until help came. The dogs
being harnessed, we mounted the sledges and once more turned our backs
on Fort Desolation.

The dogs objected decidedly to this whole proceeding; they especially
disliked their new masters, and were determined on mischief. John and
Godfrey were given by their team a ride a mile straight off the coast
instead of alongside of it, as they desired to go. Dr. Hayes was worse
used by his. They drew in different directions, went pell-mell, first
this way, then that, at one time carrying him back nearly to the hut.
Finally they became subdued apparently, and sped swiftly in the way they
were guided. The other sledges had in the mean time dropped into the
desired course. All seemed to be going well, when, just as the doctor's
dogs had shot by the other teams, they suddenly turned round, some to
the right and others to the left, turning the sledge over backward, and
rolling the men into a snow-drift. The doctor grasped firmly the
"up-stander" of the sledge, and was dragged several yards before he
recovered his feet. As the dogs at this moment were plunging through a
ridge of hummocks, the point of the runner caught a block of ice. The
traces of all the dogs excepting two snapped, and away went the freed
dogs to their imprisoned masters. They yelped a taunting defiance as
they disappeared in the distance.

The doctor and Mr. Stephenson, taking each a dog, went to the other
teams, and we were again on the fly, leaving the third sledge jammed in
the hummock. We reached in safety the southern point of Cape Parry,
found a sheltering cave, and camped.



CHAPTER XVII.

BACK AGAIN.


WE tarried in our camp full two hours. We obtained a pot of hot coffee
and rest. The whips had been used so freely that they required
repairing, for without their efficient help there could be no progress.

All being in readiness, we were about starting when three Esquimo came
in sight. They were those we had left asleep in our hut! Dr. Hayes and
Mr. Sontag seized their guns, and rushed down the ice-foot to meet them.
They stood firm until our men, coming within a few yards, leveled their
guns at them. They instantly turned round and threw their arms wildly
about, exclaiming in a frantic voice, "Na-mik! na-mik! na-mik!"--don't
shoot! don't shoot! don't shoot!

Dr. Hayes lowered his rifle and beckoned them to come on. This they did
cautiously, and with loud protestations of friendship. By this time
Whipple had come up. Each of our men seized a prisoner, and marched him
into the camp. Reaching the mouth of the cave, the doctor turned
Kalutunah round toward his sledge, pointed to it with his gun, and then
turning north, gave him to understand, mostly by signs, that if he took
the whip which lay at his feet, and drove us to the "Oomeaksoak" (ship)
he should have his dogs, sledge, coat, boots, and mittens; but if they
did not do so that he and his companions would be shot then and there;
and to give emphasis to his words, he pushed him away and leveled his
gun.

The chief went sideling off, crying, "Na-mik, na-mik!" at the same time
imitated the motion of a dog--driving with his right hand, and pointed
north with the other. His declaration was, "Don't shoot! I'll drive you
to the ship!"

Dr. Hayes seeing he was understood, told Kalutunah that the dogs and
sledges were the white men's until the promise was fulfilled, to which
he answered, "tyma"--all right, approaching with smiles and the old
familiarity, as though some great favor had been done him. He could
respect pluck and strength if nothing else.

The prisoners had been awakened by our escaped dogs, which, on arriving
at the hut, run over the roof and howled a startling alarm. Their
masters starting up, found means of lighting a lamp, and being refreshed
by sleep and the food we left, entered at once on the pursuit. Coming to
the abandoned sledge, they harnessed the dogs and made good time on our
trail, bringing away with them as many of our treasures as they could
well carry.

They were rare looking Esquimo just at this moment. They had cut holes
in the middle of our blankets and thrust their heads through. One had
found a pair of cast-off boots and put them on; the others had bundled
their feet up in pieces of blanket. Neither of them had suffered much
from cold.

We expressed our confidence in their promises by restoring their
clothes. They jumped into them, happy as Yankee children on the Fourth
of July. They were as obedient, too, as recently whipped spaniels. They
touched neither dogs, sledge, nor whip until they were bidden. "Onward
to Netlik!" we shouted as we mounted our sledges and dashed away. Our
distant approach was greeted by the howling of a pack of dogs, which
snuffed our coming in the breeze. As we drew nearer, men, women, and
children ran out to meet us. As soon as we halted fifty curious and
wondering savages crowded around us, pressing the questions why we were
brought by their friends, and why we came at all. But our bearing was
that of those who came because they pleased to come without
condescending to give reasons why. We told Kalutunah that three of us
would go to each of the two huts, and stop long enough to eat and sleep,
and then we would continue our journey. A renewed leveling at him of our
guns, and pointing northward, brought out the prompt "tyma," giving the
gaping bystanders a hint of the nature of our arguments for the services
of their friends.

When we had entered the huts, the crowd rushed in too, making quite too
many for comfort or safety. We told our hosts to order out all but the
regular occupants of the huts, as many strangers had come in who were
lodging in the adjoining snow-huts. They did not understand our right
to give such a command until a hint about our "booms" convinced them.
Ours was the right of self-preservation by superior strength.

We had traveled fifteen successive hours, making in the time fifty
miles. So weary were we that even these Esquimo dens, affording as they
did refreshment and rest without danger of freezing, were delightful
places of entertainment. The women kindly removed our mittens, boots,
and stockings, and hung them up to dry. They then brought us frozen
meat, which intense hunger compelled us to try to eat, but the air of
the hut was one hundred and twenty degrees warmer than that without, and
we fell asleep with the food between our teeth. Having taken a short nap
we were aroused by the mistress of the house, who had prepared a
plentiful meal of steaming bear-steak. We ate and slept alternately
until the stars informed us that we had rested twenty-seven hours. We
intimated to Kalutunah that we would be going, and in a few moments he
had every thing in readiness.

Our next halting place was Northumberland Island, a distance, as we
traveled, of thirty miles, which we made in six hours. Here we found two
huts belonging to our old friends, Amalatok and his brother, "Mr. Rock."
We divided ourselves into companies of threes as before, and made
ourselves at home in the two households. Mr. Rock, aided by his wife,
and the witch-wife of his brother, was kindly attentive. Our fare was
varied by abundant supplies of sea-birds, which in their season swarm
here. We tarried until our physical strength was sensibly increased. We
learned that Petersen and Bonsall had been at this hospitable
halting-place, eaten and rested, and pushed northward under the guidance
of Amalatok.

Our next run was to Herbert Island, and, passing round its northwestern
coast, we struck across to the mainland, and halted near Cape Robertson,
at the village of Karsooit. We were on the northern shore of the mouth
of Whale Sound. We had made a run of fifty miles, halting to eat our
frozen food only once. We had walked much of the way to prevent being
frozen, and to lighten the load of the dogs over a rough way.

The village consisted of two huts half a mile apart. One of them
belonged to Sipsu, our old enemy. He received us gruffly, and because he
felt that he must. His only kindness was a fear of our _booms_. The huts
were crowded, there being here, as at Netlik, many stranger visitors
from the south. We were almost suffocated on entering, passing as we did
from a temperature of fifty degrees below zero to one seventy-five
above. Our entertainers immediately laid hold of our clothes and began
to strip us. They were much surprised at our persistence in retaining a
certain part of them. We feasted on seal flesh, slept, were refreshed
and encouraged.

Our stay was short, and our next run was to a double hut, a distance of
thirty miles, which we made in five hours. We had been joined at
Karsooit by an old hunter named Ootinah. We were on four sledges, the
dogs were in good condition, the ice smooth, the drivers full of
merriment and shouts of "Ka! ka!" by which their teams were stimulated
onward.

Our next run was to be one of sixty miles, including the rounding of
Cape Alexander, and ending at Etah. It was to be a terrific adventure we
well knew. At the mention of it our drivers shrugged their shoulders.
The natives dread the storms of this cape, with their blinding snows, as
the wandering Arabs of the desert do a tempest-cloud of sand.

The first twenty miles was made comfortably. But we were yet many miles
from the rocky fortress guarding the Arctic Sea, when we were saluted
with a stunning squall. It cut us terribly, though it was but an eddy,
for the wind was at our backs; it was only a rough hint of what we might
expect when the giant of the cape sent his blast squarely in our faces.
The night came on, lighted only by the twinkling stars. The ice was
smooth, and the wind at our backs drove our sledges upon the heels of
the dogs, who ran howling at the top of their speed to keep out of their
way. The cliffs, a thousand feet above us, threw their frowning shadows
across our path, pouring upon the plain clouds of snow sand, and
shouting in the roaring wind their defiance at our approach. Yet we sped
swiftly on, until a dark line was seen ahead with wreaths of
"frost-smoke" curling over it. "Emerk! emerk!" shouted the Esquimo.
"Water! water!" echoed our men. Our teams "reined up" within a few
yards of a recently opened crack, now twenty feet across and rapidly
widening. We were quite near Cape Alexander, but between it and us was
ice, across which numerous cracks had opened. Against the cape was open
water, whose sullen surges fell dismally upon our ears. It was plain
that we could not go forward upon the floe; to mount the almost
perpendicular wall to the land above was impossible; to turn back and
thus face the storm would be certain death. Our case seemed desperate.
Even the hardy Esquimo shrunk at the situation and proposed the return
trail, against which to us, at least, ruinous course they could not be
persuaded until the pistol argument was used.

In our peering through the darkness for some way of escape we caught a
glimpse of the narrow ice-foot, hanging over the water at the bottom of
the cliff. Along this we determined to attempt a passage.

We ascended this ice-foot by a ladder made of the sledges. Then we ran
along the smooth surface and soon passed the open water below; but we
had advanced a short distance only before a glacier barred our progress
and turned us to the floe again. A short run on this brought us to
another yawning crack with its impassable water. We ran along its margin
with torturing anxiety, looking for an ice bridge. Finding a place where
a point of ice spanned the chasm, within about four feet, Dr. Hayes made
a desperate leap to gain the other side. Lighting upon this point, it
proved to be merely a loose, small ice-raft which settled beneath his
feet. Endeavoring to balance himself upon it to gain the solid floe
beyond he fell backward, and would have gone completely under the water;
but Stephenson, standing on the spot from which the doctor jumped,
caught him under the arms and drew him out. As it was he had sunk deep
into the cold stream, filling his boots and wetting his pants.

In the mean time a better crossing was found, and Dr. Hayes followed the
last of the party to the other side.

We returned to the ice-foot and found a level and sufficiently wide
drive-way, and made good progress, soon reaching and running along that
part of the icy road which overlooked the open water below. We met with
no interruption until we came to the extreme rocky projection of the
cape. Here the ice-foot was sloping, and for several feet was only
fifteen inches wide! Twenty feet directly below was the icy cold, dark
water, sending up its dismal roar as it waited to receive any whose foot
might slip in attempting the perilous passage. The wind howled fearfully
as it swept over the cliff and along the ice-foot in our rear, pelting
us incessantly with its snow sand.

"Halt!" was passed along the line, and the whole party, men and dogs,
crouched under the overhanging rocks, seeming for the moment like beings
doomed to die a miserable death in a horrid place.

There was no time for indecision, and the pause was but for a moment.
Dr. Hayes, taking off his mittens, and clinging with his bare hands to
the crevices of the rock, was the first to make the desperate
experiment. His shout announcing his safe landing on the broad belt
beyond the dangerous place, welling up as it did from a heart
overflowing with emotions of joy and gratitude, sent a thrill of
gladness along the shivering and shrinking line, of which even our poor
dogs seemed to partake.

The teams, each driven by its master, were next brought up, as near as
safety permitted, to the narrow, slippery pathway. The dogs were then
seized by their collars, and one by one dragged across safely. Next the
sledges were brought forward. Turning them upon one runner, they were
pushed along until the dogs could make them feel the traces; then a
fierce shout from their drivers caused a sudden and vigorous spring of
the animals, which whirled the sledges beyond the danger of sliding off
the precipice. Cautiously, one by one, then came the remaining members
of the party, all holding their breath in painful suspense, and each, we
trust, in silent prayer, until all were safe over. The Divine arm and
eye had been with us! We could not have gone back, nor have turned to
the right or left. A few inches less of width in the ice-foot, or
slightly more slope, and we had all perished!

Except some frost bites on our fingers, every man was all right. We had
traveled five miles on the ice shelf above the foaming sea. We now had
a smooth, safe ice-foot, which conducted us soon to the solid ice-field
of Etah Bay. Across this, fifteen miles, we scampered with joyous speed,
and arrived at the village of our old Esquimo friends, a worn and weary,
but thankful party.

Good news met us at the hut. Petersen and Bonsall had, we were told,
preceded us, and arrived safely at the ship.

But our trials were not ended. There was a sledge journey of ninety-one
miles yet awaiting us. Dr. Hayes's frosted feet gave him intense pain
and he could not sleep. There was danger, if the heat of the hut thawed
them, that he would lose them altogether. So, after only four hours'
rest, he whispered his intention of a speedy departure toward the
"Advance," to Sontag, who was to take charge of the party; he then crept
stealthily out of the hut, accompanied by Ootinah, the faithful Esquimo
from Karsooit. Sontag was not to mention his departure to his comrades
until they were rested and refreshed.

He had hardly started before the rest of our company were at his heels.
They did not wish their leader to endure the perils of the journey
without them; besides, they too had reason for a desire to be speedily
at the brig.

The wind was high, the floe full of hummocks, the cold intense, and
altogether the journey was not unlike in its dangers that already
endured. Whipple, ere they had reached the end, began to whisper that he
was not cold, and finally fell from the rear sledge, benumbed and
senseless, and was not missed until he was a hundred yards behind. He
was lifted again to the sledge, but others gave signs of the approach of
the same insensibility.

But the track becoming smoother, the drivers cracked their whips and
shouted fiercely, goading onward their teams to their utmost speed in
the fearful race for life. Now old familiar landmarks are passed; the
hull of the dismantled ship opens in the distance, and its outlines grow
clearer until we shout with feeble voices, but in gladness of heart,
"_Back again!_" During the last forty hours we had been in almost
continual exposure, with the thermometer eighty degrees below zero, in
which time we had traveled a hundred and fifty miles. During the run of
ninety-one miles from Etah to the "Advance" we encamped once only, but
failing to light our lamp, or to secure any protection from the cold, we
immediately decamped and finished our run of forty-one miles.



CHAPTER XVIII.

SCARES.


WHEN the Esquimo arrived with Bonsall and Petersen, Dr. Kane resolved at
once to send them back with supplies for the remaining portion of Dr.
Hayes's company, supposed to be, if living, at the miserable old hut.
Petersen and Bonsall were utterly unable to accompany them. Of the
scanty ship's store he caused to be cleaned and boiled a hundred pounds
of pork; small packages of meat-biscuit, bread-dust, and tea were
carefully sewed up, all weighing three hundred and fifty pounds; and the
whole was intrusted to the returning convoy, who gave emphatic
assurances that these treasures, more precious than gold to those for
whom they were intended, should be promptly and honestly delivered. But
this promise, we have seen, they did not keep, and, probably, did not
intend to keep; they ate or wasted the whole. This untrustworthy trait
of the Esquimo character goes far to show that nothing but Dr. Hayes's
"boom" could have assured their help in his desperate necessities.

When Dr. Hayes arrived it was midnight. Dr. Kane met him at the gangway
and gave him a brother's welcome. All were taken at once into the cabin.
Ohlsen was the first to recognize Hayes as he entered, and, kissing
him, he threw his arms around him and tossed him into the warm bed he
had just left. The fire was set ablaze, coffee and meat-biscuit soup
were prepared, and, with wheat bread and molasses, were set before them.
In the mean time their Esquimo apparel was removed and hung up to dry.
They ate and slept; but many weary days passed, under skillful treatment
by Dr. Kane, and kind care by all, before they fully recovered from the
strain of their terrible exposures and fearful journey.

When the returned comrades were duly cared for, Dr. Kane turned his
attention to the conciliation of the Esquimo who had accompanied them
back. They, of course, had their complaints to make, and, may be,
meditated revenge, though they were, as usual, full of smiles. It was
the white chief's policy to impress them with his great power and stern
justice. He assembled both parties, the Hayes men and their Esquimo, in
conference on deck. Both were questioned as if it were a doubt who had
been the offenders. This done, he graciously declared to the savage
members of the council his approval of their conduct, which he made
emphatic, in the Esquimo way, by pulling their hair all around.

The great Nalekok having thus expressed his good will, showed it still
further by introducing his guests, now to be considered friends, into
the mysterious _igloë_ below where they had not before been permitted to
enter. Their joy was that of indulged children during a holiday. They
were seated in state on a red blanket. Four pork-fat lamps burned
brilliantly; ostentatiously paraded were old worsted damask curtains,
hunting knives, rifles, chronometers, and beer-barrels, which, as they
glowed in the light, astonished the natives. With a princely air, which,
no doubt, seemed to the recipients almost divine, he dealt out to each
five needles, a file, and a stick of wood. To the two head men,
Kalutunah and Shunghu, knives and other extras were given. A roaring
fire was then made and a feast cooked. This eaten, buffaloes were spread
about the stove, and the guests slept. They awoke to eat, and ate to
sleep again. When they were ready to go, the white chief explained that
the sledges, dogs, and some furs, which his men had taken, had been
taken to save life, and were not to be considered as stolen goods, and
he then and there restored them. They laughed, voted him in their way a
good fellow, and, in fine spirits, dashed away, shouting to their
wolfish dogs. They had taken special care, however, to add to the
treasures so generously given, a few stolen knives and forks.

As the whole company are now crowded into the little cabin, and the
darkness is without, so that the days pass without much incident, except
that all are crowded with heavy burdens upon mind and body, we will
listen to a few of the yet untold stories of the earlier winter.

At one time Dr. Kane attempted a walrus hunt. Morton, Hans, Ootuniah,
Myouk, and "a dark stranger," Awahtok, accompanied him. He took a light
sledge drawn by seven dogs, intending to reach the farthest point of
Force Bay by daylight. But as the persistency of the Esquimo had
overladen the sledge, they moved slowly, and were overtaken by the night
on the floe in the midst of the bay. The snow began to drift before an
increasing storm. While driving rapidly, they lost the track they had
been following; they could see no landmarks, and in their confusion,
turned their faces to the floating ice of the sound.

The Esquimo, usually at home on the floe, whether by night or by day,
were quite bewildered. The dogs became alarmed, and spread their panic
to the whole party. They could not camp, the wind blew so fiercely, so
they were compelled to push rapidly forward, they knew not whither.
Checking, after a while, their speed, Dr. Kane gave each a tent-pole to
feel their way more cautiously, for a murmur had reached his ear more
alarming than the roar of the wind. Suddenly the noise of waves startled
him. "Turn the dogs!" he shouted, while at the same moment a wreath of
frost smoke, cold and wet, swept over the whole party, and the sea
opened to them with its white line of foam, about one fourth of a mile
ahead. The floe was breaking up by the force of the storm. The broken
ice might be in any direction. They could now guess where they were, and
they turned their faces toward an island up the bay. But the line of the
sea, with its foaming waves, followed them so rapidly that they began to
feel the ice bending under their feet as they ran at the sides of the
sledge. The hummocks before them began to close up, and they run by them
at a fearful risk as they hurried cautiously forward, stumbling over the
crushed fragments between them and the shore. It was too dark to see the
island for which they were steering, but the black outline of a lofty
cape was dimly seen along the horizon, and served as a landmark. As they
approached the shore edge of the floe they found it broken up, and its
fragments surging against the base of the ice-foot to which they desired
to climb. Being now under the shadow of the land, it was densely dark.
Dr. Kane went ahead, groping for a bridge of ice, having a rope tied
round his waist, the other end of which was held by Ootuniah, who
followed, at whose heels came the rest of the party. The doctor finally
succeeded in clambering upon the ice-foot, and the rest one after
another followed with the dogs.

The joy of their escape broke out into exultation when they ascertained
that the land was Anoatok, only a short distance from the familiar
Esquimo huts. God had guided them with his all-seeing eye to where they
would find needed refreshment! In less than an hour they were feasting
on a smoking stew of walrus meat.

Having eaten their stew and drank their coffee they slept--slept eleven
hours! Well they might "after an unbroken ice-walk of forty-eight miles,
and twenty haltless hours!" The Esquimo sung themselves to sleep with a
monotonous song, in compliment to the white chief, the refrain of which
was, "Nalegak! nalegak! nalegak! soak!"--"Captain! captain! great
captain!"

Without further special incident the party returned to the brig.

At one time an alarm was brought to Dr. Kane that a wolf was prowling
among the meat barrels on the floe. Believing that a wolf would be more
profitably added to their store of meat than to have him take any thing
from it, he seized a rifle and ran out. Yes, there he is, a wolf from
the tip of his nose to the end of his tail! Bang goes the rifle, whiz
goes the ball, making the hair fly from the back of--one of the
sledge-dogs! He was not hurt much, but he came near paying with his life
for the crime of running away from Morton's sledge.

The fox-traps made occasion for many long walks, great expectations of
game, and grievous disappointment. Dr. Kane and Hans were at one time
examining them about two miles from the brig. They were, unfortunately,
unarmed. The doctor thought he heard the bellow of a walrus. They
listened. No, not a walrus, but a bear! Hark, hear him roar! They sprung
to the ice-foot, about ten feet above the floe. Another roar, round and
full! He is drawing nearer! He has a fine voice, and, no doubt, is
large, and fat, and savory! But then a bear must be killed before he is
eaten, and that is just where the difficulty lies. It don't do for two
men to run, for that is an invited pursuit, and bears are good runners.
"Hans!" exclaimed Dr. Kane, "run for the brig, and I will play decoy!"
Hans is a good runner, and this time he did "his level best."

Dr. Kane remains on the ice-foot alone. It is too dark to see many yards
off, and the silence is oppressive, for the bear says nothing, and so
Kane makes no reply. He queries whether, after all, there is any bear.
How easy it is for the imagination to be excited amid these shadowy
hummocks, and this dreary waste through which the wind roars so
dismally! He gets down from his comparatively safe elevation upon the
floe, puts his hand over his eyes, and peers into the darkness. No bear
after all! But what's that rounded, shadowy thing? Stained ice? Yes,
stained ice! But the stained ice speaks with a voice which wakes the
Arctic echoes, and charges on our explorer. It is a hungry bear! Dr.
Kane's legs are scurvy-smitten affairs, but this time they credit the
fleetness of those of the deer. He drops a mitten, and his pursuer stops
to smell of it, to examine it carefully, and to show his disgust at such
game, by tearing it to pieces. These bears are famous for losing the
bird by stopping to pick up his feathers. The man stops not, but drops
another mitten as he flies. Before these articles are duly examined he
has reached the brig. Dr. Kane has escaped, and the bear has lost his
supper.

It is now bruin's turn to run, for fresh hunters and loaded rifles are
after him. He does run, and escapes!

But if there were fears without the brig, there were fightings with a
fearful enemy within. The crowded condition of the cabin, after the
Hayes party returned, made it necessary for the pork-fat lamps to be set
up outside the avenue, in a room parted off in the hold for their use. A
watch was set over them, but he deserted his post, the fat flamed over
and set the room ablaze. Eight of the men lay in their berths at the
time helplessly disabled. The fire was only a few feet from the
tinder-like moss which communicated with the cabin. The men able to work
seized buckets, and formed a line to the well in the ice always kept
open. In the mean time Dr. Kane rushed into the flames with some fur
robes which lay at hand, and checked it for the moment. The water then
came, and the first bucket full thrown caused a smoke and steam which
prostrated him. Fortunately, in falling he struck the feet of the
foremost bucket-man. He was taken to the deck, his beard, forelock, and
eyebrows singed away, and sad burns upon his forehead and palms. Nearly
all received burns and frost-bites, but in a half hour the fire was
extinguished. The danger was horrid, and the escape wonderful! Neither
wild beasts nor the flames hurt whom God protects!



CHAPTER XIX.

SEEKING THE ESQUIMO.


DECEMBER twenty-fifth came, and our ice-bound, darkness-enshrouded,
sick, or, in a measure, health-broken explorers tried to make it a merry
Christmas. They all sat down to dinner together. "There was more love
than with the stalled ox of former times, but of herbs none." They
tried, at least, to forget their discomforts in the blessings they still
retained, and to look hopefully on the long distance, and the many
conflicts between them and their home and friends.

Immediately after Christmas a series of attempts were commenced to open
a communication with the Esquimo at Etah, ninety-one miles away. The
supply of fresh meat was exhausted. The traps yielded nothing, and
Hans's hunting could not go on successfully in the dark. The
scurvy-smitten men were failing for the want of it, and so every thing
must be periled to make the journey. The first thing to be done was to
put the dogs, if possible, into traveling order. They were now few in
number, for fifty had died, and the survivors had been kept on short
rations. Their dead companions, which had been preserved in a frozen
state, were boiled and fed to them for fresh food. Dog _did_ eat dog,
and relished and grew stronger on the diet.

Dr. Kane and Petersen made the first attempt, starting on the
twenty-ninth of December. They had scarcely reached the forsaken huts of
Anoatok, "the wind-loved spot," so often used as a resting place, when
the dogs failed. A storm, with a bitter, pelting snow-drift, confined
them awhile. An incident occurred here--one of the many which happened
to the explorers--which shows plainly the unseen, but ever present, eye
and hand which attended them.

They were just losing themselves in sleep when Petersen shouted:
"Captain Kane, the lamp's out!" His commander heard him with a thrill of
horror! The storm was increasing, the cold piercing, and the darkness
intense. The tinder had become moist and was frozen solid. The guns were
outside, to keep them from the moisture of the hut. The only hope of
heat was in relighting the lamp. A lighted lamp and heat they _must_
have. Petersen tried to obtain fire from a pocket-pistol, but his only
tinder was moss, and after repeated attempts he gave it up. Dr. Kane
then tried. He says:--

"By good luck I found a bit of tolerably dry paper in my jumper; and,
becoming apprehensive that Petersen would waste our few percussion caps
with his ineffectual snappings, I took the pistol myself. It was so
intensely dark that I had to grope for it, and in doing so touched his
hand. At that instant the pistol became distinctly visible. A pale,
bluish light, slightly tremulous but not broken, covered the metallic
parts of it, the barrel, lock, and trigger. The stock too was clearly
discernible, as if by the reflected light, and, to the amazement of both
of us, the thumb and two fingers with which Petersen was holding it, the
creases, wrinkles, and circuit of the nails, clearly defined upon the
skin. The phosphorescence was not unlike the ineffectual fire of the
glowworm. As I took the pistol my hand became illuminated also, and so
did the powder-rubbed paper when I raised it against the muzzle.

"The paper did not ignite at the first trial, but the light from it
continuing, I was able to charge the pistol without difficulty, rolled
up my paper into a cone, filled it with moss sprinkled over with powder,
and held it in my hand while I fired. This time I succeeded in producing
flame, and we saw no more of the phosphorescence."

When the storm subsided they made further experiment to reach Etah. But
dogs and men found the wading impossible, and they returned to the brig,
the dogs going ahead and the men walking after them. They made the
forty-four miles of their circuitous route in sixteen hours!

Thus closed the year 1854.

The three following weeks were mainly occupied by Dr. Kane in a careful
preparation for another attempt to reach Etah, this time with Hans. Old
Yellow, one of the five dogs on which success in a measure depended,
stalked about the deck with "his back up," as much as to say, "I must
have more to eat if I am going." Jenny, a mother dog, had quite a family
of little ones. Yellow being very hungry, and not seeing the use of such
young folks, gobbled one of them down before his master could say,
"Don't you." Dr. Kane taking the hint, and thinking that the puppies
would not be dogs soon enough for his use, shared with Yellow the rest
of the litter. So both grew stronger for the journey.

The new year, 1855, came in with a vail of darkness over the prospects
of our explorers. The sick list was large, and threatened to include the
whole party. A fox was caught occasionally, and beyond this stinted
supply there was no fresh meat. On Tuesday, January twenty-third, the
commander and Hans, with the dog-team, turned their faces toward the
Esquimo. All went well for a while, until hope rose of accomplishing the
journey, getting savory walrus, and cheering their sinking comrades.
Suddenly, Big Yellow, in spite of nice puppy soup, gave out, and went
into convulsions. Toodla, the next best animal, failed soon after. The
moon went down, and the dark night was upon the beset but not confounded
heroes. Groping for the ice-foot, they trudged fourteen wretched hours,
and reached the old _igloë_ at Anoatok. The inevitable storm arose, with
its burden of snow driven by a strange, moistening southeast wind,
burying the hut deep and warm. The temperature rose seventy degrees! An
oppressive sensation attacked Dr. Kane and Hans, and alarming symptoms
were developed. Water ran down from the roof, the doctor's sleeping bag
of furs was saturated, and his luxurious eider down, God's wonderful
cold defier, was "a wet swab."

After two days in this comfortless hut, the storm having subsided, they
once again pushed toward Etah! Their sick, failing comrades were the
spur to this desperate effort. But it was in vain, for the deep, moist
snow, the hummocks and the wind, defied even desperate courage. They
returned to the hut and spent another wretched night.

In the morning, in spite of short provisions, exhaustion, continued
snowing, they climbed the ice-foot, and for four haltless hours faced
toward the Esquimo! But in vain. Dr. Kane says: "My poor Esquimo, Hans,
adventurous and buoyant as he was, began to cry like a child. Sick, worn
out, strength gone, dogs fast and floundering, I am not ashamed to admit
that, as I thought of the sick men on board, my own equanimity was at
fault."

Dr. Kane scrambled up a familiar hill that was near and reconnoitered.
He was delighted to see, winding among the hummocks, a level way! He
called Hans to see it. With fresh dogs and fresh supplies, they could
certainly reach Etah. So, after another night at the hut, they returned
to the brig, comforting the sick with the assurance that success would
come on the next trial.

The month closed with only five effective men, including the commander,
and of these some were about as much sick as well. Dr. Kane could not
be spared from his patients, so, February third, Petersen and Hans tried
another Etah adventure. In three days they returned, with a sorrowful
tale from poor Petersen of heroic efforts ending in exhaustion and
defeat.

But God always sent many rays of light through the densest darkness
besetting our explorers to cheer them and inspire hope. The yellow tints
of coming sunlight were at noonday faintly painted on the horizon. The
rabbits prophesied the spring by appearing abroad, and two were shot.
They yielded a pint of raw blood, which the sickest drank as a grateful
cordial. Their flesh was also eaten raw, and with great thankfulness.

Following these moments of comfort came a dismal and anxious night.
Thick clouds over-spread the sky, a heavy mist rendered the darkness
appalling, followed by a drifting snow and a fearful storm. The wind
howled and shrieked through the rigging of the helpless, battered brig,
as if in mockery of her condition and the sufferings of her inmates.
Goodfellow had gone inland with his gun during the brief day, and had
not returned. Roman candles and bluelights were burned to guide him
homeward. Altogether it was a night to excite the superstitious fears of
the sailors, and they proved to be not beyond the reach of such fears.
Tom Hickey, the cook, having been on deck while the gale was in its full
strength, to peer into the darkness for him, ran below declaring that he
had seen Goodfellow moving cautiously along the land-ice and jump down
on the floe. He hurried up his supper to give the tired messmate a warm
welcome, but no one came. Dr. Kane went out with a lantern, looked
carefully around for some hundreds of yards, but found no fresh
footsteps. Tom seriously insisted that he had seen Goodfellow's
apparition!

Such was the state of things when one of the sailors went on deck. There
was hanging in the rigging an old seal-skin bag containing the remnant
of the ship's furs. Its ghostly appearance in ordinary darkness had been
the occasion of much jesting. Now, to the excited imagination of the
sailor, it pounded the mast like the gloved fist of a giant boxer,
glowed with a ghastly light, and muttered to him an unearthly story. He
did not stop to converse with it, but hastened below with the expression
of his fears. His messmates laughed and jeered at his tale, but their
merriment was but the whistling to inspire their own courage.

The morning came and so did Goodfellow, none the worse for his night's
experience. The storm subsided, Hans killed three rabbits, they all
tasted a little and felt better, and the seal-skin bag was never known
from that time to utter a word. _Fears_ may endure for a night but joy
cometh in the morning! Dr. Kane devoutly remarks: "See how often relief
has come at the moment of extremity; see, still more, how the back has
been strengthened to its increasing burden, and the heart cheered by
some unconscious influence of an unseen POWER."



CHAPTER XX.

DESERTERS.


HANS had been for some time promising the hungry company a deer. He had
seen their tracks, and he was watching for them with a good rifle, a
keen eye, and a steady hand. He came in on the evening of February
twenty-second with the good news that he had lodged a ball in one at a
long range, and that he went hobbling away. He was sure he should find
him dead in the morning. The morning came and the game was found, having
staggered, bleeding, only two miles. He was a noble fellow, measuring in
length six feet and two inches, and five feet in girth. He weighed about
one hundred and eighty pounds when dressed. The enfeebled men with
difficulty drew him on board. His presence caused a thrill of joy, and
his luscious flesh sent its invigoration through their emaciated frames.

The following Sunday, as Dr. Kane was standing on deck thinking of their
situation, he lifted up his eyes toward a familiar berg, for many months
shrouded in darkness, and saw it sparkling in the sunlight. The King of
Day was not yet above the intervening hills, but he had sent his sheen
to proclaim his coming. Glad as a boy whom the full mid-winter moon
invites to a coasting frolic, he started on a run, climbed the
elevations, and bathed in his refreshing rays.

During the month of February, Petersen, Hans, and Godfrey had been sent
out on the track of the Esquimo, but they returned and declared that
Etah could not be reached. Their commander said, "Nay, it can!"

By the sixth of March the brig was again without fresh meat. The sick
were once more suffering for it, and the well growing feeble. Hans, the
resort in such emergencies, was given a light sledge, the two surviving
dogs, and to him was committed the forlorn hope. His departure called
forth from his commander a "God bless you!" and prayers followed him.

His story is simple and touching. He lodged the first night in the
"wind-loved," forsaken, desolate, yet friendly hut of Anoatok. He slept
as well as he could in a temperature fifty-three degrees below zero. The
next night he slept in a friendly hut at Etah. The oft-tried feat was
accomplished. But he found the Etahites lean and hungry. Hollow cheeks
and sunken eyes spoke of famine. The skin of a young sea-unicorn, their
last game, was all of food which remained to the settlement. They had
even eaten their light and fire blubber, and were seated in darkness,
gloomily waiting for the sun and the hunt. They had eaten, too, all but
four of their ample supply of dogs.

They hailed the coming of Hans with a shout. He proposed to join them in
a hunt, but they shook their heads. They had lost a harpoon and line in
the attempt to take a walrus the day before. The ice was yet thick, and
the huge monster in his struggles had broken the line over its sharp
edge. Hans showed them his "boom," and bidding them come on, started for
the hunting-grounds. Metek--Mr. Eider Duck--speared a fair-sized walrus,
and Hans gave him five conical balls in quick succession from a Marston
rifle, and he surrendered at discretion.

The return of the hunters caused great joy in the city of Etah, whose
two huts poured out their inhabitants to greet their coming, and aid in
rendering due honors to the game itself. As usual they laughed, feasted,
and slept, to awake, laugh, eat, and sleep again. Hans and his boom were
great in their eyes, but the Kablunah, whose representative he was, rose
before their vision as the glorious sun which scatters the long winter
darkness.

Hans obtained a hunter's share, and his appearance on the deck of the
"Advance," heralded by the yelping of the dogs, sent a thrill of joy
through every heart. As Dr. Kane grasped his hand on the deck, and began
to listen to his story, he exclaimed: "Speak louder, Hans, that they may
hear in the bunks!" The bunks did hear, and feel too, as the good news
came home to their hunger-wasted bodies in refreshing food.

As the commander had requested, Hans brought Myouk with him to assist in
hunting. The smart young hunter was delighted to be with the white men,
though his itching fingers would secrete cups, spoons, and other
valuables, which were made to come back to their proper places by sundry
cuffs and kicks, which, though perhaps not altogether pleasant of
themselves, caused him to cuddle down in his buffalo at his master's
feet like a whipped spaniel, and their relations grew daily more
enjoyable.

Hans and Myouk made soon after an unsuccessful hunt. This made the fresh
meat question come up again with its emphatic importance. The fuel
question, too, was becoming more and more a cause of concern. The
manilla cable had been chopped up and burned, and such portions of the
brig as could be spared, and not destroy her sea-going value, had gone
in the same way. Now the nine feet of solid ice in which she was
imbedded seemed to say that she would never float again, so she might as
well yield her planks to the fire. But to see her thus used went to the
hearts of her gallant men.

On the nineteenth of March Hans was dispatched to the Esquimo, well
supplied with the first quality of cord for their harpoons, and such
other prompters to, and helps in, the walrus hunt as occurred to his
commander. He would bless thereby and please these starving people,
hoping that the blessing would return in the form of fresh walrus to him
and his suffering men.

During the absence of Hans there were unusual and painful developments
at the brig. William Godfrey and John Blake had given Dr. Kane much
trouble from the first. They were now evidently bent on mischief, and
made constant watchfulness over them a necessity. Just as Hans left they
feigned sickness, and were suspected of desiring rest and recruited
strength for desertion. Their plan was believed to be to waylay Hans and
get his sledge and dogs. Dr. Kane contrived so shrewdly to keep one of
them at work under his eye, and the other in some other place, that they
did not perceive his suspicions of them. One night Bill was heard to say
that some time during the following day he should leave, and this was
reported to the commander by a faithful listener. He was, of course
watched, and at six o'clock was called to prepare breakfast. This he
commenced doing uneasily, stealing whispers with John. Finally he seemed
at his ease, and cooked and served the breakfast. Dr. Kane believed he
meant to slip out the first opportunity, meet John on deck, and desert;
he therefore armed himself, threw on his furs, made Bonsall and Morton
acquainted with his plans, and crept out of the dark avenue and hid near
its entrance. After an hour of cold waiting John crept out, grunting and
limping, for he had been feigning lameness, looked quickly round, and
seeing no one, mounted nimbly the stairs to the deck. Ten minutes later
Godfrey came out, booted and fur-clad for a journey. As he emerged from
the tossut his commander confronted him, pistol in hand. He was ordered
back to the cabin, while Morton compelled John's return, and Bonsall
guarded the door preventing any one passing out. In a few moments John
came creeping into the cabin, awful lame and terribly exhausted in his
effort to breathe a little fresh air on deck. He looked amazed as by the
glare of the light he saw the situation.

The commander then explained to the company the offenses of the
culprits, giving from the log-book the details of their plotting. He had
prepared himself for the occasion, and Bill, the principal, was punished
on the spot. He confessed his guiltiness, promised good behavior, and in
view of the few men able to work, his hand-cuffs were removed and he was
sent about his customary business. In an hour after he deserted. Dr.
Kane was at the moment away hunting, and his escape was not noticed
until he was beyond the reach of a rifle ball.

The next two weeks were weary, anxious weeks, though the ever-watchful
Hand tendered in good time occasion for hope. Six sea-fowl and three
hares were shot by Petersen, and gave indispensable refreshment to the
sick.

On the second of April, just before noon, a man was seen, with a
dog-sledge, lurking behind the hummocks near the brig. Dr. Kane went out
armed to meet him. It proved to be Godfrey the deserter, who, seeing his
old comrades, left the sledge and run. Leaving Bonsall with his rifle to
make sure of the sledge, the doctor gave chase, and the fugitive, seeing
but one following, stopped and turned around. He said he had made up
his mind to spend the rest of his life with Kalutunah and the Esquimo,
and that no persuasion nor force should prevent him. A loaded pistol
presented at his head did, though, persuade him to return to the brig.
When he reached the gangway he refused to budge another step. Petersen
was away hunting, Bonsall and Dr. Kane were so weak that they could
barely stand, and all the other men, thirteen, were prostrated with the
scurvy, so that they could not compel him by physical force. As the
doctor was desirous not to hurt him, he left him under the guardianship
of Bonsall's weapons while he went below for irons. Just as he returned
to the deck Godfrey turned and fled. Bonsall presented his pistol, which
exploded the cap only. Kane seized a rifle, but being affected by the
cold, it went off in the act of cocking. A second gun, fired in haste at
a long range, missed its mark. So the rebel made good his retreat.

He had come back with Hans' sledge and dogs, and reported him sick at
Etah from over exhaustion. But there was one consolation in the
affair--the sledge was loaded with walrus-meat. The feast that followed
revived the drooping men wonderfully. They ate, were thankful, and
looked hopefully on the future.

Godfrey was suspected of having come back to get John. The desertion of
two well men when so many were sick would imperil the lives of all. The
commander felt that the safety of the whole required the faithfulness of
each man, he therefore explained the situation to the men and declared
his determination to punish desertion, or the attempt to desert, by the
"sternest penalty."

Hans became now the subject of anxiety. Some unfair dealing toward him
on the part of Godfrey was feared. It was thought but just that he
should be sought, and, if in trouble, relieved. But who should go? Dr.
Kane finally resolved to go after him himself. Besides, the question of
more walrus was again pressing.

April tenth the doctor was off. The first eleven hours the dogs carried
him sixty-four miles, a most remarkable speed for their short rations.

While thus speeding along, far out on the floe, he spied a black speck
in-shore away to the south. Was it some cheat of refraction? He paused,
took his gun, and sighted the object, a device of old Arctic travelers
to baffle refraction. It is an animal--yes, a man! Away went the dogs,
ten miles an hour, while the rider cheated them with the shout,
"Nannook! nannook!"--a bear! a bear! In a few moments Hans and the
doctor were in grateful, earnest talk. He had really been sick. He had
been down five days, and, as he expressed it, still felt "a little
weak." He took his commander's place on the sledge and both went to the
friendly hut at Anoatok, where hot tea and rest prepared both for the
return to the brig.



CHAPTER XXI.

CLOSING INCIDENTS OF THE IMPRISONMENT.


HANS had his story of adventure while at Etah. But the most important
item in his estimation, and that which might prove far reaching in its
results, was the fact that a young daughter of Sunghu appointed herself
his nurse during his sickness, bestowing upon him care, sympathy, and
bewitching smiles. She had evidently done what Godfrey tried in vain to
do--she had entrapped him, at the expense, too, of a young Esquimo lady
at Upernavik.

Hans had been successful in the hunt, and, besides what he had sent by
Godfrey, had deposited some walrus at Littleton Island. He was at once
sent after this, and intrusted at the same time with an important
commission. Dr. Kane had been for some time meditating another trip
toward the polar sea. To do this he desired more dogs. The Esquimo had
been reducing their stock to keep away starvation, but Kalutunah had
retained four. These, and such others as he could find, Hans was
authorized to buy or hire, at almost any price. This northern trip made,
the next move might be toward the abandonment of the "Advance." She
could never float, it was plain, for now, late in April, the open water
was eighty miles south.

While Hans was gone, the sick, yet numbering two thirds of the whole,
and in a measure all of the other third, except the commander, were
without fresh food, as they had been for several days. Yet the sunshine
and the occasional supplies had put them all on the improving list. They
could sit up, sew or job a little, making themselves useful, and keeping
up good spirits. But, hark! what sound is that breaking on the still,
clear air. It comes nearer. Bim, bim, bim, sounds upon the deck. It is
Hans, whose coming is ever like the coming of the morning. A rabbit-stew
and walrus liver follow his arrival, and over such royal dainties good
cheer pervades the family circle.

Hans brought Metek with him, and Metek's young nephew, Paulik, a boy of
fourteen. Metek and Hans spoke sadly of the condition of the Esquimo
settlements. We have seen that the escaping party found those of the
south flying northward from starvation. The report now was that they had
huddled together at Northumberland Island until that yielded to the
famine, and now they had come farther north. It was a sad sight to see
men, women, and children fleeing over the icy desert before their
relentless foe. Yet, says Hans, they sung as they went, careless of
present want, and thoughtless of the morrow. Many had died, and thus
year by year these few, scattered, improvident people decline, giving
earnest that in a few years all will be gone.

Though light-hearted, death did bring its sorrows to these benighted
heathen. Kalutunah lost a sister; her body was sewed up in skins, not
in a sitting posture but extended, and her husband, unattended, carried
it out to burial, and, with his own hand, placed upon it stone after
stone, making at once a grave and a monument. A blubber lamp was burning
outside the hut while he was gone, and when he returned his friends were
waiting to listen to his rehearsal of the praises of the dead, and to
hear the expressions of his sorrow, while they showed their grief by
dismal chantings.

If sorrow did not keep the deceased in the memory of the living, imposed
self-denials did. The Angekok, or medicine man, as our Indians would
call him, determines the penance of the mourner, who is sometimes
forbidden to eat the meat of a certain bird or beast, under the idea
that the spirit of the departed has entered into it; at another time the
mourner must not draw on his hood, but go with uncovered head; or he may
be forbidden to go on the bear or walrus hunt. The length of time of
these penances may be a few months or a year. The reader will recollect
the widow with her birds, who appeared so often in the narrative of the
escaping party.

Though thus mourning for the dead, these Esquimo do not hold life as a
very sacred trust. The drones and the useless are sometimes harpooned in
the back merely to get rid of them. Infants are put out of the way when
they greatly annoy their parents. Hans, on one of his returns from Etah,
had a story to tell illustrative of this. Awahtok, a young man of
twenty-two, had a pretty wife--_pretty_ as Esquimo beauty goes--sister
of Kalutunah, and about eighteen years old. Dr. Kane had regarded this
couple with some interest, and the husband "stuck to him as a plaster."
Their first-born was a fine little girl. Well, Hans reported with
becoming disgust and indignation that they had buried it alive under a
pile of stones! When Dr. Kane next visited Etah he inquired of his
friends Awahtok and his wife after the health of the baby, affecting not
to have heard about its hard fate. They pointed with both hands
earthward, but did not even shed the cheap, customary tear. The only
reason reported for this murder was, that certain of its habits, common
to all infants, were disagreeable to them!

Such is the mildest heathenism without Christianity. These and other
similar gross sins were common among the South Greenland Esquimo, but
have disappeared before the teachings of the Moravian missionaries.

Hans returned with the walrus he had deposited at Littleton Island, but
he had made no progress in getting dogs, so Dr. Kane resolved to go to
Etah for that purpose himself. Besides, having learned that Godfrey was
playing a high game there and defying capture, and also fearing his
influence over the friendly relations of the Esquimo, he resolved to
bring him back to the brig. Metek was just starting for Etah, so he
invited himself to return with him, while Paulik, his nephew, remained
with Hans. This arrangement effected, Dr. Kane was soon approaching
Etah, perfectly disguised in the hood and jumper of Paulik, whose place
on the sledge he occupied. The whole city ran out to meet their chief,
among whom was the deserter, who shouted, and then threw up his arms
with the most savage of them. He did not perceive his commander until a
certain well understood summons entered his ear, and a significant
pistol barrel gleamed in the sunlight near his eyes. He surrendered to
this "boom" argument without discussion, and trotting or walking, he
kept his assigned place ahead of the sledge through the eighty and more
miles to the brig, halting only at Anoatok. We hear nothing of further
attempt at desertion.

A little later Dr. Kane made another visit to Etah. The hunt had become
successful, and the famine was broken; all was activity and good cheer.
The women were preparing the green hides for domestic use. Great piles
of walrus tushes were preserved for various useful purposes; some of
these the children had selected as bats, and were engaged in merry
sport. Their game was to knock a ball made of walrus bone up the
slanting side of a hummock, and then, in turn, hit it as it rolled down,
and so keep it from reaching the floe. They shouted and laughed as the
game went on, much as our boys do over their sports.

Dr. Kane observed on this trip a way of taking walrus which has not, we
think, been noted before. The monster at this early season sometimes
finds the ice open near a berg only. He comes on the ice to sun
himself; finds the change from the cold sea very agreeable, stays too
long, the water freezes solid, and he cannot return. As he is unable to
break the ice from above, he either waits for the current about the berg
to open the ice again, or works himself clumsily to some already open
place. In this helpless state the dogs scent him afar off, and the
hunters, following their lead, make him an easy prey.

Hans came in on the twenty-fourth of April, accompanied by Kalutunah,
Shanghee, and Tatterat, each of the Esquimo having sledges, and sixteen
dogs in all. Hans had been sent to Cape Alexander, where Kalutunah was
sojourning, to invite him to the brig in order to secure his aid in the
proposed northern trip. He was fed well, and propitiated by a present of
a knife and needles. He said, "Thank you," and added, "I love you well,"
which might uncharitably be taken to mean, "I love your presents well."
The result of the presents, feasting, and flattery was a start north by
the three Esquimo, with Dr. Kane and Hans, all the dog teams
accompanying. The old route across Kennedy Channel to the west side, and
so north-poleward, was attempted. First came a very fair progress; then
came the hummocks, over which, by the aid of their dogs, they clambered
until thirty miles from the brig had been made. Then Shanghee burrowed
into a snow-bank and slept, the cold being thirty degrees below zero;
the rest camped in the snow and lunched. Just as a fair start was again
made, the party neared a huge male bear in the act of lunching on seal.
In vain the doctor attempted to control either dogs or drivers.
"Nannook! nannook!" shouted the Esquimo as they clung to their sledges,
and the dogs flew over the ice in wild and reckless pursuit. After an
exciting chase the bear was brought to a halt and to a fight, which the
rifles and spears soon terminated against bruin. A feast by dogs and
men, and a night's halt on the ice followed, to Dr. Kane, at least, both
vexatious and comfortless.

The next day he would press on to the north. But bear tracks were
every-where, and the savage chiefs preferred hunting to exploring;
besides, they had, they said, their families to support, and there was
no use trying to cross the channel so high up. The English of it was, we
are "going in" for the bears, and you may help yourself. A day more was
spent in a wild hunt among the bergs, and the party returned to the
brig.

A little later still another attempt was made to unlock further the
secrets of the extreme icy north, this time by only Kane and Morton with
a six-dog sledge, the explorers walking. This, the last effort of the
kind, ended in the usual way, excepting some additions to the surveys.



CHAPTER XXII.

HOMEWARD BOUND.


THE final escape from the brig must now be commenced. From the early
fall its necessity had been thought of, and preparations for it
commenced. Since the sick had begun to improve, the work in reference to
it had been going on with system. Coverlets of eider down, beds, or furs
which could be used as such, boots, moccasins, a full supply to meet
emergencies, were prepared. Provision bags were made and filled with
powder, ship-bread, pork-fat, and tallow melted down, and cooked
concentrated bean soup. The flour and meat biscuit were put in double
bags. Two boats had been made from the ship's beams twenty-six feet
long, seven feet across, and three feet deep. Incredible toil by weak
and sick men had been expended upon these boats. A neat "housing" of
light canvas was raised over each of them. One other boat, the "Red
Eric," was in readiness. There was no assurance that either of these
boats would long float, yet all was done which the circumstances allowed
to make them sea-worthy.

The three boats were mounted on sledges. The necessary outfit, so far as
they could bear, was to be stowed away in them.

Every thing being in readiness, a vast amount of _thinking_ having been
employed by the commander in reference to all contingencies, a
peremptory order of march was issued for the seventeenth of May. The men
were given twenty-four hours to get ready eight pounds of such personal
effects as they chose. From the date of starting the strictest
discipline and subordination was to be observed, which came hard upon
the long-indulged, improving sick ones. The perfectness of the
preparations had a good effect, yet there were many moody doubters. Some
insisted that the commander only meant to go further south, holding the
brig to fall back upon; some thought he would get the sick nearer the
hunting grounds; others believed that his purpose was to secure some
point of lookout for the English explorers, or whaling vessels.

When the memorable day of departure came, the boats were in the cradle
on the sledges, and the men, with straps over their shoulders and
drag-ropes from these to the sledges, started for the ice-foot along
which they were to travel. They had not yet received their loads, so
they glided off easily, exciting a smile on some rueful countenances.

In twenty-four hours the boats were laden, on the elevated drive-way,
covered with their canvas roof, and, with a jaunty flag flying, were
ready for a final leave the next day. The exhausted men, for nearly all
of them were yet invalids, returned to the vessel, ate the best supper
the supplies afforded, "turned in," prepared for their first effort at
dragging the boat-laden sledges.

But one sledge could be moved at once, with all hands attached; the
first day they made two miles only with this one. For several days they
made short distances and returned early to a hearty supper and warm beds
in their old quarters, so that they marched back to the drag-ropes in
the morning refreshed. The weather was, by the kind, overruling Hand,
"superb."

The final leave-taking was somewhat ceremonious. All the men were
assembled in the dismantled room which had been so long both a prison
and providential home. It was Sunday; all listened to a chapter of the
Bible, and prayers. Then, all silently standing, the commander read a
prepared report of what had been done, and the reasons for the step
about to be taken. He then addressed the company, honestly conceding the
obstacles in the way of escape, but assuring them that energy and
subordination would secure success. He reminded them of the solemn
claims upon them of the sick and wounded; called to their minds the
wonderful deliverance granted them thus far by the infinite Power, and
exhorted them still confidently to commit all to the same Helper.

The response to this appeal was most cheering to Dr. Kane. The following
engagement was drawn up by one of the officers and signed by every
man:--

"The undersigned, being convinced of the impossibility of the
liberation of the brig, and equally convinced of the impossibility of
remaining in the ice a third winter, do fervently concur with the
commander in his attempt to reach the south by means of boats.

"Knowing the trials and hardships which are before us, and feeling the
necessity of union, harmony, and discipline, we have determined to abide
faithfully by the expedition and our sick comrades, and to do all that
we can, as true men, to advance the objects in view."

The party now went on deck, hoisted a flag and hauled it down again, and
then marched once or twice around the vessel. The figure head--the fair
Augusta--"the little blue girl with pink cheeks," was taken by the men
and added to their load. She had been nipped and battered by the ice,
and a common suffering made her dear to them. When Dr. Kane remonstrated
against the additional burden, they said: "She is, at any rate, wood,
and if we cannot carry her far we can burn her."

The final departure was too serious for cheers, and when the moment came
they all hurried off to the boats and the drag-ropes.

Four men were sick, and had to be carried; and Dr. Kane was with the
dog-team the common carrier and courier, as we shall see, so that there
were but twelve men to the boats; these were organized into two
companies, six each, for the two sledges; M'Gary having command of the
"Faith," and Morton command of the "Hope." Each party was separate in
matters of baggage, sleeping, cooking, and eating; both were
concentrated, in turns, upon each sledge under the command of Brooks.
Both morning and evening of each day all gathered round, with uncovered
heads, to listen to prayers. Every one had his assigned place at the
track-line; each served in turn as cook, except the captains.

From an early day of the preparations, Dr. Kane had been at work
refitting and furnishing the broken-down, forsaken hut at Anoatok. For
this purpose many trips were made to it with the dog-team; it was made
tight as possible; the filth carefully removed; cushions and blankets
were spread upon the raised floor at the sides and a stove set up;
blankets were hung up against the walls, and the whole made to look as
cheerful as possible. While the sledges were approaching this place by
short stages, Dr. Kane, with his team, brought to the hut the four sick
men; they were Goodfellow, Wilson, Whipple, and Stephenson. Dr. Hayes,
yet limping on his frozen foot, bravely adhered to the sledges. When the
sick entered the hut none could wait upon the others, except Stephenson,
who could barely light the lamp, to melt the snow and heat the water.
But Dr. Kane made them frequent visits, supplying their wants, and
reporting the daily progress toward them of their whole company. They
grew better, and were able to creep out into the sunshine. Besides
carrying the sick to Anoatok, Dr. Kane had, with his dogs, conveyed
there and stocked near the hut most of the provisions for their march
and voyage; eight hundred pounds out of fifteen were now there, and he
proposed to convey the rest. This was done to relieve the overladen
sledges.

The red boat--"Red Eric"--joined the party on the floe a few days after
the start, increasing their burden, but assuring them of increased
comfort and safety when they reached the open water.

One incident of this period will illustrate its hardships and the
Christian courage with which they were met.

It was soon after the last sick man was borne to the hut that Dr. Kane,
having, in one of his dog-team trips, camped on the floe, came upon the
boat party early in the morning. They were at prayers at the moment,
and, as they passed to the drag-ropes, he was pained at the evidence of
increased scurvy and depression. Brooks's legs were sadly swollen, and
Hayes ready to faint with exhaustion. They must have more generous
meals, thought the noble-hearted commander. Taking Morton, he hastened
back to the brig. As they entered a raven flew croaking away; he had
already made his home there. Lighting the fires in the old cook-room,
they melted pork, cooked a large batch of _light_ bread without salt,
saleratus, or shortening, gathered together some eatable, though
damaged, dried apples and beans, and, the dogs having fed, hastened back
to the men on the floe. Distributing a good supper to their comrades as
they passed, and taking Godfrey along with them, they hastened to the
hut. The poor fellows confined in it were rejoiced to see them. They
had eaten all their supplies, their lamp had gone out, the snow had
piled up at the door so that they could not close it, and the arctic
wind and cold were making free in their never-too-warm abode. The poor
fellows were cold, sick, and hungry. The coming of their commander was
as the coming of an angel messenger of good tidings. He closed their
door, made a fire of tarred rope, dried their clothes and bedding,
cooked them a porridge of pea-soup and meat-biscuit, and set their
lamp-wick ablaze with dripping pork-fat. Then, after all had joined in
prayer of thankfulness, a well relished meal was eaten. This was
followed by a cheerful chat, and a long, refreshing forgetfulness in
their sleeping-bags of all privations. When they awoke the gale had
grown more tempestuous, with increasing snow. But they went on burning
rope and fat until every icicle had disappeared, and every frost mark
had faded out.

On their arrival at the hut the night before, Dr. Kane, seeing the
condition of things, sent Godfrey forward to Etah for fresh supplies of
game. After a time he returned with Metek, and the two sledges well
laden with meat. A part of this was hurried off to the toilers at the
drag-ropes.

Having blessed by his coming these weary voyagers, Dr. Kane, with
Morton, Metek, and his sledge, went once more to the brig. They baked a
hundred and fifty pounds of bread and sent it by Metek to Mr. Brooks,
and the faithful messenger, having delivered it, returned immediately
for another load. While he was gone, a hundred pounds of flour pudding
was made, and two bagfuls of pork-fat tried out. This done, the three
lay down upon the curled hair of the old mattresses, they having been
ripped open and their contents drawn out to make the most comfortable
bed the place afforded. They slept as soundly "as vagrants on a
haystack."

The next day they set their faces toward the sledge company and Anoatok,
both sledges having heavy loads, which included the last of the fifteen
hundred pounds of provisions.

Dr. Kane had made one of his last trips to the brig: he would return for
provisions only; but all his specimens of Natural History, collected
with much toil, his books, and many of his well-tested instruments, he
was compelled to leave. His six dogs had carried him, during the
fortnight since the company left the brig, between seven and eight
hundred miles, averaging about fifty-seven miles a day. But for their
services the sick could scarcely have been saved, and the rest would
have suffered more intensely.

Leaving, as usual, a part of the food with Mr. Brooks's party, they
hastened on to replenish the stores and cheer the hearts of the lonely
dwellers in the hut.



CHAPTER XXIII.

NARROW ESCAPES.


HAVING brought forward the provisions to Anoatok, Dr. Kane, with the
help of Metek and his dogs, began to remove them still farther south,
making one deposit near Cape Hatherton, and the other yet farther, near
Littleton Island. But an immediate journey to Etah for walrus had become
necessary. The hard-working men were improving on this greasy food, and
they wanted it in abundance. Dr. Kane found the Etahites fat and full.
He left his weary, well-worn dogs to recruit on their abundance, and
returned with their only team, which was well fed and fresh. They made
the trade without any grumbling.

When he came back the Brooks party were within three miles of Anoatok.
They were getting along bravely and eating voraciously, and the old cry,
"more provisions!" saluted the commander. Leaving the dogs to aid in
transferring the stores to the southern stations, Dr. Kane and Irish Tom
Hickey started afoot to the brig to do another baking. It was a sixteen
hours' tramp. But ere they slept they converted nearly a barrel of
flour, the last of the stock, into the staff of life. An old
pickled-cabbage cask was used as a kneading trough, and sundry volumes
of the "Penny Cyclopedia of Useful Knowledge" were burned during the
achievement. Tom declared the work done to be worthy of his own
country's bakers, and he had been one "of them same," so he deemed that
praise enough. When the doctor lamented that the flour so used was the
last of the stock, Tom exclaimed: "All the better, sir, since we'll have
no more bread to make."

Godfrey came to the brig on the third day, with the dogs, to carry back
the baking. But a howling storm delayed them all on board. It was
Sunday, and the last time that Dr. Kane expected to be in the cabin with
any of his men. He took down a Bible from one of the berths and went
through the long-used religious service. The dreary place was less
dreary, and their burdened hearts were no doubt made lighter by thus
drawing near to God.

The commander and Tom left the next day with the sledge load, leaving
Godfrey to come on after farther rest. But scarcely had the sledge party
delivered their load of bread, and begun the sound sleep which follows
hard work, when Godfrey came in out of breath with the hot haste of his
journey. He reluctantly confessed the occasion of his sudden departure
from the brig. He had lain down on the contents of the mattresses to
sleep. Suddenly Wilson's guitar, left with other mementoes of two
winters' imprisonment, sent forth music soft and sad. Bill was sure he
heard aright, for he was awake and in his right mind. He fled on the
instant, and scarcely looked behind until he reached his companions. He
had never heard of the musical genius of Eolus, and it was not strange
that the old forsaken, mutilated, ghostly, looking brig should excite
the imagination of the lonely lodger.

The invalids of the huts were now doing well. Their housekeeping assumed
a home-like appearance--after the fashion of Arctic homes--and they
welcomed the doctor with a dish of tea, a lump of walrus flesh, and a
warm place. The Brooks party were not afar off.

A storm which out-stormed all they had yet seen or felt of storms came
down upon our explorers at this time.

When the storm had blown past, Morton was dispatched to Etah with the
dogs, accompanied by two Etahites who had been storm-bound with the
boat-parties. His mission was to demand aid of these allies on the
ground of sacred treaty stipulations, and well-recognized Esquimo laws
of mutual help. Dr. Kane took his place with the men on the floe.
Sledging was now not only made by the storm and advancing season more
laborious, but very dangerous; around the bergs black water appeared,
and over many places there were to be seen pools of water. The boats
were unladen, and their cargoes carried in parcels by sledges, yet
serious accidents occurred. At one time a runner of the sledge carrying
the "Hope" broke in, and the boat came near being lost; as it was, six
men were plunged into the water. Sick and well men worked for dear life,
and affairs were growing more than cloudy when the helping hand of the
great Helper was seen as it had been so often. Morton returned from
Etah, having been entirely successful in his appeal to the natives for
aid. They came with every sound dog they possessed, and with sledges
loaded with walrus. The dogs alone were equal to ten strong men added to
the expedition. Dr. Kane took one of the teams, and with Metek made his
last trip to the brig, and on his return commenced bringing down the
invalids of the hut to the boats. As he came near the floe-party he
found Ohlsen sitting on a lump of ice alone, some distance in their
rear. He had prevented the "Hope's" sledge from breaking through the ice
by taking for a moment its whole weight on a bar which he had slipped
under it. He was a strong man, and the act was heroic, but he was
evidently seriously injured. He was pale, but thought his only
difficulty was "a little cramp in the small of his back," and that he
should be better soon. Dr. Kane gave him Stephenson's seat on the
sledge, carried him to the boat, and gave him its most comfortable
place, and muffled him up in the best buffalo robes. Dr. Hayes gave him
tender and constant attention all that night, but he declined rapidly.

Having stowed the sick away in the boats, the morning prayers being
offered, the men on the sixth of June started anew at the drag-ropes.
Two hours' drawing sufficed to show all hands their insufficiency for
the task. Just then a spanking breeze started up. They hoisted the sails
of the boats, and the wind increased to a gale and blew directly after
them. Away the sledges sped toward the provision depot near Littleton
Island. Ridges in the ice which would have delayed them at the
drag-ropes for hours, but gave them the rise and fall as they glided
over them of a ship on the waves. God, who "holds the wind in his fist,"
had unloosed it for their benefit. The foot-sore, weary men, who a few
moments ago felt that an almost impossible task was theirs, were now
jubilant, and broke out into song--the first sailor's chorus song they
had sung for a year. They came to a halt at five o'clock P. M., having
made under sail the distance of five drag-rope days.

While here they were joined by old Nessark, and by Sipsu, the surly
chief who appears so conspicuously in the narrative of Dr. Hayes's
escaping party. They came with their fresh dog-teams, and offered their
services to the explorers. Nessark was sent after the last of the sick
men at the hut.

The following five or six days were those of peril and discouragement.
At one time a sledge had broken in, carrying with it several of the men,
bringing affairs to a gloomy crisis. But the men scrambled out, and, to
still further lift the burdens from the party, five sturdy Esquimo
appeared, with two almost equally strong women. They laid hold of the
drag-ropes with a will, and worked the rest of the day without demanding
any reward. So there was always help in their time of need.

Nessark came in good time with Wilson and Whipple, the last of the sick;
the old hut was now deserted, and all were with the boats except one.
Hans had been missing for nearly two months. Early in April he came to
his commander with a long face and a very plausible story; he had, he
said, no boots; he wanted to go to one of the Esquimo settlements a
little south to get a stock of walrus-hides. He did not want the dogs;
he would walk, and be back in good time. But the hitherto faithful and
trusted Hans had not returned. When inquiry was made of the people of
Etah they said he certainly called there, and engaged of one of the
women a pair of boots, and then pushed on to Peteravik, where Shanghee
and his pretty daughter lived. The last information they had of him they
gave with a shrug of the shoulders and a merry twinkle of the eye. He
had been seen by one of their people once since he left Etah; he was
then upon a native sledge, Shanghee's daughter at his side, bound south
of Peteravik. He had forsaken the explorers for a wife!

The party were one day feeling their way along cautiously, pioneers
going ahead and trying the soundness of the ice by thumping with boat
hooks and narwhal horns. Suddenly a shout of distress was heard. The
"Red Eric" had broken in! She contained the document box of the
expedition, the loss of which would make their whole work profitless to
the world even should the party be saved. She had on board too many
provision bags. But, after great exposure and labor, all was saved in
good condition, and the boat hauled upon the ice. Several of the men had
narrow escapes. Stephenson was caught as he sunk by the sledge runner,
and Morton was drawn out by the hair of his head as he was disappearing
under the ice. A grateful shout went up from all hands that nothing
serious resulted from the accident.



CHAPTER XXIV.

ESQUIMO KINDNESS.


THE company made slow and tiresome progress by Littleton Island, and
were carrying their entire load forward in parcels to the mainland at
the northern opening of Etah Bay, when the sad news was whispered to Dr.
Kane, who was with the advanced party, that Ohlsen was dead. A gloom
spread over the whole company. The fact was carefully concealed from the
Esquimo, who were sent to Etah under the pretext of bringing back a
supply of birds, the entire dog force being given them to hasten their
departure.

The funeral service, though attended by sincere grief, was necessarily
brief. The body was sewed up in Ohlsen's own blankets, the burial
service read, the prayer offered, and it was borne by his comrades in
solemn procession to a little gorge on the shore, and deposited in a
trench made with extreme difficulty. A sheet of lead, on which his name
and age was cut, was laid upon his breast; a monument of stones was
erected over it, to preserve it from the beasts of prey, and to mark the
spot. They named the land which overshadowed the spot Cape Ohlsen.

Having given two quiet hours, after the funeral service, to the solemn
occasion, the work at the drag-ropes was continued. The Esquimo
returned in full force, and with abundant provisions. They took their
turn at the drag-ropes with a shout; they carried the sick on their
sledges, and relieved the whole expedition from care concerning their
supplies. They brought in one week eight dozen sea-fowl--little
auks--caught in their hand-nets, and fed men and dogs. All ate, hunger
was fully satisfied, care for the time departed, the men broke out into
their old forecastle songs, and the sledges went merrily forward with
laugh and jest.

Passing round Cape Alexander, down Etah Bay, a short distance toward the
settlement, the expedition encamped. The long-sought, coveted open water
was only three miles away; its roar saluted their ears, and its scent
cheered their hearts. The difficult and delicate work of preparing the
boats for the sea-voyage now commenced. In the mean time the people of
Etah, men, women, and children, came and encamped in their midst,
leaving only three persons--two old women and a blind old man--in the
settlement. They slept in the "Red Eric," and fed on the stew cooked for
them in the big camp-kettle. Each one had a keepsake of a file, a knife,
a saw, or some such article of great value. The children had each that
great medicine for Esquimo sickness, a piece of soap, for which they
merrily shouted, "Thank you, thank you, big chief." There was joy in the
Esquimo camp which knew but one sorrow--that of the speedy departure of
the strangers. At the mention of this one woman stepped behind a tent
screen and wept, wiping her teary face with a bird-skin.

Dr. Kane rode to Etah to bid the aged invalids good-bye. Then came the
last distribution of presents. Every one had something, but the great
gift of amputating knives went to the chief, Metek, and the patriarch,
Nessark. The dogs were given to the community at large, excepting
Toodla-mik and Whitey; these veterans of many well-fought battle-fields
were reserved to share the homeward fortunes of their owners. Toodla was
no common dog, but earned for himself a place in dog history. As we are
to meet the dogs no more in our narrative, we will give Toodla's
portrait to be set up with our pen sketches. He was purchased at
Upernavik, and so he received the advantages of, at least, a partially
civilized education. His head was more compact, his nose less pointed
than most dogs of his kind, and his eye denoted affection and
self-reliance, and his carriage was bold and defiant. Toodla, at the
commencement of the cruise, appointed himself general-in-chief of all
the dogs. Now it often happens, with dogs as well as with men, that to
assume superiority is much easier than to maintain it. But Toodla's
generalship was never successfully disputed. The position, however, cost
him many a hard-fought battle, for the new comers naturally desired to
test his title to rule. These he soundly whipped on their introduction
to the pack. He even often left the brig's side, head erect, tail
gracefully curled over his back, and moved toward a stranger dog with a
proud, defiant air, as much as to say, "I am master here, sir!" If this
was doubted, he vindicated his boasting on the spot. Such tyranny
excited rebellions of course, and strong combinations were formed
against him; but dogs which had been trounced individually make weak
organizations, and the coalitions gave way before Toodla's prowess. It
is but fair, however, to say that he had strong allies upon whom he fell
back in great emergencies--the sailors. Toodla died in Philadelphia, and
still lives--that is, his stuffed skin still exists in the museum of the
Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences. His reputation is of the same
sort as that of many of the heroes of history, and worth as much to the
world.

Dr. Kane having distributed the presents and disposed of the dogs, there
was nothing now but the farewell address to render the parting ceremony
complete. Dr. Kane called the natives about him and spoke to them
through Petersen as interpreter. He talked to them as those from whom
kindness had been received, and to whom a return was to be made. He told
them about the tribes of their countrymen farther south whom he knew,
and from whom they were separated by the glaciers and the sea; he spoke
of the longer daylight, the less cold, the more abundant game, the
drift-wood, the fishing-nets, and kayaks of these relatives. He tried to
explain to them that under bold and cautious guidance they might, in
the course of a season or two, reach this happier region.

During this talk they crowded closer and closer to the speaker, and
listened with breathless attention to his remarks, often looking at each
other significantly.

Having thus parted with the natives, our exploring party hauled their
boats to the margin of the ice. The "Red Eric" was launched, and three
cheers were given for "Henry Grinnell and Homeward Bound." But the storm
king said, "Not yet!" He sounded an alarm in their ears, and they drew
the "Eric" from the water and retreated on the floe, which broke up in
their rear with great rapidity. Back, back, they tramped, wearily and
painfully, all that night, until the next day they found a sheltering
berg near the land, where they made a halt. Here they rested until the
wind had spent its wrath, and the sea had settled into a placid quiet.
Their voyaging on the floe with drag-ropes and sledges was ended.



CHAPTER XXV.

MELVILLE BAY.


ON the nineteenth of June the boats were launched into the sea, now
calm, the "Faith" leading under Kane, and the "Eric" under Bonsall, and
the "Hope" under Brooks following. The sea birds screamed a welcome to
the squadron, and flew about them as if to inquire why they came back in
three vessels instead of one, as when they sailed northward two years
before. But there was no leisure for converse with birds. They had just
passed Hakluyt Island, when the "Eric" sunk. Her crew, Bonsall, Riley,
and Godfrey, struggled to the other boats, and the "Faith" took the
sunken craft in tow. Soon after Brooks shouted that the "Hope" was
leaking badly, and threatening to sink. Fortunately the floe was not far
off, and into one of its creek-like openings they run the boats,
fastened them to the ice, and the weary men lay down in their bunks
without drawing the boats from the water and slept.

The next day they drew their leaking crafts ashore, and calked them for
another sea adventure. For several days they struggled with varying
fortunes until they brought up, weary, disheartened, and worn down by
work and an insufficient diet of bread-dust, and fastened to an old floe
near the land. Scarcely were they anchored when a vast ice raft caught
upon a tongue of the solid floe about a mile to the seaward of them, and
began to swing round upon it as a pivot, and to close in upon our
explorers. This was a new game of the ice-enemy. Nearer and nearer came
the revolving icy platform, seeming to gather force with every whirl. At
first the commotion that was made started the floe, to which they were
fastened, on a run toward the shore as if to escape the danger. But it
soon brought up against the rocks and was overtaken by its pursuer. In
an instant the collision came. The men sprang, by force of discipline,
to the boats and the stores, to bear them back to a place of safety, but
wild and far-spread ruin was around them. The whole platform where they
stood crumbled and crushed under the pressure, and was tossed about and
piled up as if the ice-demon was in a frenzy of passion. Escape for the
boats seemed for the moment impossible, and none expected it; and none
could tell when they were let down into the water, nor hardly how, yet
they found themselves whirling in the midst of the broken hummocks, now
raised up and then shaken as if every joint in the helpless, trembling
boats was to be dislocated. The noise would have drowned the uproar of
contending armies as ice was hurled against ice, and, as it felt the
awful pressure, it groaned harsh and terrific thunder. The men, though
utterly powerless, grasped their boat-hooks as the boats were borne away
in the tumultuous mass of broken ice and hurried on toward the shore.
Slowly the tumult began to subside, and the fragments to clear away,
until the almost bewildered men found themselves in a stretch of water
making into the land, wide enough to enable them to row. They came
against the wall of the ice-foot, and, grappling it, waited for the
rising tide to lift them to its top. While here the storm was fearful,
banging the boats against the ice-wall, and surging the waves into them,
thus keeping the imperiled men at work for dear life in bailing out the
water. They were at last lifted by the tide to the ice-foot, upon which
they pulled their boats, all uniting on each boat. They had landed on
the cliff at the mouth of a gorge in the rock; into this they dragged
the boats, keeping them square on their keels. A sudden turn in the cave
placed a wall between them and the storm, which was now raging
furiously. While they were drawing in the last boat, a flock of eider
ducks gladdened their hearts as they flew swiftly past. God had not only
guided them to a sheltered haven, but had assured them of abundant food
on the morrow. They were in the breeding home of the sea-fowl. Thus
comforted they lay down to sleep, though wet and hungry. They named
their providential harbor the "Weary Man's Rest," and remained in it
three days, eating until hunger was appeased, and gathering eggs at the
rate of twelve hundred a day, and laughing at the storms which roared
without.

On the fourth of July, after as much of a patriotic celebration as their
circumstances allowed, they again launched into the sea.

For some days they moved slowly south, but it was only by picking their
way through the leads, for they found the sea nearly closed. As they
approached Cape Dudley Digges their way was entirely closed. They pushed
into an opening that led to the bottom of its precipitous cliff. Here
they found a rocky shelf, overshadowed by the towering rocks, just large
enough and in the right position at high tide to make a platform on
which they could land their boats. Here they waited a whole week for the
ice toward Cape York to give way. The sea-fowl were abundant and of a
choice kind. The scurvy-killing cochlearia was at hand, which they ate
with their eggs. It was indeed a "providential halt," for the fact was
constantly forced upon them that they had come here, as they had to
"Weary Man's Rest," by no skill or knowledge of their own.

It was the eighteenth of July before the condition of the ice was such
as to make the renewal of their voyage possible. Two hundred and fifty
choice fowl had been skinned, cut open, and dried on the rocks, besides
a store of those thrown aboard as they were caught.

They now sailed along the coast, passing the "Crimson Cliffs" of Sir
John Ross. The birds were abundant, their halting-places on the shore
were clothed with green, and the fresh-water streams at which they
filled their vessels were pouring down from the glaciers. They built
great blazing fires of dry turf which cost nothing but the gathering.
After a day's hard rowing the sportsmen brought in fresh fowl, and,
gathered about their camp-fire, all ate, and then stretched themselves
on the moss carpet and slept. They enjoyed thankfully this Arctic Eden
all the more as they all knew that perils and privations were just
before them.

They wisely provided during these favored days a large stock of
provisions, amounting to six hundred and forty pounds, besides their
dried birds. Turf fuel, too, was taken on board for the fires.

They reached Cape York on the twenty-first of July. From this place they
were to try the dangers of Melville Bay, across which in their frail
boats they must sail. It had smiled upon their northward voyage; would
it favor their escape now? It certainly did not hold out to them
flattering promises. The inshore ice was solid yet, and terribly
hummocky. The open sea was far to the west, but along the margin of the
floe were leads, and fortunately there was one beginning where they had
halted. The boats were hauled up, examined, and as much as possible
repaired. The "Red Eric" was stripped, her cargo taken out, and her hull
held in reserve for fuel. A beacon was erected from which a red flannel
skirt was thrown as a pennant to the wind to attract attention. Under
this beacon records were left which told in brief the story of the
expedition. This done, and the blessing of God implored, the voyagers
entered the narrow opening in the ice.

For a while all went well, but one evening Dr. Kane was hastily called
on deck. The huge icebergs had bewildered the helmsman in the leading
boat, and he had missed the channel, and had turned directly toward the
shore until the boat was stopped by the solid floe. The lead through
which they had come had closed in their rear, and they were completely
entangled in the ice!

Without telling the men what had happened, the commander, under the
pretense of drying the clothes, ordered the boats drawn up, and a camp
was made on the ice.

In the morning Kane and M'Gary climbed a berg some three hundred feet
high. They were appalled by their situation; the water was far away, and
huge bergs and ugly hummocks intervened. M'Gary, an old-whaleman,
familiar from early manhood with the hardships of Arctic voyaging, wept
at the sight.

There was but one way out of this entanglement; the sledges must be
taken from the sides of the boats, where they had been hung for such
emergencies, the boats placed on them, and the old drag-rope practice
must be tried until the expedition reached the edge of the floe. One
sledge, that which bore the "Red Eric," had been used for fuel; so the
"Red Eric" itself was knocked to pieces, and stowed away for the same
use. About three days were consumed in thus toiling before they reached
the lead which they had left, launched once more into waters, and sailed
away before a fine breeze.

Thus far the boats had kept along the outer edge of the floe, following
the openings through the ice. But as this was slow work, though much
safer, they now ventured a while in the open sea farther west; but they
were driven back to the floe by heavy fogs, and on trying to get the
boats into a lead, one of those incidents occurred so often noticed, in
which God's hand was clearly seen. All hands were drawing up the "Hope,"
and she had just reached a resting-place on the floe, when-the "Faith,"
their best boat, with all their stores on board, went adrift. The sight
produced an almost panic sensation among the men. The "Hope" could not
possibly be launched in time to overtake her, for she was drifting
rapidly. But before they could collect their thoughts to devise the
means of her rescue, a cake of ice swung round, touched the floe where
they stood, reaching at the same time nearly to the "Faith," thus
bridging over the chasm. Instantly Kane and M'Gary sprung upon it, and
from it into the escaping boat. She was saved.



CHAPTER XXVI.

SAVED.


MATTERS were getting into a serious condition. The delays had been so
many that the stock of birds had been eaten, and the men had been for
several days on short allowance, which showed itself in their failing
strength. They were far out to sea, midway of the Melville Bay
navigation, and the boats were receiving a rough handling, and required
continual bailing to keep them from sinking.

It was just at this crisis that the ever timely aid came. A large seal
was seen floating upon a small patch of ice, seeming to be asleep. A
signal was given for the "Hope" to fall astern, while the "Faith"
approached noiselessly upon him, with stockings drawn over the oars.
Petersen lay in the bow with a large English rifle, and as they drew
near, the men were so excited that they could scarcely row; the safety
of the whole company seemed staked upon the capture of that seal. When
within three hundred yards, the oars were taken in, and the boat moved
silently on by a scull-oar at the stern. The seal was not asleep, for
when just beyond the reach of the ball he raised his head. The thin,
care-worn, almost despairing faces of the men showed their deep concern
as he appeared about to make his escape. Dr. Kane gave the signal to
fire; but poor Petersen, almost paralyzed by anxiety, was trying
nervously to get a rest for his gun on the edge of the bow. The seal
rose on his fore-flipper, looked curiously around, and coiled himself up
for a plunge. The rifle cracked at the instant, and the seal at the same
moment drooped his head one side, and stretched his full length on the
ice at the brink of his hole. With a frantic yell the men urged the
boats to the floe, seized the seal, and bore him to a safer place. They
brandished their knives, cut long strips of the seal, and went dancing
about the floe, eating and sucking their bloody fingers in wild delight.
The seal was large and fat, but not an ounce of him was wasted. A fire
was built that night on the floe, and the joyous feast went on until
hunger was appeased; they had driven away its gnawings, and, happily, it
returned no more.

On the first of August they had passed the terrible bay, and sighted
land on its southern side. Familiar landmarks of the whalers came in
sight. They passed the Duck Islands and Cape Shackelton, and coasted
along by the hills, seeking a cove in which to land. One was soon found,
the boats drawn up, a little time spent in thanksgiving and
congratulations, and then they lay down on the dry land and slept.

They continued to coast near the shore, dodging about among the islands,
and dropping into the bays, and landing for rest at night. It was at
one of these sleeping-halts on the rocks that Petersen saw one of the
natives, whom he recognized as an old acquaintance; he was in his kayak
seeking eider-down among the rocks. Petersen hailed him, but the man
played shy. "Paul Zacharias," shouted Petersen, "don't you know me? I am
Carl Petersen!"

"No," replied the man; "his wife says he's dead."

The native stared at the weather-beaten, long-bearded man for a moment
as he loomed up through the fog, and then turned the bow of his boat,
and paddled away as if a phantom was pursuing him.

Two days after this the explorers were rowing leisurely along in a fog,
which had just began to lift and dimly reveal the objects on shore. At
this moment a familiar sound came to them over the water. It was the
"huk" of the Esquimo, for which they had often taken the bark of a fox
or the startling screech of the gulls; but this "huk! huk!" died away in
the home-thrilling "halloo!"

"Listen, Petersen! what is it?"

Petersen listened quietly for a moment, and then, trembling with
emotion, said, in an undertone, "Dannemarkers!"

Then the whole company stood up and peered into the distant nooks, in
breathless silence to catch the sound again. The sound came again, and
all was a moment silent. It was the first Christian voice they had heard
beyond their own party for two years. But they saw nothing. Was it not
a cheat after all of their nervous, excited feelings? The men sat down
again and bent to their oars, and their boats swept in for the cape from
which the sound proceeded. They scanned narrowly every nook and green
spot where the strangers might be found. A full half hour passed in this
exciting search. At last the single mast of a small shallop was seen.
Petersen, who had kept himself during the search very still and sober,
burst into a fit of crying, relieved by broken exclamations of English
and Danish, gulping down his words at intervals, and wringing his hands
all the while. "'Tis the Upernavik oil-boat!" "The Mariane has come! and
Carlie Mossyn--"

Petersen had hit the facts. The annual ship, Mariane, had arrived at
Proven, and Carlie Mossyn had come up to get the year's supply of
blubber from Kinqatok.

Here our explorers listened while Carlie, in answer to their questions,
gave them a hint of what had been going on in the civilized world during
their long absence. The Crimean war had been begun and was in bloody
progress, but "Sebastopol wasn't taken!" "Where and what is Sebastopol?"
they queried. "But what of America?" Carlie didn't know much about that
country, for no whale ships were on the coast, but said "a steamer and a
bark passed up a fortnight ago seeking your party."

"What of Sir John Franklin?" they next inquired. Carlie said the priest
had a German newspaper which said traces of his boats and dead had been
found! Yes, found a thousand miles away from the region where our
explorers had been looking for them!

One more row into the fog and one more halting on the rocks. They all
washed clean in the fresh water of the basins, and brushed up their
ragged furs and woolens. The next morning they neared the settlement of
Upernavik, of which Petersen had been foreman, and they heard the
yelling of the dogs as its snowy hill-top showed itself through the
mist, and the tolling of the workmen's bells calling them to their daily
labor came as sweet music to their ears. They rowed into the big harbor,
landed by an old Brewhouse, and hauled their boats up for the last time.
A crowd of merry children came round them with cheerful faces and
curious eyes. In the crowd were the wife and children of Petersen. Our
explorers were safe; their perils were over!

Having lived in the open air for eighty-four days, they felt a sense of
suffocation within the walls of a house. But divided among many kind,
hospitable homes, they drank their coffee and listened to hymns of
welcome sung by many voices.

The people of Upernavik fitted up a loft for the reception of the
wayfarers, and showed them great kindness. They remained until the sixth
of September, and then embarked on the Danish vessel "Mariane," whose
captain was to leave them at the nearest English port on his way to
Denmark. The boat "Faith" was taken on board, as a relic of their
perilous adventure; the document box containing their precious records,
and the furs on their backs--these were all that were saved of the
heroic brig "Advance."

The "Mariane" made a short stay at Godhavn. The searching company under
Captain Hartstene had left there for the icy north one the twenty-first
of July, since which nothing was known of them.

The "Mariane" was on the eve of leaving with our explorers when the
lookout shouted from the hill-top that a steamer was in the distance. It
drew near with a bark in tow, both flying the stars and stripes. The
"Faith" was lowered for the last time, and, with Brooks at the helm, Dr.
Kane went out to meet them. As they came alongside Captain Hartstene
hailed: "Is that Dr. Kane?" "Yes!" Instantly the men sprung into the
rigging and gave cheers of welcome; and the whole country, on the
arrival of the long-lost explorers, repeated the glad shout of welcome;
and the Christian world echoed, "Welcome!"



CHAPTER XXVII.

OFF AGAIN.


DR. KANE'S party came home, as we have seen, in the fall of 1855. Dr.
Hayes, with whom we have become acquainted as one of that number, began
immediately to present the desirableness of further exploration in the
same direction to the scientific men of the country, and to the public
generally. His object was to sail to the west side of Smith's Sound,
instead of the east, as in the last voyage, and to gather additional
facts concerning the currents, the aurora, the glaciers, the directions
and intensity of "the magnetic force," and so to aid in settling many
interesting scientific questions. He aimed also, of course, to further
peer into the mysteries of the open Polar Sea.

These efforts resulted in the fitting out for this purpose, in the
summer of 1860, the schooner "United States," and the appointment of Dr.
Hayes as commander. She left Boston July sixth, manned by fourteen
persons all told. The vessel was small, but made for arctic warfare, and
as she turned her prow North Poleward, she bore a defiant spirit, and,
like all inexperienced warriors, reckoned the victory already hers. But
if the vessel was "green" her commander was not. He was well able to
help her in the coming battle with icebergs and floes.

Among her men were only two besides the doctor who had seen arctic
service, one of whom was Professor August Sontag, who had been of Kane's
party, and had also been of the number who accompanied Dr. Hayes in the
attempt to escape. Of the rest of the crew were two young men nearly of
an age, about eighteen, who are represented as joining the expedition
because they would, and in love of adventure. Their names were George F.
Knorr, commander's clerk, and Collins C. Starr. Both pressed their
desire to go upon Dr. Hayes, and Starr told him that he would go in
_any_ capacity. The commander told him he might go in the forecastle
with the common sailors, and the next day, to the surprise of the
doctor, he found him on board, manfully at work with the roughest of the
men, having doffed his silk hat, fine broadcloth, and shining boots of
the elegant young man of the day before. The commander was so pleased
with his spirit that he promoted him on the spot, sending him off to be
sailing-master's mate.

In a little less than four weeks of prosperous sailing, the "United
States" was at the Danish port of Proven, Greenland. It was the
intention of the commander to get a supply here of the indispensable
dog-teams, but disease had raged among them, and none could be bought.
The vessel was delayed, in order that the chief trader, Mr. Hansen, who
was daily expected from Upernavik, might be consulted in the matter.
When he arrived he gave a gloomy account of the dog-market, but kindly
_gave_ the expedition his own teams. The couriers which had been sent
out to scour the country for others, returned with four old dogs and a
less number of good ones.

On the evening of the twelfth of August the explorers arrived at
Upernavik. The Danish brig "Thialfe" lay at anchor in the harbor, about
to sail for Copenhagen with a cargo of skins and oil, so the first
letters to the dear ones at home were hastily written to send by her.
They bore sad news to at least one family circle. Mr. Gibson Caruther
retired to his berth well on the evening of their arrival, and in the
morning was found dead. He had escaped the perils of the first Grinnell
Expedition under Capt. De Haven to die thus suddenly ere those of his
second voyage had begun. He was beloved, able, and intelligent, and his
death was a great loss to the enterprise. His companions laid him away
in the mission burial-ground, the missionary, Mr. Anton, officiating.

Before leaving Upernavik, Dr. Hayes secured the services of an Esquimo
interpreter, one Peter Jensen, who brought on board with him one of the
best dog-teams of the country; and soon after he came, two more Esquimo
hunters and dog-drivers were enlisted; and a still better addition to
the expedition were two Danish sailors, one of whom is our old friend
whom we left here some five years ago rejoicing in re-union with wife
and children--Carl Christian Petersen. Petersen enlisted as carpenter
as well as sailor.

With these six persons added to her company, making it twenty in all,
the "United States" left Upernavik to enter upon the earnest work of the
expedition. The settlement had scarcely faded in the distance, when the
icebergs were seen marshaling their forces to give the little voyager
battle. A long line of them was formed just across her course, some more
than two hundred feet high and a mile long. They were numberless, and at
a distance seemed to make a solid, jagged ice-wall. When the schooner
was fairly in among them, the sunlight was shut out as it is from the
traveler in a dense forest. She felt the wind in a "cat's-paw" now and
then, and so the helm lost its control of her, and she went banging
against first one berg and then another. The bergs themselves minded not
the little breeze which was blowing, but swept majestically along by the
under current. The navigators were kept on the alert to keep the vessel
from fatal collision with its huge, cold, defiant enemies, as the
surface current drove it helplessly onward. Sometimes, as they
approached one, the boats were lowered, and the vessel was towed away
from danger; at another crisis, as it neared one berg, an anchor was
planted in another in an opposite direction, and she was warped into a
place of security. Occasionally they tied up to a berg and waited for a
chance for progress.

While thus beset with dangers, there were occasions of some pleasant
excitement. The birds were abundant and of many varieties, affording
sport for the hunters and fresh food for the table; the seals sported in
the clear water, and were shot for the larder of the dogs; and Dr. Hayes
and Professor Sontag found employment with their scientific instruments.

Such had been the state of things for four days, when one morning the
vessel was borne toward a large berg, of a kind the sailors called
"touch-me-nots." It was an old voyager, whose jagged sides, high towers,
deep valleys and swelling hills, showed that time, the sun, and the
tides, had laid their hands upon it. Such bergs are about as good
neighbors as an avalanche on a mountain side, just ready for a run into
the valley below. Warps and tow-boats, instantly and vigorously used,
failed to stop the schooner's headway. She touched the berg, and down
dropped fragments of it larger than the vessel, followed by a shower of
smaller pieces; but they went clear of the vessel. Now the berg began to
revolve, turning toward the explorers, and as its towering sides settled
slowly over them, fragments poured upon the deck--a fearful hail-storm.
There was no safety for the men except in the forecastle, and there
appeared to be no escape for the schooner. But just in time an immense
section of the base of the berg, which seemed to be far below the water
line, broke off, and rose to the surface with a sudden rush, which threw
the sea into violent commotion. The balance of the berg was changed; it
paused, and then began, slowly at first but with increasing rapidity,
to turn in the opposite direction. If this was intended as a retreat of
the bergy foe, it defended well its rear. At its base, from which the
piece had just been broken, was an icy projection toward the vessel; as
the berg revolved, this tongue came up and struck the keel. It seemed
intent upon tossing the vessel into the air, or rolling her over and
leaving her bottom side up upon the sea. The men seized their poles and
pushed vigorously to launch the vessel from the perilous position, but
in vain. Just in time again the unseen Hand interfered for their
deliverance. Deafening reports, like a park of artillery, saluted their
ears, and a misty smoke arose above the berg. Its opposite side was
breaking up, and launching its towering peaks into the sea. The berg
paused again and began to roll back, and thus for the moment released
the vessel. The boat had in the meantime fastened an anchor in a
grounded berg, and the welcome shout came, "Haul in!" Steadily and with
a will the men drew upon the rope, and the vessel moved slowly from the
scene of danger, not, however, before the returning top of the berg had
launched upon her deck a shower of ice-fragments, in fearful assurance
that its whole side would soon follow and bury them as the shepherd's
hut is buried by a mountain slide. A few moments later and the side came
down with a tremendous crash, sending its spray over the escaped vessel,
and tossing it as the drift-wood is tossed in the eddies beneath a
water-fall.

All that day the roar of the icy cannon was continued, as if a naval
battle was in progress for the empire of the north, and berg after berg
went down, strewing the sea with their shattered fragments, while misty
clouds floated over the field of conflict.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

COLLIDING FLOES.


AFTER this ice encounter the expedition put into a little port called
Tessuissak, to complete their outfit of dogs. An impatient tarry of two
days enabled them to count, on the deck of the little vessel, thirty
first-class, howling dogs, whose amiable tempers found expression in
biting each other, and making both day and night hideous with their
noise.

This port was left on the twenty-third of August, and, much to the joy
of all, the dreaded Melville Bay was clear of the ice-pack; the
icebergs, however, kept their watch over its storm-tossed waters.
Through these waters driven before a fierce wind, and buried often in a
fog so dense that the length of the vessel could not be seen, the
"United States" sped. Its anxious commander was on deck night and day,
not knowing the moment when an icy wall, as fatal to the vessel as one
of granite, might arrest its course and send it instantly to the bottom
of the sea. Once they passed so near a berg just crossing their track
that the fore-yard grazed its side, and the spray from its surf-beaten
wall was thrown upon the deck. A berg at one time hove in sight with an
arch through it large enough for a passage-way for the schooner. The
explorers declined, however, the novel adventure. The passage of
Melville Bay was made, with sails only, in fifty-five hours. The pack
which had invariably troubled explorers seemed to have been enjoying a
summer vacation, and the bergs were off duty. The expedition had reached
the North Water and lay off Cape York.

The ocean current which sweeps past this cape, and opens the way to the
other side of Baffin Bay, is wonderful. It is the great Polar current
which comes rushing down through Spitzbergen Sea, along the eastern
coast of Greenland, laden with ice, and taking the waters of its rivers
with their freight of drift-wood as it passes. Leaving most of the wood
along its shore, a welcome gift to the people, it sweeps around Cape
Farewell, courses near the western shore in its run north until it has
passed Melville Bay. When it has crossed over to the American shore near
Jones Strait, it joins the current from the Arctic Sea, turns south, and
makes the long journey until it reaches our own coast, dropping its ice
freight as it goes, and sending its cooling air through the
heat-oppressed atmosphere of our summer.

As our explorers approached the shore of Cape York they looked carefully
for the natives. Soon a company of Esquimo were seen making their wild
gesticulations to attract attention. A boat was lowered, and Dr. Hayes
and Professor Sontag went ashore, and as they approached the
landing-place one of the Esquimo called them by name. It was our old
friend Hans, of the Kane voyage, who, the reader will recollect, left
his white friends for an Esquimo wife. The group consisted, besides
Hans, of his wife and baby, his wife's mother, an old woman having
marked talking ability, and her son, a bright-eyed boy of twelve years.
Hans had found his self-imposed banishment among the savages of this
extreme north rather tedious. He had removed his family to this lookout
for the whale ships, and had watched and waited. It was the dreariest of
places, and his hut, pitched on a bleak spot the better to command a
view of the sea, was the most miserable of abodes. It had plainly cost
him dear to break his faith with his confiding commander and the friends
of his early Christian home.

Dr. Hayes asked Hans if he would go with the expedition. He answered
promptly, "Yes."

"Would you take your wife and baby?"

"Yes."

"Would you go without them?"

"Yes."

He was taken on board with his wife and baby. The mother and her boy
cried to go, but the schooner was already overcrowded.

Leaving Cape York, the vessel spread her sails before a "ten-knot"
breeze, and dodging the icebergs with something of a reckless daring,
seemed bent on reaching the Polar Sea before winter set in. At one time
what appeared to be two icebergs a short distance apart lay in the
course of the vessel. The helmsman was ordered to steer between them,
for to go round involved quite a circuit. On dashed the brave little
craft for the narrow passage. When she was almost abreast of them the
officer on the lookout shuddered to see that the seeming bergs were but
one, and that the connecting ice appeared to be only a few feet below
the surface. It was too late to stop the headway of the vessel, or to
turn her to the right or left. She rushed onward, but the water of the
opening proved to be deeper than it appeared, and her keel but touched
once or twice, just to show how narrow was the escape.

Hans was delighted with his return to ship life. His wife seemed pleased
and half bewildered by the strange surroundings. The baby crowed,
laughed, and cried, and ate and slept--like other babies.

The sailors put the new comers through a soap-and-water ordeal, to which
was added the use of scissors and combs. Esquimo do not bathe, nor
practice the arts of the barber, and consequently they keep numerous
boarders on their persons. When this necessary cleansing and cropping
was done, they donned red shirts and other luxuries of civilization.
With the new dresses they were delighted, and they were never tired of
strutting about in them. But the soap and water was not so agreeable. At
first it was taken as a rough joke, but the wife soon began to cry. She
inquired of her husband if it was a religious ceremony of the white men.

The vessel made good time until she came within three miles of Cape
Alexander. It was now August twenty-eighth, and so it was time these
Arctic regions should begin to show their peculiar temper. A storm came
down upon them, pouring the vials of its wrath upon the shivering vessel
for about three days. During a lull in the storm the schooner was hauled
under the shelter of the highlands of Cape Alexander and anchored. She
rocked and plunged fearfully. At one time when these gymnastics were
going on, the old Swedish cook came to the commander in the cabin with
refreshments, but he was hardly able to keep his "sea legs." He remarks
as he comes in, "I falls down once, but de commander sees I keeps de
coffee. It's good an' hot, and very strong, and go right down into de
boots."

"Bad night on deck, cook," remarks the captain.

"O, it's awful, sar! I never see it blow so hard in all my life, an' I's
followed de sea morn'n forty years. An' den it's so cold! My galley is
full of ice, and de water, it freeze on my stove."

"Here, cook, is a guernsey for you. It will keep you warm."

"Tank you, sar!" says the cook, starting off with his prize. But
encouraged by the kind bearing of his captain, he stops and asks, "Would
the commander be so kind as to tell me where we is? De gentlemen fool
me."

"Certainly, cook. The land over there is Greenland; the big cape is Cape
Alexander; beyond that is Smith's Sound, and we are only about eight
hundred miles from the North Pole."

"De Nort Pole! vere's dat?"

The commander explains as well as he can.

"Tank you, sar. Vat for we come--to fish?"

"No, not to fish, cook; for science."

"O, dat it! Dey tell me we come to fish. Tank you, sar."

The old cook pulls his greasy cap over his bald head and thinks.
"Science!" "De Nort Pole!" He don't get the meaning of these through his
cap, and he "tumbles up" the companion-ladder, and goes to the galley to
enjoy his guernsey.

Dr. Hayes and Knorr went ashore and climbed to the top of the cliffs,
twelve hundred feet. The wind was fearfully breezy, and Knorr's cap left
and went sailing like a feather out to sea. The view was full of arctic
grandeur, but not flattering to the storm-bound navigators. Ice was
evidently king a little farther north.

Soon after the explorer's return to the vessel the storm gathered fresh
power, and the anchors began to drag. Soon one hawser parted, and away
went the schooner, with fearful velocity, and brought up against a berg.
The crash was appalling, and the stern boat flew into splinters. The
spars were either bent or carried away; and, as they attempted to hoist
the mainsail, it went to pieces. The crippled craft was with difficulty
worked back into the projecting covert of Cape Alexander. Her decks were
covered with ice, and the dogs were perishing with wet and cold, three
having died.

Having repaired damages as well as they could, they again pushed into
the pack of Smith's Sound, which lay between them and open water,
visible far to the north. Entering a lead under full sail, they made
good progress for awhile; but suddenly a solid floe shot across the
channel, and the vessel, with full headway, struck it like a battering
ram. The cut-water flew into splinters, and the iron sheathing of the
bows was torn off as if it had been paper.

Pushing off from the floe, and passing through a narrow lead, they
emerged into an area of open water. But the floe was on the alert. This
began to close up, and, taking a hint of foul play, the explorers
steered toward the shore. But the ice battalions moved with celerity,
piled up across the vessel's bow, and closed in on every side. In an
hour they held her as in a vice, while the reserve force was called up
to crush her to atoms. The foe was jubilant, for the power at his
command was kindred to that of the earthquake. An ice-field of millions
of tons, moved by combined wind and current, rushed upon the solid
ice-field which rested against the immovable rocks of the shore. Between
these was the schooner--less than an egg-shell between colliding,
heavily laden freight trains. As the pressure came steadily, in well
assured strength, she groaned and shrieked like a thing of conscious
pain, writhing and twisting as if striving to escape her pitiless
adversary. Her deck timbers bowed, and the seams of the deck-planks
opened, while her sides seemed ready to yield.

Thus far the closing forces were permitted to strike severely on the
side of the helpless vessel, to show that they could crush her as rotten
fruit is crushed in a strong man's hand. Then He, without whose
permission no force in nature moves, and at whose word they are
instantly stayed, directed the floe under the strongly timbered "bilge"
of the hull, and, with a jerk which sent the men reeling about the deck,
lifted the vessel out of the water. The floes now fought their battle
out beneath her, as if they disdained, like the lion with the mouse in
his paw, to crush so small a thing. Great ridges were piled up about
her, and one underneath lifted her high into the air. Eight hours she
remained in this situation, while the lives of all on board seemed
suspended on the slenderest thread.

Then came the yielding and breaking up of the floes. Once, at the
commencing of the giving way, an ice prop of the bows suddenly yielded,
let the forward end of the vessel down while the stern was high in the
air. But finally the battered craft settled squarely into the water.

She was leaking badly, and the pumps were kept moving with vigor. The
rudder was split, and two of its bolts broken; the stern-post started,
and fragments of the cut-water and keel were floating away. But, strange
to say, no essential injury was done. She was slowly navigated into
Hartstene or _Etah_ Bay, where we have been so often, anchored safely,
and repairs immediately commenced.



CHAPTER XXIX.

THE WINTER HOME.


ONE more effort, after the repairs were finished, was made to push
through the ice-floe of Smith's Sound. This resulting in failure, it was
plainly impossible to get farther north. The vessel was brought into
Etah Bay again, a harbor found eight miles north-east of Cape Alexander,
and eighty by the coast from the harbor of the "Advance," though only
twenty in a straight line, and preparations were at once begun for
winter. Peter, the Esquimo dog-driver, and Hans were appointed a hunting
party. Sontag, the astronomer, with three assistants, was mainly engaged
in scientific observations and experiments. There was work for all the
rest. Some were engaged in unloading the cargo and lifting it by a
derrick to a terrace on the shore, far above the highest tide, where a
storehouse was made for it. The hold of the schooner was cleared,
scrubbed, and white-washed, a stove set up, and made a home for the
sailors. The sails and yards were "sent down," the upper deck roofed in,
making a house eight feet high at the ridge, and six and a half at the
sides.

The crew moved into their new quarters on the first of October. The
event was celebrated by a holiday dinner. There was joy on shipboard;
thankful for escapes granted by the great Protector, trustful for the
future, and, greatly encouraged by present blessings, none were unhappy.
The hunters were very successful, bringing in every day game of the best
kind, and in great abundance. A dozen reindeer were suspended from the
shrouds, and clusters of rabbits and foxes were hung in the rigging;
besides these, deposits of reindeer were made in various directions. The
hard-working men ate heartily of the relishing fresh food, and laughed
to scorn the scurvy. They called the place of their winter quarters Port
Foulke.

When the floe became frozen, the sledges were put in readiness for the
dog-teams. The dogs having been well fed, were in fine condition.

Blocks of ice were used to make a wall about the vessel, from the floe
to the deck, between which and her sides the snow was crowded, making a
solid defense against the cold.

On the fifteenth of October the sun bade them farewell for four months,
and they anticipated the coming darkness under circumstances certainly
much better than had been often granted to arctic sojourners.

As there was yet a long twilight, dog-trips were very exhilarating. Dr.
Hayes once rode behind his dogs twelve measured miles in an hour and one
minute, without a moment's halt. Sontag and the captain raced their
teams, the captain beating, as was becoming, by four minutes.

The dogs were made to know their masters--a knowledge quite necessary
for the good of all. Jensen observed that one of his team was getting
rebellious. "You see dat beast," he said. "I takes a piece out of his
ear." The long lash unrolls, the sinewy snapper on its tip touches the
tip of the dog's ear, and takes out a piece as neatly as a sharp knife
would have done.

The same day Jensen's skill at dog driving was put to a severe test. A
fox crossed their path. Up went their tails, curling over their backs,
their short ears pricked forward, and away they went in full chase. In
such a case woe be to the driver who cannot take a piece of flesh out of
any dog in the team at each snap of his merciless whip. Jensen was
usually master of such a situation, but it so happened that a strong
wind blew directly in the face of the team and carried the lash back
before it reached its victim. Missing its terrible bite, the dogs became
for a while unmanageable and raced after the fox at full speed. To make
matters worse, treacherous ice lay just ahead. The dogs were already on
the heels of the fox, and about to make a meal of him, when Jensen
regained full control of his whip. It stung severely, now this one and
then that. Their tails dropped, their ears drooped, and they paused and
obeyed their master. But they were greatly provoked at the loss of the
game, and at the harsh subjection, and, with characteristic amiability,
they commenced to snap at and bite each other. Jensen jumped from the
sledge and laid the whip-stock on them, knocking them to the right and
left, until, it is presumed, made very loving by the process, they went
about their assigned business.

Parties of the explorers were out nearly every day, hunting, or pursuing
the scientific inquiries.

Knorr, the secretary of the commander, was off with Hans. He had his
adventure to talk about on his return. He wounded in the valley a
reindeer, which hobbled on three legs up a steep hill. The young hunter
followed, and, getting within easy range, brought it down by a
well-aimed shot. The deer being in a line with Knorr, came sliding down
the hill, and, knocking against him, both went tumbling down together.
Fortunately he carried no broken bones, but only bruises to the vessel
as mementoes of his deer hunt.

Sontag, on the same day, had his perilous incident. He had climbed to
the top of a glacier by cutting steps in the ice. Across the ice was a
crack, bridged over with thin ice, but entirely concealed by it.
Stepping on this he broke through and fell into the chasm; fortunately
it was a narrow one, and the barometer which he carried, crossing the
creek, broke the fall and probably saved his life. On what a slender
thread hangs this mortal existence!

During this sledging season Dr. Hayes visited the homes of our old
acquaintance at Etah, which was only four miles from the schooner; but
they were deserted. Near the huts was a splendid buck, busily engaged in
pawing up and eating the moss from under the snow. He seemed so
unsuspecting, and withal so honestly engaged, that the doctor, though
he had crept on the leeward side, within easy range, was reluctant to
fire. Twice he aimed, and twice dropped his gun from its level. Bringing
it to sight the third time he fired, and the ball went crashing through
the noble animal. We hear nothing of compunction in eating him on the
part of any on shipboard, and probably the pitying reader would have had
none.

Our old friend Hans does not appear so favorably in the present
narrative as he did in that of Dr. Kane. His five years of chosen exile
among his purely heathen countrymen does not seem to have left many
traces of his Christian education. Some allowance, however, must be made
for a difference of estimate of his character by his former and present
commander. In Dr. Hayes's judgment, "he is a type of the worst phase of
the Esquimo character."

Hans's domestic relations are represented as not of the most happy kind.
His wife's name is Merkut, but is known to the sailors as "Mrs. Hans."
She passes for a "beauty," as Esquimo beauty goes; has a flush of red on
rather a fair cheek when, exceptionally, she uses soap and water enough
for it to be seen through the usual coating of dirt. Their baby, ten
months' old, bears the pleasant name of Pingasuk--"Pretty One." Hans has
a household of his own. He pitched a tent, when the schooner went into
winter-quarters, under the roof of the upper deck. The Esquimo Marcus
and Jacob make a part of his family. Here, wrapped in their furs, where
they choose to be, they huddle together, warm "as fleas in a rug,"
though the temperature is seldom higher than about the freezing point.
Little "Pretty One" creeps out of the tent about the deck, having for
covering only the ten months' accumulation of grease and dirt, not
unfrequently accompanied by its mother, who on such occasion is
guiltless of "costly array," or much of any whatever.

Hans's gentlemen lodgers were taken on board as dog-drivers, but they
seemed to have been of no possible use except to give occasion for the
mirthful jokes of the sailors.

Peter, chief dog manager, a converted Esquimo, brother to Jacob, gave
his commander excellent satisfaction and stood high in his esteem. He
was skillful, industrious, and trustworthy. Between him and Hans an
intense jealousy existed. Hans had, under Dr. Kane, no rival in his
sphere. Peter was now, at least, a peer, and so the glory of his
exaltation from Esquimo hut-life was greatly eclipsed. His master even
preferred Peter before him; but Prof. Sontag clung, with a little of the
Dr. Kane partiality, to the favorite of the former voyage.

Hans had no reason, however, to complain of the consideration shown him
by his chief. At one time he gave him, to quiet his jealousy, a new suit
of clothes, with the very reddest of flannel shirts. In these he
appeared at the Sunday inspection and religious service, quite as elated
at his personal adornment, though probably not more so, as the "fine
gents" of our home Sabbath assemblies.



CHAPTER XXX.

GLACIERS.

THE glacier is one of the wonderful things of the northern regions. We
will visit one with Dr. Hayes, and, on our return to the vessel, listen
to some curious and interesting facts concerning it. Although there was
no sunshine at the time of the first glacier excursion, the twilight was
long and clear; it was October twenty-first. The run was made to the
foot of the glacier from the vessel, with the dogs, in forty minutes. It
appeared here as a great ice-wall, one hundred feet high and a mile
broad. The glacier in descending the valley extended in breadth not
quite to the slope of the hills, so it left between them and each of its
sides a gorge. It is very curious that the ice should not lean against
the hills as it slips along and thus fill up all the valley as water
would.

Our party first stopped and examined the front face of the glacier. It
was nearly perpendicular, but bulging out a little in the middle. It was
worn in places by the summer streams which run over it, and marred in
other parts by the fall of great fragments into the valley below. While
our visitors were gazing at it a crystal block came down as an angry
hint for them to stand from under. Wisely heeding the warning, they
turned up one of the gorges between the glacier side and the hill. Here
was rough traveling, and, we should think, dangerous too. There were
strewed along in their path ice fragments from the glacier on one side,
and rocks and earth which had slid down the hill on the other. If the
glacier was as evil disposed as its children, the icebergs, it might let
loose some of its projecting crags on their heads.

Finding a favorable place, they began to cut steps in the side of the
glacier in order to mount to its surface. Having reached the top they
cautiously walked to the center of the icy stream, drove two stakes on a
line in it, and then two half way between these and the sides of the
glacier. Then they measured the distance of these stakes from each
other, and sighted from their tops fixed objects on the hills. They
purposed to come in the spring and examine the distance apart of the
stakes, and sight from them the fixed objects, so as to determine how
fast the frozen river was moving down the valley. Having set the stakes
they scampered back to the vessel.

After a little rest another journey to the glacier was made, this time
without the dogs, the sledges, having a light outfit, being drawn by the
men. These were young Knorr, the sailor M'Donald, Mr. Heywood, a
landsman from the west--an amateur explorer--the Dane, Petersen, and the
Esquimo, Peter. When they arrived at the gorge, the way was so rough
that they were compelled to carry the sledge loads in parcels on their
backs. It was rough work, and they sought an early camp; but with the
frowning ice-cliffs on one side and hill-crags on the other, both
evil-minded in the use of their icy and rocky missiles, and with also
the uneven bed of rocks beneath them, no wonder they did not sleep. They
were soon astir, pushed farther up the gorge, and finding a favorable
place, began to cut steps up the glacier. The first one who attempted to
mount reached some distance, then slipped, and in sliding down carried
with him his companions who were following, and the whole company were
promiscuously tumbled into the gorge. The one going ahead had better
luck the next trial, carrying a rope by which the sledge was drawn up,
and all mounted in safety.

They now started off up this ice-river toward the great sea of ice from
whence it flowed. The surface was at first rough, and of course slightly
descending toward its front edge. Dr. Hayes walked in advance of the
sledge party, carrying a pole over his head grasped by both hands, being
fearful of the treacherous cracks hidden by their ice. Soon down he went
into one, but the pole reached across the chasm and he scrambled out.
The depth of the chasm remains a mystery to this day. The ice grew
smoother as they proceeded, and they made about five miles, pitched
their canvas tents, cooked with their lamp a good supper, made coffee,
ate and drank like weary men, crept into their fur sleeping bags, and
slept soundly though the thermometer was about fifteen degrees below
zero. The next day they traveled thirty miles, and came upon an even
plain where the surface of the ice-sea was covered with many feet of
snow, the crust of which broke through at every step. This made very
hard traveling, yet the following day they tramped twenty-five miles
more. Now came the ever-at-hand Arctic storm. They camped, but lower and
lower fell the temperature, and fiercer and fiercer blew the wind. They
could not sleep, so they decided to turn their faces homeward. The frost
nipped their fingers, and assailed their faces, as they hastily packed
up and started. They were five thousand feet above the level of the sea,
and seventy miles from the coast, and were standing in the midst of a
vast icy desert. There was neither mountain nor hill in sight. As in
mid-ocean the sailor beholds the sea bounded only by the sky, so here
they beheld only ice, which stretched away to the horizon on every
side--truly a sea of ice. Clouds of snow whirled along its surface, at
times rising and disappearing in the cold air, or drifted across the
face of the setting moon--beautiful clouds of fleecy whiteness to the
eye, but "burning" the flesh as they pelted the retreating explorers,
like the fiery sand-clouds of the Great Sahara. They scud before the
wind, which they dared not for a moment face, nor halted until they had
traveled forty miles and descended two thousand feet. They then pitched
their tents, the cold and wind having lessened though yet severe. They
arrived at the ship the next evening, not seriously the worse for their
daring "sea-voyage" on foot.

Having been refreshed by food and rest, no doubt our explorers discussed
the great glacier problem, and pleasantly chased away many an hour in
talk about what they had seen and what they had read on this interesting
subject. We think their conversation included some of the following
facts:--

The ice upon which they had been voyaging is a part of a great ocean of
ice covering the central line of Greenland from Cape Farewell on the
south to the farthest known northern boundary, a distance of at least
twelve hundred miles. Instead of being formed of drops of water like
more southern oceans, it is made up of crystallized dew-drops and
snow-flakes, which have been falling for ages, and which in these cold
regions have no summer long enough, nor of sufficient heat, to convert
them into water again.

But if the crystal dews and snows continue to fall for ages, and never
melt, what prevents them from piling up to the sky, and sinking the very
continent? The all-wise Director of the universe has made a very curious
arrangement to prevent such a result. This ice-ocean runs off into the
sea in great ice-rivers which find their way to the shore on both sides
of the continent, just as the water does which falls from the clouds on
the top of the Andes of South America. There we see the mighty Amazon,
one of its rivers, almost an ocean of itself, as it sweeps along its
banks between mountains, and through immense forests. Greenland has its
Amazons in vastness and grandeur, as well as its smaller rivers and
little streams. It has also its lakes and sublime Niagaras, its falls
and cascades. But they are ice instead of water; that is all the
difference between this Arctic circulation and that of warmer regions.

But of course this ice is not like that which many of the readers see
every winter. It is a half-solid, pasty kind of substance. It holds
together, yet slides along from the higher land where it accumulates,
filling up the valleys, breaking through the openings in the mountain
and hilly ridges, and pouring over the precipices; slowly, silently, but
with mighty force, ever pressing onward until it reaches the sea.

These ice rivers move very slowly. It will be remembered that Dr. Hayes
drove some stakes down in the one he visited in October. In the
following July he visited the glacier again, and compared the relation
of these to the landmarks he had noted. He thus found that this
ice-river moved over one hundred feet a year. It had come down the
valley ten miles. Two more miles would bring it to the sea. Some glacier
streams which they visited were yet many miles from the shore, one as
far away as sixty miles. The Great Glacier of Humboldt, farther north,
was several times visited by Dr. Kane and parties of his explorers. Its
face is a solid, glassy wall three hundred feet above the water-level,
and in extending from Cape Agassiz, a measured distance north, of sixty
miles, and then disappearing in the unknown polar regions. Surely this
must be the mouth of the Amazon of glacier rivers.

But the history of these rivers does not end when they reach the sea.
When their broad and high glassy front touches the water it does not
melt away nor fall to pieces, but goes down to the bottom, and if it be
a shallow bay or arm of the sea, pushes the water back and fills up the
whole space, it may be for many miles. When it reaches water so deep
that more than seven eighths of its front is below the surface, it
begins to feel an upward pressure, just as a piece of wood when forced
below its natural water-line will spring back. So after a while this
upward pressure breaks off the massive front, perhaps miles in extent,
and many hundred feet in height. As this is launched into the sea its
thunder crash is heard for miles, and the water boils like a caldron,
while the disengaged mass rolls and plunges until, finding its
equilibrium, it sails away a majestic ICEBERG. Hereafter the snow will
at times cover it with a mantle of pure whiteness; the fierce storms
will beat upon its defiant brow; the beams of the rising and setting sun
will display their sparkling glories on its craggy top, or, falling upon
the misty cloud which envelopes it, will encircle it with all the
varying hues of the rainbow. As it voyages in stately dignity southward,
anchored, it may be, at times for months, it will pass in sullen silence
the drear, long, dark Arctic night, and emerge into the brief summer to
be enlivened as the home of innumerable sea-fowl, who will rear their
young upon its cold breast. Ultimately it will go back to the drops of
water from which it came, to make a part of the great ocean, and
possibly to sail away in clouds over the frozen regions, and to drop
again upon its glassy plain in sparkling crystals.



CHAPTER XXXI.

A STRANGE DREAM AND ITS FULFILLMENT.


THE winter was fully settled down upon Port Foulke, but the dwellers in
the schooner "United States" knew nothing of the anxieties and suffering
from cold and hunger which most of the arctic voyagers have known. There
was one foe, however, which they, in common with all who had gone before
them, had to fight; namely, depression of mind produced by the weeks of
inactivity and darkness. We have seen how many means were used by
earlier as well as later explorers to meet and vanquish this foe. Dr.
Hayes availed himself of the hints given by his predecessors, and had
some devices peculiarly his own. To the "school of navigation," dramatic
performances, and the publishing of a weekly "newspaper," was added the
pleasant stimulus of a celebration of the birthday of every man on
board. Such occasions were attended by special dinners, the passing of
complimentary notes of invitations to the intended guests, which
included all, and by fun-making, at which all laughed as a matter of
course.

On Sunday all assembled in their clean and best suits. Brief religious
service was performed in the presence of all, and the day was spent in
reading or conversation, save the performance of the necessary routine
work.

During the favoring light of the moon some excursions were attempted.
One was made by Professor Sontag, accompanied by Hans and Jensen with
two dog sledges. The object was to reach the harbor where Dr. Kane's
"Advance" had been left, and ascertain if possible her fate. He started
early in November, but returned in a few days, baffled by the hummocks
and wide intervening, treacherous ice-cracks. The party had an encounter
with and captured a bear and her cub. The mother fought with maternal
fury for her child, tossed the dogs one after another until some of the
stoutest and bravest retired bleeding and yelping from the field, and at
times charged upon and scattered the whole pack, while the cub itself
behaved bravely in its own defense. When the men came up they threw in,
of course, the fatal odds of rifle balls. Once Hans, his gun having
failed to go off, seized an Esquimo lance and ran at the beast.
Accepting the challenge of a hand-to-hand fight, she made at him with
such spirit that he dropped the lance and ran, and nothing saved the cub
from supping on Esquimo meat but two well-directed balls, which whizzed
at the right moment from the guns of Sontag and Jensen. The bears made a
splendid resistance to the unprovoked attack upon them in the peaceable
pursuit of an honest calling, that of getting a living, but were
conquered and eaten.

Among the sad events of the winter was a fatal disease among the dogs.
They all died but nine by the middle of December. This was alarming, for
upon them depended mainly the spring excursions North Poleward. Such
being the situation, Sontag took at this time the surviving dogs, and,
on a sledge with Hans as a driver, started south in pursuit of Esquimo.
If they could be brought with their dogs into the vicinity of the ship
and fed, there would be a fair chance of having dog-sledges when they
were wanted. The nearest known Esquimo family was at Northumberland
Island, a hundred miles off, and others were at the south side of Whale
Sound, fifty miles farther--perhaps all had gone to the most distant
point. They departed in fine spirits, and well equipped. Hans cracked
his whip, and the dogs, well fed and eager for a run, caused the sledge
to glide over the ice with the velocity of a locomotive. Their
companions sent after them a "hip! hip, hurrah!" and a "tiger." The moon
shed her serene light on their path, and all seemed to promise a speedy
and successful return.

The second night after their departure the solicitous commander had a
strange, disquieting dream. He says in the journal of the following
morning: "I stood with Sontag far out upon the frozen sea, when suddenly
a crash was heard through the darkness, and in an instant a crack opened
in the ice between us. It came so suddenly and widened so rapidly that
he could not spring over it to where I stood, and he sailed away on the
dark waters of a troubled sea. I last saw him standing firmly upon the
crystal raft, his erect form cutting sharply against a streak of light
which lay upon the distant horizon."

Christmas came and was duly regarded. Stores of nice things, the gifts
of friends far away, were brought out from secret corners where they had
been hid. The tables were loaded with that which satisfied the appetite
and gratified the eye, while the rooms of officers and men blazed with
cheerful lights. Outside a feeble aurora seemed to be trying to exhibit
an inspiring illumination, which contrasted strongly with its cloudy
background.

January, 1861, came, and half its days passed, yet no tidings came from
Sontag. The twilight had returned, and already the coming sun was
heralded along the golden horizon. The commander was becoming uneasy
concerning the missing ones, and began to devise ways of knowing what
had become of them. Mr. Dodge was sent to follow their tracks, which he
did as far as Cape Alexander, where he lost them and returned. A party
was instantly put in readiness for farther search, and was about to
start on the morning of January twenty-seventh, when a violent storm
arose, detaining it two days. As it was on the instant of starting
again, two Esquimo suddenly appeared at the vessel's side. One of them
was Ootiniah, who appears so creditably in the narrative of Dr. Hayes's
boat voyage. They were bearers of sad news. Professor Sontag was dead.
Hans was on his way to the vessel with his wife, father and mother, and
their son, a lad who was left behind with mother when Hans was first
taken on board of the schooner. Some of the dogs had died, and the
family were necessarily moving slowly.

Two days later Hans came in with the boy only, having left the dogs and
the old people near Cape Alexander and come on for help. He was very
cold and much exhausted, and both were sent below for food, warmth, and
rest, before being questioned concerning the disastrous journey. The
large sledge, drawn by fresh men, was sent for those left behind. The
old people were found coiled up in an excavation made in a snow bank,
and the dogs huddled together near them, neither dogs nor Esquimo being
able to stir, and so all were bundled in a heap on the sledge and drawn
to the schooner. The hardy savages soon revived under the influence of
good quarters and good eating, but the dogs, five in number, the remnant
of the strong force of thirty-six, lay on the deck unable to stir, and
not disposed to eat.

Hans's story was this:--

They made a good run the first day, passing Cape Alexander, and camped
in a snow hut on Sunderland Island. The next day they reached an Esquimo
settlement, but found its huts forsaken. Resting and eating here, they
started for Northumberland Island, and having traveled about five miles,
Sontag, becoming chilled, sprang from the sledge and ran ahead of the
dogs for warmth by exercise. Hans having occasion to halt the team to
disentangle a trace fell some distance behind. He was urging forward his
team to overtake his master when he saw him sinking. He had come upon
thin ice covering a recently open crack, and had broken through. Hans
hastened up and helped him from the water. A light wind was blowing,
which disposed Sontag not to attempt to change his wet clothes--the
fatal error. They hastened back to the hut in which they had spent the
night. At first the professor ran, but after a while jumped on the
sledge, and when he reached the hut he was stiff and speechless. Hans
lifted him into the hut, drew off his wet clothes, and placed him into
his sleeping bag. Having tightly closed the hut, he set the lamp ablaze,
and administered to him a portion of brandy from a flask found on the
sledge. But the cold had done its fatal work; he remained speechless and
unconscious for nearly twenty-four hours, and died.

Hans closed up the hut to prevent beasts of prey from disturbing the
body, continued south, and on the second night came upon a village where
he was rejoiced to find several native families, who were living in the
midst of abundance. Here Hans rested until two Esquimo boys, whom he
hired with the Sontag presents, could go to Cape York after his wife's
parents and their son. They over-drove or starved four of the dogs,
which were left by the way.

The natives whom he found were ready on the moment of his arrival to
return to the vessel with him, and Ootiniah and his companion were the
first to show their good-will by starting with Hans on his return.

A few weeks later the body of Sontag was brought to the vessel, a neat
coffin was made for it, and the whole ship's company followed it,
mourning, to its last resting-place. The burial service was read, and it
was carefully secured from molestation. At a later period a mound was
raised over it, and a chiseled stone slab, with his name and age, marked
the head.

August Sontag was only twenty-eight years of age when thus suddenly cut
off. His loss to the expedition was very great.

Hans's parents and brother were added to his own family on deck, and
proved to be much more efficient helpers in domestic affairs than Mrs.
Hans. The boy was washed and scrubbed and combed by the sailors, with
whom he became a great favorite, filling much the place on board as a
pet monkey, and proved to be full as annoying to the old cook, who, in
his extreme vexation at his mischievous tricks, threatened to "kill
him--_a le-e-t-le_." The old folks getting tired of the close quarters
on board, built after a while a snow hut on the floe, and set up
housekeeping for themselves.



CHAPTER XXXII.

THE CROWNING SLEDGE JOURNEY.


"THE glorious sun" reappeared February eighteenth, tarrying only a
moment, but giving a sure prophecy of a coming to stay. Scarcely less
welcome was the appearance soon after of Kalutunah, Tattarat, and Myouk,
all old acquaintance whom the reader will not fail to recognize.
Kalutunah was Angekok and Nalegak--priest and chief. His gruff old
rival, who advised the starvation policy toward the escaping party in
the miserable old hut, had been harpooned in the back and buried alive
under a heap of stones. These comers brought the much-desired dogs, and
they were followed by other old friends from Northumberland Island with
additional dog-teams. These natives were treated with consideration--the
were made content with abundant food and flattered with presents, all of
which told favorably upon the success of the enterprise of the generous
donors.

In the middle of March the northward excursions commenced. The first
consisted of a party of three, Dr. Hayes and Kalutunah driving a team of
six dogs, and Jensen with a sledge of nine. It was to be a trial trip,
and the experiment began rather roughly. A few miles only had been made
when Jensen, whose team was ahead, broke through the ice, and dogs and
man went floundering together into a cold bath. The other team,
fortunately, was just at hand, so they were drawn out, and all returned
to the vessel for a fresh and warm start. The next trial they were gone
four days, and traversed the Greenland shore to Cape Agassiz and to the
commencement of the Great Glacier. The cold at one time was sixty-eight
and a half degrees below zero. Yet the sun's rays through even such an
atmosphere blistered the skin! The grains of snow became like gravel,
and the sledge runners grated over it as if running on the summer sand
of our own sea-shore. Kalutunah had an ingenious remedy for this. He
dissolved snow in his mouth, and pouring the water into his hand coated
the runners with it. It instantly freezing, made something like a glass
plating for them.

Kalutunah was greatly puzzled in attempting to understand why this
journey was made. But his perplexity took the form of disgust when the
fresh tracks were seen of a bear and cub, and the white chief forbade
the chase. He argued in the interest of Dr. Hayes, who might thereby
have a new fur coat, pointed to the hungry dogs, and finally pleaded for
his own family, who were longing for bear meat. But all in vain. The
circumstances had changed since, in the same spot nearly, he had urged
the dogs after a bear in spite of Dr. Kane, and thus defeated the
purpose of his long trip.

On their return they turned into Van Rensselaer Harbor, the place made
so famous by Dr. Kane's expedition. Every thing there was changed.
Instead of smooth ice, over which Dr. Kane's party came and went so
often, there were hummocks piled up every-where in the wildest
confusion. Where the "Advance" was left when her men took a last look at
her was an ice-pile towering as high as were her mast-heads. Old
localities were undiscernible from the snow and icy aggressions. A small
piece of a deck-plank picked up near Butler Island was all that could be
found of the "Advance." The Esquimo told nearly as many diverse stories
of her history after the white men left her as there were persons to
testify, and some individuals, apparently to increase the chance of
saying some item of truth, told many different stories. According to
these witnesses she drifted out to sea and sunk, (the most probable
statement,) she was knocked to pieces so far as possible and carried off
by the Esquimo, and she was accidentally set on fire and burned. The
graves of Baker and Pierre remained undisturbed, but the beacon built
over them was broken down and scattered.

The result of this experimental trip was the decision of the commander
not to attempt to reach the Open Polar Sea by the Greenland shore, but
to cross Smith Sound at Cairn Point, a few miles north of the schooner.
To this point provisions were immediately carried on the sledges for the
summer journey beyond.

On the third of April the grand effort to reach the North Pole
commenced. The party consisted of twelve persons, who were early at
their assigned positions alongside of the schooner. Jensen was at the
head of the line of march, on the sledge "Hope," to which were harnessed
eight dogs; Knorr came next, "the whip" of the "Perseverance," with six
dogs. Then came a metallic life-boat with which the Polar Sea was to be
navigated, mounted on a sledge and drawn by men each with shoulder strap
and trace. Flags fluttered from boat and sledges, all was enthusiasm,
and at the word "march" the dogs dashed away, the men bent bravely to
their earnest work, the "swivel" on deck thundered its good-bye, and the
party were soon far away.

The very first day's exposure nearly proved fatal to several of the
party. One settled himself down in the snow muttering, "I'm freezing,"
and would have proved in a half hour his declaration had not two more
hardy men taken him in charge. The spirits of the men ran low, and they
were two hours in building a snow-hut in which to hide from the pitiless
wind. A rest at Cairn Point and increased experience gave them more
energy, and the next snow-hut was made in less than one hour. They
proved the snow-shovel a fine heat generator. On the fifth night out
they were overtaken by a storm, and were detained two days in their hut.
This was a pit in the snow eighteen feet long, eight wide, and four
deep. Across its top were placed the boat-oars; across these the sledge
was laid; over the sledge was thrown the boat's sails; and over the
sails snow was shoveled. They crawled into this hut through a hole which
they filled up after them with a block of snow. Over the floor--a
leveled snow floor--they spread an India-rubber cloth; on this was laid
a carpet of buffalo-skins, and over this another of equal size. Between
these they crept to sleep, the outside man of the row having no little
difficulty in preventing his companions from "pulling the clothes off."
The wind without blew its mightiest blow, and piled the snow up over the
poor dogs, which were huddled together for mutual warmth, and were kept
restless in poking their noses above the drift. The cooks were obliged
to call to their help the commander in order to keep the lamp from being
puffed out, and two hours were consumed in getting a steaming pot of
coffee. But after a while the bread and coffee, and dried meat and
potato hash, were abundantly and regularly served, and the men contrived
to pass in talk and song and sleep the hours of the really dreary
imprisonment.

Before the storm had fully subsided, the party went on the back track to
bring up to this point a part of the provisions they had been obliged to
deposit. This done, they put their faces to the opposite, or American
side of the sound. But the difficulties were truly fearful. The ice,
like great bowlders, was scattered over the entire surface, now piled in
ridges ten, twenty, and even a hundred feet high, and then scattered
over a level area with only a narrow and ever-twisting way between them.
Over these ridges the sledges had to be lifted, the load often taken off
and carried up in small parcels, and the sledges and boat drawn up and
let down again. Frequently in the midst of this toil a man would fall
into a chasm up to his waist; another would go out of sight in one.
These terrible traps were so covered with a crust of snow that they
could not be discerned. The boat was, of course, capsized often, and
much battered. When a ridge had been scaled, and the party had picked
their way for a time through the winding path among the ice-bowlders,
they would come to a sudden impassable barrier, and be obliged to
retrace their steps. A whole day of gigantic exertion, and of many miles
of zigzag travel, would sometimes advance them only a rifle-shot in a
straight line.

Of course it was simply impossible to carry the boat, and it was
abandoned. They were yet only about thirty miles from Cairn Point, but
had traveled perhaps five times that distance.

For several days after this the heroic explorers struggled on. A fresh
snow with a half-frozen crust was added to their other obstacles.
Hummocks and ridges and pitfalls grew worse and worse. The sledges
broke, the limbs of the men were bruised and sprained, their strength
exhausted, and at last their spirits failed. They had toiled twenty-five
days, advanced half way across the sound, and brought along about eight
hundred pounds of food.

On the twenty-eighth of April the main party were sent homeward. Dr.
Hayes, Knorr, M'Donald, and Jensen, pushed on toward the American shore.
Their way was, as one of the party remarked, like a trip through New
York over the tops of the houses. They progressed a mile and a half,
and traveled at least twelve, carrying their provisions over the ground
by repeating the journey many times. Such was the daily experience,
varied by many exciting incidents. Jensen sprained a leg which had been
once broken; the dogs were savage as the wildest wolves with hunger,
though having a fair amount of food; once Knorr in feeding them stumbled
and fell into the midst of the pack, and would have doubtless been
devoured as a generous morsel of food tossed to them, had not M'Donald
pounced upon them at the moment with lusty blows from a whip-stock. All
four of the explorers held out bravely in this fearful strain on mind
and body, even young Knorr never shrinking from the hardest work, nor
the longest continued exertions.

On the eleventh of May the party encamped under the shadow of Cape
Hawkes, on Grinnell Land, off the American coast. The distance from
Cairn Point, in a straight line northwest, was eighty miles. They had
been traveling thirty-one days, and made a twisting and clambering route
of five hundred miles.

The travel up the coast had the usual variety of dangers, hair-breadth
escapes, and exhausting toil. A little flag-staff, planted by Dr. Hayes
during the Kane expedition, was found bravely looking out upon the drear
field it was set to designate, but the flag it bore had been blown away.
Remains of Esquimo settlements long deserted were found. A raven croaked
a welcome to the strangers, or it may be a warning, and followed them
several days.

On the fourth day up the coast Jensen, the hardiest of the vessel's
company, utterly failed. He had strained his back as well as leg, and
groaned with pain. What could be done? The party could not proceed with
a sick man, nor would they for a moment think of leaving him alone. So
the following course was adopted by the commander: M'Donald was left in
the snow-hut with Jensen, with five days' food and five dogs, with
orders to remain five days, and then, if Hayes and Knorr, who were to
continue on, had not returned, to make his best way with Jensen back to
the vessel.

The journey of Dr. Hayes and Knorr was continued two full days. On the
morning of the third day they had proceeded but a few miles when they
came to a stand. They had on their left the abrupt, rocky, ice-covered
cliffs of the shore; on their right were high ridges of ice, through
which the waters of an open sea broke here and there into bays and
inlets which washed the shore. Farther progress north by land or ice was
impossible. They climbed a cliff which towered eight hundred feet above
the sea, whose dark waters were lost in the distance toward the
north-east. North, standing against the sky, was a noble headland, the
most northern known land, and only about four hundred and fifty miles
from the North Pole. The spot on which our explorers stood was about one
degree farther north than that occupied by Morton, of Kane's
Expedition, yet on the shore of the same open water. Now, if they only
had the boat they were obliged to leave among the hummocks in Smith
Sound, with the provisions and men they had _hoped_ to bring to this
point, how soon would they solve the mystery locked up from the
beginning, and in the keeping of his Frosty Majesty of the Pole itself!
But, alas! there were neither boat nor provisions, and the movement of
the treacherous floes warned the daring strangers that the bridge of ice
over which they had come to this side might soon be torn away, and make
a return impossible. They built a monument of stones, raised on it a
flag of triumph, deposited beneath it a record of their visit placed in
a bottle, and turned their faces homeward.



CHAPTER XXXIII.

LAST INCIDENTS OF THE EXPEDITION.

DR. HAYES and Knorr were buffeted by a fierce storm soon after starting.
They were over fifty miles from M'Donald and Jensen, only ten of which
were traversed before they were obliged to encamp. But the storm howled,
and tossed the snow-clouds about them, making it impossible to build a
snow hut. After a brief halt, and feeding the dogs with the last morsel
of food which remained, they pushed on. The snow was deep, often nearly
burying the dogs as they plunged along; the hummocks and rocks over
which they climbed lay across their path, and the wind blew with
unabated fury; yet they halted not until the remaining forty or more
miles were accomplished, and they tumbled into the hut of their
companions. The dogs rolled themselves together on the snow the moment
they were left, utterly exhausted. The weary men slept a long, sound
sleep. When they awoke a steaming pot of coffee and an abundant
breakfast awaited them. They had fasted thirty-four hours, and traveled
in the last twenty-two over forty miles, which the hummocks and deep
snow made equal to double that distance of smooth sledging. The last few
miles were made in a state of partial bewilderment, so their final
safety was another of their many marked deliverances. The remaining run
to the vessel had its daily perils and escapes. As they were approaching
the American shore they stepped across a crack on the ice. They had
traveled but a short distance when they perceived that there was an
impassable channel between them and the land ice. They ran back to
recross the crack, and that had become twenty yards wide. They were, in
fact, on an ice-raft, and were sweeping helplessly out to sea! They had
hardly collected their thoughts after this terrifying surprise before
one of the shore corners of their raft struck a small grounded iceberg,
and on this, as on a pivot, the outer edge swung toward the shore,
struck its margin, allowed them to scamper off, and then immediately
swung again into the open water, and shot out to sea.

The poor dogs, being insufficiently fed, and necessarily overworked, now
began to fail. Jensen's lameness compelling him to ride, increased their
burden. One died just before the party left the hummocks, and two soon
after. A fourth having failed, the commander, thinking to shorten his
misery, shot him. The ball only wounding him, he set up a terrible cry,
at which his companions flew at him, tore him in pieces, and, almost
before his last howl had died away in the dreary waste, they had eaten
the flesh from his bones.

They arrived at the schooner safely after two months' absence, during
which they had traveled thirteen hundred miles.

The commander was cheered to learn that the party who returned under
M'Cormick had reached Port Foulke in safety. The whole ship's company
were in good health. The vessel was immediately thoroughly examined and
put in sailing order. As the summer came on, the birds, the green
mosses, hardy little flowers, several species of moths and spiders, and
even a yellow winged butterfly, appeared to greet its coming. The open
water was daily coming nearer the schooner. While awaiting the loosening
of its icy fetters, a boat's crew had an exciting walrus hunt. Dr. Hayes
had been on a hill-top which overlooked the bay, when the hoarse
bellowing of distant walrus saluted his ears. Drifting ice-rafts were
coming down the sound, on which great numbers of these monsters could be
seen. He hurried to the vessel, and called for volunteers. Soon a
whale-boat was manned, and the men, armed with three rifles and a
harpoon and line, dragged it to the open water, launched it, and rowed
into the midst of the drift-ice. The first cake of ice which they
approached contained a freight of twenty-four walruses, pretty well
covering it. The lubberly, ugly looking sea-hogs appeared as content as
their very distant relatives of our sties, while they huddled together
and twisted for the sunniest spot, and bellowed in one another's ears.
Our hunters were all eager for the fight as they approached with muffled
oars, but on coming near to the floe, it was apparent that the hunt was
not to be all fun, nor the fighting on one side only. The hides of the
monsters looked like an iron plating, and were, in fact, an inch thick,
smooth, hairless, and tough, suggesting a good defensive ability; while
their great tusks, projecting from a jaw of elephantine strength, hinted
unpleasantly to the invaders that their antagonists were prepared for
assault as well as defense. Very likely if one could have seen at that
moment the countenances of our boat's crew, they would have shown more
of a wish to be in the vessel's cabin than they would have cared to
confess with their lips. But there was no flinching. There were two male
walruses in the herd--huge, fierce-looking fellows, which roused up a
moment to scan the strangers, and then, giving each other a punch in the
face with their tusks, stretched out again upon the ice to sleep.

In this walrus party there were, besides the two fathers, mothers with
children of various ages, from the "little ones" of four hundred pounds,
to the "young folks." Of course they were a loving, happy group. The
boat came within a few times its length of the ice-raft. Miller, an old
whaleman, was in the bow of the boat with a harpoon. Hayes, Knorr, and
Jensen stood in the stern with their rifles leveled each at his selected
victim, while the oarsmen bent forward to their oars. At the word the
rifles cracked, and the oarsmen at the same moment shot the boat into
the midst of the startled walrus. Jensen hit one of the males in the
neck, not probably doing him much harm; Hayes's ball struck the other
bull in the head, at which he roared lustily. Knorr killed a baby
walrus dead, but he disappeared from the raft with the rest, probably
pushed off by his mamma. When the old fellow which was wounded by the
commander rolled into the water, Miller planted his harpoon in him with
unerring skill, and the line attached spun out over the gunwale with
fearful velocity. There were a few moments of suspense, and then up came
the herd, a few yards from the boat, the wounded bull with the harpoon
among them. They uttered one wild, united shriek, and answering shrieks
from thousands of startled walruses, on the walrus laden ice-rafts for
miles around, filled the air. It was an agonized cry for help, and the
answering cry was, "we come!" There was a simultaneous splash from the
ice-rafts, and the hosts, as if by the bugle call, came rushing on,
heads erect, and uttering the defiant "huk, huk, huk!" They came
directly at the boat, surrounding it, and blackening the waters with
their numbers. The wounded bull, attached still to Miller's line, led
the attack. The hunters had aroused foemen worthy of their steel, and
they must now fight or die. It seemed to be the purpose of the walruses
to get their tusks over the side of the boat, and so easily tear it to
pieces or sink it, and then, having its audacious crew in the water,
make short work of them. As they came on, Miller, in the bow, pricked
them in the face with his lance, the rowers pushed them back with their
oars, while Hayes, Jensen, and Knorr sent, as fast as they could load
and fire, rifle-balls crashing through their heads. At one time a huge
leader had come within a few feet of the boat. Hayes and Jensen had just
fired, and were loading, but Knorr was just in time to salute him with a
ball. The men were becoming weary, while the walrus assaulting column
was constantly supplied with fresh troops. The situation was now
critical, when, as if to crush his enemy and end the conflict in victory
on his side, a walrus Goliath, with tusks three feet long, led on a
solid column of undismayed warriors. Two guns had just been fired, as
before. His terrible weapons were fearfully near the gunwale, when
Knorr's gun came to the rescue; its muzzle was so near his open mouth
that the ball killed him instantly, and he sunk like lead. This sent
consternation through the walrus ranks. They all dove at once, and when
they came up they were a considerable distance off, their tails to their
foes, and retreating with a wild shriek. The battle was ended, and the
saucy explorers were victors. The sea in places was red with blood. The
harpooned bull and one other were carried as trophies to the vessel.

On the twelfth of July the schooner floated, after an ice imprisonment
of ten months. The Esquimo seeing that the white friends were about to
leave them, gathered on the shore in sorrowful interest. They had been
the receivers of gifts great in their estimation, and they had rendered
the strangers no small favors, especially in the use of their dogs,
without which no excursions of importance could have been made.
Kalutunah actually wept on parting with Dr. Hayes. He had enjoyed under
his patronage the Esquimo paradise--"plenty to eat, plenty sleep, no
work, no hunt." He spoke feelingly of the fading away of his people.
"Come back," he said, "and save us; come soon or we shall be all gone."

He had reason to express these fears concerning his people. Since Dr.
Kane left thirty-four had died, and there had been in the same time only
nineteen births. There seemed to be in all the settlements, from Cape
York to Etah, only a hundred!

The explorers bid adieu to Port Foulke on the fourteenth, and sailed
away to the west side of Smith Sound, and reached a point about ten
miles south of Cape Isabella. The hope was entertained by the commander
that he might work his way with the vessel north through the now
loosening ice over which he had just been traveling with sledges, get
through even Kennedy Channel, to the open sea on the shore of which he
had so lately stood, and then sail away to the North Pole. What a
stimulating thought! But he found the schooner ice-battered, and,
weakened by the "nips" she had experienced, was unequal to the required
fight with the defiant pack which every-where filled the sound. So the
explorers turned homeward. They arrived at Upernavik on the twelfth of
August after many exciting incidents but no accident. Here they learned
the startling news of the commencement of the great Rebellion. During
their absence President Lincoln had been inaugurated, the black cloud
of war had settled heavily over the whole country, and the bloody battle
of Bull Run had been fought. They were now to return home and transfer
their interest in fighting ice-packs, bergs, and Polar bears, to the
conflicts of civil war.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

SOMETHING NEW.


WHILE the civilized world were awaiting with deep interest the results
of the search for Sir John Franklin, and while learned geographers and
practical navigators to the regions of cold were devising new methods of
search for him, a young engraver was working out a problem in reference
to this great enterprise peculiarly his own. Without special educational
advantages, without the resources of wealth or influential friends, but
with the inspiration of one feeling, "a divine call" to the undertaking,
he matured his plans and began to publish them abroad. He seems to have
at once imparted his own enthusiasm to others. The mayor of his own
city, Cincinnati, the governor and senator of his own State, Ohio, the
latter the eminent Salmon P. Chase, late Chief-Justice of the United
States, became his patrons. Coming east, many of the great and wise men
of our large cities gave him an attentive hearing, and not a few
encouraged his project. The princely merchant, Henry Grinnell, who had
already done so much in the Franklin search, took him at once into
kindly sympathy.

From New York he went to New London. From the old whalemen, at least
from individuals of them of marked character and large experience in
Arctic navigation, he obtained encouraging words.

His plan of search which thus so readily commended itself was this: He
would go into the region where it was now known that Franklin and some
of his men had died; he would live with the Esquimo, learn their
language, adopt their habits of life, and thus learn all that they knew
of the history of the ill-fated expedition. He assumed that many of its
men might yet be alive, and if they were, the natives would know it,
know where they were, and could guide him to them.

To prepare himself for this work he became conversant with Arctic
literature, learning all that the books on the subject taught; he
applied himself closely to the study of the practical science bearing on
his enterprise, learning the use of its instruments. He sought
interviews and correspondence with returned explorers and whalemen. In
fact, his heart was in the work with a downright enthusiasm.

The marked features of his plan seemed to be two--it was inexpensive and
new. As to the manning of his expedition, he proposed to go alone; as to
vessels, he asked none. He only asked to be conveyed to the proposed
Esquimo country, and to be left with its natives. We might name a third
attractive feature of this plan, one which always inspires interest--it
was bold, bordering on the audacious!

We need hardly say to our readers that the name of this new candidate
for Arctic perils and honors was Charles Francis Hall--a name now
greatly honored and lamented.[A]

Mr. Hall was born in Rochester, New Hampshire, in 1821, where he worked
a while at the blacksmith's trade, but left both the trade and his
native place in early life for the Queen City of the West. The result of
Mr. Hall's enthusiastic appeals was an offer by the firm of Williams &
Haven, whale-ship owners of New London, to convey him and his outfit in
their bark "George Henry" to his point of operations, and if ever
desired, to give him the same free passage home in any of their ships.
The "George Henry" was going, of course, after whales, and proposed thus
to convey him as an obliging incident of the trip.

This proposal was made in the early spring of 1860. On the twenty-ninth
of May he sailed. His outfit was simple, and had the appearance of a
private, romantic excursion. It consisted of a good sized, staunch
whale-boat built for his special use, a sledge, a few scientific
instruments, a rifle, six double-barreled shot-guns, a Colt's revolver,
and the ammunition supposed to be necessary for a long separation from
the source of supply. A start was given him in a small store of
provisions; beyond that he was to supply himself. A tolerable supply of
trinkets were added as a basis of trade with the natives. What funds
this miniature exploring expedition required was given largely by Mr.
Grinnell.

The "George Henry" was accompanied by _a tender_, a small schooner named
the "Rescue," having already an Arctic fame. The officers and crew of
both vessels numbered twenty-nine, under command of Captain S. O.
Buddington.

We have spoken of Mr. Hall as the only man of his exhibition; he had
after all one companion. The previous year Captain Buddington had
brought home an Esquimo by the name of Kudlago, who was now returning to
his fatherland and to his wife and children. Upon him Mr. Hall largely
depended as an interpreter, a friend, and guide, in his work.

The run of the "George Henry" to the Greenland coast was made with but
one marked incident. That was to Mr. Hall a very sad one, giving him the
first emphatic lesson in the uncertainty of his most carefully devised
schemes. It was the death and burial at sea of Kudlago. He had left New
London in good health, taken cold in the fogs of Newfoundland, and
declined rapidly. He prayed fervently to be permitted to see his wife
and children--only that, and he would die content. He inquired daily
while confined to his berth if any ice was in sight. His last words
were, "_Teiko seko? teiko seko?_"--Do you see ice? do you see ice? The
Greenland shore was just in sight when he departed, and his home and
family were three hundred miles away.

The "George Henry" and her tender, the "Rescue," sailed north, along the
Greenland coast, as far as Holsteinberg, where Mr. Hall purchased six
Esquimo dogs. The vessel then stood southwest across Davis Strait and
made, August eighth, a snug harbor, which Mr. Hall called Grinnell Bay,
a little north of what is known as Frobisher Strait. Here Mr. Hall was
to land and commence his Esquimo life, alone and far away from a
Christian home, while the vessel went about its business capturing
whales. His feelings on the voyage are indicated by the following
extract from his diary:

"A good run with a fair breeze yesterday. Approaching the north axis of
the earth! Aye, nearing the goal of my fondest wishes. Every thing
relating to the arctic zone is deeply interesting to me. I love the
snows, the ices, the icebergs, the fauna and the flora of the North. I
love the circling sun, the long day, _the arctic night, when the soul
can commune with God in silent and reverential awe_! I am on a mission
of love. I feel to be in the performance of a duty I owe to mankind,
myself, and God! Thus feeling I am strong at heart, full of faith, ready
to do or die in the cause I have espoused." How he felt when actually
engaged in his "mission of love," we shall see.

We must not, however, think of Mr. Hall in a region comparable to that
which included the winter-quarters of Kane and Hayes in the expeditions
we have just described. They were at least twelve degrees farther north,
Mr. Hall being south of the arctic circle, so that his winter nights
were shorter and milder. His present field of operation was on a coast
visited by the whale-ships, and where they at times wintered. Besides,
natives had been for many years in contact with white men, and were in
_some_ respect more agreeable companions. He will therefore, as we
follow him, lead us into new scenes of peculiar interest, and show us
novel features in the character of the Esquimo.

The whale-ship "Black Eagle," Captain Allen, lay in Grinnell Bay on the
arrival of our voyagers, and the captain soon appeared on the deck of
the "George Henry," with several Esquimo. One of these natives, named
Ugarng, especially attracted Mr. Hall's attention. He was intelligent,
possessing strong lines of character, and a marked physical development.
He had spent a year on a visit to the United States. Speaking of New
York, he said with a sailor's emphasis: "No good! too much horse! too
much house! too much white people! Women? Ah! women great many--good!"
Ugarng will become a familiar acquaintance.

Mr. Hall had been giving special attention on the voyage across Davis
Strait to his dogs, and they were now to become a chief dependence. He
fed them on _capelin_, or dried fish. One day he called them all around
him, each in his assigned place, to receive in turn his fish. Now there
was one young, shrewd dog, Barbekark, who had not heard, or had never
cared to heed the proverb that "honesty is the best policy." He said to
himself, "If I can get _two_ of the fish while the other dogs get but
one, it will be a nice thing to do;" so, taking his place near the head
of the row, he was served with his capelin. Then, slipping out, he
crowded between the dogs farther down, and with a very innocent look
awaited his turn. His master thought this so sharp in young Barbekark
that he pretended not to see the trick, and dealed him a fish as if he
had received none. On going the round again his master found him near
the head of the row and then at the foot, so the rogue obtained
Benjamin's portion. Seeing his success, he winked his knowing eye as
much as to say, "Ain't I the smartest dog in the pack!" But Barbekark
had entered on a rough road with many turns, as all rogues do. After
going round several times, during which the trick was a success, Mr.
Hall _skipped_ the trickster altogether. It mattered not what place he
crowded into, there was no more fish for him. The upshot was that he
received many less than did his companions. Never did a dog look more
ashamed. From that time he kept his place when fish were distributed.

Mr. Hall, making the vessel his home, made frequent visits ashore, and
received many Esquimo visitors on board, and was thus becoming
acquainted with the people. An early visitor was Kokerjabin, wife of
Kudlago, accompanied by her son. She had learned in her tent that her
anxiously awaited husband had been left in the deep sea. She entered the
cabin and looked at her husband's white friends, and at the chest which
contained his personal goods, with deep emotion; but when Captain
Buddington opened the chest, the tears flowed freely; and when she, in
taking out things, came to those Kudlago had obtained in the States for
herself and her little girl, she sat down, buried her face in her
hands, and wept with deep grief. She soon after went ashore with her son
to weep alone.

Another very marked character was Paulooyer, or, as the white men called
him, Blind George. He was now about forty years of age and had been
blind nearly ten years, from the effects of a severe sickness. To this
blindness was added domestic sorrow. His wife Nikujar was very kind to
him for five years after his loss of sight, sharing their consequent
poverty. But Ugarng, who had already several wives, offered her a place
in his tent as his "household wife"--the place of honor in Esquimo
esteem. The offer was tempting, for Ugarng was "a mighty hunter," and
rich at all times in blubber, in furs and skin tents and snow huts. So
she left poor George, taking with her their little daughter, called
Kookooyer. This child became a pet with Ugarng, as she was with her
blind father.

FOOTNOTE:

[A] See Frontispiece.



CHAPTER XXXV.

A FEARFUL STORM.


WHILE the "George Henry" lay at Grinnell Bay, Mr. Hall talked much with
the masters of the whale-ships and with the most intelligent of the
natives concerning his proposed journey to King William's Land. This was
a far-away region, where the remains of the Franklin expedition had been
found. He proposed to secure the company of one or more Esquimo and make
an attempt to reach it with a dog-sledge, and to take up his abode with
its natives in search of information of the lost ones. But both his
white and Esquimo advisers agreed that it was too late in the season to
begin such a journey. Mr. Hall would then take the whale-boat built for
him, man it with natives, and make the attempt by water. But this was
deemed impracticable until spring. So he decided to make his home on
board the vessel so long as she remained on the coast, and pursue his
study of the Esquimo language and his survey of the region of country,
with this home as a base of operations.

On his return from one of his inland excursions with Kudlago's son, whom
the whites called _captain_, he saw his widow, apart from all the
people, weeping for her great bereavement. Her son ran to her and tried
to comfort her, but she would not be comforted. When Mr. Hall approached
she pointed to the spot where their tent was pitched when Kudlago left
for the United States. She also showed him the bones of a whale which he
had assisted in capturing.

Soon after this the widow visited the vessel with her daughter,
Kimmiloo, who had been the idol of her father. She looked sad on the
mention of her father's name, but, child-like, her eyes gleamed with joy
on seeing the fine things his chest contained for her. Captain B.'s wife
had sent her a pretty red dress, necktie, mittens, belt, and other like
valuables of little white girls. But Mr. Hall suggested that Kimmiloo's
introduction to the dress of civilization should be preceded by soap and
water. The process of arriving at the little girl through layers of dirt
was very slow. When this was done, her kind friend Hall took a _very
coarse_ comb, and commenced combing her hair. This had never been done
before, and of course the comb "pulled" in spite of the care of the
operator, but Kimmiloo bore it bravely. Her locks were filled with moss,
greasy bits of seal, and disgusting reindeer hairs, besides other things
both _active_ and numerous. A full hour was spent on the hair, but when
the comb went through it easily, then the little girl run her fingers
into it and braided quickly a tag on each side of her head; she then
drew these through brass rings which Mr. Hall had given her. Her Esquimo
fur trowsers and coat were thrown off, and the now clean and really
beautiful girl put on the red dress. Her happiness would have been
complete had her father been there to share her joy.

Mr. Hall's kindly nature led him to study the natives in these
incidents, and to record them in his journals. Ugarng was one time in
the cabin when Mr. Hall had put a few small balls of mercury on a sheet
of white paper. It was a new article to the Esquimo, and he tried to
pick it up with his thumb and finger, but it escaped his grasp. His
efforts would scatter it over the sheet in small globules, and then as
he lifted the corners of the paper it would run together, and Ugarng
would commence catching it with new vigor. He continued his efforts for
a full half hour. Amused at first, but finally losing his temper, he
gave it up, exclaiming petulantly that there was an evil spirit in it.

Blind George became a constant visitor. At one time Mr. Hall gave him a
much worn coat, showing one of the several holes in it. George
immediately took a needle, and, bringing his tongue to the aid of his
hands, threaded it, and mended _all_ of the rents very neatly. At
another time Mr. Hall put into George's hand a piece of steel with a
magnet attached. The way the steel flew from his hand to the magnet
amazed him. At first he seemed to think it was not really so; but when
he clearly felt the steel leap from his fingers, he threw both steel and
magnet violently upon the floor. But feeling he was not hurt, and that
some little girls laughed at him, he tried it again more deliberately,
and was better satisfied. Mr. Hall next gave him a paper of needles,
desiring him to bring the magnet near them. He did so, and when the
needles flew from his hand by the attraction he sprung to his feet as if
an electric current had touched him, and the needles were scattered in
every direction over the floor. He declared that Mr. Hall was an
"Angekok."

On the fourteenth of August another whaling vessel belonging to the
owners of the "George Henry" arrived at Grinnell Bay. Her name was the
"Georgiana," Captain Tyson; so there were now four vessels near each
other--the "Rescue" and "Black Eagle," besides those just named. There
were social, merry times. But Captain Buddington, having built a hut
here that some of his men might remain to fish, took his vessels farther
south, for winter-quarters, into a bay separated from Frobisher Bay on
the south by only a narrow strip of land. This Mr. Hall named Field Bay.
Here, snugly hid in an inlet of its upper waters, the vessels proposed
to winter. The Esquimo were not long in finding the new anchorage of the
whites, and in a few days a fleet of kayaks containing seven families
appeared. Among them was Kudlago's oldest daughter, now married to a
native the sailors called Johnny Bull. She had not heard of her father's
death, and stepped on deck elated at the thought of meeting him. "Where
is my father?" she inquired of Ugarng's wife. When she was tenderly told
the sad story of his death she wept freely.

Mr. Hall was at once busy visiting the "tupics," summer tents made of
skins, pitched by the natives near the shore. He also rowed to the
islands in various directions, generally accompanied by one or more
Esquimo. On one of these visits to an island with a boy he had a narrow
escape. After several hours' ramble they returned to the landing, where
they had left their boat fastened to a rock. The tide had risen and the
boat was dancing on the waves out of reach. Here was a "fix!" They were
far away from the vessel, the night, cold and dark, was coming on, and
they were without shelter. But necessity sharpens one's wits, After some
delay and perplexity, Mr. Hall hit upon this plan: He took the seal-skin
strings from his boots, and the strings by which various scientific
instruments were attached to his person, tied them together, and thus
made quite a long and strong line. To this he tied a moderate sized
stone. Holding one end of the line in his hand, he tossed the stone into
the boat and gently drew it to him, jumped into it, and was soon at the
vessel. If Mr. Hall had not been a _green_ boatman he would not have
fastened his boat below high-water mark when the tide was coming in! He
probably did not again.

One day the crew of the "Henry" captured a whale in the bay, and the
Esquimo joined with others in towing the monster to the ship. In one of
the boats was an Esquimo woman with a babe; she laid her child in the
bow of the boat and pulled an oar with the strongest of the white men.
Before they reached the vessel the wind blew a gale, the sea ran high,
and at times the spray shot into the air and came down in plentiful
showers into the boat. The mother cast anxious glances at her child,
and, as if it was for its life, rowed with giant strength. At last the
prize was safely moored to the "Henry," and the natives were rewarded
with generous strips of its black skin, which they ate voraciously, raw
and warm from the animal. They carried portions of it to their tupics on
shore for future use. This skin is about three fourths of an inch thick,
and, in even Mr. Hall's estimation, is "good eating" when raw, "but
better soused in vinegar."

Soon after this, Captain Tyson brought the "Georgiana" round into Field
Bay, and the crews of the two vessels were often together when a whale
made its appearance, a circumstance sometimes the occasion of strife
when he is captured. One day Smith, an officer of the "Henry," fastened
a harpoon in a whale, and was devising means to secure his prey. Captain
Tyson, who was near in his boat, killed the monster with his lances, and
without a word, left Smith to enjoy the pleasure of taking it to his
vessel. The generous act was appreciated on board the "Henry."

On the twenty-sixth of December a terrible storm commenced, causing the
boats which were cruising for whales to scud home. The three
vessels--the "Henry," "Rescue," and "Georgiana"--were anchored near each
other, and near an island toward which the wind was blowing. It was
about noon when the storm began, and as the day declined the wind
increased, bringing on its wings a cloud of snow. When the night came on
it was intensely dark, and the waves rose higher and higher as, driven
by the tempest, they rolled swiftly by and dashed upon the rocky shore.
The vessels labored heavily in the billows and strained at their
anchors, now dipping their bows deep in the water, then rising upon the
top of a crested wave, and leaping again into the trough of the sea, as
if impatient of restraint and eager to rush upon the rocks to their own
destruction. The roar of the sea and the howling of the winds through
the shrouds were appalling to all on board, while they awaited with
breathless interest the integrity of the anchors, on which their lives
depended.

As the night wore on the watch on deck, peering through the darkness,
saw the dim outlines of the "Rescue" steadily and slowly moving toward
the shore. "She drags her anchors!" were the fearful words which passed
in whispers through the "George Henry." But all breathed easier to hear
the report from the watch soon after that she had come to a pause nearly
abreast of the "Henry."

About midnight the storm put forth all the fury of its power, and the
small anchor of the "Georgiana" gave way, and the others went plowing
along their ocean beds, and, as the vessel neared the island, her
destruction and the loss of all on board seemed certain. The endangered
craft worried round a point of rocks, pounding against them as she went,
and reached smoother and safer waters, where her anchors remained firm.
The ghostly-looking forms of her men were soon after seen on the island,
to which they had escaped! In the mean time the men on the "Henry" were
in constant fear that their vessel would be dashed upon rocks.

Just as the morning was breaking the "Rescue" broke away and went
broadside upon the island. With a crash the breakers hurled her against
the rocks, and seemed to bury her in their white foam. She was at once a
hopeless wreck, but her crew still clung bravely to her. When the
morning light had fully come, at the first lull in the storm, while yet
the waves rolled with unabated fury, a whale-boat was lowered into the
sea from the stern of the "Henry" with a strong line attached, and mate
Rogers and a seaman stepped into it. Cautiously and skillfully it was
guided to the stern of the "Rescue." Into it her men were taken, and
drawn safely to the "Henry." All were saved! A shout of joy mingled with
the tumult of the elements!

The "Henry" safely outrode the storm. The "Georgiana" was not seriously
injured, and her men returned to her and sailed away for other
winter-quarters. The "Rescue" was a complete wreck, and, what was a
stunning blow to the enterprise of Mr. Hall, his expedition boat, in
which, with an Esquimo crew, he had hoped to reach the far-away land of
his lone sojourn and search for the Franklin men, was totally wrecked
too! What now should he do? That was to him the question of questions.
One thing he resolved _not_ to do--he would not abandon his mission.
Captain Buddington thought at first that he might spare him one of the
ship's boats in which to reach King William's Land; but, on careful
inquiry, he found that the only one he could part with was rotten and
untrustworthy. So waiting and watching became his present duty.



CHAPTER XXXVI.

THE AURORA.


MR. HALL had an eye for the beautiful in nature. The aurora deeply
impressed him, inspiring feelings of awe and reverence. It will be
noticed that explorers in the low latitude of Frobisher Bay are treated
to displays of the aurora on a scale of magnificence and beauty never
seen in the high latitudes of the winter-quarters of Dr. Kane and Hayes.
Night after night through the months of October, November, and December
Mr. Hall's sensitive nature was in raptures at the wonderful sights. The
heavens were aglow. The forms of brightness, and colors of every hue,
changed with the rapidity of fleecy clouds driven before the wind.
Before the mind had comprehended the grandeur of one scene, it had
changed into another of seeming greater beauty of form, color, and
brightness. Thousands of such changes occurred while he gazed. No wonder
he exclaims: "Who but God could conceive such infinite scenes of glory!
Who but God execute them, painting the heavens in such gorgeous
display!"

Again he exclaims: "It seemeth to me as if the very doors of heaven have
opened to-night, so _mighty_ and _beauteous_ and _marvelous_ were the
waves of golden light which swept across the azure deep, breaking forth
anon into floods of wondrous glory. God made his wonderful works to be
remembered."

Mr. Hall had been on deck several times, witnessing the enrapturing
display, and had returned into the cabin to go to bed, when the captain
shouted down the companion-way: "Come above, Hall, at once! _The world
is on fire!_" Mr. Hall hastened on deck. He says: "There was no sun, no
moon, yet the heavens were flooded with light. Even ordinary print could
be read on deck. Yes, flooded with _rivers_ of light!--and _such_ light!
light all but inconceivable! The golden hues predominated; but in rapid
succession prismatic colors leaped forth.

"We looked, we saw, and we trembled; for even as we gazed the whole belt
of aurora began to be alive with flashes. Then each pile or bank of
light became myriads; some now dropping down the great pathway or belt,
others springing up, others leaping with lightning flash from one side,
while more as quickly passed into the vacated space; some, twisting
themselves into folds, entwining with others like enormous serpents, and
all these movements as quick as the eye could follow. It seemed as
though there was a struggle with these heavenly lights to reach and
occupy the dome above our heads. Then the whole arch above became
crowded. Down, down it came! nearer and nearer it approached us! Sheets
of golden flames, coruscating while leaping from the auroral belt,
seemed as if met in their course by some mighty agency that turned them
into the colors of the rainbow.

"While the auroral fires seemed to be descending upon us, one of our
number exclaimed, 'Hark! hark!' Such a display, as if a warfare were
going on among the beauteous lights, seemed impossible without noise.
But all was silent."

After the watchers, amazed at what they saw, retired to the cabin, they
very naturally commenced a lively conversation on what they had
witnessed. Captain Buddington declared that, though he had spent most of
his time for eleven years in the northern regions, he had never
witnessed so grand and beautiful a scene. And he added in an earnest
tone: "To tell you the truth, friend Hall, I do not care to see the like
again!"

In November Mr. Hall became acquainted with two remarkable Esquimo whom
we shall often meet. Their names were Ebierbing and his wife Tookoolito,
but were known among the white people as Joe and Hannah. They had been
taken to England in 1853, and lionized there for two years. They had
visited the great and good of that land at their homes, and had aptly
learned many of the refinements of civilization. Queen Victoria had
honored them with an audience, and they had dined with Prince Albert.
Joe declared that the queen was "pretty--yes, quite pretty;" and the
prince was "good--very good." They made their visit on shipboard in a
full-blown English dress, but when Mr. Hall returned their visit in
their _tupic_ on shore they were in the Esquimo costume. Yet Tookoolito
busied herself with her _knitting_ during his call. She said, as they
conversed: "I feel very sorry to say that many of the whaling people are
bad, making the Innuits bad too; they swear very much, and make our
people swear. I wish they would not do so. Americans swear a great
deal--more and worse than the English. I wish no one would swear. It is
a very bad practice I believe."

Tookoolito's spirit and example had done much to improve her people,
especially the women; these, many of them, had adopted her habit of
dressing her hair, and of cleanliness of person and abode. In her and
her husband, whom we shall meet often, we shall see the Esquimo as
modified by a partial Christian civilization.

Mr. Hall made frequent visits to the Esquimo village on shore, mingling
with the people, conforming to their habits, and studying their
character. Their summer, skin-covered huts--tupics--had now given way to
the _igloos_, the snow-house, essentially like those we have before
seen. We will accompany Mr. Hall in a visit made in October. He found on
creeping into a hut a friend whom he knew as a pilot and boatman; his
name was Koojesse. He was sitting in the midst of a group of women
drinking with a gusto hot seal blood. Our white visitor joined them, and
pronounced the dish excellent. On going out he was met by blind George.
"Mitter Hall! Mitter Hall!" shouted the blind man on hearing Mr. Hall's
voice. There was a pensive earnestness in the call which arrested his
attention. "Ugarng come to-day!" continued George. "He come to-day. My
little Kookooyer way go! She here now. Speak-um, Ugarng! My little
pickaninny way go! Speak-um."

The facts were these: Ugarng, who, as we have stated, had married
George's wife, and taken with the mother his little daughter, was at the
village attended by the latter. George, who was very fond of the child,
desired her company for a while. Mr. Hall did of course "speak-um."
Ugarng and the darling Kookooyer were soon seen in happy intimacy with
her father.

Mr. Hall's attention was attracted by an excited crowd, who were
listening to the harangue of a young man. He was evidently master of the
situation, for at one moment his audience clenched their fists and raved
like madmen, and then, under another touch of his power, they were calm
and thoughtful, or melted to tears. He was an _Angekok_, and was going
through a series of _ankootings_, or incantations. His howlings and
gesticulations were not unlike those of the heathen priests of the East,
and of the medicine men of our Indians. On seeing Mr. Hall the Angekok
left his snow-platform, from which he had been speaking, and ran to him
with the blandest smiles and honied words. He put his arm in his and
invited him into his tent, or place of worship, as it might be called;
others ran ahead, and it was well filled with worshipers. Koojesse, who
was passing at the time with water for the ship, on a wave of the
Angekok's hand set his pail down and followed. All faithful Esquimo in
this region obey the Angekok. If he sees one smoking, and signifies that
he wishes the pipe, the smoker deposits it in the Angekok's pocket.

When in the tent the Angekok placed Koojesse on one side, and Mr. Hall
facing him on the other side. Now commenced the service. The Angekok
began a rapid clapping of his hands, lifting them at times above his
head, then passing them round in every direction, and thrusting them
into the faces of the people, muttering the while wild, incoherent
expressions. The clapping of his hands was intermitted by a violent
clapping of the chest on which he sat, first on the top, then on the
sides and end. At times he would cease, and sit statue-like for some
moments, during which the silence of death pervaded the audience. Then
the clapping and gesticulations broke forth with increased violence. Now
and then he paused, and stared into the farthest recess of the tent with
the fiery eyes and the hideous countenance of a demon. At the right
time, to heighten the effect, the wizard, by a quick sign or sharp word,
ordered Koojesse to fix his eyes on this point of the tent, then on
that, intimating in mysterious undertones that in such places _Kudlago's
spirit shook the skin covering_! Koojesse, though one of the most
muscular and intelligent of the natives, obeyed with trembling
promptness, while the profuse sweat stood in drops upon his nose,
(Esquimo perspire freely _only_ on the nose,) and his countenance
beamed with intense excitement. The climax was at hand. The Angekok's
words began to be plain enough for Mr. Hall's ears. Kudlago's spirit was
troubled. Would the white man please give it rest? One of his
double-barreled guns would do it! White man! white man! give Kudlago's
spirit rest! Give the double-barreled gun!

The cunning wizard! But Mr. Hall, who, though brimful of laugh, had been
a sober-looking listener, was not to be caught with this chaff, _except
in his own interest_. He whispers to Koojesse, "Would the Angekok be a
good man to go with me in the spring to King William's Land?"

"Yes," was the reply.

Then Mr. Hall turned to the Angekok and said aloud, "If you go with me
next spring on my explorations you shall have one of my best guns."

Thinking the gift was to be given immediately, his crafty reverence
shouted, thanked Mr. Hall, threw his arms about his neck, and danced
with an air of triumph about the tent, seeming to say as he looked upon
his amazed followers, "I have charmed a kablunah"--white man.

Mr. Hall tried to set him right about the terms of the gift--that it was
to be when he had served him in the spring. But he would understand it
as he would have it. His joy found a fullness of expression when,
pointing to his two wives, he said to Mr. Hall, "One shall be yours;
take your choice." He was disgusted when the white man told him that he
had a wife, and that kabluna wanted but one wife.



CHAPTER XXXVII.

THE DYING ESQUIMO.


CHRISTMAS and New Year's (1861) were not forgotten as holidays by the
sojourners in the regions of cold and ice. Mr. Hall gave his friend
Tookoolito a Bible as a memento of December twenty-fifth. She was much
pleased, and at once spelled out on the title-page, _Holy Bible_.

Mr. Hall having heard that an Esquimo named Nukerton was seriously sick,
invited Tookoolito to visit her with him. Sitting down with the sick
one, with Tookoolito as an interpreter, Mr. Hall spoke to her of Jesus
and the resurrection, while many of her friends stood listening with
intense interest. Tookoolito bent over her sick friend weeping, and
continued the talk about God, Christ, and heaven, after Mr. Hall had
ceased.

Mr. Hall visited the sick one daily, administering to her bodily and
spiritual wants. Going to see her on the fourth of January, he found
that a new snow-hut had been built for the dying one, and her female
friends had carried her into it, opening, to pass her in, a hole on the
back side. It was at once her dying chamber and her tomb. For this
purpose it was built in conformity to the Esquimo usage. He found
Nukerton in her new quarters of stainless snow, on a bed of snow
covered with skins, happy at the change though she knew that she had
been brought there to die, _and to die alone_, as was the custom of her
people. Mr. Hall proposed to carry her to die on board the ship. But
even Tookoolito objected to this. It was better she should die alone;
such was the custom of their fathers. Mr. Hall remained to watch alone
with the dying one, but, on his leaving her igloo to do an errand at a
neighboring tent, her friends sealed up its entrance. He threw back the
blocks of snow piled against it and crept in. Nukerton was not dead; she
breathed feebly; the lamp burned dimly, and the cold was intense; the
solemn stillness of the midnight hour had come; sound of footsteps were
heard, and a rustling at the entrance. Busy hands were fastening it up,
not knowing, perhaps, that Mr. Hall was within. "Stop! stop!" he
shouted, and all was silent as the grave. "Come in!" he again said.
Koodloo, Nukerton's cousin, and a woman came in. They remained a few
moments and left. Mr. Hall was alone again, and remained until the
spirit of the dying woman departed. He gently closed her eyes, laid out
the body as if for Christian burial, closed up the igloo, and departed.

Mr. Hall knew cases, later in his stay with this people, in which the
dying were for some time alone before the vital spark was extinguished.
The only attendance that the sick have is the howling and mummery of the
Angekoks, who are sometimes women. They give no medicine.

Mr. Hall made several sledge excursions with his Innuit friends. One to
Cornelius Grinnell Bay was full of thrilling incidents, of storms, of
perils by the breaking up suddenly of the ice on which he had encamped,
and one showing the wolfish rapacity of Esquimo dogs. He also had a bear
chase and capture. But these, though full of exciting interest, are
similar to those of other explorers, already related. The Esquimo
themselves, with all their knowledge of the ice and storms, have many
desperate adventures. A party of them was once busily engaged in
spearing walrus, when the floe broke up and they went out to sea, and
remained three months on their ice-raft! The walrus were plenty, and
they had a good time of it, and returned safely.

We have given our readers an incident relating to Mr. Hall's dog,
Barbekark--a not very creditable incident, it will be remembered, so far
as that dog's discernment of moral right is concerned. But then we must
remember that heathen dogs are not supposed to know much in that
respect. Barbe, as we will call him for shortness, appears again in our
story in a way which shows that he was very knowing about some matters
at least.

One day, at nine in the morning, a party of the ship's company, attended
by the native Koojesse, started for an excursion into Frobisher Bay.
When well out of sight of the vessel a blinding storm arose, making
farther progress both difficult and dangerous. Koojesse counseled an
immediate construction of a snow-hut, and a halt until the storm
subsided, which was the right thing to do. But the white leader ordered
a return march. The dogs, as they generally will with a fierce wind
blowing in their face, floundered about in reckless insubordination.
Their leader, a strong animal, finally assumed his leadership, and
dragged them for a while toward some islands just appearing in sight.
But Barbe set back in his harness, pricked up his ears, and took a
deliberate survey of the situation. To be sure he could _see_ only a few
rods in any direction, but his mind was made up. He turned his head away
from the islands, and drew with such vigor and decision that all, both
men and dogs, yielded to his guidance. Through the drifts, and in the
face of bewildering clouds of snow which darkened their path, he brought
the party straight to the ship! A few hours more of exposure and all
would have perished.

Young Barbe was a brave hunter as well as skillful guide. On a bright
morning in March, the lookout on the deck of the "Henry" shouted down
the gangway that a herd of deer were in sight. Immediately the
excitement of men and dogs was at fever-heat. The dogs, however, did not
get the news until Koojesse had crept out, and from behind an island had
fired upon the deer. His ball brought down no game, but the report of
the gun called out Barbe with the whole pack of wolfish dogs at his
heels, in full pursuit of the flying, frightened deer. The fugitives
made tortuous tracks, darting behind the islands, now this way, and
then off in another direction. But Barbe struck across their windings
along the straight line toward the point at which they were aiming,
while the rest of the dogs followed their tracks, and so fell behind.
Koojesse returned to the vessel, the hope which just now was indulged of
a venison dinner was given up, and the affair was nearly forgotten,
except that some anxiety was felt lest the dogs should come to harm in
their long and reckless pursuit.

About noon Barbe came on board having his mouth and body besmeared with
blood. He ran to this one, and then to that, looking beseechingly into
their faces, and then running to the gangway stairs, where he stopped
and looked back, as much as to say, "An't you coming? Do come, I'll show
you something worth seeing!" His strange movements were reported to Mr.
Hall in the cabin, but being busy writing he took no notice of it. One
of the men having occasion to go toward the shore Barbe followed him,
but finding that he did not go in the right direction he whined his
disappointment, and started out upon the floe, and then turned and said
as plainly as a dog could speak, "Come on; this is the way!"

A party from the ship determined now to follow. Barbe led them a mile
northward, then, leaving them to follow his foot-prints in the snow, he
scampered off two miles in a western direction. This brought the men to
an island, under the shelter of which they found the dogs. Barbe was
sitting at the head of a slaughtered deer, and his companions squatting
round as watchful sentinels. The deer's throat had been cut with Barbe's
teeth, the jugular vein being severed as with a knife. The roots of the
tongue, with bits of the windpipe, had been eaten, the blood sipped up,
but nothing more. Several crows were pecking away at the carcass
unforbidden by Barbe, who petted crows as his inferiors.

Barbe wagged his tail and shook his head as the men came up, and said in
expressive dog-language, "See here, now! didn't I tell you so!"

The disturbed and blood-stained snow around showed that the deer had
fought bravely. One of his legs was somewhat broken in the bloody
conflict, which incident might have determined Barbe's victory.

The men skinned the deer, and bore the skin and dissected parts to the
vessel.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

CUNNING HUNTERS.


OUR sketch of Mr. Hall's Esquimo life brings us to the early summer of
1861. He had made many excursions in and about Frobisher and Field Bays
which we have not noted. Their results were mainly valuable for the
relics obtained of the visits here of the famous old explorer Frobisher,
nearly three hundred years ago. There were, too, he ascertained,
traditions among the natives of these visits, as well as that of Parry,
nearly fifty years before, which so well accorded with the known facts
as to show the reliability of such traditions.

An incident occurred during one of these excursions which illustrates
the deceitful effect of refraction in the northern atmosphere. He landed
on a headland in Frobisher Bay, and secured an enchanting view of land
and sea. Points of historic interest were under his eye, and nature was
clothed with a wild Arctic beauty. But an object of still more thrilling
interest comes in view. A steamer! Yes, there is her hull and
smoke-pipe, all very unmistakable! See, she tacks, now this way, then
that, working her way no doubt toward the land on which he stands.

Mr. Hall ran to the camp, and told the good news to Koojesse and
Ebierbing, his companions. His mind was fairly bewitched with visions of
news from civilization, from his country, and perhaps letters from his
dear ones of the family circle. Each shouldered his loaded gun, and
walked round to the point on the shore toward which the steamer was
coming. They would make a loud report with their guns, and _compel_
those on board to notice them. When they reached the spot there was no
steamer. The Esquimo looked with blank amazement, and turned inquiringly
toward Mr. Hall. Had she sailed away? No, that was impossible. It was
only that rock yonder, half buried in snow! There, it does even now look
like a steamer! Wait a while. No, it no more looks like a steamer than
it looks like a cow! It is a cruel "sell!"

It will be recollected that the "George Henry" had made her
winter-quarters in a little nook in Field Bay called Rescue Harbor. From
his home in her cabin Mr. Hall was going forth on his explorations. But
the whalers had made a "whaling depot" on a cape of Frobisher Bay, which
commanded a view of its waters and of the waters of Davis Strait. Here
they watched for whales, or made excursions after them. To this depot
Mr. Hall made an excursion with Koojesse about the middle of June. On
their way over the ice, Koojesse gave illustrations of two Esquimo
methods of taking seal that were very peculiar. The dogs scented the
seal and broke into a furious run, making the sledge "spin" over the
ice. Soon Koojesse perceived him lying with his head near his hole. On
the instant the dogs and their driver set up a vociferous, startling
yell. The seal lifted up his head, frightened almost out of his wits, so
that the dogs were within a few rods of him before he so far recovered
his senses as to plunge into his hole and escape.

Koojesse said that only young seals are so caught. In this case fright
had nearly cost the poor seal his life.

At another time Koojesse saw a seal sunning himself, and lying, as is
their habit, near his hole. The hunter stopped the sledge, took his gun,
and, keeping back the dogs, lay down and drew himself along upon his
breast, making at the same time a peculiar, plaintive sound, varied in
intonation. To this "seal talk," as the Esquimo term it, the animal
listens, and is charmed into a pleasant persuasion that some loving
friend is near. He looks, listens, and then lays his head languidly upon
the ice. So the wily hunter approaches within easy range, the rifle
cracks, and the fatal ball goes through the vitals of the confiding
seal. Thus seals, like men, sometimes die of alarm, and are sometimes
taken in the flatterer's snare.

Mr. Hall found the whale depot a busy place. Numerous tents of the white
men and Esquimo were grouped together, in the midst of which, on a
substantial flag-staff, the stars and stripes were waving. The Esquimo
and dogs proclaimed their welcome in their peculiar way, and the
officers and crew made the visitor feel at home.

The question soon discussed concerned a boat for Mr. Hall's journey to
King William's Land. Captain Buddington said seriously that the question
had been much on his mind, and had been anxiously considered, and his
painful conclusion was that he had no whale-boat adequate for the
undertaking. The boat made on purpose for that service, which had been
lost when the "Rescue" was wrecked, was the only one brought into those
waters which could convey him safely. To go in any other would be to
throw away his life. So Mr. Hall said heroically: "I will make the best
of my stay here, in explorations and study of the Esquimo traits and
language. Do you return to the States, get another suitable boat, and,
God willing, I will yet go to King William's Land."

Touching incidents of Innuit life were constantly passing before Mr.
Hall. Here is one. There was a young man, Etu, about twenty-five years
of age, whom our old acquaintance, Ugarng, had taken into his favor. Etu
had the misfortune to be born spotted all over his body, precisely like
the snow-white and black spotting of the skin of one species of seal.
His heathen parents seemed on this account to have loathed their child,
for, after enduring his presence a few years in the family, the father
carried him to an unfrequented barren island to die. But God, who cared
for the child Ishmael and the little Moses, watched over Etu. He caught
the sea-birds which flocked to the land _with his hands_--an
extraordinary exploit. The summer thus passed and winter came, and the
boy yet lived. It so happened--shall we not the rather say, God so
ordered--that a kayak of natives rowed that way. They were surprised
when they saw a boy alone on a drear island, and the child was
frightened at their presence. But when they made friendly signs he
rushed into their arms.

The boy returned to his people, but being shunned and slighted he became
discouraged and indolent. Such was his situation when Ugarng took him
into his family. One day Mr. Hall entered the tent of Ebierbing and
found there a girl thirteen years of age, Ookoodlear, weeping as though
her heart would break. She also was of Ugarng's family, but had been
staying with the kind Tookoolito, wife of Ebierbing. Her trouble was
that Ugarng was coming to take her away and make her the wife of Etu!
Marry a seal-spotted man! the thought was awful! Then, she was so young!

Ebierbing took with him a friend, and called upon Etu and told him the
dislike felt toward him of the girl. Poor Etu! Then Tookoolito agreed
with Ugarng to take charge of Ookoodlear, so the marriage was prevented.

Marriage contracts among the Esquimo are made by the parents or other
friends, often in the childhood of the parties. Those immediately
concerned seldom have any thing to do or say in the matter. Among the
Esquimo of Whale Sound the proposed bridegroom was sometimes required to
be able to carry off to his igloo, in spite of herself, his intended
bride. The resistance in such cases on the part of the woman is
supposed to depend upon circumstances.

There is no marriage ceremony. In these Esquimo communities the two
great events, marriage and death, transpire without special note. Among
the natives of the region we are now visiting the newborn child
generally first sees the light alone with its mother, and in an igloo
built expressly for her.

Late in July the ice broke up and liberated the "George Henry" from her
icy prison. The sailors returned on board, and she sailed away on a
whaling cruise. Mr. Hall was left alone with his Innuit friends. He had
planned a voyage of exploration in his whale-boat with a crew of them,
to be absent about two months. On his return, if he found the whalers in
those regions he would go to the States in one of them; if not, he would
remain in Esquimo life until their return.

Ebierbing and Tookoolito were of course to be of his party. But
Ebierbing was taken seriously sick and so was prevented from
accompanying him, much to his regret. His crew, as finally selected,
were Koojesse and wife, Charley (his Esquimo name is too long to write)
and his wife, Koodloo, and a widow, Suzhi, remarkable for her great size
and strength, weighing two hundred.

The party were off the ninth of August. They passed through Lupton
Channel, a narrow run of water connecting Field Bay with Frobisher Bay.
A white whale preceded them, leisurely keeping the lead, as if conscious
that there were no harpoons in the boat; perhaps he assumed his safety
from the presence of the women. The sea-fowl were abundant. The Esquimo,
to save ammunition, adopted one of their own amusing yet cruel ways of
capturing them. They rowed softly and swiftly to a cluster of them in
the water. Just as the birds were about to fly the whole crew set up a
most terrific yell, at the same time stamping and throwing their arms
about with wild gesticulations. Down go the frightened birds, diving,
instead of flying, to escape the enemy. The crew now seize their oars,
and the steerer guides the boat by the disturbed surface of the water to
the spot where they come up. The moment they show their heads the uproar
is renewed. Down go the birds again without taking breath. This course,
though exciting sport to the hunters, is soon death to the poor birds,
which, exhausted and finally drowned, are picked from the surface of the
water. One of the ducks taken in this way was a mother with a
fledgeling. As the parent gasped in its dying agony, the child would put
its little bill in her mouth for food, and then nestle down under her
for protection.

The explorers having entered Frobisher Bay, sailed west along its
northern shore. They camped at night on the land, and made slow progress
by day. The Esquimo were in no hurry, while Mr. Hall would make good
time to the extreme west of the bay and survey that line of coast, as
the waters had hitherto been deemed a strait. But his free and easy
companions were more disposed to have a good time than to add to
geographical knowledge. At one time Koojesse, taking up Mr. Hall's
glass, saw a bear some miles away on an island. Fresh duck was plenty on
board, and a chase after "_ninoo_" at the expense of time was
unnecessary. But it would be _fun_; that settled the matter. Away sped
the rickety old whale-boat, impelled by strong hands. Bruin soon snuffed
the strangers, stood and looked, then comprehending the danger, turned
and ran over to the other side of the island. Soon the boat was in sight
of him, and he plunged into the water. The Esquimo now adopted a part of
the game they had played so successfully on the ducks. They occasionally
made a sudden and deafening uproar. Ninoo would stop and turn round to
see what was the matter, and so time was gained by his pursuers. But he
made good speed for the main land, and after a while began so far to
comprehend the situation that no noise arrested his course. On he went
for dear life. The balls soon reached him and dyed his coat in crimson,
yet he halted not until one struck his head. This enraged him; he deemed
the play decidedly foul. He turned, showed his teeth, and this brought
the boat to a stand-still. The hunters did not care for a hand-to-paw
fight. The rifle settled the unequal conflict, and ninoo's body was
towed ashore.

The bladder of the bear was inflated, and with some other _charms_, put
on a staff to be elevated on the top of the tupic when the party
encamped, and in the bow of the boat when sailing. This insured good
luck according to Esquimo notions.

The explorers were, while in camp at one time, in want of oil for their
lamp. Koodloo found some strips of sea-blubber and carried it to Suzhi,
who was "in tuktoo"--that is, in bed. She sat up, rested upon her
elbows, put a dish before her, took the blubber, bit off pieces, chewed
it and sucked the oil out, and then spirted it out into the dish. In
this way she "milled" oil enough to fill two large lamps. This done she
lay down again and slept, with unwashen hands and face. There were no
white sheets to be soiled.



CHAPTER XXXIX.

ROUND FROBISHER BAY.


THE explorers found occasionally during their voyage encampments of
natives. In these many incidents occurred illustrating Esquimo habits.
At one place the women were busily employed on seal-skins, making
women's boots. One of them was diligently sewing while her big boy
_stood_ at her breast nursing!

Before reaching the head of the bay Mr. Hall's party was joined by a
boat load of Esquimo, and several women canoes. A beautiful river
emptied into the bay here which abounded with salmon, which proved most
excellent eating. Vegetation was abundant. The women brought Mr. Hall a
good supply of berries, resembling, in size and color, blueberries. They
were deemed a great luxury. Wolves barked and howled about the camp. The
aurora danced and raced across the heavens in strange grandeur. The deer
roamed about the rocky coast undisturbed except by the occasional visits
of the Innuits.

Mr. Hall, having pretty thoroughly explored the head of the bay,
purposed to return on the side opposite that on which he came. Here were
hills covered with snow. It had no attractions for his Esquimo
companions, and they muttered their discontent at the route. Ascending
one of these hills, Mr. Hall planted on it, with much enthusiasm, a
flag-staff from which floated the stripes and stars. On returning to the
encampment he found his tent occupied by several Esquimo busily engaged
in various items of work. One of the women having done him a favor he
gave her some beads, asking her at the same time what she had done with
those he had given her on a former occasion. She said she had given them
to the Angekok for his services in her sickness. Mr. Hall went to a tin
box and took out a copy of the Bible and held it up before the woman,
saying, "This talks to me of heaven!" Instantly, as though a light from
heaven had flashed upon them all, both men and women left their work,
and springing to their feet looked at Mr. Hall. At first they seemed
terrified; then a smile of joy came over their faces, and they said,
"Tell us what it talks of heaven."

As well as he was able, with but a slight knowledge of their language,
he unfolded to them the great truths of Revelation. When he paused one
of his hearers pointed downward, inquiring if it talked of the grave, or
perhaps meaning the place of the wicked. When he answered "Yes," they
looked at each other with solemnity and surprise.

But an incident which occurred soon after showed that these Esquimo did
not feel the presence of eternal things. A white whale had been seen and
chased by the men and women. He escaped, and the men returned in bad
humor. As one of the women was helping to unload the boat her husband
threw a seal-hook at her with great force. She parried the blow, and it
caught in her jacket. She calmly removed it, and continued at her work
as if nothing had happened.

Esquimo men are generally the mildest, if not the most affectionate, of
savages in their relation of husbands; yet in their fits of passion they
throw any thing that is at hand at their wives, a hatchet, stone, knife,
or spear, as they would at a dog.

At one time the Esquimo men all left Mr. Hall's boat on a hunt. He
continued his voyage with the three women rowers. The boat was
pleasantly gliding along, when in passing an island it fell into a
current which rushed over a bed of slightly covered rocks with the
rapidity of a mill-race, seething and whirling in its course. The women,
though frightened, rowed with great vigor, Suzhi showing herself more
than an ordinary man in the emergency. For some time the struggle was
fearful and uncertain. To go with the current was certain death; to get
out of it seemed impossible. At last slowly, steadily, they gained on
the rushing current, and then the boat shot into a little cove in
tranquil waters. They landed and rested six hours.

Mr. Hall had now, September twelfth, been out thirty-five days, and he
determined to return to Rescue Harbor, hoping to find that the "George
Henry" had returned from her whaling trip. This pleased the Esquimo, but
they did not like his south-side route. Koojesse would, in spite of Mr.
Hall, steer the boat toward the opposite side, and the rowers enjoyed
the joke. At one time our explorer wished to stop and make further
examination of a certain locality, but Koojesse was heading the boat
northward. His captain urged him to stop, and he replied with savage
sharpness, "You stop; I go!" Even the women rowers when alone with Mr.
Hall set up an independent authority at one time, and it was only after
considerable urging that they yielded to the white man. Once when
Koojesse was acting contrary to orders, Mr. Hall turned upon him with
tones of authority and a show of determination. He yielded, and five
minutes afterward the whole Esquimo crew were as jovial as if nothing
had occurred. Yet it was not quite certain that this was a safe course.
The life of the lone white man was in their hands.

During this voyage Mr. Hall was treated without stint to the delights of
one Esquimo practice. We have spoken of the wild songs of their
incantations, rising often into a dismal howl. One of the crew, a woman,
had a gift in this way, and when she _ankooted_ the rest accompanied, or
came in on the chorus. In this way they often made the night of their
encampment hideous. One day the boat was gliding smoothly along under
the steady strokes of the rowers. The unemployed were nestling down in
their furs, dreamily musing, while the dreary expanse of sky and sea was
profoundly still, save the distant screech of the sea-fowl, and the
occasional bark of the seal. Suddenly the female enchanter commenced her
mystical song. Her voice was shrill as a night-bird's, and varied by
sharp and sudden cracks, like fourth-of-July firecrackers. The Esquimo
crew came in on the chorus, and the rowers put forth at the same time a
frantic energy, their eyes glaring and countenances fearfully distorted.
The whole scene was intensely demoniac. The enchanters seemed
intoxicated with their howlings, and continued them through the night
and most of the two following days.

Only one incident more of a noticeable character occurred on this
excursion. When one of their nightly encampments had just commenced _a
gold fever_ seized the Esquimo, and shook the little community as if
they had been white folks. A huge lump of gold had been found! It was
precisely the article for which the sovereign of England and her savans
had sent here, three hundred years before, the sturdy Frobisher, with a
fleet of empty ships. It was emphatically _fool's gold_.

Friday, September twenty-seventh, 1861, the explorers arrived at Rescue
Harbor. The "George Henry" was already there. Her energetic officers and
crew had toiled through all the season and taken nothing! The explorer
and the ship's commander, after a warm supper, sat in the cabin talking
over the incidents of their experience while separated until a late hour
of the night. The whole community were jubilant at their return, as
fears were indulged that the crazy craft had sunk with all its
occupants.

Mr. Hall was not long in finding the tupic of his friends, Ebierbing and
wife. When the wife of Tookoolito saw him she buried her face in her
hands and burst into tears so great was her joy. While chatting with
them, Mr. Hall heard the plaintive sound of an infant voice. Turning
back the folds of Tookoolito's fur wrapper a little boy was seen only
twenty-four days old, an only child.

October twentieth came, and the whalers had secured three whales--an
encouraging success after a long failure. But her captain had not
intended to stay another winter. His time was out, and so, nearly, were
his provisions. But while Rescue Harbor was yet clear of ice, and he was
getting ready to return, purposing to take with him the still
enthusiastic explorer, the heavy "pack" was outside of the harbor in
Davis Strait. It had come, an untimely, unwelcome voyager from the
north. While the anxious whalemen were looking for a "lead" to open and
permit them to sail homeward the Frosty King of the north waved his icy
scepter, and Davis Strait was as unnavigable as the solid land. Another
winter was spent in Rescue Harbor, and it was not until early in August,
1862, that the vessel was set free and spread her sails for home. This
year, too, was diligently improved by Mr. Hall in explorations and the
further study of the Esquimo language and character. He confidently
expected to return, after a short stay in the United States, and carry
out his proposed plan of explorations in King William's Land. He took
home with him Ebierbing and Tookoolito, with their infant boy,
Tuk-e-lik-e-ta. The dog Barbekark made one of the returning party.

They arrived in New London September thirteenth, 1862, after an absence
of two years and three and a half months.



CHAPTER XL.

THE "POLARIS."


WE have seen that Mr. Hall's enthusiasm for arctic research was unabated
when he returned from his first adventure. In 1864 he was off again. He
sailed from New London in the whaler "Monticello," accompanied by his
Esquimo friends, Ebierbing and Tookoolito. The "Monticello" entered
Hudson Bay, landed the daring explorers on its northern shores, and left
them to their fortunes. From thence they made the long, dreary journey
to King William's Land, where the relics of Franklin's party had been
found, some of whom Hall hoped to find alive. For five years he lived an
Esquimo life, experiencing many thrilling adventures, and escaping many
imminent dangers. At one time he saved his own life only by shooting an
assailant who was leading against him a party who had conspired to
murder him. The result of his long sojourn in this region of cold was a
store of knowledge of the Esquimo habits and language, but nothing
important relating to the fate of the Franklin expedition. Many sad
confirmations were indeed found of the fact before generally accepted,
that they had all miserably perished.

On his return, Mr. Hall, nothing daunted by hardships and failures,
commenced writing and lecturing on the theory of an open Polar Sea. As
he had done before, so now he succeeded in impressing not only the
popular mind but scientific men and statesmen with the plausibility of
his theory and the practicability of his plans. Another North Pole
expedition was proposed; Congress appropriated to it fifty thousand
dollars, and Mr. Hall was appointed its commander. A craft of about four
hundred tons, being larger than either of its predecessors on the same
errand, was selected, and named the "Polaris." She was a
screw-propeller, and rigged as a fore-topsail schooner. Her sides were
covered with a six-inch white oak planking, nearly doubling their
strength. Her bows were nearly solid white oak, made sharp, and sheathed
with iron. One of her boilers was fitted for the use of whale or seal
oil, by which steam could be raised if the coal was exhausted. She was
supplied with five extraordinary boats. One of these must have been the
last Yankee invention in the boat line. It is represented as having a
capacity to carry twenty-five men, yet weighing only two hundred and
fifty pounds; when not in use it could be folded up and packed snugly
away. The "Polaris" was, of course, amply equipped and ably manned, and
great and useful results were expected from her. President Grant is said
to have entered with interest into this enterprise of Captain Hall, and
the nation said, "God bless him and his perilous undertaking!" though
many doubted the wisdom of any more Arctic expeditions. A few days
before his departure Mr. Hall received from the hand of his friend,
Henry Grinnell, a flag of historic note. It had fluttered in the wind
near the South Pole with Lieutenant Wilkes, in 1838; had been borne by
De Haven far northward; it had gone beyond De Haven's highest in the
Kane voyage, and was planted still farther North Poleward by Hayes. "I
believe," exclaimed Captain Hall, on receiving it, "that this flag, in
the spring of 1872, will float over a new world, in which the North Pole
star is its crowning jewel."

The "Polaris" left New York June 29, 1871, tarried for a few days at New
London, and was last heard from as she was ready to steam northward, the
last of August, from Tussuissak, the most northern of the Greenland
outposts. At this place Captain Hall met our old acquaintance, Jensen,
of the Hayes expedition. He was flourishing as "governor" of a few
humble huts occupied by a few humbler people, and he put on
consequential airs in the presence of his white brother. He would not be
a dog-driver again to an Arctic exploration--not he! Hall says he had "a
face of brass in charging for his dogs." But the full complement of
sixty was made up here, and his stock of furs was increased.

As our voyagers are now about to enter upon the terribly earnest
conflicts of North Pole explorers, and as their complement of men _and
women_ are complete, we will further introduce them to our readers.

The commander, Hall, they know; he is well-proportioned, muscular, of
medium height, quiet, but completely enthusiastic in his chosen line of
duty, believing thoroughly in himself and his enterprise, yet believing
well too easily of others, especially of the rough men of his command,
some of whom have grown up under the harsh discipline of the whale-ship
or the naval service. The next in command is the sailing-master, Captain
S. O. Buddington of our last narrative. Captain Tyson, commissioned as
assistant navigator to the expedition, has been introduced to the reader
at Frobisher Bay, while in command there of a whale-ship. We shall have
occasion to become very intimate with him. Here is our old acquaintance,
William Morton, whom we knew so favorably by his heroic deeds in the Dr.
Kane expedition; he is second mate now.

Of course, Captain Hall's old friends of his first and second Arctic
experience, Ebierbing and Tookoolito, his wife, are here. They are now
known as Joe and Hannah, and although it does some violence to our taste
to drop their Esquimo names, we will conform to the usage about us, and
know them in this narrative by these English names. They are accompanied
by an adopted daughter from among their people, about ten years old,
whom they call Puney.

[Illustration: Captain Buddington.]

And here, too, is our old friend Hans, taken on board at Upernavik.
Having been with Kane and Hayes, nothing daunted by the perils of their
voyages, he is here to see, if possible, with Hall, the North Pole,
though no doubt thinking much more of his twenty-five dollars a month as
hunter and dog-driver than of the desired discoveries. His wife and
their three children are with him, for, like a good husband and father,
he would not be separated from his family. The children are Augustina, a
girl about thirteen years, heavy built, and most as large as her mother;
Tobias, a boy of perhaps eight, and a little girl, Succi, of four years.
Think of such a group daring the known and unknown perils of Arctic ice
and cold!

With the rest of the ship's company we shall form acquaintance as our
narrative progresses.

On the twenty-fourth of August the "Polaris" left Tussuissak, and fairly
began her Arctic fight in the ice, current, and wind encounters of
Melville Bay. But on she steamed, passing in a few days through the Bay
into the North Water, into Smith Sound, passing Hayes's winter-quarters,
yet steaming on by Dr. Kane's winter-quarters, not even pausing to
salute our old friends Kalutunah and Myouk, sailing up the west side of
Kennedy Channel, the scene of Dr. Hayes's conflicts and heroic
achievements, the "Polaris" finally brings up in the ice barriers of
north latitude 82° 16´. The highest points of previous voyages in this
direction are far south. That new world of which the North Pole star is
"the crowning jewel," is less than six hundred miles farther. If that
open sea located in this latitude by confident explorers was only a
fact, how easily and how soon would the brave "Polaris" be there! But
the ice-floe, strong and defiant, and the southern current, were facts,
and the open sea nowhere visible. The "Polaris" was taken in hand by the
ice and current in the historic, Arctic fashion, and set back about
fifty miles. The Ice King had said, "Thus far and no farther," and
pointed with his frosty fingers southward.

The "Polaris" early in September was glad to steam in under the land,
anchor to an iceberg, and make her winter-quarters. Captain Hall called
the harbor "Thank-God Harbor," and the friendly anchorage "Providence
Berg." He had a right here now, for a little farther north, at a place
he called "Repulse Harbor," he went ashore, threw the stripes and stars
to the breeze, and took possession of the land "in the name of God and
the President of the United States." We shall not expect to hear that a
territorial representative from this land enters the next Congress. If
this part of our national domain has a representative in the life-time
of our distinguished acquaintance, Kalutunah, we nominate him for the
position, as one of the nearest known inhabitants.

Now commenced in earnest preparations for an Arctic winter. We have seen
how this is done, and Hall and some, at least, of his officers knew how
to do it. The hunters were abroad at once, and an early prize was a
musk-ox weighing three hundred pounds. His meat was tender and good,
having no musky odor. This was but the beginning of the good gunning
afforded by this far northern region. Two seals were soon after shot.
The country was found to abound in these, and in geese, ducks, rabbits,
wolves, foxes, partridges, and bears. The scurvy was not likely to
venture near our explorers.

A pleasant incident occurred on shipboard about this time which the
reader will better appreciate as our story progresses. It was September
twenty-fourth. The Sabbath religious service of the preceding day had
been conducted by Chaplain Bryant in his usual happy manner. At its
close Commander Hall made some kind, earnest remarks to the men by which
their rough natures were made tender, and they sent a letter from the
forecastle to the cabin expressing to him their thanks. To this he
replied in the following note:--

      "SIRS: The reception of your letter of thanks to me of
      this date I acknowledge with a heart that deeply feels
      and fully appreciates the kindly feeling that has
      prompted you to this act. I need not assure you that
      your commander has, and ever will have, a lively
      interest in your welfare. You have left your homes,
      friends, and country; indeed, you have bid farewell
      for a time to the whole civilized world, for the
      purpose of aiding me in discovering the mysterious,
      hidden parts of the earth. I therefore must and shall
      care for you as a prudent father cares for his
      faithful children."

October tenth, after careful preparation, Captain Hall started northward
on an experiment in the way of sledging. He purposed more extended
sledge journeys in the spring, until the Pole itself should be reached.
He took two sledges, drawn by seven dogs each. Captain Hall and Joe
accompanied one, and Mr. Chester, the mate, and Hans, the other. Their
experience on this trip was simply of the Arctic kind, of which we have
seen so much. Deep snows, treacherous ice, which was in a state of
change by the action of winds and currents, intense cold, and vexed and
vicious dogs, all put in their appearance. But Captain Hall says, "These
drawbacks are nothing new to an Arctic traveler. We laugh at them, and
plod on determined to execute the service faithfully to the end." The
sledge expedition was gone two weeks, and traveled north fifty miles.
They discovered a lake and a river. They came to the southern cape of a
bay which they had seen from the "Polaris" in her drift from above. They
named the bay Newman Bay, and attached Senator Sumner's name to the
cape. From the top of an iceberg they surveyed the bay, and believed it
extended inland thirty miles. Crossing the mouth of the bay they
clambered up its high northern cape, which they called Brevoort. Here
they looked westward over the waters up which a good distance past this
point the "Polaris" had sailed, and which they had named Robeson Strait.
They peered longingly into the misty distance, and fondly hoped to
penetrate it with sledge or steamer in the spring. Joe, the architect of
the journey, built here their sixth snow-hut. It was warmer than at
Thank-God Harbor, and birds, musk-oxen, foxes, and rabbits, were seen,
and bear and wolf tracks were in the vicinity. Captain Hall was joyous
at the future prospect. He wrote a dispatch from this high latitude in
which he says, "We have all been well up to this time." A copy of it was
placed in a copper cylinder and buried under a pile of stones. The party
turned their faces homeward; Captain Hall's Arctic explorations were
ended.



CHAPTER XLI.

DISASTER.


[Illustration: Unloading Stores from the "Polaris."]

ABOUT noon of October twenty-fourth Captain Hall and his party were seen
in the distance approaching the ship. Captain Tyson, the assistant
navigator, went out to meet them. Not even a dog had been lost, and
Captain Hall was jubilant over his trip and the future of the
expedition. While he was absent the work of banking up the "Polaris"
with snow as an increased defense against the cold, the building of a
house on shore for the stores, and their removal to it from the ship,
had gone forward nearly to completion. He looked at the work, greeted
all cheerfully, and entered the cabin. He obtained water, and washed and
put on clean underclothes. The steward, Mr. Herron, asked him what he
would have to eat, expressing at the same time a wish to get him
"something nice." He thanked him, but said he wanted only a cup of
coffee, and complained of the heat of the cabin. He drank a part of the
cup of coffee and set it aside. Soon after he complained of sickness at
the stomach, and threw himself into his berth. Chester, the mate, and
Morton, second mate, watched with him all night, during which he was at
times delirious. It was thought he was partially paralyzed. The
surgeon, Dr. Bessel, was in constant attendance, but after temporary
improvement he became wildly delirious, imagining some one had poisoned
him, and accused first one, then another. He thought he saw blue gas
coming from the mouths of persons about him. He refused clean stockings
at the hand of Chester, thinking they were poisoned, and he made others
taste the food tendered him before taking it himself, even that from
sealed cans opened in his cabin. During the night of November seventh he
was clear in his mind, and as Surgeon Bessel was putting him to bed and
tucking him in, he said in his own kind tone, "Doctor, you have been
very kind to me, and I am obliged to you." Early in the morning of
November eighth he died, and with his death the American North Polar
Expedition was ended.

The grave of their beloved commander was dug by the men under Captain
Tyson, inland, southeast, about a half mile from the "Polaris." The
frozen ground yielded reluctantly to the picks, and the grave was of
necessity very shallow.

On the eleventh a mournful procession moved from the "Polaris" to the
place of burial. Though not quite noon it was Arctic night. A weird,
electric light filled the air, through which the stars shone
brilliantly. Captain Tyson walked ahead with a lantern, followed by
Commander Buddington and his officers, and then by the scientific corps,
which included the chaplain, Mr. Bryan; the men followed, drawing the
coffin on a sled, one of their number bearing another lantern. The
fitting pall thrown over the coffin was the American flag. Following the
sled were the Esquimo--last in the procession but not the least in the
depth and genuineness of their sorrow. At the grave, Tyson held the
light for the chaplain to read the burial service. As the solemn, yet
comforting words were uttered, "I am the resurrection and the life,
saith the Lord," all were subdued to tears. Only from the spirit of the
Gospel, breathing its tender influence through these words, was there
any cheerful inspiration. The day was cold and dismal, and the wind
howled mournfully. Inland over a narrow snow-covered plain, and in the
shadowy distance, were huge masses of slate-rock, the ghostly looking
sentinels of the barren land beyond. Seaward was the extended ice of
Polaris Bay, and the intervening shore strown with great ice-blocks in
wild confusion. About five hundred paces away was the little hut called
an observatory, and from its flag-staff drooped at half-mast the stars
and stripes.

Far away were his loved family and friends, whose prayers had followed
him during his adventures in the icy north, who even now hoped for his
complete success and safe return; and far away the Christian burial
place where it would have been to them mournfully pleasant to have laid
him. But he who had declared that he loved the Arctic regions, and to
whose ears there was music in its wailing winds, and to whose eyes there
was beauty in its rugged, icy barrenness, had found his earthly
resting-place where nature was clothed in its wildest Arctic features.
A board was erected over his grave in which was cut:--

    "TO THE MEMORY OF

    C. F. HALL,

    _Late Commander of the North Polar Expedition._

    Died November 8, 1871,

    Aged fifty years."

When the funeral procession had returned to the ship, all moved about in
the performance of their duty in gloomy silence. It is sad to record
that the great affliction caused by the death of Hall was rendered more
intense by the moral condition of the surviving party. Two hideous
specters had early in the expedition made their appearance on board the
"Polaris." They were the spirits of Rum and Discord! Commander Hall had
forbidden the admission of liquor on shipboard, but it had come _with_
the medicines whether _of_ them or not. It was put under the key of the
locker, but it broke out--no, we will not do injustice even to this
foulest of demons: _an officer_, selected to guard the safety and
comfort of the ship's company, broke open the locker and let it out.
This brought upon him a reprimand from Captain Hall, and later a letter
of stricture upon his conduct. The doctor's alcohol could not be safely
kept for professional purposes, which raised "altercations" on board. So
Rum and Discord, always so closely allied, went stalking through the
ship, with their horrid train. Insubordination, of course, was from the
first in attendance. Hall had, it would seem, in part _persuaded_ into
submission this ghastly specter. Where, on shipboard, the lives of all
depend upon submission to one will, rebellion becomes, in effect,
murder. We have seen that Dr. Kane argued down this bloody intruder by a
pistol in a steady hand leveled at the head of the chief rebel; and that
Dr. Hayes saved his boat party by the same persuasive influence over
Kalutunah. But Hall was not reared in the navy, and was cast in a gentle
mold.

On the Sunday following the burial of Hall it was announced that from
that time the Sunday service would be omitted. "Each one can pray for
himself just as well," it was remarked. The faithful chaplain, however,
seems to have held religious service afterward for such as pleased to
attend. Hall had taken great pleasure in it, and it had, we think,
attended every Arctic expedition through which we have carried the
reader.

After such a purpose to dismiss public worship from the vessel we are
not surprised to learn that "the men made night hideous by their
carousings." Nature without had ceased to distinguish night from day,
and our explorers did not follow the example of their predecessors in
this region, and _make_ day and night below decks by requiring the light
to be put out at a stated hour. So the noise and card-playing had all
hours for their own. Under these circumstances, as if to make the
"Polaris" forecastle the counterpart of one of our city "hells,"
pistols were put into the hands of the men. Discord was now armed, and
Alcohol was at the chief place of command.

The Christmas came, but no religious service with it. New-Year's day
brought nothing special. The winter dragged along but not the wind,
which roared in tempests, and rushed over the floe in currents traveling
fifty-three miles an hour. It played wild and free with the little bark
which had intruded upon its domains, breaking up the ice around it, and
straining at its moorings attached to the friendly berg.

Spring came at last. Hunting became lively and successful. His majesty,
the bear, became meat for the hunters after a plucky fight, in which two
dogs had their zeal for bear combat fairly subdued. Musk-oxen stood in
stupid groups to be shot. White foxes would not be hit at any rate.
Birds, trusting to their spread wings, were brought low, plucked and
eaten. Seals coming out of their holes, and stretching themselves on the
ice to enjoy dreamily a little sunshine, to which they innocently
thought they had a right as natives of the country, were suddenly
startled by the crack of the rifles of Hans and Joe, and often under
such circumstances died instantly of lead. It seemed hardly fair. In
fact we are confident that the animals about Polaris Bay contracted a
prejudice against the strangers, except the white foxes, who could not
see what _hurt_ these hunters did--at least to foxes--and they were of a
mind that it was decided fun to be hunted by them.

The Esquimo have been in this high latitude in the not distant past, as
a piece of one of their sledges was found.

Soon after Hall's death the chief officers had mutually pledged in
writing that, "It is our honest intention to honor our flag, and to
hoist it upon the most northern point of the earth." During the spring
and summer some journeys northward were made, but were not extended
beyond regions already visited. The eye which would have even now looked
with hope and faith to the region of the star which is the "crowning
jewel" of the central north, was dim in death. Captain Buddington, now
in chief command, had faith and hope in the homeward voyage only.

[Illustration: Perilous Situation of the "Polaris."]

On the twelfth of August, 1872, the "Polaris" was ready, with steam up,
for the return trip. On that very day there was added to the family of
Hans a son. All agreed to name him Charlie Polaris, thus prettily
suggesting the name of the late commander and of the ship. Little
Charlie was evidently disgusted with his native country, for he
immediately turned his back upon it, the ship steaming away that
afternoon. The "Polaris" had made a tolerably straight course up, but
now made a zig-zag one back. On she went, steaming, drifting, banging
against broken floes, through the waters over which we have voyaged with
Kane and Hayes, until they came into the familiar regions of Hayes's
winter-quarters. On the afternoon of the fifteenth of October the wind
blew a terrific gale from the north-west. The floe, in an angry mood,
_nipped_ the ship terribly. She groaned and shrieked, in pain but not in
terror, for with her white oak coat of mail she still defied her icy
foe, now rising out of his grasp, and then falling back and breaking for
herself an easier position. The hawsers were attached to the floe, and
the men stood waiting for the result of the combat on which their lives
depended. At this moment the engineer rushed to the deck with the
startling announcement that the "Polaris" had sprung a leak, and that
the water was gaining on the pumps. "The captain threw up his arms, and
yelled the order to throw every thing on the ice." No examination into
the condition of the leak seems to have been made. A panic followed, and
overboard went every thing in reckless confusion, many valuable articles
falling near the vessel, and, of course, were drawn under by her
restless throes and lost. Overboard went boats, provisions, ammunition,
men, women, and children, nobody knew what nor who. It was night--an
intensely dark, snowy, tempestuous night.

It was in this state of things, when the ship's stores and people were
divided between the floe and her deck, that the anchors planted in the
floe tore away, and the mooring lines snapped like pack-thread, and away
went the "Polaris" in the darkness, striking against huge ice-cakes, and
drifting none knew where. "Does God care for sparrows?" and will he not
surely care for these imperiled explorers, both those in the drifting
steamer, and those on the floe whom he alone can save, unhoused in an
Arctic night on which no sun will rise for many weeks, exposed to the
caprice of winds, currents, and the ever untrustworthy ice-raft on which
they are cast?

We will leave the floe party awhile in His care, and follow the fortunes
of the brave little vessel and her men.



CHAPTER XLII.

THE LAST OF THE "POLARIS."


THOSE left on board of the "Polaris" were oppressed with fears both for
themselves and those on the floe. The leak in the ship was serious, and
the water was gaining in the hold, and threatened to reach and put out
the fires, and thus render the engine useless. Besides, the deck pumps
were frozen up, and only two lower ones could be used. But "just before
it was too late," hot water was procured from the boiler and poured in
buckets-full into the deck-pumps, and they were thawed out. The men then
worked at the pumps with an energy inspired by imminent danger of death.
They had already been desperately at work for six unbroken hours, and
ere long the fight for life was on the verge of failure. Just then came
to the fainting men the shout "steam's up," and tireless steam came to
the rescue of weary muscles.

As the dim light of the morning of October sixteenth dawned on the
anxious watchers, they saw that they had been forced by the violent wind
out of Baffin Bay into Smith Sound.

Not until now, since the hour of separation, had they counted their
divided company. The assistant navigator, the meteorologist, all the
Esquimo, and six seamen were missing; part of the dogs had also gone
with the floe party. Fourteen men remained, including the commander and
the mate, the surgeon, and the chaplain.

Men were sent to the mast-head to look for the missing ones, but the
most careful gaze with the best glass failed to discern them. Hope of
their safety was inspired by the fact that they had all the boats, even
to the little scow; yet it was not certainly known that the boats had
not been sunk or drifted off in the darkness, and thus lost to them. So
all was tantalizing uncertainty.

An examination revealed the encouraging fact that a good supply of fuel
and provisions remained on board. A breeze sprung up at noon by whose
aid the "Polaris" was run eastward, through a fortunate lead, as near to
the land as possible. Here lines were carried out on the floe and made
fast to the hummocks, all the anchors having been lost. She lay near the
shore, and grounded at low water. An examination showed that the vessel
was so battered and leaky, that surprise was excited that she had not
gone down before reaching the shore. It was decided at once that she
could not be made to float longer. The steam-pumps were stopped, the
water filled her hold, and decided her fate.

The sheltered place into which the "Polaris" had by Divine guidance
entered was Life-Boat Cove, only a little north of Etah Bay, every mile
of which we have surveyed in former visits. The famous city of Etah with
its two huts was not far away, but out of it and its vicinity had come
timely blessings to other winter-bound explorers.

Our party at once commenced to carry ashore the provisions, clothing,
ammunition, and all such articles from the vessel as might make them
comfortable. The spars, sails, and some of the heavy wood-work of the
cabin, were used in erecting a house. When done their building was quite
commodious, being twenty-two feet by fourteen. The sails aided in making
the roof, which proved to be water-tight, and the snow thrown up against
the sides made it warm. Within, it was one room for all, and for all
purposes. "Bunks" were made against the sides for each of the fourteen
men. A stove with cooking utensils was brought from the ship and set up;
lamps were suspended about the room, and a table with other convenience
from the cabin were put in order.

But before this was done a party of Esquimo with five sledges made their
appearance. They stopped at a distance, and signified their friendly
purpose by their customary wild gesticulations and antics. The white men
at first took them for the floe party, and raised three rousing cheers
of welcome. We doubt not, though it is not stated, that they were led on
by our special friend, Kalutunah. The surly Sipsu, it will be
remembered, had received what he had sought to give to another, a
harpoon planted in the back, and was dead. So there was left none to
rival Kalutunah. Myouk, the boy that was, in Kane's day, was reported as
an old man now. Esquimo grow old rapidly. The whole party went to work
with a will, having pleasant visions before them of a new stock of
needles, knives, and other white-man treasures. They clambered over the
hummocky floe, bringing loads of coal from the ship, and with their
sleds brought fresh-water ice for the melting apparatus. Several
families finally came, built their huts near the vessel, and spent the
winter. The ship-wrecked whites had nearly worn out their fur suits, and
their supply had been greatly reduced by the losses on the floe. So the
Esquimo replenished their stock, and their women repaired the worn ones.
Thus God makes the humblest and the weakest able at times to render
essential help to the strong, and none need be useless.

The winter wore off. There was no starvation, nor even short rations.
The coal burned cheerfully in the stove until February, and then fuel
torn from the "Polaris" supplied its place. The friendly natives brought
fresh walrus meat, and scurvy was kept away. For all their valuable
services the Esquimo felt well repaid in the coveted treasures which
were given them.

The time during the sunless days was passed in reading, writing,
amusements, and discussions, according to the taste and inclination of
each. Of course there were some daily domestic duties to be done. The
scientific men pursued their inquiries so far as circumstances allowed.

The dismal story which has so often pained our ears concerning the
Esquimo was true of them generally during the winter--they were
suffering with cold and hunger, and three, one of whom was Myouk, died.
The explorers returned the Esquimo kindness by sharing with them, in a
measure, their own stock of provisions.

The spring came, and with it successful hunting. One deer was shot, and
some hares caught. Chester, the mate, who seems to have been _the_
Yankee of the party, planned, and assisted the carpenter in building two
boats. The material was wrenched from the "Polaris." They were each
twenty-five feet long and five feet wide, square fore and aft, capable
of carrying, equally divided between them, the fourteen men, two months'
provisions, and other indispensable articles. When these were done they
made a smaller boat, and presented it to the Esquimo; it would aid them
in getting eggs and young birds about the shore.

Clear water did not reach Life-Boat Cove until the last of May. On its
appearance in the immediate vicinity the waiting explorers put every
thing in readiness for their departure. The boats were laden, and each
man assigned his place. Bags were made of the canvas sails in which to
carry the provisions. What remained of the "Polaris" was given to the
Esquimo chief--we guess to our friend Kalutunah--as an acknowledgment of
favors received. On the third of June, in fine spirits and good health,
the explorers launched their boats and sailed southward. At first the
boats leaked badly, but they sailed and rowed easily, and proved very
serviceable. It was continuous day, and the weather favorable. Seals
could be had for the pains of hunting them, and the sea-fowl were so
plenty that ten were at times brought down at a shot. On the downward
trip old localities were touched, such as Etah, Hakluyt Island, and
Northumberland Island. The average amount of Arctic storms were
encountered, the drift ice behaved in its usual manner, though not as
badly as it has been known to do. The little crafts had their
hair-breadth escapes, and were battered not a little. Every night, when
the toils of the day were over, the boats were drawn upon the floe,
every thing taken out, and the only hot meal of the day was prepared.
Each boat carried pieces of rope from the "Polaris," and a can of oil.
With these a fire was made in the bottom of an iron pot. Over this fire
they made their steaming pots of tea.

The party halted a while at Fitz Clarence Rock in Booth Bay, about
sixteen miles south of Cape Parry, and within sight of the high, bleak
plain on which Dr. Hayes's boat-party spent their fearful winter. On the
tenth day of their voyaging they had reached Cape York. In comparison to
Dr. Kane's trip over the same waters, theirs was as a summer holiday
excursion. But Melville Bay was now before them with its defiant bergs,
hummocks, currents, stormy winds, and blinding snows--a horrid crew! No
wonder that the fear prevailed among them that if not rescued they could
never reach any settlement. Chester, however, said, "We can, and will."
But the rescuers were not afar off. For another ten days they were made
to feel that their battle for life was to be a hard-fought one. On the
twenty-third they saw, away in the distance, what appeared to be a
whaler. Could it be! They dared scarcely trust their eyes, for the
object was ten miles away. Yes, it was a steamer, and beset, too, so she
could not get away. New courage was inspired, and they toiled on. But
for this timely spur to their zeal they would have lost heart, for one
of the boats in being lifted over the hummocks was badly stove, and
their provisions were giving out, though they had calculated that they
had two months' supply. Soon after they saw the steamer they were seen
by the watch from the mast-head. They were taken for Esquimo, but a
sharp lookout was kept upon their movement, which soon showed them to be
white men. Signals of recognition were immediately given, and eighteen
picked men were sent to their relief. Seeing this, Captain Buddington
sent forward two men, and the rescuers soon met and returned with them.
With even this addition to their strength, it took six hours to drag the
boats the twelve miles which intervened between them and the whaler.
They were received with a kind-hearted welcome by the noble Scotchman,
Captain Allen, of the "Ravenscraig," of Dundee. Their toils were over,
and their safety insured. We will return to those on the floe.



CHAPTER XLIII.

THE FEARFUL SITUATION.


ONE of the anchors of the "Polaris," in starting on the night of the
separation, tore off a large piece of the floe with three men upon it.
As the "Polaris" swept past them they cried out in agony, "What shall we
do?" Captain Buddington shouted back, "We can do nothing for you. You
have boats and provisions; you must shift for yourselves." This was the
last word from the "Polaris."

Seeing the sad plight of these men, Captain Tyson, who from the first
had been upon the floe, took "the donkey," a little scow which had been
tossed upon the ice, and attempted to rescue them. But the donkey almost
at once sunk, and he jumped back upon the floe and launched one of the
boats. Some of the other men started in the other boat at the same time,
and the three men were soon united to the rest of the floe party.

One of the last things Tyson drew out of the way of the vessel as its
heel was grinding against the parting floe were some musk-ox skins. They
lay across a widening crack, and in a moment more would have been sunk
in the deep, or crushed between colliding hummocks. Rolled up in one of
them, and cozily nestling together, were two of Hans's children! Does
not God care for _children_!

Our darkness and storm-beset party did not dare to move about much, for
they could not tell the size of the ice on which they stood, nor at what
moment they might step off into the surging waters. So they rolled
themselves up in the musk-ox skins and _slept_! Captain Tyson alone did
not lie down, but walked cautiously about during the night. The morning
came, and with it a revelation of their surroundings. Huge bergs were in
sight which had in the storm and darkness charged upon the floe, and
caused the breaking up of the preceding night. It had been a genuine
Arctic assault. Their own raft was nearly round, and about four miles in
circumference, and immovably locked between several grounded bergs. It
was snow-covered, and full of hillocks and intervening ponds of water
which the brief summer sun had melted from their sides. Those who had
laid down were covered with snow, and looked like little mounds. When
the party roused, the first thing they thought of was the ship. But she
was nowhere to be seen. A lead opened to the shore inviting their escape
to the land. Captain Tyson ordered the men to get the boats in immediate
readiness, reminding them of the uncertainty of the continued opening of
the water, and of the absolute necessity of instant escape from the floe
in order to regain the ship and save their lives. But the men were in no
hurry, and obedience to orders had long been out of their line. They
were hungry and tired, and were determined to eat first; and they didn't
want a cold meal, and so they made tea and chocolate, and cooked canned
meat. This done they must change their wet clothes for dry ones.

In the mean time the drifting ice _was_ in a hurry and had shut up in
part the lead. But Tyson was determined to try to reach the shore though
the difficulties had so greatly increased during the delay. The boats
were laden and launched, but when they were about half way to the shore
the lead closed, and they returned to the floe and hauled up the boats.
Just then the "Polaris" was seen under both steam and sail. She was
eight or ten miles away, but signals were set to attract her attention,
and she was watched with a glass with intense interest until she
disappeared behind an island. Soon after, Captain Tyson sent two men to
a distant part of the floe to a house made of poles, which he had
erected for the stores soon after they began to be thrown from the
vessel. In going for these poles the steamer was again seen, apparently
fast in the ice behind the island. She could not then come to the floe
party, being beset and without boats, and so Tyson ordered the men to
get the boats ready for another attempt to reach the land, and thus in
time connect with the vessel. He lightened the boats of all articles not
absolutely necessary, that they might be drawn to the water safely and
with speed. He then went ahead to find the nearest and best route for
embarking. The grounded bergs in the mean while, relaxed their grasp
upon the explorers' ice-raft, and they began to drift southward. With
malicious intent, on came a terrific snow-storm at the same time. Tyson
hurried back to hasten up the men. They were in no hurry, but, with
grumbling and trifling, finally made ready as they pretended, one boat
crowded with every thing both needful and worthless. When at last it was
dragged to the water's edge, it was ascertained that the larger part of
the oars and the rudder had been left at the camp far in the rear. In
this crippled condition the boat was launched. But not only oars and
rudder, but _will_ on the part of the men was wanting. So the boat was
drawn upon the floe, and left with all its valuables near the water. The
night was approaching, the storm was high, and the men were weary, so no
attempt was made to return it to the old camp. All went back to the
middle of the floe. Tyson, Mr. Meyers, one of the scientific corps, and
the Esquimo, made a canvas shelter, using the poles as a frame, and the
others camped near them. Captain Tyson, after eating a cold supper,
rolled himself in a musk-ox skin, and lay down for the first sleep he
had sought for forty-eight hours. His condition seemed to be a specially
hard one. While, on the night of the great disaster, he was striving to
save the general stores, the saving of which proved the salvation of the
company, others were looking after their personal property, so they had
their full supply of furs and fire-arms, while his were left in the
ship. He, however, slept soundly until the morning, when he was
startled by a shriek from the Esquimo. The floe had played them an
Arctic trick; it had broken and set the whole party adrift on an
ice-raft not more than one hundred and fifty yards square. What remained
of their old floe of four miles' circumference contained the house made
of poles, in which remained six bags of bread, and the loaded boat, in
which were the greater part of their valuables. Here was a fearful state
of things! Yet one boat remained with which they might have gone after
the other one, but the men seemed infatuated and refused to go. Away the
little raft sailed, crumbling as it went, assuring its passengers that
they must all stow away in their one boat or soon be dropped in the sea.
For four days they thus drifted, during which the Esquimo shot several
seals. On the twenty-first Joe was using the spy-glass, and suddenly
shouted for joy. He had spied the lost boat lodged on a part of the old
floe which had swung against the little raft of our party. He and
Captain Tyson, with a dog-team, instantly started for it, and after a
hard pull returned with boat and cargo. Soon after, their old floe, in
an accommodating mood, thrust itself against the one they were on, the
boats were passed over, and every thing was again together--boats and
provisions.

Let us now look around upon our party more critically. The whole number
was twenty, including the ten weeks' old Charlie Polaris, who, of
course, was somebody. As we have stated, _all_ the Esquimo were of this
party. Both the cook and steward were here. Much the larger number of
the dogs belonging to the expedition were on the floe, but no sledges.
Fortunately, in addition to the two boats, one of the kayaks had been
saved. It might, in the skillful hands of a Joe, meet some emergency.

As there was only faint hope now of again seeing the "Polaris," and as
their ice-boat seemed to sail farther and farther from the shore, they
began to make the best winter-quarters their circumstances allowed.
Under the direction of Joe, as architect and builder, several snow
houses were put up. One was occupied by Captain Tyson and Mr. Myers; one
by Joe and family; a larger one by the men; and one was used for the
provisions, and one for a cook house. All these were united by an arched
passage way. Hans and family located their house apart from the others,
but near.

The huts erected, their next pressing need was sledges. The men, with
great difficulty, dragged some lumber from the old store-house, and a
passable one was made.

Though the quantity of provisions was quite large, yet with nineteen
persons to consume it, (not to reckon little Charlie's mouth, who looked
elsewhere for his supply,) and with possibly no addition for six months,
it was alarmingly small. Besides, in their unprincipled greed, some of
the party broke into the store-room and took more than a fair allowance.
So the party agreed upon two meals a day, and a weighed allowance at
each meal.

It was now the last of October. The sun had ceased to show his pleasant
face, and the long night was setting in. To add to their discomfort, the
question of light and fuel assumed a serious aspect. The men, either
from want of skill or patience, or both, did not succeed well in using
seal fat for these purposes, in the Esquimo fashion; so they began, with
a reckless disregard to their future safety, to break up and burn one of
the boats.

Hans, with a true Esquimo instinct, when the short allowance pinched
him, began to kill and eat the dogs. He might be excused, however. Four
children, with their faces growing haggard, looked to him for food.

Thus situated, our floe party drifted far away from the land--drifting
on and on, whether they slept or woke--drifting they knew not to what
end.



CHAPTER XLIV.

THE WONDERFUL DRIFT.


EARLY in November Captain Tyson saw through his glass, about twelve
miles off to the southeast, the Cary Islands, so they were in the "North
water" of Baffin Bay, and south-west from Cape Parry, where we have been
so many times. From this cape, or a little south of it, it would not be
a great sledge trip to where they last saw the "Polaris," and where they
had reason to think she now was. So our party made one more effort to
reach the shore. The boats being in readiness the night before, they
started early in the morning. Of course their day was now only a noon
twilight, and the _morning_ was most midday. But the floe was not in a
favoring mood. The hummocks were as hard in their usage of the boats and
men as usual. The deceitful cracks in the ice at one time put the lives
of the dogs and men in great peril; and, as if these obstacles were not
enough, a storm brought up its forces against them. They had dragged the
boats half way to the shore when they retreated "before superior
forces."

Their huts being of perishable material, were reconstructed. A little
later the men built a large snow hut as "a reserve." All were weak
through insufficient food. Mr. Meyers was nearly prostrate, and went to
live with the men; Captain Tyson, whose scanty clothing, added to care
and short rations, caused him to suffer much, took up his quarters with
Joe and Hannah, and their little Puney. Not the least of the trial in
the Esquimo huts were the piteous cries of the children for food. Joe
and Hans were out with their guns every day during the three hours'
twilight, hunting seals. The first one captured was shot by Joe,
November sixth. Nearly two weeks passed before any further success
attended the hunters; then several were shot, and Captain Tyson, who was
ready to perish, had one full meal--a meal of uncooked seal meat, skin,
hair, and all, washed down with seal blood. _Some_ others had not been
so long without a full meal, as the bread continued to be stolen.

The _home_ Thanksgiving Day came. A little extra amount of the canned
meat was allowed each one, and all had a taste of mock-turtle soup and
canned green corn, kept for this occasion, to which was added a few
pieces of dried apple. How far it all fell short of the _home_ feast may
be judged by the fact that Captain Tyson, to satisfy the fierce hunger
which remained after dinner, finished "with eating strips of frozen
seals' entrails, and lastly seal skin, hair and all."

The hunters had seen tracks of bears, so they were on the lookout for
them while they hunted seal. One day Joe and Hans went out as usual with
their guns. They lost sight of each other and of the camp. Joe returned
quite late, expecting to find Hans already in his hut. When he learned
that he had not returned, he, as well as others, felt concerned about
him. Accompanied by one of the men, he went in search of him. As the
two, guns in hand, were stumbling over the hummocks, they saw in the
very dim twilight, as they thought, a bear. Their guns were instantly
leveled and brought to the sight, and their mouths almost tasted a
bear-meat supper. "Hold on there! That's not a bear! what is it?" "Why,
it's Hans!" Well, he _did_ look in the darkness like a bear, as in his
shaggy coat he clambered, on all-fours, over the ice-hills.

December came in with its continuous night. Seals could not be
successfully hunted in the darkness, and where seals could not be seen
bears would not make their appearance. The rations became smaller than
ever, and ghastly, horrid starvation seemed encamped among our drifting,
forlorn party. Under these circumstances a specter even _worse_ than
starvation appeared to Joe. To him, at least, it was a terrifying
reality. It was the demon form of Cannibalism! He had looked into the
eyes of the men in the big hut, and they spoke to him of an intention to
save themselves by first killing and eating Hans and family, and then
taking him and his. He and Hannah were greatly terrified, and he handed
his pistol to Captain Tyson, which he was not willing to part with
before. He was assured that the least child should not be touched for so
horrid a purpose without such a defense as the pistol could give.

Christmas came. The last ham had been kept for this occasion, and it was
divided among all, with a few other dainties, in addition to the usual
morsel.

The shore occasionally appeared in the far away distance. They were
drifting through Baffin Bay toward the _western_ side, so that their
craft evidently did not intend to land them at any of the familiar ports
of Greenland. It seemed to have an ambition to drop them nearer home.

As the year was going out, and Joe's family were gnawing away at some
_dried_ seal skin, submitted, to be sure, to a process Hannah called
cooking, a shout was heard from him. "Kayak! kayak!" he cried. He had
shot a seal, and it was floating away. Fortunately the kayak was at
hand, and the game was bagged. As usual, it was divided among all. The
_eyes_ were given to Charlie Polaris, and they were nice in his eyes,
and mouth, too.

New Year's came, and Captain Tyson dined on two feet of frozen seal
entrails, and a little seal fat. There was now nothing to burn except
what little seal blubber they could spare for that purpose. One boat had
been burned, their only sled had gone the same way, and the reckless,
desperate men could hardly be restrained from burning the only one now
remaining, and thus cut off all good hope of final escape. To be sure,
their provocation to this act was very great; the temperature was
thirty-six below zero! In their strait, the desperate expedient was
entertained of trying to get to land. The emaciated men would have to
drag the loaded boat over the hummocky ice without a sledge. The women
and children must be added to the load or abandoned. It would be a
struggle for life against odds more fearful than that which now
oppressed them. But what _should_ they do! God knew! Hark! what shout is
that! "Kayak! kayak!" The kayak was at hand, but it had to be carried a
mile. Yet it paid, for a seal shot by Joe was secured just in time to
keep the men from utter desperation. To this item of comfort another was
added a few days later. The sun reappeared January nineteenth, after an
absence of eighty-three days, and remained shining upon them two hours.
He brought hope to fainting hearts. Through January there was a seal
taken at long intervals, but one always came just before it was too
late! The men continued to grumble and deceive themselves with the idea
of soon getting to Disco, "where rum and tobacco were plenty." How sad
that man can sink _below_ the brute, which, however hungry, never cries
out for "rum and tobacco!"

Leaving for a moment the white men, let us look into the Esquimo huts
and see how the terrible condition of things affects them. The men are
almost always out hunting, but just now, as we step into Joe's snow
dwelling, he is at home. The only light or fire is that which comes from
the scanty supply of seal oil. Captain Tyson is trying to write with a
pencil in his journal, but he appears cold in his scanty covering of
furs, and looks weak and hungry. Joe and Hannah are striving to pass
away the weary hours by playing checkers on an old piece of canvas which
the captain has marked into squares with his pencil. They are using
buttons for men, and seem quite interested in the game. Little Puney is
sitting by, wrapped in a musk-ox skin, uttering at intervals a low,
plaintive cry for food. It is the most cheerful home "on board" the
floe, but surely it is cheerless enough.

We shall not wish to tarry long in the hut of Hans, for besides the
unavoidable misery of the place, Mr. and Mrs. Hans are noted for the
boarders they keep--about their persons. Under the most favorable
circumstances they regard bathing as one of the barbarous customs of
civilization. The reader will recollect that the first experience Mrs.
Hans had of a personal cleansing was on board Dr. Hayes's vessel, and
she then thought it a joke imposed by the white people's religion, too
grievous to be borne. On another exploring vessel she and her husband
were cruelly required to put off their long-worn garments, wash and put
on clean ones, and put the old "in a strong pickle," for an obvious
reason. It is not certainly known that they were ever washed at any
other times.

Mrs. Hans's hut is not in the most tidy order, but the circumstances
must be taken into the account, and also the fact of the sad neglect of
her early domestic education. We have just drifted from her native
land--or, rather, _ice_--where she was married, in Dr. Kane's time, it
being a runaway match, at least on the part of the husband.

Well, here they are, father, mother, and four children, on a voyage
unparalleled in the history of navigation. Mr. and Mrs. Hans do not play
any household games; they do not know what to do at home, except to eat,
and feed the children, and make and mend skin clothing. We know full
well to what sad disadvantage the eating is subjected at the time of our
call, and we are authorized to say, to the credit of Mrs. Hans, that as
to the making and mending, she has been of real service to the men on
this voyage.

The children of Hans cannot fail to attract our attention and sympathy.
Augustina, the first-born, usually fat and rugged if not ruddy, is thin
and pale now, and sits chewing a bit of dried seal skin, or something of
the sort, and trying to get from it a drop of nourishment; her brother,
Tobias, has thrown his head into her lap as she sits on the ground. The
poor little fellow has been sick, unable to eat even the small allowance
of meat given him, and has lived, one hardly knows how, on a little dry
bread. Succi, the four-year-old girl, squats on the ground--that is, the
canvas-covered ice floor--hugging her fur skin about her, and in a low,
moaning tone repeats, "I is _so_ hungry!" Her mother is trying to pick
from the lamp, for the children, a few bits of "tried-out" scraps of
blubber. Little Charlie's head is just discernible in the fur hood
which hangs from the mother's neck at her back. If he gets enough to
eat, which we fear is not the case, he is sweetly ignorant of the perils
of this, his first trip, in the voyage of life. We shall not want to
stay longer in this sad place.

February was a dreadful month on board the floe. The huts were buried
under the snow. It was with difficulty that Joe and Hans, almost the
entire dependence of the party, could go abroad for game, and when they
did they secured a few seals only, very small, and now and then a
dovekie, a wee bit of a pensive sea-bird. Norwhal, the sea unicorn, were
shot in several instances, but they sunk in every case and were lost.
Hunger and fear seemed to possess the men in the large tent, and Joe and
Hannah began to be again terrified by the thought that these hunger-mad
men would kill and eat them.

Now, will not God appear to help those in so helpless a condition? Yes,
his hand has ever been wonderfully apparent in all Arctic perils. On the
second of March, just when the dark cloud of these drifting sufferers
was never darker, it parted, and a flood of light burst upon their camp.
Joe shot an _oogjook_, belonging to the largest species of seal. He was
secured and dragged by all hands to the huts. He measured nine feet,
weighed about seven hundred pounds, and contained, by estimation, thirty
gallons of oil. There was a shout of seal in the camp! The warm blood
was relished like new milk, and drank freely. All eat and slept, and
woke to eat again, and hunger departed for the time from the miserable
huts it had so long haunted. Joe and Hannah dismissed their horrid
visions of cannibalism. God was, the helper of these hungry ones, and
they _were_ helped.



CHAPTER XLV.

THE WONDERFUL ESCAPE.


OUR voyagers needed all the strength and courage which the timely
capture of the great seal had given them. They had drifted into a warmer
sea, and windy March was well upon them. Their floe began to herald its
fast approaching dissolution. The weary and anxious drifters were
startled by day, and awakened suddenly by night, by a rumbling, mingled
with fearful grindings and crashes underneath them. Heavy ice-cakes,
over-rode by the heavier floe, ground along its under surface, and when
finding an opening of thin ice, rushed with a thundering sound to the
upper surface. The din was at times so great that it seemed to combine
all alarming sounds:--

    "Through all its scale the horrid discord ran;
     Now mocked the beast--now took the groan of man."

On the eleventh a storm commenced. Whole fleets of icebergs, having
broken away from the icy bands in which the floe had held them, hovered
round to charge upon the helpless campers. The vast area of ice on which
they had been riding for so many months was lifted in places by mighty
seas beneath, causing it to crack with a succession of loud reports and
dismal sounds, some of which seemed to be directly under them. The wind
drove before it a dense cloud of snow, so that one could scarcely see a
yard. Night came with a darkness that could be felt. The icy foundation
of their camp might separate at any moment, and tumble their huts about
their ears, or plunge them in the sea. They gathered their few treasures
together, and stood ready to fly--but where? Death seemed to guard every
avenue of escape. Suddenly, soon after the night set in, the disruption
came. Their floe was shattered, with a fearful uproar, into hundreds of
pieces, and they went surging off among the fragments on a piece less
than a hundred yards square. They were within twenty yards of its edge,
but God had kindly forbid the separation to run through their camp and
sever them from their boat or from each other.

After raging sixty hours the storm abated, and their little ice-ship
drifted rapidly in the pack. A goodly number of seals were shot, and
they began to breathe more freely. After a short time another _oogjook_
was captured, so food was plenty.

March wore away, seals were plenty, and readily taken; and though the
bergs ground together and made fierce onsets into the pack, our ice-ship
held gallantly on her way. One night the inmates of Joe's hut were about
retiring, when a noise was heard outside. "What is it, Joe? is the ice
breaking up?" Joe does not stop to answer, but rushes out. But in ten
seconds he comes back in a greater hurry, pale and breathless. "There's
a bear close to my kayak," he exclaims in an excited tone. Now the
situation was this: The kayak was within ten paces of the entrance to
the hut, and the loaded guns, which can never be kept in an Esquimo hut
on account of the moisture, were in and leaning against the kayak. If
the bear should take a notion to put his nose at the hut door, and,
liking the odor, knock down the snow wall with his strong paw, and
commence a supper on one of its inmates, what was to hinder him? But
bears, like many young people, often fail to improve their golden
opportunities. He found some seal fat and skins in the kayak, and these
he pulled out, and walked off with them a rod or two to enjoy the feast.
Joe crept out of the hut, and ran to alarm the men. Captain Tyson
followed, slipped softly up to the kayak and seized his gun, but in
taking it he knocked down another one and alarmed the bear, who looked
up and growled his objections to having his supper disturbed. Tyson
leveled his rifle, snapped it, but it missed fire. He tried a second and
third time, and it did not go--but _he_ did, for his bearship was taking
the offensive. Content to see his enemy flee, the bear returned to his
supper. How many foolish bears have we seen on our explorations lose
their lives by an untimely _eating_; but some men, more foolish, lose
_more than life_ BY DRINKING. The captain returned to the field with a
new charge in his gun. This time it sent a ball _through_ the bear; the
ball entering the left shoulder and passing through the heart, came out
at the other side. He staggered, but before he fell Joe had sent
another ball into his vitals. He dropped dead instantly. This affair
occurred when it was too dark to see many yards, and was much pleasanter
in its results than in its duration.

The seal hunting was successful, and with bear meat and blubber, a full
store, there was no hunger unappeased; but the wind blew a gale, and the
sailless, rudderless, oarless little ice-ship, now banging against a
berg, and now in danger of being run down by one, all the while growing
alarmingly smaller, finally shot out into the open sea away from the
floe. This would not do. So, feeling that they might soon be dropped
into the sea, they loaded the boat with such things as was strictly
necessary, and all hands getting aboard, sailed away. A part of their
ammunition, their fresh meat, a full month's supply, and many other
desirable things, were abandoned. The boat, only intended to carry eight
persons, was so overloaded with its twenty, including children, that it
was in danger of being swamped at any moment. The frightened children
cried, and the men looked sober. They sailed about twenty miles west,
and landed on the first tolerably safe piece of ice which they met. Hans
and family nestled down in the boat, and the rest, spreading on the floe
what skins they had, set up a tent, and all, after eating a dry supper
of bread and pemmican, lay down to rest. Thus, boating by day, and
camping on the ice at night for several days, they drew up on the fourth
of April upon a solid looking floe. Snow-huts were built, seals were
taken, and hope revived. But what is hope, resting on Arctic promises?
The gale was abroad again, the sea boisterous, and their floe was thrown
into a panic. Fearful noises were heard beneath and around them, and
their icy foundations quaked with fear. Joe's snow-hut was shaken down.
He built it again, and then lot and house fell off into the sea and
disappeared. Thus warned, the camp was pushed farther back from the
water. But they did not know where the crack and separation would next
come. Thus they lived in anxious watchings through weary days, the gale
unabated. Finally, one night, the feared separation came. All hands
except Mr. Meyers were in the tent; near them, so near a man could
scarcely walk between, was the boat, containing Meyers and the kayak;
but with mischievous intent, the crack run so as to send the boat
drifting among the breaking and over-lapping ice. Mr. Meyers could not
manage it, of course, under such circumstances, and the kayak was of no
use to any but an Esquimo, so he set it afloat, hoping it would drift to
the floe-party. Here was a fearful situation! The floe-party, as well as
Mr. Meyers, was sure to perish miserably if the boat was not returned.
There was only a dim light, and objects at a short distance looked hazy.
It was a time for instant and desperate action. Joe and Hans took their
paddles and ice-spears and started for the boat, jumping from one piece
of floating, slippery ice to another. They were watched in breathless
suspense until they _seemed_, in the shadowy distance, to have reached
the boat, and then all was shut out in the darkness.

The morning came, and the floe party were glad to see that the boat had
three men in it. It was a half mile off, and the kayak was as far away
in another direction. It was soon clear that the boat could not be
brought back without a stronger force. Tyson led the way, and finally
all but two of the men made the desperate passage of the floating ice to
the imperiled craft. It was with difficulty that, with their combined
force, the boat was returned to the floe. The kayak was also recovered.

For a brief time there was quiet all around. The aurora gleamed, and
displayed its wonderful beauty of form and motion; while the majestic
icebergs, in every varied shape, reflected its sparkling light. The
grandeur of sea and sky seemed a mockery to the danger-beset voyagers.
The elements might be grand, but they had combined to destroy them, for
a new form of peril now appeared. The sea came aboard of their icy
craft. They were sitting one evening under their frail tent, the boat
near, when a wave swept over their floe, carrying away tent, clothing,
provisions--every thing except what was on their persons or in the boat.
The women and children had been put on board in fear of such an
occurrence, and the men had just time to save themselves by clinging to
the gunwale. The boat itself was borne into the middle of the floe. When
the wave subsided the boat was dragged back, lest another push by a
succeeding one might launch it into the sea from the other side. It was
well they did this, for another wave bore it to the opposite edge and
partly slipped it into the water. This game of surging the boat from one
side to the other of the floe, was kept up from nine o'clock in the
evening to seven in the morning. All this time the men were in the
water, fighting the desperate battle for its safety, and the
preservation of their own lives; the conflict being made more terrible
by the fact that every wave bore with it ice-blocks from a foot square
to those measuring many yards, having sharp edges and jagged corners,
with which it battered their legs until they were black and blue. It was
the severest test of their courage and endurance yet experienced. But
God was their helper. Not one perished, and when the defeated sea was by
his voice commanded to retire, and the day appeared, they were not
seriously harmed. But they were cold and wet, without a change of
clothes and utterly provisionless.

It is not surprising that after their rough handling on the floe they
should seek a larger and safer one. This they did, launching their
crowded boat into the turbulent sea, and, working carefully along,
succeeded in landing safely on one stronger looking; nothing worse
happening than the tumbling overboard of the cook, who was quickly
rescued. Here, cold, half-drowned, hungry, and weary to faintness, they
tried to dry and warm themselves in the feeble rays of the sun, and wait
for their food at the hand of the great Provider in the use of such
means as were yet left to them. They had preserved their guns and a
small supply of powder and shot. Snow and rain came on, and continued
until noon of the next day, April twenty-second. Their hunger was
fearful. Mr. Meyers had been slightly frost-bitten when drifting away
alone in the boat, his health seemed broken, and he was actually
starving.

In the afternoon of this day Joe went as usual with his gun. He had
caught nothing on this floe, and now there were no signs of seals,
though it was his fourth time out that day. What should they do? God had
their relief all arranged. Joe saw what he did not expect to see, and
what was seldom seen so far south--a bear! He ran back to the boat,
called Hans with his trusty rifle, and the two lay down behind the
hummocks. All were ordered to lie down, keep perfectly quiet, and feign
themselves seals, the Esquimo helping out the deception by imitating the
seal bark. Bruin came on cautiously. He, too, was hungry. What are those
black objects, and what is that noise, he seemed to say? They don't look
_quite_ like seals! The noise is not _just_ like the seal cry! But
hunger is a weighty reason with men and bears, on the side of what they
desire to believe, so the bear came on. When fairly within an easy range
both rifles cracked, and he fell dead. The whole party arose with a
shout. Polar was dragged to the boat and skinned. His warm blood slaked
their raging thirst. His meat, tender and good, satisfied their gnawing
hunger. They were saved from a terrible death! Seals were secured soon
after, and hope again revived.

It was not long before their ice-craft crumbled away, so they were
obliged to repeat the experiment, always full of danger, of launching
into the sea and making for a larger and safer one. April twenty-eighth
they were beset by a fleet of bergs, which were crashing against each
other with a thundering noise, and occasionally turning a threatening
look toward the frail craft of our drifters. So angrily at last did one
come down upon them that they abandoned their floe and rowed away.
Surely there is no peace for them by night or day, on the floe or afloat
in their boat. They dare not lie down a moment without keeping one half
of their number on the watch. But what is that in the distance? A
steamer! A thrill of joy goes through the boat's company. Every possible
signal is given, but she does not see them, and another night is spent
on the floe. The next morning every eye was straining to see a whaler.
Soon one appears. They shout, raise their signals, and fire every gun at
once. But she passes out of sight. April thirtieth, as the night was
setting in foggy and dark, the shout from the watch of "steamer" brought
all to their feet. She was right upon them in the fog before she was
seen. Hans was soon alongside of her in his kayak, telling their story
as best he could. In a few moments the whaler was alongside of their
piece of ice. Captain Tyson removed his old well-worn cap, called upon
his men, and three cheers were given, ending with a "tiger" such as the
poor fellows had not had a heart to give for many long months. The
cheers were returned by a hundred men from the rigging and deck of the
vessel. It was the sealer "Tigress," Captain Bartlett, of Conception
Bay, Newfoundland. They soon had the planks of a good ship beneath them
instead of a treacherous floe; curious but kind friends beset them,
instead of threatening bergs; and every comfort succeeded to utter
destitution. They had been on the floe six months, and floated more than
sixteen hundred miles.

They were speedily conveyed, by the way of Conception Bay and St. Johns,
to their own homes, the telegraph having flashed throughout the length
and breadth of the land their coming, and the nation rejoiced. But there
were tears mingled with the joy, that one, the noble, the true, the
Christian commander of the expedition, Charles Francis Hall, lay in his
icy grave in the far north.

As speedily as possible the "Tigress" was purchased and fitted out by
the United States Government in search of the "Polaris" party. Captain
Tyson and Joe were among her men. She reached Life-boat Cove about two
months after Captain Buddington and his men had left. They learned that,
much to the grief of the natives, the "Polaris" had floated off and
sunk. The Buddington party arrived home in the fall, by the way of
England.

As we may not meet our Esquimo friends again, with whom we have made so
many voyages, the reader will want to know the last news from them.
Hans and his family returned to Greenland in the "Tigress." Joe has
bought a piece of land and a house near New London, Connecticut, and
intends, with his family, to remain there, getting a living by fishing.

Thus ended the last American North Pole Expedition. The last from other
Governments have not been more successful. Yet, while we write, England
and Austria are reported as getting ready further North Polar
expeditions to start in the spring of 1875. It must be allowed that the
icy sceptered guardian of the North has made a good fight against the
invaders into his dominions. But the nations of the earth are determined
to send men to sit on his throne, though they find it a barren and
worthless, as well as a cold domain.


THE END.



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Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired. Text uses "Sunghu", "Shung-hu" and
"Shunghu" once, also "kablunah" and "kabluna." Text also uses both
"Fiskernaes" and "Fiskernes." Both are correct.

Page 24, "iceburg" changed to "iceberg" (them an iceberg)

Page 147, "waste" changed to "waist" (naked to the waist)

Page 156, word "the" removed from text. Original read (utter darkness
the most)

Page 276, "coaked" changed to "croaked" (raven croaked a welcome)

Page 277, "clifts" changed to "cliffs" (ice-covered cliffs of)

Page 292, "been" added to text (Hall had been giving special)

Page 321, "Tookolito" changed to "Tookoolito" (with the kind Tookoolito)

Page 365, "Hugh" changed to "Huge" (Huge bergs were in)

Page 394, "Live" changed to "Life" (Love in Daily Life)





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