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Title: New lands within the Arctic circle - Narrative of the discoveries of the Austrian ship - "Tegetthoff" in the years 1872-1874
Author: Payer, Julius
Language: English
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[Illustration: TWILIGHT AT MIDDAY, FEBRUARY 1874.]



                                NEW LANDS
                        WITHIN THE ARCTIC CIRCLE.

                      _NARRATIVE OF THE DISCOVERIES
                    OF THE AUSTRIAN SHIP “TEGETTHOFF”
                        IN THE YEARS 1872-1874._

                                   BY
                              JULIUS PAYER,
                ONE OF THE COMMANDERS OF THE EXPEDITION.

           WITH MAPS AND NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS FROM DRAWINGS
                             BY THE AUTHOR.

       Translated from the German, with the Author’s Approbation.

                                NEW YORK:
                        D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,
                          549 AND 551 BROADWAY.
                                  1877.



AUTHOR’S PREFACE.


In laying this book before the Public I desire, in the first instance,
to acknowledge without reserve my sense of the great merits of my
colleague, Lieutenant Weyprecht. The reader of the following pages will
learn with what unwearied, though fruitless, energy he struggled to free
the _Tegetthoff_ from her icy prison, and what dauntless courage and
unfailing command of resources he displayed in our hazardous retreat
from the abandoned ship, till the moment of our happy rescue. The order
and discipline maintained on board ship, and in the terrible march over
the Frozen Ocean, as well as in the perilous boat voyage after leaving
the ice-barrier, were mainly due to his distinguished abilities. He had
supreme command of the expedition, as long as its duties were strictly
nautical; when the operations of sledging and surveying began, I had the
responsibility of a separate and independent command.

Nor ought I to be slow to pay my tribute of respect to the perseverance
and constant self-denial of Lieutenant Brosch and Midshipman Orel. It
would be difficult to determine, whether they shone more as officers of
the ship, or as observers of scientific phenomena. The highly important
duty of managing the stores and provisions was discharged also by
Lieutenant Brosch with a conscientiousness that secured the confidence of
all.

To the watchful skill of Dr. Kepes we owed it, that the health and
constitution of the members of the expedition suffered so little from all
their hardships and privations.

The conduct of the crew was on the whole praiseworthy. Their obedience to
command, their perseverance and resolution shown on every occasion, will
be cited as an example of what these virtues and qualities can achieve
amid the most appalling dangers and trials.

With regard to my narrative, I make no claim for it founded on its
literary excellence; rather I sue for indulgence to its manifold
shortcomings. I have not written for the man of science, though I have
not shunned a few scientific details. Nor have I aimed at presenting a
record, which might be profitable to those who shall follow us in the
same career of discovery, though some hints will be found in my pages
which will not be without their use to those who may consult them for
information and guidance. Rather I have endeavoured to narrate our
sufferings, adventures, and discoveries in a manner which shall be
interesting to the general reader who reads to amuse himself.

The magnetical and meteorological observations, so carefully taken and
tabulated by Weyprecht, Brosch, and Orel, together with the sketches of
the Fauna of the Frozen Ocean, drawn by myself from the collection of Dr.
Kepes, were presented to the Imperial Academy of Sciences of Vienna, and
will in due time be published under the auspices of that august body.



PRELIMINARY NOTICE BY THE TRANSLATOR.


It will be interesting to English readers to learn a few particulars
concerning the two leaders of the Austrian North Polar Expeditions. Carl
Weyprecht was born in Hesse-Darmstadt in 1838, and in his eighteenth
year entered the Austrian navy. Ten years afterwards he was present
at the action between the Austrian and Italian fleets at Lissa—July
20, 1866; was promoted to the rank of lieutenant of the second class,
and _decorated_ with the order of the Iron Cross in recognition of his
services in that battle. It was shortly after this, that Weyprecht
volunteered to take the command of a small vessel, manned by only
four seamen, which was to sail from Hammerfest to explore the Arctic
Ocean. This dauntless offer was the basis of the first German North
Polar expedition. When, however, permission to act in this capacity
was obtained, Lieutenant Weyprecht was serving on board the Austrian
frigate _Elizabeth_, which formed one of the squadron sent by the
Austrian Government to bring home the body of the ill-fated Maximilian.
Immediately on his return to Europe he repaired to Gotha, eager to place
his services at the command of the expedition which had meantime been
planned by Petermann and a committee of patrons of Arctic exploration.
But unhappily, just at this moment his health, which had suffered from
fever caught at New Orleans, failed, and the command of the expedition,
known as the first German North Polar Expedition (May 24-October 10,
1868), was undertaken by Captain Koldewey. It was only in 1871 that
he recovered his health, and in the June of that year began, in the
_Isbjörn_, his life of Arctic experience and discovery. In the following
year, 1872, he was appointed to the naval command of the expedition
which sailed in the _Tegetthoff_, whose strange and eventful history is
recorded in the following pages.

His companion and colleague, Julius Payer, was born at Schönau in
Teplitz, Bohemia, in 1841, and received his education as a soldier at
the Wiener-Neustadt Military Academy, 1856-59, where General Sonnklar
was his teacher in geographical science, and early imbued his mind
with a love for the grandeurs of the glacier world. With the rank of
“Ober-Lieutenant” he served in the campaign of 1866 in Italy, and was
_decorated_ for his distinguished services at the battle of Custozza.
Afterwards, while serving with his regiment in Tyrol, he gained great
celebrity as one of the most successful Alpine climbers, and turned his
experience as a mountaineer to profit in his surveys of the Orteler
Alps and glaciers. Payer gained his first experience as an Arctic
discoverer in the second German North Polar Expedition, under Koldewey
and Hegemann—June 15, 1869-Sept. 11, 1870. His services during that
expedition were of a most distinguished character. He shared in the
most important discoveries which were then made, specially those of
König Wilhelm’s Land, and of the noble Franz-Josef Fjord. He acquired
in East Greenland the experience of sledging, which was of such eminent
use in his explorations of the great discovery of the _Tegetthoff_
Expedition—Kaiser Franz-Joseph Land. He shines too as an author in his
descriptions of Greenland scenes, in the _Second German North Polar
Voyage_, published in 1874 by Brockhaus of Leipzig, and partially
reproduced in an English translation by the Rev. L. Mercier and Mr. H. W.
Bates. For these services, on the return of the expedition, he was again
_decorated_, receiving the order of the Iron Crown.

In the voyage of the _Isbjörn_, June 21-Oct. 4, 1871, we find him
associated with Weyprecht in the pioneering voyage described in the
earlier part of this work, and lastly as joint commander of the renowned
_Tegetthoff_ expedition, June, 1872-September, 1874.

The Gold Medals entrusted to the Royal Geographical Society were awarded
in 1875: the Founder’s Medal to Lieutenant Weyprecht, and the Patron’s
Medal to Lieutenant Julius Payer.

       *       *       *       *       *

As these pages are passing through the Press, the country has been
deeply moved by the unexpected intelligence of the return of the
Arctic Expedition. Gratulations on its safe and happy return have been
unanimously and eagerly expressed by all the organs of public opinion.
Disappointment, however, has, we fear, fallen on many minds as, after
the first feelings of joy at the safe arrival of the officers and crews
of the _Alert_ and _Discovery_, they read the brief telegraphic summary
sent by Captain Nares: “Pole impracticable,”—“No land to northward.”
Popular enthusiasm looked rather for the conquest of the Pole; expected,
perhaps, to read, one day, that the Union Jack had been hoisted there,
to commemorate the triumph of England’s perseverance at last rewarded.
Few, we apprehend, would pass through the chill of these two clauses of
the message to mark the hope contained in the third—“voyage otherwise
successful.” In what special respects the success proclaimed was
achieved, we must patiently wait for a future record to reveal; but
while awaiting the history which no doubt will be written to justify and
prove this announcement, let us exercise our loyal belief in the skill
and courage of our countrymen, and feel persuaded that what men could do
under their circumstances no doubt was done by them.

The interest which will be excited afresh in Arctic discovery and
adventure, will doubtless sharpen the interest in the volumes which
record the fortunes of the Austrian expedition; and we venture to
affirm—without undue partiality—that, though the history of Arctic
exploration and discovery abounds in records of lofty resolution and
patient endurance of almost incredible hardships, the narrative of the
voyage of the _Tegetthoff_ will be found to fall below none in these
high qualities. The mere destiny of the vessel itself equals, if it does
not exceed, in the element of the marvellous, anything which has before
been recorded. Surely this is borne out when we think, that on August 20,
1872, the _Tegetthoff_ was beset off the coast of Novaya Zemlya; remained
a fast prisoner in the ice, spite of all the efforts made by her officers
and crew to release her; drifted during the autumn and the terrible
winter of 1872—amid profound darkness—whither they knew not; drifted to
the 30th of August in the following year (1873), till, as if by magic,
the mists lifted, and lo! a high, bold, rocky coast—lat. 79° 43′ E.,
long. 59° 33′—loomed out of the fog straight ahead of them. Close to this
land—which could be visited with safety only twice, on the 1st and 3rd
of November of that year—the ship remained still fast bound in the ice.
Not till the winter of 1873 had passed, and the sun had again returned,
was it possible to explore the land, which had been so marvellously
discovered. On the 10th of March, 1874, the sledge journeys commenced,
and terminated May 3rd, after 450 miles had been passed over, and the
surveys and explorations completed, which enabled Payer to write the
description of Kaiser Franz-Josef Land (pp. 258-270), which shows that
other still undefined lands, with an archipelago of islands, have been
added to the geography of the earth.

But the perils of the expedition did not end here. On the 20th of August,
1874, it was resolved to abandon the _Tegetthoff_ in the ice, and to
return in sledges and boats to Europe. Captain Nares tells us, in his
telegraphic despatch, that the sledging parties of the _Alert_ and
_Discovery_ compassed on an average one-and-a-quarter mile per day on
the terrible “Sea of Ancient Ice,” and discovered, after the experience
gained in seventy miles passed under these conditions, that the “Pole
was impracticable.” If our readers wish to have a conception of the
toils and perils of the Austrian sledge parties on their return from the
_Tegetthoff_ let them mark the single image presented to the mind by
the statement (p. 364):—“After the lapse of two months of indescribable
efforts, the distance between us and the ship was not more than nine
English miles.” Had the ice on the Novaya Zemlya seas remained as
obstinate as it seems to have done in the new desolation, the “Sea of
Ancient Ice,” escape would have been as impossible to the _Tegetthoff’s_
crew, as advance towards the Pole was to the sledge parties of our last
Arctic expedition. But fortunately, soon after, “leads” opened out in the
ice; the boats were launched, and after about another month of alternate
rowing and sledging, the ice barrier was happily reached in the unusually
high latitude 77° 40′; and the brave men who three months before had left
the _Tegetthoff_ were saved.

This is perhaps the most marked analogy between the perils of the two
expeditions; so far as those of our own are yet known. But the scientific
conclusions of Lieutenant Payer, as set forth in the general Introduction
to his narrative, strikingly harmonize with the actual discoveries of the
_Alert_ and _Discovery_. Already it is authoritatively announced, that
there is no open Polar Sea; that this hypothesis is as baseless as the
existence of President’s Land. In the fourth chapter of that Introduction
(pp. 25-31), our author has analysed with great sagacity the various
theories on which that hypothesis was made to rest, working up to the
conclusion, that no such sea exists. The demonstration of experience now
takes the place of enlightened argument and opinion; fact and theory are
here at one.

Nor can we forbear to direct attention to another statement in the same
chapter. Let our readers mark the prophetic spirit of the following
passage: “All the changes and phenomena of this mighty network lead us to
infer the existence of frozen seas up to the Pole itself; and according
to my own experience, gained in three expeditions, I consider that the
states of the ice between 82° and 90° N. L. will not essentially differ
from those which have been observed south of latitude 82°; I incline
rather to the belief that they will be found worse instead of better” (p.
30). And “worse instead of better” they have been found, as we cannot
doubt, when we weigh the ominous significance of the designation the “Sea
of Ancient Ice.”

History may or may not verify the position which the telegram so briefly
resumes—“The Pole impracticable.” Impracticable no doubt it was, if the
condition of the ice seen by our expedition in that awful sea be its
normal condition. All that it was possible for men to dare and achieve,
England will feel that her officers and sailors dared and achieved under
the circumstances they encountered. It may be, that later experience will
show, that even that Sea may present to future explorers an aspect less
tremendous; yea, that in some seasons, which science may yet predict,
when her theories of the sun-spots are matured and formulated, open water
will be found, as perhaps it was found in the year of the expedition of
the _Polaris_, where the heroic sledging parties from the _Alert_ and
_Discovery_ saw nothing and found nothing, but piled-up barriers of ice
rising to the height of 150 feet.

It would be idle to predict, in the face of these results, that the Pole
shall yet be reached. Any confident prediction in this spirit would, at
the present moment, be singularly inopportune, as well as unwise. But
despair would be equally unjustifiable, while its influence would be
most hurtful and depressing, especially if Arctic exploration and the
attainment of the Pole were supposed to be identical propositions. There
are two things: reaching the North Pole, and the exploration of the
Polar region. If the former appeals more to the imagination, and readily
calls forth the emotions which are fed by the love of the marvellous,
the latter enlists the sympathies of those who take a broader view of
the necessities of Arctic exploration. These have found a powerful
representative in one whose services entitle him to speak with authority,
in the naval chief of the _Tegetthoff_ expedition. At a meeting of the
German Scientific and Medical Association held at Gratz in September of
1875, Weyprecht read a paper on the principles of Arctic exploration,
in which, according to the summary of its contents, which appeared
in _Nature_, October 11, 1875, he maintains, that the Polar regions
offer, in certain important respects, greater advantages than any other
part of the globe for the observation of natural phenomena—Magnetism,
the Aurora, Meteorology, Geology, Zoölogy, and Botany. He deplores,
that while large sums have been spent and much hardship endured for
geographical knowledge, strictly scientific observations have been
regarded as holding a secondary place. Though not denying the importance
of geographical discovery, he maintains, that the main purpose of
future Arctic expeditions should be the extension of our knowledge
of the various natural phenomena which may be studied with so great
advantage in those regions. He insists in that paper on the following
propositions:—“1. Arctic exploration is of the highest importance to
a knowledge of the laws of nature. 2. Geographical discovery in those
regions is of superior importance only in so far as it extends the
field of scientific investigation in its strict sense. 3. Minute Arctic
topography is of secondary importance. 4. The geographical Pole has for
science no greater significance than any other point in high latitude.
5. Observation stations should be selected without reference to the
latitude, but for the advantages they offer for the investigation of the
phenomena to be studied. 6. Interrupted series of observations have only
a relative value.” The suggestions thrown out by Lieutenant Weyprecht
have been taken up by one whose mind seems to rise instinctively to all
high aims and objects. Prince Bismarck forthwith appointed a German
Commission of Arctic Exploration, consisting of some of the most eminent
men of science of whom Germany can boast, who reported to the Bundesrath
in a memoir, the recommendations of which were unanimously adopted. From
_Nature_, November 11, 1875, which we have already quoted, we borrow the
following _résumé_ of that report:—

    “1. The exploration of the Arctic regions is of great
    importance for all branches of science. The Commission
    recommends for such exploration the establishment of fixed
    observing stations. From the principal station, and supported
    by it, exploring expeditions are to be made by sea and by land.

    “The Commission is of opinion that the region to be explored
    by organised German Arctic explorers is the great inlet to the
    higher Arctic regions situated between the eastern shore of
    Greenland and the western shore of Spitzbergen....

    “3. It appears desirable, and, so far as scientific
    preparations are concerned, possible, to commence these Arctic
    expeditions in 1877.”

    “4. The Commission is convinced that an exploration of the
    Arctic regions, based on such principles, will furnish valuable
    results, even if limited to the region between Greenland and
    Spitzbergen; but it is also of opinion, that an exhaustive
    solution of the problems to be solved can only be expected when
    exploration is extended over the whole Arctic zone, and when
    other countries take their share in the undertaking.

    “The Commission recommends, therefore, that the principles
    adopted for the German undertaking be commended to the
    governments of the states which take interest in Arctic
    inquiry, in order to establish, if possible, a complete circle
    of observing stations in the Arctic zones.”

Thus we are brought face to face with two different purposes, which
may be termed, respectively, the romantic and the scientific purposes
of Arctic discovery. To the former the attainment of the Pole has
hitherto been the all in all of a geographical discovery. “The Pole
impracticable,” telegraphed by Captain Nares, as the result of the
expedition which has returned baffled to our shores, is a stern reproof
to all who would still advocate a dash at the Pole as the worthiest
purpose of Arctic discovery. Aims and endeavours not so glaring, nor
appealing in the same degree to the love of the marvellous, are suggested
in the sagacious proposals of Lieutenant Weyprecht, to whom science will
not refuse her calmer and more measured respect, and in whom, as Captain
of the _Tegetthoff_, all who love deeds of daring and energy will find a
congenial spirit.

To Lieutenant Payer has fallen the distinguished honour of being not only
the colleague in command and friend of Weyprecht, but the historian of
their common sufferings and common glory in an enterprise, the fame of
which the world, we believe, will not willingly let die.



CONTENTS.


                             _INTRODUCTION._

                               CHAPTER I.

  THE FROZEN OCEAN                                             _page_ 1-10

  1. The ice-sheet of the Arctic region.—2. “Leads” and “ice-holes”
  defined.—3. Pack-ice and drift-ice.—4, 5, 6. Various designations
  of ice-forms.—7. Estimate of the thickness of ice.—8. Rate of
  its formation.—9. Old ice.—10, 11. Characteristics of young
  ice.—12. Results of the unrest in Arctic seas.—13. The snow-sheet
  described.—14. Colour of field-ice.—15. Characteristics of
  sea-ice.—16. Specific gravity of ice.—17. Irregularity of the
  forms of ice.—18. Temperature of the Arctic Sea.—19. Noise
  caused by disruption.—20. The ice-blink.—21. The water-sky.—22.
  Evaporation.—23. Calmness of the sea beneath the ice.—24.
  Overturning of icebergs.—25. Change of the sea’s colour near
  ice.—26. Icebergs described.—27. Noise caused by the overturning
  of icebergs.

                               CHAPTER II.

  NAVIGATION IN THE FROZEN OCEAN                              _page_ 11-19

  1. Preparatory study necessary for Polar navigators.—2.
  Choice of a favourable year necessary.—3. Navigation in
  coast-water recommended.—4. Failure often caused by leaving the
  coast-water.—5. Distance possible to accomplish in one summer.—6.
  The best time of year.—7. Steam-power recommended.—8. The rate
  of speed.—9. The build of Arctic ships.—10. Tactics of a ship
  in the ice.—11. Small vessels preferred.—12. Iron ships not
  suitable.—13. Two vessels to be employed.—14. “Besetment” and
  how to avoid it.—15. The use of a balloon recommended.—16. The
  “crow’s-nest.”—17. Winds and calms.—18. A winter harbour or
  “dock.”

                              CHAPTER III.

  THE PENETRATION OF THE REGIONS WITHIN THE POLAR CIRCLE; THE
  PERIOD OF THE NORTH-WEST AND NORTH-EAST PASSAGES            _page_ 20-24

  1. The Pole.—2. Old fancy of reaching India through the
  ice.—3, 4, 5. The first Polar navigators.—6-10. The North-West
  and North-East Passages.—11. Strange tales of the old
  discoverers.—12. The Polar world becomes the object of scientific
  investigation.—13. M’Clintock perfects the art of sledging.

                               CHAPTER IV.

  THE INNER POLAR SEA                                         _page_ 25-31

  1. The Arctic Sea compared to the glaciers of the Alps.—2, 3.
  Old fancies respecting an Inner Polar Sea.—4. Improbability of
  such a sea existing.—5. Influence of the Gulf Stream.—6. The
  Polynjii seen by Wrangel.—7. State of the ice in different years
  as found by various expeditions.—8. Probability that the most
  northerly regions do not differ from those already discovered.—9.
  Improbability that the Pole can be reached by a ship.—10. The
  English expedition to penetrate Smith’s Sound.

                               CHAPTER V.

  THE FUTURE OF THE POLAR QUESTION                            _page_ 32-36

  1. Material advantage from Arctic voyages.—2. The commercial
  value of the North-West and North-East Passages no longer thought
  of.—3. The Polar question a problem of science.—4. The increase
  of the safety and convenience with which the ice-navigation is
  now performed.—5. The means of conducting Polar expeditions
  perfected.—6. Sledge expeditions afford the chief hope of
  success.—7. Not much more to be expected from ships.—8. The route
  by Smith’s Sound recommended.—9. The English expedition.—10.
  Lieutenant Weyprecht’s plan for united scientific investigation.

                               CHAPTER VI.

  POLAR EQUIPMENTS                                            _page_ 37-46

  1. Past experience to be consulted.—2. The commander.—3.
  Selection of the crew.—4. Discipline and pay.—5. The best men to
  be obtained.—6. Special qualifications.—7. The medical man.—8. An
  artist or photographer desirable.—9. Old ideas of equipment.—10.
  The greatest possible comfort necessary.—11. A table of the
  sizes of the vessels in various expeditions.—12. The best kind
  of ships.—13. The allowance of food.—14. Spirituous liquors.—15.
  The ship becomes a house in the winter.—16. The quarters of
  the men.—17. Lamps and candles.—18. Clothing of the crew.—19.
  Instruments and ammunition.—20. The cost of different expeditions.

  _THE PIONEER VOYAGE OF THE ISBJÖRN_                         _page_ 49-69

  1. A pioneer expedition resolved on.—2, 3. Route to the east
  of Spitzbergen.—4. The _Isbjörn_ chartered for the service.—5.
  Attempts to gain information on the probable state of the ice.—6.
  An unfavourable ice-year predicted.—7. The expedition leaves
  Tromsoe.—8. The coast of Norway described.—9. The _Isbjörn_ in
  the ice.—10. Seeking a harbour.—11. Cape Look-out.—12. Two ships
  met with.—13. In the ice.—14. The return to the ice-barrier.—15.
  The geological formation of the western coast.—16. Arrive at Hope
  Island.—17. Ice disappeared.—18. Whales abound.—19. Splendid
  effects of colour.—20. In a sea.—21. A run along the west coast
  of Novaya Zemlya.—22. Storms compel us to keep to sea.—23. Object
  of the voyage.—24. The Austro-Hungarian Expedition of 1872.-25.
  The plan of the Austro-Hungarian Expedition.

                      _VOYAGE OF THE “TEGETTHOFF.”_

                               CHAPTER I.

  FROM BREMERHAVEN TO TROMSOE                                 _page_ 73-77

  1. The qualities requisite for a Polar navigator.—2. The crew of
  the _Tegetthoff_—3. The _Tegetthoff_ lifts her anchor.—4. The
  vessel.—5. Crossing the sea.—6. The languages spoken on board the
  _Tegetthoff_.—7. The officers and crew of the _Tegetthoff_.—8.
  Arrive at Tromsoe.—9. The first and last voyage of the
  _Tegetthoff_ begins.

                               CHAPTER II.

  ON THE FROZEN OCEAN                                         _page_ 78-92

  1. Within the frozen ocean.—2. The sea of Novaya Zemlya.—3. We
  continue our course by steam.—4. The decay of ice.—5. Effects
  of light.—6. We meet the _Isbjörn_.—8-10. The Barentz Islands
  described by Professor Höfer.—11. Preparations for future
  contests with the ice.—12. Inclosed in the land-ice.—13. We
  celebrate the birthday of Francis Joseph I.—14. Our prospects do
  not improve.—15. The _Tegetthoff_ finally beset.

                              CHAPTER III.

  DRIFTING IN THE NOVAYA ZEMLYA SEAS                         _page_ 93-100

  1. Winter begins.—2. The impossibility of reaching the coast of
  Siberia.—3. Unsuccessful efforts to get free.—4. The name-day of
  the Emperor Francis Joseph I.—5. Encounters with polar bears.—6.
  A “snow-finch” visits the ship.—7. Novaya Zemlya recedes
  gradually from our gaze.

                               CHAPTER IV.

  THE “TEGETTHOFF” FAST BESET IN THE ICE                    _page_ 101-113

  1. Signs indicate the insecurity of our position.—2. A dreadful
  Sunday.—3. We make ready to abandon the ship.—4. The dogs.—5.
  We return to the ship.—6. We drift in the Frozen Sea.—7. Our
  alarms.—8. Our constant state of readiness to meet destruction.

                               CHAPTER V.

  OUR FIRST WINTER (1872) IN THE ICE                        _page_ 114-125

  1. Surrounded by deep twilight.—2. Our preparations for
  winter.—3. The difficulty of sledge-travelling.—4. Sumbu mistaken
  for a fox—5. The rending of the ice.—6. Our short expeditions.—7.
  The continual threatening of the ice.—8. A bear shot.—9. The
  effect of the long Polar night.—10. The middle of the long
  night.—11. Christmas feasts.—12. The first hour of the new
  year.—13. The dogs allowed in the cabin.—14. Carlsen writes in
  the log-book.

                               CHAPTER VI.

  LIFE ON BOARD THE “TEGETTHOFF”                            _page_ 126-138

  1. The _Tegetthoff_ covered with snow.—2. The excessive
  condensation of moisture.—3. The destruction of the snow wall.—4.
  The removal of the tent roof.—5. The stove of Meidingen of
  Carlsruhe.—6. The arrangements of the officers’ mess-room.—7.
  Those who occupied the mess-room.—8. Our meals.—9. Divine service
  on deck.—10. After dinner.—11. The monotony of our life.—12.
  After supper.—13. Middendorf contrasting the influence of climate
  on men.—14. Our sanitary condition.—15. Baths.—16. Passages from
  my journal.—17. A school instituted.

                              CHAPTER VII.

  ICE-PRESSURES                                             _page_ 139-142

  1. Preparations for leaving the ship.—2. Extracts from journal.

                              CHAPTER VIII.

  THE WANE OF THE LONG POLAR NIGHT                          _page_ 143-148

  1. The light increases.—2. A bear hunt.—3. Table of the course of
  the _Tegetthoff_.—4. Throw out bottles inclosing an account of
  the events of the expedition.

                               CHAPTER IX.

  THE RETURN OF LIGHT.—THE SPRING OF 1873                   _page_ 149-161

  1. The sunrise.—2. Our first look at each other.—3. Visits
  from bears.—4. The carnival.—5. Continual fall of snow.—6.
  Return of birds.—7. Ill health of Dr. Kepes.—8. Bear shot.—9.
  A road constructed.—10. Reading without artificial light.—11.
  Accumulation of rubbish round the ship.—12. Begin to dig out the
  ship.—13. Surprised by bears.—14. Our hopes to reach Siberia.—15.
  Snow continues to fall.—16. Visited by birds.—17. The steam
  machinery put in working order.—18. A partial eclipse of the
  sun.—19. Birth of four Newfoundland puppies.

                               CHAPTER X.

  THE SUMMER OF 1873                                        _page_ 162-172

  1. Decay of the walls of the ice.—2. The blaze of light on clear
  days.—3. Our constant digging.—4. Continual sinking of the
  ship.—5. Nothing but ice.—6. Short expeditions.—7. Feast on the
  birthday of the Emperor.—8. Table showing our change of place.—9.
  Some paragraphs from the Admiral’s report of the _Tegetthoff_—10.
  Sounding the depth of the sea.

                               CHAPTER XI.

  NEW LANDS                                                 _page_ 173-177

  1. Seal-hunting.—2. Sunset at midnight.—3. The second summer
  gone.—4. Land at last.—5. Kaiser Franz-Josef’s Land.—6.
  Hochstetter Island.

                              CHAPTER XII.

  THE AUTUMN OF 1873.—THE STRANGE LAND VISITED              _page_ 178-184

  1. Autumn of 1873.—2. Resolve to abandon the vessel.—3. Daylight
  begins to fail.—4. Everything in readiness to leave the ship.—5.
  Wilczek Island.—6. Our joy at reaching land.—7. Exploring the
  island.—8. An expedition.—9. The silence of Arctic Regions.—10.
  The island continues a mystery.

                              CHAPTER XIII.

  OUR SECOND WINTER IN THE ICE                              _page_ 185-198

  1. Night begins to reign.—2. Leisure for study.—3. Complete
  darkness.—4. Continual fall of snow.—5. The middle of the second
  Polar night.—6. Ill temper of the dogs.—7. The dogs.—8. Pekel,
  Sumbu, and Jubinal.—9. Christmas time.—10. Our life in the
  ship.—11. Improvement in health.—12. Scurvy.

                              CHAPTER XIV.

  SUNRISE OF 1874                                           _page_ 199-201

  1. Return of the moon.—2. Sun appears above the horizon.—3.
  Lieutenant Weyprecht and I resolve to abandon the ship after the
  sledge journeys.

                               CHAPTER XV.

  THE AURORA                                                _page_ 202-210

  1. The northern lights.—2-4. The appearance of the aurora.—5. The
  influence on the magnetic needle.—6. Description of the aurora by
  Lieutenant Weyprecht.

                         _THE SLEDGE JOURNEYS._

                               CHAPTER I.

  THE EXPLORATION OF KAISER FRANZ-JOSEF LAND RESOLVED ON    _page_ 213-215

  1. Necessity of exploration.—2. Plan of the sledge journeys.—3.
  Eagerness to begin.—4. Illness of Krisch.

                               CHAPTER II.

  OF SLEDGE TRAVELLING IN GENERAL                           _page_ 216-221

  1. The sledge the best means of exploration.—2. The coast line
  to be followed.—3. Best season for sledging.—4. State of the
  snow-road.—5. The formation of depôts.—6. Sledges dragged by men
  and dogs—7. Sledging best performed by dogs.—8. The instruments
  required on a sledge journey.

                              CHAPTER III.

  THE EQUIPMENT OF A SLEDGE EXPEDITION                      _page_ 222-234

  1. The equipment of a sledge.—2. Construction of our sledges.—3.
  The cooking apparatus.—4. Fuel.—5. Tents used at night.—6.
  The sleeping bag.—7. Arms and ammunition.—8. Chest for
  instruments, &c.—9, 10, 11. The provisions.—12. Boats in sledge
  expeditions.—13. Articles of clothing.—14. Furs.—15. Covering for
  the feet.—16. Drawing the sledge.

                               CHAPTER IV.

  THE FIRST SLEDGE JOURNEY                                  _page_ 235-245

  1. Qualities of a leader.—2. Object of our first expedition.—3.
  My party.—4. We begin our journey.—5. Violent motion of the
  ice.—6. Conduct of the dogs.—7. Death of the bear.—8. The driving
  snow.—9. Reach the plateau of Cape Tegetthoff.—10. Ascending
  the plateau.—11. Night in the sleeping bag.—12. Difficulty of
  dragging the sledge.—13. Ascend a mountain, Cape Littrow.

                               CHAPTER V.

  THE COLD                                                  _page_ 246-257

  1. The Sonklar glacier.—2. Effect of cold.—3. The frightful
  cold of North America.—4. Effect of low temperature on the
  human frame.—5. The voice in cold weather.—6. Hardness of
  everything.—7. Effect of cold on the senses.—8. Protection
  against cold.—9. Danger of frost-bite.—10. Thirst.—11. A block of
  snow.—12. Return to the ship.—13. Death of Krisch.

                               CHAPTER VI.

  A GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF KAISER FRANZ-JOSEF LAND          _page_ 258-270

  1. Size of the country.—2. Surface of ice.—3. Map of the
  country.—4. Naming of discoveries.—5. Comparison of Arctic
  lands.—6. The existence of volcanic formations.—7, 8. Geology
  of Franz-Josef Land.—9. Glaciers of Spitzbergen.—10. Ice of
  Franz-Josef Land.—11. Temperature of the air.—12. The plasticity
  of the glaciers.—13. North-east of Greenland and Siberia.—14.
  The vegetation.—15. Finding drift-wood.—16. Impossibility of
  inhabiting Franz-Josef Land.—17. The absence of animal life.—18.
  Seals abound.—19. Species of fish seen.—20. Birds.—21. The
  collection of Dr. Kepes.

                              CHAPTER VII.

  THE SECOND SLEDGE EXPEDITION.—AUSTRIA SOUND               _page_ 271-294

  1. Plan of second expedition.—2. Danger of leaving the ship.—3.
  Visited by bears.—4. Our preparations finished.—5. The sledge
  party.—6. Our march.—7. Torossy wounded by a bear.—8. Danger of
  frost-bite.—9. Arrive at Cape Frankfurt.—10. The configuration
  of the country.—11. We penetrate to Cape Hansa.—12. A bear
  killed.—13. I examine the beach.—14. Loss of the dog Sumbu.—15.
  Easter Sunday.—16. Approach of a bear.—17. Our canvas boots worn
  out.—18. We reach Becker Island.—19. We lose a bear.—20. Direct
  our course towards Cape Rath.—21. A bear shot.—22. Difficulty of
  advancing.—23. We arrive at Cape Schrötter.

                              CHAPTER VIII.

  IN THE EXTREME NORTH                                      _page_ 295-313

  1. We ascend the summit of the Dolerite Rock.—2. Our expedition
  to the extreme north.—3. We divide the provisions.—4. The merits
  of our dogs.—5. Klotz has to return.—6. Zaninovich and the
  sledge fall into a crevasse.—7. Reach Cape Habermann.—8. Cape
  Brorock.—9. The enormous flocks of birds.—10. Difficulty of
  travelling.—11. Cape Säulen.—12. Reach Cape Germania.—13. Cape
  Fligely.—14. We plant the Austro-Hungarian flag.—15. Document
  inclosed in a bottle.

                               CHAPTER IX.

  THE RETURN TO THE SHIP                                    _page_ 314-335

  1. Our return journey.—2. Observations of temperature.—3.
  Snow-blindness.—4. A bear shot.—5. Reach Cape Hellwald.—6.
  Orel continues to march southwards.—7. Reach Cape Tyrol.—8.
  Grandeur of the scenery.—9. Find our companions.—10. We sink
  in the snow.—11. Arrive at open sea.—12. Over the glaciers of
  Wilczek Land.—13. Enveloped in whirling snow.—14. Digging out
  our depôt.—15. The difficulty of advancing.—16. Reach Schönau
  Island.—17. I find the ship.—18. The ship in our absence.

                               CHAPTER X.

  THE THIRD SLEDGE JOURNEY                                  _page_ 336-340

  1. Our wish to explore Franz-Josef Land.—2. We leave the
  ship.—3. The dogs and the bears.—4. A bear killed.—5. Ascent of
  the pyramid-like Cape Brünn.—6. The extreme difficulty of the
  ascent.—7. Return to the ship.

             _THE “TEGETTHOFF” ABANDONED.—RETURN TO EUROPE._

                               CHAPTER I.

  LAST DAYS ON THE “TEGETTHOFF”                             _page_ 343-347

  1. “Plundering the ship.”—2. Appearance of the ship.—3. Short
  expeditions.—4. Rapid decrease of the cold.—5. The boats and
  their contents.—6. The dogs, Gillis and Semlja, shot.—7. Our
  stock of clothes.—8. Our plan of escape.

                               CHAPTER II.

  ON THE FROZEN SEA                                         _page_ 348-376

  1. The day for abandoning the ship comes.—2. We start.—3. The
  dogs.—4. We return to the ship to replenish the stores.—5.
  Shooting bears.—6. Reach Lamont Island.—7. Return to the ship
  for the jolly boat.—8. Impatience to launch our boats.—9. Launch
  at last.—10. Shoot a seal.—11. Quotations from the journal.—12.
  Crossing fissures.—13. Disheartening efforts.—14. From one floe
  to another.—15. Carlsen.—16. Life in the boats.—17. Our dreadful
  situation.—18. Our rations diminished.—19. Forcing our way.—20.
  Pushing floes asunder.—21. No advance, but great efforts.—22.
  Delight caused by an advance of four miles a day.—23. Secure
  a bear.—24. Our progress greatly increases.—25. Ice-hummocks
  everywhere.—26. Alternate launching and drawing up the boats.—27.
  Increased progress.—28. The swell of the ocean.—29. Shut in once
  more.—30. Contrivances to pass away the time.—31. Calking the
  boats.—32. We reach the open sea.—33. Farewell to the Frozen
  Ocean.

                              CHAPTER III.

  ON THE OPEN SEA                                           _page_ 377-389

  1. Sight of the open sea.—2. Compelled to kill the dogs.—3. We
  take a last look at the ice.—4. Fifty miles from land.—5. We
  sight Novaya Zemlya.—6. We hold on our course.—7. Vain attempt to
  land on Novaya Zemlya.—8. Difference in the climate in various
  years.—9. Land in Gwosdarew Bay.—10. Step on land once more.—11.
  Coast of Novaya Zemlya.—12. Look in vain for a sail.—13. Our
  provisions nearly exhausted.—14. We divide the remnant of
  food.—15. Deliverance at last.—16. The schooner _Nikolai_.—17.
  Our reception on board.—18. We hear the news from Europe.—19.
  Captain Voronin agrees to take us to Norway.—20. The crew of the
  _Nikolai_.—21. We run along the coast of Lapland.—22. Landing at
  Vardö.—23. Reception.

                                APPENDIX.

  I. METEOROLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS                            _page_ 391-393

  II. DIRECTION AND FORCE OF THE WIND                           _page_ 394

  INDEX                                                         _page_ 395



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


                                                                      PAGE

  TWILIGHT AT MIDDAY—FEBRUARY, 1874                          _Frontispiece_

  THE FIRST ICE                                                         53

  STILL LIFE IN THE FROZEN OCEAN                                        79

  GWOSDAREW INLET                                                       84

  FORMATION OF THE DEPÔT AT “THE THREE COFFINS”                         89

  THE “TEGETTHOFF” AND “ISBJÖRN” SEPARATE                               90

  THE “TEGETTHOFF” FINALLY BESET                                        91

  ATTEMPTS TO GET FREE IN SEPTEMBER                                     94

  SEAL-HUNTING—SEPTEMBER 1872                                           96

  SHOOTING AT A TARGET, OCTOBER 1872                                    97

  PARHELIA ON THE COAST OF NOVAYA ZEMLYA                                99

  AN OCTOBER NIGHT IN THE ICE                                          105

  THE MOON WITH ITS HALO                                               109

  OUR COAL-HOUSE ON THE FLOE                                           111

  THE TWILIGHT IN NOVEMBER 1872                                        115

  SUMBU CHASED FOR A FOX                                               116

  WANDERINGS ON THE ICE IN OUR FIRST WINTER                            117

  ENCOUNTER WITH A POLAR BEAR                                          120

  ICE-HOLE COVERED WITH YOUNG ICE                                      121

  CARLSEN MAKES THE ENTRY IN THE LOG                                   124

  THE “TEGETTHOFF” IN THE FULL MOON                                    127

  DIVINE SERVICE ON DECK                                               131

  ICE-PRESSURE IN THE POLAR NIGHT                                      140

  FRUITLESS ATTEMPT TO RESCUE MATOSCHKIN                               145

  SUNRISE (1873)                                                       150

  THE CARNIVAL ON THE ICE                                              152

  THE “TEGETTHOFF” DRIFTING IN PACK-ICE—MARCH 1873                     155

  SOUNDING IN THE FROZEN OCEAN                                         171

  APPROACHING THE LAND BY MOONLIGHT                                    183

  DEPARTURE OF THE SUN IN THE SECOND WINTER                            187

  NOON ON DECEMBER 21, 1873                                            189

  PEKEL, SUMBU, AND JUBINAL                                            193

  IN THE MESS-ROOM                                                     196

  THE AURORA DURING THE ICE-PRESSURE                                   204

  KRISCH, THE ENGINEER                                                 215

  TEAM OF SEVEN MEN AND THREE DOGS                                     224

  THE COOKING APPARATUS                                                224

  THE SLEDGE WITH ITS LOAD                                             229

  THE DRESS OF THE ARCTIC SLEDGER                                      231

  TOROSSY IN HARNESS                                                   234

  CAPE TEGETTHOFF                                                      242

  MELTING SNOW DURING A HALT NEAR CAPE BERGHAUS                        244

  ON THE SONKLAR-GLACIER                                               247

  BLOCK OF SNOW                                                        254

  THE BURIAL OF KRISCH                                                 256

  LIPARIS GELATINOSUS                                                  266

  HIPPOLYTE PAYERI                                                     268

  HYALONEMA LONGISSIMUM                                                268

  UMBELLULA                                                            269

  KORETHRASTES HISPIDUS                                                270

  NEPHTHYS LONGISETOSA                                                 270

  THE DOGS DIFFER AS TO THE TREATMENT OF YOUNG BEARS                   273

  THE WINTER HOLE OF A BEAR                                            277

  LIFE IN THE TENT                                                     279

  CAPE FRANKFURT, AUSTRIA SOUND, AND THE WÜLLERSDORF MOUNTAINS         280

  HOW SUMBU WAS LOST                                                   284

  CAPE EASTER AND STERNEK SOUND                                        285

  HOW WE RECEIVED BEARS. CAPE TYROL IN THE BACKGROUND                  286

  DINING ON BEARS’ FLESH                                               287

  CUTTING UP THE BEARS                                                 292

  ICEBERGS AT THE BASE OF THE MIDDENDORF GLACIER                       298

  THE SLEDGE FALLS INTO A CREVASSE ON THE MIDDENDORF GLACIER           300

  KLOTZ’S AMAZEMENT                                                    302

  THE ALARM OF THE HOHENLOHE PARTY                                     303

  HALT UNDER CROWN-PRINCE RUDOLF’S LAND                                305

  CAPE AUK                                                             307

  CAPE SÄULEN                                                          309

  THE AUSTRIAN FLAG PLANTED AT CAPE FLIGELY                            311

  MELTING SNOW ON CAPE GERMANIA                                        315

  ENCAMPING ON ONE OF THE COBURG ISLANDS                               318

  THE VIEW FROM CAPE TYROL. COLLINSON FIORD—WIENER NEUSTADT ISLAND     321

  BREAKING IN                                                          323

  ARRIVAL BEFORE THE OPEN SEA                                          325

  DRAGGING THE SLEDGE UNDER THE GLACIERS OF WILCZEK LAND               326

  THE SLEDGE IN A SNOW-STORM                                           328

  DIGGING OUT THE DEPÔT                                                329

  THE MIDNIGHT SUN BETWEEN CAPE BERGHAUS AND KOLDEWEY ISLAND           331

  THE “TEGETTHOFF” DESCRIED                                            332

  KLOTZ                                                                333

  MARKHAM SOUND, RICHTHOFEN PEAK FROM CAPE BRÜNN                       338

  FIRST ABANDONMENT OF THE “TEGETTHOFF”                                348

  IN THE HARBOUR OF AULIS                                              352

  WE LAUNCH AT LAST                                                    355

  MARCHING THROUGH ICE-HUMMOCKS                                        357

  HALT AT NOON                                                         358

  CROSSING A FISSURE                                                   359

  CARLSEN                                                              361

  SCENE ON THE ICE                                                     366

  BEARS IN THE WATER                                                   371

  CALKING THE BOATS                                                    374

  FAREWELL TO THE FROZEN OCEAN                                         375

  LANDING ON THE COAST OF NOVAYA ZEMLYA                                380

  THE BAY OF DUNES. THE RUSSIAN SCHOONERS                              385



[Illustration: MAP of the NOVAYA ZEMLYA SEA for the Austro-Hungarian
Expeditions.]



AUSTRIAN ARCTIC VOYAGES.



INTRODUCTION.



CHAPTER I.

THE FROZEN OCEAN.


1. The ice-sheet spread over the Arctic region is the effect and sign of
the low temperature which prevails within it. During nine or ten months
of the year this congealing force continues to act, and if the frozen
mass were not broken up by the effects of sun and wind, of rain, waves,
and currents, and by the rents produced in it from the sudden increase of
cold, the result would necessarily be an absolutely impenetrable covering
of ice. The parts of this enormous envelope of ice sundered by these
various causes now become capable of movement, and are widely dispersed
in the form of ice-fields and floes.

2. The water-ways which separate these parts are called “leads,” or, when
their extent is considerable, “ice-holes.” The meshes of this vast net,
which is constantly in motion, open and close under the action of winds
and currents in summer; and it is only in its southern parts that the
action of waves, rain, and thaw produces any considerable detachments.
Towards the end of autumn, the ice, forming anew, consolidates the
interior portions, while its outer edge pushes forward, like the end
of a glacier, into lower regions, until about the end of February the
culminating point of congelation is attained. Motionless adhesion of the
fields, which naturally reach their greatest size in winter, does not,
however, exist even then; for during this period they are incessantly
exposed to displacement and pressure from the currents of the sea and the
air.

3. When the ice is more or less closed, so as to render navigation
impossible, it is called “pack-ice,” and “drift-ice” when it appears
in detached pieces amid predominating water. Since there are forces
operating which promote the loosening process at its outer edge, and its
consolidation within, it is self-evident, that the interior portions
tend to the character of “pack-ice,” and its outer margin to that of
“drift-ice.” This general rule, however, is so modified in many places,
by local causes, currents, and winds, that we find not unfrequently at
the outer margin of the ice thick barriers of pack-ice, and in the inner
ice, ice-holes (polynia[1]) and drift-ice.

4. Ice navigation, during its course of three hundred years, has created
a number of terms to designate the external forms of ice, the meaning
of which must be clearly defined. Ice formed from salt-water is called
“field-ice;” that from the waters of rivers and lakes “sweet-water ice.”
The latter is as hard as iron, and so transparent that it is scarcely
to be distinguished from water. Icebergs are masses detached from
glaciers. The words “patch,” “floe,” “field,” express relative magnitude,
descriptive of the smallest ice-table up to the ice-field of many miles
in diameter. The term “floe,” however, is generally applied to every
kind of field-ice, without reference to its size. The ice which lies
along coasts, or which adheres to a group of islands within a sound,
is called “land-ice.” Sledge expeditions depend on its existence and
character. Along the coast-edge land-ice is broken by the waves and tide,
and the forms of its upheaval and deposition on the shore constitute the
so-called “ice-foot.” Broken ice, or “brash,” is an accumulation of the
smaller fragments of ice which are found only on the extreme edge of the
ice-belt. “Bay-ice” is ice of recent formation, and its vertical depth is
inconsiderable.

5. Land-ice is less exposed to powerful disturbances, and its surface,
therefore, is comparatively level, and is only here and there traversed
by small hillocks called “hummocks” or “torrosy.” These are the results
of former pressures, and they are gradually reduced to the common level
by evaporation, by thawing, and by the snow drifting over them.

6. But ice-floes exposed to constant motion from winds and currents, and
to reciprocal pressure, have a more or less undulating character. On
these are found piles of ice heaped one upon another, rising to a height
of twenty or even fifty feet, alternating with depressions, which collect
the thawed water in clear ice-lakes during the few weeks of summer in
which the temperature rises above the freezing point. The specific
gravity of this water, where it does not communicate with the sea by
cracks, is in all cases the same with the specific gravity of pure sweet
water; and as the salt is gradually eliminated from the ice, the water
produced is perfectly drinkable. In the East Greenland Sea ice-floes
frequently measure more than twelve nautical miles across—these are
ice-fields properly so called.[2] In the Spitzbergen and Novaya Zemlya
Seas, they are much smaller, as Parry also found.

7. The thickness which ice acquires in the course of a winter, when
its formation is not disturbed, is about eight feet. In the Gulf of
Boothia, Sir John Ross found the greatest thickness about the end of
May; it was then ten feet on the sea and eleven feet on the lakes. In
his winter harbour in Melville Island, Parry met with ice seven or
seven-and-a-half feet thick; and Wrangel gives the thickness of a floe
on the Siberian coast, which had been formed in the course of a winter,
at nine-and-a-half feet. According to the observations of Hayes the ice
measured nine feet two inches in thickness in Port Foulke. He estimates
it, however, by implication, far higher in Smith’s Sound: “I have never
seen,” he says, “an ice-table formed by direct freezing which exceeded
the depth of eighteen feet.”

8. The rate at which ice is formed decreases as the thickness of the
floe increases, and it ceases to be formed as soon as the floe becomes
a non-conductor of the temperature of the air by the increase of its
mass, or when the driving of the ice-tables one over the other, or the
enormous and constantly accumulating covering of snow, places limits to
the penetration of the cold.

9. While therefore the thickness which ice in free formation attains is
comparatively small, fields of ice from thirty to forty feet high are
met with in the Arctic Seas; but these are the result of the forcing of
ice-tables one over the other by pressure, and are designated by the name
of “old ice,” which differs from young ice by its greater density, and
has a still greater affinity with the ice of the glacier when it exhibits
coloured veins.

10. When the cold is excessive a sheet of ice several inches thick is
formed on open water in a few hours; this, however, is not pure ice, but
contains a considerable amount of sea-salt not yet eliminated; complete
elimination of the saline matter takes place only after continuous
additions of ice to its under surface. A newly-formed sheet of ice is
flexible like leather, and as it becomes harder by the continued cold,
its saline contents come to the surface in a white frosty efflorescence.

11. Hayes mentions that he met with fields of ice from twenty to a
hundred feet thick in Smith’s Sound. But if it is difficult in many cases
to distinguish glacier-ice, when found in small fragments, from detached
portions of field-ice, it is often still more difficult to distinguish
between old and new ice, and the attempt to do so is merely arbitrary,
because their masses depend not on their age alone, but on other
processes to which they are exposed. A floe of normal thickness is never
more than two or three years old; and if it is to exist and preserve its
size for a longer period, it must somewhere attach itself to land-ice,
so as to escape destruction from mechanical causes, and dissolution from
drifting southwards. Many floes run their course from freezing to melting
within a year.

12. The perpetual unrest in the Arctic Sea, which continues undiminished
even in the severest winter, and the incessant change in the “leads” and
“ice-holes,” are the main causes of the increase of the ice, both in its
area and in its vertical depth. Were this constant movement to cease, the
result would be the formation of a sheet of ice of the uniform thickness
of about eight feet over the whole Polar region.

13. A layer of snow, which, like the ice itself, is at a minimum in
autumn, covers the whole surface of all the ice-fields. This snow,
which in winter is sometimes as hard as a rock, sometimes as fine as
dust, takes, towards the end of summer, more and more the character of
the glacier snow of our lofty Alpine ranges. Its grains, in a humid
state, exceed the size of beans, and when in motion they make a rustling
noise like sand. This granular snow is the residuum of the incomplete
evaporation of what fell in the winter, and of the surface of the ice
which has become “rotten” and porous. Its crystals are frequently from
a third to a sixth of an inch in length, and firm ice is found even in
autumn only at the depth of one or two feet. In the North of Spitzbergen,
Parry observed that the surface of the ice was frequently cut up into
ice-needles of more than a foot long by the drops of rain, which in
summer fall upon it, and in some places he found it overspread with red
snow. We ourselves never saw the phenomenon observed by Parry, and the
ice-crystals we met with seldom exceeded the length given above.

14. Field-ice is of a delicate azure-blue colour, and of great density,
and there is, in these respects, no difference between that of the
Arctic and Antarctic regions. Cook, indeed, calls the South Polar ice
colourless, though Sir James Clark Ross speaks expressly of the blueness
of its ice-masses. Sea-ice surpasses the ice of the Alps both in the
beauty of its colour and in its density. The glorious blue of the
fissures is due to the incidence of light, the blue rays of which only
are reflected, while the other rays are absorbed. A spectrum observation
made in 1869 on a Greenland ice-field gave brownish red, yellow, green
and blue. The yellowish spots observed in ice are due to the presence of
innumerable microscopic animalculæ.

15. Sea-ice, which, when the cold is intense, is hard and brittle,
loses this quality with the increase of temperature till it acquires
an incredible toughness, far exceeding that of glaciers; and floes
several feet thick bend under mutual pressure before they split. Hence
the fruitlessness, especially in summer, of all attempts to loosen the
connexion of its parts by blasting with gunpowder.

16. The specific gravity of sea-ice is 0.91, and accordingly about nine
parts of a cubical block of ice are under water, while one part only
rises above the surface. If, however, the ice of a floe be irregularly
formed and full of bubbles, the specific gravity will be correspondingly
reduced, and the volume submerged may diminish to two-thirds of the whole
mass.

17. The irregularity of the forms of ice is so great, that no deduction
can safely be drawn from them; cases may occur where a recently-formed
ice-floe, which has been attached to old ice, is forced by its neighbour
to sink under the normal level; hence the submergence of floes beneath
the level of the sea is often overstated.

18. The temperature of the Arctic Sea at the surface is generally below
the freezing point, and then increases slightly with the depth. Sir
James Ross observed that the temperature in all oceans does not alter at
great depths, and placed this constant temperature at 39° F. In summer
the temperature of the atmosphere rises little above freezing point,
and, according to Sir James Ross, it is still less at the South Pole,
because he saw no thaw-water streaming down from the icebergs there as
he did in the North. It was first observed in Forster’s days, that is
about a century ago, that the salt was gradually eliminated from frozen
sea-water. Of this fact Cook knew nothing; and even Sir James Ross
endorses Davis’s remark that “the deep sea freezes not.” But the fact
that ice is formed on the open sea, and far from the vicinity of land,
was first asserted by Scoresby, and has been confirmed by all subsequent
observers, though it was long disputed.

19. The crackling sound so commonly heard along the outer edge of the ice
exposed to the action of the waves, is a consequence of the penetration
of its pores by the sea-water, which is then immediately frozen, and
disruption follows at once. But disruption on a far grander scale is
due to a cause the very opposite of this, the sudden contraction and
splitting of the ice, even in the great ice-fields, which is produced
usually in winter by the sudden fall of the temperature.

20. When light falls on a field of pack-ice, it is reflected in the
stratum of air above it, and this span of light, called the “ice-blink,”
just above the horizon, warns the navigator of the impossibility of
penetrating further. This phenomenon is often observed also over
drift-ice, although not so intense nor so yellow in colour as over
pack-ice.

21. Water spaces, on the other hand, show their presence by dark spots on
the horizon, produced by the formation of clouds from ascending mists.
These are the so-called “water-sky,” and faithfully indicate the “leads”
beneath them. Above the larger “ice-holes,” they assume the dark colours
of a thunder-sky, though they are never so strongly defined.

22. The annual evaporation from the surface of the ice, which even in
winter is never entirely interrupted during the severest frost, and the
destruction of ice by the action of rain and waves, are balanced, to
speak generally, by its re-formation by frost. The maximum accumulation
of ice takes place in spring, its minimum in the beginning of autumn.
We observed in the autumn of 1873 not only the evaporation of the snow
of the preceding winter, but also a vertical decrease of ice of about
four feet. Evaporation is, therefore, the most potent regulator of the
balance between waste and growth in the accumulation of ice; and next in
importance is the drifting of its masses towards the south through all
those openings by which the Polar waters mingle with the waters of lower
latitudes.

23. However great the agitation of the sea may be in the open ocean,
and though it may dash its waves with wild fury on the edge of the
ice, within the icy girdle it is undisturbed, in consequence of the
enormous weight of the superincumbent masses. It is only in the large
“ice-holes,” and when the winds are very high, that the action of
waves is discernible. An isolated accumulation of floes in a circular
form, suffices to produce a calm interior sea, and its outer edge only
encounters the beat of the ocean.

24. The ceaseless attack to which the ice is exposed on its outer edge
is the cause of its excavation and undermining. Hence its centre of
gravity is constantly displaced; and the overturning of its masses and
its strange transformations are the consequences of this instability.
The smaller the masses of the ice, the more fantastic are the shapes they
assume.

25. Change of colour in the sea as we enter the ice-region is frequently,
though not invariably, observed. Almost immediately on entering the ice,
its normal dull green colour gives place to a deep ultramarine blue,
especially in the East Greenland seas, and this colour is maintained
under all changes of the weather, and is only modified by local currents.
Two hundred and fifty years ago it appeared to Hudson, on the coast of
Spitzbergen, that the sea, whenever it was free from ice, was green,
and that its being covered with ice and its blueness of colour were
intimately connected. Sir James Ross states that in both Polar oceans
the colour of the sea changes in the neighbourhood of ice, and that the
dull brownish colour sometimes seen near pack-ice in the Antarctic Ocean
is owing to an infinite number of animalculæ. The rapid fall of the
temperature of the water to the zero point is another indication that ice
is near.

26. Of all the ice-formations in the Arctic Seas, icebergs are the
most enormous. “It is well known that ice is not by any means so heavy
as water, but readily floats upon its surface. Consequently whenever
a glacier enters the sea, the dense salt water tends to buoy it up.
But the great tenacity of the frozen mass enables it to resist the
pressure for a time. By and by, however, as the glacier reaches deeper
water, its cohesion is overcome, and large fragments are forced from
its terminal front and floated up from the bed of the sea to sail away
as icebergs.”[3] This process is sometimes called “the calving” of the
glaciers; and the direction of the cleavage is a pre-indication of
the forms of the masses when detached. The characteristic features of
icebergs are their simple outline, differing widely from the fantastic
shapes which the fragments of sea-ice tend to assume; their great height
as compared with their breadth—their greenish-blue colour—their distinct
stratification—their slight transparency—and the roughly-granulated
character of their ice. Icebergs with long, sharp-pointed peaks, like
those exhibited in numerous illustrations, have no real existence. It
is only fragments of field-ice, raised up by pressure, exposed to the
action of waves and the process of evaporation which are transformed
into fantastic shapes. Icebergs are generally of a pyramidal or tabular
shape, and in time they are usually rounded off into irregular cones.
They vary in height from 20 to 300 feet. Sir John Ross (1818) mentions
an iceberg of 51 feet; Baffin (1615) of 240 feet; Parry (1819) of 258
feet; Kane (1853) of 300 feet; and Hayes (1861) one 315 feet high,
the depth of which below the water-line he estimated at half a mile.
On the coast of East Greenland, Scoresby once counted 500 icebergs,
some of which reached the height of 200 feet; and during the second
German North-Pole expedition, we saw many at the mouth of the Kaiser
Franz-Josef fiord which measured 220 feet in height. In Austria Sound,
and on the east coast of Kron-Prinz Rudolph’s land, their altitude
varied from 80 to 200 feet. From the covering of mist which envelops
them, icebergs generally appear much higher than they really are, and
their depth below the surface is not so considerable as is generally
supposed. In an iceberg 200 feet above the water, a total height of 600
to 800 feet may, as a mean, be inferred. It is only glaciers of a very
great size which shed icebergs; smaller glaciers, like those of Novaya
Zemlya, only strew the sea with a multitude of fragments which resemble
broken sea-ice. Hence the appearance of icebergs is connected with the
proximity to glacier-covered lands, and with the currents which prevail
along their coasts. Baffin’s Bay, Smith’s Sound, East Greenland, the
South-East of Greenland, Austria Sound, are the principal places where
they collect together and lie like fleets before the entrances of bays
and gulfs. Under-currents of the sea take them not unfrequently in
directions contrary to the drift of the field-ice, which depends only on
upper-currents; and abnormal winds may sometimes carry them out to seas
where they have been seldom or never seen.[4] This appears to be the case
even with those met with on the north-west coast of Novaya Zemlya. On the
other hand, they have never been seen on the coasts of Siberia, which
have no glaciers.

27. The constant displacement of the centre of gravity of an iceberg,
resulting from the unsymmetrical decrease of its form, causes its
periodical oversetting; and the different temperature of the internal and
external ice is the principal cause of its rending asunder with a noise
like thunder; a process which occurs generally in the height of summer.



CHAPTER II.

NAVIGATION IN THE FROZEN OCEAN.


1. Although it be impossible to give any one, who has not with his own
eyes seen the Arctic Sea, a perfectly clear conception of its character,
the phenomena described in the preceding chapter are sufficient to
indicate the difficulties and dangers to which its navigation is
necessarily exposed. And to these difficulties and dangers, formidable
enough in themselves, are often added the evil influences of preconceived
theories and exaggerated expectations, usually followed by bitter
disillusions. The calm judgment, which, to all the bold plans of
navigation within the Polar basin, opposes distrust in their feasibility,
while it points to the hundred expeditions which have at last returned
home after penetrating but a little way into the frozen sea, is an
attainment of slow growth. Years, too, must be devoted to the theoretical
study of the Polar question, to the examination of all that predecessors
have experienced and recorded. But this study is very important to
Polar navigators; for the discoveries which they too readily regard as
exclusively their own prove sometimes to have been made centuries before
them.

2. A most essential element of success is the choice of a favourable
ice year; and the commander of an expedition must possess sufficient
self-control to return, as soon as he becomes convinced of the existence
of conditions unfavourable for navigation. It is better to repeat the
same attempt on a second or even a third summer, than with conscious
impotence to fight against the supremacy of the ice.

3. Polar navigators have learnt in the school of experience to
distinguish between navigation in the frozen seas remote from the
land, and navigation in the so called coast-waters. The former is
far more dangerous, entirely dependent on accident, exposed to grave
catastrophes, and without any definite goal. It affords no certainty
of finding a winter harbour for the long period when cold and darkness
render navigation impossible. On the other hand, a strip of open water,
which retreats before the growth of the land-ice only in winter, forms
itself along coasts, and especially under the lee of those exposed to
marine currents running parallel to them; and this coast-water does not
arise from the thawing of the ice through the greater heat of the land,
but from the land being an immovable barrier against wind, and therefore
against ice-currents. The inconstancy of the wind, however, may baffle
all the calculations of navigation; for coast-water, open as far as the
eye can reach, may be filled with ice in a short time by a change of
the wind. Land-ice often remains on the coasts even during summer, and
in this case there is nothing to be done but to find the open navigable
waters between the extreme edge of the fast-ice and the drift-ice. Should
the drift become pack-ice, the moment must be awaited when winds setting
in from the land carry off the masses of ice blocking the navigation,
and open a passage free from ice, or at least only partially covered
with drift-ice. It is evident that navigation in coast-waters must be
slow and gradual, though it has always been attended with the greatest
advantages. Barentz was the first who tested its value; but it was Parry,
the most distinguished of all Polar navigators, who discovered its full
importance, and from his day it has been accepted as an incontrovertible
canon of ice-navigation. On this point he himself says: “Our experience,
I think, has clearly shown, that the navigation of the Polar Seas can
never be performed with any degree of certainty without a continuity of
land. It was only by watching the openings between the ice and the shore
that our late progress to the westward was effected; and had the land
continued in the desired direction, there can be no question that we
should have continued to advance, however slowly, towards the completion
of our enterprise.”[5]

4. The successes of the English in the North American Archipelago were
the result of this mode of navigation. Its principle is to search for
and sail along the network of narrow channels when the main passage is
blocked by pack-ice, and to turn to account the narrowest opening between
the ice and the land. In the Siberian coast expeditions also this method
of constantly following the coast-waters has been successfully observed.
Where coast-water does not exist, or only to a limited extent, as on
the East Coast of Greenland, this method is of course impracticable.
The fate of the second German North Pole expedition is an illustration
of this; it was ordered to penetrate in this direction, and its failure
was inevitable. On the other hand, all the unsuccessful attempts
of expeditions to penetrate northward from Spitzbergen—expeditions
whose course and termination resemble each other as one egg resembles
another—may be reckoned among those in seas remote from land. To the
same category belong the expeditions for the discovery of a north-east
passage, and simply because of the great extent of frozen sea between
Novaya Zemlya and Cape Tcheljuskin.

5. In the frozen sea remote from the land, from 200 to 300, or at the
most 400, nautical miles must, according to all past experience, be
regarded as the greatest distance which a vessel is able to compass,
under the most favourable conditions, during the few weeks of summer
in which navigation is possible. The fact that Sir James Ross at the
South Pole, and Norwegian fishermen in the Sea of Kara, accomplished
still greater distances, only proves that they were little or not at
all impeded by ice. Ross observed that the ice-floes of the Southern
Arctic Seas are smaller than those of the Northern: “The cause of this is
explained by the circumstance of the ice of the southern regions being
so much more exposed to violent agitations of the ocean, whereas the
northern sea is one of comparative tranquillity.”[6] The rarer occurrence
of land at the South Pole permits freer scope to the currents of the sea,
diminishes the opportunity for the growth of ice on the coasts, tends to
widen the passages in the network of water-ways, and thus facilitates
navigation. Even the swell of the sea within the ice is observed in
the South Polar Ocean, while it is never seen in the North. Besides
the greater hindrances peculiar to the whole North Polar Sea, there is
the specially unfavourable circumstance, in the case of the North-East
passage, that the shallowness of the Siberian Sea prevents a close
navigation of its coasts.

6. The choice of the most appropriate season is another important
consideration in ice-navigation; for this period does not fall at the
same time in all seas, and the disregard of season was a common cause of
the failures of the expeditions of earlier centuries. Since the frozen
sea remains unbroken and almost unaffected by the action of the sun even
in June, and at that time extends far to the south, it is evident that
all attempts to force a passage in that month are labour thrown away.
The ice-barrier retreating northward, or the transformation of pack into
drift-ice, leaves free navigable water four or five weeks later. The
month of August is the best time for ice-navigation in Baffin’s Bay; the
end of July or beginning of August on the East Greenland coasts; the
second half of August and the beginning of September in the Spitzbergen
waters; and in the region of the Parry Islands the favourable opportunity
ends about the beginning of September. In general, it seems that the
time most propitious for all the coast-water routes, begins some weeks
earlier than the corresponding period in the frozen seas remote from
land. But since, even in the first weeks of September, the most promising
conditions are often succeeded by a sudden reaction due to storms, to
cold setting in rapidly, or to excessive falls of snow, navigation in
the land-remote frozen seas, in itself so extremely hazardous, becomes
specially critical, just when the ice-sheet at its minimum appears to
promise the greatest results.

7. The help of steam power is an indispensable requisite, as by it a
vessel is able to defy the capricious changes of the wind. The movements
of a ship amid the ice are made in interminable curves, and the power
to describe an arc with the least radius enables a vessel to follow
up narrow and often blocked water-ways. As it is incessantly exposed
to severe shocks from the ice, a paddle-wheel steamer is useless; and
even in screw-steamers care must be taken to protect the propeller by a
special construction.

8. The rate of speed of a vessel in the ice must necessarily be moderate.
From three to six miles an hour are sufficient: and a rate of eight
or ten miles would soon render her not seaworthy. But even with this
reduced rate, her whole frame-work is shaken and loosened at last by the
incessant shocks she sustains; and this condition of the ship becomes
apparent when concussion with the ice is followed not by a noise as of
thunder, but by a low, dull, groaning sound. The larger a vessel, the
less her capacity to withstand these shocks, and the sooner will these
signs of her diminished strength betray themselves.

9. An Arctic ship should be built with sharp rather than with full lines,
so that when pressed by the ice, she may more easily escape being nipped
and crushed. A ship built with what is called—in England—full lines, a
full, round ship, is not easily raised but is liable to be crushed by
ice-pressure. The _Hansa_ was built in this manner, and was crushed by
the first squeeze from the ice; the _Germania_ and the _Tegetthoff_ were
both of them sharp-built ships, and stood the test of the ice excellently
well. To protect it from the effects of grinding on ragged “ice-tongues,”
the hull is generally iron-plated for some feet under water, and the bows
are strengthened as much as possible, because this part of the ship is
exposed to the greatest shocks.

10. The tactics of a ship in the ice are guided entirely by the character
of the hindrances to be overcome. If the ice-fields be large and heavy,
they are then generally separated by broader water-ways and “leads,”
and a ship may often amid such ice follow her course for hours with few
deviations subject always to the danger of being “beset” and crushed.
When the passage is blocked by a barrier of ice, the situation becomes
grave and serious; for such fields are not to be displaced by any force
which the ship may exert, and nothing is left to the navigator but to
await their parting asunder in a position as sheltered as possible.
When the ice is loose and the floes comparatively small, the impeding
barriers may be charged by the ship. She may then force asunder some of
these floes or separate them by the continuous pressure of steam-power.
In cases of this kind, large vessels have the advantage, and can bring
to bear a greater amount of pressure, whereas smaller ones stick fast
and remain immovable. These accumulations of ice, while they make a
“besetment” more likely, diminish the danger of pressure.

11. Hence it is clear that small are to be preferred to large vessels
for ice-navigation, except under circumstances of rare occurrence;
first, because they are more readily handled, and next, because of their
greater power of resistance and of their being more easily raised under
pressure from the ice. Their one disadvantage of lesser momentum is of
comparatively slight consequence. The experience of all the North Pole
expeditions of this century shows, that ships of 150, or at the most of
300 tons, are best suited for all purposes.

12. Iron ships have often been employed, but with no success; they
are far less able to bear pressure than wooden ships, as was proved,
among other things, by the fate of the _River Tay_ in 1868, in Baffin’s
Bay, and of the _Sophia_, a Swedish ship of discovery in the north of
Spitzbergen.

13. It admits of no question, that two vessels should be employed in
preference to one, and this should be accepted as a first principle
whenever the means at our disposal admit of it. Both ships should also
be provided with steam-power, for otherwise their separation is almost
inevitable,—a danger, however, for which, under all circumstances, they
must be prepared.

14. All that is commonly understood about piercing the ice by sawing and
boring through it is a delusion, and arises from the misunderstanding of
technical expressions. Where there is navigable water, there any one can
sail—where there is none, no one. In 1869 and 1870, after coming on a
_cul-de-sac_ of ice in Greenland to the east of Shannon Island, we could
not penetrate a yard further; in 1871, in loose, but solid ice, we drew
away only by warping on the smaller floes, without being able to make
the slightest progress, and in 1872 we were twice “beset,” in heavy ice,
in spite of our steam power. The penetration of close pack-ice is an
impossibility: in this case patient endurance is alone of any avail, and
hence Sir John Ross so emphatically recommends the Polar navigator “never
to lose sight of the two words caution and patience.”[7] If a vessel,
therefore, is arrested by impenetrable masses barring its way, the
breaking up of the ice must be patiently awaited, and this, generally, is
effected by calms, although the ebb and flow of the tide appear to have
an influence on the solidity of the ice. It is then usual with sailing
ships to seek the larger “ice-holes,” or keep in the freest water-ways,
in order to guard against the danger of being completely inclosed. These
precautions, however, are not so requisite for steam-vessels, as their
power to escape quickly and in any direction secures them against this
danger. A steam-vessel may even venture to fasten on to an ice-floe by
means of an ice-anchor, and of course under its lee, the fires being
banked up, so that by getting up steam she may shift her place as soon
as the ice moves nearer. As a principle, and so far as it is possible
without the exhaustion of her powers, a ship in the ice should endeavour
to be in constant motion, even though this entail many changes of her
course and the temporary return to a position which had been abandoned.
The making fast to a floe, however, should never be attempted, except
when every hope of navigating in the surrounding waters has been proved
fruitless. The fastening a vessel to an iceberg diminishes, indeed, its
drifting, but is, if possible, to be avoided, because of the danger of
the iceberg overturning or rending asunder, things which occur far more
frequently than we should be led to expect from their great appearance
of stability. When a ship, notwithstanding every possible caution, is
“beset,” it is then advisable to “ship” the rudder in order to protect
it from injury, to which it is peculiarly liable from its unusual weight
and size. A ship is exposed to considerable danger when she finds herself
among icebergs in a calm; but since these are over-spread by a dazzling
sheen, even in the thickest mist, the peril of the position is to be
avoided at the last moment by warping.

15. As the happy choice of a sea-way is one of the essential conditions
of success in ice-navigation, the ability to determine the ship’s
position and to ascertain whether a surface covered with ice to the
horizon, admits of being penetrated, is most desirable. Hence the
employment of a balloon would be of the last importance in Arctic
navigation. The advantage of being able to ascend from the ship in a
balloon secured by a rope, to the height of a few hundred feet, is
self-evident; and, undoubtedly, the first vessel which avails herself of
this great resource will derive extraordinary benefit from it.

16. From the deck of a ship even drift-ice appears to be of such solidity
at a little distance as to defy navigation, while from the mast-head more
water than ice may be descried. In order then to extend the horizon, a
look-out, called “the crow’s nest,” is fixed on the mast-head, in which
an officer is always on the watch, and from which all the operations
of the vessel are directed. In a ship of the size and height of the
_Tegetthoff_ the horizon visible from “the crow’s nest” extends to about
eleven miles,[8] but at the distance of even five miles the possibility
of penetrating cannot be determined with sufficient exactness. It is the
business of the officer in “the crow’s nest” to observe the passages
through the ice and distant objects generally, as he is in the best
position to fulfil this most important duty. It is the special business
of the watch on the forecastle to mark what lies in the immediate
neighbourhood of the vessel, and his constant care is demanded to avoid
isolated ice-floes and prevent collision with them. The seaman at the
helm steers the ship by the signs and calls which come to him from “the
crow’s nest,” and modifies them according to those of the watch on the
forecastle. The rest of the crew remove the smaller fragments of ice from
the vessel’s course, special care being taken to prevent their damaging
the screw.

17. While sea-currents move the ice in close and continuous lines, winds
produce great disturbances in their movement, and open long “leads” in
the direction of their course, which often alternate with strips of the
thickest pack-ice. This movement of the ice varies with each accumulation
of floes, as its rate of motion depends on the height of the ice-field,
which then acts as a sail. It is ascertained by experience that calms,
on the other hand, have the remarkable property of breaking up the ice.
The knowledge and application of these circumstances are essential to
the Arctic navigator. If the course of a ship lies across or against
a current, it is constantly deflected. The deflection on the coast of
East Greenland, for example, amounted to five, even ten miles, within
twenty-four hours; hence the importance of choosing routes with and not
against the course of currents.

18. Lastly, it is of the greatest moment to choose betimes an appropriate
winter harbour, and it is therefore necessary to keep near the coast
towards the close of the season for navigation. To find one suitable
for shelter during the winter in an unknown Arctic region is a matter
of great difficulty, for it very often happens, that the ice drifts out
from these “docks”[9] in the storms which constantly occur, or perhaps
the “dock” is so sheltered, that the ice, if it breaks up at all, breaks
up only in the following summer. Shallow bays which freeze almost to the
bottom, lying under the lee of a current or within a fiord, are the most
appropriate spots in which to winter.



CHAPTER III.

THE PENETRATION OF THE REGIONS WITHIN THE POLAR CIRCLE; THE PERIOD OF THE
NORTH-WEST AND NORTH-EAST PASSAGES.


1. Around the lonely apex of the Pole stand cairns of stone which serve
to mark the points to which the restless spirit of human enterprise
and discovery has penetrated. In its zenith wheels the sea-gull in
its flight, and the harpoon-persecuted seal finds on its ice-floes an
unapproachable asylum; but the Pole itself remains the goal which no
human effort has yet reached.

2. As all knowledge is perfected slowly and gradually, so man’s knowledge
of the earth and its configuration forms no exception to this general
rule. Of the few attempts of early antiquity to enlarge the domain
of geographical knowledge, tradition tells us only of the Argonautic
expedition of the Greeks, of the voyage of the Phœnicians to Ophir, and
their bolder circumnavigation of Africa. With the conception of the
spherical form of the earth the still vague notion of climatal zones
makes its appearance, and to this, four centuries before Christ, Pytheas
of Marseilles gave the first scientific elucidation and the first
approximation to modern theories by his doctrine of the Polar Circle.
Almost contemporaneously Alexander’s expedition to the wonder-land of
India created a paradise for commerce and navigation, to secure which a
shortened route, _the route through the ice_—the most perverse notion
that ever entered into the mind of man to conceive—was one thousand eight
hundred years afterwards eagerly and passionately sought.

3. Rome had extended her knowledge to Scandinavia, and Seneca’s
prophetical mind foresaw the discovery of new worlds. But the deluge
of religious strifes, the migrations of nations in the earlier part of
the Middle Ages, the holy zeal for destruction in the apostles to the
heathen, proved formidable barriers to the extension of geographical
knowledge, which were broken through only by the piratical hordes of
Normans so renowned in story. While the Romans boasted that Britain
had never been circumnavigated, the Normans, throwing the deeds of the
Phœnicians into the shade, discovered Greenland, and became _the first
Polar Navigators_.

4. Travels by land were the principal means by which the geographical
knowledge of the world was enriched; but during the Middle Ages the
information which travellers communicated, uncertain and superficial even
for Europe, served only to supply food for the fancies of map-makers, as
far as the distant parts of the world were concerned.

5. But the grand moment at length arrived in the history of mankind when
the civilization of the West, looking beyond the narrow horizon of the
Old World, and awaking from the geographical dreams of centuries, burst
the fetters of tradition, and within three hundred years perfected the
knowledge of our planet up to the Pole.

6. When by his famous line of partition, Pope Alexander VI. granted to
Spain and Portugal the new countries discovered in the East and West, the
brigantines of these nations spread themselves over all seas in search of
new lands and fresh glory. To the other maritime nations, to the English
and the Dutch, nothing remained, if they meant to acquire gold-yielding
lands, but to drive the Spaniards and Portuguese from their conquests, or
to seek new Eldorados—yea, by the discovery of sea routes on the north
of Asia and America, to aspire to India itself. This was the conception
first entertained by both the English and the Dutch, and Geography at
any rate profited by their delusions. These nations were not to blame
if those routes, known afterwards as the _North-West_ and _North-East
passages_, degenerated into chimeras, if passages had to be sought in
higher and still higher latitudes,—ultimately in the ice itself, although
the Dutch geographer, Plancius, struck out the consoling theory of the
_open Polar Sea_.

7. But who in those days could presuppose that the continents of Asia
and America, just where those passages were attempted, symmetrically
developed the most enormous longitudinal dimensions? Even the actual
discovery of the vast extent of Siberia exerted but little influence
on the question of the North-East passage, for the achievements of
individuals were not then so quickly disseminated as at present. A
succession of men in vessels poorly equipped now struggled against the
supremacy of the ice, avoiding at first the dreaded wintering, while they
attempted sometimes the North-East, sometimes the North-West, sometimes
the passage over the Pole itself. In these attempts many lost their
lives; many returned, despairing of but still hoping for the solution of
the problems—_but no one reached the goal_.

8. The amazing simplicity of the first adventurers is seen in Frobisher’s
project to erect forts, duly provided with cannons and men, on the
commanding points of the passage, in the letters of recommendation given
by kings of England to the leaders of the expedition for the small
Saracenic states which were supposed to exist beyond the river Obi; but
these old navigators carried no letter of recommendation to the great
potentate—the ice. Gold, too, they hoped to find in the North, because
the book of Job speaks of gold coming from thence, and the North-East
passage was considered as free from danger, because Pliny mentions some
Indians who had been driven towards Norway!

9. When another century and a half had elapsed, a series of unsuccessful
attempts to force the North-East passage put a decisive check to
material interests in Polar expeditions. The North-East passage belonged
henceforward to the history of the past. The English and Dutch withdrew
from the Novaya Zemlya seas; and after Wood’s retreat no scientific
expedition entered those seas for two hundred years, _until the days of
the Austrian Expeditions_.

10. Among the maritime nations of Europe, it was England, and especially
her merchants, who had hitherto largely invested in the costs and risks
of these Argonautic expeditions “for the glory of God and the good of
the country.” The Dutch soon contented themselves, after Barentz’s
death, with the capture of whales in the Arctic seas; France remained
an unconcerned spectator, while the sylphs of Versailles consumed the
whalebone of whole fleets of whalers; and Spain and Portugal early
withdrew from seas in which, instead of ingots of gold, ice-floes only
were to be found. But even for England the days of the prophets had now
passed away—the days of a Cabot, a Mercator,[10] a Wolstenholme, and a
Walsingham. Men of weight raised their voices against the chimeras of
Arctic commercial routes, and Chillingworth contemptuously compared an
expedition for the discovery of the North-East passage to the study of
the Fathers.

11. It may be asked why nations struggled with dauntless ambition for the
lost cause of the barren North-West and North-East passages, while for
a century they stretched forth timid hands after the rich treasures of
lands lying in the more favoured zones? _The mighty stimulus of the love
of the marvellous_ explains this series of efforts taken up by generation
after generation. Frobisher, Davis, Baffin, and the Novaya Zemlya
adventurers, told on their return of gold-lands far within the domains
of the icy Hydra. Their tales of single combats with spear or matchlock
against polar bears, of the dreadful snow-storms and fearful cold of
the Arctic winter, were heard with grim delight by listeners on whom
no hardships were imposed. Or they spoke of a darkness that continued
for months, of the flaming arches of the northern lights, of the sun
remaining visible for many weeks in the heavens, of a race of dwarfs,
of unheard-of animals, of fish as big as ships of war, of monsters with
long teeth which precisely resembled the Sphinxes of the plains of the
Pyramids, of white and blue foxes, of floating mountains of dazzling
crystal, of ships seen upside down in the air—when had ever the mind of
man more food to nourish the love of the marvellous or greater incentives
to stimulate the love of distinction? But besides these appeals to
the imagination, every generation desires new confirmations of its
convictions; and hence geographical questions, after being shelved for a
time, come again to the front as by an inward necessity.

12. If the earlier Polar expeditions pursued exclusively material ends,
a decided change appears in those of the present century—the Polar world
itself became an object of scientific investigation. With Sir John Ross
(1818) began a series of expeditions, at first subservient to the
idea of a North-West passage, but which ultimately derived all their
importance from their attempt—ineffectual as it proved—to rescue the
lives of 139 men, who had fallen far from the fields and scenes where
earthly fame is commonly achieved. It was these expeditions, still fresh
in the memory of this generation, which, summoning to their aid the
modern power of steam against the ice, succeeded in drawing on our Arctic
maps a circle whose mean distance was 200 (German) miles from the Pole.
Parry on the frozen sea of Spitzbergen had approached it within 100 miles
(German); Kane, Hayes and Hall on the coast of the Kennedy Channel, the
former to within 116, and the two latter to within 108 miles, and the
Austro-Hungarian expedition to within 109 miles.

13. M’Clintock, who returned with the relics of the Franklin expedition,
succeeded in perfecting a mode of discovery independent of the ship—that
by means of sledging—admirably adapted for future Arctic expeditions.
But the North-West passage for which six generations had toiled, though
discovered, was shown to be utterly worthless for all material purposes—a
dreary web of coast lines.



CHAPTER IV.

THE INNER POLAR SEA.


1. The Arctic Sea, in some of its features, forcibly impresses us with
its resemblance to the glaciers of the Alps. In both cases, the ice
presses from a region, colder and less favoured by climate, towards one
warmer and more favoured. In the Alpine glaciers, the movement is from
above downwards; in the Frozen Ocean, the movement is from a higher to a
lower geographical latitude. In both cases, the tongues and spurs of the
masses of ice formed by the configuration of the land or by currents of
the sea, terminate, whenever they reach an isothermal curve of altitude
or latitude, the mean temperature of which suffices to dissolve them
or prevent their formation. Moraines also have their equivalent in the
Arctic Sea; for it is an established fact that icebergs and ice-fields
laden with the _débris_ and rubbish of Arctic lands, deposit these
burdens round the outer edge of the Frozen Ocean, and to this process,
partially at least, the origin of the Newfoundland Banks is ascribed.
If this comparison between the phenomena of high latitudes and great
altitudes be just, then we should have as much reason to believe in the
existence of the so-called open Polar Sea, as we should have to maintain,
that in our glacier ranges ice ceases to be formed above a certain
altitude.

2. The belief of past times[11] in such a sea shows how unsatisfactory
is the simple to man’s mind, and how old is his tendency to clothe the
remote and the uncommon with a garment of the marvellous. What was the
open Polar Sea but the “Harz Sea” of the North, or the legendary zone
of the ever-sunny Eden of the Hyperboreans, far beyond the land of the
Anthropophagi over which was spread an atmosphere veiled in snow, and
through which no light could penetrate! Who has ever seen this open Polar
Sea? Do the accounts of navigators confirm its existence? Nay—their
accounts are rather a series of counter-statements: Hudson, Baffin,
Phipps, Tschitschagoff, Buchan, Franklin, Parry, Collinson, Scoresby,
M’Clintock, Koldewey, Torell, Nordenskjöld, have all expressed their
disbelief in its existence. If some have pretended that they have seen
it, how strange it is that they never sailed on it! It has recently
been attempted to make the great champion of the Polar question, Dr.
Petermann, a supporter of this conception; but in the “Mittheilungen” of
this highly meritorious geographer, there are many passages which most
emphatically protest against it. His views extend only to an inner Polar
Sea navigable under certain circumstances, and every one acquainted with
those regions may adopt his point of view, though he refuses to admit the
existence of the open Polar Sea.

3. In those centuries when the Natural Sciences were little cultivated,
when the theories of the Trade Winds, of Equatorial and Polar
sea-currents, were still unknown, and when as yet the processes in the
Frozen Ocean had not been submitted to scientific investigation, we
cannot be surprised at the preconceptions which were formed concerning
its phenomena. In those times all beyond Norway was a chaos of ice-filled
darkness; the necessity of a scientific investigation of those wastes
was not felt; and down to the time of Sir John Ross, Polar navigators on
their return home brought with them no kind of scientific knowledge of
Nature in the Arctic regions. To reach India was the main if not the only
end they had in view. The instructions which Willoughby, the first Polar
navigator, received, give us an insight into the delusions of earlier
times. These, for example, warned adventurers against men-eaters who
swam naked in the sea, and in the rivers. It was the period of fables
long since forgotten. Maldonado, de Fuca, Bernarda, Yelmer, Andrejew,
Martinière, and the whale-fishers, brought home tales of passages to
India discovered, of new continents, of the ascertained connexion of
Novaya Zemlya with the northernmost point of Siberia (Yelmerland) or
even with Greenland. Two centuries ago the failure of all attempts at a
North-East passage was attributed to Russia’s commercial policy, inasmuch
as it had been proved to the satisfaction of all, that the heat was
greater in the north, that the seas there ceased to freeze, and that the
country was covered with a luxuriant green!

4. There was, indeed, a certain logical consequence in the belief of an
inner Polar Sea, as long as it was unknown that ice is formed on the
open sea as well as on the coasts. There was also one argument, which
made the existence of such a sea not altogether improbable. It might
be assumed, that the formation of ice renewed every year in the Arctic
regions, would necessarily produce eternal bulwarks of congelation and
destroy all organic life, unless sea-currents modified these extremes of
climate. The ice which is formed round the Pole—it was argued—is not of
an unlimited but of a definite quantity. Since, then, this quantity of
ice must be brought with tolerable uniformity from the innermost Polar
region to lower latitudes by the action of sea-currents, there are at
least one or two months of the summer when the ice is at a minimum, when
no new formation takes place, and when a sea relatively ice-free may
appear in the place of the sea which had been covered with ice. This sea
would be the more open and navigable, just in proportion as less land
might be found at the Pole. But in this assumption it is implied, that
the ice moves with perfect regularity and in radial lines from a given
point without any disturbance from winds, or counter-currents, or land,
consequently with a quiet simplicity of hydrography, for which Nature,
neither there nor elsewhere, shows any predilection. Dove makes the mean
annual temperature of the North Pole, 2·5° F.; but it is probably still
less. What, then, is the probability of an open Polar Sea, if this annual
mean only be considered? All the accounts too of animal life increasing
in exuberance as we advance northwards—from which a more favourable
climate within the innermost Polar region and an open Polar Sea have been
inferred—must be received with caution, for the appearance of numerous
flocks of birds proves only that they remain where open water prevails
for a time and that they change their abode with its change of place.

5. In more recent times great influence has been attributed to the
Gulf Stream as a power influencing all the seas, known and unknown, of
the whole Arctic region. Dr. Petermann, however, in a lately published
work, endeavours to show that its effects are discernible only on the
northern seas of Spitzbergen and Novaya Zemlya. Its action on the coasts
of Spitzbergen has been indisputably established by the Swedes, who
discovered there certain tropical plants (_Entada gigalobium_); but the
penetration of the warmer waters of this current to the northern coasts
of Novaya Zemlya has not been so positively ascertained. In the Austrian
Expedition of 1873-4, we discovered no proofs of its existence. We found
neither the constant current, nor the water of a higher temperature,
which characterizes that renowned stream.

6. For a long time the “ice-holes,” seen by Wrangel and Morton, were
regarded as indications of an ice-free Polar Sea. With regard to those
seen by Morton in 81° 22′, Richardson very justly remarks: “The open
water of the Kennedy Channel is not of greater extent in the month of
June than the open spaces which have occasionally been seen in summer on
the north of Spitzbergen by whale-fishers.” Wrangel, when he describes
the “Polynjii,” which he saw on the east of the New Siberian Islands,
accounts for them by the action of a local coast-wind; and yet Wrangel
would have been the first to favour the notion of an inner Polar Sea, for
he still thought, in opposition to Scoresby, that ice could not be formed
on the open sea, because of the absence of land as a support for the ice
in its formation.

7. The first practical application of the theory of an open Polar Sea
was long ago devised by Plancius; the discovery, namely, of a route
in high latitudes to China. But the expeditions to the North Pole,
properly so termed, sprang also from this theory, which was held with
the greatest pertinacity. The evidence of unsuccessful undertakings was
always met and outweighed by the counter-experience of one favourable
year in the ice. Thus Barentz, in the exceedingly propitious summer of
1594, advanced without difficulty one degree of latitude beyond the
northern extremity of Novaya Zemlya, while his successors frequently
encountered insurmountable difficulties at Cape Nassau, and he himself
in the following year, 1595, found the state of the ice changed much
for the worse. In the years 1871, 1874, Mack, Carlsen, and the two
Austro-Hungarian expeditions came upon an open sea in the very places
where very few, if any, water-ways were to be seen in 1872 and 1873. In
the summers of 1816, 1817, the mighty stream of ice on the coast of East
Greenland had decreased to such an extent that Scoresby met with little
ice between 74° and 80° N.L., but since then whalers have constantly seen
the heaviest ice there, heavier than anywhere else. In 1753 and 1754,
the Sea of Kara and the Novaya Zemlya Sea were free from ice. But in
subsequent years the whale-fishers knocked in vain at their ice-barred
entrances. In 1823 Lütke from a point on the west coast of the Sea of
Kara saw that sea without ice; but, in the middle of August, 1833,
Pachtussow found the western side of that sea open, while in the previous
year he himself could not pass the Karian Gates. Again in 1743 and 1773,
the North Spitzbergen Sea held out promises the most inviting, which
might possibly have permitted the reaching of a still higher degree of
latitude than that which Nordenskjöld and Koldewey attained in 1868. Sir
John Ross, in the first year of his second voyage, found all things most
favourable for navigation; but in the following year the very reverse;
and Sir James C. Ross experienced the same alternation of circumstances
in the Southern Polar Sea. In 1850, Penny found the Wellington Channel
free from ice, but in 1852, Belcher, although he penetrated far further
than Penny, was confronted in the same channel by pack- and drift-ice.
Scoresby the younger, to whose profound faculty of observation we owe
the most significant hints on the nature of the Polar Sea, although he
had navigated the Greenland ice-ocean for twenty years, landed only
once on its coast. The Swedish expedition (1861) could approach the
north-east of Spitzbergen only in boats; Smith sailed over the sea there
(1871) as far as Cape Smith. The walrus-hunter, Matilas, sailed round
(1864) the north-east island completely, and Carlsen, an ice navigator,
as successful as he was skilful, in 1863 circumnavigated Spitzbergen,
and in 1871 Novaya Zemlya, and discovered there the relics of Barentz’s
winter quarters. In 1872, King Karl Land was circumnavigated, although
both Koldewey and Nordenskjöld (1868) as well as the first Austrian
expedition (1871) had in vain attempted to approach it. How greatly also,
in the same year, the state of the ice varies in different places, is
proved by the fact, that Franklin learnt from the whalers that they never
saw the ice so thick and so strong in Davis Straits as at the end of July
1819, while Parry, more to the north by some degrees of latitude, pursued
his path of discovery even to Melville Island, and in the following
year returned to England without meeting any special obstacles. These
examples, to which many more might be added, show how variable are the
chances of ice-navigation from one year to another. But however variable
the conditions of the ice may be, the impediments, even under the most
favourable circumstances, are so very great, that we have never been
able to penetrate the innermost Polar regions,—_penetrate_, that is, _to
where, according to the views of an earlier time, the open Polar Sea
should be found_.

8. Those propitious ice-years amount therefore to nothing more than a
greater recession of the outer ice-barrier—trifling when compared with
the mighty whole—or to an increased navigability of certain coast-waters,
or to a local loosening of the inner Polar ice-net. In reality the whole
Arctic Sea, with its countless ice-fields and floes, and its web of fine
interlacing water-ways, is nothing but a net constantly in motion from
local, terrestrial, or cosmical causes. All the changes and phenomena
of this mighty network lead us to infer the existence of frozen seas up
to the Pole itself; and according to my own experience, gained in three
expeditions, I consider _that the states of the ice between 82° and 90°_
N.L. _will not essentially differ from those which have been observed
south of latitude 82°; I incline rather to the belief that they will be
found worse instead of better_.

9. If this view be correct, it will remain an insuperable difficulty
to reach the Pole with a ship. The penetrating to 82° or 83° exhausts,
according to all past experience, the disposable time for navigation, and
presupposes moreover the most favourable conditions for the attaining of
such high latitudes. A ship which reaches 82° N.L. by the beginning of
autumn must risk nothing more, should only navigate really open water,
and the expediency of securing a winter harbour should then outweigh
every other consideration.

10. He who expects with a ship of the present construction to reach the
Pole in a single summer, necessarily believes in an ocean at the Pole.
But even if an expedition should penetrate to 84° in Smith’s Sound, or
should reach Cape Tcheljuskin on the north-east route, it would not
follow that such an ocean exists, but only that the Polar Sea presents at
different times and in different places open water-ways, which may enable
a ship to advance beyond a point hitherto reached; but it is improbable
that the circumstances which favoured this will be repeated the next
summer, so as to permit the ships to penetrate still further—or to
return. The last American expedition returned without being able to speak
decisively as to the possibility of navigating Lincoln Sea, and since
this has not yet been verified by fact, we must suspend our judgment on
the matter. To the English expedition, which has taken this route to
the Pole, is reserved the great work of throwing light on the region of
Upper Smith’s Sound, and the whole civilized world will hail with joy any
successes which a nation, so long conspicuous for its perseverance in the
cause of discovery, may happily achieve.



CHAPTER V.

THE FUTURE OF THE POLAR QUESTION.


1. The eagerness of human nature for gain and material prosperity is so
great, that we are wont to estimate the value of all undertakings by the
standard of utility; and too often it is forgotten, that each generation
is destined to fulfil the task of acquiring and collecting the knowledge
which is to benefit only a later generation. If, then, the Polar question
be valueless for our material interests, is it therefore valueless for
science? and assuming that it is for the present worthless as far as
gain and wealth are concerned, must it continue so for all time? Not
that we are entitled, even from this narrower point of view, to deny
the usefulness of Polar exploration, as Cook seems to have done when he
said, “Never from those regions will any advantage accrue to our race;”
but rather bear in mind what Sir James Ross tells us: “The profit which
accrued to England, in each year after the voyage (1818) of my uncle
(Sir John Ross) in North Baffin’s Bay, from those rediscovered parts of
the Arctic seas, was more than enough to defray all the expenses of the
voyages of discovery undertaken from 1818 to 1838.” Scoresby with his
single ship made a million thalers by the capture of whales, and the
Americans had for many years a clear profit of eight million dollars from
the fisheries of the frozen seas of Behring’s Straits. There were also,
it is true, very considerable losses; for, in 1830, nineteen English
ships engaged in the whale fishery were “beset” in the ice of Melville
Bay, and nearly all destroyed; in 1871, twenty-six American ships were
crushed to pieces in Behring’s Straits, and as many as seventy-three
Dutch vessels sank in one year in the seventeenth century from the
pressure of the ice.

2. We do not, however, mean to assert, that the progress of Polar
discovery is always followed by a corresponding increase in the capture
of fish in the Arctic seas. On the contrary, the take of oil-yielding
animals is steadily decreasing, and even if an open sea should be
discovered in 82° N.L., in which whales should be found in as great
abundance as ice-floes unhappily are, the whaler with his poor equipment
would never be able to follow them thither. The fur countries, once as
productive as the mines of Peru, are incapable of further extension; even
the treasures of mammoths’ tusks have become rare, and in order to bring
thirty tons of lignite from the north-east of Greenland, a ship must
expend seventy tons of sound coal in the transit, besides passing the
winter there. That the teas of China, the silks of Japan, the spices of
the Moluccas will never descend to us from the ice-fields has long been
settled. No one at the present day thinks any longer of the commercial
value of the North-West and North-East passages. Modes of escape from
the perils and caprices of the ice have grown out of the endeavour to
discover routes of commerce, which lay beyond the reach of the cannon
of the Spaniards at the time when they aspired to the monopoly of the
trade of the world. The reward of 25,000 gulden, offered by the Dutch
government for the discovery of a North-East passage, and that of £20,000
by the English parliament for the North-West passage, have never been
paid, because never claimed, nor are they, in the least degree, likely to
be claimed.[12]

3. Yet, quite independent of material results, Polar exploration presents
no unworthy object for scientific investigation—a region of the globe
120,000 square miles in extent never yet entered by man. The Polar
question, as _a problem of science_, aims at determining the limits of
land and water, at the perfecting of that network of lines with which
comparative science seeks to surround our planet, even to its Poles. The
completion of this labour will serve to discover those physical laws
which regulate climates, the currents of the atmosphere and sea, and the
analogies of geology with the earth as we see it.

4. But how is this to be attained? At first it would appear as if the
methods of ice-navigation had been followed by such success, that their
continued application guaranteed still greater results. The gradual
advance by means of ships, from the Polar Circle to 73°, 75°, 79°, or
even to 82° N.L., has been the result and is the reward of the labours of
three centuries. But to reach higher degrees, from 82° to 90°, depends on
other conditions than mere time. That increased experience and boldness
have removed many of the inconveniences and dangers attendant on Arctic
navigation is undoubtedly true, but it is also as true, that, upon the
whole, _the safely and convenience of ice-navigation have more steadily
increased than its successes_. Hudson, Baffin, and especially Scoresby,
and even some whalers of the seventeenth century, reached latitudes which
have scarcely been exceeded since, and in many cases this progress was
due, not to greater boldness and experience, but rather to chance and the
caprices of the ice, which “to the whaler often permitted glances into
its interior, which were denied to the scientific explorer.”

5. The greater perfection of our means enables us to conduct Polar
expeditions with greater facility. Instead of dissipating our strength
by sending out several ships, even small fleets, amounting sometimes to
fifteen ships (often not larger than the boats of a modern Polar ship),
since the days of Sir John Ross, we equip one or two ships only, strongly
built for their “special purpose, provided with steam-power, and with
all that is desirable or requisite; and instead of despatching them
for short summer cruises, we provision them, send them out for several
years, and, by appropriate nourishment and the aid of medical science,
protect the crews from the scourge of scurvy. In those days, when even
the wealthy lived during the winter on salt beef, and English squires
were obliged at the beginning of winter, on account of the scarcity of
food for the cattle, to kill and salt a portion of their herd, preserved
and antiscorbutic victuals were an impossibility to a Hudson, a James, a
Fox, in their winters amid the ice. Those introduced by Ross—then called
“Donkin’s meat”—have been greatly improved since, and through them the
scurvy, which used to carry off whole crews of ships, has lost its
former terrors.

6. In this power to extend our expeditions without danger, and especially
in sledge journeys during the autumn and spring, which are possible only
to expeditions prepared to winter in the ice, are the grounds why we have
not halted at the barriers “of the bulwarks built for eternity;” in the
Rennselaer harbour, in the Lancaster-Barrow route, or at the Pendulum
islands. It is only sledge expeditions, as Middendorf says, which have
been able to effect results of any magnitude on the inaccessible coasts
of the extreme north; and the great extent to which the Russians had used
sledge expeditions evidently served as an example both to the English and
to Kane.

7. In Polar expeditions, therefore, we have probably reached, so far as
the exploration of the highest latitudes by means of ships is concerned,
the limits of possibility. The extraordinary success which fell to the
lot of Hall’s expedition _teaches us only the possibility of encroaching
but a little beyond that limit_, even under the most favourable
circumstances.

8. In all cases where the attempt shall be made to reach the highest
latitudes with a ship, I would again recommend the route through Smith’s
Sound, because, in the first place, I believe that any considerable
advance is only to be expected in coast-water; and in the second place,
because the Grant Coast offers facilities for sledge expeditions on a
large scale. East Greenland in the higher latitudes, 73°-75°, may be
regarded as inaccessible; and the attempt to penetrate northwards in its
coast-water was a delusion of the second German North-Pole expedition. In
the north of Spitzbergen, and in Behring’s Straits, fifty expeditions and
countless whalers have heard from the ice an imperious _ne plus ultra_;
and the same prohibition has been uttered to as many expeditions on the
North-East passage. In both these routes the cause of failure was the
disproportion between what could be reached in one or two summers, and
the vast extent of sea blocked by impenetrable ice. In like manner, the
probability of reaching the Pole itself with our present resources is so
small, and the attempt to do it is so utterly disproportionate to the
sacrifices exacted and the results achieved, that it would be advisable
to exclude it from Arctic exploration, until, instead of the impotent
vessels of the sea, we can send thither those of the air.

9. Be this as it may, the present English North-Pole Expedition will
essentially contribute to solve the question, whether the Pole can be
reached by the route through Upper Smith’s Sound. This, according to the
views of almost all Polar navigators, holds out the greatest chances for
further advance by sea. Should this expedition, equipped in so effective
a manner, and sent out by a nation of such great experience, not come
nearer to the goal, or, if nearer, only through sledging—which may very
probably be the case—the conviction will then be strengthened, that all
efforts to reach the Pole by navigation in the Frozen Ocean are hopeless,
and witness only to the glorious persistency of human endeavour.

10. But until aërial navigation to the Pole shall be attempted, it
would be advisable to follow the example of the Swedes, and, in the
service of Natural History and Geography, content ourselves with the
exploration of those Arctic lands of which, up to the present moment, we
know only the coast-line, or which, situated on the outermost verge of
our Polar charts, are still untrodden by man; we mean specially Gillis’,
Grinnell’s, Wrangel’s Land, and above all, the interior of Greenland.
The Polar question, hitherto regarded chiefly as a geographical problem,
would thus, for a considerable time, be taken up in the interest of
Natural Science. Lieutenant Weyprecht, after dwelling on the predominance
of exploration in Polar expeditions, expresses a wish, that the great
civilized nations would unite in contemporaneous Arctic expeditions for
magnetical, electrical, and meteorological investigations: “In order to
attain decisive scientific results, a number of expeditions should be
sent to different places in the Arctic regions to make observations, at
the same time, with similar instruments, and in accordance with similar
instructions.” They who think such results too insignificant for the
energies and sacrifices which are expended to achieve them, and who would
rather that such efforts should be transferred to those still unknown
regions of the earth, which may become the dwelling-places of man, will,
of course, give their veto against the further agitation of the Arctic
question.



CHAPTER VI.

POLAR EQUIPMENTS.


1. Every Arctic expedition should be guided by the experience of its
predecessors, both in its plan and its equipment; and hence we have often
to deplore the negligence of almost all Polar navigators in failing to
inform those who follow them of what they actually saw, of their modes
of procedure, or of the mistakes which they committed. It will not,
therefore, be labour thrown away, if we state our own experience and
record our own observations for the guidance of others, in order to show,
with the utmost possible clearness, what future explorers have before
them, and how best to meet it.

2. Undivided command in an expedition is the first of all rules; but
if there be any division of command in a subordinate expedition by sea
or land, the duties and rights of its commander must be clearly and
exactly defined. In recent times the command of a Polar expedition has
sometimes been conferred not on a seaman, but on a man of science,
as in the cases of Kane, Hayes, Nordenskjöld, and Torell. Where the
investigation of questions connected with Natural History is the aim and
object, this precedent is admissible, but it should never be observed
where the commander has an important part to fulfil as a navigator. The
command of an expedition has never been conferred on a man of science
by the English government. In the very commencement, indeed, of Polar
discovery, an English expedition was placed under the command of Sir
Hugh Willoughby, who was not bred a sailor, but down to the seventeenth
century, even in their naval campaigns, such men were appointed to naval
commands. The Dutch expeditions of the sixteenth century generally
adopted a destructive division of command, under supercargoes and pilots,
representing the mercantile and nautical elements: confusion and discord
were the inevitable consequences.

3. Next to the selection of a commander, the selection of the crew
demands the greatest care. This ought to be made some time before the
expedition starts, in order that those unfit for the service may be
discovered, and their places supplied by others; this cautious mode of
procedure, and not a preference for any particular nationality, will
secure the most effective crew. Although seamanlike qualities do not
belong in the same degree to every nation, time and pains only are needed
to secure a picked crew for a North-Pole expedition from almost any
nation. Endurance of cold is not the only test of effectiveness, although
this is a very common assumption; but a sense of duty, perseverance,
and resolution are the virtues of a seaman. Habit soon teaches men to
conquer cold, and inexorable necessity often hardens weaklings into
heroes for Arctic discovery. A certain degree of intelligence is of
high importance in the crew. In many cases resolution in the midst of
dangers depends on their capacity to observe and think, even on their
possessing certain branches of knowledge. The greater part of the crew of
the _Tegetthoff_ had these advantages. But men who, in a heavily-laded
sledge, leave the old and take to recently-formed ice, without noticing
the difference,—who observe a frost-bitten foot several hours after the
mischief has been done,—who lose their cartridges, know nothing of their
rifle, and little more of their compass, or who pass on without observing
the configurations of the land, possess an indifference indeed, but of a
kind very dangerous to themselves and to the whole party, though they may
despise death as much as Achilles is said to have done.

4. An intelligent crew, from their greater feeling of independence,
is, however, more difficult to command than an ignorant one. Devotion
and blind confidence are more rarely found in an educated crew; their
amenability to discipline is dependent on the good example, the kindness
and unalterable calmness of those who may command them. The law of a
Polar expedition is obedience, and its basis morality. Punishments are
in such situations a miserable and depressing means for the preservation
of order, and then employment, especially in a private undertaking,
will tend rather to loosen than to maintain the bonds of discipline.
If Parry, in 1820, caused corporal punishments to be inflicted, this
proves the greater facility with which discipline is maintained on
board of a man-of-war, but not its appropriateness generally. Coercion
and threats produce no effect; and hence the folly of attempting to
secure success by sending out again those who returned without having
achieved anything, which was done last century by the authorities of St.
Petersburg with every unsuccessful enterprise on the Arctic coasts of
Siberia. The regulation that the most meritorious among the crew shall
be specially rewarded, after the return of the expedition, provides
for the recognition of merit, without exciting ill feeling in the less
worthy. For the officers scientific success may be a perfect reward
of their toils, but for the crew the reward should consist of more
material advantages. Money, indeed, seems a feeble motive of action to
men destined to withstand for years the inclemency of Arctic winters,
and uncertain whether they shall ever return; but, notwithstanding, it
is the only form by which men without sympathy for the aims of science
can be gained for the attainment of such objects. The crews of Sir John
Ross received for a martyrdom of four years passed in the ice about £100
a head; in the second German expedition from eight to twelve thalers
were the monthly pay of each sailor. The pay of the sledgers in the
_Tegetthoff_ was, however, nearly four times as much; in some sledge
journeys it amounted to 3,000 gulden a man.

5. Contrary to what might be expected, the re-employment of those who
have served before is not to be recommended as a rule. The very best
only should be re-enlisted. The others are too much disposed to place
their experience on a level with that of their commanders; and in
all cases, where their opinions differ from those of their officers,
they damage by a kind of passive opposition the fundamental law of an
expedition—obedience. Those who enter the Arctic regions for the first
time are wont to receive the orders of an experienced commander with an
attention as unquestioning as it is respectful. Married men also should
be excluded, as they were by Barentz in his second (1596) expedition.

6. Some of the crew should be good shots, good pedestrians and
mountaineers, but all must be of the same nationality, and in perfect
health. The least symptom of rheumatism, of diseases of the lungs and the
eyes, and of certain chronic maladies only too common among seamen, unfit
them for the endurance of the Polar climate, and especially for sledge
expeditions. Those who are addicted to drink are peculiarly liable to the
scurvy.

7. The medical man of an expedition, besides professional skill and
experience, must possess the most imperturbable patience, for to many of
his patients he is not less a physician of the mind than of the body. He
should convince himself of the sanitary condition of the crew before the
expedition starts, although it may have been previously investigated by
medical authorities and declared satisfactory.

8. Since an expedition, in addition to its scientific functions, should
take up the illustration of Nature at the Pole, the employment of a
photographer, but still better of an artist, is very desirable, for the
former is too much confined to the immediate neighbourhood of the ship in
his operations.

9. The records of Arctic adventure in former days tell us of equipments
strangely incompatible with the object pursued. Their commercial purpose
constrained them to fill the hold with bales of silk, instead of
provisions for years; but the letters of recommendation which were given
to the explorers of the North-East passage for the Saracen princes on
the route to Chatai seem peculiarly ludicrous. Some justification may be
discovered for Owczyn taking a priest with him on his Siberian expedition
(1734), but hardly for his wanting fifty-seven men in a vessel only
seventy feet long, and arming it with eight falconets. The employment
of a drummer, twelve privates and a corporal, on Gmelin’s scientific
Siberian expedition, is still more unintelligible; more so than Davis’s
band of music, which was intended to charm the feelings of the Eskimos
and dispose them to peaceful proceedings, his predecessor Frobisher
having had the saddest experience of their barbarism. Other expeditions
by the too plentiful distribution of knives and hatchets among the
Eskimos placed them in a position seriously to threaten the white man,
and even at the present day the so-called “Wilden-kiste” often contains
articles little calculated to inspire the natives with a high opinion of
our moral superiority.

10. In fitting out a Polar expedition, all respect should be paid to the
principle of bestowing on those who are for a time banished, the greatest
possible amount of comfort. The proportions of a ship, and the space at
its disposal, narrow the limits available for this end; and since the
return to the employment, as at the first, of small vessels, even these
limits have been considerably diminished.

11. The following table shows that the employment of small vessels was
the principle at first followed, although the English undertakings
even of this present century never thoroughly adopted the example of a
Fotherby, a Baffin, and a Ross:—

  +------------------------+---------------+---------------+-----+
  |   THE EXPEDITIONS OF   |TONNAGE OF THE |PROVISIONED FOR|CREW.|
  |                        |     SHIPS.    |               |     |
  +------------+-----------+---------------+---------------+-----+
  |            |           |               |               |     |
  |            |   A.D.    |               |               |     |
  |Willoughby  |   1553    |120| 90|160|   |   18 months   |     |
  |Frobisher   |   1576    | 25| 25| 10|   |               |     |
  |  ”         |   1577    |180| 30| 30|   |}              |     |
  |Pett Jackman|   1580    | 40| 20|   |   |}              |  15 |
  |Davis       |   1585    | 50| 35|   |   |}              |  42 |
  |  ”         |2nd expedn.| 10| 50| 53|120|}              |     |
  |Weymouth    |   1604    | 70| 60|   |   |}              |     |
  |Knight      |   1606    | 40|   |   |   |}Mostly for  } |     |
  |Hudson      |   1607    |   |   |   |   |}one year    } |  10 |
  |  ”         |   1608    |   |   |   |   |}only.       } |  15 |
  |James Poole |   1609    | 70|   |   |   |}              |  15 |
  |Hudson      |   1610    | 55|   |   |   |}              |     |
  |Smith       |   1610    | 50|   |   |   |}              |     |
  |James Poole |   1611    | 50|   |   |   |}              |     |
  |Fotherby    |   1615    | 20|   |   |   |}              |     |
  |Baffin      |   1616    | 58|   |   |   |}              |     |
  |Fox         |   1631    | 80|   |   |   |    18 months  |  20 |
  |James       |   1631    | 70|   |   |   |    18   ”     |     |
  |Wood        |   1676    |   |   |   |   |    16   ”     |  19 |
  |Moor        |   1746    |180|140|   |   |               |     |
  |Ross        |   1818    |385|252|   |   |               |     |
  |Parry       |   1819    |375|180|   |   |    2½ years   |     |
  |Lütke       |   1821    |200|   |   |   |               |  45 |
  |Hayes       |   1860    |133|   |   |   |    1½   ”     |  15 |
  |Koldewey    |   1869    |180|200|   |   |    2    ”     |  29 |
  +------------+-----------+---+---+---+---+---------------+-----+

12. The inspection of this table shows that it was the practice of the
sixteenth century to send out fleets of ships of a very small size,
that in the seventeenth one small ship was commissioned, and that the
employment of two vessels has been the rule since; and this would have
been still more evident, if the various Franklin expeditions had been
included in the above table. In 1829 Sir John Ross started with a ship
drawing eighteen feet, but changed afterwards to one drawing eight
feet; and from eight to twelve feet is now the recognised draught in
Polar ships. Large vessels require a numerous crew, and if they have
not been built exclusively for the purpose of Polar exploration, their
small economy of space prevents their being fitted out for more than
two years and a half. In 1819 Parry’s ship, the large _Fury_, had, with
a draught of eighteen feet, provisions for only two and a half years,
whereas the _Victory_ (1829) of Ross with only seven feet draught had
on board, besides stores for the same period, a steam-engine and coals
for a thousand hours’ steaming. The Russian Novaya Zemlya navigators of
this century have adopted vessels of a size which must be destructive
of all comfort and convenience. These vessels are thirty or forty feet
long, with a draught of five or six feet, and a crew of nine or ten men.
But Arctic ships must have a crew above the ordinary strength and be
provided with steam-power; so that, allowing for the necessary space for
the quarters of the crew, for the engines and the coalbunkers, little
room will be left for the stowage of stores. But this little should
be reserved for well-chosen provisions stowed away so as to avoid all
empty spaces, and secure the greatest amount of resistance to lateral
pressure. The weakest parts of a ship are always the spaces left for
air in the quarters of the men. A crew, which is exposed to threatening
dangers from the ice, will never regret the strengthening of these
void spaces by heavy horizontal tie-beams, removable when the ship is
in the winter harbour, and so adjusted as not to impede communication.
The mere suspension of heavy beams against the hull of a ship does not
always answer the purpose of protection, since the pressure of the ice
frequently drives away these protecting timbers. The practice, however,
is not absolutely to be rejected.

13. The daily allowance of solid food for the effectives in an Arctic
expedition amounts to about two pounds, and in sledge expeditions to
2¾ pounds, of which half a pound is bread and one pound preserved meat.
Besides the usual provisions, large supplies of preserved vegetables,
of cocoa, of extract of meat, of rice, of preserved peas, of dried
farinaceous food (such as macaroni), are very desirable. Salted meat is
to be avoided as much as possible. The luxury of fresh bread twice a week
instead of the hard ship’s biscuit is an essential means of promoting
health, and the want of yeast for its preparation may be supplied by
“baking powder.” Once a day a ration of lemon-juice should be served out
as a preservative against scurvy, and anti-scorbutic victuals should
be laid in abundantly. Plenty of tea and tobacco is indispensable; the
want of these is painfully felt, especially by the sailors. Cases have
actually occurred, where crews have ground the wooden blocks of the
rigging to powder, to serve as tea, and have used the hoops of casks for
tobacco.

14. The moderate enjoyment of spirituous liquors is much to be
recommended, as their influence on health and sociality is of great
importance. The preservation, however, of a sufficient stock of wine,
especially in winter, is a matter of much difficulty, since most kinds
freeze at 21° F. or 14° F. As long as the ship is afloat, as it generally
is when winters are passed in the ice, it is advisable to preserve the
supply of wine at the bottom of the hold, and to place all other things
most liable to be frozen in layers above it. But if a ship be nearly
or entirely out of water, it is advisable to keep the wine, and other
indispensable liquids, in the empty spaces of the cabin, under the
cabin table, near the stove, below the berths, and under the sky-light
after it has been closed for the winter. Only absolute want of space
justifies the preparation of _chemical wine_,[13] since the volume of
its constituent parts without water is only a fifth of real wine; and
under all circumstances _chemical wine_ is but a miserable shift, and
the beer (even the spruce beer of Sir John Ross) which the English used
to manufacture on board ship from the essence of malt and hops is far
preferable. The rum and cognac, especially for sledge expeditions, in
order to save weight should contain the greatest possible amount of
alcohol, for its dilution before use is a matter of no difficulty.

15. During the winter, residence in the ship itself is preferable to
living in log-houses, because the ship can be more easily heated and
suffers less from the accumulation of ice. But since a ship in the Arctic
Sea ceases for ten months of the year to be a ship and becomes in fact a
house, this should be kept in view when she is being fitted out.

16. The place where the men live is always in the fore-part of the ship,
but their berths should be changed in a certain rotation, because of
the inequality of the condensation. It is not advisable to place the
kitchen in the quarters of the crew in order to diminish the consumption
of coals, because an accumulation of moisture is thereby increased. The
officers and _savans_ occupy a common messroom in the after-part of the
ship, and sleep in little cabins ranged round it. The power to withdraw
occasionally from the presence of those who must be together for years
is an important element of harmony. Sir John Ross and his officers in
1833, even in the miserable hut built on the Fury coast, did not occupy
the common messroom heated by a stove, but preferred separate cabins,
the temperature of which seldom rose above the freezing point, and in
which they had to suffer much from the accumulation of ice. All the
living rooms should be provided with waterproof carpets. Their heating
by means of the common stoves is objectionable, because of the unequal
distribution of warmth. An even temperature is best maintained by the use
of the Meidinger “Fullofen,” which has the further advantage of consuming
only a small quantity of coals. Hot-air flues are, perhaps, preferable
even to these, because they better prevent the freezing of the moisture
in the cabins, and indeed in every part of the ship.

17. An Arctic ship should be provided with an iron-plated washing and
drying closet, without which the washing of linen would be restricted
to the few weeks of summer weather. This closet may also be used as a
bath-room, an important means of promoting health. The lighting of the
living rooms by petroleum sufficiently answers all purposes; in the
cabins, however, stearine candles are to be preferred either to it or any
other oil. The construction of the lamps used in making observations in
the open air during the long Arctic darkness is a matter of the greatest
importance. Those used in the second German North-Pole Expedition were
of peculiar excellence, and never failed in their difficult service.
Massive lamps, with glass globes protected with wire, and burning
petroleum in preference to common oil, should be used on deck, and as
they are employed for so many purposes and exposed to so many risks, a
plentiful supply of them should be provided. In the huts on the deck,
built over the hatchways, train-oil may be used with advantage, if the
lamps are so constructed that the flame may heat the reservoir containing
the oil.

18. So long as the crew remains on board the ship, their clothing, even
in the severest winter, needs but little attention. Thick close-fitting
woollen under-garments, knitted woollen gloves, outer-garments of strong
cloth, are in all cases sufficient on deck, and in all those parts of
the ship which are kept at a certain temperature. Leather boots lined
with fur were long considered an indispensable requisite for Polar
expeditions, but they have not maintained their character, as they are
very heavy, become unpliable in frost, and soon quite useless through its
action and the wearing off of the fur.

19. Before the departure of the expedition, all the instruments should be
thoroughly cleansed from oil by a practical optician, and the fire-arms
should undergo a like operation at the hands of the gunmaker, and
their barrels should be browned to protect them better from rust. The
ammunition, powder and matches to blast the ice, alcohol and petroleum,
should be stowed in the after-part of the ship, and the two latter should
be reached only through a closely-fitting pump. A very ample supply of
alcohol, flannel, buffalo-skins, strong cloth, water-proof canvas, felt,
leather, reindeer shoes, snow boots, shovels, cramp irons, poles, &c.,
articles which are too often overlooked, should be taken, both from their
usefulness on board ship and also on land expeditions.

20. The costs of Polar expeditions have relatively rather diminished than
increased. The expenses of Willoughby’s expedition 300 years ago amounted
to the sum—quite enormous for that day—of £6,000; Moor’s (1746) cost
£10,000; while Back’s difficult but successful undertaking to explore
the great Fish-river (1833-1835), only £5,000. The Siberian expedition
of Middendorf (1844)—costing only 13,300 rubles (£1,717)—was a matchless
example of extraordinary achievements with little expenditure. The costs
of the various Franklin Expeditions from 1848 to 1854 amounted, according
to the statement of the English Admiralty, to twenty million francs
(£833,333); those of the second German North-Pole Expedition to 120,000
thalers (£11,000), and the expenses of our own Austrian-Hungarian North
Pole Expedition to 220,000 gulden (£18,333).



PIONEER VOYAGE OF ISBJÖRN.

_JUNE 20-OCTOBER 4, 1871._



THE PIONEER VOYAGE OF THE “ISBJÖRN.”


1. The failure of the second German Arctic expedition directed the future
efforts of Polar exploration to the seas of Novaya Zemlya. Although the
geographical position and political relations of Austria prevented its
Government from taking any active part in the great geographical problems
and questions of our times, an interest in Polar discovery had been
excited in her statesmen, which gradually ripened into a determination to
send its flag, renowned for its military fame, to consecrate struggles
on the peaceful domain of scientific exploration. The magnanimous act
of Graf Wilczek, contributing 40,000 florins towards the equipment of
an Austro-Hungarian expedition, not only strengthened but also endowed
the resolve. In order, however, to obviate the possibility of spending
large sums on a plan which might be unfeasible, or if feasible, of little
value, it was determined to despatch a pioneer expedition to the seas of
Novaya Zemlya under the joint command of Lieutenant Weyprecht and myself.
The knowledge and experience gained in that voyage—which is described in
the following pages—induced the Austrian Government to send another and
more powerful vessel to those seas, equipped to pass two or more winters
in the ice.

2. It seemed to be established as the result of many expeditions, that
almost invincible difficulties opposed the reaching of the central Arctic
regions by the routes through Baffin’s Bay, Behring’s Straits, along
the coast of Greenland, and from Spitzbergen, mainly because on them
all we are met by the great Arctic currents, which act as channels to
carry off the ice of the Polar basin. These currents carry with them
vast masses of ice, which they deposit on all the coasts which they
strike. On the results of many Norwegian, Russian, and German voyages,
partly in the interests of science, partly in the interests of commerce,
many geographers maintained that the traces of the Gulf Stream did not
disappear at the North Cape, but rather that it exercised a considerable
influence on places and in latitudes not before imagined, as, for
instance, on the north-east coasts of Novaya Zemlya. An expedition,
therefore, which followed the course of the warmer waters of the Gulf
Stream would find fewer and less formidable obstacles, than on the routes
exposed to the Arctic currents, carrying with them colossal masses of
ice towards the south. On the east of Spitzbergen there is a land which
has, indeed, been often seen, but never reached, or even attempted to
be reached—Gillis’ Land—lying in the course of the Gulf Stream; and it
is a probable assumption, that navigable water would be found under its
western coast, as at Spitzbergen, where 80° N. Lat. can be reached every
year without any difficulty. If, then, this stream extends still further
to the north—which is probable according to the soundings taken by the
Swedes—it is reasonable to expect that higher latitudes may be reached on
this than on any other route.

3. It is remarkable, that the seas between Spitzbergen and Novaya Zemlya
were utterly unknown to science. No expedition had ever been sent
thither, though many things seemed to invite and favour the venture,
and Dr. Petermann had long endeavoured to organize a powerful and
well-equipped expedition to explore higher latitudes on this route. At
length Lieutenant Weyprecht and I undertook a voyage of reconnaissance to
those waters, in order to ascertain whether the climate and the state of
the ice were as favourable in reality, as they seemed to be in theory.
No attempt was to be made to reach high latitudes or to make important
geographical discoveries. The small means at our command forbade either.
Our aims were more limited; they referred to the temperature of the
water and the air, to the currents, to the state of the ice, to the
probability of success in the following year (1872), and lastly, to
opportunities for extended sledge journeys. We were to sail from Tromsoe
about the middle of June, and return thither by the middle of September.

4. In order to diminish expenses, we chartered at Tromsoe a small sailing
ship. A steamer would, indeed, have been more serviceable, but the cost
would have been quadrupled, without any adequate advantage. The _Isbjörn_
(i.e., Ice-bear) was a vessel of fifty tons, cutter-rigged, 55 feet long,
17 feet broad, with a draught of 6 feet. Her bows were protected with
sheet-iron, two feet above, and two feet under, water. She was new and
strong, and made with us her first voyage. We had also two small boats,
and a so-called “Fang-boot”—whale-boat. She was commanded by Captain
Kjelsen, and had as a crew a harpooner, four sailors, a carpenter, and
a cook—all Norwegians. We were provided with the requisite instruments
by the Imperial Geographical Institute, and were provisioned for four
or five months. The Austrian Consul Aagaard aided us to the utmost of
his ability in the equipment of the vessel. It must be observed, that
we had no direct command or control over the vessel and its crew; the
responsibility for the ship, and the immediate command over its crew,
belonged to the skipper Kjelsen. Weyprecht was, however, the real
commander.

5. The information we gathered concerning the state of the ice in the
region of our projected exploration, was exceedingly contradictory.
While, for example, Dr. Bessels, in the steamer _Albert_, of Rosendal,
discovered a branch of the Gulf Stream with a temperature of 41° F. at
the ice-barrier on the south of Gillis’ Land, Dr. Petermann sent us a
letter of Lamont, in which he said: “Every year the ice appears to me
more formidable.” The whalers of Tromsoe, who knew the ice of that region
only from hearsay, and could give no positive information as to its
limits, uttered many unfavourable prognostications as to the possibility
of penetrating that frozen sea, or of approaching Gillis’ Land from the
south. The region was utterly unknown, even to many skippers who sailed
from Spitzbergen to Novaya Zemlya. The few attempts to penetrate to that
land, first seen in 1707, and regarded by the Swedes as a continent, had
been unsuccessful. So also their efforts to reach it from the south-west
in 1864 and 1868. Captain Koldewey’s attempt also, which was made from
the “Thousand Isles” three months before the last-named voyage, had been
attended with the same want of success. None of these expeditions had
passed beyond the ice-barrier, and their failures contributed greatly to
strengthen the opinion, that the Novaya Zemlya seas were unnavigable.

6. All our inquiries were met also with the prediction of an exceedingly
unfavourable year for the ice. The spring of 1871 had been unusually
severe, and even to the middle of June the northern parts of Norway were
covered with a mantle of snow reaching down to the sea. It was inferred,
therefore, that there would be an excessive accumulation of ice in the
seas further north. We heard even, that there was ice at the distance
of about twenty (Norwegian) miles from North Cape. And it was certainly
true, that the north winds, which prevailed for some weeks, kept a number
of Norwegian fishing and seal-hunting vessels weatherbound off the
“Scheeren.” All this notwithstanding, we determined to keep to our plan
of sailing to Hope Island, and of following from thence the ice-barrier
towards the east, our progress, of course, being dependent on favourable
conditions of the ice, and perhaps on the influences of the Gulf Stream.
As it was within the verge of possibility to make Gillis’ Land during the
season of our operations, we considered it advisable not to pass beyond
40° E. Long. while we penetrated northward.

7. On the 20th of June we left Tromsoe during a drizzling snow-storm, and
while we were sailing up the “Qualsund” without a pilot, we touched the
ground—a danger we incurred from the desire of our married sailors to put
their wives ashore, after leave-taking, as near the land as possible. At
Rysoe we fell in with the fleet of the Tromsoe fishing-boats at anchor,
waiting for a change of weather, and with them some vessels which, we
thought, would have been by this time in the ice, having left Tromsoe
four weeks before.

[Illustration: THE FIRST ICE]

8. The rocky islands off the coast of Finnmark are surrounded by bleak
cliffs, rising to the height of 2,500 feet, and upwards. Trees cease
to grow there; occasionally the birch appears, but never in sufficient
numbers to form a wood. The numerous islands of a gneiss formation
show the same landscape which characterizes Norway—indescribably bleak
table-lands, deep secluded valleys and gorges, interspersed with lonely
mountain lakes. The bold, picturesque outlines of these islands are
exceedingly striking, though their fertility is meagre in the extreme.
The solitary rocky shores are inhabited by poor families, secluded from
the world, and having little intercourse with each other. They live for
the most part on the fish which they catch. The remains of fish round
these settlements render their approach exceedingly disagreeable; on the
Loffoden Islands a guano manufactory has been established, which turns
this refuse to good account. Tromsoe or Hammerfest appears in their eyes
as the glory and pride of the world. We were detained two days—June 24
and 25—by contrary winds, at Sandoe, an island covered with sea-sand
full of small mussel shells, to the height of 600 feet. Ascending an
elevated peak of this island, 2,000 feet high, we saw a panorama of
countless cliffs of all sizes stretching down to Andeness, and opposite
to us, the gloomy, rugged wastes of Norway, which show iron-bound walls,
waterfalls, and bleak headlands, without woods, meadows, or habitations.
For many hours we were mocked by an eagle, which, now soaring high, now
darting down with rapid flight, gave his unwieldy pursuers a stiff and
exhausting climb. We at last put to sea on the 26th of June, and passed
the enormous rocky pile of Fugloe, down the precipitous face of which the
inhabitants descend by means of ropes to get the down of the Eider-geese.
Next day we were out of sight of land. The breeze freshened, and, as we
sailed further to the north, we saw many whales. On the 28th of June we
came on the _first ice_—a sight which reminds the Polar navigator that he
has reached his home! Driven down by the north wind, its fragments lay
thickly on the misty horizon like gleaming points. We were now south-east
of Bear Island in 73° 40′ N. Lat. and 21° E. Long., and found the ice so
broken up that we did not hesitate to penetrate it, in order to find out
the latitude in which its closed masses would appear. We passed through
forty miles of this loose drift-ice, and then came on the pack in 74° 30′
N. Lat. and 23° E. Long. Already, on the 30th of June, we had experienced
the powerlessness of a small sailing vessel in such circumstances. The
calms which had set in rendered it impossible to steer the ship, just
when the ice was drifting in wild confusion. In spite of all our efforts
to warp, the ship was inclosed by ice—in fact, _beset_. During our
captivity of ten days, there was an alternation of fogs and gales with
heavy sea-swells. The neighbourhood of floes sometimes small, sometimes
large, which constantly shifted their places, kept us in a state of
continual watchfulness. The _Isbjörn_, on some of these days, sustained
such severe pressures from the ice, that her safety was imperilled. On
the 4th of July we had heavy storms from the south-east, which packed
the ice still closer, and, though the sea is generally quite calm within
the ice, it was otherwise on this occasion. In the afternoon we heard
through the dense fog the thunder of the ocean breaking on the outer
edge of the ice, and the roar increased as the sea rose. Our attempts to
haul further into the ice and still-water were fruitless; the ship was
pressed too firmly, and was not to be moved from its place. Our position
became more and more critical as the sea continued to rise. During the
whole night the waves roared and boiled around us. The rudder groaned
under the pressure of the floes, and had to be made fast to prevent its
being broken off. A mass of ice grazing past the davits utterly destroyed
one of our boats. The critical nature of such a situation is simply
the uncertainty as to the amount of pressure which a ship can sustain.
Towards evening the fog lifted and rolled away, presenting a spectacle
of fearful grandeur. All round us lay the open sea dashing against the
ice, which was itself in wild motion. Floes and icebergs were driven
about by the waves, and their fragments strewed in all directions. At
midnight our little ship sustained shock after shock, and her timbers
strained and creaked. The “brash” of the crushed ice, which had gathered
round the ship, prevented her destruction. As the storm abated, the
larger masses of ice moved off to the edge of the horizon, so that in the
morning we could not see open water from the deck. The day broke: what
a change in the ice! The sea was calm, and a long swell died out on its
outer edge. Piles of ice all round us,—a weird and deathlike calm! The
heavens were cloudless; the countless blocks and masses of ice stood out
against the sky in blue neutral shadow, and the more level fields between
them sparkled like silver as they shone in the sun. The movement of the
sea beyond the ice abated, “leads” within the floes, hitherto scarcely
perceptible, widened out. But again the sky was overcast, the sea assumed
the colour of lead, though it continued quite calm and the “ice-blink”
appeared on the northern horizon.

9. On the 10th of July the ship under full sail forced her way through
the floes, which were still somewhat close, and reached open water. The
masses of ice through which we pressed were of considerable size. We now
continued our course, which had been interrupted in the manner described,
along the ice-barrier in a north-easterly direction. After leaving the
Norwegian coast, the depth of the sea decreased considerably. We were
now on the bank of Bear Island, and we found bottom at 90 metres (49·213
fathoms). Our course was impeded by calms, currents and winds from the
east, and even in the middle of July by severe storms. We were sometimes
in drift-ice and sometimes outside of it. We soon discovered that the
ice of these seas was not to be compared with the vast masses of the
Greenland seas. The floes we saw were not more than one year old. As we
sailed eastward, the icebergs were neither so numerous nor so large,
and disappeared almost entirely at 40° E. Long., which we reached on
the 21st of July, after we had followed the ice-barriers from 74° to
75° 30′ N. Lat. Here we penetrated within them. Though drift-ice lay on
every side, a steamer would have found nothing to arrest her progress.
But the prevalence sometimes of east winds, sometimes of calms, the
constant occurrence of fogs, the defects of our vessel, the little
authority we had over the crew when extraordinary labour was demanded,
the great extent of the region to be explored,—all these difficulties
prevented our pressing on in this direction. We therefore turned, July
22, in a westerly direction, in order to explore another opening in the
ice, into which we advanced for about fifteen miles, and found floes
not more than a year old lying so loosely together, that our ship under
full sail seemed to pass over them, much in the same fashion as a sledge
glides over a snow-covered plain. But again our course had to be altered,
and Weyprecht steered the vessel in a south-westerly direction to the
ice-barrier. In 76° 30′ N. Lat. and 29° E. Long. we came on high and
close masses of ice, and escaped with much difficulty (July 29) the
danger of being again “beset.”

10. We had meantime been convinced that, though the state of the ice
was on the whole so favourable, we could not, with the means at our
command and with a crew not trained to habits of obedience, do more
than carry out our original intention. We could not make up for the
defects of our sailing craft by any special exertion on the part of the
crew. Could we have done this, we might have penetrated further in a
northerly direction; though at this late period of the summer we could
not calculate on being able to return, and by the end of October our
provisions would have been exhausted. We could only, therefore, attempt
to reach Gillis’ Land, and ascertain whether it possessed the importance
attributed to it by the Swedes. A safe harbour had therefore to be
sought, in which the ship might be left, while a party in a boat should
make for the mysterious land. Such a harbour we expected to find at Cape
Leigh-Smith. We therefore held to the westward, towards the Stor-Fiord.
It is an extremely hazardous thing, demanding incessant attention, to
tack and cruise at the ice-barrier during the continuance of fogs and
with heavy seas and unfavourable winds. Not unfrequently, the ice-blink
is seen all round the horizon, and we discover that we have come into a
great “ice-hole,” or a calm makes it impossible to steer the ship, just
when a strong current is bearing her into the thickest of the ice-masses.
We had our share of these and other risks till we suddenly beheld, while
sailing in a fog among icebergs a hundred feet high, the long stretching
plateau of Hope Island. According to Weyprecht’s observations, there is
an error of 40′ in latitude in the position of this island on the Swedish
maps. The real position of the south-west cape of Hope Island is 76° 29′
N. Lat., and 25° E. Long. Seduced by a great opening in the ice, and
deviating from our course for a short time, we advanced in a northerly
direction to the east of the island, in the hope of reaching Gillis’ Land
from thence. But after sailing in a fog for a whole day among icebergs
lying close to the cliffs of the island, we were driven further westward,
and coming suddenly on the ice—Lat. 76° 30′—with an exceedingly high
sea, escaped being dashed to pieces as by a miracle. To penetrate
here was an impossibility. We therefore altered our course again for
Walter-Thymen’s Straits. A dense girdle of ice several miles deep, and a
strong current setting towards the south-west, frustrated every attempt
to land on Hope Island. To the west of this we found the ice-barrier in
76° N. Lat., formed of heavy pack-ice, and small icebergs. Our passage
to the South Cape (Cape Look-out) of Spitzbergen (76° 30′ N. Lat.) was
comparatively quick. Numerous cliffs and rocks on which the waves were
breaking, not marked on any chart, rose in the night of August 4 out of
the fog at the distance of a few ships’ lengths from us, and it was with
the utmost difficulty that we could tack with the heavy sea and strong
north-east wind.

11. The day after, when the heavy storm-clouds lifted from the table-land
of Cape Look-out, we made the unpleasant discovery, that we were to the
south-west of it. Hitherto we had been sailing in dense fog, but after
passing this Cape we had almost unbroken sunshine, which illuminated
the whole western side of Spitzbergen up to Prince Charles’s foreland.
A current one or two miles wide, which flows southward, turns at Cape
Look-out and flows in a northerly direction. At this Cape, which is the
apex of the current, besides many rocks on which the waves break, there
are twenty islands, some of them of considerable size. This promontory,
which has been of great importance to navigators for more than 200
years, is erroneously represented in the charts I have seen. Many
ships, therefore, have been wrecked at this place, chiefly those of the
Spitzbergen whalers and sealers, who base their sailing on making this
headland, though they are ignorant of its exact geographical position.
Thrice we tried at the beginning of August to reach the Stor-Fiord from
the western side of Cape Look-out, and thrice we were driven back by this
current, though the wind was in our favour. This, however, gave us an
opportunity we had not expected, of seeing something of the west coast
of Spitzbergen with its fiords and glaciers as far as Horn Sound. A fog,
as dense as coal smoke, floats almost always over “Hornsundstind” (4,500
ft. high) and the pyramid of Haytand. The slopes, clothed in dull green,
running down to the coast, make Spitzbergen seem scarcely an Arctic land
when compared with the cold grandeur of Greenland. The rocky shores of
the northern parts of Norway are more dreary, and wear more the aspect
of Arctic regions than Spitzbergen. Hence General Sabine, comparing
Spitzbergen with Greenland, called it “a true paradise.”

12. On the 10th of August the ice began to move out from the Stor-Fiord.
It pushed on with great velocity from the north-east, turned round Cape
Look-out, and deposited itself along the west coast, covering it with
thick layers in sixteen hours. On the 12th of the month, in consequence
of the fog and strong current, we found ourselves between the heavy
drift-ice and the reefs of Cape Look-out. According to our reckoning we
should have been twenty-five miles to the east of it. It was only by
boldly charging the drift-ice, with the vessel under full sail, that the
_Isbjörn_ escaped the danger of being beset. On the 13th the wind chopped
round, and, standing away to the south, we succeeded, after cruising
about for ten days, in running into Wyde-Jans Water. Our involuntary
detention off Cape Look-out enabled us to land twice. During one of these
visits we built a cairn, in which we deposited a notice of the course we
had steered. The hasty survey we made enabled us to correct some very
gross errors in the maps. On the evening of the 14th we sighted Edge
Island, and cruised in the drift-ice, which was becoming gradually more
dense in that direction. Here we fell in with two ships from Finland,
engaged in the capture of the walrus, and learnt from their skippers some
particulars concerning the state of the ice, which induced us to give up
the direct course to Cape Leigh-Smith, and to prefer coasting along the
west side of the Fiord.

13. The ice was now more packed. The ship, weakened by numerous
ice-pressures and countless shocks, and making much water, was in so bad
a condition, that part of the bows under the water-line was shattered,
and some timbers of the hull were forced in. In order to give some notion
of the force of the shocks to which we had been exposed in forcing our
course through the ice, let it suffice to say, that the iron plating an
inch thick, with which the bows had been strengthened at Tromsoe, had
been broken off like so many chips.

14. Tacking up against the north wind we came, in the night of August
16, on broken ice off Whale’s Bay, in 77° 30′ N. Lat. The expected free
coast-water was not to be found, and the prevailing winds from the north
took away any hope of reaching Cape Leigh-Smith in less than a week.
Our plan of a boat expedition, for which three weeks would have been
necessary, from Cape Leigh-Smith to explore Gillis’ Land, had now to
be renounced; and as the southern extremity of Stor-Fiord is generally
blocked up at the end of August by an accumulation of ice brought from
the east, we were constrained to leave the fiord at once, and return to
the ice-barrier we had left.

15. The geological formation of the western coast of this fiord has never
been explored. From a visit to the land and the ascent of a mountain
2,000 feet high, we learnt some interesting facts concerning its Jurassic
formation, which appeared to extend far to the south. We found traces, at
some distance apart, of the more recent brown coal, and fossil remains
(Bivalves in ferruginous chalk-marl); we gathered also some plants
still in flower, and brought away some red snow. This excursion enabled
us also to examine the beautifully-developed glaciers of Spitzbergen.
Hornsundstind (4,500 feet high) is a most imposing mountain, and viewed
from the east resembles a sugar-loaf. The other mountains on the
coast of the fiord rise to heights varying from 2,000 to 4,000 feet.
Noble glaciers slope down both sides of the main ridge, which runs in
a southerly direction through the island. Some of these, when they
reach the sea, are three or four miles wide, and their terminal fronts
are about 80 feet high. The snow-line of those which debouch on the
Stor-Fiord is at an altitude of 1,000 feet, and their surface is little
broken by crevasses. None of these glaciers are of sufficient size to
shed icebergs, properly speaking. The sea close to the coast is shallow,
and the detachments from the glaciers are merely larger or smaller blocks
of ice.

16. On the evening of August 16, sailing before the wind, we forced our
way through the ice of the Stor-Fiord, and two days afterwards arrived
at Hope Island, the steep, rocky walls of which rose out of the fog just
as we were close under it. We found the icebergs still firmly grounded,
precisely as we had observed them three weeks before. As an unusually
strong current was running towards the south-west at the rate of two
miles an hour, great caution was needed when we landed in the whale-boat
amid rocks and cliffs not marked on any chart. The geological formation
of the island was identical with that of the mountainous region on the
south of Whale’s Bay. We found brown coal, but the shortness of our visit
did not permit us to inspect the beds of it. Drift-wood of Siberian larch
and pine lay in great quantities on the shore.

17. It was surprising to observe the change which meanwhile had taken
place; the ice both to the west and east of us had disappeared. We were
eager to find it, and again penetrated as far as possible into it. We
tacked about on the 19th, 20th, and 21st of August—the weather being
stormy—with little success against the north wind, which had prevailed
for some weeks. A current from the north drove us constantly southwards.
After leaving the Stor-Fiord the temperature of the water exceeded the
temperature of the air. On the 22nd of August, in 76° 45′ N. Lat. and 28°
30′ E. Long. we found very little drift-ice, which standing out but a
few inches above the water-level presented no impediment to navigation.
Nothing but contrary winds stood in the way of our penetrating in a
northerly direction, except, indeed, the doubts and fears raised by
our skipper and his crew at our attempting higher latitudes at so late
a period of the year. König Karl’s Land lay only forty miles to the
north—still invisible on account of the mists. Fresh traces of Polar
bears announced the neighbourhood of land. We therefore bore away to
the east in 32° E. Long. on the 24th of August—the day on which the sun
set for the first time. The number of icebergs constantly increased
from this date, while some weeks previously, in the same region, we had
scarcely seen one. This, perhaps, is to be explained from the fact, that
their appearance is irregular, depending on the varying movement of the
glaciers, and also on the time and manner in which the icebergs clear out
from the bays and fiords. On the 26th we had stormy weather, rain, and
snow. On the 27th, amid a dense fog, and with the sea running high, we
came close to an iceberg, against which the sea was dashing itself in
foam and spray, just in time to avert a collision. On the 29th of August
we perceived that the ship had been carried 1° 30′ eastward in a short
time by a current. The further we sailed in this easterly direction, the
further northward the ice retreated, and we began to hope that we should
come nearer the Pole than any ship ever had in this sea. The southern
limit of the ice-barrier in the Novaya Zemlya seas, towards the end of
summer, is usually placed at 76° N. Lat., but we had reached 78° N. Lat.,
with 42° E. Long., without seeing (August 30th) a fragment of ice. The
_Isbjörn_ had, therefore, penetrated 100 miles in seas hitherto unknown.
There was still a long heavy swell from the north, but the temperature of
the water had fallen 4½° within twenty-four hours, and it was no longer
of an ultramarine, but of a dirty green colour; so that, notwithstanding
the sanguine expectations we had cherished, we expected every moment to
come on pack-ice. Already, too, the “ice-blink” was visible here and
there on the horizon.

18. Whales, secure from persecution in this remote sea, seemed to abound;
we saw many “blowing” and spouting. They came sometimes in pairs close to
the ship. Their chase and capture might have been carried on here with
every hope of success. On the morning of the 31st of August we saw six
Eider-geese, the precursors of near land. A blue shadow on the eastern
sky arrested the attention of us all for a long time. We felt as if we
were on the brink of great discoveries. But, alas! the supposed land
dissolved into mist. The poverty of our equipment prevented us from
penetrating further. We might easily have been driven onwards by unknown
currents, and the ice closing behind us might have cut off return to
Europe. We could not be assured that we had not come upon a bight, or
_cul-de-sac_, stretching far to the north, and which might quickly change
its character. On the night of August 31, in 78° N. Lat., the ice lay in
some places loose and widely dispersed, in others it was more compact,
but nowhere was it in great masses; it scarcely rose above the horizon,
and it was entirely without icebergs. There was nothing to prevent a
vessel with steam power from penetrating further.

19. Still following the ice-barrier as it retreated northwards, we
passed beyond 78° 30′ N. Lat. in the night of August 31. The influence
of the high latitudes we had reached, on the duration of light, was
unmistakable. For some days, however, the temperature had fallen below
32° F., a coating of snow lay on the deck, and the rigging was covered
with ice like glass. The morning of the 1st of September broke; about
half-past three o’clock fresh breezes from the north drove off the mist,
and revealed one of those pictures peculiar to the high north from its
dazzling effects of colour—the beams of the sun in glowing splendour were
piercing through heavy masses of clouds, while the moon shone on the
opposite side of the heavens. An ice-blink resembling an Aurora lay on
the north.

20. We had reached 78° 38′ N. Lat., and yet the ice around us presented
no serious impediment—none at least as far as we could see. Should we
then venture further with our ship in its weakened condition? We might
still follow up an opening within the ice running northward, though, in
doing this, we should expend the time needed for the exploration of the
eastward-lying Novaya Zemlya seas. We determined therefore to bear away
to the east before some currents of loose drift-ice. But fog and a high
sea from the north-west caused us to alter our course more and more to
the south-east. For the first time in these high latitudes we observed
drift-wood, and we found ourselves in a sea, the temperature of which
at the surface did not materially exceed the temperature of the air.
Whenever, however, the temperature of the air rose, a thaw suddenly set
in. The colour of the sea alternated between blue and a dull green. A
few days previously we had passed over a sea extraordinarily rich in the
ribbed Medusæ (Beroë), and where the Rorqual (whale) abounded.

21. The great question now arose, whether the open water found in these
high latitudes were only an accidental bight in the ice or a connected
sea. It seemed bold to assume the latter, since 76° 30′ N. Lat. had never
before been passed in that region. In order, therefore, to arrive at some
positive conclusion on this point, we stood away from the ice at noon
of the 1st of September, and ran down in open water to 75° 52′ N. Lat.
and 51° 44′ E. Long., intending to return to the north again, in order
to explore the state of the ice to the north-east. Overcoming with much
difficulty the opposition of our skipper, we returned to the edge of the
ice, which we found, September 5th, in 78° 5′ N. Lat. and 56° E. Long.
Though there was not much wind, a high sea running on the ice compelled
us to leave it. In our course to the south-east we crossed 77° 30′ N.
Lat. and 59° E. Long.; here, also, to the south of 78°, there was no ice.
To penetrate further to the east formed no part of our plan, and since
another attempt to return to the ice would have been objectless, for the
reasons above stated, we proposed to run into a bight on the west coast
of Novaya Zemlya to take in fuel and water, which we urgently needed. The
longer nights now made it almost impossible to manœuvre a ship in the
ice when the winds were high, though a good steamer might have persisted
for some time longer. The temperature of the sea on the 5th of September
was 39° F. in Lat. 77° 30′, and on the 8th of the month, when we were in
sight of Cape Nassau, it reached 41° F.

22. Storms compelled us to keep to sea. As a current constantly set us
to the north-east, we found it not possible to land on Novaya Zemlya,
scarcely even to see it. On the night of September 12th we came into
the region where the equatorial and Polar air-currents meet, and had an
opportunity of observing the hurricane-like effects of their conjunction.
The barometer fell about two inches, and the sea was so broken that the
ship could hardly be steered, even with a fresh wind. On September 14th
we were off Matoschkin Schar, and could not anchor, a snow-storm from the
north-east completely hiding the coast. The change, which meantime had
taken place in the sky, was strange and remarkable. Heavy thunder-clouds
lay over our heads, just as they do in the region of the trade-winds, and
every moment threatened to discharge themselves. On the 13th of September
we saw the first Aurora, in the shape of an arch, passing through, our
zenith. The want of fuel and water, from which we began to suffer, and
the end of the season for navigation, compelled us to avail ourselves of
the favourable wind which had set in, and begin our voyage home, without
landing on Novaya Zemlya. On this same day three of our crew of seven
men fell ill, one of them with scurvy. A heavy storm from the north-east
compelling us to heave to, we lay close under the coast of Lapland for a
whole day. On the 20th of September we ran into Tana Fiord on the east
of North Cape, the most northerly point of Europe, and took in water.
The gloomy cliffs of Tanahorn and the rocky iron-bound coasts were not
at all behind the lands we had left in their terrible desolation. On the
24th of August the _Isbjörn_ passed North Cape; on the 4th of October
she anchored in Tromsoe. Weyprecht had remained on board while, with a
Lapland sailor who could speak Norwegian, I left the ship in Tana Fiord
and went on to Tromsoe through Lapland, sometimes by means of a small
boat on the shallow rivers and sometimes by means of reindeer sledges.

23. It had formed no part of our plan, either to make discoveries, or to
reach high latitudes. Our object was to investigate whether the Novaya
Zemlya seas offered greater facilities, either from the influence of the
Gulf Stream, or from any other causes, for penetrating the unexplored
Polar regions. Many arguments, derived from the scientific results of
our voyage, would seem to favour this idea, and in contradiction to the
discouraging views of our predecessors, whose failures are explained by
their defective equipment and the choice of the most unfavourable season
for navigation, we ventured to draw the following inferences:

(1.) The Novaya Zemlya Sea is not filled with impenetrable ice, rendering
navigation impossible; on the contrary, it is open every year, probably
up to 78° of N. Lat., and is connected with the Sea of Kara, which is
also free from ice in autumn, and even, it may be, with the “Polynjii,”
in the North of Asia. If this inference should not be admitted, the
following remarks of Lieutenant Weyprecht, in anticipation of objections,
are put forward as worthy of consideration:—“In all probability the
open condition of the ice in 1871 will be ascribed to chance, or to an
especially favourable ice-year. With respect to the latter alternative,
the accounts given by the walrus-hunters of Spitzbergen and Novaya Zemlya
should convince us, that the year 1871 was not only not a favourable,
but a most unfavourable year in the ice. It was almost impossible to
navigate Wyde-Jans Water, and the Sea of Kara could only be reached
through the most southerly straits—the Jugorsky Straits. There remains,
therefore, only the other objection, that the accident of favourable
winds was the cause of our penetrating so far. But our meteorological
journal shows North, or at any rate Northerly winds, and often, too,
blowing freshly, from August 4th to September 5th, with the exception of
twelve watches, _i.e._ two days. But in no case could these winds have
driven the ice to the north. With respect to the loose character of the
ice we encountered, it might be said, that we saw only the outer ice.
But, in the first place, we were often so far within the barrier that it
would be inadmissible to speak of it as the outer ice; and, in the second
place, the ice-barrier shows the state of the ice behind it. Whenever the
wind lies against the ice, there the ice is always the most dense and
packed, and we find open places only when we have worked our way through
the outer ice.”

(2.) The time most favourable for navigation in this sea falls at the end
of August, and lasts—though rendered hazardous by storms, the formation
of young ice, and the darkness which supervenes at that season—till the
end of September, and during this period the ice may be said to be at its
minimum.

(3.) The Novaya Zemlya Sea is a shallow sea—a connection and continuation
of the great plains of Siberia. In the extreme north, its depth was 600
feet, and south-east of Gillis’ Land about 300 feet.

(4.) Gillis’ Land is not a continent, but either an island or a group of
islands. Whereas, from the circumstance that in the highest latitudes—in
79° N. Lat.—we found drift-wood covered with mud, sea-weed, creatures
which live only near the land, decreasing depths of the sea, sweet-water
ice and icebergs laden with dirt, it may be inferred, with great
probability, that there exist masses of land to the north-east of Gillis’
Land.

(5.) The appearance of Siberian drift-wood, only in the most northern
seas reached in our voyage, seems to point to an easterly current there.

(6.) The Russian expeditions in the past and present centuries, which
attempted to penetrate by the north-west coast of Novaya Zemlya,
miscarried, because they sailed before the favourable season for
navigation, and also because they had not the advantage of steam.

(7.) How far the Gulf Stream has any share or influence in the favourable
conditions for the navigation of the Eastern Polar Sea which have been
described, cannot as yet be positively determined. The state of the
ice, the observations which were made on the temperature of the sea,
its colour and the animal life found in it, seem to speak in favour of
the action of this current in that region. It is possible that the Gulf
Stream may exercise its culminating influence on the west coast of Novaya
Zemlya only at the beginning of September; for while the temperature of
the sea in the months of July and August gradually fell from 45° F. to
36° F. in Lat. 75° N., and to zero and below it, still more to the north,
we observed 39° F., September 6, in Lat. 78°, and 41° F., September
10, in Lat. 75° 30′. The temperature of the air was in all these cases
considerably less than that of the water. If the unusually favourable
state of the ice on the east of Spitzbergen should be ascribed to warm
southerly currents of air, it may be replied that our observations
specify the almost uninterrupted occurrence of north winds. It is also
possible, that at the beginning and middle of summer the Gulf Stream may
move slowly in a northerly direction along the coasts of Novaya Zemlya,
and that towards autumn it spreads itself more and more to the west. Our
observations proved the existence, in the eastern Novaya Zemlya seas,
of a band of warm water, from thirty-six to forty feet deep, beneath
which lies, without gradation, a colder stratum. It is evident that the
unequal density of these strata prevents their mingling. This band of
warmer water near North Cape is about 150 feet deep, with a temperature
of nearly 45° F., but diminishes as it flows northward. The frequency
of fogs and mists in the Novaya Zemlya Sea, and the squalls unknown
to other Arctic regions, which are characteristic of a more southerly
region, indicate also a current of warm water. How this warm current
gradually cools towards the north, and becomes shallower, and how
distinctly it divides into those strata of water of equal temperature,
so characteristic of the Gulf Stream, is shown by three series of
observations taken by Weyprecht at different latitudes, with the maximum
and minimum thermometer of Casella:—

  72° 30′ lat., 44° long.|77° 26′ lat., 44° long.|76° 40′ lat., 55° long.
  12 to 114′ + 4·8° C.   | 6′ to 30′ + 2·2° C.   | 6′ to 39′ + 2·5° C.
        144  + 2·5       |       36  + 1·8       |       48  + 1·0
        174  + 2·0       |       45  + 0·3       |       60  - 0·0
        204  + 1·5       |       60  + 0·3       |       72  - 0·6
        234  + 1·3       |       75  - 0·9       |       90  - 0·6
        264  + 1·0       |       90  - 0·8       |      120  - 1·3
        294  + 0·5       |      120  - 1·6       |      180  - 1·2
        360  + 0·5       |      180  - 1·8       |      300  - 1·2
        450  + 0·0       |      360  - 1·6       |
        600  - 0·4       |                       |
        800  - 1·3       |                       |

24. These inferences rendered the despatch of a well-equipped expedition
to the Novaya Zemlya seas very desirable, either to penetrate towards
the north, or to pursue the direction of the north-east passage. To this
idea a most gracious reception was given by the Emperor of Austria.
Hence arose the Austro-Hungarian expedition of 1872. The promoters of
this undertaking assumed neither the existence of an open Polar Sea,
nor the possibility of reaching the Pole by sledge or boat expeditions.
Their object, simply and broadly stated, was the exploration of the
still unknown Arctic regions, and it was their belief, that a vessel
could penetrate further into this region by the route between Novaya
Zemlya and Spitzbergen, where the _Isbjörn_ in her pioneer voyage found
the ice more loose and navigable than had been imagined possible. But
in addition to the causes already specified, the influence of the warm
currents, produced by the great rivers of Siberia discharging themselves
into a shallow sea, was also supposed to co-operate in producing this
phenomenon. Of these rivers, the Obi and Jenisej alone discharge
into that shallow sea a body of water as great as the waters of the
Mediterranean or the waters of the Mississippi. The course of the current
produced by these mighty rivers is as yet unknown; but it was natural
to suppose, that old and heavy pack-ice could not be formed on a coast
submitted to such an influence. This is confirmed by the observations
of the Russians, who in the coldest period of the year always find
open water in the Siberian seas. Middendorf, August 26, 1844, found the
Gulf of Taimyr quite free from ice; our own observations, made in 60°
E. Long., and those of the Norwegian Mack, who advanced to 81° E. Long.
(75° 45′ N. Lat.), support the supposition of a still navigable sea. Of
the region between Cape Tscheljuskin and the ice-free spaces asserted
to exist by Wrangel, and others, we know but little; but it is probable
that the character of the ice in those seas does not greatly differ from
the character of the ice in contiguous seas. Of the seas between Novaya
Zemlya and Behring’s Straits, at the distance of a few miles from the
Asiatic coast, nothing is known. No ship has ever navigated this enormous
Eastern Polar Sea.

25. It was the plan of the Austro-Hungarian expedition to penetrate in
an E.N.E. direction, in the latter half of August, when the north coast
of Novaya Zemlya is generally free from ice. The places at which the
expedition was to winter were left undetermined; these might, possibly,
be Cape Tscheljuskin, the new Siberian islands, or any lands which might
be discovered. A return to Europe through Behring’s Straits, however
improbable it might be, lay among the possibilities of the venture.
Minor details were left to circumstances. In the event of the loss of
the ship, the expedition was to endeavour to reach the coast of Siberia
by boats, and, on one of the gigantic water-courses of Northern Asia,
penetrate into more southern regions. The depôt of provisions and coals
which it was Graf Wilczek’s intention to deposit on the north coast of
Novaya Zemlya, was to be the nearest refuge for the crew in the event of
disaster to the ship. Stone cairns were to be erected on all prominent
localities, and in these were to be laid accounts of the course of the
expedition. Till its return at the end of the autumn of 1874, its members
were to be cut off from all intercourse with Europe. The motives of an
undertaking so long and so laborious cannot be found in the mere love
of distinction or of adventure. Next to the wish to serve the interests
of science by going beyond the footsteps of our predecessors, we were
influenced by the duty of confirming and fulfilling the hopes which we
ourselves had excited.



VOYAGE OF THE “TEGETTHOFF.”

_JUNE, 1872-SEPTEMBER, 1874._

I.

FROM BREMERHAVEN TO KAISER FRANZ-JOSEF LAND.



CHAPTER I.

FROM BREMERHAVEN TO TROMSOE.


1. He who seeks to penetrate the recesses of the Polar world chooses a
path beset with toils and dangers. The explorer of that region has to
devote every energy of mind and body to extort a slender fragment of
knowledge from the silence and mystery of the realm of ice. He must be
prepared to confront disappointments and disasters with inexhaustible
patience, and pursue devotedly his object, even when he himself becomes
the sport of accident. That object must not be the admiration of men,
but the extension of the domain of knowledge. He spends long years in
the most dreadful of all banishments, far from his friends, from all
the enjoyments of life, surrounded by manifold perils, and bearing the
burden of utter loneliness. The grandeur therefore of his object can
alone support him,—for otherwise the dreary void of things without can
only be an image of the void within. How many are the preconceptions with
which the novice begins the voyage to the rugged, inclement north! Books
can tell him little of the stern life to which he dooms himself, as soon
as he crosses the threshold of the ice, thinking perhaps to measure the
evils that await him by the physical miseries of cold instead of by the
moral deprivations in store for him.

2. In the year 1868, while employed on the survey of the Orteler Alps, a
newspaper with an account of Koldewey’s first expedition one day found
its way into my tent on the mountain side. In the evening I held forth on
the North Pole to the herdsmen and _Jägers_ of my party as we sat round
the fire, no one more filled with astonishment than myself, that there
should be men endued with such capacity to endure cold and darkness.
No presentiment had I then that the very next year I should myself have
joined an expedition to the North Pole; and as little could Haller, one
of my _Jägers_ at that time, foresee that he would accompany me on my
third expedition. And much the same was it with the three-and-twenty men
who early in the morning of June 13, 1872, came on board the vessel in
Bremerhaven, to cast in their lot with the ship _Tegetthoff_, whatever
that lot might be; for we had all bound ourselves by a formal deed,
renouncing every claim to an expedition for our rescue, in case we should
be unable to return. Our ideal aim was the north-east passage, our
immediate and definite object was the exploration of the seas and lands
on the north-east of Novaya Zemlya.

3. A bright day rose with us, and no augur’s voice could have heightened
the glad hopes which animated every one of us. Friends from Austria and
Germany had come to bid us a last farewell; but, as every venture should
be, so our departure that morning was, quiet and without pretension.
About six o’clock in the morning the _Tegetthoff_ lifted her anchor and
dropped down the Schleusen and the Weser, towed by a steamer. Down the
broad stream we calmly glided, full of satisfaction at the fulfilment
of long-cherished plans. There lay the same pastures, the same trees
and meadows which had so delighted us on our return from Greenland. Yet
unmoved we saw all the charms of nature grow young under the morning
sun and then fade away in the evening twilight—as the land gradually
disappeared behind us, and the coasts of Germany were lost to view. With
the feeling that we were leaving them for so long a time, our thoughts
turned to our new life in the narrow limits of a ship, and the resolve
to live and labour in harmony animated each breast. How often we should
be liable to casualties which no eye could foresee, we were soon to find
out, when in almost dead calm and without steam we came on the shallow
waters of Heligoland. What would have become of the expedition, had we
not discovered in time, that we had only a few feet of water under the
keel!

4. The vessel, 220 tons burden, was fitted out for two years and a half,
but was over-freighted by about thirty tons, so that our available space
was much curtailed. Yet the cabin, which Weyprecht, Brosch, Orel, Kepes,
Krisch, and I occupied, was far more commodious than the miserable
hole in which eight of us had been crowded together on our Greenland
expedition. Our supply of coals, 130 tons, was large in proportion to
the size of the ship, being calculated not only for our daily wants, but
to enable us to keep up steam for about sixty days. But to economise
this store we used our sails, as much as possible, even in the ice. Both
ship and engine—of 100 horse power—tested in the trial trip of June 8,
sustained their character during the expedition, and did great credit to
the Tecklenborg firm.

5. The wind being unfavourable, it took us some time to cross the North
Sea and reach the coast of Norway. My journal describes this part of
our voyage. “Light winds from the south carried the _Tegetthoff_ on her
lonely course over the North Sea. In undimmed brightness the blue sky
stretched overhead, the air was balmy and mild. In the grey distance
frowns the iron rampart of countless cliffs encircling the barren wastes
of Norway. Occasionally a sea-gull comes near us, or some bird rests
on the mast-head; now and then a sail is seen on the horizon,—but save
this, no life—no event. Every one feels, though no one utters it, that a
grave future lies before him; each may hope what he wishes, for over the
future there is drawn an impenetrable veil. All, however, are animated
with the consciousness, that while serving science, we are also serving
our Fatherland, and that all our doings will be watched at home with the
liveliest sympathy.

6. “On board the _Tegetthoff_ are heard all the languages of our
country, German, Italian, Slavonic, and Hungarian; Italian, however, is
the language in which all orders are given. The crew is lighthearted
and merry: in the evening a gentle breeze carries the lively songs of
the Italians over the blue sea, glowing under the midnight sun, or the
monotonous cadence of the _Ludro_ of the Dalmatians recalls the sunny
home which they are so soon to exchange for its very opposite, which
remains a sort of mystery to all their powers of fancy. Thus begins
so peacefully our long voyage into the frozen ocean of the north. In
a few weeks the ice will grate on the bows of the _Tegetthoff_, the
crystal icebergs will surround her, and with many a strain will the good
ship force her way through the icy wastes, sometimes inclosed on every
side, sometimes free in coast-water, or threatened by the ‘ice-blink’
foreboding danger.”

7. The officers and crew of the _Tegetthoff_ amounted in all to
twenty-four souls.

  Lieutenant Carl Weyprecht,    }
  Lieutenant Julius Payer,      } _Commanders of the Expedition._
  Lieutenant Gustav Brosch,[14] }
  Midshipman Edward Orel,       } _Officers of the Ship._
  Dr. Julius Kepes, _Physician to the Expedition_.
  Otto Krisch, _Engineer_.
  Pietro Lusina,[15] _Boatswain_.
  Antonio Vecerina, _Carpenter_.
  Josef Pospischill, _Stoker_.
  Johann Orasch, _Cook_.
  Johann Haller,                }
  Alexander Klotz,              } _Jägers_, from Tyrol.
  Antonio Zaninovich, _Seaman_.
  Antonio Catarinich, ditto.
  Antonio Scarpa, ditto.
  Antonio Lukinovich, ditto.
  Giuseppe Latkovich, ditto.
  Pietro Fallesich, ditto.
  George Stiglich, ditto.
  Vincenzo Palmich, ditto.
  Lorenzo Marola, ditto.
  Francesco Lettis, ditto.
  Giacomo Sussich, ditto.
  Captain Olaf Carlsen, _Icemaster and Harpooner_.
  We had eight dogs on board; two we got in Lapland, the rest were
    brought from Vienna.

8. Stormy weather detained us for some time among the Loffoden Isles,
so that we made Tromsoe only on July 3. Here we were received most
courteously by the Austro-Hungarian Consul, Aagaard, who invited us to
a banquet. We remained here a week, in order to complete our equipment.
The ship, which had leaked considerably ever since we left Bremerhaven,
was thoroughly examined by divers, the stores were landed, the ship
repaired and reladen. Our supply of coals was replenished, a Norwegian
whale-boat added to our equipment, and, lastly, the harpooner, Captain
Olaf Carlsen, was taken on board. On July 6 we received our last news
from Austria, letters and newspapers. The Ukase granted by the Russian
Government also arrived, drawn up both for Weyprecht and myself in case
of our being separated, a document of great importance, if the ship
should be lost and we had to return through Siberia; an issue only too
probable when the vast length and enormous difficulties of the north-east
passage were considered. While Lieutenant Weyprecht was engaged in
stopping the leak of the ship, some of us ascended—a Lapp of the name
of Dilkoa being our guide—a pinnacle of rock, 4,000 feet high, towering
over Tromsoe’s labyrinth of fiords, in order to compare our aneroid and
mercurial barometers. From the summit we beheld an enormous dark column
of smoke rising perpendicularly to the height of about 1,500 feet in the
still air—the northern extremity of Tromsoe was in flames. Most gladly
would we have learned something of the state of the ice this year; but as
yet this was impracticable, for none of the walrus hunters had returned
from their grounds in the north.

9. On the morning of Saturday, July 13, officers and crew heard mass from
a French priest, and bidding adieu to our Tromsoe friends, we left the
quiet little city, the most northerly of Europe, early on Sunday morning.
The passengers of the Hamburg mail steamer, entering the harbour as we
left it, greeted us with loud and long cheers, and steaming through the
narrow Grötsound, close under the cliffs of Sandoe and Rysoe we came into
the open sea, Captain Carlsen acting as our pilot. As we issued from
the _Scheeren_, a mist arose which covered and obscured the huge rock
of Fingloe. Here the engine fires were put out and the sails set, and
the first and last voyage, which the _Tegetthoff_ was destined to make,
began. On July 15 we steered towards the north, the Norwegian coast with
its many glaciers in full view, and on the 16th we sighted the North Cape
in the blue distance.



CHAPTER II.

ON THE FROZEN OCEAN.


1. Unfavourable winds had hindered our progress for some days; we now
encountered heavy seas. On July 23 a sudden fall of the temperature and
dirty rainy weather told us that we were close to the ice, which we
expected to find later and much more to the northward, and on the evening
of July 25, lat. 74° 0′ 15″ N., we actually sighted it, the thermometer
marking 32·5° F., and 34·5° F. in the sea. The northerly winds, which had
prevailed for some time had broken up the ice, and it lay before us in
long loose lines. Its outer boundary was consequently the very opposite
of those solid walls of ice which we met with in Greenland in 1869, and
two years afterwards on the east of Spitzbergen. Though surprised at
finding the ice so far to the south, we never imagined that this was
anything but a collection of floes, which had drifted out perhaps from
the Sea of Kara through the Straits of Matotschkin. But only too soon
the conviction was forced upon us that we were already within the Frozen
Ocean, and that navigation in the year 1872 was to differ widely from
that of the preceding year. Lieutenant Weyprecht had the day before
fastened “the crow’s nest” to the mainmast of the _Tegetthoff_, and
henceforth it became the abode of the officer of the watch. On July 26,
while steering in a north-easterly direction, the ice became closer,
though it was still navigable; but we nowhere saw the heavy fields which
had astonished us on the east coast of Greenland, and which Lütke found
to be so dangerous to navigation. The temperature of the air and the sea
fell rapidly, and during the two following weeks it remained below the
freezing point almost uniformly, and without any essential difference
between day and night.

[Illustration: STILL LIFE IN THE FROZEN OCEAN.]

2. The frozen sea of Novaya Zemlya is characterized by that inconstancy
of weather which in our lower latitudes we attribute to the month of
April; the same variability is met with, though in lesser degree, in the
Greenland seas during the summer months. Snowstorms now alternated with
the most glorious blue skies. The black-bulbed thermometer showed 113° F.
in the sun, with 39° F. in the shade. The hunting season began, and the
kitchen was well provided with auks and seals. Our Dalmatians soon learnt
to like the dark flesh of the latter.

3. The ice gradually became closer; July 29 (74° 44′ N. Lat., 52° 8′ E.
Long.) we were able to continue our course only under steam, and heavy
shocks were henceforward inevitable; in many cases the vessel could
not force a passage except by charging the ice. In the night a vast,
apparently impenetrable barrier stopped our progress; but the tactics of
charging under steam again cleared a passage, and we penetrated into a
larger “ice-hole.” We now glided along over the shining surface of its
waters, as if we were navigating an inland lake, save that no copsewood
clothed the shores, but pale blocks of ice, which the mist, that now fell
and enveloped us, transformed into the most fantastic shapes, and at
last into mere shapelessness itself. In all that surrounded us neither
form nor colour was discernible; faint shadows floated within the veil
of mist, and our path seemed to lead no whither. A few hours before
the glowing fire of the noonday sun had lain on the mountain wastes of
Novaya Zemlya, while refraction raised its long coast high above the icy
horizon. Nowhere does a sudden change in Nature exercise so immediate an
effect on the mind as in the Frozen Ocean, where, too, all that brings
delight proceeds from the sun.

4. For some days we had entered into a world utterly strange to most
of us on board the _Tegetthoff_. Dense mists frequently enveloped us,
and from out of the mantle of snow of the distant land the rocks, like
decayed battlements, frowned on us inhospitably. There is no more
melancholy sound than that which accompanies the decay and waste of the
ice, as it is constantly acted on by the sea and thaw, and no picture
more sad and solemn than the continuous procession of icebergs floating
like huge white biers towards the south. Ever and anon there rises
the noise of the ocean swell breaking amongst the excavations of the
ice-floes, while the water oozing out from their icy walls falls with
monotonous sound into the sea; or perhaps a mass of snow, deprived of its
support, drops into the waves, to disappear in them with a hissing sound
as of a flame. Never for a moment ceases the crackling and snapping sound
produced by the bursting of the external portions of the ice. Magnificent
cascades of thaw-water precipitate themselves down the sides of the
icebergs, which sometimes rend with a noise as of thunder as the beams of
the sun play on them. The fall of the titanic mass raises huge volumes
of foam, and the sea-birds, which had rested on its summit in peaceful
confidence, rise with terrified screams, soon to gather again on another
ice-colossus.

5. But what a change, when the sun, surrounded by glowing cirrus clouds,
breaks through the mist, and the blue of the heavens gradually widens
out! The masses of vapour, as they well up, recede to the horizon, and
the cold ice-floes become in the sunlight dark borders to the “leads”
which gleam between them, on the trembling surface of which the midnight
sun is mirrored. Where the rays of the sun do not directly fall on it,
the ice is suffused with a faint rosy haze, which deepens more and more
as the source of light nears the horizon. Then the sunbeams fall drowsily
and softly, as through a veil of orange gauze, all forms lose at a little
distance their definition, the shadows become fainter and fainter, and
all nature assumes a dreamy aspect. In calm nights the air is so mild
that we forget we are in the home of ice and snow. A deep ultramarine sky
stretches over all, and the outlines of the ice and the land tremble on
the glassy surface of the water. If we pull in a boat over the unmoved
mirror of the “ice-holes,” close beside us a whale may emerge from its
depths, like a black shining mountain; if a ship penetrates into the
waste, it looks as weird as the “Flying Dutchman,” and the dense columns
of smoke, which rise in eddies from her funnel, remain fixed for hours
until they gradually melt away. When the sun sinks at midnight to the
edge of the horizon, then all life becomes dumb, and the icebergs, the
rocks, the glaciers of the land glow in a rosy, effulgence, so that we
are hardly conscious of the desolation. The sun has reached its lowest
point,—after a pause it begins to rise, and gradually its paler beams
are transformed into a dazzling brightness. Its softly warming light
dissolves the ban under which congelation has placed nature, the icy
streams, which had ceased to run, pour down their crystal walls. The
animal creation only still enjoys its rest; the polar-bear continues to
repose behind some wall of ice, and flocks of sea-gulls and divers sit
round the edge of a floe, calmly sleeping, with their heads under their
wings. Not a sound is to be heard, save, perhaps, the measured flapping
of the sails of the ship in the dying breeze. At length the head of a
seal rises stealthily for some moments from out the smooth waters; lines
of auks, with the short quick beat of their wings, whiz over the islands
of ice. The mighty whale again emerges from the depths, far and wide
is heard his snorting and blowing, which sounds like the murmurs of a
waterfall when it is distant, and like a torrent when it is near. Day
reigns once more with its brilliant light, and the dreamy character of
the spectacle is dissolved.

6. We had sailed over one “ice-hole,” and again a dense barrier of ice
frowned on us; as we forced our way into it, the ice closed in all round
us—we were “beset.” The ship was made fast to a floe, the steam blown
off, its hot breath rushing with a loud noise through the cold mist;
every open mesh in the net of water-ways was closed by the ice, which
soon lay in such thick masses around us, that any one provided with a
plank might have wandered for miles in any direction he liked. July 30,
the _Tegetthoff_ remained fast in her prison; no current of water, nor
any movement among the floes lying close to us was discernible; a dead
calm prevailed, and mist hung on every side. On the following day we
made vain efforts to break through a floe which lay on our bows. The
calm still prevailed, Aug. 1 (74° 39′ N. L. 53° E. L.), and no change
was to be seen in the ice. Aug. 2, the crew began with hearty good-will
the toilsome work of warping, but with no success, the smallness of the
floes hardly admitting of this manœuvre. In the evening of the same day
it seemed as if a fresh breeze would set us free; but after we had gone
on for a few cable-lengths, a great floe once more barred the route,
while at the same time the wind fell. At length, when the ice became
somewhat looser, we got up the engine fires, and in the following night
broke through, under steam, a broad barrier of ice, which separated us
from the open coast-water of Novaya Zemlya. In the morning of Aug. 3,
we forced our way into coast-water, twenty miles broad, to the north of
Matotschkin Schar, and steered due north, the mountainous coasts still in
sight. A belt of ice 105 miles broad lay behind us. The country greatly
resembled Spitzbergen, and we observed with pleasure its picturesque
glaciers and mountains rising to the height of nearly 3,000 feet, though
inconsiderable compared with the mountains of Greenland. Far and wide not
a fragment of ice was to be seen; there was a heavy swell on, the air was
unusually warm (41° F.), in the evening rain fell, and on Aug. 4 we had
dense mists and driving snow-storms, which forced us to keep to the west
of Admiralty Peninsula. During the night of Aug. 6, the snow-storms were
heavier than before, and the deck was quite covered. Towards the north
and west very close ice was seen, and since the temperature of the air,
even with the winds in the south-west, remained constantly below zero,
it was evident that the ice must stretch far in that direction also.
Aug. 7, we ran on the white barriers to the west of Admiralty Peninsula,
and far to the north, beyond a broad field of ice, refraction indicated
open water and showed the forms of “Tschorny Nos” floating in the air.
In the afternoon of Aug. 8 the ice in 75° 22′ N. L. became so thick
around us that we were compelled to have recourse to steam-power; but the
_Tegetthoff_, even with this auxiliary was unable against a head-wind
to penetrate a broad strip of close ice, and banking up our fires, we
determined to wait its breaking up. Close under the coast open water was
again observed, and in it—a Schooner! Every one now hastened to write
letters to his friends and relations, but the schooner, to which we
meant to give our letters and despatches, by running into the heart of
Gwosdarew Bay escaped the duty we had in store for it. About half-past
ten P.M. the wind had fallen and the ice began to open out, and we were
able to continue our voyage under steam in a north-westerly direction.
The sun lay before us, the clear mirror of distant “leads” glowed with
a glorious carmine, the barriers of ice which lay between these “leads”
appeared as stripes of violet, and only our immediate neighbourhood was
pale and cold. The _Tegetthoff_ laboured through the dense accumulation
of floes and about midnight reached open water, and the steam was again
blown off. Aug. 9, we sailed in coast-water perfectly free from ice,
excepting the icebergs we encountered, some about forty feet high. These,
generally, were so numerous and so small in size, that they were at once
seen to be offshoots from the small glaciers of Novaya Zemlya as they
plunge into the sea. Their surface was frequently covered with débris.
Loose drift-ice showed itself, Aug. 10, but the ship continued to steer
between the floes towards the north. In the forenoon of that day we were
again nearly “beset,” but happily escaped that fate after four hours’
warping. Aug. 11, our course was continued without impediment in a
northerly direction through the loose drift-ice. The land, from which we
had hitherto remained distant about eight or twelve nautical miles, now
declined in height from three thousand to fifteen hundred or a thousand
feet, and quickly lost its picturesque character. On the noon of August
12, on account of a thick mist, we made fast to a great floe, and were
able to commence on it the training of the dogs to drag the sledges.

[Illustration: GWOSDAREW INLET.]

7. In the neighbourhood of the Pankratjew Islands, a ship suddenly
and unexpectedly appeared on the horizon, and endeavoured to gain
our attention by discharges from a mortar, and by the hoisting of
flags. How great was our astonishment and our joy when we beheld the
Austro-Hungarian flag at the peak of the _Isbjörn_, and were able to
greet Count Wilczek, Commodore Baron Sterneck, Dr. Höfer, and Mr.
Burger half an hour afterwards on board the _Tegetthoff_. Coming from
Spitzbergen in the _Isbjörn_ (the ship of our precursory expedition of
1871) they had sighted us two days before. That in a sailing vessel, and
without any sufficient equipment, they had succeeded in following and
overtaking the _Tegetthoff_, which had penetrated so far with difficulty
and by the aid of steam was a proof both of skill and resolution. Their
object was to establish a depôt of provisions at Cape Nassau, at whatever
personal risk to themselves. About two o’clock in the morning our guests
returned to the _Isbjörn_, and both ships now sailed in company, and
without meeting any hindrance in the ice-free coast-water, in a northerly
direction. In the forenoon of Aug. 13, in 76° 18′ N. Lat. and 61° 17′ E.
Long., we came upon closer ice, amid mist and stormy weather, and the two
ships anchored to some firm land-ice two cable-lengths from each other,
about a mile from the land. Close to the south of us lay the Barentz
Isles with their singularly formed hills, which the walrus-hunters call
by the somewhat gloomy name of “The Three Coffins.” On our north an
enormous iceberg rose in dazzling whiteness above a faintly glimmering
field of ice, a harbinger of new countries—for its size forbade us
to think that it owed its origin to the glaciers of Novaya Zemlya.
Continuous winds from the W.S.W., close ice, mist, downfalls of snow,
the necessity of determining the geographical position of the depôt of
provisions which we had established, compelled us to lie for eight days
before the Barentz Islands. The opportunity we thus had of putting our
feet once more on the land was exceedingly agreeable. We made repeated
visits to the shore with two dog-sledges, in company with Professor
Höfer; and as his observations on the phenomena of the country are those
of a distinguished geologist, I here insert those he has kindly placed at
my disposal.

8. “The Barentz Isles are flat, girt with cliffs, and separated by
narrow straits from the coast, which rises up terrace on terrace. Its
rocks consist of a black, very friable slate, frequently alternating
with strata of mountain limestone of the carboniferous period, varying
in breadth from one to ten _metres_. These strata are filled with a
countless number of fossilized inhabitants of the sea, trilobites,
mussels, brachiopodes, crinoides, corals, &c., which are utterly foreign
to the Frozen Ocean as it now is, and whose cognates live only in warm
seas.

9. “The animal world, therefore, buried in the limestone of these
islands, is an indisputable proof that there was once, in these high
latitudes, a warm sea, which could not possibly co-exist with such great
glaciers as those which now immerse themselves in the seas of Novaya
Zemlya. That portion of the earth, now completely dead and buried in
ice, once knew _a period of luxuriant life_. In its sea there revelled
a world of life, manifold and beautiful in its forms, while the land,
as the discoveries on Bear Island and Spitzbergen prove, was crowded
with gigantic palm-like ferns. This age of the earth’s history is called
the carboniferous period; it was the rich and fertile youth of the high
north, which lived out its time more rapidly than the southern zones, now
in all their vigour and variety. If we compare the Fauna buried in the
chalk formations of the Barentz Isles, with the contemporaneous Fauna
which we know from the carboniferous formation of Russia, specially
that of the Ural, we find a very remarkable agreement, not only in
their general character, but also in particular organisms. Many of the
fossils of the carboniferous limestone of these high degrees of latitude
(76°-77°) are found in analogous strata of the Ural, and are proved
by the researches of Russian geologists to exist there as far as the
fiftieth degree of latitude. Without stopping to insist on the great
similarity between the stratification of Novaya Zemlya and the Ural—the
former being the real continuation of the latter—we dwell here on the
fact that in the carboniferous period there was a sea which stretched
from the fiftieth to the seventy-seventh degree of north latitude, _i.e._
twenty-seven degrees, or 405 geographical miles, which was animated by
the same Fauna, and which consequently must have presented the same
relations, especially a like warm temperature. From these signs it
would appear that the zones of climate now so decisively marked on the
surface of the earth did not exist at the carboniferous period. The
horizontal surface of the land leads us at the first to infer horizontal
stratification; but we find the contrary to be the case; the marine
deposits once horizontal, have been so raised at a later period that
they are now vertical. Since the friable slate degrades rapidly, and
the limestone layers very gradually, it may be assumed that the former
wasting away leaves the limestone layers standing like walls between
them—a thing which, in a small scale, may often be elsewhere observed. If
a glance at these buried fossils awakens in us an image, as in a dream,
of a creation rich in organic forms, a glance at the present state of the
Barentz Isles impresses us with the gloomiest feelings.

10. “Before us lies this small greyish brown fragment of the earth. The
cold, level ground is covered with sharp-edged pieces of rock, which
appear to be as it were macadamised, so closely are they rammed together.
Here and there, about a fathom’s length from each other, lie brownish
green masses like mole-hills. When we examine them more closely, each
mass resolves itself into a vast number of small plants of the same
species (_Saxifraga oppositifolia_), whose little stalks are covered with
dark green leaves, which are alive, and also with brown leaves, which
have been dead for years and years, but wither in the cold much more
gradually than with us. From this small heap, tender rosy blooms raise
their little heads, bidding defiance to the bitter snowy weather which
sweeps over the miserable plain. Another species of saxifrage (_Saxifraga
cœspitosa_), with shorter stalks and yellowish-white flowers, growing in
thick clumps, forms, together with the first-named variety and the more
rarely appearing _Saxifraga rivularis_, the hardiest representatives
of this family of plants so frequently found in the Polar regions. If
to these we add _Draba arctica_ with its little yellow flowers, forming
in valleys large patches of sward, the yellow flowering poppy (_Papaver
nudicaule_), and a rare willow (_Salix polaris_), which with some few
leaves peeps forth from the soil, we have described the whole Flora of
that desolate waste, in which a mere passing glance would scarce detect
the existence of vegetable life among the débris of rocks and the heaps
of snow. Mosses are found here and there in the moister fissures of
rocks, and especially on the coast, where old drift-wood, or the bones
of whales or other animals, afford the nourishment they need, and in
some places the mosses spread themselves out into small carpets. Lichens
love to shelter under the clusters of the different kinds of saxifrage,
though sometimes they are found by themselves. Of this class we will
mention merely the so-called Iceland moss (_Cetraria islandica_),
and a reindeer lichen (_Cladonia pyxidata_); the few other forms are
nearly related to those mentioned, and belong to the so-called creeping
lichens. One peculiarity of the Flora of the far north, which we have
already mentioned, is their growth in clumps. Only thus can these tender
organisms maintain their existence against the stern elements; and this
indeed is a characteristic of all Arctic creation, which is seen in the
animal world also, when its means of nourishment are hard to find. We
will point only to the herds of reindeer, of lemmings, of walruses, of
seals, &c., lastly to the vast flocks of birds; all of which illustrate
the principle: _common danger begets common defence_.”

11. Our involuntary leisure at the Barentz Isles enabled us to make
some precautionary preparations for our future contests with the ice;
for a ship may be crushed by the ice and sink in a few minutes, as had
happened some days previously, not far from us, to the yachts _Valborg_
and _Iceland_. Provisions and ammunition for four weeks were got ready,
and each man was entrusted with a special service, if it should ever come
to this extremity. To guard against the dreaded pressures of the ice,
heavy beams were hung round the hull of the vessel, so that the pressure
on the ship might be distributed over a larger surface, and the vessel
itself be raised instead of crushed. Our space on deck, somewhat limited
at first, had been considerably enlarged, although our numerous sledges,
our stock of drift-wood, and the rudder which had been unshipped, formed
inconvenient obstacles, while the chained-up dogs occasioned some
unpleasant surprises to those who had not succeeded in gaining their
affections. These poor animals, without protection, suffered much from
the cold rough weather which now prevailed, though subsequently some
provision was made for their comfort. Sumbu and Pekel, the two Lapland
dogs, were the most hardy, and slept without stirring, even when they
were completely covered with snow. It was only after a long and stout
resistance that the dogs became accustomed to the flesh of seals; at
first they growled at every one who offered it to them.

[Illustration: FORMATION OF THE DEPÔT AT “THE THREE COFFINS.”]

12. Aug. 14, we were threatened by the advance of an enormous line of
pack-ice, which inclosed us in the little “docks” of the land-ice, and
caused the _Isbjörn_ to heel over. In the evening a bear came near
this vessel, which was shot by Professor Höfer and Captain Kjelsen. On
the following day, with the help of the dogs and sledges, we removed
over the land-ice to “The Three Coffins” the provisions which were
to form the depôt: 2,000 lbs. of rye-bread in casks, 1,000 lbs. of
pease-sausages in tin cases. These were deposited in the crevice of a
rock and secured against the depredations of bears. We felt assured of
the conscientiousness of Russian or Norwegian fishermen, that they would
make use of these provisions only under the pressure of urgent necessity.
This depôt was intended to be the first place of refuge, in the event of
the ship being lost.

[Illustration: THE “TEGETTHOFF” AND “ISBJÖRN” SEPARATE.]

13. Both ships were dressed with flags, and round one common table we
celebrated the birthday, Aug. 18, of the Emperor and King, Francis Joseph
I. On Aug. 19 we fetched some drift-wood from the land, and saw from a
height an “ice-hole” stretching to the north at no great distance from
the coast. As we returned to the ship we came across a bear, which,
being assailed by so many hunters at once, took to flight. Aug. 20, some
changes in the ice seemed to make navigation possible, and we forthwith
went on board the _Isbjörn_ to bid adieu to our friends. It was no
common farewell. A separation to those who are themselves separated
from the world moves the heart to its depths. But besides this, in
bidding adieu to Count Wilczek, we felt how much we were indebted to
him, as the man who had fostered the work we were about to undertake,
who dreaded no danger while providing for our safety in the event of a
catastrophe to the expedition. Our high-minded friend was at this moment
the embodiment of our country, which, honouring us with its confidence
and trust, demanded that we should devote all our energies to the high
objects of the expedition. Often afterwards did this adieu return to our
memories. With a fresh wind from the north-east we passed the _Isbjörn_
as we steamed towards the north, while this vessel, veiled in mist, soon
disappeared from our eyes.

[Illustration: THE “TEGETTHOFF” FINALLY BESET.]

14. Our prospects, so far as the object of our expedition was concerned,
had meantime not improved. To cross the Frozen Sea to Cape Tscheljuskin
in the present year was not to be dreamt of, and yet the thought of
wintering in the north of Novaya Zemlya was positively intolerable. The
navigable water was becoming narrower every day, and the ice seemed to
increase in solidity, especially in the neighbourhood of the coast. In
the afternoon of this day we ran into an “ice-hole,” but in the night
barriers of ice stopped our further progress. As usual, the ship was
made fast to a floe, the steam blown off, and we awaited the parting
asunder of the ice.[16] Five walruses who had been watching us from a
rock as we entered that ill-starred “ice-hole,” sprang into the water and
disappeared.

15. Ominous were the events of that day, for immediately after we had
made fast the _Tegetthoff_ to that floe, the ice closed in upon us from
all sides and we became close prisoners in its grasp. No water was to be
seen around us, and _never again were we destined to see our vessel in
water_. Happy is it for men that inextinguishable hope enables them to
endure all the vicissitudes of fate, which are to test their powers of
endurance, and that they can never see, as at a glance, the long series
of disappointments in store for them! We must have been filled with
despair, had we known that evening that we were henceforward doomed to
obey the caprices of the ice, that the ship would never again float on
the waters of the sea, that all the expectations with which our friends,
but a few hours before, saw the _Tegetthoff_ steam away to the north,
were now crushed; _that we were in fact no longer discoverers, but
passengers against our will on the ice_. From day to day we hoped for
the hour of our deliverance! At first we expected it hourly, then daily,
then from week to week; then at the seasons of the year and changes of
the weather, then in the chances of new years! _But that hour never
came_, yet the light of hope, which supports man in all his sufferings,
and raises him above them all, never forsook us, amid all the depressing
influence of expectations cherished only to be disappointed.



CHAPTER III.

DRIFTING IN THE NOVAYA ZEMLYA SEAS.


1. At the end of August the temperature in the Frozen Ocean is generally
at the freezing point of the Centigrade thermometer, but this year (1872)
it was constantly six degrees below it. A cold bleak air enveloped us,
there was abundance of snow, the sun showed himself rarely, and for
some days he had sunk, at midnight, under the horizon. The ship and her
rigging were stiff with ice, and everything indicated that for us winter
had begun. As the masses of ice which inclosed us consisted only of small
floes, we were led to hope that the strong east winds would soon disperse
them. But the very contrary really happened, for the low temperatures,
the calms, and falls of snow, bound the floes of ice only the more
closely together, and within a few days congealed them into one single
field, in the midst of which the ship remained fast and immovable. Our
surroundings were monotonous beyond description,—one vast unattractive
white surface, and even the high-lands of Novaya Zemlya were covered with
freshly fallen snow.

2. To reach the coast of Siberia under these circumstances had become
an impossibility, and even in the event of our being liberated, the
search for a winter harbour in Novaya Zemlya would be a matter of peril
and difficulty. Yet we calculated confidently on this contingency and
employed our enforced inactivity in completing our preparations for
sledge journeys during the autumn, although we could not but feel, that
their importance must be of secondary interest and value in a country
so well known as Novaya Zemlya. Meantime we drifted slowly along the
coast in a northerly direction and apparently under the influence of
a current, which has been often observed on the northern coasts of
Novaya Zemlya. But the gloom of our situation, as we became conscious
of our captivity, was more distinctly and painfully felt. On the 1st of
September the temperature sank nine degrees below zero (12° F.), and
the few and limited spaces of open water round our floe disappeared.
The sun now remained six hours below the horizon, and the formation of
young ice in a single night often reached such a thickness, that we soon
perceived that our last hope for this year lay in the setting-in of heavy
equinoctial storms to break up the ice-fields.

[Illustration: ATTEMPTS TO GET FREE IN SEPTEMBER.]

3. On the 2nd of September a fissure running through our floe reached
the after-part of the _Tegetthoff_ and opened into a “lead,” and even
our floe partially broke up; but this availed us nothing, for the ship
itself remained fast on a huge fragment. During the night of Sept. 3, the
after-part of the _Tegetthoff_ was gently raised for the first time by
the pressure and driving from beneath of the ice; yet of the formidable
nature of such pressure we had as yet no presentiment. Though our
situation seemed desperate, it was not attended by immediate danger, and,
condemned as we were to inactivity, we found the amusement and occupation
we needed in skating on the young ice, which covered many of the
newly-formed ice-holes between the ice-floes. Besides the duty of making
and recording meteorological observations, the training of the dogs, the
bringing ice to the kitchen to be transformed into water, the manufacture
of oil, expeditions on foot to explore the country, were the only forms
in which our energies could be exerted. Absolute loneliness surrounded
us; even the Arctic sea-gull (_Larus glaucus_) and the grey stormy petrel
(_Procellaria glacialis_, L.) of the polar regions, were but rarely seen,
and a bear, which, Sept. 5, came within forty paces of the ship, was
driven away by the awkwardness of our hunters. The cold became more and
more intense and the weather more gloomy. Sept. 2, the cabin lamp had to
be lit for the first time about half-past nine o’clock, and on the 3rd we
began to heat the interior parts of the ship, the temperature of which
had been for some time at zero; and on the 11th, the first fiery belts
of the Aurora flamed in the northern heavens. On the 9th and 10th, there
was a very heavy storm from the north-east, which drove us back for a
short time towards the west, and partially broke up our floe, but all the
efforts of the next week to destroy the connection of what remained by
sawing and blasting proved unsuccessful. Blasting with powder, whether
above or below the surface-ice, proved ineffectual. Even old fissures
in the ice appeared to defy further disruption, segments which had been
laboriously made by sawing, froze again almost immediately, and even
the application of steam was powerless to set our floe in motion and
force the breaking-up of the parts which had been sawn through. It was
of no avail that, up to Oct. 7, we kept open a trench round the ship, by
destroying in the day the ice which had been formed during the night: the
expected disruption of our ice-field never happened. Dark streaks in the
heavens still proclaimed that we were in the neighbourhood of open water,
and though they seemed only to indicate “leads” of no great breadth or
extent, they helped to sustain our hopes. But these were soon doomed
to be disappointed, for even these “leads” closed up, and _at the same
time the temperature fell to an unusually low degree_. On the 15th of
September we had 15 degrees of cold, and on the 19th the temperature fell
18·6 degrees below zero (C.). To add to this, there were frequent falls
of drifting snow. As long as fissures remained we had opportunities of
seal-hunting, but by the end of the month the “ice-holes” were overspread
with spongy ice, which hindered the movements of our boats within them.
The alternate openings and closings of the water-ways around us seemed in
our monotonous life a harmless spectacle, for the lofty walls of piled-up
ice had not as yet for us the language of imminent and threatening
dangers.

[Illustration: SEAL-HUNTING—SEPTEMBER 1872.]

4. Sept. 22, there was a fissure in the ice about thirty paces from the
ship, and we quickly put on board all the materials which were lying on
the floe, believing that the moment of our deliverance had come. But no
such moment came, nor did the equinoctial storms which we expected set
in; _we continued to drift still further to the north_; and on Oct. 2, we
had passed the seventy-seventh degree of north latitude. In the beginning
of this month a storm, which lasted but a short time, opened up a large
“ice-hole” near the after-part of the ship, and forthwith we set to work
to open a passage through our floe in order to reach it, but two days
afterwards this “ice-hole” also closed up. Yet amid all our mishaps we
forgot not on October the 4th—the name-day of his Majesty the Emperor
Francis Joseph I.—the homage which was due to our noble and gracious
Sovereign. The ship was gaily dressed with flags, and a rifle-match,
in which watches and pipes were the prizes, scared away for a short
afternoon the sad impressions of the moment.

[Illustration: SHOOTING AT A TARGET, OCTOBER 1872.]

5. Encounters with polar bears afforded us much excitement. On the 6th
of October our first bear was killed and divided among the dogs, for as
yet we had not learnt to regard the flesh of these animals as the most
precious part of our provisions. A fox also, the first seen during this
expedition, showed himself during the previous night. He had evidently
come from Novaya Zemlya, and his curiosity had led him close to the
ship, from whence he was driven by the dogs. It now became indispensable
for everyone who left the immediate neighbourhood of the ship to carry
arms with him, and the neglect of this precaution had sometimes rather
ludicrous, at other times somewhat serious, consequences. On the 11th
of October I left the ship unarmed, and with no other companion than
our Lapland dog, Pekel, to employ myself in the harmless occupation of
piling up a tower of ice. Working as I was in a stooping position, I was
unconscious of what was immediately around me, when on a sudden the loud
barking of Pekel caused me to raise myself, and I saw a bear quite close
before me. Shaking his head and making a snuffling noise, he came on
towards me. In the expectation that some of the people engaged on deck
would see my critical position, I contented myself with shaking my fist
at him, unwilling to reveal any weakness to my enemy. As this, however,
seemed to produce no effect, I cried out repeatedly, “A bear!” At last
I saw Klotz, who was on deck, go to the stand of arms, but with such
stoical composure, that I ceased to trust to others, and left to the
bear, who had now advanced to a distance of about fifteen paces from me,
the glory of forcing his enemy to take to flight.

6. In the first days of October the temperature rose considerably, the
thermometer standing a little below zero (C.). This was due to south-west
winds, and to the temporary extension of the “ice-holes” in our immediate
neighbourhood. The days now became shorter, the sun surrounded with
red masses of clouds set behind barriers of blackish-blue ice, and
an ever-deepening twilight followed his disappearance. Sept. 29, a
“snowfinch” flew from the coast of Novaya Zemlya to the ship, hopped
about the deck for a little time, and after delighting us all by his
little song, again left us. Some few sea-gulls still wended their flight
to the spaces of water in our neighbourhood. Skimming over the top of
the mast, they seemed to gaze down upon us, and then with a shrill cry
darted away like arrows towards the south. There was something melancholy
in this departure of the birds; it seemed as if all creatures were
retiring from the long reign of night which was before us. In order to
divert our attention from the dreadful monotony of our captivity by some
occupation in the open air, we fell on the plan of building houses of ice
round the ship. The activity of a building-yard reigned on our ice-floe;
heavy ice-tables were broken or sawed through, the dogs in the sledges
carried the fragments to their appointed places, and with these blocks we
raised crystal walls and towers. Snow, mixed with sea-water, furnished an
inexhaustible source of the most excellent mortar; and while we worked
laboriously at these meaningless erections, we earned at least by our
labour the reward of sleep free from care.

[Illustration: PARHELIA ON THE COAST OF NOVAYA ZEMLYA.]

7. As we drifted helplessly northward, the coasts of Novaya Zemlya
receded gradually from our gaze. Hitherto we had lain close to the land,
which with its rounded mountains and valleys filled with glaciers seemed
a miniature of Alpine scenery. Daily almost the gigantic luminous arcs
of parhelia stood above it, the usual precursors of stormy weather or
heavy falls of snow. Towards the north and north-east the country becomes
flatter, and runs into glacier-wastes little raised above the level
of the sea. The topography of the northern parts of Novaya Zemlya is
complete confusion. The only survey which exists—that of Lütke—extends no
further than Cape Nassau. The maps of the Barentz Isles are frequently
in contradiction with fact, and their correction is extremely desirable.
Though this land was of no value for our object, yet it was still land,
and it seemed also to us, drifting as we did, the symbol of the stable
and immovable. But now it was gradually disappearing from our eyes.
During September we had moved slowly, but with October we drifted at a
greater rate, so that by the 12th of this month we saw nothing but a line
of heights some thirty miles off, towards the south. At last every trace
of land disappeared from our gaze; a hopeless waste received us, in which
no man could tell how long we should be, or how far we should penetrate.



CHAPTER IV.

THE “TEGETTHOFF” FAST BESET IN THE ICE.


1. Autumn was passing away, the days were getting shorter, and in our
immediate neighbourhood no movement in the ice was perceptible, save that
we had drifted continuously towards the north-east; sometimes, though
rarely, a fissure in the ice grew to the proportions of an “ice-hole,”
only, however, to be quickly frozen over and present a surface for
our skates. There lay the frozen sea, the picture of dull, hopeless
monotony; shelter there was none. Our floe, though it seemed to combine
the conveniences of a winter harbour, could not stand the test of closer
observation, the illusion of such a notion must be short-lived. But
many signs now indicated the insecurity of our position. Fields of ice
in our neighbourhood cracked and split asunder, and piled-up masses
floated round us, silent preachers, as it were, of the destruction which
ice-pressure could produce.

2. A change, however, was soon to come over the scene. On the evening of
October 12 we imagined that the cabin lamp oscillated, and consequently
that our floe was in motion. On the same night we were conscious
of a violent movement in the ice. A dreadful day was the 13th of
October,—a Sunday; it was decisive of the fate of the expedition. To
the superstitious amongst us the number 13 was clothed with a profound
significance: the committee of the expedition had been constituted on
February 13; on the 13th of January the keel of the _Tegetthoff_ had
been laid down; on the 13th of April she was launched; on the 13th of
June we left Bremerhaven; on the 13th of July, Tromsoe; after a voyage
of 13 days we had arrived at the ice, and on the 13th of October the
temperature marked 16 degrees below zero (C.). In the morning of that
day, as we sat at breakfast, our floe burst across immediately under the
ship. Rushing on deck we discovered that we were surrounded and squeezed
by the ice; the after-part of the ship was already nipped and pressed,
and the rudder, which was the first to encounter its assault, shook and
groaned; but as its great weight did not admit of its being shipped, we
were content to lash it firmly. We next sprang on the ice, the tossing
tremulous motion of which literally filled the air with noises as of
shrieks and howls, and we quickly got on board all the materials which
were lying on the floe, and bound the fissures of the ice hastily
together by ice-anchors and cables, filling them up with snow, in the
hope that frost would complete our work, though we felt that a single
heave might shatter our labours. But, just as in the risings of a people
the wave of revolt spreads on every side, so now the ice uprose against
us. Mountains threateningly reared themselves from out the level fields
of ice, and the low groan which issued from its depths grew into a deep
rumbling sound, and at last rose into a furious howl as of myriads of
voices. Noise and confusion reigned supreme, and step by step destruction
drew nigh in the crashing together of the fields of ice. Our floe was
now crushed, and its blocks, piled up into mountains, drove hither and
thither. Here, they towered fathoms high above the ship, and forced the
protecting timbers of massive oak, as if in mockery of their purpose,
against the hull of the vessel; there, masses of ice fell down as into an
abyss under the ship, to be engulfed in the rushing waters, so that the
quantity of ice beneath the ship was continually increased, and at last
it began to raise her quite above the level of the sea. About 11.30 in
the forenoon, according to our usual custom, a portion of the Bible was
read on deck, and this day, quite accidentally, the portion read was the
history of Joshua: but if in his day the sun stood still, it was more
than the ice now showed any inclination to do.

3. The terrible commotion going on around us prevented us from seeing
anything distinctly. The sky too was overcast, the sun’s place could
only be conjectured. In all haste we began to make ready to abandon the
ship, in case it should be crushed, a fate which seemed inevitable, if
she were not sufficiently raised through the pressure of the ice. About
12.30 the pressure reached a frightful height, every part of the vessel
strained and groaned; the crew, who had been sent down to dine, rushed
on deck. The _Tegetthoff_ had heeled over on her side, and huge piles
of ice threatened to precipitate themselves upon her. But the pressure
abated, and the ship righted herself; and about one o’clock, when the
danger was in some degree over, the crew went below to dine. But again a
strain was felt through the vessel, everything which hung freely began to
oscillate violently, and all hastened on deck, some with the unfinished
dinner in their hands, others stuffing it into their pockets. Calmly
and silently, amid the loud sounds emitted by the ice in its violent
movement, the officers assumed and carried out the special duty which
had been assigned to each in the contemplated abandonment of the ship.
Lieutenant Weyprecht got ready the boats, Brosch and Orel cleared out the
supply of provision to be taken in them; Kepes, our doctor, had an eye to
his drugs; the Tyrolese opened the magazine, and got out the rifles and
ammunition—I myself attended to the sledges, the tents, and the sacks for
sleeping in, and distributed to the crew their fur coats. We now stood
ready to start, each with a bundle—whither, no one pretended to know! For
not a fragment of the ice around us had remained whole; nowhere could
the eye discover a still perfect and uninjured floe to serve as a place
of refuge, as a vast floe had before been to the crew of the _Hansa_.
Nay, not a block, not a table of ice was at rest, all shapes and sizes
of it were in active motion, some rearing up, some turning and twisting,
none on the level. A sledge would at once have been swallowed up, and
in this very circumstance lay the horror of our situation. For, if the
ship should sink, whither should we go, even with the smallest stock
of provisions?—amid this confusion, how reach the land, thirty miles
distant, without the most indispensable necessaries?

4. The dogs, too, demanded our attention. They had sprung on chests, and
stared on the waves of ice as they rose and roared. Every trace of his
fox-nature had disappeared from “Sumbu.” His look, at other times so
full of cunning, had assumed an expression of timidity and humility, and,
unbidden, he offered his paw to all passers by. The Lapland dog, little
Pekel, sprang upon me, licked my hand, and looked out on the ice as if
he meant to ask me what all this meant. The large Newfoundlands stood
motionless, like scared chamois, on the piles of chests.

5. About 4 P.M. the pressure moderated; an hour afterwards there was
a calm, and with more composure we could now survey our position. The
carpenter shovelled away the snow from the deck in order to inspect
the seams. They were still uninjured. The knees and cross-beams still
held, and no very great quantity of water was found in the hold. This
result we owed solely to the strength of our ship and to her fine lines,
which enabled her to rise when nipped and pressed, while her interior,
so well laden as to become a solid body, increased her powers of
resistance. Everything was again restored to its place, so that it was
possible to go up and down the cabin stairs without great difficulty,
and in the evening the water in the hold, which had risen 13 inches,
was pumped out to its normal depth of 6 inches. We went down into the
cabin to rest, but though thankful and joyful for the issue, our minds
were clouded with care and anxiety. Henceforth we regarded every noise
with suspicious apprehensions, like a population which lives within an
area of earthquakes. The long winter nights and their fearful cold were
before us; we were drifting into unknown regions, utterly uncertain of
the end. When night came, we fell asleep with our clothes on, though our
sleep was disturbed every now and then by onsets of the ice, recurring
less frequently and in diminished force; but daily—and for _one hundred
and thirty days_—we went through the same experiences in greater or
lesser measure, almost always in sunless darkness. It was, however, a
fortunate circumstance for us that we encountered the first assaults of
the ice at a time when we were still able to see; for instead of the calm
preparations we were able to make, hurry and confusion would have been
inevitable had these assaults surprised us amid the Polar darkness.

[Illustration: AN OCTOBER NIGHT IN THE ICE.]

6. Early in the morning of Oct. 14 we all met at breakfast, but on every
face there lay an expression of grave thoughtfulness, for each of us was
contemplating the long perspective of those dreary nights, in which we
should drift without a goal in the awful wastes of the Frozen Sea. The
speedy restoration of our floe was now our most earnest desire. It was
only severe frost and heavy falls of snow—as we vainly imagined—which
could cement the chaos of broken fragments around us and form from them
a new floe; for as yet we had not learnt by experience, that severe cold
in itself, unaccompanied with wind, is sufficient to break up the fields
of ice, from the contraction which it causes. We deluded ourselves with
another consolation—we imagined that the ice-pressures would cease as
soon as we passed the eastern extremity of Novaya Zemlya, and that in the
Sea of Kara we should drift without encountering the pressures, due, as
we conceived, to our nearness to land. But vain also was this hope, for
we were drifting not into the Sea of Kara, but towards the north-east.
We should have found, even in that sea, that pressures from the ice may
occur within the Frozen Ocean, however, as well as at its coasts. The
masses of ice which caused our disasters probably came from that sea.

7. The time subsequent to this crisis was full of painful and anxious
moments, but a chronological description of the events of each day,
involving a mere repetition of our sad impressions, would be wearisome to
the reader. I will, therefore, transfer from my journal such portions of
it as most forcibly express the thoughts that passed through the minds of
the handful of men on board the _Tegetthoff_ during those terrible days:—

“_October 14._—About half-past eight o’clock in the evening a new fissure
in the ice appeared astern of the ship; a strain was felt throughout her
timbers; in a moment every one in his fur dress and with his bundle in
his hand was on deck: so will it be, perhaps, throughout the winter—what
a life!

“_October 15._—All had slept in their clothes. Fresh pressures from the
ice were felt about eight o’clock in the morning, not so powerful as on
the 13th, but of such force that all sprang from their berths and within
a minute again stood ready on the deck. Much ice had been forced under
the after-part of the ship, which was raised up by the pressure. When
all was calm every one set to work to make a bag to contain the gear he
meant to take if the ship should be crushed. Mine contained the following
articles: one pair of fur gloves, one pair of woollen gloves, a pair of
snow spectacles, six pencils, a rubber, three note-books, the journal of
my Greenland expedition, a book of drawings, ten ball-cartridges, two
pairs of stockings, a knife, a case of needles and thread. On the 13th
we had neglected to provide ourselves with maps of Novaya Zemlya; two
of these I now included among my stock of necessaries. Six Lefaucheux
rifles, four Werndl-rifles, two thousand cartridges, two large and two
smaller sledges, a tent for ten, one for six men, two great sleeping
sacks, each for eight, and a smaller one for six men, were placed in the
boats. Although all these preparations would have been quite vain if
the ship had sunk with the ice in motion to crush us, we must, for our
mutual encouragement, keep up the appearance of believing in them. About
six o’clock in the evening the full moon rose, like a copper coin fresh
from the mint, above our horizon on the deep blue of the heavens. In the
evening the ice was at rest, and for the first time for some days we
ventured to undress on going to bed.

“_October 16._—Slept without care or disturbance till two o’clock in
the morning, when pressure from the ice again set in, and all rushed on
deck. Some of the crew threw out on the ice the antlers of a reindeer of
Novaya Zemlya,—for according to a superstition of the seamen the horns
of a reindeer are the generators of mischief! The ice again calm, and
I fell asleep from exhaustion; but about half-past five in the morning
there was a new pressure of about twenty minutes’ duration, and almost as
fearful as on the 13th of the month. The exceeding haste with which every
one rushes up from below as soon as the ship begins to strain, shows the
effect which the noise makes on us; it is impossible to become accustomed
to it; every one runs on deck. Again the ice rests, but about half-past
seven in the morning, another pressure, which almost tore away the beams
protecting the hull and the davits to which they were fastened. The ship,
however, rights herself. To-day the ice which overhung our bulwarks was
dug away to prevent masses of it falling on the deck. In the evening,
diminished pressure from the ice; at night, glorious moonlight scenery;
nothing more peaceful, but nothing more illusive, than such a scene at
such an hour.

“_October 17._—All quiet during the night till Lusina came to announce,
with a voice as from the grave, that the ship was making more water,
sixteen inches in the forepart, eleven inches amidships. East wind, with
heavy drifting snow-storms—during the day once only a strain of short
duration was felt in the ship, as a new fissure opened in the piled-up
ice on our starboard quarter.

“_October 18._—Our anxieties somewhat abate and our watchful state of
preparation to leave the ship relaxes, and most of us determine once
more to undress for the night. After several weeks the sun, which had
been obscured by the weather, becomes visible, rising 2° 25′ above the
horizon; the temperature stands at -20° F., and our latitude is 77° 48′.

“_October 19._—Straining in the ship; the sun rose about a quarter past
eight, but was soon veiled in frosty vapours.

“_October 20._—The hull of the ship is still without its necessary
protection of ice and snow, while we are wrapt in furs and wear
reindeer-shoes and felt-boots. In the evening a faint mock moon was
visible.

“_October 21._—At night we were alarmed by a loud sound, and in few
minutes all were on deck with their fur clothes on—a fissure had opened
on the starboard side of the ship, connecting itself with that which had
been formed astern of the ship. In an hour this fissure had widened about
four feet, and we worked for some hours by the light of lamps to fill it
up with snow and pieces of ice. The low temperature (-21° F.) led us to
expect that this chasm would be bridged over without further effort on
our part. The moon stood surrounded by a vast halo in the heavens and
illuminated the awful loneliness of our abode. Once more a calm! When
any one comes down from the deck into the cabin, the eyes of all are
involuntarily turned upon him to read in the expression of his face what
is going on above, and each dreads to hear it said, that the ice is in
motion. In the afternoon, when the fissure closed, we heard the old dull
sound from the ice, and the ship strained violently, and all were on deck
ready to leave. About nine o’clock in the evening the motion of the ice
was again felt. Uncertain and full of fears as to what the night might
bring forth, we go early to rest; no one knows how short that rest may
be. Even Klotz lays aside his stoical calmness, and the philosophical
dignity of his remarks departs when his comrades spring from their berths
and rush on deck with their bundles. The frozen pumps are daily thawed
by boiling water; to-day the shaft of one of them broke, through the
excessive strain put upon it.

[Illustration: THE MOON WITH ITS HALO.]

“_October 22._—During the night, motion in the ice. At 9.30 A.M. the
sun rose, and attains its meridian altitude at 1° 41′. In the evening
the fissure in the ice again opens. Rents and small ‘ice-holes’ are all
round us, and frosty vapour fills the air. To-day the skull of a bear was
thrown out on the ice, the crew asserting that mischief comes from the
possession of it!

“_October 23._—During the night violent movement in the ice; the sound
produced resembles the noise of a fleet of paddle-wheel steam-ships,
steaming now with full, now with half power. The height of the sun to-day
above the horizon was a little above one degree, its form was distorted
by refraction into an egg-like shape, and its edges were in constant
vibration.

“_October 24._—The daylight is now so feeble that the lamps have to be
lighted during the day, with the exception of two or three hours in the
forenoon. Many of the crew are suffering from frost-bites on their hands,
in consequence of their exposure in removing the unnecessary rigging, and
in the preparations to facilitate the removal of our stock of provisions
in the event of our being forced to abandon the vessel.

“_October 25._—In the afternoon we made an attempt to drive the dog
sledges, but the snow, in spite of the low temperature, lay in such
masses between the small hummocks and on the few level places, that
they sank deep into it. It is storms of wind only that harden the snow,
and for some time we have had calms or light breezes. In the evening
there was a movement in the ice astern of the ship, accompanied with the
highest soprano tones. The noise the ice makes in its pressure very much
resembles the piping and howling of a storm among rocky cliffs or through
the rigging of a ship. About half-past ten at night, the oscillating
movements of the ice, occurring at definite intervals, made it appear
as if they arose from a swell of the ocean. The ship groans and creaks
constantly; indeed, creaking and groaning are weak expressions for such a
noise. Once more all are ready. We begin to fear that the ice will never
rest.

“_October 26._—Pressure throughout the whole night. Armed and provided
with lanterns, we used the sledges to remove two boats, 150 logs of wood,
fifty planks, and a supply of coals, to the port side of the vessel, and
chose a stronger floe, on which to build a house of refuge. Tired and
exhausted, we fell asleep, in spite of the straining and creaking of the
vessel.

[Illustration: OUR COAL-HOUSE ON THE FLOE.]

“_October 27._—The sun at noon was scarcely visible above the horizon. At
night of the same day a strong wind from the south-east opened a fissure
on the starboard side of the vessel and about 150 paces from it, which
grew into the dimensions of an ‘ice-hole.’

“_October 28._—To-day the sun took leave of us. Only with its upper
edge had it appeared above the horizon, and sent towards us its mild
beams like the consoling glance of a departing friend. The coal-house
is finished. But what reliance can be placed on such an abode in such a
position? A storm may carry away the planks which form its roof; sparks
from a fire may set fire to its walls and consume it; and at any moment,
through a pressure opening up an abyss beneath, it may sink and be
engulfed. Two o’clock in the afternoon, the groaning sound comes from
the piles of ice around us; our floe appears to twist somewhat, and the
pressure of the ice will probably soon begin.

“_October 29._—During the night a noise in the ice, which, though it did
not further disturb us, was yet witness enough that it is ever ready to
disturb us. The sun no longer appears; only a rosy light at noon in the
heavens.

“_October 30._—At half-past three o’clock in the morning there was a
dreadful straining and creaking in the ship: at once we sprang out of our
berths, and stood on deck with our fur garments on, and with our bags as
before. New fissures had appeared which rapidly enlarge themselves; the
two boats and the coal-house are now surrounded by up-forced masses of
ice and separated from us. Then a pause! There is however no real repose,
and the least sound on deck, the falling of anything heavy—at other times
quite unnoticed—alarms us into the expectation of new onsets. At noon, as
we sate at dinner, there was renewed and excessive straining in the ship,
and even in the cabin we heard such a rushing sound in the ice without,
that it seemed as if the whole frozen sea would the next moment boil and
rise in vapour. During all the afternoon the noise continues, and all
the fissures send forth dense vapours, like hot springs. During the day
no quiet for reading or working, and every night almost our sleep is
disturbed by a horrible awaking within a great creaking, groaning coffin.
Men can accustom themselves to almost anything; but to these daily
recurring shocks, and the constantly renewed question as to the end and
issue of it all, we cannot grow accustomed.”

8. There is however such an intolerable monotony in my diary, that,
to spare my readers, I thus, in a few words, resuming its contents,
describe our situation:—“One of us, to-day, remarked very truly, that he
saw perfectly well how one might lose his reason with the continuance
of these sudden and incessant assaults. It is not dangers that we fear,
but worse far; we are kept in a constant state of readiness to meet
destruction, and know not whether it will come to-day, or to-morrow, or
in a year. Every night we are startled out of sleep, and, like hunted
animals, up we spring to await amid an awful darkness the end of an
enterprise from which all hope of success has departed. It becomes
at last a mere mechanical process to seize our rifles and our bag of
necessaries and rush on deck. In the daytime, leaning over the bulwarks
of the ship, which trembles, yea, almost quivers the while, we look out
on a continual work of destruction going on, and at night, as we listen
to the loud and ever-increasing noises of the ice, we gather that the
forces of our enemy are increasing.”



CHAPTER V.

OUR FIRST WINTER (1872) IN THE ICE.


1. In the beginning of November we were already environed by a deep
twilight; but our dreary waste had become of magical beauty; the rigging,
white with frost, stood out, spectre-like, against the grey-blue of
the heavens; the ice, broken into a thousand forms and overspread with
a covering of snow, had now assumed the cold pure aspect of alabaster
shaded with the tender hues of arragonite. Southward at noon we saw veils
of frosty vapour rise into the carmine-coloured sky out of the fissures
and “ice-holes,” in which the water seemed to boil.

2. All our preparations for wintering had now been completed. Lieutenant
Weyprecht struck the top-masts to diminish pressure from the wind; some
sails were still kept set, in order that the ship, in the event of her
being set free, might at once get under weigh. The fore-part of the ship
only could be covered in as a tent, for the preparations to abandon her
in case of need compelled us to leave her after-part uncovered. There,
in perfect order, lay all the materials we meant to take with us, our
provisions, ammunition, tents, sledges, &c. The ship was surrounded with
a wall of snow and ice, which we constantly restored, whenever it was
injured by pressure from without, and her deck was gradually overspread
with a mantle of snow, which contributed, however, to maintain an equable
warmth in the ship. Our distance from land rendered it impossible to
cover the deck with a layer of sand, which would have prevented the
melting of the snow from the warmth of the ship.

[Illustration: THE TWILIGHT IN NOVEMBER, 1872.]

3. The temperature of November rose once only—about the middle of the
month—considerably; but, except on that occasion, the thermometer stood
with tolerable regularity below -13° F., and on the 20th of the month
it reached its minimum at -33° F. Winds, from whatever quarter they
might blow, constantly raised the temperature, because the colder air
was thus modified by the warmer which lay above the open spaces of
sea-water; calms were accompanied by a rapid intensification of cold.
Wind, increased drifting, pressure, and the formation of fissures—all
these are naturally connected. New openings were quickly covered with
young ice, which presented a smooth surface when formed by less intense
cold, but when the temperature fell lower its saline contents were exuded
in a moist, tough layer, which lay on its surface about an inch thick. In
this state of the ice, sledge-travelling was rendered more difficult,
and even walking was far from easy; for it is only under a temperature
ranging from -4° F. to -13° F. that this layer is frozen. The incessant
rending of the ice-sheet, by exposing the warmer surface of the sea,
tends to mitigate the cold, while, on the other hand, the freezing of
these fissures augments the quantity of ice.

[Illustration: SUMBU CHASED FOR A FOX.]

4. In the beginning of the month our nights were dark, and it was only
occasionally that the light of the aurora and meteors visited us with
their fleeting splendours. Although in clear weather day was still
distinguishable from night, yet the darkness, even at noon, was so
great, that mists could not be seen, but felt only, and it was no longer
possible, without the light of a lantern, to make even the slightest
sketch, or to take aim with the rifle. Hence, when we met with bears we
could not be certain of our aim, if they were at any distance from us,
and, on one occasion, Sumbu was mistaken for a fox, chased, and but for
my coming up would have been shot.

[Illustration: WANDERINGS ON THE ICE IN OUR FIRST WINTER.]

5. The first days of November passed away without any new disturbance
from the movement of the masses of ice, and our feeling of security grew
apace, and with it our hopes revived, never again to leave us entirely,
not even when the pressures returned, as they did too soon. Once more
the fields of ice, firmly pressed together, were rent asunder; fissures
opened out, and shone in the moonlight like rivers of silver. The night
of Nov. 20 was one of extreme anxiety. A mountain formed of piles of
broken ice bore down on us amid a fearful din, threatening to bury the
ship. Silent, and conscious of our utter helplessness, we watched this
gigantic heap of crashing ice-tables drifting nearer and nearer, crushing
as it advanced the heaviest pieces of ice with a noise which echoed
through our ship. Escape seemed impossible: and Providence alone arrested
its career. This night the crew received each an extra glass of grog to
obliterate the impression of this terrible crisis.

6. With the exception of books, we had no other amusement than short
expeditions, never extending beyond a mile from the ship, in which we
were accompanied by all the dogs. We generally set out with two small
sledges, and, when the moon was not shining, with our rifles ready to
fire, for the darkness and the utter absence of open spaces on the ice
imposed the utmost caution against bears. At a very short distance
we could see nothing of the ship, and only by our footsteps on the
snow could we make out where we were and find the way back. In these
expeditions we were exposed to another danger—the risk of being cut off
from the ship by the breaking-up of one of the drifting floes. Even the
dogs felt the insecurity of recently-formed ice, and put their feet on it
with fear and hesitation, and only by compulsion. There seemed to be a
cunning agreement among them to shirk the work altogether; for they often
rushed away into the coal-house, and threw the harness of the sledges
into inextricable confusion.

7. December came, but it brought no change in our situation. Our life
became more and more monotonous; one day differed in no respect from
another, it was but a mere succession of dates, and time was reckoned
merely by the hours for eating and sleeping. The ice, however, did not
share in the universal repose. It was never weary of threatening; no day
elapsed without movement on its part. My journal records December 1, 8,
9, 19, 20, 21, 24, 26, 28, 29, 30, and 31, as days of special disturbance
and agitation. On the 20th, as we were talking in the coal-house of the
approaching festival of Christmas, a sudden violent movement of the ice
surprised us, and rushing out we found that the floe on which the house
stood was breaking up. With all haste we endeavoured to save as much as
possible of the coal and materials, and moved them close to the ship. The
minimum temperature of December was -26° F.; the mean of the whole month
amounted to -22° F.; and the extreme of cold, -33° F., was reached on the
26th. A few days before Christmas the temperature rose to a little below
-13° F. It may be observed that the lower temperatures were registered
during the prevalence of winds from the south-east, and the higher during
winds from the north.

8. When the moon returned in the middle of December, our sledge
expeditions were extended to a distance of 1½ miles from the ship, over
snow and hummocks, to recently frozen ice-holes, the lonely beauty of
which, edged with dark masses of ice, in the distance, and lying under
the clear silver light of the moon, filled us with feelings of profound
melancholy. On returning from one of these expeditions to our vessel,
after we had unharnessed the dogs, we heard loud barks from Sumbu, and
looking round saw a bear close beside him, which Orel managed to shoot
dead when he was not above five paces from the rope-ladder on the port
side of the vessel. He was at once cut up, the dogs meanwhile looking
on with profound attention; and in reward for his watchfulness, Sumbu
was indulged with an extra good feast—the heart and tongue of the bear,
which, as yet, we ourselves had not learnt to eat and enjoy. On the
18th, however, he encountered our heavy displeasure for the offence of
frightening off a fox, which had ventured to come very near the vessel.

[Illustration: ENCOUNTER WITH A POLAR BEAR.]

9. When there was no moon it was perfectly dark, even during the day; but
on December 14, in a very clear forenoon, we saw in the south a tender
orange segment of light, three or four degrees above the horizon, edged
with green, sharply defined against the dark sky, and when the moon,
high in the heavens, faced this arch of light, a peculiar faint twilight
was observable. But generally there was no difference between the light
of midday and the light of midnight. The heavens were usually overcast,
and the light of the aurora, during the few minutes of its greatest
intensity, seldom exceeded that of the moon in its first quarter. But
how deep would be the night of the Polar regions, if the land, instead
of being white with snow, were covered with forests! On December 20 we
were unable, even at noon, to read anything but the titles of books of
the largest type; a man’s eyes were invisible at the distance of a few
paces, and at fifty even the stoutest ropes of the ship were scarcely
discernible. The effect of the long Polar night—when the range of the
light of a lamp is the whole world for man—is most oppressive to the
feelings; nor can habit ever reconcile those who have lived under the
influences of civilization to its gloom and solitude. It can be a
home only to men who spend their existence in eating and drinking and
sleeping, without any disturbing recollection of a better existence. The
depression was made more intense by the consciousness that we had been
driven into an utterly unknown region and with our eyes bound. Work,
incessant work, was the only resource in these circumstances.

[Illustration: ICE-HOLE COVERED WITH YOUNG ICE.]

10. Again from my journal I reproduce some passages which express the
feelings which passed through our minds—through mine at least—during this
season of the _Tegetthoff’s_ first winter in the ice:—“_December 21_—The
middle of the long night. It is noon, and, though nothing can be lighter
than the colour of all that surrounds us—of the snow—yet it is as dark
as midnight. Nothing but a pale yellow sheen hovers over the south. The
sun has sunk below the horizon 11° 40′, and we should have to ascend
a mountain eighteen and a half (German) miles high in order to behold
it. Nothing is to be seen, neither bears nor men, and we only hear the
steps of those who are near us. We see but the confused outline even of
the ship, as she drifts hither and thither with the floe, a prisoner in
the fetters of the ice, the sport of winds and currents, carrying her
further and further into the still and silent realm of death. A definite
object, with hope to inspire them, raises men above toils and troubles
of every kind; but exile like ours, when the sacrifice seems useless,
is hard to be borne. An inexorable ‘No’ lays its ban on every hope, and
daily struggle for self-preservation is our lot. If we attempt to fathom
destiny, our utmost hopes are liberation from our icy captivity some
time next summer, and the reaching the coast of Siberia. Siberia a hope!
And yet how changeable are the feelings when the reign of monotony is
interrupted! The moon is up—darkness exists no more. In the North the
moon is an event—it is life, everything almost; it is the only link which
connects us with the far-distant home. As its beams fall on the meanest
forms, diamonds blaze forth in its light from the snow and the frost,
and the soul feels the beauty of the transformation. She looks down on
us like a returning friend that watches over us, and unfolds bewitching
forms and magic images to cheer us. Two weeks ago she rose above the
horizon, first as a blood-red disk, then paled as she climbed higher and
higher, till she stands out the clear, silver-bright, full moon.”

11. Christmas had come; the season when in the forests of our
far-distant home the branches of the pine-trees are heavy laden with
snow, and which ever comes back with the memories of the days of our
youth, and with the remembrances of our families and absent friends.
Only for a short time, about noon, we were made uneasy by a movement and
pressure of the ice. But the alarm passed away, and we gathered together
for a choice and gorgeous feast, both on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day,
and each of the cabin-mess had a bottle of good wine to himself. Carlsen
and Lusina were our guests. Each of the crew received half a bottle of
wine, together with a quarter of a bottle of “artificial wine,”[17] and
in addition an allowance of grog, so weak, however, that even a baby
might have drunk it without harm. Dried fish, roast bear well kept and
seasoned, nuts and the like, contributed in their way to heighten the
joyous feelings which, this day at least, animate even the most miserable
of men. The dogs, at other times so insatiable, had for once enough and
to spare, and carried off the fragments to bury them in the snow. The
contents of a chest full of presents, which we had brought with us, were
distributed by lot, and great was the delight of those who won a bottle
of rum or a few cigars.

12. The last day of the year 1872 afforded us no very happy thoughts
as we looked back on its events; it had been to us a year of
disappointments. The comparison drawn between our actual condition
and the expectations we had so ardently cherished seemed full of the
bitterest irony. This day also, about noon, a pressure from the ice,
which lasted but a short time, alarmed us all, and we rushed on deck to
make our usual preparations. The enemy, however, passed away without
further disturbance, and cheerfully and socially we awaited the first
hour of the new year. With a bottle of champagne, one of the two still
left, we meant to greet its coming in with that hopefulness of mind
which seems inextinguishable in all the changes and chances of life.
But the champagne, alas! proved a delusion. Klotz, the Tyrolese, in one
of his brown studies exposed this precious bottle for four hours to a
temperature of -19° F., and when he produced it the bottle had burst and
the wine was thoroughly frozen. At midnight the crew serenaded us, and
we afterwards marched forth in a body with torches, and walked round
the ship, whose rigging glowed in the light of the tarred torches. The
frosted fur garments of the men seemed edged with shining light, and a
red glare fell on the masses of ice.

[Illustration: CARLSEN MAKES THE ENTRY IN THE LOG.]

13. To-day, too, we allowed the dogs to descend into our cabin,—the
constant object of their longings. The poor animals were so dazzled by
looking at our lamp, that they almost took it for the sun itself; but
by and by their attention was directed exclusively to the rich remains
of our dinner, the sight of which appeared completely to satisfy their
notions of the wonders of the cabin. After behaving themselves with great
propriety, they again quietly withdrew, all except Jubinal, who appeared
to be indignant at the deceitfulness of our conduct, inasmuch as we had
allowed him to starve so long on dried horse-flesh and on crushed bear’s
head, while we revelled in luxury. He accordingly made his way into
Lieutenant Brosch’s cabin, where, discovering a mountain of macaroni, he
immediately attacked it, and warned us off from every attempt to rescue
it, by growling fiercely till he had finished it all. Sumbu, however,
with much levity, suffered himself to be made drunk by the sailors with
rum, and everything which he had scraped together for weeks and buried in
the snow and so carefully watched, was stolen from him by the other dogs
in one night.

14. Another year had now glided away. Looking anxiously into the future,
we shortsighted mortals saw the fulfilment of our highest wishes in being
liberated from the floe. In the pious manner of the whalers of the Arctic
Ocean, Carlsen wrote this day in the log: “Önsker at Gud maa vere med os
i det nye aar, da kan intet vare imod os—_May God be with us in the new
year and nothing can be against us_.” In this new year, with its happier
issues, was verified again the eternal truth, that Providence acts in
ways not to be fathomed, and that it is folly in man to mark out his own
path beforehand according to his own mind. The sun of this new year,
whose beams were to light us to new lands and discoveries, was still low
beneath the horizon.



CHAPTER VI.

LIFE ON BOARD THE “TEGETTHOFF.”


1. Like a spectre in white, the ship stretches out her arms, as if in
silent complaint, towards the heaven, and rests, in cruel mockery of
her destiny, on a mountain, not of water, but of ice, and seems like a
building ready to fall in. A wall of snow and ice surrounds her hull,
snow lies thick on her deck, and her rigging is stiffened in icy lines.
Could we see through her sides, we should then behold four-and-twenty
men parted off in two spaces under the suns of two lamps. Let us inspect
them, and first the cabin of the officers in the after-part of the ship.

2. Neither few nor slight were our struggles to remedy the various
inconveniences which we encountered; their enumeration here is meant
to aid the experience of future adventurers. Though our arrangements
were far from complete or perfect, we had never to complain of the
discomforts which previous expeditions, even the second German expedition
to Greenland, had to endure from the excessive condensation of moisture.
Against this enemy we protected ourselves by the snow wall which we
raised round the ship, by covering in the deck windows of the cabin, by
lining our quarters with vulcanized india-rubber, by sheds built over the
cabin stairs, all acting as condensers. Before, however, I enter on the
unavoidable inconveniences to which we were exposed by the formation of
ice, or by damp and the sudden change of temperature, I would preface my
remarks by observing, that all these discomforts and inconveniences are
to be endured far more easily than would seem possible to the reader,
and that life on board a ship of a North Pole expedition, under normal
circumstances, is free from annoyances worthy of mention.

[Illustration: THE “TEGETTHOFF” IN THE FULL MOON.]

3. It is a matter of the last importance to keep the air pure and
wholesome, and to maintain an equable warmth in the quarters of
the officers and crew. The accumulation of moisture and consequent
congelation in them is an inconvenience which requires incessant
watchfulness to avert.[18] The destruction of the snow wall which
surrounded the ship increased the condensation; for that snow covering
was nothing but a greatcoat for the ship and those on board. In the
beginning of November 1872 the frost on the bulk-heads of the berths,
and on those parts of the cabins which were impervious to warmer air,
was very perceptible. The bed-clothes were frozen at night to the
sides of the ship, the iron knees of the beams—not, alas! covered with
felt—gleamed like stalactites, small glaciers were formed under the
berths, and even in October the skylight was frozen, inches thick. Every
rise in the temperature caused this formation of ice to fall down like a
“douche,” and with the opening of a door a white vapour, even in October,
streamed along the deck. We prevented the increase of moisture by cutting
the openings in the deck, over which we placed two chimneys, each a foot
high and covered with a thin metal cap. We boarded up the skylight,
leaving a lid by which to air the cabin. But in spite of all this the
variations of temperature within our quarters were extraordinary. If
the heat of the air in the middle of the cabin and on a level with our
heads rose from -2° F. to 76° F.—our usual mean temperature—it amounted
on the floor to a little above 34° F., and fell during the night not
unfrequently below freezing-point.

4. But the greatest inconvenience perhaps with which we had to contend,
arose from the removal of the protection of the tent roof, which was
stretched over the after-part of the ship. The want of this prevented
our walking on the deck in bad weather, and it also hindered perfect
ventilation, which could only be secured, with the constant heat which
was maintained below, by keeping the deck windows open. Warming the air
from underneath the floor of the cabin would possibly be preferable
to the best stove. We had the stove of Meidingen of Carlsruhe, the
excellence of which had been tested on the _Germania_. This stove
consumed only 20 lbs. of coals daily, with a thermometer at -13° F.,
and after the adoption of certain arrangements to save the fuel, its
consumption amounted to only 12 lbs. Even in the coldest period of the
winter we never consumed more than 4½ cwt. in a month. The lighting of
the messroom and quarters of the men was effected by petroleum, the daily
consumption of which amounted to about 2⅔ lbs. Altogether there were in
the ship two large and two small lamps, besides the deck-lantern, which
were burning day and night. The berths were lighted with train-oil; for
special purposes, such as drawing, candles were used.

5. The stove had one troublesome enemy in the shape of a hole, as big as
a man’s head, in the door of the mess-room, through which a cold stream
of air poured itself; and as the ship dipped forward considerably, and
the hearth was only about a foot above the floor of the mess-room, this
stream filled the whole space with a lake of cold air from three to four
feet deep. Hence, while in the berth close by the stove there was a
temperature ranging between 100° F. and 131° F., in the other, there was
one which would have sufficed for the North Pole itself. In the former
a hippopotamus would have felt himself quite comfortable, and Orel, the
unhappy occupant of it, was often compelled to rush on deck, when the
ice-pressures alarmed us, experiencing in passing from his berth to
the deck a difference of temperature amounting to 189° F. In the other
berth of the mess-room, water, lemon-juice, and vinegar froze on the
floor. Those who occupied it, as they lay in beds, or those who sat at
the table to read, were in a cold bath reaching up to their neck. But
the hole was an indispensable necessity, for it was better to endure
the discomfort even of such a draught than to impede ventilation. Other
causes, too, disturbed the equilibrium of temperature. At night the stove
was sometimes, from sanitary considerations, not lighted, and then all
had to sleep in that cold bath. With the increase of cold and wind, our
inconveniences often assumed somewhat ludicrous forms. Some passages from
my journal will make this clear:—“When any come below the temperature
falls. If the door be opened there rolls in a mass of white vapour; if
any one opens a book which he has brought with him, it smokes as if it
were on fire. A cloud surrounds those that enter, and if a drop of water
falls on their clothes, it is at once converted into ice, even at the
stove. Frequently the upper stratum of air in the mess-room becomes so
heated, that the deck light has to be opened, and then it rises up, like
smoke out of a chimney, to blend itself with the cold air without.”

6. The arrangements of the officers’ mess-room are simple and in harmony
with its purpose. Here stands a large table, used for study and for
meals; the smaller berths, where the officers sleep, are round the sides
of the mess-room—just large enough to enable a man to breathe in. There,
in a recess between two pillars, an untold resource, the library (of
about 400 volumes, chiefly scientific); close beside it the chronometers;
and lastly, the inevitable evils, the medical stores, ranged round the
mast. By the side of scientific works stand Petermann’s _Mittheilungen_;
and between Milton’s _Paradise Lost_ and Shakespeare’s immortal works,
a whole tribe of romances, which were read with never-tiring delight.
Our instruments, too, frosted with ice, are here, and a chest containing
our journals. Once a month a cask, filled with wine—the chemical
wine—concocted of snow, alcohol, tannin, sugar, and glycerine, was placed
there. Dr. Kepes was not only our physician, but our wine brewer. One
thing more we have to mention, which, alas! incommoded us much too
little—wine; that is, wine made in Austria, from grapes. As we have
already mentioned, the want of room in the cabin prevented our laying in
a large stock, and the supplies we had were frozen in a cellar below the
mess-room, about the middle of December, for the temperature of even this
place was about 16° F. or 14° F. Each, however, had a bottle of rum as an
allowance for eighteen days. But quite inexhaustible was the supply of
our common drink—melted snow—a great jar of which, filled to the brim,
stood always on the table. Under the cabin were our supplies of alcohol
and petroleum, accessible only by well-fitting pipes, but possible
volcanoes as far as our safety was concerned. From the accumulation of
so many combustible materials, together with 20,000 cartridges, and with
several lamps constantly burning, it is clear that the danger of fire was
great. But once only had we an alarm from this source—when Carlsen caused
us much trepidation by accidentally discharging a rifle in the cartridge
magazine.

7. Let us now turn to the persons who occupied this mess-room. Marola,
the steward, lights the lamp, and kindles the fire, and awakens those
who were not already awoke by the smoke from the stove, with the cry,
“Signori, le sette e tre quarti, prego d’alzarsi;” and after a pause of
a quarter of an hour, during which the sleepers seem carefully to deny
their existence, he startles this silence of indifference by the second
call: “Colazion’ in tavola.” Out of every berth now comes forth its
occupant, each in picturesque costume; costumes teach us how superficial
after all is civilization in man!

8. The day’s work begins. The watch, as ever, walks the deck, lest
the ice should slip away from the world unobserved; in the mess-room
meanwhile calculations or drawing or writing are in full operation. Our
daily meals consist of a breakfast of cocoa, biscuit, and butter; of a
dinner of soup, boiled beef, preserved vegetables, and _café noir_, and
of tea in the evening, with hard biscuit, butter, cheese, and ham. I
would recommend _potage_ instead of _tea_ for the evening meal to all
future expeditions. Many of the articles of food must be thawed before
the process of cooking begins, the greater part of the provisions
being frozen as hard as iron. The tins with preserved meat stand for
hours in boiling water, and the things for supper on the cabin stove,
in order to be thawed. A plate of cheese that steams, butter as hard
as a stone, which has thrown off the salt it contained in great lumps
from the action of frost, a ham as hard as the never-thawed ground of
the Tundra of Siberia, form an icy repast, specially if we use knives,
which are so cold that they often break with the least exertion of
force. I will here notice the sanitary importance—insisted on by Parry
and Ross—of fresh bread, which the cook in an Arctic ship should be able
to bake about twice a week. On board the _Tegetthoff_ we used at first
Liebig’s “baking-powder,” but this from being kept too long gave such
a disagreeable taste to the bread, that we gave it up and contented
ourselves with a defective leaven.

[Illustration: DIVINE SERVICE ON DECK.]

9. Every Sunday at noon we celebrated Divine Service. Under the shelter
of the deck-tent, the Gospel was read to the little band of Christians
gathered together by the sound of the ship’s bell, in all that grave
simplicity which marked the worship of the early Christian Church. The
Service over, we then sat down to the Sunday dinner, which was graced by
a glass of wine and cake. Carlsen and Lusina were our guests by turns.
Carlsen always appeared in his wig, trimmed with extra care, and on the
high festivals of the Church decorated also with the cross of the order
of St. Olaf. Lusina, our excellent-boatswain, was ready to talk with
enthusiasm on any subject whatever, prefacing his stream of words with
some sententious remark or with some far-fetched introduction. During
our meals the conversation turned on our plans for the future; we talked
of Polar bears; we discussed the question of the existence of Gillis’
Land and the possibility of our reaching Siberia; but very seldom did
we venture to speak of what filled the minds of all—our captivity in
the ice. Political combinations formed a favourite theme; and as we had
some old numbers of the _Neue Frei Presse_ on board, they furnished an
inexhaustible source of topics for conversation. The events of the year
1870 were related as the latest news, and we thought anxiously of the
issue of the war between Germany and France, and feared lest Austria
should be compelled to take part in it.

10. After dinner came the hour for contemplation; in our lonely berths
and by the side of our beds we sat down to brood—to listen to our
watches beating seconds. The English Arctic expeditions, during the long
period of their enforced leisure, found a great source of amusement and
distraction in theatricals. But the ships of these expeditions had far
larger crews than the _Tegetthoff_, and the men could be more easily
spared for these recreations. But there were other reasons why we could
not think of following the example of the English. Our situation during
the first winter was far too serious for such things, and no other place
for the theatre was at our disposal except the barricaded deck; and we
should have had to sit there with a thermometer marking from 25° to 37°
of cold, on the centigrade scale, and see how the actors and the audience
suddenly rubbed their frost-bitten feet with snow! There was one other
potent reason for this renunciation—our performances must have been in
four different languages.

11. Monotonous beyond all monotony is life in the long night of a Polar
winter, and exile can never on earth be so entire as here under the
dreadful triumvirate—darkness, cold, and solitude. In such a life, the
man who surrenders himself to idleness, or even to sleeping during the
day, must necessarily be utterly demoralized. In fact, nothing can be
more destructive to an expedition wintering in the Arctic regions than
the indulgence of mental or bodily lassitude. The real ground of the
failure of the attempts made in earlier times to winter in Jan Mayen and
other places in the far North was probably the utter want of discipline.
There is, however, a widely spread, though mistaken view, that the long
day of Polar lands is oppressive to man. Nothing is more untrue; for
not continual light, but constant darkness, is distressing. Continual
daylight heightens the energies and vital powers; and yet, in our own
first winter, it was less the darkness which wore us than the perpetual
anxiety; when our greatest consolation was found in the Arabic proverb,
“_In niz beguzared_” (_This too will pass away_), inscribed on our cabin
wall.

12. After supper, before going to bed, we smoked our cigars in the shed
over the cabin steps, with a thermometer from 25° to 37° below zero C.,
and talked pleasantly over bygone days, though our thoughts were not
unmixed with gloomy forebodings, as we heard ever and anon the ominous
sounds that issued from the moving ice. Existence on board a straining
and groaning ship resembles life over a volcano. It was only after we had
been some time in this ice-covered wooden grotto that the temperature
rose, through our own heat, a few degrees, and it was certainly some
testimony to the excellence of my down-quilted clothes that I could wear
them in the cabin without being distressed by the heat, and yet I was
able to sit the whole evening in this freezing hole without suffering
from cold. A train-oil lamp sends out almost more smoke than light,
and when the snow drifted, we had to contend with the importunities of
the dogs, who seemed to regard the deck shed as a great dog-kennel.
With a sudden rise of the outer temperature this shed became utterly
uninhabitable, for its coating of ice then melted and fell down like
rain.

13. The effect of the long winter night is even greater on the body than
on the mind, because of the insufficient opportunities for exercise.
Middendorf contrasting the influence of climate on men remarks:—“I
consider travels in cold regions, even in the most unfavourable
conditions of climate, to be far less dangerous to life than travels
under the tropics. The former certainly are unutterably more miserable,
but as certainly less deadly. I say this notwithstanding the danger which
threatens ships when they penetrate far within the realms of ice. We
are never secure from sudden and deadly attacks of illness in tropical
countries, but the longer we remain in them the less is the danger;
whereas the high North deteriorates the constitution of the blood, and
after three winters, very few can stand a fourth.” To the influences of
Polar life detrimental to health must be added the constant hindrance to
perspiration from wearing an extra quantity of woollen clothing—more or
less hurtful as it is more or less waterproof—the want of fresh animal
and vegetable food, and last, but not least, the periodic departure of
light and warmth.

14. Our sanitary condition during the two winters we spent on board the
_Tegetthoff_ was not altogether satisfactory. Scorbutic affections of
the mouth and diseases of the lungs appeared sometimes in distressing
shapes, and scarcely a day passed in which we had not one or two on the
sick-list. I believe, however, that our trying situation had far more to
do with these evils than the southern blood and breeding of our people.
The incessant watchfulness and care of Dr. Kepes left nothing undone
which would counteract the evil influences to which we were exposed. The
berths of the crew were changed in rotation, and those which were exposed
to the greatest accumulation of ice were dried by warm air conveyed
through movable pipes. Want of exercise, constant change of temperature,
depression of mind, the periodic scarcity of fresh meat, were the
causes of the scurvy. In our first winter it appeared only in the more
crowded quarters of the crew. It was then also that the first symptoms
of lung-disease appeared in Krisch, the engineer, which he probably
contracted from “catching cold.” From that time he liked to sit by the
stove and always complained of cold. Our supplies of preservatives
against, and remedies for scurvy were rather limited, although we had
at our disposal several hundred tins of preserved vegetables, a cask of
cloud-berries (_Rubus chamæmorus_), which we had brought from Tromsoe,
and above a hundred bottles of lime-juice. Wine also is an important
preservative; we therefore served out to the crew, notwithstanding our
small supply, twice a week, not Kepes’ artificial, but real wine—at the
rate of two bottles for eighteen men. No doubt scorbutic symptoms would
have been far more general and severe, had we not been fortunate enough
to shoot no less than sixty-seven Polar bears, a larger number than
had fallen to any previous expedition. It was more a sign of our good
intentions to leave nothing undone or untried in our efforts against
this malady, than any actual service it was to us, that we sowed cress
and cabbage—radishes did not succeed—in a bed which we suspended over
the stove. It was interesting, however, to observe how the little plants
of cress, with every change of position, always turned to the light of
the lamp, growing to the height of three inches, and in spite of their
brimstone colour retaining the true cress flavour.

15. The use of the bath tends greatly to promote health, for without
it the skin of the body has no other stimulant; but the insecurity of
our position rendered bathing sometimes a somewhat doubtful enjoyment.
I remember many cases, when some of us, while bathing in the cold dark
washing place in lukewarm water an inch deep, were alarmed by a sudden
pressure of ice. Ultimately we gave up this practice, finding that it
produced a troublesome amount of damp.

16. To a stranger, who should have visited us during this winter, nothing
in the ship would have been so surprising and interesting as a visit to
the quarters of the crew. Except for an hour, from five to six o’clock
in the evening, when they were encouraged to take exercise in the open
air, the rest of their time was spent in school, or in the duties of
the watch, or in the work of the ship. Our supply of Slavonic books was
unfortunately not very ample, and besides, not all the crew were able
to read; the greater therefore was their tendency, like men of southern
climes, to harmless noise, and I believe that some of our people, during
the whole expedition, never ceased to speak. Here I beg to insert some
passages from my journal:—“Passing by the steaming kitchen, we enter
their messroom. Here in a narrow space we find the toilers of the sea
and the mountains—eighteen in number. A little band of Dalmatians who
for the first time encounter darkness and cold, the horrors of which are
increased tenfold to men born and bred in the sunny South. Truly it could
be no little thing to such men to be torn from sleep almost every night
by the movement of the ice, to sit day after day in the long night of
winter without any real intellectual occupation, and yet not to become
demoralized, but remain calm and composed, and ever ready to obey and
oblige. Can anything higher be said in their praise? Those men slept,
each by himself, in a double row of berths; only Lusina the boatswain,
and Carlsen the harpooner, who had circumnavigated Spitzbergen and
Novaya Zemlya, occupied a separate partition. The clatter of the tongues
of so many vehement Southerners was like the sound made by the smaller
wheels of a machine, while the naive simplicity of the grave Tyrolese
came in between times, like the steady beat of a great cog-wheel. It was
a miniature reproduction of the confusion of tongues of Babel. Lusina
speaks Italian to the occupants of the officers’ cabin, English with
Carlsen, French with Dr. Kepes, and Slavonic with the crew. Carlsen
had adopted for the ‘Slavonians,’ as he called our people, a kind of
speech compounded of Norwegian, English, German, Italian, and Slavonic.
The crew, with the exception of the two Italians, speak Slavonic among
themselves. The head of the little German colony is the cook, a Styrian;
his heart is better than his culinary skill, for only too readily he
leaves his work to be done by the stove. There is also among them a
Moravian, Pospischill, the Vulcan of the ship; but we must return to the
predominant race—the Slavonic. There is Lukinovich, a very Harpagon,
always collecting, finding treasures in nails, empty bottles, lamp wicks,
and searching even under the snow for articles wherewith to fill his
sack—the sack which he was one day to leave behind him, much against the
grain, when we abandoned the ship. There is Marola, the steward, and
Fallesich, who had worked at the Suez Canal; these are our great singers.
Then Palmich with his lance, the man whose zeal never bated, and whose
very glance transfixed everything; Vecerina, the Job of the party, and
the merry Titans, Sussich and Catarinich; Latkovich and Lettis, ‘the
philosophers;’ Stiglich, the immovable confessor of passive obedience
and the unlawfulness of resistance; Zaninovich, the ‘pearl;’ Haller the
herdsman and Klotz the prophet. Five of these men had run away from their
wives. Klotz the prophet was under all circumstances, not indeed the
most useful, but the most interesting person of this little community. A
lofty calm worthy of an Evangelist graced his outer man; of still greater
stature than Andreas Höfer, he wore, like him, a large black beard. As
a hunter, a guide, a collector of stones, and a lonely enthusiast, he
had moved about the mountains of his home, leading a life of visions. At
home he was regarded as an incomparably bold mountaineer, and the ropes
of the ship were to him so many convenient foot-paths. His reputation as
a physician in his native land was great, and on board ship he failed
not with his good offices. Haller, his fellow-countryman, shared with
Klotz the office of armourer, and the duties of hunter and driver of the
sledge-dogs; and when we began our sledge journeys, both of them were
ready to relieve others in dragging. Both had served in the army, Klotz
on the Tonale, Haller on the Stelvio, and in 1868 the latter had been
my useful companion when I was engaged in the survey of the Ortler and
Adamello Alps. ‘The philosophers’ of our party, Latkovich and Lettis, had
drawn a fine distinction between the different layers of ice, according
as they contained a greater or less amount of saline matter: _Ghiaccio
della prima_ and _Ghiaccio della seconda qualità_.”

17. To obviate as far as possible the evils of too much leisure among
the men, a school was instituted at the beginning of the January of
the second year; Lieutenant Weyprecht, Brosch, and Orel undertook the
Italians and Slavonians, and I the Tyrolese. To avoid all confusion I
retired with my smaller body of pupils to the shed on deck. Here, with
the thermometer at 25° to 37° below zero C., the seed of wisdom was sown
in the hearts of these sons of nature; but alas! the climate was not
favourable to its growth. After many painful disillusions, the Pole was
ascertained to be the intersection of lines in a point, of which nothing
was to be seen in reality. If in this little lecture-room an exercise had
to be examined, and the scholars were obliged to hold in their breath,
in order that the teacher, who spoke out of a cloud, might be able to
see the slate; or when the pupils engaged in a division sum had suddenly
to stop to rub their hands with snow, was it a matter of wonder if the
school did not flourish exceedingly?

18. The food of the crew consisted principally of preserved meats,
different kinds of pulse, and the products of the chase, amounting on
an average to two bears a week. Bear-flesh, roasted, was liked by all;
the seal was at first despised, till necessity corrected taste. Besides
artificial wine, water was their strongest drink.



CHAPTER VII.

ICE-PRESSURES.


1. When compared with the tortures we endured from the thought that
we were captives in the ice, little to us seemed the dangers which
threatened our existence, though these assumed the appalling form of
ice-pressures. Daily almost the ship had to sustain the attacks of our
old enemy, and when the ice seemed to repose, threatening indications
were not wanting to warn us how short that repose might be. My journal
records a long series of commotions in the ice on almost every day
of January 1873, and even during the pauses the timbers of the ship
continually shook and trembled and creaked. The pressures accompanied by
a low grumbling noise were very great on the 3rd, and lasted till the
oldest ice was shattered, during which our hatchways were displaced. On
the 4th the pressures continued without intermission during the whole
day. But on the 22nd they exceeded all we had hitherto experienced. When
we awoke in the morning, the crashing of the masses of ice was dreadful.
In the messroom we heard a deep, grumbling, rumbling noise—the ship
trembled like a steam-vessel under very high pressure. When we hastened
on deck we were greeted by the long howls which issued from the ice, and
we were soon convinced of the exceedingly formidable character of this
special onset! Ten paces astern of the ship, the ice had been heaved
up in a moment into mountains. With the greatest difficulty, amid the
profound darkness that prevailed, the boats were got on board, and many
stores re-shipped, though some of our coals had to be sacrificed. A tent
formed of sails was engulfed, and our water-hole utterly displaced
by the pressures; it was only after many attempts that we succeeded
in finding a thinner ice-table, which we pierced till we found water.
January 26, again tremendous pressures roused us from sleep. In half an
hour every preparation was made to leave the ship, and I believe that
many of us, while waiting the issue amid the fearful din heard from the
deck, longed that the ship might be crushed, in order to escape from the
torture of continually preparing to depart.

[Illustration: ICE-PRESSURE IN THE POLAR NIGHT.]

2. I will not, however, fatigue the reader with the monotonous rehearsal
of our ever-recurring daily dangers, but will here insert a few passages
from my journal of that date, which will suffice to explain our position:—

“Scarcely asleep after the exhaustion and cares of the day, the timbers
of the ship begin to moan and groan close by our ear, and we awake and
lie listening to the onset of the ice. We hear the step of the watch
on deck crackling on the ice as he paces to and fro; as long as it
is measured and steady we know there is nothing to be feared. Again
that uncanny creaking in the timbers, and the watch comes to announce
to those below that the terrible movement in the ice has begun, and
once more we all spring from our beds, put on our fur clothes, seize
our ready-filled bags, and amid the darkness stand ready on deck, and
listen to the war between the ice and the elements. In autumn, when the
ice-fields were not nearly so large as in the winter, their collision was
accompanied by a deep dull sound; but now, rendered hard and brittle by
the extreme cold, a sound as of a howl of rage[19] was emitted as they
crashed together. Ever nearer come the rushing, rattling sounds, as if
a thousand heavy waggons were driving over a plain. Close under us the
ice begins to tremble, to moan and wail in every key;—as the fury of the
conflict increases, the grumbling becomes deeper and deeper, concentric
fissures open themselves round the ship, and the shattered portions
of the floes are rolled up into heaps. The intermitting howls become
fearfully rapid, announcing the acme of the conflict, and anxiously we
listen to the sound which we know too well. Then follows a crash and
crack, and many dark lines wander over the ice: these are for a moment
narrow fissures, the next moment they yawn asunder like abysses. Often
with such a crash the force of the pressure seems broken; the piles of
ice collapse, like the undermined walls of a fortress, and calm is again
restored. But to-day this was but the commencement, and with renewed
violence a second assault of the ice begins,—then a third, yea a fourth.
Tables of ice broken off from the floes around us rise perpendicularly
from the sea; some are bent under the enormous pressure, and their curved
shapes attest the elasticity of ice. Like a giant in the conflict, a
veteran floe, many winters old, crushes in its rotations its feeble
neighbours, and in turn succumbs to the mighty iceberg—the leviathan of
all ice-forms, which forces its way through a phalanx of opposing masses,
crushing them to pieces as it advances. And in this wild and fearful
tumult a ship—squeezed, pressed, all but crushed, by the ice; her crew
on deck, ready to leave her at a moment’s notice. Boats and sledges,
tents, provisions, arms and ammunition, everything prepared, if the ship
should at last be destroyed—but for what?—for an escape? No one really
thought this possible, though all were ready for the attempt. But again
the conflict ceases, and once more we breathe freely, and can contemplate
the wonderful change that has come on everything round us. A few minutes
have sufficed to create a maze of mountain chains from a plain of ice.
The flat surfaces covered with snow, which we saw yesterday, are gone.
Ice ruins are visible on every side. Abysses gape between the shattered
masses, and show the dark sea beneath. Gradually a calm has crept
over all; equilibrium is reinstated in the desolate realm of ice; new
‘leads’ and ‘ice-holes’ have been opened up, but for the _Tegetthoff_ no
liberation.”



CHAPTER VIII.

THE WANE OF THE LONG POLAR NIGHT.


1. Although the sun was mounting higher, there was no essential change
in the gloom and darkness which surrounded us. In fact we were drifting
during the whole of January towards the north, and were wintering nearer
the Pole than any who had ever preceded us.[20] On gloomy days, noon was
not distinguishable. We were now four hundred miles within the Frozen
Ocean, and had been for five months the sport and play of winds and
currents, and nothing indicated any change in our situation. Yet, in
spite of our desperate position, the first, ever so faint, indications of
the return of light filled us with joy. With a clear atmosphere, January
10, we observed for the first time at noon a decided brightness, and on
the 19th a brilliant carmine was seen in the sky, an hour before noon
on the southern horizon. After a long obscuration from cloudy weather,
the morning twilight increased gradually, and by the end of the month it
was discernible in the forenoon. As the light increased, the signs of
the convulsions were more distinctly seen. Round us there rose piles of
craggy ice, which, hurled up, as from a crater, by the ice-pressure of
the 22nd, kept us in a state of constant fear, lest the ice-walls would
break up and fall in upon us. At a little distance off, nothing was to
be seen of the ship but the tops of its masts: the rest of it was hidden
behind a lofty wall of ice. The ship itself, raised seven feet above the
level of the sea, rested on a protuberance of ice, and, removed from its
natural element, looked a truly miserable object. This ice protuberance
had been formed from a floe which had been often rent asunder and frozen
again, and had been rounded in a singular manner from the under-driving
of the ice and the lateral pressure in its recent movements. In other
respects, also, our environment had been completely changed. Before the
movement in the ice on the 22nd, a narrow strip of level ice wound like
a river through a maze of hummocks, and throughout the winter this had
been diligently used for exercising the dogs. Of this nothing was now to
be seen: walls of ice rose, where a fortnight before our coal-house had
stood: fissures gaped on every side. In every respect the weather during
this month was capricious and unaccountable. In the first two weeks, the
temperature fell several times below -35° F., and on January 8, 13 and
14, quicksilver, exposed to the cold, froze to a solid mass; gin also
froze, and alcohol only maintained its fluid state. Yet, notwithstanding
this low temperature, the snow was always soft; and it continued to be
so, amid all the variations of temperature and the high winds of this
month. January 22 and 23, the temperature rose for a short time to
26° F.; everything in the ship then began to thaw, and a disagreeable
moisture penetrated both our clothes and our quarters. The mean
temperature of this month, in consequence of these abnormal variations,
did not exceed -8° F., and was therefore about ten degrees higher than
might have been expected.

2. The bears had in these last weeks kept at a regrettable distance from
us. On the 12th, however, a very large fellow ventured to come within
ten paces of the rope-ladder on the starboard side. We fired at him with
explosive balls and he fell; but his strength was so great, that even
after these terrible wounds he was able to get up and run. Explosive
bullets, however, are to be recommended for encounters with bears, though
their flight is rather uncertain. A bear-hunt, on the 29th and 30th, had
a somewhat tragical result. About ten o’clock at night, when it was quite
dark, a bear approached the ship, and with the agility of a tiger fell
on Sumbu, who got away very cleverly, and by his loud barking summoned
Krisch, who was then on watch, to his aid. When he was not more than
ten feet from the deck Krisch fired at him and wounded him. The noise
brought some of us at once, and though it was exceedingly dark and the
snow very deep, a useless chase, in which I joined, forthwith began. The
pursuit through the midst of driving snow became weaker; until at last I
found myself alone with Palmich. We could see nothing; and heard only an
occasional howl of pain. We hastened our steps through the whirling snow,
till we saw, by the dim light of our lantern, Matoschkin lying howling
on the ground, and the bear a few steps from him, vigorously assailed
by Sumbu, who seized him by the foot whenever he began to retreat. As
Matoschkin incautiously approached too near, the bear turned, seized
him, and carried him off. To fire with effect was impossible; we were
too far off to take aim with our rifles. The bear continued to drag
the dog along, and at last a puff of wind put out our lantern, and we
soon discovered our inability to keep up with our enemy. Bitterly as we
lamented the fate of the poor dog, whose howls were brought to our ears
by the wind, we had nothing for it but to return to the ship. About noon
next day when it was sufficiently clear, Brosch, the two Tyrolese, and I
set out to ascertain the fate of the dog. The snow was drifting heavily,
and we constantly sank into it as we advanced. After a toilsome walk we
came on traces of blood, which Sumbu followed up, while Gillis timidly
stuck to us. At last, after we had gone on for the third of a mile,
Sumbu came back in a great state of excitement, and then ran on before
us till he stopped at an ice-hummock, where he renewed his angry barks.
We advanced with quickened steps and with our rifles cocked, and when we
were about twenty paces from it the bear came out from behind, apparently
in great astonishment. After several shots the bear fell, but again
gathering himself up he dragged himself along like a walrus, in spite
of his broken spine, with extraordinary activity towards an “ice-hole”
covered with young ice. Two other shots with explosive bullets terminated
his career, and Matoschkin, whose body we afterwards found behind the
ice-hillock, was avenged.

[Illustration: FRUITLESS ATTEMPT TO RESCUE MATOSCHKIN.]

3. The cold set in with great intensity with the month of February and
maintained itself throughout it: the mean monthly temperature being
-31° F. Repeatedly the quicksilver froze, and in the last eight days
it remained solid. Even the petroleum was frozen on the 17th at -49°
F. in the globe of the lamp, though it was throwing out a considerable
heat. The lowest temperature we experienced was on the last day of the
month, -51° F. Notwithstanding the extreme cold, the light had increased
so much that a thermometer, in which the degrees were strongly marked,
could be read off, even on the 3rd of the month, at ten o’clock in the
forenoon without the aid of lamplight; and on the 20th we were able to
carry on our meteorological observations, without any artificial light
at six o’clock in the evening. The ruddiness we observed at noon in the
south grew more and more decided. On clear days we could discern, about
seven o’clock in the morning, a faint twilight, and at noon of February
14 the near approach of the sun was distinctly to be traced by a bright
cloud that was resting over it, though it was still below the horizon.
About the middle of the month there was light enough to cause the
different forms and groups of ice to cast shadows. In spite of the low
temperature, we remained for hours in the open air, though previously to
this period we had ventured on deck for a few minutes only at a time—the
watch of course excepted. But as the daylight increased, we saw also what
a dark, gloomy grave had been our abode for so long a period. All our
thoughts and conversations were concentrated on the returning light of
the sun. The movements of the ice ceased to be a source of dread, though
for several days during the month they had been exceedingly formidable.
In the course of our drifting we had penetrated into a region where never
ship had been before. The following table exhibits the course of the
_Tegetthoff_, as she drifted from August 21, 1872, to February 27, 1873:—

  +--------------------+-------+-------+
  |    Time.           |  N.   |  E.   |
  |                    |  Lat. |  Lon. |
  +--------------------+-------+-------+
  |                    |       |       |
  | Aug. 21 1872, day  |       |       |
  |  when the ship was |  °  ′ |  °  ′ |
  |  beset             | 76·22 | 62·3  |
  | Sept. 1 1872       | 76·25 | 62·50 |
  |   ”   4   ”        | 76·23 | 62·49 |
  |   ”  11   ”        | 76·35 | 60·18 |
  |   ”  14   ”        | 76·37 | 60·50 |
  |   ”  21   ”        | 76·28 | 63·9  |
  |   ”  26   ”        | 76·36 | 64·8  |
  |   ”  27   ”        | 76·38 | 64·4  |
  |   ”  28   ”        | 76·37 | 64·10 |
  | Oct.  1   ”        | 76·50 | 65·22 |
  |   ”   2   ”        | 76·59 | 65·48 |
  |   ”   3   ”        | 77·4  | 66·1  |
  |   ”  17   ”        | 77·50 | 69·22 |
  |   ”  18   ”        | 77·48 | 69·8  |
  |   ”  22   ”        | 77·46 | 69·26 |
  |   ”  31   ”        | 77·53 | 69·12 |
  | Nov.  5   ”        | 77·53 | 69·30 |
  |   ”   9   ”        | 78·15 | 69·42 |
  |   ”  14   ”        | 78·8  | 71·16 |
  |   ”  18   ”        | 78·10 | 70·31 |
  |   ”  28   ”        | 78·13 | 69·48 |
  | Dec.  4   ”        | 78·19 | 69·1  |
  |   ”   8   ”        | 78·21 | 69·2  |
  |   ”  12   ”        | 78·25 | 68·57 |
  |   ”  16   ”        | 78·22 | 67·42 |
  |   ”  19   ”        | 78·13 | 67·11 |
  |   ”  26   ”        | 78·10 | 68·19 |
  | Jan.  2 1873       | 78·37 | 66·56 |
  |   ”  19   ”        | 78·43 | 69·32 |
  |   ”  26   ”        | 78·50 | 71·47 |
  | Feb.  2   ”        | 78·45 | 73·7  |
  |   ”  14   ”        | 78·12 | 72·20 |
  |   ”  19   ”        | 78·15 | 71·38 |
  |   ”  23   ”        | 79·11 |       |
  |   ”  27   ”        | 79·12 |       |
  +--------------------+-------+-------+

4. The inspection of this table shows that the movement of the ship was
retarded as the increasing cold closed the open places of the sea, and
when we fell under the influence of the Siberian ice-drift from east to
west. It may be remarked, too, that we drifted generally straight before
the wind, and that we and our floe during the first four months turned
only one degree in azimuth. By the end of January all the open places of
the sea were closed; and the masses of ice were thus driven one over the
other from their mutual pressure, and pile thus rose upon pile. It seems
probable, also, that wind was the main cause of our drifting, while sea
currents were only of secondary moment. From the beginning of the month
of February we drifted constantly toward the north-west, and from this
deviation in our course we indulged in the hope that we were approaching
the mysterious Gillis’ Land. But at this time the liberation of the ship
in the summer was the sum of our expectations and desires. In fact, there
was not one of us who doubted this eventuality. Fully convinced, as we
were, that our floes, firmly attached to each other, would ultimately
break up and drift southwards, we determined to make them the bearers of
the record of what had befallen us. Hence we threw out, February 14th,
round the ship a number of bottles, inclosing a narrative of the main
events of the expedition from the departure of Count Wilczek up to that
date.



CHAPTER IX.

THE RETURN OF LIGHT.—THE SPRING OF 1873.


1. Though the sun did not return to our latitude (78° 15′, 71° 38′ E.
long.) till the 19th of February, we were able to greet his beams three
days previous to that date, owing to the strong refraction of 1° 40′,
which accompanied a temperature of -35 (F.). To the Polar navigator the
return of the sun is an event of indescribable joy and magnificence. In
those dreadful wastes he feels the force of the superstitions of past
ages, and becomes almost a worshipper of the eternal luminary. As of old
the worshippers of Belus watched its approach on the luxuriant shores of
the Euphrates, we, too, standing on mountains of ice or perched on the
masts of the ship, waited to hail the advent of the source of light. At
last it came! A wave of light rolled through the vast expanse of heaven,
and then—up rose the sun-god, surrounded with purple clouds, and poured
his beams over the world of ice. No one spoke for a time. Who indeed
could have found words to embody the feelings of relief which beamed on
the faces of all, and which found a kind of expression in the scarcely
audible exclamation of one of the simplest and least cultured of the
crew, “Benedetto giorno!” The sun had risen with but half his disk, as if
reluctant to shine on a world unworthy of his beams. A rosy hue suffused
the whole scene, and the cold Memnon pillars of ice gave forth mysterious
whispers in the flood of heat and light. Now indeed with the sun had a
new year begun—what was it to bring forth for us and our prospects? But
alas, his stay was short—he remained above the horizon for a few minutes
only; again his light was quenched, and a hazy violet colour lay over
distant objects, and the twinkling stars shone in the heavens.

[Illustration: SUN-RISE (1873).]

2. While we watched the sun’s return, we had also an opportunity of
looking on each other. How shocked and surprised were we with the change
which had been wrought on us in the long Polar night! Our sunken cheeks
were overspread with pallor; we had all the signs of convalescence after
a long illness—the sharp-pointed nose, the sunken eye. The eyes of all
had suffered from the light of lamps which had burnt for months; those
especially who had used them for hard work. But all these consequences
were of short duration under the beneficent influence of the daylight and
the spring sun, which soon brought colour into our faces. Cheerfulness
gradually returned to all on board the _Tegetthoff_, as we revelled in
the warm beams of the sun. We built a house without a roof, and open to
the south, and thither the healthy and the sick on calm fine days used to
repair from the dreary ship, and sun themselves like lizards. But within
the ship it was still night.

3. The visits of bears again became numerous. February 17th one of about
five feet long was shot very close to the ship, and two days afterwards
a second came near us, but was scared away by the awkwardness of the
hunters. The dogs however pursued him, and we were compelled from fears
for their safety to follow up the chase. The temperature of -33° F.,
and a pretty strong wind against which we had to run in the pursuit,
brought on in some of our party palpitation of the heart and spitting of
blood, and our return to the ship was a matter of some difficulty. On
the morning of the 20th another bear came close to the ship, was fired
at, but missed, and got away. Palmich, Haller, and Klotz immediately
gave chase, though the temperature was -40° F., and the wind high.
After a short time Palmich returned with his face frost-bitten, and the
Tyrolese after several hours, without any success, but with their feet
so frost-bitten that they had lost all feeling in them. The second stage
of the malady had begun, which renders amputation almost a necessity.
For several hours their feet had to be rubbed with snow till sensation
returned, and with returning sensation much suffering; large swellings
as big as a man’s fist rose on their feet, which were reduced only after
the application of ice for several days. Again, in the grey of the
morning of February 22nd a bear came within eighty paces of the ship,
which Sussich, the watch on deck, after several shots, which the animal
seemed not in the least to regard, at last hit and killed. By a wound on
his right forepaw we recognised our friend whom we had hotly chased a
few days before. He was six feet in length, and in his stomach there was
nothing but a small piece of the skin of a seal. Sussich was overjoyed
with his success, and for the whole day tried to drag everyone outside
the ship to show the result of his prowess, “Se mi non era, il copava
tutti,” he added, with a look of contempt on those who had not been so
successful as himself.

[Illustration: THE CARNIVAL ON THE ICE.]

4. Although at the end of February the sun rose with a carmine light
which imparted an indescribable charm to the fields of snow and ice, we
were doomed to disappointment in our expectation of bright and clear
weather in the after-part of the day. Soon after sun-rise, white frosty
mists gathered over the ice-fields, making the sun as he shone through
them a mere ball of light, or completely concealing him. On February
24th we enjoyed the peculiar spectacle of seeing the sun appear, the
temperature being -44° F., distorted by refraction, through the thick
mists on the horizon, as if he were quite flat, beamless, and of a
coppery red. The end of February reminded us of the carnival time of the
land of the South, and the crew appeared in such masques as they could
command; but their masquerading formed a sad and mocking contrast with
the gravity of our position. The men bestowed all their art on “Sumbu,”
who was dressed up as the demon “Lindwurm,” and deported himself in a
manner highly becoming his costume.

5. With the month of March the spring had, in name at least, begun; but
in our sense of the word no spring as yet appeared. Instead of the joyous
gleams of early vegetation, a blinding white waste environed us; instead
of the perfumed breath of flowers and the soft air of spring, there rose
driving clouds of ice-needles; and parhelia of almost daily occurrence
shone in a heavy sleepy fashion through white frosty mists. The
atmosphere was filled with snow; to be convinced of this we had only to
look at the sun when the weather seemed clear and bright. This continual
fall of snow as fine as dust was the cause of the retardation of the
evaporation of the ice. The influence of the sun was so great, that on
March 3 the black-bulb thermometer indicated the unusual temperature of
45° F., and a layer of snow on the bows of the vessel showed evident
signs of diminution. The thermometer, in the sun, rose eight degrees
March 6, and nine degrees two days after. The weather was calm and clear,
and the increasing influence of the sun was a most joyful sensation. A
cube of ice freely suspended showed during the second half of March a
daily diminution of 1/100 of its weight from evaporation; while in the
sea itself its behaviour was the very opposite; the cube of ice, which
was submerged to a depth of ten feet from February 19th to March 5th,
showed at the latter date an increase of its mass, amounting to ¾ of an
inch round its surface. In the beginning and end of March the cold was
so severe, that the thermometer every day for three weeks marked -35°
F. Calms and clear weather, however, characterized this period of the
spring, and snow-drifting and a clouded sky were rare. On the 13th of
March the full moon again appeared in the azure twilight of the western
heavens, and its soft light fringed with silver the dark ranges of ice.
The days became longer, and the shadows cast by the masses of ice were
shorter and more marked, and every one who remained long in the open air
was forced to use snow-spectacles. Small avalanches began to fall from
the rigging, and the masts, spars, and ropes lost their white frosted
aspect. On the 22nd the fore-part of the ship’s hull facing the south was
completely free from snow and its dark colour was visible. On the 29th
the temperature in the sun exceeded the temperature at 9.30 A.M. by 34°
F.; and on the 30th we could for the first time observe the melting of
the snow on the seams of the timber of the ship’s hull. The enumeration
of these events, insignificant as they may appear, will serve to show
with what attention the Polar navigator notes the minutest occurrence due
to the influence of the sun.

6. Welcome, though illusive, harbingers of the returning summer were the
first birds, whose arrival we greeted on the 19th. These were little
divers, which flew over the ship to the open spaces of water amid the
ice, there to seek their food in the countless crustaceæ which abound
in them. Magnificent auroras continued to illuminate our nights; and
although the duration of their intensity was much too brief to serve as a
source of light, there was a charm in these phenomena which their daily
recurrence could not weaken.

7. While under these various influences the health of all on board the
_Tegetthoff_ greatly improved, we were threatened with the serious
calamity of losing our excellent physician, Dr. Kepes, who fell ill on
the 13th of the month. For two weeks we were kept in a state of anxious
fear for him; and our anxieties were increased as we had to treat his
malady without the necessary knowledge and experience. To our great joy,
however, he was spared to us; and our supply of fresh bear’s-flesh was
henceforth reserved for him.

8. For some time the bears had observed a very distressing reserve and
shyness in their visits, On the 15th one came near us, and as Pekel had
for some time announced his approach, he found a long front of rifles
drawn up behind some masses of ice to give him a warm reception. He, as
usual, came on under the wind, showing considerable interest in our
edifices. He then ascended a small ice-crag, and, after balancing himself
carefully, sat down on the top of it, with his snout uplifted, snuffing
all round. This seemed so ludicrous to some of our party that they burst
out into a laugh so loud, that the bear came down from his pinnacle in
evident astonishment, and with much circumspection drew nearer and nearer
till at a short distance from us he fell mortally wounded. He was, alas!
a very small animal, about 5½ feet long, and his stomach was absolutely
empty. On the 30th of March another came close to the ship; the watch on
shore fired at, but missed him, whereupon both the watch and the bear
took to flight.

[Illustration: THE “TEGETTHOFF” DRIFTING IN PACK-ICE.—MARCH 1873.]

9. April at last arrived, and with it the time of icicles, which hung
down from every yard of the ship, and from every rope of the rigging,
from every icy ridge and crag. The melting and decaying of the ice,
though always a source of satisfaction when the question of its breaking
up is discussed, went on, to our impatient desires, with intolerable
slowness. What was it to us that we were able to read even at midnight
on the 2nd of April; that the number of divers and sea-gulls constantly
increased; that on the 6th the difference of temperature between sun and
shade was 18°; that the black-bulb thermometer on the 20th showed 43° F.;
that the sun on the 11th rose about two o’clock in the morning, and from
the 16th remained constantly in the heavens? What did all this matter?
The constant light notwithstanding, we were still environed with the
signs of deepest winter, and the forms and masses of ice collapsed with
a slow deliberation that tortured us. We were no longer to be satisfied
and amused with the spectacle of parhelia, even though the phenomenon
should appear, as it did on the 1st of April, with eight suns. Months
of weary waiting still lay before us; daily we had to arm ourselves
with patience, as, when we came on deck, we discovered the apparently
unchangeable character of our environment, with all its forms, which had
become familiar to us down to the smallest details. Reluctantly condemned
to almost total idleness, we filled up our time with such occupations
as fancy suggested. Some of our people built a tower of ice on a level
part of our floe; others tried their rifles—tried often enough before—at
empty bottles as targets. Along with the Tyrolese I constructed a road
through hills of ice, over passes and ridges, going up and down in
serpentine paths, making a circuit of about three miles round the ship.
The labour of weeks with picks and shovels was expended in making and
preserving it; after each downfall of snow this road had to be dug out
afresh. Our passing and repassing along it through a maze of ice not
only beneficially exercised our bodies, but furnished opportunities for
training our dogs to drag heavy-laden sledges. I continued also to fill
my portfolio with studies of scenery in the ice, and I accustomed myself,
whenever there was no wind, whatever might be the temperature, to draw
for hours together with no other protection to my hands than light gloves.

10. April had begun with a temperature of -38° F.; as the month advanced
it steadily increased. At the end of the month the extreme of cold was
but -20° F. But the weather had now lost the clearness of the early
spring; and constant calms, together with the frequent falls of snow,
undid the work of the few hours of the day on which the sun shone.
The ice was covered with deep snow; on the level we sank ankle deep,
while among the hummocks it was up to our knees. Sledging would have
been impracticable. Among the changes produced by the softening of the
weather, none was greater or more agreeable than the return of daylight
to the cabin, when we took off the covering of the skylight and removed
the tent-roof from the fore-part of the ship. Once more to be able to
read without the dull glimmer of artificial light was an extraordinary
event in our monotonous life. For five months our lamps had been burning
in our mess-room, so that the walls were black with smoke, and it was a
work of no small labour to make them clean and pleasant. The unloading of
the ship’s hold was, however, a far heavier, though necessary task; the
thick crusts of ice which had accumulated on its sides must be removed,
lest the provisions should be damaged by their thawing; and there was no
time to lose, for the temperature in the hold was only 1° below zero. The
provisions, which had been left out on the ice, were again stowed in the
ship, the cessation of the ice-pressures rendering this precautionary
measure useless.

11. Round a ship which has wintered in the ice there is gradually
accumulated a mass of rubbish of all kinds, of which cinders form a
considerable constituent. These, when thrown out in small quantities,
sink at once into the snow, while larger quantities act as a
non-conducting layer. Hence we were surrounded by a maze of holes, big
and little, alternating with plateaus, under which winter still continued
to linger. When thaw-water made its appearance, all this was transformed
into a succession of lakes and islands, which we bridged over by planks.

12. Meantime we began our labours of digging out the ship. We removed
the wall of snow, which had served as an outer garment and protection
during the winter, and the hard-trodden layer which covered the deck
a foot thick. In clearing away from the after-part of the ship, we
discovered that the machinery protecting the screw had been torn away by
the ice-pressures. The mischief done, however, was not considerable; and
as the ship made no water, we consoled ourselves with the thought, that
she had sustained no material injury, though she had lain so long out of
water perched on the floe.

13. The continued cessation of movements in the ice induced Weyprecht
to erect a tent at no great distance from the ship, to carry on in it
observations of the magnetic constants, which were taken on certain
appointed days. On the night of one of such days, Orel, who conducted
these observations, was surprised by the visit of a bear. His shouts
for help brought us on deck, but before we could actually reach him,
the seaman on the watch had killed the bear with an explosive bullet.
Hitherto these animals had shown little courage in the neighbourhood of
the ship, and to shoot them from the deck exposed no one to any danger;
but this incident showed us that we could not count securely on their
actions. Soon after this we had another surprise. Stiglich, the seaman
on watch on shore, suddenly found himself confronted with a bear about
eight paces off. Throwing his cap to the bear, he made a rush for the
rope-ladders of the ship, but fell in his hurry and confusion. Carlsen,
hearing his cries for help, hastened to the rescue, and dexterously shot
the pursuer. A glorious event for Carlsen! who used to tell us strange
stories of his encounters with bears: how he had scared them away with
the glance of his eye; and how once in Novaya Zemlya he had frightened
away a whole pack of them by the magic of his glance. All doubts in
the prowess of his eye were silenced to-day by the more unquestionable
prowess of his rifle. On the 28th of May a bear clambering over the wall
of ice close astern of the ship was shot dead with an explosive bullet.
His stomach was empty, but notwithstanding his leanness, he furnished
more meat than many others, for he was fully seven feet long.

14. At the end of April the force of the winds so loosened the
compactness of the ice, that dark strips hanging above the horizon in
all directions announced the existence of numerous fissures, although
they were invisible even from the masts of the ship. We counted on these
signs with such unshaken confidence, that when on the 2nd of May we heard
in the distance the now familiar sound of the ice-pressures, we heard
them not only without dismay, but as the voice of a joyous message.
Three-quarters of a year had passed away since we were first caught in
the ice—a time laden to us with bitter disappointments to our hopes, and
great dangers to our lives. The hour of our long and ardently desired
liberation seemed at hand. If once we got free, it lay within the bounds
of possibility that we might reach, if not the somewhat mythical Gillis’
Land, then at least the uninhabited Arctic coasts of Siberia. Siberia
had, in fact, become the rosiest of our hopes. Some, indeed, still
indulged in extravagant expectations and counted on the discovery of new
lands, even while they drifted with the ice. But our wishes for the most
part had become so subdued, that the discovery of the smallest cliff
would have satisfied our ambition as discoverers.

15. But Nature’s laws held their own course, undisturbed by our desires.
Snow continued to fall in abundance, and spread its mantle over the ice.
The constant round of downfalls and evaporation was a sad bar to our
hopes. In the beginning of May the snow began to thaw on the surface,
and became soft and sticky. Even in the depth of winter it was never
hard, but like the fine dry grains of driving sand. This change in the
snow, which occurs a fortnight earlier than in Greenland, compelled us to
substitute our black leather boots for those of sailcloth, which we had
hitherto worn. On the 2nd of May the temperature fell to -8° F., but it
now began to rise gradually, so that it sometimes reached the freezing
point about the end of the month, and on the 29th rose five degrees above
it. The mean temperature of the month, however, was not above 16° F. But
the difference of temperature in the sun and the shade became greater and
greater. The thermometer marked -18° F. at 6 P.M. of the 1st of May, and
on the 11th the black-bulb thermometer showed 90° F. at 3 P.M., while
the common instrument gave only 14° F. In the middle of the month, after
the heavy winds fell, we were enveloped with dark fog banks; stray beams
of the sun broke through the warm misty atmosphere, and dark skies were
succeeded by masses of white vapour illuminated by the sun. Just as in
our happier clime, the Arctic April has her alternations of cloud and
sunshine.

16. Hitherto the only birds which had visited us were divers and gulls.
Once only a snow-bunting flew among us, and fearlessly settled on the
ship. On the 24th of May the auks made their appearance, and from that
date we were constantly entertained by the whirring sounds of their
flight. As they keep one direction in their flight, we could shoot those
only which passed over the ship; they were a useful addition to our
table, though they had to be steeped in vinegar to make them palatable.
The majestic Burgomaster Gull appeared somewhat later, and later still
the “Ice-birds” frequented the shores of the lakes around us, and hovered
round the remains of the bears we had shot. These birds settled with the
greatest boldness in the immediate neighbourhood of the ship, and day and
night filled the air with their wild shrill cries.

17. By the middle of March, Krisch, the engineer, had put the steam
machinery in working order, but another month elapsed before the
screw-propeller, which had been frozen fast, was set free; our fears lest
it should refuse to act proved to be groundless. As, however, there was
no prospect of our being able to use steam for some time, it was thought
advisable to dig out and raise the rudder in order to secure it.

18. On the 26th of May a partial eclipse of the sun was visible in our
latitude; but from an error in our calculations we had ante-dated the
commencement of the observation by about two hours and a half. Everyone
on board who had an instrument at his command stood ready to observe the
passage of the moon over the sun’s disk. After waiting for some time in
vain, we discovered the error we had committed as to the time of the
beginning of the eclipse, but in order that the dignity of astronomical
observation might not be degraded in the eye of the crew, we still held
our ground with the telescopes in our hands. Two hours of such suspense
enabled us to feel that there could be no more perfect fulfilment of
the punishment of Sisyphus than being condemned to wait for an eclipse
of the sun which would not come off! At last the eclipse took place,
but not until great disgust had been excited in the minds of men who
were too much inclined to regard the whole thing as a piece of humbug.
At the height of the eclipse about one-third only of the sun’s disk was
obscured, and the sun was so covered with mist that we could look at it
without the use of coloured glasses. The whole duration of the eclipse
was one hour and fifty-six minutes.

19. From the 1st of the month the number of living creatures belonging
to the expedition had been increased by the birth of four Newfoundland
puppies, who passed the earliest days of their youth in a tent erected
on the ice, and artificially heated to the temperature of a European
May. But all our care in rearing this litter was frustrated by one of
these little Polar wretches, who, after sucking his mother till he was
as round as a drum, lay on his brothers as they slept, and stifled them.
This little criminal received the name of Torossy, and soon became the
pet of the crew, and a favourite with all the other dogs. The fame which
he afterwards gained made him an important member of the expedition. All
the dogs had become so hardy during the past winter, that they now slept
outside their kennels, finding the inside too warm for them.



CHAPTER X.

THE SUMMER OF 1873.


1. The time crept away with indescribable monotony. The crew performed
their heavy labours, but of events there were none. The only change in
our position was the constant decay of the buttresses and walls of ice,
until the frozen sea lay like a snowy chaos before us. Pure sharp-edged
ice was nowhere to be seen; the edges were no longer transparent;
evaporation had transformed the surface into a kind of glacier-snow.
June 1, we had the greatest degree of cold of the month, the thermometer
marking 13° F.; but on the last day it rose to 32·2° F.; the mean
temperature being 31·1° F. Every week brought us promises of summer. On
the 1st the black-bulb thermometer reached 98° F.; on the 14th rain fell
for the first time; on the 16th the temperature at 9 o’clock A.M., was
41·5° F., on the 26th 46·4° F., and on the 29th even 50·2° F. On these
days the air seemed to have the pleasant mildness of southern climes, and
when there was no wind we felt an oppressive sultriness. Wreaths of mist
moved along the icy wastes which glowed with sunlight, while the long
dark lines of ice-wall lay in deep shadow. The air was filled with flocks
of birds; day and night we heard the shrill cries of the Robber-gulls,
ever and anon mingled with the barking of the dogs in full pursuit of
them. Flocks of rotges congregated without fear in the narrow basins of
distant “leads;” and the “great gulls,” shunning companionship, sat for
hours on the top of an ice-cliff, or in the middle of a floe.

2. No one who has not actually seen it, can imagine the blaze of light
in the Arctic regions on clear days, or the glow which floats sometimes
over the cold white ice-floes, with their outlines in constant vibration,
while refraction transforms the icebergs into a variety of shapes. The
sun’s power is sometimes so great as to blister the skin in a few hours,
and the glare from snow and ice produces snow-blindness, if the eyes be
not carefully protected. At a little distance the sea appears to be of a
deep black colour, though it still preserves its ultramarine hues in the
narrow “leads;” even the pure blue of the heavens may be called almost
black when compared with the dazzling sheen of the ice. In the middle
of June there was an incessant dripping and oozing in the ice-world,
and streams of thaw-water flowed into the open fissures. By the end of
the month the surface of the ice resembled snow; and even at some depth
it was viscous, instead of brittle and hard as glass, as it is during
the colder season. Streams of thaw-water ran through the softened and
saturated snow. Small lakes were formed on the levels, and swamps of
snow, wearing a traitorous exterior, surrounded their borders. In the
summer of 1873 we observed a vertical decrease of five or six feet in
the thickness of the ice; but this diminution in thickness was from
the surface downwards, while in the sea itself there was little or no
thawing, because the temperature of its surface was still below zero. The
moisture, from which there was no escape, became exceedingly troublesome.
In spite of our stout leather boots we had never the comfort of dry
feet during the whole of the summer, and this we felt the more, as our
labours to free the ship, which we had commenced at the beginning of May,
necessitated our being constantly amid the snow and ice.

3. At the end of May the ship began slowly to settle, and the water rose
between the ice and the hull on the fore-part of the ship. But we soon
discovered that these small changes would not suffice to free us from our
prison-house, but that we must ourselves endeavour to loosen the fetters
which held us fast, if it were only to banish gloomy thoughts of the
future by action of some kind or other. Hence constant digging, sawing,
and blasting on our floe, through May, June, July, and August—labours
in which the whole crew of the ship, with the exception of the sick
and of the cook, took part; labours, alas! which admonished us of the
impotence of man when he contends against the power of Nature. Only on
the port side of the ship were our efforts to dig through the floe at
all successful; on the starboard side the floe had been so enormously
increased by the tables of ice forced upon one another, that we had not
pierced through the ice after sinking a shaft eighteen feet deep; and at
last the water, forcing itself through the pores of the ice, compelled
us to desist from the labour of sinking deeper. The process of sawing
was possible only where we had broken through the ice—that is, on the
port side; yet even there the great thickness of the floe necessitated
the construction of longer instruments, for which the iron casing of
the engine-room had to furnish the material. The difficulty of sawing
increases with the thickness of the ice in an almost incredible manner.
It is easy enough to cut through a floe, four or five feet thick, but to
break up one, eight or ten feet thick, is a matter of great difficulty.
Our saws too, even when they were lengthened, permitted a play of only
a foot; and their twisting, as they cut deep, proved a great hindrance.
Besides, when we had cut to the depth of a fathom, the saws were always
frozen fast, and when we attempted to free them by blasting they were
very often broken in pieces. But even the sections, made with so much
difficulty, often proved to be quite useless, as they were frozen
together again by broken ice left in the cut. Blasting with gunpowder
proved as ineffectual as in the previous year; in fact, the process was
only applicable to ice-blocks which had been loosened by sawing, and
which could not be broken up by the crow-bar alone.

4. By the middle of June we were at last convinced that the thickness
of the ice rendered it impossible to join together, by sawing, the
two-and-twenty holes which we had dug out round the ship. Henceforward
our labours were confined to the formation of a basin at the fore-part of
the ship. Although we saw the impossibility of liberating the vessel, as
long as she rested on a mountain of ice, we hoped that the basin would
help to break up the floe, and that the _Tegetthoff_ would of itself
return to its normal position. The gliding down of the ship, raised as it
was, to its natural water-line might indeed easily end in a catastrophe,
but we braved this peril when we thought of the vain attempts we had
made to free her. Though the ship sunk so much in the course of the
summer, that its height above the water-line was a little more than two
feet in the fore-part of the ship, and three feet in the after-part,
this circumstance in our favour was outweighed by the disadvantage of
the rapid melting away of the ice at its sides. The ship, freed from its
covering of ice, stood so high above it, that in order to guard against
the danger of its overturning we were obliged, in the second half of
the summer, to shore it up by strong timbers fastened to its masts. It
looked no longer like a ship, but like a building ready to fall in! In
the middle of July Lieutenant Weyprecht ordered Krisch, the engineer, to
construct heavy chisels and borers to ascertain the thickness of the ice.
After long and hard labour, we found that after boring through several
ice-tables, to a depth of twenty-seven feet, we still struck on ice!
Every attempt, therefore, to break through this accumulation had to be
given up, and we contented ourselves with leading the basin we had formed
on the fore-part round the larboard side of the ship. On the 27th of the
month, twenty tons of coal were removed to the ice, in order to lighten
the ship as much as possible, and every day we had to look to the props
which steadied the ship, as the melting of the ice rendered them unsafe.
In the following weeks, the bows continued to sink into the water, while
the after-part as a natural consequence was raised up.

5. Even in the month of July, the weather was generally gloomy and
unsettled. We had several times two or three inches of snow, and the
showers were mingled with mist, rain, and snow, as had been the case in
June. The winds were generally from the west; the mean temperature of the
month was 34·7° F.; on the 8th of July, the black-bulb thermometer marked
108° F., and the temperature in the shade at the same date amounted to
34° F. But neither wind nor temperature made any change in our position.
The sun on which our liberation depended was seldom visible; and the
winds on which we had counted failed to blow. For weeks we watched for
the formation of fissures round the ship. Fissures indeed were formed,
but at such a distance that they were utterly useless to us. On the 16th
of June, one opened towards the south-east; but it was at least two miles
distant, and in the middle of July it was only half a mile nearer to us.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, was to be seen from the deck but ice, and
Klotz, coming down one day from the top-sail yard, described our position
with a melancholy laconic brevity: “Nix als Eisch, und nix als Eisch,
und nit a bisserl a Wosser. (_Nothing but ice, ice everywhere, and not a
patch of water._)” Amid such impressions all hope gradually left us. The
drifting of the ice ceased to animate our hopes. Even the approach of a
fissure on the 29th of July to the distance of three-quarters of a mile,
in consequence of heavy gales from the south and west, ended in miserable
disappointment. A movement in the ice which began a little way off on the
6th of August resulted only in the diminishing of our floe. There was no
essential change in the remainder of this month, except that the monthly
mean temperature fell to 32·7° F. We had the greatest extreme of heat on
the 4th of August, 41·9° F.; but on the last day of the month we had 5·7
degrees of cold.

6. For some time we had been surprised by the appearance of a dark
mass of ice, the distance of which prevented us from making a closer
acquaintance with it. Our life on the narrow space of our floe had quite
assumed the character of that of mere insects, who dwell on the leaf of
a tree and care not to know its edges. Excursions of one or two miles
were regarded as displaying an extraordinary amount of the spirit of
enterprise and discovery. On the 14th some of us pushed on for about four
miles to the group of ice just mentioned, and discovered it to be a very
large iceberg. Two moraines lay on its broad back. These were the first
stones and pieces of rock we had seen for a long time, and so great was
our joy at these messengers of land, that we rummaged about among the
heaps of rubbish, with as much zeal as if we had found ourselves among
the treasures of India. Some of the party found what they fancied to be
gold (pyrites), and gravely considered whether they would be able to take
a quantity of it back to Dalmatia. Although the glaciers of Novaya Zemlya
could not shed icebergs of such magnitude as that on which we now stood,
we all held it for certain that it had come from thence. Not one of us
had the least presentiment that it could belong to new lands, to which
at that time we were near. Even the other icebergs which we discovered
in increasing numbers on the following days, did not as yet speak to us
the language of a message to fill us with hope and ardour. Our walk to
the “dirt iceberg” was an event in our monotonous life, and was often
repeated. These expeditions enabled us also to form some conception of
the size of our floe, the diameter of which could not be less than six or
seven miles.

7. August 18—the birthday of his Majesty our Emperor,—the ship was
dressed with flags, the only form left to us of expressing our loyalty.
Our dinner was as sumptuous as the circumstances permitted, though
fasting would have been more appropriate, as the third day after this was
the anniversary of that sad and gloomy day on which we were inclosed in
the ice. In order to visit an iceberg which lay to the north-west of us,
we ventured beyond our floe for the first time, and passed over a fissure
to some drifting ice-floes which lay in the way. A seal lying on the ice
was immediately attacked by our dogs, but succeeded after many efforts
in reaching its hole. From the top of the iceberg, which was about sixty
feet high, we discovered that the few openings in the ice were not
navigable “leads,” but isolated holes utterly unconnected, and therefore
useless for navigation.

8. We had continually drifted, since the beginning of February, first to
the north-west and then to the north, with few modifications; at that
date, we had reached our greatest East Longitude, and winds appeared as
before to be the main cause of this drifting. At the end of that month
there was a succession of calms, and we lay almost motionless in latitude
79°, and longitude 71°. The subjoined table shows our change of place in
the following months.

  +------------------+-----------+------------+
  |      Time.       | Latitude. | Longitude. |
  |                  |  °   ′    |  °   ′     |
  +------------------+-----------+------------+
  | March  3 1873    | 79  13    | 69  32     |
  |   ”    9   ”     | 79  19    | 68  28     |
  |   ”   14   ”     | 79  20    | 68  28     |
  |   ”   20   ”     | 79  33    | 68  52     |
  |   ”   25   ”     | 79  23    | 67  17     |
  |   ”   27   ”     | 79  15    | 67  29     |
  |   ”   29   ”     | 79  14    | 67  35     |
  | April  2   ”     | 79   5    | 66  49     |
  |   ”    3   ”     | 79   5    | 66  42     |
  |   ”    7   ”     | 79   4    |    —       |
  |   ”   10   ”     | 79  12    | 68   1     |
  |   ”   12   ”     | 79  19    | 67  43     |
  |   ”   13   ”     | 79  20    | 67  40     |
  |   ”   15   ”     | 79  14    | 67   0     |
  |   ”   19   ”     | 79  18    | 65  51     |
  |   ”   20   ”     | 79  19    | 65  37     |
  |   ”   27   ”     | 79  13·5  | 64  37·0   |
  |   ”   28   ”     | 79  12·2  | 64  41·8   |
  | May    1   ”     | 79  15·8  | 64  58·8   |
  |   ”    2   ”     | 79  17·1  | 65   3·9   |
  |   ”    6   ”     | 79  16·0  | 65   0·5   |
  |   ”   10   ”     | 79  20·4  | 65  41·9   |
  |   ”   11   ”     | 79  20·2  | 65  32·4   |
  |   ”   13   ”     | 79  19·7  | 65  15·8   |
  |   ”   14   ”     | 79  19·8  | 64  45·6   |
  |   ”   16   ”     | 79  15·5  | 63  39·0   |
  |   ”   17   ”     | 79  13·1  | 63  21·7   |
  |   ”   22   ”     | 79   9·2  | 62   3·5   |
  |   ”   29   ”     | 79   2·4  | 62  55·5   |
  |   ”   30   ”     | 79   2·5  | 62  54·2   |
  |   ”   31   ”     | 79   2·5  | 62  53·9   |
  | June   1   ”     | 79   2·4  | 62  43·2   |
  |   ”    3   ”     | 79   0·4  | 62  29·7   |
  |   ”    5   ”     | 79   1·3  | 62  24·8   |
  |   ”    6   ”     | 79   1·1  | 62  20·2   |
  |   ”    9   ”     | 79   5·4  | 61  31·4   |
  |   ”   10   ”     | 79   5·3  | 61  23·6   |
  |   ”   11   ”     | 79   4·3  | 61  21·3   |
  |   ”   18   ”     | 79   6·6  | 61   5·2   |
  |   ”   20   ”     | 79   8·6  | 61   2·8   |
  |   ”   22   ”     | 79   9·2  | 60  54·9   |
  |   ”   24   ”     | 79   8·4  | 60  31·8   |
  |   ”   25   ”     | 79  11·2  | 60  14·6   |
  |   ”   26   ”     | 79  13·3  | 59  55·3   |
  |   ”   27   ”     | 79  13·7  | 59  46·0   |
  |   ”   28   ”     | 79  15·5  | 59  35·4   |
  | July   3   ”     | 79  15·2  | 59  14·8   |
  |   ”    4   ”     | 79  14·8  | 59  13·3   |
  |   ”    8   ”     | 79  15·2  | 59   5·8   |
  |   ”   10   ”     | 79  13·2  | 59   9·0   |
  |   ”   15   ”     | 79   9·8  | 59  52·6   |
  |   ”   18   ”     | 79   7·3  | 59  50·4   |
  |   ”   19   ”     | 79   7·6  | 59  35·1   |
  |   ”   20   ”     | 79   8·7  | 59  33·6   |
  |   ”   21   ”     | 79   9·2  | 59  33·1   |
  |   ”   22   ”     | 79   9·0  | 59  34·1   |
  |   ”   23   ”     | 79   6·6  | 59  34·2   |
  |   ”   24   ”     | 79   7·1  | 59  29·5   |
  |   ”   25   ”     | 79   6·6  | 59  27·3   |
  |   ”   31   ”     | 78  58·5  | 60  25·5   |
  | August 1   ”     | 78  56·9  | 60  40·6   |
  |   ”    4   ”     | 79   0·4  | 61   6·2   |
  |   ”   13   ”     | 79  25·4  | 61   6·6   |
  |   ”   14   ”     | 79  24·5  | 61  16·3   |
  |   ”   16   ”     | 79  27·8  | 61   7·6   |
  |   ”   19   ”     | 79  29·1  | 61  31·0   |
  |   ”   21   ”     | 79  31·3  | 61  44·8   |
  |   ”   30   ”     | 79  43·0  | 60  23·7   |
  |   ”   31   ”     | 79  42·5  | 60   5·6   |
  | Sept.  2   ”     | 79  40·2  | 60  32·9   |
  |   ”    5   ”     | 79  41·3  | 60  12·5   |
  |   ”    8   ”     | 79  34·2  | 59  47·3   |
  |   ”    9   ”     | 79  33·6  | 59  45·9   |
  |   ”   10   ”     | 79  32·2  | 59  53·1   |
  |   ”   16   ”     | 79  45·6  | 61  30·5   |
  |   ”   23   ”     | 79  49·6  | 61  58·1   |
  |   ”   30   ”     | 79  58·3  | 60  41·1   |
  | Oct.  16   ”     | 79  54·6  | 60  34·7   |
  |   ”   19   ”     | 79  53·9  | 60  40·6   |
  |   ”   23   ”     | 79  44·5  | 60   7·9   |
  |   ”   26   ”     | 79  44·3  | 59  17·1   |
  |   ”   27   ”     | 79  44·0  | 59  14·1   |
  |   ”   28   ”     | 79  43·8  | 59   6·6   |
  |   ”   29   ”     | 79  44·8  | 59   9·8   |
  |   ”   30   ”     | 79  49·0  | 58  59·9   |
  |   ”   31   ”     | 79  50·6  | 58  53·7   |
  | Ship in Land ice | 79  51·1  | 58  56·0   |
  +------------------+-----------+------------+

9. The meteorological observations of the expedition, and the course
of the _Tegetthoff_ have been ably analysed by Vice-Admiral Baron von
Wüllersdorf-Urbair in the _Mittheilungen_ of the Imperial Academy of
Sciences of Vienna, and while I refer the curious reader to these reports
for a fuller discussion of these questions, I subjoin the most important
paragraphs of the Admiral’s report which concern the course of the
_Tegetthoff_:—

“Under ordinary circumstances a ship drifts on with the floe; is
imprisoned, and necessarily obeys the force of the wind and the
sea-currents. Its course, consequently, corresponds to the combined
effect of these forces. But, inasmuch as the _Tegetthoff_ was not in the
free sea, but was driven along for the greater part of the time in close
pack-ice, the ship not only obeyed the general movement of the ice, which
was dependent on the direction of the winds and currents of the sea,
but was also influenced by its vicinity to coasts and by the greater or
lesser accumulation of ice.

“In so far as the _Tegetthoff_ with her hull and masts presented a
greater surface to the wind, the floe, on which it was imprisoned, would
necessarily receive an excess of movement in the direction of the wind.
If this excess formed an angle with the direction of the movement of the
ice, the ship’s floe would deviate to the side of the least resistance,
and drift according to the resultant between wind and resistance. Thus
it might be that the ship’s course deviated from the wind, even in a
direction opposed to it. But these anomalies certainly were not great,
and could not well be estimated, because the deviations which thus arose
depended on the direction of the wind, on the density and mass of the
ice, on causes, in fact, which could not be exhibited under numerical
relations.

“If we compare the statements, as given in the _Meteorological
Journal_,[21] concerning the ice-drift and ice-pressures, it is seen that
the maximum of both occurred in those parts of the sea in which the ship
was within the action of the ice coming from the Sea of Kara, and that
the greatest deviations in the ship’s course necessarily happened there.

“With respect to another abnormal deviation in the ship’s course, it
cannot be doubted that this depended on the vicinity of Franz-Josef Land,
towards which the masses of ice drifted under the action of continuous
south-west winds; and were again driven back, thus forming a circle
in their movement. It would seem natural to assume the existence of a
sea-current in order to explain this peculiarity; but the configuration
of that land and its coasts, or the greater or lesser amount of
immovable ice, or, lastly, the prevailing winds in those regions,
may have influenced the direction of the movement of the ice, and
consequently of the ship’s course.

“If we consider the prevalence of winds, as furnished by Weyprecht’s
observations for more than two years, we find south-west winds prevailing
in the southern part of the seas that were navigated, and north-east
winds in the northern part of those seas.

“If the sea to the east of Franz-Josef Land should not be broken by
larger groups of islands, or by masses of land, but be a vast range of
ocean, the winds would be free from the influence of land, and blow in
a north-easterly direction, and exhibit, so to speak, the phenomenon of
a Polar north-east trade wind. If it should be the case that north-east
winds prevail to the north of the 78th or 79th degree of north latitude,
and, at the same time, south-west winds to the south of that same degree,
the notion of a sea-current must be dismissed, and a revolving movement
in the ice assumed, in the opposite direction to the hands of a clock.
The observations of Weyprecht on these winds establish their circulatory
character. The curve of deviation in the course of the _Tegetthoff_ seems
to be in harmony with this assumption. But these suppositions cannot be
accepted, until observations be made on the winds to the south of 79° N.
L. at the same season of the year with those which were so successfully
made by Weyprecht to the north of this degree.

“The following arguments, however, would seem to favour the supposition
of the existence of a sea-current. The curve at the commencement of its
deviation corresponds pretty nearly with the direction which the Gulf
Stream would take after passing round Norway, and in its further course
with that current, which comes out of the Sea of Kara between Novaya
Zemlya and Cape Taimyr, and which undoubtedly exists, though its course
has to be more accurately determined.

“However small may be the value we assign to the winds in explanation of
the deviation in the _Tegetthoff’s_ course, it is at any rate impossible
to ascribe those phenomena to the influence of the coast formation. We
must, therefore, assume either, that the different directions of the wind
produce a constant circulation of the ice in the sea to the north of
79°; or that currents known to exist in this and contiguous seas cannot
be excluded from the small part of the ocean lying between Novaya Zemlya
and Franz-Josef Land.”

From these and other grounds the Vice-Admiral Baron von Wüllersdorf draws
the following conclusions:—

“It is probable that there exists a sea-current in the seas between
Novaya Zemlya and Franz-Josef Land; that at any rate, its existence
cannot positively be denied, although the prevailing winds may produce
similar phenomena.

“That there is a great probability that the Ocean stretches far to the
north and east beyond the eastern end of Novaya Zemlya.”

[Illustration: SOUNDING IN THE FROZEN OCEAN.]

10. During the summer Orel took soundings of the depth of the sea,
which he was prevented from continuing in the winter by the frost.
These show its shallowness on the north of Novaya Zemlya, especially
towards Franz-Josef Land. A bank, over which we drifted in the summer of
1873, and which we explored with a drag-net, was the principal source
of the collection of marine fauna, which we shall speak of in a later
chapter. These soundings also enabled Orel to prove the small increase
of the temperature of the sea at any considerable depth. He used in his
experiments the maximum and minimum thermometer of Casella. The specimens
we collected showed, that the bottom of the sea consists of layers of
mud and shells. The soundings are exhibited in the following table:—

  +----------------+-------+
  |     Time.      |Metres.|
  +----------------+-------+
  | July  20 1872  |  400  |
  |   ”   28   ”   |  115  |
  |   ”   31   ”   |  250  |
  | Aug.   3   ”   |  130  |
  |   ”    4   ”   |   80  |
  |   ”   22   ”   |   36  |
  |   ”   30   ”   |  170  |
  | Sept. 16   ”   |  100  |
  |   ”   25   ”   |   90  |
  |   ”   29   ”   |   85  |
  |   ”   30   ”   |  190  |
  | Oct.   2   ”   |  170  |
  |   ”    9   ”   |  450  |
  | Nov.  14   ”   |  345  |
  | Jan.  28 1873  |  510  |
  | Mar.  27   ”   |  450  |
  | April 28   ”   |  350  |
  | May   17   ”   |  230  |
  |   ”   18   ”   |  187  |
  |   ”   19   ”   |  172  |
  |   ”   20   ”   |  163  |
  |   ”   21   ”   |  138  |
  |   ”   22   ”   |  186  |
  |   ”   23   ”   |  162  |
  |   ”   25   ”   |  177  |
  |   ”   25   ”   |  182  |
  |   ”   26   ”   |  186  |
  |   ”   27   ”   |  249  |
  |   ”   28   ”   |  251  |
  |   ”   29   ”   |  254  |
  |   ”   30   ”   |  253  |
  |   ”   31   ”   |  256  |
  | June   1   ”   |  238  |
  |   ”    2   ”   |  210  |
  |   ”    3   ”   |  183  |
  |   ”    4   ”   |  207  |
  |   ”    5   ”   |  200  |
  |   ”    6   ”   |  198  |
  |   ”    7   ”   |  190  |
  |   ”    8   ”   |  215  |
  |   ”    9   ”   |  231  |
  |   ”   10   ”   |  203  |
  |   ”   11   ”   |  240  |
  |   ”   12   ”   |  218  |
  |   ”   13   ”   |  211  |
  |   ”   14   ”   |  235  |
  |   ”   15   ”   |  161  |
  |   ”   16   ”   |  184  |
  |   ”   17   ”   |  222  |
  |   ”   18   ”   |  200  |
  |   ”   19   ”   |  186  |
  |   ”   20   ”   |  220  |
  |   ”   21   ”   |  195  |
  |   ”   22   ”   |  200  |
  |   ”   23   ”   |  169  |
  |   ”   24   ”   |  178  |
  |   ”   25   ”   |  195  |
  |   ”   26   ”   |  220  |
  |   ”   27   ”   |  227  |
  |   ”   28   ”   |  233  |
  |   ”   29   ”   |  240  |
  |   ”   30   ”   |  240  |
  | July   1   ”   |  240  |
  |   ”    3   ”   |  245  |
  |   ”    4   ”   |  250  |
  |   ”    5   ”   |  235  |
  |   ”    6   ”   |  235  |
  |   ”    7   ”   |  274  |
  |   ”    8   ”   |  266  |
  |   ”    9   ”   |  250  |
  |   ”   10   ”   |  250  |
  |   ”   11   ”   |  236  |
  |   ”   12   ”   |  265  |
  |   ”   13   ”   |  247  |
  |   ”   14   ”   |  215  |
  |   ”   15   ”   |  195  |
  |   ”   16   ”   |  184  |
  |   ”   17   ”   |  200  |
  |   ”   18   ”   |  240  |
  |   ”   19   ”   |  232  |
  |   ”   20   ”   |  231  |
  |   ”   21   ”   |  231  |
  |   ”   22   ”   |  226  |
  |   ”   23   ”   |  198  |
  |   ”   24   ”   |  205  |
  |   ”   25   ”   |  216  |
  |   ”   26   ”   |  218  |
  |   ”   27   ”   |  218  |
  |   ”   28   ”   |  236  |
  |   ”   29   ”   |  260  |
  |   ”   30   ”   |  236  |
  |   ”   31   ”   |  234  |
  | Aug.   1   ”   |  225  |
  |   ”    2   ”   |  219  |
  |   ”    3   ”   |  173  |
  |   ”    4   ”   |  188  |
  |   ”    5   ”   |  210  |
  |   ”    6   ”   |  107  |
  |   ”    7   ”   |  216  |
  |   ”    8   ”   |  184  |
  |   ”    9   ”   |  244  |
  |   ”   10   ”   |  225  |
  |   ”   11   ”   |  209  |
  |   ”   12   ”   |  214  |
  |   ”   13   ”   |  189  |
  |   ”   14   ”   |  177  |
  |   ”   15   ”   |  170  |
  |   ”   16   ”   |  170  |
  |   ”   17   ”   |  174  |
  |   ”   18   ”   |  148  |
  |   ”   19   ”   |  152  |
  |   ”   20   ”   |  138  |
  |   ”   21   ”   |  130  |
  |   ”   22   ”   |  131  |
  |   ”   23   ”   |  128  |
  |   ”   24   ”   |  145  |
  |   ”   25   ”   |  140  |
  |   ”   26   ”   |  185  |
  |   ”   27   ”   |  219  |
  |   ”   28   ”   |  180  |
  |   ”   29   ”   |  132  |
  |   ”   30   ”   |  211  |
  |   ”   31   ”   |  197  |
  | Sept.  1   ”   |  260  |
  |   ”    2   ”   |  142  |
  |   ”    3   ”   |  212  |
  |   ”    4   ”   |  215  |
  |   ”    5   ”   |  178  |
  |   ”    6   ”   |  188  |
  |   ”    7   ”   |  204  |
  |   ”    8   ”   |  250  |
  |   ”    9   ”   |  240  |
  |   ”   10   ”   |  218  |
  |   ”   11   ”   |  168  |
  |   ”   12   ”   |  127  |
  |   ”   13   ”   |  132  |
  |   ”   14   ”   |  137  |
  |   ”   15   ”   |  111  |
  |   ”   16   ”   |  134  |
  |   ”   17   ”   |  178  |
  |   ”   18   ”   |  175  |
  |   ”   19   ”   |  275  |
  |   ”   20   ”   |  300  |
  |   ”   21   ”   |  220  |
  |   ”   22   ”   |  188  |
  |   ”   24   ”   |  237  |
  |   ”   25   ”   |  325  |
  | Oct.  28   ”   |  165  |
  |   ”   31   ”   |  210  |
  +----------------+-------+



CHAPTER XI.

NEW LANDS.


1. We Spent the latter half of August in seal-hunting, for it was only by
the use of fresh meat that we were able to contend with, if not prevent,
cases of scurvy. Day after day lines of hunters lay in wait before the
fissures at the edge of our floe, and in the evening our dogs generally
had to drag in the sledges several seals to the ship. Many of these
creatures which we wounded sank and disappeared. All these seals belonged
to the class Phoca Grœnlandica. Walruses were never to be seen, and once
only in an “ice-hole” we came across a shoal of white whales, which
however seemed to be moving on. In the capture of seals we sometimes used
a light boat, made of water-proof sailcloth, which two men could easily
drag out of the water. Some of our people too had learnt the use of the
harpoon. By the end of September we had killed in one way or another some
forty seals, and as we shot many of the birds which flew round us, and on
an average one bear a week, we were seldom without fresh meat. With the
exception of Krisch, the engineer, who suffered from lung disease, and of
the carpenter, who had become lame from a scorbutic contraction of the
joints, all on the sick list recovered under the influence of work in the
open air and of the improved diet.

2. The covering of deep soft snow, which had been so troublesome, almost
disappeared at the beginning of autumn, and the surface of the ice had
been transformed by evaporation into a firm mass like the congealed
snow of a glacier, so that we were able to walk on its hard surface
without sinking; only the numerous small ice-lakes, on the floes,
impeded our excursions. In all these signs, we were reminded of the near
approach of winter, and it seemed that, drifting as we were constantly
towards the north, we should spend it nearer to the Pole than any other
expedition had ever done. On the 25th the sun set at midnight. The period
intervening between this and the time when the sun ceases to reappear may
be regarded as the autumn of the Arctic region. For some time the light
had so diminished, that our quarters again became dark at night, and
from the 19th of July we were obliged to use a light in order to read at
midnight. On the 29th of August, after falls of rain and snow succeeded
by north winds, the ship was stiffened in a coating of ice. The rigging
was covered with an incrustation of ice of an inch thick, and pieces of
ice of a pound weight sometimes fell on the deck, rendering walking on
it neither comfortable nor safe. After a succession of frosts and thaws,
complete congelation at last set in, and when the moon was up, the masts
and rigging shone like burnished silver.

3. The second summer was gone. It had come in with the hope and promise
of liberation, and patiently had we awaited this result. With sad
resignation we now looked forward to another winter. But once more it was
to be seen, in our case, how great is the power of men to endure dangers
and hardships, when these come upon them not suddenly but gradually.
A few months ago, the thought that we should be prisoners on the ice,
bound to our floe, for a second winter, would have been unendurable. But
now that the intolerable thought had become a stern fact, we accepted
and endured it. But often as we went on deck and cast our eyes over the
wastes, from which there was no escape, the despairing thought recurred,
that next year we should have to return home—without having achieved
anything, or at most with a narrative of a long drift on the ice. Not
a man among us believed in the possibility of discoveries, though
discoveries beyond our utmost hopes lay immediately before us.

4. A memorable day was the 30th August 1873, in 79° 43′ Lat. and 59° 33′
E. Long. That day brought a surprise, such as only the awakening to a
new life can produce. About midday, as we were leaning on the bulwarks
of the ship and scanning the gliding mists, through which the rays of
the sun broke ever and anon, a wall of mist, lifting itself up suddenly,
revealed to us, afar off in the north-west, the outlines of bold rocks,
which in a few minutes seemed to grow into a radiant Alpine land! At
first we all stood transfixed and hardly believing what we saw. Then,
carried away by the reality of our good fortune, we burst forth into
shouts of joy—“Land, Land, Land at last!” There was now not a sick man on
board the _Tegetthoff_. The news of the discovery spread in an instant.
Every one rushed on deck, to convince himself with his own eyes, that the
expedition was not after all a failure—there before us lay the prize that
could not be snatched from us. Yet not by our own action, but through
the happy caprice of our floe and as in a dream had we won it, but when
we thought of the floe, drifting without intermission, we felt with
redoubled pain, that we were at the mercy of its movements. As yet we had
secured no winter harbour, from which the exploration of the strange land
could be successfully undertaken. For the present, too, it was not within
the verge of possibility to reach and visit it. If we had left our floe,
we should have been cut off and lost. It was only under the influence of
the first excitement that we made a rush over our ice-field, although we
knew that numberless fissures made it impossible to reach the land. But,
difficulties notwithstanding, when we ran to the edge of our floe, we
beheld from a ridge of ice the mountains and glaciers of the mysterious
land. Its valleys seemed to our fond imagination clothed with green
pastures, over which herds of reindeer roamed in undisturbed enjoyment of
their liberty, and far from all foes.

5. For thousands of years this land had lain buried from the knowledge
of men, and now its discovery had fallen into the lap of a small band,
themselves almost lost to the world, who far from their home remembered
the homage due to their sovereign, and gave to the newly-discovered
territory the name

  KAISER FRANZ-JOSEF’S LAND.

With loud hurrahs we drank to the health of our Emperor in grog hastily
made on deck in an iron coffee-pot, and then dressed the _Tegetthoff_
with flags. All cares, for the present at least, disappeared, and with
them the passive monotony of our lives. There was not a day, there
was hardly an hour, in which this mysterious land did not henceforth
occupy our thoughts and attention. We discussed whether this or that
elevation in the grey and misty distance were a mountain, or an island,
or a glacier. All our attempts to solve the question of the extent of
the land lying before us were of course still more fruitless. From the
headland which we had first seen (Cape Tegetthoff), to its hazy outline,
in the north-east, it seemed to extend nearly a degree; but as even its
southernmost parts were at a great distance from us, it was impossible
to arrive at anything more definite than a mere approximation to its
configuration. The size and number of the icebergs which we had recently
fallen in with were now amply explained,—they were indisputable witnesses
of its great extent and its vast glaciation.

6. At the end of August and the beginning of September north winds
drove us somewhat towards the south, so that the outlines of the land
were still more faintly defined. But at the end of September we were
again driven towards the north-west and reached 79° 58′, the highest
degree of latitude to which the _Tegetthoff_ and its floe drifted. We
now saw an island at some distance off—afterwards called Hochstetter
island—lying before us. Its rocky outlines were distinctly visible, and
the opportunity of _reaching the land by a forced march_ seemed more
favourable than any which had been presented. It might also be the last
chance offered to us, for our fears lest we might drift out of sight of
this land were well founded. Six of her crew now left the _Tegetthoff_
and committed themselves to the destiny which the movement of the ice
had in store for them. The east winds, which had prevailed during the
last days, had forced the ice landward, and the pressures had crushed in
the edges of our floe, and greatly diminished its size. We rushed over
the grinding, groaning, broken walls of drifting ice, and so great was
our ardour, that we took no notice when some one or other of the party
tripped and fell. Each panted to reach the land. We had already gone half
way, the ship having long disappeared from our eyes, when there arose a
mist which enveloped everything, so that the masses of ice looked like
high mountains through the hazy atmosphere. Of the land itself we could
see nothing, and no choice was left to us but to return to the ship
through the mist. The compass was little help, and within the barriers of
recently broken ice the traces of our steps were lost. We took at last
a wrong direction and were following it up, in spite of Jubinal’s loud
barks to divert us. As he ran backwards and forwards, magnified in the
mist he ran many risks of being mistaken for a bear. What the sagacity of
six men could not do, this the instinct of the animal effected. Exhausted
by our own exertions, we yielded ourselves to his guidance, and he
actually brought us into the right track—and back to the ship.



CHAPTER XII.

THE AUTUMN OF 1873.—THE STRANGE LAND VISITED.


1. The autumn was unusually mild, though stormy and gloomy. The
thermometer up to the 20th of September fell daily some degrees below
zero (C.), and occasionally we had rain. At the end of the month the
minimum temperature ranged from 14° to 5° F., and the mean temperature of
the month was as low as 24·5° F. The mildness of the season was, perhaps,
connected with the unusual recession of the ice-barrier in the south;
though it might have been a consequence of the open water which had been
formed under the land during the drifting of the floes. The land itself
was but seldom visible, and heavy masses of dark-blue clouds, which are
peculiar to southern latitudes, generally hung over it. Frequent falls of
snow again covered everything around us. Parhelia were sometimes visible,
and these were generally the precursors of driving snow, which reared
deep drifts round the ship. The numerous little lakes on the ice-floes
were frozen over in the night even in the earlier part of August, and
at the end of the month these bore us during the day. The clear mirror
of their surface cracked whenever the temperature fell suddenly some
degrees, while the effect of contraction in the ship was followed by the
noises which we called “Schüsse.” The “ice-holes” were overspread with
a viscous ropy ice, which was strong enough to bear us at their edges.
The ship now stood out from the ice; her hull was about fourteen feet
above the surrounding surface of snow. To facilitate egress and ingress,
we constructed steps of ice on each side of the vessel. After the 7th of
September our efforts to free the ship were given up. The little basin
at the fore-part of the ship—the result of the toil of many months—was
completely frozen over, and afforded us the recreation of skating as a
reward for our labours.

2. The experience of the past greatly strengthened all the grounds and
motives which so readily presented themselves to abandon our helpless
vessel in the following summer and attempt the return to Europe by
means of sledges and boats. If there had been no other reason for this
resolution, regard for our health would have dictated the step. Our
supply of lemon-juice was so reduced, as to leave scarcely a doubt as
to the necessity of attempting to return. But amid these prudential
considerations, we were filled with fear lest we should be unable to
explore the mysterious land we had discovered.

3. The daylight now began to fail. On the 9th of September the sun set at
8.30 and the stars were visible at night. About the middle of the month
lamps were kept burning all the night through in our quarters below, and
our environment, never very animated, again wore the aspect of the dark
realm of ice. The visits of birds became rarer, although they did not
quite leave us as long as there was any open water near. The divers and
auks had already disappeared. They flew in long lines southward, and as
they whizzed past us through the rigging of the ship, we acknowledged
the superiority of these little creatures to us and to our ship, which
was never to hoist its sails again. The ice-birds, and the robber-gulls
still remained with us. We once shot a rose-coloured gull (Ross’s gull),
said to belong only to North America and Iceland. On the 28th we saw the
last snow-bunting. The first aurora was seen on the 22nd, and during the
winter its light fell not merely on the Frozen Ocean but on the distant
Franz-Josef’s Land, showing us that we were not drifting away from it. By
the end of the month we had drifted to the eightieth degree of latitude,
nearly; and every cliff of the land, even the most insignificant,
emerging at a distance from the ice, had charms enough to call us all on
deck.

4. In the second half of October, winds from the north and north-east
had driven us towards the south and south-west, and as we neared the
land we saw that the ice-fields were broken up by their contact with its
immovable barrier. Our own floe had been greatly diminished from the
general pressure of the ice. On the 1st of October we were driven so
near the land that we found ourselves in the midst of the destruction
going on in the ice. Our ice-floe was shattered and broken, and so
rapidly had it diminished in size, that the distance of the ship from
the edge of the floe, which was 1,300 paces on the 1st, amounted to only
875 two days afterwards. On the 6th it had diminished to 200 paces, so
that it was reduced to a mere fragment of its former size. The shocks
it now received caused the ship to quiver and shake, and we heard the
cracking and straining in its timbers, which kept us on the tenter-hook
of expectation lest the ice should suddenly break up. It seemed as if we
were doomed to a repetition of the trials and dangers of the preceding
winter. The bags of necessaries to be taken with us if we should be
forced to leave the ship, were kept in readiness for immediate use. As
we watched the advancing wall of ice, and heard the too well known howl
it sent forth, and saw how fissures were formed at the edge of the floe,
the days of the ice-pressures were painfully recalled, and the thought
constantly returned—what will be the end of all this? The Land we had so
longed to visit lay indeed before us, but the very sight of it had become
a torment; it seemed to be as unattainable as before; and, if our ship
should reach it, it appeared too likely that it would be as a wreck on
its inhospitable shore. Many were the plans we formed and debated, but
all were alike impracticable, and all owed their existence to the wish
to escape from the destruction that stared us in the face. Such were our
out-looks when on the 31st of October we were driven close to a headland
of no great height, about three miles distant from the ship, and found
ourselves in the midst of icebergs, several of which were of considerable
magnitude. Towards this, the bergs, or we ourselves, or both, were
rapidly drifting, as the soundings showed. If the icebergs drifted they
would of course crush all the ice-fields which stood in their way. We
were now in 79° 51′ N. Lat. and 58° 56′E. Long. Here exactly in the
longitude of Admiralty peninsula of Novaya Zemlya, and with the ship
lying north and south, we were to pass the winter—but harbourless.

5. On the forenoon of the 1st of November, the land lay to the north-west
of us in the twilight. The lines of rocks were so clearly and distinctly
seen, that we were convinced that it could be reached without endangering
our return to the ship. There was no room for hesitation; full of energy
and wild excitement, we clambered over the ice-walls lying to the
northward, which consisted of barriers, fifty feet high, of huge pieces
of ice recently forced up amid the pressure. These passed, we came on a
broad surface of young ice, which showed that there had been open water
there a short time before. Over the surface of this young ice we now ran
towards the land. We crossed the ice-foot and actually stepped on it.
Snow and rocks and broken ice surrounded us on every side; a land more
desolate could not be found on earth than the island we walked on; all
this we saw not. To us it was a paradise; and this paradise we called
Wilczek Island.

6. So great was our joy at having reached the Land at last, that we
bestowed on all we saw an attention which, in itself it in no way
merited. We looked into every rent in the rocks, we touched every block,
we were ravished with the varied forms and outlines which each crevice
presented. We talked in grand style of the frozen slopes of its hollows
as glaciers! Nothing was of greater moment in these first hours than the
question of its geological character, and great was our surprise to find
here the same rocks, with which we had become acquainted at the Pendulum
Islands during the second German North Polar Expedition. The columnar
conformation of these Dolerite rocks singularly resembled those of Griper
Roads and Shannon Island. The vegetation was indescribably meagre and
miserable, consisting merely of a few lichens. The drift-wood we expected
to find was no where to be seen. We looked for traces of the reindeer and
the fox, but our search was utterly fruitless. The land appeared to be
without a single living creature. We then ascended a rocky height on the
southern margin of the island, whence we had a view of the frozen ocean
extending some miles beyond the ship. There was something sublime to the
imagination in the utter loneliness of a land never before visited; felt
all the more from the extraordinary character of our position. We had
become exceedingly sensitive to new impressions, and a golden mist which
rose on the southern horizon of an invisible ice-hole, and which spread
itself, like an undulating curtain, before the glow of the noontide
heavens, had to us the charm of a landscape in Ceylon.

7. How vexatious was it to feel, that if we had reached this Land some
weeks earlier, we might have explored it without the risk of being cut
off from the ship. For some days the sun had sunk below the horizon, and
the twilight of noon admitted of only a few short excursions from the
ship, quite insufficient to satisfy our earnest desire to learn more of
its structure and configuration; and we much feared lest the constant
north winds should cause us to drift out of sight of it. Southwards
stretched a flat surface of bluish-grey ice, and beyond the distant ship,
a large “ice-hole” from whose yellow mirror there arose undulating mists.
Beyond this again stretched dark lines of floes running parallel to the
horizon, over which, in the south, hung the sky in deep carmine. We
scrambled over a rugged slope covered with ice as smooth as glass, which
ran into the interior of the little island, in order to get a clear view
northward; but we were compelled to return without achieving our purpose,
for we feared to absent ourselves longer from the ship. We accordingly
went back, but returned next day to explore. But these barren days and
small events made a profound impression on our minds, and even Carlsen,
the old and tried navigator of the frozen deep, wore on his breast,
beneath his fur coat, the star of the order of St. Olaf, to do due honour
to the dignity of discovery. We built a pyramid of stones six feet high
on the island, and fixed in it one of our flags attached to a pole.

8. On the 3rd of November a party of us started about eight o’clock
in the morning, when it was quite dark, to attempt to reach a glacier
which we had seen, on the north of the island and on the other side of a
frozen inlet of the sea. We took with us a small sledge drawn by three
dogs, and, in constant fear of being cut off from the ship, we pressed
on over a level surface of snow towards some objects suffused with a dim
rosy light, which seemed to float over them. As we neared them we found
them to be icebergs, which sparkled like jewels, and which we took to
be the terminal precipice of the glacier we were in search of. It was
only, however, after some hours that we came actually in sight of it; the
ship having meanwhile disappeared from our view. Suddenly there emerged
before us, in the east, a white band, which proved to be the terminal
front of the glacier, which, as we approached it, we were surprised to
find had an inclination of only two or three degrees. Its highest point,
therefore, must have been at a very great distance. On its left side
there was a moraine of great depth. When we began our return to the ship,
the rosy evening light had disappeared from the higher clouds, while it
became clearer behind the gigantic mass of the glacier, so that its dark
outline stood out strongly marked on the heavens. It was quite dark when
we again drew near the ship, but the brave Carlsen, armed with rifle and
walrus-lance for any emergency, came out to meet us.

[Illustration: APPROACHING THE LAND BY MOONLIGHT.]

9. In an excursion on the 6th of November we reached a point on the
north-west of Wilczek Island—passing for the first time during this
expedition beyond the eightieth degree of north latitude—whence we could
see the mainland of the new country stretching before us under the
silver light of the moon. An indescribable loneliness lay on its snowy
mountains, faintly illuminated by the span of twilight in the south and
by the light of the moon. If the ice on the shore, as it was moved by the
ebb and flow of the tide, had not sent forth shrill notes, and had not
the wind sighed as it passed over the edges of the rocks, the stillness
of death would have lain on the pale and spectral landscape. We hear of
the solemn silence of the forest or of the desert, or of a city buried
in sleep during the night; but what is this silence to the silence of a
land with its cold glacier mountains losing themselves in snows and mists
which can never be explored, and the very existence of which had remained
unknown from creation till this moment?

10. On the 7th another short expedition towards the south-west of Wilczek
Island was carried out; but notwithstanding all our exertions we were
unable to determine its configuration, even of the parts immediately
contiguous to us. Until the spring of the following year, the whole
island, except perhaps a portion of its southern side, remained a mystery
to us.



CHAPTER XIII.

OUR SECOND WINTER IN THE ICE.


1. The Land had meantime been thickly enveloped in its pure white mantle,
and wreaths of snow-drifts lay over the rocks scattered over its surface.
The light became fainter. Sometimes the precipitous faces of the glaciers
seemed to glow in subdued rose-colour through the leaden grey of the
atmosphere. When new “ice-holes” appeared, a frosty vapour rose and
spread over the surface of the ice; the ship and surrounding objects were
covered as if with down; even the dogs were frosted white. We used to
stand on deck and gaze on the sun as it sank, surrounded by the evening
clouds, behind the jagged edges of the hummocks. Raised by refraction,
he appeared for the last time on the 22nd of October with half his disc
above the horizon, and the whole southern sky was for a time like a sea
of fire over the cold, stiff forms and lines of ice. At length the disc
disappeared, and masses of dark clouds moved up and obscured the light
still lingering in the sky. The long reign of night began, and the wastes
around us relapsed into the stern sway of winter. A pale twilight still
lingered for some time, but its faint arc became smaller and feebler.
No shadows accompanied the forms of those who strayed over the ice. The
wind moaned in the frozen desert. The darkness and the cold continually
increased, till the dome of night vaulted the lonely spot which had
become our home.

2. But the hope and expectation of successes to be achieved, and the
feeling that our safety was not immediately threatened, rendered this
second winter a happy contrast to the preceding one. We had now leisure
and calmness for intellectual occupations, which were, indeed, the
only means of relieving the monotony of the long period of darkness. We
lived like hermits in our little cabins in the after-part of the ship,
and learned that mental activity without any other joy suffices to make
men happy and contented. The oppressive feeling of having to return
ingloriously home, which had always been disagreeably present to our
minds during the first winter, was no longer felt. We had now a hope, the
charms of which grew day by day, that in the spring we should be able
to leave the ship and start on expeditions to explore the land we had
discovered. Happy in this expectation, we could enjoy the indescribable
pleasures of good books, all the more that we were far from the busy
haunts of men, and that the presence of danger clears and sharpens the
understanding. Nowhere can a book be so valued as in such an isolated
position as ours was. Great, therefore, was the advantage we possessed in
a good library, consisting of books of science, and of the classics of
literature. In fact, freed from the constantly recurring perils, which
had been our portion in the first long Arctic night, this second winter
was, to all who actively employed their minds, comparatively a state
of happiness, undisturbed by cares. With regard to the crew, they were
kept in good humour by the increase of their comforts. As we had not the
prospect of a third winter in the ice—which would have rendered a greater
economy of our provisions imperative—we were enabled to provide them with
a more generous diet.

3. In the last three weeks of November we had complete darkness, the sky
clouded over and the weather bad. So dark was it, that our environment,
though it was overspread with countless hummocks and ice-cliffs, looked
like one black unbroken level. On the 31st of October most of the stars
were visible about 3 o’clock in the afternoon; by 4 o’clock actual night
prevailed. On the 16th of November large print was barely legible even at
noon. On the 18th of the month we were able to read the larger letters on
the title-page of Vogt’s _Geology_ at the distance of a foot. At noon, on
the 13th of December, not a letter of this same title-page was legible,
even in clear weather. On the 5th of November there was a total eclipse
of the moon, which then sank below the horizon and did not return till
the 29th of that month. Its beams then fell on a large ice-hole, which
had formed itself twenty miles to the south of the ship, which made us
apprehensive lest our floe should be driven by the north winds in a
southerly direction. On the 4th of December the moon reached its highest
declination, but, as it waned, it was constantly obscured by bad weather.
I had reckoned on the return of moonlight to make an excursion of some
days to the mainland. But the fickleness of the weather at the beginning
of December compelled me to confine my wanderings to Wilczek Island,
which I frequently visited, although with a thermometer at -35° F. I
was exposed to frost-bites in the face and hands, whenever I attempted
to draw by the light of a lamp, and with only the protection of light
woollen gloves.[22]

[Illustration: DEPARTURE OF THE SUN IN THE SECOND WINTER.]

4. We observed during this winter, that, on the clearest nights, snow of
the finest texture continued to fall, so that we saw the heavenly bodies,
as it were, through a veil of fine gauze. In the moonlight this fine
snow sparkled faintly, and its presence could only be discovered by a
prickling on the skin. The constancy of these downfalls added of course
to the depth of the snow under which the _Tegetthoff_ was almost buried;
indeed at the beginning of the spring she no longer stood out from the
covering of snow, although her fore-part was eleven-and-three-quarter
feet, and her after-part four-and-a-half feet, above the ice on which
she rested. The air was also often filled with an indescribable quantity
of driving snow; and when the wind dropped and permitted it to fall, we
were struck with the profound stillness of our environment. The cold
constantly increased and penetrated all the parts of the interior of the
ship which were not artificially heated,[23] and almost all the fluids,
which were not specially protected, were frozen. The various kinds of
spirits on board were exposed on the 23rd of November to the cold at -26°
F.; at the end of an hour-and-a-half they still remained fluid. When the
temperature fell to -31° F., hollands, common gin and maraschino were
congealed in two-hours-and-a-half, but rum and brandy remained unchanged.
On another occasion a mixture of two parts of pure alcohol to one part
of water froze at -47° F., cognac at -53° F. This low temperature had
so increased the thickness of the ice, that the basin of open water,
which had been sawed through in the previous summer, was covered on
the 3rd of January with ice three-and-a-half, and on the 20th with ice
six-and-a-half feet thick.

[Illustration: NOON ON DECEMBER 21, 1873.]

5. On the 21st of December, the middle of the second long Polar
night—which lasted in all 125 days—was reached; and although we knew
where the south lay, every trace of twilight had disappeared, and for six
weeks we were enveloped in unbroken darkness. The figure of a man could
not be discerned at a very short distance. In order to be able to sketch
the ship, I had to illuminate it by torches. Those who made expeditions
afoot were struck, as it were, with blindness. If they approached what
seemed to be a lofty chain of mountains, over the ridge of which the
planet Jupiter hung like a glowing point, they came at once on a dark
wall of ice; and when they ascended the apparently far distant ridge, the
planet stood almost in the zenith. There was something approaching to
twilight only when the crescent moon shone in her first quarter. On the
7th of December the sun was 12°, and on the 21st 14½°, below the horizon.
We should not have seen the sun, could we have ascended the pinnacle of
the Alps, which Pliny imagined to be 120,000 feet high, or even from that
summit of the Caucasus which Aristotle reckoned at 230,000 feet.

6. Distrusting the quiescent state of the ice, we had again stretched
a tent over one-half of the ship’s deck, while the other portion was
covered with snow trodden down as hard as a skating-rink. The space
for free movement was narrowed still further by the long-boat placed
between the two masts, by the stores of provisions kept in readiness for
the possible disaster which might compel us to leave the ship, by the
stand of rifles, by dog-kennels, and other inevitable impediments. In
bad weather the dogs sheltered themselves under the tent, and sometimes
showed ill-temper if their feet were trod on. There were places on deck
where only their particular friends were safe from being bitten; Sumbu
especially had a bad habit of lying behind a cask and springing out
on every one that passed by. Here under its friendly shelter the men
waited the summons to their meals. Hither came Carlsen to enjoy the
opportunity of talking Norwegian with some one or other. The deck light
shone feebly on all this, shedding its rays on the fine snow which fell
through the tent-roof. In the second half of the winter, when the deck
was less frequented, the lantern became, like the crew—more sleepy; and
its dull light fell on hard-frozen sailcloth, boards covered with snow,
and on empty tin cases. Here, too, walked, of course, the deck-watch,
enveloped in clothes from head to foot, with only their eyes uncovered,
looking more like moving figures than men. The deck-watch had also to
keep open the water-hole in the ice, to look out for bears, and to assist
in reading off the thermometers exposed on the ice. They were on duty for
two hours, and the moment they were relieved, they shot down into their
quarters, as quickly as a harpooned whale dives under the waves. He, too,
whose duty it was to fetch the snow to be converted into water was often
to be seen on deck. Although the store of snow in which we lived was
inexhaustible, yet, in order to be exempt from this duty in bad weather,
it was the practice of those who were told off for this service to lay
up a supply of blocks of frozen snow under the tent. Some of the crew
showed the scrupulosity of chemists in their work. Before they proceeded
to build up their pile, they brought specimens to the cook, in order to
learn his opinion as to the residuum of salt in the ice.

7. With December a new era began for the dogs. A large snow house was
built for them outside the ship, in which were placed their kennels,
well filled with straw. The name of each dog was written on his house.
And here let me remark, that the winter quarters of the dogs should
always be on the ice. To keep them under the deck-tent is unhealthy and
inconvenient, and would be an impossibility if their numbers were great.
Every morning Haller opened the door of the snow house, and out rushed
the dogs, with their tails in the air, to begin forthwith a general
fight. No shouts, no blows, not even the discharge of a rifle could
separate the combatants. Pouring water over them at a temperature of -35°
F., though a somewhat barbarous way of producing peace, was successful
only with the younger dogs. When the fight was over, the next object
was to find out their special patron, and the instant they recognised
him they rushed upon him, tugged at his clothes, and thrust their noses
inquiringly into his pockets. Each then made his morning round, visiting
the places where he had hid in the snow a piece of bread or covered up
a bit of seal. When they had satisfied their appetite, it was curious
to observe how they would make it smooth over the hole in which they
deposited their treasure, all the time cunningly turning their eyes right
and left to see whether they were observed.

[Illustration: PEKEL, SUMBU, AND JUBINAL.]

8. Their violence and eagerness having somewhat abated, we may observe
the members of our pack one by one. The red giant there, who offers his
paw as huge as a bear’s, is named after a god of the heathen days of
Lapland, “Jubinal;” and not a few legends surrounded the accounts of his
early life. A Siberian Israelite, so it was said, brought him from the
north of Asia over the Ural. He was the victor in all fights, the leader
of the sledge team, and could drag four men on a hard level path without
any effort. The day before we sailed from Bremerhaven he tore a sheep to
pieces. Every summer when he changed his coat, the sailors clad him in
a canvas dress. Bop was his inferior in strength, but his superior in
wisdom; Matoschkin surpassed him in gravity. The latter used to sit for
hours in a moody manner on a pile of chests looking at the ice world.
Bop and Matoschkin were Newfoundlands; the first died of cold in our
first winter, the latter, as our readers may remember, was carried off
by a bear and torn to pieces. We had also two Newfoundland bitches, who
were called respectively “Novaya” and “Zemlya;” the former died in the
first year, the latter, though she was of little use in sledging from
her laziness, may claim indisputably the merit of being the mother of
her hopeful son, “Torossy,” who grew to a considerable size, and was
the pride of the whole crew. He knew no other world than the frozen
ocean, and no other destiny than to draw a sledge; and to this work he
had devoted himself zealously since the commencement of winter. In the
happy courage of ignorance he wagged his tail all day on deck; wagged
his tail as he followed us on the ice; wagged it, even when Sumbu stole
his dinner; wagged it, even before the jaws of a bear. Gillis, the fifth
Newfoundland, was incessantly quarrelling, and was the irreconcilable
enemy of Jubinal; he was a favourite with no one, chiefly because he had
killed the two cats which we brought from Tromsoe as pets for the dogs.
His body was covered with scars, and half his time was spent under the
medical treatment of the Tyrolese. He was not wanting in docility, but he
was essentially an eye-pleaser; all his efforts in the sledge were mere
sham. Pekel, the Lapp, was the smallest of all the dogs. In his early
days he had tended the reindeer at the North Cape and on the plains of
Tana Elf, and his ways did not fit him for life amid the ice, but for the
brown herd which roamed at the foot of Kilpis. Hence he was quarrelsome,
and showed special enmity to Sumbu, the mere sight of whom was enough to
stir up the most hostile feelings. He was therefore banished with his
house to a high ice-cliff, but the thaw destroying its supports, house
and dog fell plump into an ice-lake. Among all the dogs there was no such
desperate hypocrite as Sumbu, the most demonstrative in his friendship,
but withal the most greedy and dissatisfied. He was the first to slink
away with tail between his legs and find out the most secluded nook,
when he saw the other dogs being harnessed in the sledges; and, when
pulled out and put in a team, at once laid himself down on the sledge,
not to draw, but to be drawn. When at last he was set in motion, he was
no longer the same dog. He was then full of action, unsurpassed in speed
and agility, and his sportiveness was as great as his cunning. From the
carpenter he would carry off a hoop, or a bag of nails from the stoker,
or he lay flat on his belly and thrust out his long nose in the snow. His
agility stood him in good stead, for it enabled him to catch all the mice
that ventured on deck. Neither the stores of provisions for the dogs nor
the depôt of food for the crew were safe from his depredations. He hated
bears so fiercely, that he began to howl like a wolf when we turned out
to hunt them. Boldly he followed up their trail, even when at a distance
from the hunters and close to the heels of the bear. The dogs were fed
once a day with bear’s flesh or blubber, or dried horse-flesh, as long as
it lasted.[24] They well knew the hour of feeding, and gathered together
before it arrived. At night they were shut up in their house, and when
the snow drifted they all lay huddled in a heap before the door. The
dog-house was about eight feet high, but after a few weeks we could
scarcely discern it from the accumulation of snow-drifts. For some time
we kept up communication with it by means of a shaft dug in the snow; but
one day in February a fissure in the ice was formed right across where
the house stood, which compelled us to remove it.

9. The end of December came, and with it the season of those festivals
which animate the Christian world—Christmas-tide and the New Year. In
order to celebrate them in common, we built a snow house, decorated its
interior with flags, and placed in it a Christmas tree, which, however,
more resembled a wooden hedgehog or a _cheval de frise_. About six
o’clock in the evening all our preparations were made, and the ship’s
bell, sounding mournfully in the dark and misty atmosphere, summoned
us to our snow house on the ice. Here lots were drawn, and cigars,
watches, knives, pipes or rum fell to the fortunate drawers. For all
these presents we had to thank friends in Vienna, or Pola, or Hamburg.
Then came the Christmas dinner, but no one’s heart was in the matter. Our
bodies, indeed, were present, but our thoughts were far away with those
we loved at home. New Year’s Eve passed off somewhat more cheerfully.
Better grounded seemed our expectations that 1874 would at last bring us
our long-desired activity and a not inglorious return to Europe. Scarcely
had the new year begun than the crew knocked at our cabin doors with
their congratulations, and such salutations continued to be the order of
the day. On the whole this second winter both before and after the new
year (1874), passed away without the fearful events of the preceding.
Although floes lay close to us on every side, and we had no harbour in
which to pass the winter with comfort—like a bear in its winter sleep—the
quiescent state of the ice allowed us to hope that our floe would remain
in the position it had hitherto maintained. This hope, indeed, lay at the
mercy of the winds; for if north winds should set in, it was extremely
probable that the ice would break up and drift asunder.

10. The life we now led below in the ship had ceased to be in any
way disagreeable, and cheerful and entertaining reading seemed to be
healthier than bodily exercise. We did not suffer from any want of the
necessaries of life; the temperature of our living-rooms generally
admitted of our sitting for hours even without our overcoats. The long
night of this Polar winter was gloomy and oppressive only to those who
had time and leisure to weigh the burden of the hours. There were,
of course, even in this second winter, some of those discomforts and
dangers of which the reader has heard enough, and which lead him when
he reads of life in the frozen regions to think of ice-floes rather
than of a room in which comfort is quite possible. We had, indeed, the
usual inconveniences. As early as the middle of October the skylight was
so covered with frost that we could scarcely read even at noon. On the
20th of that month we were obliged to keep the lamps constantly burning,
and to close in the skylight, which brought night into the mess-room
before the night of Nature had arrived. By the middle of November the
condensation of moisture was perceptible, and our bed-clothes were
frequently frozen to the wall, and had to be torn from it before we
could go to rest. Yet what signified all this? We all slept soundly
notwithstanding, and during the day had to complain rather of warmth
than of cold. The condition of the crew, however, was not so happy. We
could not follow the example set by Hayes and others of removing the
contents of the hold to the land, and so transforming it into quarters
for the men. On board the _Tegetthoff_ we suffered some of the evils of
over-population, and the moisture was so much increased from it, that
some of the berths were completely saturated. The employment of hammocks
would perhaps avert this evil.

[Illustration: IN THE MESS-ROOM.]

11. The number of those afflicted with scurvy decreased with the approach
of spring. Their gums recovered their fresh and natural appearance, and
the general weakness, the pains in the joints, the leaden weight of the
feet, the depression of spirits—symptoms of this terrible malady—abated,
and the scorbutic marks disappeared from their bodies. Pachtusow, when he
wintered in Novaya Zemlya, so abundant in supplies of drift-wood, caused
his people to use the bath once a week in a log house constructed on the
land, as a preservative against scurvy, and had their inner clothing
washed twice a week, but even these steps were insufficient to avert the
malady. In our case baths so added to the moisture that we were obliged
to put a stop to them, and our under-garments could be changed only as
our stock of them permitted. Hence we could hope to prevent the spread
of scurvy only by the improvement of our diet. Several hundred-weight of
potatoes and a large supply of preserved meat had been kept in store for
the second winter. These now came into use, and were the more welcome
as our supply of lemon-juice—the most important preservative against
scurvy—was diminishing. By the advice of our physician, Dr. Kepes, we
departed from the maxim, so generally adhered to in Arctic expeditions,
of avoiding spirituous liquors. From the beginning of October our men
daily received rations of brandy. When I compare the sanitary condition
of the crew of the _Tegetthoff_ with the better state of that of the
_Germania_, I attribute this to the lesser power of resistance to
disease in some of our people on board the _Tegetthoff_ and to the moral
depression so easily explained by our disasters in this ship.

12. The Arctic voyager is exposed to no disease so much as to scurvy.
Its appearance among a crew exercises a most untoward influence. Its
causes are still but little known; the means, however, of combating it
are numerous. It is no longer the scourge it was in the days of Barentz,
when he and all his men were attacked with it on the short summer
excursion of 1595, or when in Munk’s expedition of 1619 all died but two.
In Behring’s expedition of 1741, out of seventy-six men, forty-two were
attacked and thirty died. In Tschirikoff’s summer expedition during that
same year (1741), out of seventy men, twenty died. Rossmyslow, who passed
the winter of 1768-69 in “Matoschkin-Schar,” lost seven out of thirteen
men. When the disease gains the mastery, the utter incapacity of the
expedition for further exploration follows as a necessary consequence.
Lassinius, who was sent out to explore Novaya Zemlya in 1819, had to
return in the height of summer, all his men having fallen down with the
scurvy. This disease has been a frightful enemy to expeditions which have
wintered in that region, and carried off numerous victims. All these, it
is true, were miserably equipped, and depended on the medicinal virtues
of the “Löffel-kraut” of that country for remedies against the disease.
In 1832-33 Pachtusow, wintering in the south of the island, out of ten
men lost three; in 1834-35, two more died of the same disease. In the
expedition of Ziwolka and Mojsejew, 1838-39, the scurvy gained such
mastery that at the end of February half of the crew were attacked, and
Ziwolka himself with eight men died. Parry regarded damp, especially
damp bedding, as the principal cause of the malady. During his wintering
at Melville Island he found sorrel an effective remedy or palliative.
He attributed the greatest anti-scorbutic effect to beer; and according
to him and to most of the English expeditions, beer and wine take the
place of brandy. The disease generally has a fatal issue when there has
been excessive loss of blood, or when dropsy supervenes. Most of Ross’s
second expedition suffered more or less from it, and the experience of
that expedition showed that vegetable nourishment alone was not competent
to make head against it. Ross regarded the addition of fish or seals to
the ordinary diet as an effective preservative, and did not disdain the
use of blubber for the same purpose. Lemon-juice, uncooked potatoes,
fruit with much acidity, fresh vegetables and fresh meat, wine and yeast,
exercise in the open air, and cheerfulness, have always proved sufficient
to prevent its appearance, or at any rate to render it improbable. But
however valuable these may be as preventives, they almost cease to have
any effect when the disease has once broken out. The lime-juice must be
fresh, and, like vinegar, be taken in as concentrated a form as possible.
It is decomposed and useless by being kept too long, and also by the
action of frost. This was the case with the lemon-juice which Sir John
Ross found among the stores of the _Fury_. An anti-scorbutic effect has
been attributed also—and with justice—to the chewing of tobacco. It
appears that liability to scurvy is very different among different races,
and that neither vegetable nor animal food is an absolute preservative.
The Eskimos, and even the Lapps, who seldom or never use vegetables,
are almost exempt from it, and McClure’s men fell down with it in their
second winter, although they had fresh meat three times a week. Steller
relates that in Kamschatka scurvy attacks strangers only, but not the
natives, who live largely on vegetables; he states also, that the scurvy
when it does appear among strangers and visitors there, is cured by a
diet of the fresh fish of spring.



CHAPTER XIV.

SUNRISE OF 1874.


1. An unbroken sleep for the whole winter would, undoubtedly, be a
blessing to the Arctic navigator, and the most energetic among us
resigned himself to slumber for a few hours in the afternoon—the profane
time of the day for all zones of the earth—especially after the coming
in of the New Year, when the long unbroken night is intensely felt. The
darkness diminished very gradually, and as the weather was frequently
cloudy and dull, it was little lessened by the full moon, which we had at
the beginning of January and February. December 26, we were able to read
only the title of _New Free Press_, at the distance of a few inches, but
not a word of Vogt’s _Geology_. January 11, the word Geology on the title
of that book was discernible in clear weather, but only when the book was
held up to the light of the midday twilight. On the following day it was
as dark at nine o’clock in the morning as at noon on December 1st. The
moon returned again on the 24th of January, and after it was four days
old we could distinguish the common print of the “Press” by its light,
and for the first time read off the degrees of the thermometer without
artificial means. During the whole of the month we had alternations
of high temperatures and snow-drifting, and at the end of it the wind
dropped and the cold became exceedingly great, causing the ice to break
up to the south of our position. It would be difficult to give in an
illustration any notion of the wonderful forms produced by the twilight,
and its glowing colour-effects, and quite impossible to describe the
blaze of the meridian heavens, while deep shadows still lay over the
ice-plains and a dark ridge fringed and closed the horizon.

2. At noon on the 23rd of February the rolling mists glowed with a red
light, announcing the reappearance of the sun. The next day the sun
himself, raised and distorted into an oval shape, appeared above the
horizon about 10 A.M. Again there was spread over the snow that magical
rosy hue, those bright azure shadows, which impart a poetical character
even to the landscape of the frozen north. The return of the sun was
this year the deliverance from our long night of 125 days.[25] Anxiously
had we waited his return, and joyously we greeted it, but not with the
frenzied feelings of the previous year. Then the reappearance of the sun
was tantamount almost to a deliverance from hell itself; but now the sun
was nothing to us but as a means to an end: would it enable us to begin
our sledge-journeys to explore the Kaiser Franz-Josef Land? The mere
thought of the possibility of making new discoveries threw us into a
feverish impatience, and our fears became intense lest the ship with its
floe should drift away and frustrate the execution of our plans just as
they seemed feasible.

3. On that same day Lieutenant Weyprecht and I resolved to abandon the
ship after the termination of our projected sledge-journeys of discovery,
and to attempt to return to Europe by means of the boats and sledges. No
arguments were needed to convince every one of the ship’s company of the
absolute necessity of this resolution. Our ship lay on its icy elevation,
beyond the power of man to liberate her, and the provisions would not
be sufficient to sustain us for another year. But fear lest the state
of our health should greatly deteriorate in a third winter spoke more
forcibly than anything else in favour of our decision. When we looked at
our medical stores, once so ample, now so reduced, at the few bottles of
lemon-juice we could count on, all saw the impossibility of our remaining
longer in these latitudes. The melancholy issue of Franklin’s expedition
forced itself on our mind as an instructive example and warning. In all
likelihood that ill-fated expedition had delayed its return a year longer
than it should have done, and began it in so weakened a condition, that
it was next to an impossibility that they should have succeeded in their
purpose. We began to be pinched also in many of our stores, in spite
of the greatest economy in their use. To add to our perils, the doctor
drew a sad picture of the sanitary condition of our crew. Of nineteen
men, several had fallen sick: Krisch still suffered from scurvy and
consumption; Marola from the first scorbutic symptoms; Fallesich from
its consequences; Vecerina from the utter inability to move his lower
extremities produced by the same malady; Palmich from a constant tendency
to it and the contraction of his lower extremities; Pospischill from lung
disease; and Haller from a rheumatic affection of his extremities which
almost incapacitated him for any exertion.



CHAPTER XV.

THE AURORA.


1. The Northern lights had shone for these two winters with incomparable
splendour, not, indeed, with the quiet diverging beams, sometimes
observed in our northern latitudes, and different also from the phenomena
which have been seen and noted in recent years, even in Central Europe;
they resembled rather those we saw in East Greenland, save that the
brilliancy and intensity of their colours were far greater.

2. It is very difficult to characterize the forms of this phenomenon, not
only because they are manifold, but because they are constantly changing.
Sometimes the Aurora appears like flaming arches with glowing balls of
light; sometimes in irregular meridians painted on the heavens, sometimes
in brilliant bands and patches of light on the sky. Each of these forms
was frequently developed from a different one, but towards morning the
last-named appearance was the most general.

3. The movement of the waves of light gave the impression that they
were the sport of winds, and their sudden and rapid rise resembled the
uprising of whirling vapours, such as the Geysers might send forth,
which generally assumed the form of enormous flames, except that they
were transparent and mist-like. In many cases the Aurora much resembled
a flash of summer lightning conceived as permanent. It appeared almost
always in the south, and was visible from September till March, during
which period it was to us the only external excitement which we had. The
illuminating power of the Aurora, when its colours were most brilliant
and intense, was inferior to the illuminating power of the full moon.
Some rare cases excepted, this was either so small or so transitory,
that it had no influence on the darkness of our long winter nights.
Like a stream, or in brilliant convolutions, the light rushed over the
firmament, as well from east to west as from west to east. The formation
of the corona (or the convergence of the streamers in the direction
of the inclination needle) was sudden, and short in its duration,
and frequently happened more than once in the course of a night. Its
greatest intensity was from eight till ten o’clock at night. It was never
accompanied with sound.[26] The sketch we have given represents one of
its most characteristic forms. The inner parts of the flames are usually
whitish green, and their edge on the upper side red, on the lower green.

4. Brilliant auroras were generally succeeded by bad weather. Those on
the other hand which did not rise to any great height in the sky, or
which did not show any special mobility, were regarded as the precursors
of calms. None of the theories which have been ventilated are in exact
accordance with all the manifestations of these northern lights. The
undulating motion of their waves of light, their rolling forth like
pillars of smoke driven by winds, has hitherto remained unexplained.
Although electrical processes, still unknown, seem to be the main causes
of the Aurora, atmospheric vapours may, however, have a considerable part
in producing the phenomenon; and nothing so much favours this supposition
as the indefinite form in which it often appears. Its occurrence during
the day, _i.e._ light clouds with its characteristic movement, has been
rather imagined than actually observed. The transition of white clouds
into auroral forms at night has never at least been satisfactorily
proved. Falling stars pass through the northern lights without producing
any perceptible effect, or undergoing any change. A dirty sulphur yellow
was characteristic of all auroras when the sky was overcast with mists or
when they were seen by moonlight. In clear weather they were colourless.

[Illustration: THE AURORA DURING THE ICE PRESSURE.]

5. Their influence on the magnetic needle was very variable. While
the quiescent and regular arches had little or no effect, the quicker
and more fitful streamers, especially when accompanied with prismatic
colours, produced great disturbance in it. Sir John Ross remarked, that
the aurora when tinged with deep red colour had a great effect on it,
although he completely stultifies his observation by his supposition,
that the phenomenon was produced by rays of the sun reflected on the vast
fields of snow and ice surrounding the Pole. Parry in 1820 could discover
no effect from it either on the magnetic needle or on the electrometer.
During the winter of 1872-3, the character of the northern lights was
much altered, though their colour remained constant. At first they
consisted chiefly of bands of light, running from the south-northwards.
At a later period of that winter they assumed for the most part the
appearance of coronæ, and then their direction was from the north
southwards. During the voyage of the _Tegetthoff_ the observations of the
behaviour of these lights and of the magnetic constants were taken by
Weyprecht, Brosch, and Orel by means of a magnetic theodolite, a dipping
needle, and three variation instruments. The extraordinary disturbances
of the needle rendered the determination of exact mean values for the
magnetic constants impossible. The diminution of their intensity was
considerable during the continuance of auroras. In 79° 51′ N. Lat. and
58° 56′ E. Long. the declination amounted to 19½° E. and the inclination
to 82° 22′. The ice-pressures which occurred in December, 1873 together
with the tedious preliminaries in fixing the magnetic instruments,
prevented these officers from carrying out their labours regularly
till the next month. The following are the principal results of these
observations: (1) The magnetic disturbances were of extraordinary
magnitude and frequency. (2) They were closely connected with the aurora;
and they were greater as the motion of the rays was more rapid and
fitful, and the prismatic colours more intense. Quiescent and regular
arches, without changing rays or streamers, exercise almost no influence
on the needle. (3) In all the disturbances the declination needle moved
towards the east, and the horizontal intensity decreased while the
inclination increased.

6. In spite of the extreme difficulty of describing the appearances
of those fitful and changing lights, I believe that the following
description of Lieutenant Weyprecht will be found equally faithful and
effective:—

“There in the south, low on the horizon, stands a faint arch of light. It
looks as it were the upper limit of a dark segment of a circle; but the
stars which shine through it in undiminished brilliancy convince us that
the darkness of the segment is a delusion produced by contrast. Gradually
the arch of light grows in intensity and rises to the zenith. It is
perfectly regular; its two ends almost touch the horizon and advance to
the east and west in proportion as the arch rises. No beams are to be
discovered in it, but the whole consists of an almost uniform light of a
delicious tender colour. It is transparent white with a shade of light
green, not unlike the pale green of a young plant which germinates in
the dark. The light of the moon appears yellow, contrasted with this
tender colour so pleasing to the eye, and so indescribable in words, a
colour which nature appears to have given only to the Polar regions by
way of compensation. The arch is broad, thrice the breadth, perhaps, of
the rainbow, and its distinctly marked edges are strongly defined on
the profound darkness of the Arctic heavens. The stars shine through it
with undiminished brilliancy. The arch mounts higher and higher. An air
of repose seems spread over the whole phenomenon; here and there only
a wave of light rolls slowly from one side to the other. It begins to
grow clear over the ice; some of its groups are discernible. The arch is
still distant from the zenith; a second detaches itself from the dark
segment, and this is gradually succeeded by others. All now rise towards
the zenith; the first passes beyond it, then sinks slowly towards the
northern horizon and as it sinks loses its intensity. Arches of light are
now stretched over the whole heavens; seven are apparent at the same time
on the sky, though of inferior intensity. The lower they sink towards the
north, the paler they grow, till at last they utterly fade away. Often
they all return over the zenith, and become extinct, just as they came.

“It is seldom, however, that an aurora runs a course so calm and so
regular. The typical dark segment which we see in treatises on the
subject, in most cases does not exist. A thin bank of clouds lies on
the horizon. The upper edge is illuminated; out of it is developed a
band of light, which expands, increases in intensity of colour, and
rises to the zenith. The colour is the same as in the arch, but the
intensity of the colour is stronger. The colours of the band change in
a never-ceasing play, but place and form remain unaltered. The band is
broad and its intense pale green stands out with wonderful beauty on the
dark background. Now the band is twisted into many convolutions, but
the innermost folds are still to be seen distinctly through the others.
Waves of light continually undulate rapidly through its whole extent,
sometimes from right to left, sometimes from left to right. Then again
it rolls itself up in graceful folds. It seems almost as if breezes high
in the air played and sported with the broad flaming streamers, the ends
of which are lost far off on the horizon. The light grows in intensity,
the waves of light follow each other more rapidly, prismatic colours
appear on the upper and lower edge of the band, the brilliant white of
the centre is inclosed between narrow stripes of red and green. Out of
one band have now grown two. The upper continually approaches the zenith,
rays begin to shoot forth from it towards a point near the zenith, to
which the south pole of the magnetic needle, freely suspended, points.
The band has nearly reached it, and now begins a brilliant play of rays
lasting for a short time, the central point of which is the magnetic
pole—a sign of the intimate connection of the whole phenomenon with
the magnetic forces of the earth. Round the magnetic pole short rays
flash and flare on all sides; prismatic colours are discernible on all
their edges; longer and shorter rays alternate with each other; waves
of light roll round it as a centre. What we see is the auroral corona;
and it is almost always seen when a band passes over the magnetic pole.
This peculiar phenomenon lasts but a short time—the band now lies on
the northern side of the firmament; gradually it sinks, and pales as it
sinks; it returns again to the south to change and play as before. So
it goes on for hours; the aurora incessantly changes place, form, and
intensity. It often entirely disappears for a short time only to appear
again suddenly, without the observers clearly perceiving how it came and
where it went: simply—it is there.

“But the band is often seen in a perfectly different form. Frequently
it consists of single rays, which, standing close together, point in an
almost parallel direction towards the magnetic pole. These become more
intensely bright with each successive wave of light; hence each ray
appears to flash and dart continually, and their green and red edges
dance up and down as the waves of light run through them. Often again the
rays extend through the whole length of the band and reach almost up to
the magnetic pole. These are sharply marked but lighter in colour than
the band itself, and in this particular form they are at some distance
from each other. Their colour is yellow, and it seems as if thousands of
slender threads of gold were stretched across the firmament. A glorious
veil of transparent light is spread over the starry heavens; the threads
of light with which this veil is woven are distinctly marked on the
dark background; its lower border is a broad, intensely white band,
edged with green and red, which twists and turns in constant motion. A
violet-coloured auroral vapour is often seen simultaneously on different
parts of the sky.

“Or again, there has been tempestuous weather, and it is now—let us
suppose—passing away. Below on the ice the wind has fallen, but the
clouds are still driving rapidly across the sky, so that in the upper
regions its force is not yet laid. Over the ice it becomes somewhat
clear; behind the clouds appears an aurora amid the darkness of the
night. Stars twinkle here and there; through the openings of the clouds
we see the dark firmament and the rays of the aurora chasing one another
towards the zenith. The heavy clouds disperse; mist-like masses drive
on before the wind. Fragments of the northern lights are strewn on
every side; it seems, as if the storm had torn the aurora bands to
tatters and was driving them hither and thither across the sky. These
threads change form and place with incredible rapidity. Here is one!
lo, it is gone! scarcely has it vanished before it appears again in
another place. Through these fragments drive the waves of light; one
moment they are scarcely visible, in the next they shine with intense
brilliancy. But their light is no longer that glorious pale green, it
is a dull yellow. It is often difficult to distinguish what is aurora
and what is vapour—the illuminated mists as they fly past are scarcely
distinguishable from the auroral vapour which comes and goes on every
side.

“But, again another form. Bands of every possible form and intensity
have been driving over the heavens. It is now eight o’clock at night,
the hour of the greatest intensity of the northern lights. For a moment
some bundles of rays only are to be seen in the sky. In the south, a
faint scarcely-observable band lies close to the horizon. All at once
it rises rapidly and spreads east and west. The waves of light begin to
dart and shoot; some rays mount towards the zenith. For a short time it
remains stationary, then suddenly springs to life. The waves of light
drive violently from east to west; the edges assume a deep red and green
colour, and dance up and down. The rays shoot up more rapidly; they
become shorter; all rise together and approach nearer and nearer to the
magnetic pole. It looks as if there were a race among the rays, and that
each aspired to reach the pole first. And now the point is reached, and
they shoot out on every side, to the north and the south, to the east and
the west. Do the rays shoot from above downwards, or from below upwards?
Who can distinguish? From the centre issues a sea of flames; is that sea
red, white, or green? Who can say?—it is all three colours at the same
moment! The rays reach almost to the horizon; the whole sky is in flames.
Nature displays before us such an exhibition of fireworks as transcends
the powers of imagination to conceive. Involuntarily we listen; such
a spectacle must, we think, be accompanied with sound. But unbroken
stillness prevails, not the least sound strikes on the ear. Once more
it becomes clear over the ice, and the whole phenomenon has disappeared
with the same inconceivable rapidity with which it came, and gloomy night
has again stretched her dark veil over everything. This was the aurora
of the coming storm—the aurora in its fullest splendour. No pencil can
draw it, no colours can paint it, and no words can describe it in all its
magnificence. And here below stand we poor men, and speak of knowledge
and progress, and pride ourselves on the understanding with which we
extort from Nature her mysteries. We stand and gaze on the mystery which
Nature has written for us in flaming letters on the dark vault of night,
and ultimately we can only wonder and confess that, in truth, we know
nothing of it.”



THE EXPLORATION OF KAISER FRANZ-JOSEF LAND.

_THE SLEDGE JOURNEYS._



[Illustration: ORIGINAL MAP of the KAISER FRANZ JOSEF LAND _surveyed by_
JULIUS PAYER.]



CHAPTER I.

THE EXPLORATION OF KAISER FRANZ-JOSEF LAND RESOLVED ON.


1. The necessity of returning home admitted of no question; but the
exploration of the Land of which we had seen hardly anything, beyond
the cliffs that lay in our immediate neighbourhood, was also felt to
be a necessity. That land, which we were all predisposed to imagine as
stretching far beyond this wall of rocks,—of what did it consist? Was it
an island or a group of islands? And those white masses lying on these
lofty ranges, were they glaciers? To these questions no one as yet could
give an answer. But of this there could be neither doubt nor question,
that we could not count on our floe for a moment, and that those were
lost who were not on board the ship if the floe with the ship began to
drift. On the 1st of March the Tyrolese announced, that a fissure had
appeared half-way between the ship and the shore, and the danger of
being cut off became the chief subject of talk, both in the cabin of the
officers and in the quarters of the men. When, however, we considered the
importance of the venture, all hesitation disappeared, and there was not
a man in the ship who would not have made his apprehensions subordinate
to the necessity of exploration.

2. As the commander of the expedition on shore, I explained to the
council we held on the 24th of February, my plan for the projected
sledge-journeys, namely: that the sledge-parties count on the means of
escape being left behind to supplement those they may have at their
command, and that the depositing of these means be completed before the
sledge-parties start; that the expeditions shall begin between the
10th and 20th of March, be continued for six or seven weeks, and take,
if possible, the following directions:—one along the coast towards the
North, a second towards the West, and a third into the interior, and
each to be concluded by the ascent of a dominating height; that in
the event of the sledge-parties not finding the ship on their return,
they should attempt to go back at once to Europe, and only under the
most urgent circumstances pass a third winter in the ice, though the
superfluous stores, which were to be transported to the land, would to a
certain extent enable them to do this. I engaged also not to extend these
journeys to a date which would prevent the men recruiting their strength
before the return of the whole expedition to Europe.

3. The exploration of the strange land having been resolved on, the
greatest activity reigned in the ship. There was not a man on board the
_Tegetthoff_ who was not eager to prepare for the sledge-journeys, though
all knew that besides the two Tyrolese only four men were to accompany
me. Every one longed to take part in the exploration of the unknown land,
and the monotony of our life was now exchanged for a state of great
excitement; a great venture had been resolved on, and expectations rose
with the possibility of discoveries. The comparatively short period for
which our stores had now to last enabled us to indulge in what, under
the circumstances, might be called luxury. We could thus dispose of more
than two hundred bottles of wine, which had been reserved for the sick
in the event of a third winter being passed in the ice. Three-and-twenty
men now in three months drank two hundred bottles of wine and smoked
like chimneys the superfluous stores of cigars and tobacco. Potatoes,
preserved vegetables and fruit, were daily on our table. Our allowance
of rum was increased; lights were freely burnt in every corner, and the
novel sensation of luxury was universal.

4. While we were all living as if the oppressive load under which we had
lain so long had suddenly been removed, in these days of general hilarity
and amid the excitement of new plans, our comrade Krisch drew toward his
sad and melancholy end. From the beginning of February his malady had
made great progress. His body was covered with scorbutic spots; but in
spite of all this the hope of speedy recovery constantly animated our
afflicted companion, who set us a lofty example of the fulfilment of
duty by his zealous activity. In the summer, though already under the
influence of his mortal disease, he had been busy in the construction
of new ice-saws and borers, in order that he might contribute something
to the liberation of the ship, and when he heard of the projected
expeditions to Franz-Josef Land, he gathered sufficient strength to
extort from me the assurance that I would take him with me. But his end
was surely though slowly drawing on; his nights were sleepless, and
pain left him neither day nor night. At the beginning of March a state
of unconsciousness supervened, and the action of his diseased lungs was
now to be heard in an uninterrupted rattling in his throat. Moments of
mental clearness became more infrequent in his delirium; help had become
impossible; all the care of our physician and of the watchers, who never
left him, was now directed merely to the alleviation of his sufferings.
He lingered till we returned from our first sledge expedition on the 16th
of March.

[Illustration: KRISCH, THE ENGINEER.]



CHAPTER II.

OF SLEDGE TRAVELLING IN GENERAL.


1. The sledge is pre-eminently the means of geographical exploration in
high latitudes, and as discovery now forms the main purpose of Polar
expeditions, it may be important to describe clearly and precisely the
system we followed, that others may either adopt or improve on our
methods. Thus I will enter into many details, not in order to dwell on
the inconveniences incident to this mode of travelling, but to show
how the greatest amount of safety and protection may be secured to the
sledge-party.

2. Sledge-journeys presuppose that the ship is safe and secure in a
winter harbour. A ship which has not yet completed its summer voyage
should avoid them as exceedingly hazardous; and as a principle such
expeditions are to be absolutely declined by a ship which is beset in the
ice; the success which may have attended some must by no means stimulate
others to imitate them. Their object is the exploration of lands still
unknown or imperfectly known. They presuppose also the existence of ice,
closely adhering to a coast, on which the journeys are performed, and
this coast-line must run in a northerly direction, if the North Pole
be the goal of discovery. Though sledge-parties follow the coast-line
they actually travel on the frozen sea; for it is never safe to abandon
that line and make for pack-ice at a distance from it. The crossing of
glaciers, however small may be their inclination, is always attended with
danger; and if the route be stopped by a stretch of land whose extent
forbids dragging, it is of course impossible to proceed. The roughness
of the land and its insufficient covering of snow even in winter
sufficiently explain this. A sledge cannot, for any considerable length
of time, be dragged up an inclination exceeding two or three degrees.

3. The season of the year for sledging must depend on the climate of
particular Arctic localities, and the capacity of the men to endure low
temperatures during the night-camping, and driving snow during the march.
It is advisable, when more than one year is to be spent in the ice, to
begin the more extended sledge-journeys in the first year, because the
capacities of Europeans to endure cold rather decrease than increase.
Sir John Ross, for example, says that his people at the beginning of a
third winter were incapable of bearing hardships, especially those of
travelling on the ice. The best season for sledging must always be that
time of the year when snow-storms are infrequent, for even a healthy and
seasoned party will more easily confront a very low temperature than
driving snow-storms. As a rule, these conditions are found most perfectly
in autumn; and I do not understand the objection which Hayes makes to
this season as being the most damp; whereas as a matter of fact it is the
least so. Autumn journeys are preferable to those in spring, both with
respect to climate and the state of the road; only they must be commenced
early, on account of the rapidly decreasing length of the days.[27] The
darkness of winter puts an end to all sledging, and the excessive cold of
spring renders it difficult. Summer makes it impossible by breaking up
the land-ice, or impedes it by transforming the snow into thaw-water and
sludge. Next to autumn, therefore, the latter part of March, all April,
and a part of May, are most adapted for this purpose. It must at the same
time be remarked, that Captain Lyon (1822) and Dr. Kane regarded March as
peculiarly dangerous on account of the prevalence of storms.

4. Next to the season, the state of the snow road, depending on the
hardening action of wind and cold, has to be considered. The cold
should not vary more than from -2° to -24° F., because greater frost
transforms the smooth evaporating surface of snow into a rough plain,
bestrewed with sharp pointed crystals, so that the sledge instead of
gliding along encounters the friction, as if of a sandstone surface,
and stops at the least obstacle. Snow of an ivory-like smoothness rarely
occurs; on the contrary, we find the snow in deep layers as fine as
powder, into which we sink knee-deep, or among barriers of hummocks,
miles in extent, which impose enormous détours in the transport of the
baggage. During the journey from 2° to 13° below zero F. constitutes
the pleasantest temperature, and even the nights, under this condition,
are passed without inconvenience by a party inured to exposure.
Snow-storms, however, in their mildest form—snow-drifting—are, at this
moderate temperature, distressing and dangerous. In fact, among all the
contingencies which may occur during a Polar expedition, there is no
severer test of enduring perseverance than dragging a sledge in the face
of drifting snow at a temperature from 13° to 35° below zero F.

5. The ship in its winter harbour is the only place of refuge, in all
cases where a meeting with Eskimos cannot be counted on. Except for
the accidents of hunting, on which no dependence should be placed, the
country itself affords no kind of means of subsistence; hence all the
necessaries of life must be carried in the sledges. The heavily laden
sledge becomes in truth a ship of the icy wastes, and its loss involves
the destruction of the whole party. In order to lighten its load and yet
prolong the journey as much as possible, supplies of provisions are often
deposited along the routes to be traversed. This may be done, either by
previous shorter journeys, or by leaving behind a part of the provisions
which have been taken from the ship, or by burying the product of the
chase in the manner adopted by fur-hunters and Indians. The danger to
such stores from the inroads of bears or the breaking up of the ice must
be guarded against by a careful selection of localities; and the place
being chosen, the provisions should either be buried four feet deep in
snow between steep rocks, somewhat above the level of the sea, or the
bags containing them should be suspended on the inaccessible faces of
the rocks. The choice of an elevated point is some security against
visits from bears. But it is never advisable to build confidently on
finding the depôt, or to make the possibility of return dependent on
this contingency. A small stock of the necessaries of life should always
be kept in reserve, as a prudent precaution in case the depôt should
be destroyed. If however the depôts remain untouched and uninjured, and
their numbers be considerable, the duration of the journey, which can
be prolonged for thirty or forty days only where provisions are carried
in the sledges, may thus be doubled in extent. The depôts for journeys
in the spring are often formed in the preceding autumn, though their
preservation is of course exposed to great risk.

6. Sledges are dragged sometimes by men and dogs conjointly, sometimes by
men without dogs, or by dogs alone. Reindeer are found to be unfit for
sledge dragging; although Parry in former days, and Nordenskjöld more
recently, frequently attempted to employ them in this service. Though
a reindeer is able to make with a sledge as many as 120 miles in three
days, it cannot continue such efforts without long periods of repose,
nor drag the heavy loads which are requisite in longer journeys. Besides
this, he who has had any experience in this mode of travelling, knows the
unaccountable capriciousness of these animals, their stubbornness, and
the difficulty of feeding them. Natives alone are able to manage them,
while to strangers they refuse subjection. When the sledges are dragged
by men alone, unexpected contingencies are less to be apprehended, but
at the same time their rate of progress is diminished. In an expedition
calculated to last a month, ten miles constitute the average day’s march,
when circumstances are favourable. If the length of the journey be
prolonged, this average will be considerably diminished. The combination
of men and dogs in the work of dragging accelerates the speed. With
regard to the men employed in this work, it is advisable to engage
experienced mountaineers[28] of great bodily strength, such men being
able to do work for which, it is admitted, sailors have neither training
nor inclination.

7. No form of sledge travelling, when measured by results, can be
compared with sledging by the help of dogs alone; for this method
enables us to compass the greatest possible distance, and diminishes
the dead-weight of the load in the sledge. Besides this, dogs are not
only active but tractable; they show no fear; they can endure hunger
longer than men, even while making great exertions; they neither drink
nor smoke; neither fuel for the stove to liquefy the snow, nor tent,
nor sleeping bag, need be taken for them; none, in fact, of those many
little things which are indispensable for men. In extreme necessity
they may be even used for food. And since a strong dog is able to drag,
even for a long journey, double of what he needs for his own support,
the surplus falls to the share of the man who accompanies him, and
who is able, therefore, to prolong his absence from the ship. Without
considering the forced marches which Englishmen, Americans, and Russians
have frequently made on the ice with a number of dogs, the employment
of a few dogs in sledge expeditions has such conspicuous advantage over
teams of men, that I would earnestly recommend the following method of
procedure: two teams of dogs, each of two or four strong Newfoundlands,
should be employed, one to be driven by the leader of the expedition and
the other by one of the most experienced and trustworthy of the party.
Each sledge should carry at starting, a weight of from 4 to 7 cwt., i.e.
provisions for thirty to fifty days, only needing a slight supplement
from the products of the chase. Sixteen miles a day, on an average, may
easily be thus accomplished, especially if the rest of the party attached
to each sledge walk on before their respective teams. Distances varying
from 500 to 800 miles may thus be reached, while 300 or at the most 500
miles are all that men alone in the same time can perform. Journeys of
this kind require much experience, so that those men only are serviceable
who have much practical acquaintance with life in the Arctic wastes,
and not merely with life as it is in the ship, but who are inured to
fatigues and skilled in the use of those precautions which distance from
the ship imperatively demands during the prevalence of extreme cold. With
regard to the route itself, whenever the object is the reaching of higher
latitudes and the exploration of a still unknown country, it is advisable
to choose one from four to eight miles distant from the land. The search
for a route is greatly facilitated whenever we can ascend dominating
heights to enable us to determine our position. Such a course not only
saves us from the necessity of making détours, but affords the only
possibility of being able to touch the land at desirable points and of
ascertaining the character of the intervening districts. A survey may be
made either by triangulation, the base being measured by those who remain
behind in the ship and the summits of the mountains serving as the points
of the triangles, or by the determination of the geographical latitude
and longitude of the different spots. The combination of both methods is
of course most desirable.

8. The following instruments may be employed in sledge journeys,
according to the degree of exactness which is required: a small universal
instrument, a sextant with an artificial horizon, a pocket chronometer,
an azimuth compass, a boat compass of simple construction, an alcohol and
mercurial thermometer, and two small aneroids.



CHAPTER III.

THE EQUIPMENT OF A SLEDGE EXPEDITION.


1. The equipment of a sledge expedition on a large scale demands an
amount of circumspection and precision which experience alone can give,
and its safety and success may be endangered by the neglect of apparently
trifling precautions. At a distance from the ship the most formidable
dangers may arise, from allowing the matches to become damp, from the
leaking or the loss of a vessel containing spirit, from the setting fire
to a tent, which only too probably may happen from the carelessness of
the cook, to say nothing of those yet greater perils,—the inability of
some of the party to march, the destruction of depôts of provisions by
bears, or the breaking in of the sea. The first principle in fitting out
such an expedition should be the rejection of everything not absolutely
necessary for the support of life, the instruments only excepted; and
the second, that the whole of the travelling gear should be of the most
perfect and convenient form. The departure from these rules contributed,
among other things, to the melancholy issue of the Franklin expedition.
McClintock speaks most emphatically of the evils of over-loading with
things not absolutely necessary. The success of an undertaking may
be defeated by the neglect even of things apparently insignificant.
Mojsejew’s sledge expedition along the coast of Novaya Zemlya in 1839
was a proof and illustration of this. It was wrecked within a few days
by the snow-blindness of the entire party, caused by their want of
snow-spectacles. If we except the journeys of the Russian explorers of
the Siberian coast, carried out, however, at the sacrifice of the whole
nomad population, and of all the dogs and reindeer of North Asia—from
which to this day the exhausted country has not recovered—the merit of
the organization of sledge expeditions belongs pre-eminently to the
English. It was by Parry and James Ross that those experiments with
sledges were begun, which have since been brought nearly to perfection
by McClintock.[29] The method thus perfected serves to this day as a
pattern to be imitated, as it enables a party of men, inured to hardships
and fatigues, to pass many weeks without the help of those resources
which only a ship in such icy wastes can afford. I will now endeavour
to describe with sufficient detail the equipment of our sledges in the
journeys we carried out.

2. The changeableness of the weather during the season for sledging,
and the character of our expeditions, required the employment of three
sledges of different sizes. The smallest of these was a dog-sledge,
and the two others were larger and intended to be drawn by men. The
runners were respectively 6, 8 and 11 feet long, and 1½, 2 and 2¾ inches
broad[30]—gently curved at each end—and about one foot high, so as to
raise the lading above the snow. The sledges were constructed of the best
ash, and carried loads amounting to 7, 12, and 20 cwts. respectively.
The two runners were fastened together by two strong front boards, and
by four cross-pieces of wood firmly lashed to the upright standards of
the sledge, which were themselves dovetailed into the runners. Screws
were sparingly used, and chiefly in the fittings of the two horns of the
sledge, and of the rail on which the rifles were suspended, and which
also was used to push and guide the sledge. The rail was, therefore, of
considerable strength, in order to withstand the pressure of a man’s
force. The runners were shod with steel carefully riveted on. The
accompanying sketch shows the manner in which a sledge is drawn by a
team of men and dogs combined. Those who take the longest steps in the
march should precede, and the less active should be placed in the middle,
so that any slackness may be easily detected; for in a sledge journey it
is disgraceful to draw a weight less than the weight of what we can eat.
The centre trace should never be grasped, as this diminishes the force of
the pull.

[Illustration: TEAM OF SEVEN MEN AND THREE DOGS.]

[Illustration: THE COOKING APPARATUS.]

3. The proper construction of the cooking apparatus is of the greatest
importance, the great principle being to develop heat and prevent its
escape as much as possible. The accompanying woodcut represents an
apparatus which excellently well fulfils this condition. A, is the
inner compartment; B, the holder containing about a bottle of spirit,
with seven wicks; C, the covered pan for cooking; D, the outer case;
and E, a pan filled with snow and fitted with a moveable handle, which,
being placed over an opening in the outer case, utilizes the ascending
heat, which would otherwise escape, to liquefy the snow. The apparatus
should be made of sheet iron, each of its parts of one piece, and there
should be no soldering, in order to diminish the risk of breakage and
the setting fire to the tent by the escape of the spirit in a state
of combustion. These cooking machines should be of different sizes,
according to the number of men in the expedition. The largest of those
used by us consumed ¾lb. of spirits of wine to convert snow, with a
thermometer from 13° to 22° below zero F., into three gallons of boiling
water. On account of the smaller consumption of alcohol, it is better to
use ice than snow for the purpose of cooking.

4. Alcohol of the greatest purity and strength is the best fuel, and is
most easily transported in vessels containing about ten gallons. Next
to alcohol, stearine is most to be recommended, on account of its great
heating powers; and then train-oil, though the smoke and dirt produced
by it in the tent are almost unbearable evils. Petroleum ought not to be
employed, on account of its dangerous character and its being prejudicial
to health. Wood and coals generate too little heat in proportion to their
bulk. Parry was the first who, in his journey of 1827, employed spirits
of wine; he still used wood and coals in 1820 and Lyon in 1822.

5. The nights are passed either in snow huts, or in tents. If tents
be used, the climate must determine their material, whether cotton or
sailcloth. A mackintosh floor-cloth should always be spread over the
ground of the tent. It is indispensable to make the walls of the snow
huts two or three feet high, in order to allow room for movement, and
the closed side, _i.e._ the side opposite the entrance, must be made
double, as it is always exposed to the direction of the wind. The tent
entrance must be carefully closed with hooks and rings, and should not
reach to the ground. A tent formed by two poles, about eight feet long,
crossed at each end, with another to rest on these supports, is the most
simple and secure form of erection. During the journey, a small sail
may be advantageously used, whenever the wind is favourable; one of the
tent-poles may be used as a mast, and an “Alpine stock” may serve as a
yard for the sail.

6. The sledge party passes the night in a common sleeping bag, in which
there may be, under propitious circumstances, smaller separate bags for
each. When the temperature is not below -13° F., the sleeping bag may be
made out of a warm strong quilt; but when the cold is more intense, it
must be made of buffalo-skin, and to prevent its being pulled off during
the night it should be buttoned at the top in the middle. Sheep-skins
cannot be recommended for this purpose, as they are far heavier than
buffalo-skins; and as they more easily collect moisture, so they freeze
more quickly. The sleeping bag should always be wrapped up in the tent
and packed with it on the sledge, so that it may come as little as
possible in contact with the snow. If the temperature should fall below
-35° F., the travelling party suffers greatly from the frost even in
such a sleeping bag, and it would then be advisable to lay an inflated
india-rubber mattress under the bag, so that only the legs of the
sleepers should be exposed to the influence of the cold.

7. As for arms, it is enough to have three double-barrelled Lefaucheux
rifles and one revolver; and even in districts where encounters with
bears may be daily expected, three cartridges a day are a sufficient
stock of ammunition. These should be explosive shells, with steel points.
Small shot cartridges are indispensable on sledge expeditions, as birds
are not unfrequently met with. When the cold is excessive, great caution
must be used with the cock of the lock, as the brittleness of the metal
then causes it to be easily broken; and from the same cause the hammer
will often not stand at half-cock. The guns must not be oiled, as it
sometimes happens that the hammer on full-cock will not go down where
the lock is smeared with oil. Light woollen gloves should be worn for
shooting, in order that the fingers may not be frozen in handling the
guns.

8. A chest, fixed on the fore-part of the sledge, contains the
instruments used in surveying and in the determination of localities;
also a thermometer and an aneroid barometer, lucifer matches and
cartridges, packed in tin boxes and carefully protected from damp; a
supply of nails and screws, wind-screens for the travellers, sewing
materials, the spoons of the party, extra soles of felt for shoes,
medical stores, brushes, sketch-book, flags, and a supply of light cord.
The pocket-chronometer must be worn in close contact with the body of the
leader of the party, to guard it against the hurtful influences of the
cold.

9. The provisions should be placed below everything, when the sledge is
loaded. The daily allowance for each man ought to be increased by half
a pound above the usual rations on board ship, so that about 2½ lbs. or
2¾ lbs. of solid food fall to the share of each man, and about an equal
weight to each dog. McClintock allowed 2½ to 3 lbs. a head for the men;
but only 1 lb. pemmican a day for the Eskimo dogs. Hayes calculates
provisions for fourteen dogs for twelve days at 300 lbs.—almost 2 lbs. a
day; and, on another occasion, for fifteen dogs for thirty-eight days, at
800 lbs; and considers 1½ lbs. for Eskimo dogs as too little, when great
demands are made on their strength and endurance. From my own experience,
I should say, that the least diminution of this quantity of nourishment
reduces the capacity to endure great cold and excessive exertions, and
produces, after even a few days, a feeling of lassitude both in the
men and the dogs, harder to endure than even the sensation of hunger.
Parry, in his sledge and boat expedition of 1827, found that 10 oz. of
biscuit and 9 oz. of pemmican were hardly sufficient to sustain a man’s
strength. “It may be useful,” he observes,[31] “to remark, as the result
of absolute experience, that our daily allowance of provisions, although
previously tried for some days on board the ship, and then considered
to be enough, proved by no means sufficient to support the strength of
men living constantly in the open air, exposed to wet and cold for at
least twelve hours a day, seldom enjoying the luxury of a warm meal, and
having to perform the kind of labour to which our people were subject.
I have before remarked, that, previously to our return to the ship, our
strength was considerably impaired, and, indeed, there is reason to
believe, very soon after entering upon the ice the physical energies of
the men were gradually diminishing, although for the first few weeks they
did not appear to labour under any specific complaint. This diminishing
of strength, which we considered to be owing to the want of sufficient
sustenance, became apparent, even after a fortnight, in the lifting of
the bread bags; and I have no doubt that, in spite of every care on the
part of the officers, some of the men, who had begun to fail before we
quitted the ice, would, in a week or two longer, have suffered very
severely, and become a serious incumbrance, instead of an assistance, to
our party; and we were of opinion, that in order to maintain the strength
of men thus employed, for several weeks together, an addition would be
requisite of at least one-third more to the provisions we daily issued.”

10. To facilitate inspection, it is advisable to portion off the stock
of provisions for each week in separate sacks, and never to open a fresh
sack till the previous one has been emptied. The contents of the sacks
for the latter weeks should be increased a fifth-part at least above the
normal weight; because hunger with its accompanying loss of strength
generally grows in a distressing manner. The provisions should consist of
boiled beef, hard bread, extract of meat, chocolate, grits, pea-sausages,
sugar, rice, condensed milk, and coffee. Tea and the two last mentioned
articles of food have an indescribably reviving effect, especially in
the morning, and enable the party to make long forced marches, warding
off the great enemy of such expeditions—thirst. Pemmican and fatty
substances, however, when the temperature is very low, must be used in
moderation, inasmuch as they tend to promote this evil. The fact that
we require more carbon in our food in winter than in summer, and that
the colder a country is, the more of this element should be found in
its nourishment, may, indeed, be true for life in settled abodes or on
board an Arctic ship, but does not hold good of sledge journeys. As fresh
meat affords, under all circumstances, the strongest nourishment, the
business of hunting must not be left to chance. In order to diminish the
weight, all preserved foods—with the exception of milk—are turned out of
their tin cases, and kept in small bags. Wherever there is a certainty
of finding drift-wood, I would recommend, as Back does, vermicelli or
macaroni, which can then be properly prepared. Good strong tea is of
the greatest importance, though at first we set little store by it. A
small ration of rum daily is almost indispensable in sledge journeys,
especially when the temperature is very low. Franklin (1819) and John
Ross (1829) both pronounce in favour of the moderate use of this spirit,
though they were of opinion that rum, when the crews were leading an
inactive life on board ship, promoted scurvy. The provisions we have
specified do not altogether correspond with the views of earlier Polar
navigators. Pachtussow and Ziwolka provided themselves in their sledge
journeys (1835) with the following stores:—Salted meat, barley-meal,
grits, biscuit, butter, tea and sugar; and Parry’s provisions, in 1827,
consisted of pemmican, wheat-meal, sweet cocoa-powder, biscuit, and 300
lbs. of concentrated rum.[32] Hayes preferred dried meat, beef-soup, and
potatoes to the usual pemmican.

11. The equipment should be supplemented by the following articles:—A
small cask of strong rum, a funnel, an india-rubber bottle to measure out
the daily allowance of spirit, a snow-shovel, and a stand for surveying
purposes. The sketch given below exhibits a sledge laden and packed for a
long journey.

[Illustration: THE SLEDGE WITH ITS LOAD.

  _a_, Spirit-can.
  _f_, Axe, Thermometer.
  _h_, Dog-sledge.
  _i_, Cooking-machine.
  _k_, Box of instruments.
  _m_, Tent and sleeping-bags.
  _n_ and _z_, Surveying-stand and tent-pole.
  _o_, Sledge-sail
  _r_, Sacks of provisions.
  _s_, India-rubber bottle.
  _t_, Funnel.
  _u_, Shovel.]

12. To obviate the danger of being cut off from the ship by the breaking
up of the ice, or to enable the party to push on further, boats have
frequently been taken in sledge expeditions. For such purposes, boats of
thin metal or of wood are not to be commended; those made of leather,
india-rubber, or waterproof sailcloth, are preferable. But even when
their wooden frame-work is made as light as possible, their weight is not
less than 300 or 400 lbs. The addition of this weight, and the difficulty
of lading them, are so much felt on such journeys, that the boat is
usually left behind at a little distance from the ship, as was the case
in Kane and Hayes’ journeys up Smith’s Sound. The case is different,
however, in journeys which have to be carried out partly on the ice
and partly—and, indeed, chiefly—on the sea. In such cases, boats of
sufficient size to carry both the crews and the baggage are requisite.
The whale boat of the Norwegian whalers, carrying seven or eight men,
is best adapted for this purpose; although, in long reaches of deep
snow, they have their inconveniences, as almost double the number of men
is then needed to drag them along. The boats in such expeditions are
transported over the ice when the snow road is good, or only passably
good, by means of the largest of the sledges we have described; but, if
the snow be very deep, it would be advisable to use sledges with three
runners underneath, boarded over, so as to prevent the load from sinking
into the snow.[33]

13. As the sledge party has to endure for several weeks all the horrors
of Arctic weather, the article of clothing demands special care and
consideration. Abundance of woollen under-garments and light furs best
answer this purpose. The woollen under-garments should not fit too
closely, so as to hinder the circulation of the blood; and the fur coat
should be wide, and reach half-way down the leg. It would be a great
mistake to take the clothing of the northern nomad as our pattern. Our
powers of enduring the severities of Arctic climate are inferior to
theirs, so that we cannot attempt to imitate their hardihood; but our
own industries enable us to surpass all their resources. During the
march, a long garment of lamb’s-wool, to which a belly-band is sewn, two
stout linen shirts, one or two pairs of woollen drawers, strong cloth
trousers, a pair of common mittens, and a light hood, are sufficient for
all temperatures. Wind, especially if it be accompanied with drifting
snow, necessitates fur coats, with hoods attached, two pairs of woollen
gloves, and a band of flannel to protect the nose, buttoned on to the
hood. Wind-guards, made of strong leather serving to protect the face
against wind and frost, must not be neglected. Flannel masks, with holes
cut for nose and mouth, are of little use, as they are completely frozen
in a few hours. A shawl wrapped round the mouth is, after all, the best
protection against cold wind, and the least hindrance to respiration. As
the shortest beard is converted at once into a glacier by the freezing
of the breath, it is necessary to cut it off. The accompanying figure
exhibits the Arctic sledger prepared for the eventualities of cold. It
need scarcely, however, be remarked, that no absolutely general rules can
be laid down in the matter of clothing, which depends on the different
capacities of resistance in individuals, and also on the variations
of the weather. When the temperature is not more than 2° or 13° below
zero F., some diminution of the garments enumerated above may safely be
allowed. Knitted woollen hoods are sufficient protection for the head
in almost all cases. Gloves, not intended to be used in drawing and in
handling the instruments, should be made of lamb’s-wool, and the fingers
lined with flannel. The stockings also should be strengthened with
flannel at the heels and toes, and should be kept as dry as possible;
because wet feet are inevitably frozen when the cold is excessive. Hence,
also, the stockings must be changed at night and dried, by being laid on
the chest during sleep.

[Illustration: THE DRESS OF THE ARCTIC SLEDGER.]

14. In the matter of furs, no better can be selected than buffalo-skin,
or wash-leather made of bear’s hide; though no covering can surpass that
which is made from the skins of birds—Eider-ducks, for example—which
is equally good for either summer or winter, during the march, or
even during sleep, and which need be exchanged for furs only when the
temperature during a night-camping falls 35° to 58° below zero F.
Sheep-skin and wolf-skin are too heavy; and the reindeer-skin, though
so light and warm, is not suitable, as it at once loses the hair when
exposed to damp, and does not last a winter with constant use; but of
these, the best are those of the young reindeer killed in autumn. Some
Arctic travellers, in the absence of furs, have used an extra covering
of light sailcloth, as a protection against the drifting snow, which
penetrates the clothes and stiffens them. We have tried this experiment,
but were not convinced of its success. In Parry’s second expedition, his
people are said to have worn their furs next to their bodies, and to have
found this warmer than the wearing of woollens next the skin; but this I
am inclined to regard as a mistake. When furs are worn during the march,
their congelation and consequent increase of weight are diminished by
wearing the furs sometimes inside and sometimes outside. The inhabitants
of Lapland and Kamschatka constantly wear the fur outside; and some
Eskimo tribes wear double furs—one turned inside, the other outside. If
cloth clothes are worn, their surface should be smooth, so as not to
harbour the driving snow; and all buttons should be of a large size, as
frozen fingers find it easier to manage them.

15. The covering for the feet of a sledge-party should be sailcloth
boots, lined with flannel, and soled with stout felt; and it is not
advisable to strengthen the soles by plaiting them with string, as the
boot thereby loses that perfect pliability which is indispensable to
preserve the foot from the danger of frost-bite. Hence also any covering
of india-rubber is objectionable. Leather boots must not be used in
sledging; because they become utterly unpliable at a low temperature, and
make frost-bites inevitable; and when once put on they cannot be pulled
off without being cut to pieces. All boots should be so large and their
legs so wide, that they may be put on conveniently over the trousers;
and sailcloth boots especially, because of their shrinking from frost,
should be so wide, that they can be put on easily over three pairs
of strong woollen stockings. The Eskimo, the inhabitants of Lapland,
Kamschatka, and other northern nomad tribes, wear the dried grass of
_Cyperacites_ as their foot-coverings; and this might be recommended,
if it did not also involve the use of skin-coverings for the feet, in
which no European can make long marches, without their being inflamed.
Because, in the Arctic regions, the condensation of moisture in the shape
of ice is an enemy constantly to be guarded against, all stuffs are to be
avoided which tend to harbour moisture, especially the linings of coats,
pockets, and so forth, made of cotton instead of pure wool. India-rubber
garments must never be used, as they prevent evaporation from the body.

16. If dogs are used to draw the large sledges along with men, they
ought to be harnessed in the way which the sketch on a preceding page
represents. The dog-sledge should be laid across the hinder part of
the principal sledge, and made fast to it. If, however, dogs alone are
employed, and at walking-pace, they are harnessed in pairs, one pair
behind the other. Each dog should draw by a single trace, as we can only
thus avoid the constant entangling of the rope-traces. If more than four
dogs be employed, they cannot well go in pairs one before the other, but
must be harnessed to the sledge in a row, side by side, and the traces
must be long, so as to enable the most powerful and best-trained dogs,
which are placed in the middle, to be somewhat in advance of the others.
The dogs should be selected according to the special purpose for which
they are to be employed; for, while an Eskimo dog will run, but shirks
the effort of drawing heavy loads, a Newfoundland submits to its load,
but, goes at a foot’s-pace. In the Hudson’s Bay territory a cross between
a wolf and a dog is regarded as the best animal for draught, because it
surpasses the dog proper in strength and courage. Newfoundlands of pure
breed are, on the whole, most to be recommended, and next to them, the
Eskimo dog, which has a good deal of the character of the wolf, though he
is difficult to hold. These dogs, too, although they are indescribably,
thievish, voracious, and ill-tempered, in consequence of their harsh
treatment and bad feeding, have this further distinguishing quality,
that they will stick to a retreating bear with wonderful pertinacity
till the hunter comes up to kill it. European dogs are only to be taken
when an expedition has not the opportunity of procuring dogs of the
kinds we have mentioned; but, if they be employed, they should be strong
and hardy, with long hair and thick coat. The purity of their breed is
of less consequence than their being good-tempered, as fights between
large dogs end in the destruction of the weaker. The Ostjaks, in the
neighbourhood of Obdorsk, are the nomad tribes nearest Europe who use
dogs for sledges; and their breed of dogs is far superior to any other,
either in Lapland or Northern Russia. The dogs of Russia in Europe were
employed in the expedition (1839) of Ziwolka and Mojsejew to Novaya
Zemlya; but it does not appear that they answered the expectations which
had been formed. In sledge-expeditions the dogs are allowed to sleep in
the open air; but they must be fastened to stakes, lest the scenting
some animal should tempt them to run off. We ourselves, however, allowed
a small tent, weighing little, for the few dogs which accompanied us.
Dogs whose paws have not been early hardened by long marches on the
ice, easily hurt their feet, which do not heal during the journey; and
wounds can only be prevented from getting worse by a daily application
of collodion and brandy, and by a protection of flannel; and this is the
treatment we pursued to Jubinal in the journey we are about to describe.
Whenever a dog is exhausted by dragging, it is generally blooded in the
tail or ear after the fashion followed by the Siberian tribes.

[Illustration: TOROSSY IN HARNESS.]



CHAPTER IV.

THE FIRST SLEDGE JOURNEY


1. From the preceding remarks on the equipment of a sledge, the reader
will, perhaps, have gained a pretty clear notion of the procedure
by which we are enabled to travel for weeks in Arctic wastes. This
description will have shown him the various and manifold contingencies
against which a leader has to provide, if he is to conduct an expedition
safely and successfully, especially if he commands a body of men, who are
neither so careful nor so observant as those who accompanied me in the
sledge journeys I am about to describe.

2. I now pass to the first of these, the object of which was to determine
the position and general relations of the new Land, which still remained
a mystery to us, to reconnoitre a route for its exploration towards the
north, and to ascertain what we could of the character of the intervening
regions. I regarded the ascent of the high mountain—Cape Tegetthoff—which
we had seen before us for months, as the preliminary step towards the
attainment of these ends. Its great distance from the ship had rendered
abortive all the attempts to reach it which had been made at the end
of last autumn. With the beginning of March (1874) the sledging was
now to commence in reality. Though the sun had returned on the 24th of
February, it was seldom visible in the remaining days of that month; a
heavy water-sky overspread the southern heavens, and the only cheerful
precursors of spring were the birds which once more appeared in our
neighbourhood. The snow had been distressingly soft, but the north-east
winds which prevailed during the first days of March hardened it. When
these winds fell, the temperature also fell, and although the beginning
of March is regarded as a time little favourable for sledge travelling
on account of the excessive cold, our impatience for action overcame all
doubts and fears, and on the 9th one of our larger sledges stood ready,
laden and packed for an expedition, equipped for a week. It carried an
extra quantity of provisions, which were intended to form depôts. From
the general store we took 39 lbs. of hard bread, 5 lbs. of pemmican, 16
lbs. of boiled beef, 6½ lbs. of lard, 1 lb. of pea-sausage, ½ lb. of
salt and pepper, 6 lbs. of rice, 2 lbs. of grits, 5 lbs. of chocolate, 5
gallons of rum, 1 lb. of extract of meat, 2 lbs. of condensed milk, and
8 gallons of alcohol. The rest of the baggage consisted of such articles
as we have described above. We had besides 3 breech-loaders and 100
cartridges, of which 40 were fired away.

3. I selected for my party six men and three dogs, Gillis, Torossy and
Sumbu. As I reserved the picked men of our crew for the contemplated
longer journey towards the north, some of the above were not altogether
adequate to the work. My two Tyrolese, however, Haller and Klotz,
possessed great endurance, Lukinovich and Cattarinch in a lesser degree;
as for Pospischill and Lettis, they would have done credit to Falstaff’s
corps. As Pospischill suffered from lung disease, Lukinovich from
palpitation of the heart, Haller from chronic rheumatism, and Lettis from
a tendency to bronchial catarrh, it may be inferred how necessity alone
enabled them to do what they did, when the temperature fell lower than we
expected.

4. On the morning of the 10th of March we left the ship, and the “Flag of
the sledge journeys,” which had hung for so long a time over my berth,
now fluttered in the fresh breeze which blew from the north-west. So
much had this “at last,” excited me, that I could not sleep a wink, and
those who were starting on the expedition as well as those who remained
behind were as much agitated, as if the conquest of Peru or Ophir were
contemplated, and not the exploration of lands buried under snow and
ice. With indescribable joy we began the mechanical drudgery of dragging
the sledge, each of us at first wearing a mask, like the members of the
“Vehmgericht,” until we became habituated to the withering effects
of the wind. As we moved along the level surface of the land ice of
the preceding autumn, after forcing our way through the hummocky ice,
which had formed itself on the north of the ship, we saw behind us some
black spots approaching at full speed. These were the dogs we had left
behind, which insisted on travelling with us, and much craft and force,
supplemented by the logic of a few shots, were needed to force them to
return to the ship. My companions interpreted the conduct of the dogs
refusing to remain with the ship as a sign foreboding the death of our
engineer. As the lading of our sledge amounted to about 6 or 7 cwts. and
the snow was favourable for sledging, we were able to advance at the
unusual rate of 100 paces in a minute, and in two hours we passed the
south-west Cape of Wilczek Island. Close to this Cape we saw an iceberg
which had fallen on the ice and crushed it all round, and sheltering
ourselves from the wind under the lee of another, we took our mid-day
rest, with the thermometer at -15° F. As the sun at noon was so little
above the horizon that we got uncertain results for the determination
of the latitude, I preferred during this journey to begin the surveying
and, at the same time, the determination of the localities of Franz-Josef
Land, by a triangulation of elevated points, to which the measurement of
a base was afterwards to be added. Hence the ascent of high mountains
formed part of our programme.

5. We continued our march till the ship disappeared from our eyes, and
the route now lost its level character and assumed the appearance of a
very chaos of ice. In the evening we reached a high rocky promontory
of Wilczek Island, near which rose some stranded icebergs, and against
which the ice-sheet of the sea, impelled by the waves, was dashed and
broken. Close in shore the ice was in violent motion, and as we passed
over the “ice-foot,” to the amazement of all, three of our men fell into
a fissure. All through the night we heard in our tent, which we erected
on the land, the cracking and crashing sounds emitted by the ice. Next
day—March 11th—making a very early start, the thermometer at -14° F., we
saw a water-sky to the south, and, after ascending a height, close before
us lay the sea, covered with young ice. Heavy mists were ascending from
fissures, and the level surface of the young ice glowed with the colours
of the morning. Immediately under the coast of the island lay a narrow
band of piled-up ice, with traces of recent pressures, and thinking that
the interior was impassable to a laden sledge, we began our toilsome
march along its rocky coasts.

6. We were in no mood to observe the picturesque character of our
route, for our labours in dragging the sledge over the hummocky ice
were excessive. We had frequently to unload the sledge or dig away an
obstacle which could not be evaded. The conduct of the dogs was not
quite faultless; and as for my companions, if one of them turned round,
or if a bird flew past, this was enough to make the rest pause in their
pulling, with the ready excuse of surprise at the circumstance. If
in such cases Klotz failed to exert his strength, the sledge at once
came to a standstill. We pressed on through icebergs on each side of
us, shattered by the frost, and amid a constant noise of cracking and
splitting produced by the increasing cold. At length, after several
hours, we came out on an open level and crossed the gentle slope of a
snow-covered spit of land. The rugged mountainous front of Hall Island,
and the long glacier walls of M’Clintock Island, now rose before us. Our
course lay clearly marked out: it ran in a north-westerly direction over
a snow-covered level of old ice towards Cape Tegetthoff. Soon, however,
the mist began to rise, and floated over the wide expanse of ice, and
so obscured every object that we were able to continue our journey in
the twilight only by means of the compass. We determined our course by
the aid of small hummocks of ice, which rose above the general level
surface, but so great was the difficulty of keeping a definite line in
the mist, that we were compelled to halt every four hundred paces, and
correct our route by the larger compass, which often showed that we had
deviated 20° to 40° in azimuth from the true line, and in some cases the
error amounted to even 90°. To add to all this, snow began to fall, so
that we were almost blinded, and hence it was that a bear for some time
followed our footsteps, unseen by any of the party. When we first sighted
him, though he was at a little distance off, he looked enormously large
in the mist. We quickly seized our rifles, and one of our men firing
precipitately, the bear disappeared, leaving no track of blood to show
whether it had been wounded. But bears, even when severely wounded, often
leave no such trace; hence doubtless the origin of the assertion, that a
wounded bear can dress its own wound, using its paw to apply snow to the
injured part.

7. It was our practice in this, as well as in the following expeditions,
to rest at noon for an hour or two, and putting up the tent take a
meal of hot boiled beef. But the inferiority of an untrained to a
well-trained sledge party was seen even in such operations. Much time
was wasted; in like manner and from the same cause, the coffee-making in
the morning, the preparation for the march, the taking down of the tent,
the loading of the sledge, occupied my party for hours, and the smallest
snow-drifting sufficed to blow away all their moral force. As we left
the tent, the bear stood again before us, but disappeared as suddenly
when we seized our rifles. In the course of a few hours we passed some
icebergs shaped like huge tables, and when the wind rose and lifted up
the mist for a few moments, we saw the rocky heights of Cape Tegetthoff
towering above us at no great distance. The snow began to drive directly
in our faces, and meanwhile the bear had followed our steps, often
hidden from our sight by the vehement gusts of snow, sometimes on our
flank, sometimes in our rear, keeping at about 200 paces distance from
us. By feigning unconcern we hoped to stimulate his courage to attack
us, reckoning on converting him into food. Suddenly, however, he ran
towards us, and our apparent indifference disappeared. In a moment we
stood ready to receive him; the sledge was drawn across the line of his
advance, and each casting off his drag-rope, knelt and aimed over the
sledge. The directions were to aim at the lower part of the skull, and
to fire only when he was quite close to us. The dogs were moved to the
further side of the sledge, and covered with its sail. Of the other four
men, two held the dogs, a third laid hold of a revolver, and the fourth
provided himself with some cartridges ready for contingencies. After
the completion of these preparations, no one either moved or spoke. The
bear meanwhile, moved steadily towards us, stopping for a moment at the
spot where a piece of bread had intentionally been placed. Just as he
stopped to examine it, three shots in rapid succession went off, and
the bear, hit in the head and chest, lay dead on the ground. The dogs,
being let loose, rushed on their fallen foe and began to tear his shaggy
skin. While we were cutting the bear up, they sat down and watched us,
occasionally dipping their tongues in the warm red blood and snapping
up the morsels which were thrown to them. The bear we had shot was a
female, six feet in length; and after cutting off the tongue and the best
portions for meat, we continued our march in the teeth of the driving
snow. One of our people had cut his finger badly in dressing the bear,
and as the application of chloride of iron did not suffice to stop the
violent bleeding, we were compelled to halt and erect our tent about six
o’clock in the evening.

8. When we set out again on the morning of the 12th (the thermometer
marking -26° F.) all round us was a red undulating waste, and the driving
gusts of snow, which hid from our view the nearest rocky heights, pricked
us as if with countless sharp-pointed darts. Such drifting snow, although
it greatly impedes travelling, cannot be compared with the tremendous
snow-storms I had experienced in Greenland. The same precursory signs
were, however, common to both—extraordinary refractions, brilliant
auroras, perfect calms, and a dull close atmosphere. In taking down the
tent, which was covered with wreaths of snow, every article which fell
in it was at once buried under its drifting waves. Of all the tests of
endurance in Arctic journeys none exceeds that of continuing the march
amid driving snow at a low temperature. Some of my company who had not
been accustomed to walk in such tremendous weather, in attempting to
button on their wind-screens and nose-bands and fasten up their coats
after we had left the tent, at once had their fingers frozen. Our
sail-cloth boots were as hard as stone, and every one took to stamping to
preserve his feet from frost-bite. Under such circumstances the sledge
is not packed with that precision which is the only preservative against
the loss of the various articles of its contents. To watch against this
contingency is the special business of the man who pushes the sledge
from behind. Hurry and confusion were visible in the bag of provisions
being left open. At last everything was ready: the march began, men
and dogs, dragging the sledge along, all coated with snow and entirely
covered except the eyes. In a momentary lull of the wind, we discovered
that our march the day before had led us far too much to the south, and
Cape Tegetthoff now lay before us directly north. Thither we now directed
our steps, and as the wind still came from the north-west, we struck our
sledge sail. As a consequence of this marching against the wind, which is
most severely felt by the leaders of the team, all, even Klotz, had their
noses frost-bitten. We had much difficulty in persuading him to rub his
with snow, urging that his nose did not belong to himself alone, but that
seven noses and fourteen feet were under the general supervision of the
leader, and that each had a share in this general property.

9. As we came under the land, the violence of the snow-drifting somewhat
abated, and in about two hours a calm set in. Close before us lay the
plateau of Cape Tegetthoff, with its steep precipitous sides. From its
summit a line of basalt rocks descended towards the east, ending in two
columns, each about two hundred feet high. We reached them just before
noon, and the weather being propitious we determined the latitude by
observation and found it to be 80° 6′ N.L. The force of the tide not
being able to raise or burst the bay-ice, the thaw-water of the spring
collects itself on the coast-edge in small lakes. Close under one of
these towers of dark-coloured basalt, we set up our tent; and while our
cook was preparing our dinner of bear’s flesh we lay in the sun under the
rocks in order to dry our clothes, which were coated all over with ice.

[Illustration: CAPE TEGETTHOFF.]

10. About one o’clock I set off with the Tyrolese to the plateau of Cape
Tegetthoff. Those who remained behind spent their time in rubbing their
feet with snow. Lettis had reserved for us the unpleasant surprise that
his feet had been frost-bitten for three hours, and that he had lost
all feeling in them. We marched for an hour on the snow, which lay in
tender azure-blue shadow under the long line of basalt rocks, and after
climbing for another hour over rosy-coloured masses of snow lying between
crystallized rocks, we reached the highest point of the undulating
plateau. No ascent could be more interesting, made, as it was, in a
country so utterly unknown. Haller and Klotz were born mountaineers, and
during my surveys in Tyrol I had made a hundred ascents of mountains of
10,000 feet, without the tension of expectation I now experienced, as
I mounted this summit. The ascent was not without difficulty, and it
taxed the extraordinary dexterity of the two Tyrolese to climb up steep
icy precipices in their sail-cloth boots. It was about three o’clock in
the afternoon when we reached the summit; the temperature had fallen to
-30° F. (in the tent the thermometer at the same time marked -24° F. and
in the ship -20° F.). By a barometrical measurement we found the height
to be 2,600 feet. Contrary to expectation the view from the top proved
to be limited. In a northerly direction, the atmosphere, laden with
innumerable ice crystals, possessed so little transparency that Cape
Berghaus, at no distance off, appeared to be covered with a thick veil,
and all distant objects were enveloped in a dense mist. Fogs lay over the
interior to the west, and banks of reddish vapour covered the icy ocean
to the south. Some narrow strips of open water sparkled in the sun. After
making a sketch of all that could be distinctly seen, and determining the
bearings of some points, we returned to the tent. Here we found Lettis
and Cattarinch engaged in rubbing with snow the hands of Lukinovich,
which had been frost-bitten, while he was occupied in rubbing the feet of
Lettis.

11. Nothing except the wind makes men so sensitive to cold as the want
of exercise. The fall of the temperature had been felt far more by those
who remained behind, than by ourselves. Even the wonderful beauty of
the snow-clad summit bathed in rosy light failed to modify their severe
judgment of Franz-Josef Land. Instead of greeting us with supper ready
at the appointed hour, which he ought to have prepared without the use
of spirit, the bewildered cook was vainly endeavouring to roast bear’s
flesh over smoky chips and sticks, and we got our supper only after I
had served out a bottle of alcohol. We then went to rest in the common
sleeping bag, but soon began to shake with cold, which threw Pospischill,
who took oil twice a day for lung-disease, into a fever. When I left the
tent to look at the thermometers, the mercury in one had gone down into
the bulb and was frozen, and the spirits of wine in the other showed 41°
below zero (C.). Some hot grog, for which a whole bottle of strong rum
was used, put us all right, raising the temperature of our bodies by one
or two degrees. After this refreshment we all fell into a deep sleep,
which was incommoded only by the increasing dampness of our clothes.

12. We started again about six o’clock on the morning of March 13. The
sun had not risen, the spirit of wine thermometer indicated nearly 44°
(C.) below zero, and a piercingly cold breeze met us from the land.
Even on board the ship the temperature at the same time marked 37° (C.)
below zero, a difference to be ascribed to the influence of the land
in lowering the temperature. In Greenland we observed still greater
deviations of this nature, which seem to show that climatical influences
are subject to great variations, even in places which are in close
proximity. Cape Berghaus was our goal. From its summit a general view
of the distribution of the land under 80° N. lat. was reasonably to be
expected. Long before the rise of the sun, the hard snowy plains were
tinted with a pale green reflected light, and the icebergs wore a dull
silvery hue, while their outlines constantly changed and undulated. Our
road was formed from millions of glittering snow crystals, so hard that
the sledge glided over them with difficulty and with a creaking noise,
and after three hours, the exertion of dragging had so exhausted us that
we determined to unload the sledge, and, after melting some snow, to wet
its runners with water. A layer of ice was immediately formed on them,
which greatly facilitated the labour of dragging, till it was rubbed
off. A broad inlet surrounded by picturesque mountains—Nordenskjöld
Fiord—had opened out on our left, and as a large glacier formed the
background of this fiord, we took a westerly direction in order to study
the ice-formation. The heights surrounding this fiord seemed equally as
well fitted as Cape Berghaus for the object we had in view. The further
we penetrated into it, the deeper became the layer of fine powdery snow
which the wind had deposited in this hollow. At noon we reached the high
precipitous termination of Sonklar-Glacier, and pitched our tent by an
iceberg.

[Illustration: MELTING SNOW DURING A HALT NEAR CAPE BERGHAUS.]

13. In the afternoon, accompanied by the Tyrolese, I ascended a
mountain—Cape Littrow—whose height, by means of an aneroid barometer,
we ascertained to be 2,500 feet. From its summit we had a view of the
mountains of Hall Island, and of the islands which lay to the east.
Not a breath of wind was stirring, and the atmosphere was clearer than
usual, so that, without suffering in the least degree from cold, I could
work for three hours, first in sketching our surroundings and then in
taking observations. From south-west to north-east the peaks of distant
mountains rose above the summits of those in the foreground. This view,
while it assured us that the land we had named after our monarch must be
of great extent, stimulated our impatience to know its extent, and the
nature and relation of its constituent parts. The Wüllersdorf Mountains
were the extreme limits of what could be known for the present, and
their three peaks glowed in the setting sun above the dark edges of the
terraces of the Sonklar-Glacier, whose broad terminal front over-hung the
frozen bay of Nordenskjöld Fiord. It was eight o’clock in the evening
when we returned to our tent, not, however, before we had made suitable
preparations for the observation of the movement of the glacier. Sumbu
and Torossy were our companions; but we had to tie them with a rope both
in going up and coming down, and we ourselves only mastered the great
steepness of the cone of the mountain by steps which Klotz, who went
on before, hewed with incomparable dexterity and precision in the ice.
During the night the temperature fell to 46° below zero (C.) (-47° F.
in the ship), and I do not believe that we could have passed through it
without the help of grog. We drank it as we lay close together muffled up
in our sleeping bag. It was boiling hot, and so strong, that under other
circumstances it must have made us incapable of work, yet in spite of the
grog, we suffered much all through the night from cold and our frozen
clothes.



CHAPTER V.

THE COLD.


1. THE coldest day we had during this expedition was the 14th of March.
By six o’clock on the morning of that day the Tyrolese and I stood on
the summit of the precipitous face of the Sonklar-Glacier. The others
remained behind to clear the tent of snow, and to bury a small depôt of
provisions in an iceberg which was close at hand. The sun had not yet
risen, though a golden gleam behind the glaciers of Salm Island indicated
his near approach. At last the sun himself appeared, blood-red, glowing
with indistinct outline through the mists, and surrounded with parhelia,
which generally occur when the cold is great. The tops of the high snowy
mountains were first touched with rosy light, which gradually descended
and spread over the icy plains, and the sun like a ball of fire shone at
length clearly through the frosty mist, and everything around seemed on
fire. As the sun even at noon was but a few degrees above the horizon,
this wonderful colouring lasted throughout the day, and the mountains,
whose steepest sides were covered with a frosty efflorescence, shone
like glass in this radiant light. The alcohol thermometer soon after
we came on the glacier fell to 59° 1′ (F.) below zero,[34] and a light
breeze blowing from the interior, which would have been pleasant enough
on a March day in Europe, exposed me, while engaged in the indispensable
work of drawing and measuring, to such danger, that though I worked
under the shelter of my Tyrolese companions as a protection against the
cold, I was constantly compelled to rub my stiffened and benumbed hands
with snow. We had taken some rum with us, and as each took his share,
he knelt down and allowed another to shake it into his mouth, without
bringing the metal cup in contact with his lips. This rum, though it was
strong, seemed to have lost all its strength and fluidity. It tasted like
innocent milk, and its consistence was that of oil. The bread was frozen
so hard that we feared to break our teeth in biting it, and it brought
blood as we ate it. The attempt to smoke a cigar was a punishment rather
than an enjoyment, because the icicles on our beards always put them
out, and when we took them out of our mouths they were frozen. Even the
shortest pipes met the same fate. The instruments I used in surveying
seemed to burn when I touched them, and the medals which my companions
wore on their breasts felt like hot iron.

[Illustration: ON THE SONKLAR-GLACIER.]

2. The phenomena of cold which we had the opportunity of observing
during this journey, and which I immediately recorded, will perhaps
justify a short break in my narrative while I attempt to describe them.
The horrors of a Scythian winter are an ancient belief, and it used to
be counted wisdom to shun the zones where men were frozen, as well as
the zones where men were scorched. But it has been assumed, with great
exaggeration, that a hot climate makes men sensual and timid, while a
cold climate renders them virtuous and bold. There is far more truth in
the opinion held by some observers, and especially by Polar navigators,
that cold is depressing in its influence, and enfeebles the powers of
the will. At first it stimulates to action, but this vigour is quickly
followed by torpidity; exertion is soon succeeded by the desire to rest.
Persons exposed to these alternations of increased action and torpor feel
as if they were intoxicated. From the stiffness and trembling of their
jaws they speak with great effort, they display uncertainty in all their
movements and the stupor of somnambulists in their actions and thoughts.
Most of the circumpolar animals escape, as much as they can, the horrors
of the frost: some migrate; others, burying themselves in holes, sleep
throughout the winter. The fish, which are found in the small pools of
sweet water on the land are frozen in when these pools freeze, and awake
to life and movement again only when the pools are thawed.

3. The human body, with an inner warmth amounting to 95°-100° F., is
exposed in the wastes of North America and Siberia to frightful cold,
the extremes of which have been noted by many different observers. Back
recorded in Fort Reliance, Jan. 17, 1833, the temperature -67° F.; Hayes,
March 17, 1861, -69° F.; Nevérow, in Jakutzk, Jan. 31, 1838, -74° F.;
Kane, -69° F.; Maclure, Jan. 1853, -73° F.; John Ross, 1831, -56° F.; and
Parry, 1821, -55° F.; while the lowest temperature which has hitherto been
observed in the Alpine countries of Europe is only -24° F. In consequence
of the difficulty of observing the extremes of cold, lower temperatures
than these can scarcely ever have been registered.

4. In order to illustrate the effect of an extraordinarily low
temperature on the human frame, the best point to start from is the
imagination of a man exposed without clothes to its influence. At 37° or
50° (C.) of cold a misty halo would encompass him, the edges of which
would have, under certain circumstances, the colours of the rainbow.
It is evident that the moisture of the body rapidly coming forth and
becoming visible in the cold air would cause this mist, which would
decrease with the heat of the body, and disappear on the death of the
frozen man. The purpose of clothing is to counteract as much as possible
this twofold loss of warmth and moisture, which is the principal cause
of the fearful Arctic thirst. But even clothed men exposed to so low
a temperature present a strange appearance. When they are dragging a
sledge on the march their breath streams forth like smoke, which is soon
transformed into a mass of needles of ice, almost hiding their mouths
from view; and the snow on which they tread steams with the heat which it
receives from the snow beneath. The countless crystals of ice, which fill
the air and reduce the clearness of day to a dull yellow twilight, make
a continual rustling noise; their fall in the form of fine snow-dust,
or their floating as frosty vapour, is the cause of that penetrating
feeling of damp which is so perceptible when the cold is intense, and
which receives accretions from the vapours issuing from the open places
of the sea. Notwithstanding all this, there is an indescribable dryness
in the atmosphere, strongly contrasting with the feeling of dampness.
Heavy clouds are impossible; the heavens are covered only by mists,
through which the sun and the moon, surrounded by halos, glow blood-red.
Falls of snow, as we understand the expression, altogether cease; the
snow crystals, under the influence of cold, are so minute as to be
almost invisible. The land, the real home and source of cold, acts as
the great condenser of vapour, and snow and moisture of every kind, and
lies under a deep covering of frozen snow till the colour of its walls
and precipices reappears in April. The soil, in the stricter sense of
the word, is frozen as hard as iron wherever it appears through the
snow, and the mean temperature of Franz-Josef Land (about 3° F.) makes
it highly probable, that the frost penetrates to the depth of a thousand
feet. Great cold, calm weather, and clear atmosphere combined, are the
characteristics of the interior of Arctic countries. The nearer we
approach the sea, the rarer is this combination. Light breezes sometimes
occur with a temperature 37° (C.) below zero,[35] but the atmosphere is
then less transparent.

5. It is well known that sound is propagated far more freely in
Polar regions than with us. When the cold was great, we could hear
conversations, carried on in the usual tone of voice, distinctly at the
distance of several hundred paces. Parry and Middendorf both assert that
the voice is more audible at a distance in cold weather. The propagation
of sound seems to find less hindrance from the irregular masses of ice
and cushions of snow, than from the curtains of our woods and the carpets
of our vegetation. In the mountainous districts of Europe many of the
characteristics of Polar regions, besides intense cold, are met with; yet
it is a fact, that the report of a gun can scarcely be heard in those
situations. Cold, however, can scarcely be regarded as the essential
condition of this phenomenon; for the propagation of sound, though in a
less striking degree, may be observed even in the summers there.[36] It
would seem rather that the amount of moisture in the atmosphere has a
more decided influence in the production of this phenomenon.

6. When the snow becomes hard as rock, its surface takes a granular
consistence like sugar. Where it lies with its massive wreaths frozen in
the form of billows, our steps resound, as we walk over them, with the
sound as of a drum. The ice is so hard that it emits a ringing sound;
wood becomes wonderfully hard, splits, and is as difficult to cut as
bone; butter becomes like stone; meat must be split, and mercury may be
fired as a bullet from a gun.[37]

7. If cold thus acts on things without life, how much more must it
influence living organisms and the power of man’s will! Cold lowers
the beat of the pulse, weakens the bodily sensations, diminishes the
capacity of movement and of enduring great fatigue. Of all the senses,
taste and smell most lose their force and pungency, the mucous membrane
being in a constant state of congestion and excessive secretion. After
a time a decrease of muscular power is also perceptible. If one is
exposed suddenly to an excessive degree of cold, involuntarily one
shuts the mouth and breathes through the nose; the cold air seems at
first to pinch and pierce the organs of respiration. The eyelids freeze
even in calm weather, and to prevent their closing we have constantly
to clear them from ice, and the beard alone is less frozen than other
parts of the body, because the breath as it issues from the mouth falls
down as snow. Snow-spectacles are dimmed by the moisture of the eyes,
and when the thermometer falls 37° (C.) below zero they are as opaque
as frost-covered windows. The cold, however, is most painfully felt in
the soles of the feet, when there is a cessation of exercise. Nervous
weakness, torpor, and drowsiness follow, which explains the connection
which is usually found between resting and freezing. The most important
point, in fact, for a sledge party, which has such exertions to make at
a very low temperature, is to stand still as little as possible. The
excessive cold which is felt in the soles of the feet during the noon-day
rest is the main reason why afternoon marches make such a demand on the
moral power. Great cold also alters the character of the excretions,
thickens the blood, and increases the need of nourishment from the
increased expenditure of carbon. And while perspiration ceases entirely,
the secretion of the mucous membranes of the nose and eyes is permanently
increased, and the urine assumes almost a deep red colour. At first the
bowels are much confined, a state which, after continuing for five and
sometimes eight days, passes into diarrhœa. The bleaching of the beard
under these influences is a curious fact.

8. Although theoretically, the fat endure cold better than the lean, in
reality this is often reversed. Somewhat in the same way it might be
argued that the negro would have an advantage over the white man, for
the former as a living black bulb thermometer is more receptive of the
warmer waves of heat. But blackening the face or smearing the body with
grease are experiments which could only be recommended by those who have
never been in a position to try them. The only protection against cold
is clothing carefully chosen, and contrivances to avoid the condensation
of moisture. All articles of dress are made as stiff as iron by the
cold. If one puts off his fur coat and lays it down for a few minutes
on the ground, he cannot put it on again till it be thawed. The fingers
of woollen gloves become as unpliable as if they belonged to mailed
gauntlets, and therefore Arctic travellers, except when engaged in
hunting, prefer to use mittens.

9. Constant precautions are needed against the danger of frost-bite,
and the nose of the Arctic voyager especially becomes a most serious
charge. But no sooner has its safety been secured, than the hands which
have rubbed it with snow are threatened with the same fate. The ears,
however, are well protected from frost by the hood. Frost-bite, which is
caused by the stoppage of blood in the capillaries, evinces itself by a
feeling of numbness, which, if not immediately attended to, increases to
a state of complete rigidity. Slight cases are overcome by rubbing the
part affected with snow. When the cold is excessive, feeling accompanied
with a prickling sensation only returns after rubbing for hours. Under
all circumstances, freezing water with an infusion of hydrochloric acid
is the best means of restoring circulation. When the frost-bitten member
is immersed in this, it is at once overspread with a coating of ice,
but as the temperature of the water slowly rises the frozen limb is
gradually thawed. The longer persons are exposed to a low temperature,
the greater becomes their sensitiveness under it. Their noses, lips and
hands swell, and the skin on those parts becomes like parchment, cracks,
and is most sensitive to pain from the least breath of wind. In cases of
neglected frost-bite, the violet colour of a nose or hand is perpetuated,
in spite of all the efforts made to banish it. Frost-bites of a more
severe character will not yield to mere rubbings with snow, but should
be treated with the kind of cold bath we have described, continued for
some days. The formation of blisters, the swelling of the parts affected,
great sensitiveness and liability to a recurrence of the malady, are the
consequences. In many cases a sensitiveness to changes of temperature
lasts for several years. Amputation is inevitable in severe and neglected
cases. When circulation has been restored, a mixture of iodine and
collodion—10 grains to an ounce—may, according to the experience of
Dr. Kepes, be advantageously applied to reduce the inflammation which
generally results.

10. It is remarkable that great heat as well as great cold should
generate the great evil—thirst. It is also remarkable how rapidly the
demoralisation produced by thirst extends when any one of the party
begins to show signs of suffering from it. Habit, however, enables men
to struggle against thirst more successfully than against hunger. Many
try to relieve it by using snow; which is especially pernicious when
its temperature falls considerably below the point of liquefaction.
Inflammation of the mouth and tongue, rheumatic pains in the teeth,
diarrhœa, and other mischiefs, are the consequences, whenever a party
incautiously yields to the temptation of such a momentary relief. It is
in fact a mere delusion, because it is impossible to eat as much snow—say
a cubic foot—as would be requisite to furnish an adequate amount of
water. Snow of a temperature of 37° to 50° (C.) below zero feels in the
mouth like hot iron, and does not quench, but increases thirst, by its
inflammatory action on the mucous membranes of the parts it affects.
The Eskimos prefer to endure any amount of thirst rather than eat snow,
and it is only the Tschuktschees who indulge in it as a relish with
their food, which is always eaten cold. Snow-eaters during the march
were regarded by us as weaklings, much in the same way as opium-eaters
are. Catarrhs of every kind are less frequent in Polar expeditions, and
the chills to which we are exposed by passing suddenly from the cold of
the land journey to the warmer temperature of the ship, have no evil
consequences. It deserves to be investigated whether this arises from the
difference of the amount of ozone in the atmosphere of the respective
latitudes.—Now let us return to our journey.

11. After crossing over the Sonklar-Glacier and measuring its slight
inclination of 1° 6′, we climbed an elevation to ascertain the most
promising route for penetrating in a northerly direction; and none
seemed better suited than that which lay over its back, which seemed
free from crevasses. But we looked in vain for the fancied paradise of
the interior, which had existed only in our desire to clothe in glowing
colours the Land, from which we had been so long held back. The true
character, however, of Kaiser Franz-Josef Land, so far as it could be
explored in this and the following sledge expeditions, will be the
subject of the next chapter. The accompanying sketch represents a block
of snow, about the height of a man, at the foot of the Sonklar-Glacier,
to which the winds had given a fanlike shape. In the afternoon, after
inspecting the stakes which we had fixed for measuring the motion of the
glacier, we came back to the tent and began our return march to Cape
Tegetthoff and the ship. A cutting wind compelled us to make constant
efforts against frost-bites. With a heavy creaking noise the sledge was
dragged over the hard snow, and to our reduced strength it seemed to be
laden with a double load. The night is generally the hardest part of
such expeditions, and our camping out during the night under the cliffs
of Cape Tegetthoff was especially bitter. Happy was he who, exhausted
by the labour of dragging, fell asleep at once. As usual, we dug a deep
hole in the snow and loosened it as much as possible, so that we might
profit by its property of being one of the worst conductors of heat. In
a short time the inside of the tent was covered with rime frost, and we
ourselves with ice. The tongue only seemed to recover its former mobility
with those who bewailed their loss of knives, stockings, gloves—yea,
of everything, even their place in the tent. They ate their portion of
bear’s flesh much as if they had been chloroformed, and dropping asleep
in their stiffened icy coat of mail, they were awoke by its gradual
thawing, to reiterate without cessation how cold it was; a fact which no
one present was prepared to dispute. The alcohol thermometer stood at
-56° F. (-48° on board the ship), and when the warmth produced by the
exercise we had taken and by the effects of supper was gone, the feeling
of cold was so intense that it seemed far more probable that we should
be frozen to death than that we should sleep. The cook therefore received
orders to brew some strong grog, and forthwith six spirit-flames burnt
under the kettle filled with snow; but to make snow of such extreme
coldness boil quickly we should have had to place the kettle over
Vesuvius itself in the height of an eruption.

[Illustration: BLOCK OF SNOW.]

12. We now slept without stirring a limb, and about five o’clock in the
morning of the 15th of March we started to compass the twenty miles
which lay between us and the ship in one march, without encountering the
suffering of another night’s camping out in the snow. The weather was
as clear as it is possible to be at a temperature of -52° F., and going
along with a light breeze from the north, we made use of our sledge sail
to such advantage that we reached the gentle ascent of the west point of
Wilczek Island after a march of seven hours. We formed a second depôt of
provisions on the summit of a rocky promontory, whence we discerned with
a telescope the masts and yards of the ship lying behind an iceberg, and
our fears and anxieties lest it should have drifted away in our absence
were dissipated by this glad view. Our return to the ship could no longer
be a matter of choice; it had become a necessity. Lettis had been unable
for some days to take any share in the labour of dragging, and walked
along in shoes made of reindeer hide, on account of his frost-bitten
feet. Haller also wore similar shoes to save his swollen feet;
Cattarinch’s face was frost-bitten, and he too suffered from lameness;
Pospischill, who could no longer wear his shrunk-up fur coat, so suffered
from frost-bite in both hands, that I sent him on to the ship, that
he might have the help of the doctor as soon as possible. It was with
much effort that we made the last six hours’ march; and when at length,
stiff with ice, we passed between the hummocks that lay around the ship,
Weyprecht, Brosch, Orel, and eight sailors came to meet us, who, alarmed
at the inability of Pospischill to speak in answer to their questions,
had set out from the ship in order to find us.

[Illustration: THE BURIAL OF KRISCH.]

13. As I entered my berth I heard the hard breathing of our poor comrade
Krisch. For more than a week he had lain without consciousness; yet
death had not come to relieve him. On the afternoon of the 16th of
March a sudden cessation of all sound told us that he was no more! Next
day, his body, placed in a coffin, was brought on deck, and our flag
hoisted half-mast high. On the 19th, when the thermometer was at -13°
F., the body was committed to its lonely grave in the far north. A
mournful procession left the ship, with a sledge, on which rested the
coffin covered with a flag and cross, and wended its way to the nearest
elevation on the shore of Wilczek Island. Silently struggling against
the drifting snow, we marched on, dragging our burden through desolate
reaches of snow, till we arrived, after a journey of an hour and a half,
at the point we sought on the island. Here, in a fissure between basaltic
columns, we deposited his earthly remains, filling up the cavity with
stones, which we loosened with much labour, and which the wind, as we
stood there, covered with wreaths of snow. We read the prayer for the
dead over him who had shared in our sufferings and trials, but who was
not destined to return home with us with the news of our success; and
close by the spot, surrounded with every symbol of death and far from the
haunts of men, we raised as our farewell a simple wooden cross. Our sad
and solemn task done, there rose in our hearts the thought, whether we
ourselves should be permitted to return home, or whether we too should
find our resting-place in the unapproachable wastes of the icy north.
The wind blowing over the stiff and stark elevation where we stood,
covered us all with a thick coating of snow, and caused the appearance of
frost-bite in the faces and hands of some of our party. The decoration
of the grave of our comrade with a suitable inscription was therefore
deferred till the weather proved more favourable. We found considerable
difficulty in returning to the ship through an atmosphere filled with
snow.[38]



CHAPTER VI.

A GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF KAISER FRANZ-JOSEF LAND.


In now presenting a general view of those parts of Kaiser Franz-Josef
Land which were explored by us, I must be allowed to anticipate the
order of my narrative which describes the subsequent sledge expeditions,
by which our knowledge of the discovered country was so considerably
enlarged.

1. The country, even in its already ascertained extent, is almost as
large as Spitzbergen, and consists of two main masses—Wilczek Land on the
east, and Zichy Land on the west, between which runs a broad sound called
Austria Sound, extending in a northerly direction from Cape Frankfort
till it forks at the extremity of Crown-Prince Rudolf’s Land, 80° 40′
N. L. One branch of it, a broad arm running to the north-east—Rawlinson
Sound—we traced as far as Cape Buda-Pesth. Wilczek and Zichy Lands are
both intersected by many fiords, and numerous islands lie off their
coasts.

2. A continuous surface of ice extends from the one land to the other.
At the time of our exploration, this expanse was formed of ice, for the
most part not more than a year in growth, but crossed in many places
with fissures and broad barriers of piled-up ice. Throughout its whole
extent we saw many icebergs, which we never did in the Novaya Zemlya
seas; whence it is to be inferred that they sail away in a northerly
direction.[39] Our track lay over this ice-sheet. As long as it remains
unbroken, every fiord might serve as a winter harbour; but if it should
break up, not a single locality suitable to form one presented itself
along the coasts we visited, which had no small indentations.[40]

3. The map of this country, which we present, was designed and
constructed from fifteen observations of latitude, from many observations
made with the azimuth compass, from drawings, and from a system of
triangulation, which, from the nature of the circumstances under which it
was formed,[41] makes no pretensions to absolute exactitude. The heights
of the mountains were determined by the aneroid barometer. Near the ship
a base of 2170·8 metres was measured by Weyprecht and Orel, and connected
trigonometrically with the nearest promontories. This work of theirs
formed the basis of my surveys.

4. It has always been a principle and a practice with Arctic explorers
to name their discoveries either after the promoters of their special
expeditions, or after their predecessors in the work of discovery. Though
they are never likely to become important to the material interests of
mankind, the naming the lands we discovered after those who promoted our
expedition, was, we considered, the most enduring form by which we could
express our gratitude for their efforts in furtherance of a great idea.
The localities, I may add, were named during the work of surveying.

5. As I have had the privilege of visiting all the Arctic lands north
of the Atlantic, I have been able to compare them and observe their
resemblances as well as their differences. West Greenland is a high
uniform glacier-plateau; East Greenland is a magnificent Alpine land
with a comparatively rich vegetation and abundant animal life. How and
where the transition between these opposite characters takes place in
the interior is as yet utterly unknown. We may form some notion of
Spitzbergen and Novaya Zemlya, if we imagine a mountain-range, like that
of the Oetzthal with its glaciers, rising from the level of the sea,
if that level were raised about 9,000 feet. There is more softness,
however, in both these countries than is usual in the regions of the high
north. But Franz-Josef Land has all the severity of the higher Arctic
lands; it appears, especially in spring, to be denuded of life of every
kind. Enormous glaciers extend from the lofty solitudes of the mountains,
which rise in bold conical forms. A covering of dazzling whiteness is
spread over everything. The rows of basaltic columns, rising tier above
tier, stand out as if crystallized. The natural colour of the rocks was
not visible, as is usually the case: even the steepest walls of rock were
covered with ice, the consequence of incessant precipitation, and of the
condensation of the excessive moisture on the cold faces of the rock.
This moisture in a country whose mean annual temperature is about 3° F.,
seems to indicate its insular character, for Greenland and Siberia are
both remarkable for the dryness of their cold, and it was singular that
even north winds occasioned a fall of temperature in Franz-Josef Land. In
consequence of their enormous glaciation, and of the frequent occurrence
of plateau forms, the new lands recalled the characteristic features of
West Greenland, in the lower level of the snow-line common to both, and
in their volcanic formation. Isolated groups of conical mountains and
table-lands, which are peculiar to the basaltic formation, constitute the
mountain-system of Franz-Josef Land; chains of mountains were nowhere
seen. These mountain forms are the results of erosion and denudation;
there were no isolated volcanic cones. The mountains, as a rule, are
about 2,000 or 3,000 feet high, except in the south-west, where they
attain the height of about 5,000 feet.

6. The later Arctic expeditions have established the existence of vast
volcanic formations in the high north, and of very recent deposits
in their depressions. In fact, a vast volcanic zone seems to extend
from East Greenland, through Iceland, Jan Mayen and Spitzbergen, to
Franz-Josef Land. The geological features of the latter are at any rate
in harmony with those of North-east Greenland. The tertiary Brown-coal
sandstone of East Greenland is also found in Franz-Josef Land, though
Brown-coal itself is met with only in small beds, which, nevertheless,
may be reckoned among the many indications that the climate of Polar
lands must once have been as genial as the climate of Central Europe at
the present day. The kind of rock which predominates is a crystalline
aggregation called by the Swedes “Hyperstenite” (Hypersthene), identical
with the Dolerite of Greenland; but the Dolerite of Franz-Josef
Land is of a coarser-grained texture, and of a dark yellowish green
colour; according to Professor Tschermak (the Director of the Imperial
Mineralogical Museum at Vienna), it consists of Plagioclase, Augite,
Olivine, titaniferous Iron and ferruginous Chlorite. The mountains of
this system forming table-lands, with precipitous rocky sides, give to
the country we discovered its peculiar physiognomy.

7. The Dolerite of Franz-Josef Land greatly resembles also the Dolerite
of Spitzbergen. After the return of the expedition I saw in London some
photographic views of the mountains of North-East Land, Spitzbergen,
taken by Mr. Leigh-Smith, and I was at once struck with the resemblance
between their forms and those of Franz-Josef Land. I learnt also from
Professor Nordenskjöld, the celebrated explorer of Spitzbergen, as
I passed through Sweden, that the rock of North-East Land was this
same Hyperstenite (Hypersthene). Hence the geological coincidence of
Spitzbergen and Franz-Josef Land would seem to be established; and this
geological affinity, viewed in connection with the existence of lands
more or less known, appears to indicate that groups of islands will be
found in the Arctic seas on the north of Europe, as we know that such
abound in the Arctic seas of North America. Gillis’ Land and King Karl’s
Land are, perhaps, the most easterly islands of the Spitzbergen group;
for it is not probable that these and the lands we discovered form one
continuous uninterrupted whole.

8. Amygdaloids, so common in Greenland, were never found by us in
Franz-Josef Land; and while the rocks in the southern portions of the
country were often aphanitic and so far true basalt, in the north
they were coarse-grained and contained Nepheline. The other rocks
consisted of a whitish quartzose sandstone, with a clayey cement, and
of another finely-grained sandstone, containing small granules of
quartz and greenish-grey particles of chlorite, and also of yellowish
finely-laminated clay slate. Erratics, so far as my opportunities
permitted me to judge, were of rare occurrence; but we found many
smaller pieces of petrified wood, allied to lignite.

9. Some of the islands of the Spitzbergen and Franz-Josef Land group must
be of considerable extent, because they bear enormous glaciers, which
are possible only in extensive countries. Their terminal precipices,
sometimes more than 100 feet high, form generally the coast-lines. The
colour of all the glaciers we visited inclined to grey, we seldom found
the dull green-blue hue; the granules of their ice were extraordinarily
large; there were few crevasses; and the moraines were neither large
nor frequent. Their movement was slow; and the snow-line commences at
about 1,000 feet above the level, whereas on the glaciers of Greenland
and Spitzbergen the like limit is generally 2,000 or even 3,000 feet,
and in these countries also, all below that line is free from snow in
summer. Franz-Josef Land, on the contrary, appears even in summer to be
buried under perpetual snow, interrupted only where precipitous rock
occurs. Almost all the glaciers reach down to the sea. Crevasses, even
when the angle of inclination of the glacier is very great, are much
less frequent than in our Alps, and in every respect the lower glacier
regions of Franz-Josef Land approach the character of the _névés_ of our
latitudes. There only was it possible to determine the thickness of the
annual deposits of snow and ice. In these lower portions, the layers were
from a foot to a foot-and-a-half thick; fine veins, about an inch wide,
of blue alternating with streaks of white ice ran through them, which
occurred with peculiar distinctness at the depth of about a fathom. On
the whole, this peculiar structure of alternating bands or veins was not
so distinctly marked as it is in the glaciers of the Alps, because the
alternations of temperature and of the precipitations are very much less
in such high latitudes.

10. The glacier ice of Franz-Josef Land was far less dense than the
glacier ice of East Greenland; whence it appears that movement, as a
factor in the structure of the glacier, predominates in Franz-Josef-Land
more than the factor of regelation. Even at the very end of the glaciers,
granules an inch long are distinctly traceable in its layers, and in
the _névé_ region especially the glacier ice is exceedingly porous. The
great tendency of the climate of Franz-Josef Land to promote glaciation
is manifested in the fact, that all the smaller islands are covered with
glaciers with low rounded tops, so that a section through them would
present a regular defined segment of a circle; hence many ice-streams
descending from the summits of the plateaus spread themselves over the
mountain-slopes and need not to be concentrated in valleys and hollows
in order to become glaciers. Yet many glaciers occur—the Middendorf
Glaciers, for example—whose vertical depth amounts to many hundred
feet. Their fissures and the height of the icebergs show this. It was
unfortunately impossible for us to explore the Dove Glacier, the largest
of all we saw, owing to its great distance from the line of our route.
Evaporation from the surface of the glacier goes on with great intensity
during those summer months when the daylight is continual, and deep
water-courses show that streams of thaw-water then flow over it.

11. The comparison of the temperature of the air within the crevasses
of the glaciers with the external air, invariably proved, that within
the crevasses the temperature was higher. The traces of liquefaction in
the glacier during winter, arising from the warmth of the earth, could
not be observed, because the sides and under-edge of the glaciers were
inaccessible from the enormous masses of snow, and the icicles of the
terminal arches and precipices could be ascribed only to the freezing of
the thaw-water of the preceding summer.

12. The plasticity of the glaciers was so great, that branches of them,
separated by jutting-out rocks, flowed into each other again at their
base, without showing any considerable crevasses. We could only in a
few cases judge of their movement by direct measurement, and we had
never more than one day to test it. One observation made on the Sonklar
Glacier in the month of March did not seem to support the notion of the
advance of the glaciers; but the repetition of similar experiments, some
weeks later, made on two glaciers on the south of Austria Sound, gave
the mean of two inches as the daily movement. It is very probable that
their movement begins in the Arctic regions somewhat later than in our
latitudes, perhaps at the end of July or beginning of August, because the
period of the greatest liquefaction then ends, while it is at its minimum
in March and the beginning of April. The signs of glacier-movement
were apparent in the detachment of icebergs in the month of March, but
more frequently in the month of May—as at the Simony Glacier—and in the
crashing-in of the ice-sheet at their base in the month of April—as at
the Middendorf Glacier; and the appearance of “glacier dirt,” where
there is no material to furnish a moraine,—as on the Forbes Glacier—must
be regarded as a sign of its onward movement or lateral extension. The
infrequency of moraines may be explained by the resistance which Dolerite
offers to weathering, and may also be regarded as a sign of the slow
movement of the glaciers. Red snow was seen once only, in the month of
May, on the precipices westward of Cape Brünn. We never met with glacier
insects, although they are common in Greenland; and however diligently
I looked for them I never saw unmistakable traces of the grinding and
polishing of rocks by glacier action.

13. It is well known that the north-east of Greenland as well as Novaya
Zemlya and Siberia are slowly rising from the sea, nay, that all the
northern regions of the globe have for ages participated in this
movement. It was, therefore, exceedingly interesting to observe the
characteristic signs of this upheaval in the terraced beaches, covered
with débris containing organic remains along the coast of Austria Sound.
The ebb and flow, which elevates and breaks up the bay-ice only at the
edge, is to be traced on the shores of Austria Sound by a tidal mark of
two feet.

14. The vegetation was everywhere extremely scanty, crushed, not so
much by the intensity of the cold as by its long continuance, and is
far below the vegetation of Greenland, Spitzbergen, and Novaya Zemlya.
It resembled, not indeed in species but in its general character, the
vegetation of the Alps at an elevation of 9,000 or 10,000 feet, while the
Alpine region corresponding to the vegetation of East Greenland lies a
thousand feet lower. We found neither the stunted birches and willows,
nor the numerous phænogamous plants of East Greenland, Spitzbergen, and
Novaya Zemlya. The rare appearance of soil chiefly contributes to this
extremely sparse vegetation, the detritus of the country resembling
the meagre “dirt” layer on an old moraine, here and there enlivened
by a small patch of green. Although we visited Franz-Josef Land at the
season in which vegetation begins to stir, nowhere could there be seen
a patch of sward, even a few feet square, to recall the features of our
latitudes, although we examined depressions very favourably situated
and free from snow. Some level spots showed patches of thin meagre
grasses of _Catabrosa algida_ (Fries), a few specimens of _Saxifraga
oppositifolia_ and of _Silene acaulis_, rarely _Cerastium alpinum_ or
_Papaver nudicale_ (L.). Thick, cushion-like tufts of mosses were more
frequently discovered. There were abundance of lichens: _Imbricaria
stygia_ (Acharius), _Buellia stigmatea_ (Körber), _Gyrophora anthracina_
(Wulfen), _Cetraria nivalis_ (Acharius), _Usnea melaxantha_ (Acharius),
_Bryopogon jubatus_ (Körber), _Rhizocarpon geographicum_ (Körber),
_Sporastatia Morio_ (Körber)—and the _Umbilicaria arctica_ of winter,
which we found in Greenland at an elevation of 7,000 feet. These
specifications I owe to the kindness of Professor Fenzl, director of
the Botanical Garden in Vienna, and of Professor Reichhardt. The museum
of this institution accepted the small collection of plants I was
able to bring to Europe. Of some of these there remained nothing but
withered roots, so that it was impossible to determine their character.
Nature in those regions, unable to deck herself with the colours of
plants, produces an imposing effect by her rigid forms, and in summer
by the glare of the ice and snow; and as there are lands which are
stifled by the excess of Nature’s gifts and blessings, so as even to
defy efforts of civilization, here in the high North another extreme
is displayed—absolute barrenness and nakedness, which render it quite
uninhabitable.

15. Drift-wood, chiefly of an old date, we frequently found, but in
small quantities. On the shore of Cape Tyrol, we once saw a log of pine
or larch one foot thick and several feet long, lying a little above the
water-line, and which might have been driven thither by the wind, as the
_Tegetthoff_ was. The fragments of wood we found—the branches on which
showed that they did not come from a ship—were of the pine genus (_Pinus
picea_, Du Roy), and must have come from the southern regions of Siberia,
as the large broad rings of growth showed.

16. Franz-Josef Land is, as may be supposed, entirely uninhabited, and we
never came on any traces of settlements. It is very questionable whether
Eskimos would have been able to find there the means of subsistence, and
if anywhere most likely on the western side of Wilczek Island, where an
“ice-hole” of considerable extent remained open for a great part of the
year.

17. In the southern parts it is destitute of every kind of animal life,
with the exception of Polar bears and migratory birds. North of Lat.
81°, the snow bore numberless fresh tracks of foxes, but though their
footmarks were imprinted on the snow beyond the possibility of mistake,
we never saw one. Once we found their excrements, and on Hohenlohe Island
those of an Arctic hare. The scanty vegetation forbade the presence of
the reindeer and musk-ox. It is not, however, impossible that there may
be reindeer in the more westerly parts of the country, which we did not
visit. The character of that particular region approximates to that of
King Karl’s Land and Spitzbergen, on the pastures of which herds of these
animals live and thrive.

[Illustration: LIPARIS GELATINOSUS.]

18. Of the great marine Mammalia, seals only (_Phoca grœnlandica_ and
_Phoca barbata_) abounded; although we saw some White Whales. Walruses
we saw twice, but not close to the shore; it is, however, probable that
the absence of open water prevented us from seeing the walrus nearer the
shore, for the character of the sea-bottom would present no obstacle to
its existence.

19. Of fish we saw only the species _Liparis gelatinosus_ (Pallas) and a
kind of cod (_Gadus_), which were taken with the drag-net.

20. The birds, which we found in the region between Novaya Zemlya
and Franz-Josef Land were of the following species:—the long-tailed
Robber Gull (_Lestris_, K.); the black Robber Gull without the long
tail-feathers; the Burgomaster Gull (_Larus Glaucus_, B.); the Ice or
Ivory Gull (_Larus eburneus_); the Kittiwake (_Rissa tridactyla_, L.);
the Sea-swallow (_Sterna macrura_, N.); the Arctic Petrel or Mallemoke
(_Procellaria glacialis_); Ross’s Gull (_Rhotostetia rosea_); two species
of Auks (_Uria arra_, P., and _Uria mandtii_, L.); the Greenland Dove
(_Grylle columba_, Bp.); the Rotge (_Mergulus alle_, V.); the Lumme
(_Mormon arcticus_); the Eider-duck (_Somateria mollisima_, L.); the
Snowy Owl (_Strix nivea_); the Iceland Knot (_Tringa canutus_); the
Snow-bunting (_Plectrophanes nivalis_, M.). Most of these occurred also
on the coasts of Franz-Josef Land.

21. We can here only allude generally to those forms of animal life which
were taken by the drag-net on the south of Franz-Josef Land, and brought
to Europe in the collection of Dr. Kepes, and of which I made seventy-two
drawings. To Professor Heller, of Innspruck, and Professor Marenzeller,
of Vienna, the expedition is indebted for the naming and arrangement of
those specimens, and while I refer my readers to their fuller account
in the _Mittheilungen_ of the Imperial Academy of Sciences of Vienna,
I limit myself here to a few of the results of their observations.
The investigation of the invertebrate Fauna of the sea through which
we passed was necessarily limited from the moment that the course of
the _Tegetthoff_ ceased to be under our control. We had, in the first
place, no zoologist on board, and from the drifting ship nothing more
could be done than letting down the net almost daily during the weeks of
summer—which Lieutenant Weyprecht did—and dragging it for some hours.
The greater part of the animals so taken were immediately sketched by
me, in order that, in the event of the loss of the original objects,
some sort of representation of the animal world of a region never before
investigated might be preserved. The issue justified a caution which must
always be kept in view in Polar expeditions.

Of the abundant shrimp-family of the Arctic seas there are four species
among the collections we formed, namely:—_Hippolyte payeri_, Heller,
n. sp., _Hippolyte turgida_ (Kröyer), _Hippolyte polaris_ (Sabine),
and _Hippolyte borcalis_ (Owen). The _Hippolyte payeri_ was found at
the depth of 247 metres, and was of a beautiful pink colour and had
blue-black eyes. There were found besides: _Crangou boreas_ and _Pandalus
borealis_ (Kröyer).

[Illustration: HIPPOLYTE PAYERI.]

The group of Amphipoda was, comparatively, largely represented
among the Crustacea of the Arctic waters; we often called these
_Floh-krebse_—flea-crabs—because many of them used their hind legs to hop
along. Eleven species of this genus were brought home in our collections;
among these were _Amathillopsis spinigera_, a new species, _Cleïppides
quadricuspis_, also a new species, both described by Professor Heller;
_Acanthozone hystrix_ (Owen), &c. The group—Isopoda—is represented by the
interesting _Munnopsis typica_ (Sars), the _Idothea sabini_ (Kröyer), and
by a new variety, _Paranthura arctica_.

[Illustration: HYALONEMA LONGISSIMUM.]

Of the group Pycnogonida, our collection contained three varieties, of
which two are new.

[Illustration: UMBELLULA.]

Sponges were common; but we were obliged to leave behind the specimens
of the larger kinds on account of the room they took up. Among the
silicious sponges, those of the genus Hyalonema were the largest in
size, and included the forms described as _Hyalonema boreale_ (Lovèn),
and _Hyalonema longissimum_ (Sars). There was one specimen of the horny
sponge, so rare in those parts. The drag-net often brought up _Actiniæ_,
_Bryareum grandiflorum_ (Sars), and June 2, 1873, from a depth of 110
fathoms, a specimen of the extremely rare _Umbellula_ described by
Mytius and Ellis, 1753. Since that date this animal had been lost sight
of, until it was found again by the Swedes—Gladans expedition 1871—in
Baffin’s Bay, and by the _Challenger_, 1873, between Portugal and Madeira
and between Prince Edward’s Island and Kerguelen’s Land. It may be
assumed that our Umbellula is identical with the form first described,
1758, by Linnæus as _Isis encrinus_. I regret to say that this, the
most interesting of all the objects we had collected, was left behind
in the _Tegetthoff_. The sketch of it made from life will facilitate a
comparison with the forms known in other regions and variously named.

[Illustration: KORETHRASTES HISPIDUS.]

[Illustration: NEPHTHYS LONGISETOSA.]

Hydroid polypes, widely distributed in several varieties in the Atlantic
Ocean,—_Asteridæ_ and _Ophiuridæ_, the _Korethrastes hispidus_ (Wyv.
Thomson), a new variety discovered by the _Porcupine_ expedition
between the Faroe and Shetland islands, _Crinoidæ_, represented by two
species never before found so far north, and several _Holothuriæ_, were
also among the acquisitions brought home. Our collection was rich in
_Annelides_, containing seven-and-twenty varieties found in Greenland
and Spitzbergen. Fourteen varieties of _Bryozoa_ were found, and single
specimens of _Turbellaria_ and _Gephyrea_.



CHAPTER VII.

THE SECOND SLEDGE EXPEDITION.—AUSTRIA SOUND.


1. The first sledge journey enabled me to draw up a plan for a more
extended expedition towards the north. It was not only a cherished
scheme of my own, but it became also the dominating interest on board
the _Tegetthoff_, although the other scientific investigations were
carried on uninterruptedly. Weyprecht and Brosch continued with admirable
perseverance the laborious observation of the Magnetic Constants,
and measured on the ice close to the ship a base of 2170·8 metres,
which served for all my trigonometrical surveys. The meteorological
observations also were carried on with the usual regularity.

2. For some days the weather had been bad; its increasingly stormy
character excited our fears, lest the ice should break up and the floe
drift away with the ship. The danger of leaving her, in order to explore
the extent of the new country, increased also with the longer duration
of our proposed second journey. We were convinced, too, that the sea
within a few days had broken up the ice almost as far as Wilczek Island,
and a heavy water-sky was seen in the south at no great distance from
us. Discoveries of importance could only be expected from an expedition
of a month’s duration. But withal the venture must be made, and leaving
the dangers and perils to the chances of the future, I gathered together
the picked men who were to accompany me, to lay before them my plans. I
explained to them my design of penetrating in a northerly direction as
far as possible, and I put before them the danger of our being cut off
from the ship. But while I showed the perils, I stimulated them also by
the hope of reward. If the eighty-first degree of latitude were reached,
I guaranteed to them the sum of £100; if we attained the eighty-second
degree, £250; and I declared that merit, and merit alone, should regulate
the distribution of these sums. In order to make sure of reticence on
the part of my company and thus obviate ill-feeling among the rest of
the crew, which might easily have been called forth by this apparent
preference, they were told that the rewards would be forfeited, if any
of those who stayed behind in the ship should hear of these rewards. The
assembled company agreed also to my request never to mention dangers
during the journey, and, in the event of our not finding the ship on our
return, to take the whole blame of such an issue on our own shoulders.
With regard to the rewards, I must add that never was a secret better
kept. Immediately began on board a packing, a tailoring, a preparation as
if for a campaign, and under the tent-roof of the ship the rusty runners
of the sledges were polished, till they were as smooth as glass.

3. Before we started, there was an interesting interruption in the
monotony of our lives, occasioned by a family of bears. While we were
absent in our first journey a bear had been shot from the ship, and
little Pekel had been wounded in the neck. On the 19th of March another
bear came close to us, which was scared away after some unsuccessful
shots had been fired at it. Three days afterwards a she-bear appeared
accompanied by her two cubs, of a darker colour than their mother,
rolling on after her. It was exceedingly interesting to watch the
actions of this family. The mother frequently stopped and snuffed the
air with uplifted snout; then she would lick her cubs, who fondly crept
up to their mother, behaving exactly like young poodles, which they
also resembled in size. Six shots were fired at seventy paces distance,
and the mother-bear, after running for about forty paces, fell dead.
Amazed at the reports of the rifles and the actions of their mother,
the little bears sat as if they were rooted in the snow, and looked
with astonishment at the dark forms which rushed out from the ship. One
of them suffered itself to be shaken by Pekel; and only when they were
seized by the nape of the neck and carried on board did they seem to
entertain the least surmise of mischief. At first they were shut up
separately in casks set on their end, and growled long and impatiently
till they were put together in the same cask. Sumbu alone was slow
to understand our suddenly-excited pity for his hereditary foes, and
scratched and barked at the cask for hours together, while the cubs
growled and threatened retaliation with their little paws. After looking
at this for some time, Gillis was moved to side with the bears, and a
battle ensued between him and Sumbu, in which the latter got the worst
of it. The little animals afforded us much amusement, and the crew were
seriously considering the feasibility of training them to draw in the
sledge, in the meditated return expedition to Europe. They ate bread,
sauerkraut, bacon—in short, everything that was given them. One morning,
however, the little rascals eluded the eye of the watch and got away.
They were immediately caught and killed, and appeared roasted on our
dinner-table.

[Illustration: THE DOGS DIFFER AS TO THE TREATMENT OF YOUNG BEARS.]

4. On the 25th of March our preparations for the extended journey
northwards were brought to an end. The sledge with its load weighed about
14 cwt.

                                                                   lbs.
  The large sledge                                                  150
  The dog sledge                                                     37
  The provisions, including packing                                 620
  The tent, sleeping bags, tent-poles, alpine stocks                320
  Alcohol and rum                                                   128
  Fur coats and fur gloves                                          140
  Instruments, rifles, ammunition, shovel, two cooking-machines,
    drag-ropes, dog-tent, &c.                                       170
                                                                   ----
                                                        Total      1565

Each of the four sacks of provisions—calculated for seven days and
seven men—contained 51 lbs. of boiled beef, 48 lbs. of bread, 8 lbs. of
pemmican, 7 lbs. of bacon, 2 lbs. of extract of meat, 4 lbs. of condensed
milk, 2 lbs. of coffee, 4 lbs. of chocolate, 7 lbs. of rice, 3 lbs. of
grits, 1 lb. of salt and pepper, 2 lbs. of peas-sausage, 4 lbs. of sugar,
besides a reserve bag with 20 lbs. of bread. We took boiled beef for
the dogs. We counted also on the produce of our guns as a considerable
supplement both for ourselves and them.

5. The sledge party consisted of myself, Orel, Klotz and Haller, and
of three sailors, Zaninovich, Sussich, and Lukinovich; and we had with
us three dogs, Jubinal, Torossy, and Sumbu, and men and dogs together
dragged the large sledge. The duties were thus divided: Zaninovich
managed the packing and the giving out of the spirit and rum, Haller
served out the provisions, Klotz attended to the dogs and the arms,
Sussich was responsible for keeping everything in working order, and
at night Lukinovich acted as a wind-protector close to the door of the
tent. We started on the morning of the 26th of March with the thermometer
6° F. below zero, and amid snow driving from the north-west. For some
distance we were accompanied by Weyprecht and the rest of the crew. We
had scarcely gone a thousand paces from the ship, before the snow began
to drive to such an extent, that we could scarcely see our comrades close
to us and keep together. As it was impossible to go on until the storm
laid, we preferred, instead of returning to the _Tegetthoff_, which would
have been the simpler course, to erect the tent out of sight of the ship
behind some ice-hummocks, and pass twenty-four hours in it. Our only
employment except sleeping was to thaw the snow, which filled our clothes
and especially our pockets. On the 27th of March (the thermometer
varying between 2° and 22° F. below zero) we continued our journey amid a
slight fall of snow, and made an early start, in order that our halt of
yesterday should remain unknown to the crew of the ship. When we reached
the south-eastern point of Wilczek Island we lost sight of the ship, and
the driving snow with a falling thermometer increased to such an extent,
that Sussich’s hands were frost-bitten, and we were compelled to halt
for an hour to rub them with snow. Starting again, we all ran the risk
of having our faces frost-bitten, meeting as we did a strong wind. The
heavily-laden sledge, too, compelled us to make such exertions that our
faces were bathed in perspiration. On the 28th of March the wind fell to
a calm, and as we passed over the Sound between Salm and Wilczek Islands
in a north-westerly direction we advanced at the rate of eighty paces
a minute. The track, which we followed, consisted partly of bay-ice a
year old and partly of old floes, these together forming a continuous
surface, here and there broken by barriers of hummocks, miles in length,
due to ice-pressures. After we had passed the headlands south-west of
Salm Island, we came in sight of the Wüllersdorf mountains, which we had
hitherto seen only from a great distance, hoping from their summits to
determine the route which we should take northwards.

6. At the distance of some miles right ahead of us lay several rocky
islands, with their outlines scarcely discernible owing to the dull thick
state of the atmosphere; but as they lay in the direction of our course,
we made for them. We now passed some icebergs and saw on their southern
sides the first signs of the process of liquefaction—new icicles. By and
by a wind from the south-west set in, raising the temperature gradually
to 6° F. and bringing with it fogs and then heavy snow-storms. Covered
with snow and running before the wind with a large sledge-sail set, we
came under the glacier-walls of Salm Island, among icebergs frozen fast
together, trudging along through wind and whirling snow. Occasionally
the wind was so strong, that the sail alone sufficed to impel the heavy
sledge, while a man in front, guided by a whistle from those behind, kept
it in its proper course. After a march of sixteen hours, the wind having
increased to a storm, which rendered it impossible to keep the track, we
determined to halt. Our clothes appeared to consist of nothing but snow,
our eyes were iced up, and our strength exhausted. In great haste we
erected the tent and took refuge within it; but our misery now properly
began. One scraped the thawing snow from the clothes of another, or
turned inside-out the pockets of his own trousers, filled with dissolving
snow-balls. At last the cooking-machine was lighted, and we began to
steam, and heartily wished that our miseries had arisen from cold instead
of moisture. The temperature in the tent rose at the distance of three
feet from the flame to 80°F., and twenty minutes after the production
of this artificial heat it fell seven degrees below zero. Early in the
morning of the 29th of March (Palm Sunday) the wind abated and the
temperature rose to 24·5°F., so that it began to rain in the tent as we
were preparing our breakfast. During the march of that day we ascended
the rocky heights of Koldewey Island, at the foot of which we had put up
the tent for the purpose of surveying. These rocks consisted of Dolerite,
over-spread with a close network of Lichens (_Cetraria nivalis_) and in
the clefts we found _Silene acaulis_.

7. From the summit of this island we suddenly beheld, in the field
of view of the telescope of the theodolite, a bear, which had seized
Torossy and severely wounded him. But almost immediately again the
bear disappeared in the snow, and when we came to the place of his
disappearance, we discovered the winter retreat of a family of bears. It
was a cavity hollowed out in a mass of snow lying under a rocky wall. The
bear had shown herself only once, but resisted all our efforts to seduce
her to leave the shelter she had chosen, nor had we any special desire to
creep on all fours into the narrow dark habitation. Sumbu only was bold
enough to follow her, but he too saw things which led him to return very
quickly. From the snow which had been thrown up at the entrance of this
hole, we inferred that this had been the work of the bear in her efforts
to close the approach to her abode. It was the first time that we came
upon a family of bears in their winter quarters, or had the chance of
adding anything to our scanty knowledge as to the winter sleep of those
animals. Middendorff does not admit that they sleep during the winter;
he considers the bear far too lean to be able to do so. According to Dr.
Richardson it is only pregnant females who hibernate in a snow-hole,
while the males roam over the Arctic seas in search of places free from
ice.

[Illustration: THE WINTER HOLE OF A BEAR.]

8. As we advanced further, we went round Schönau Island[42] so remarkable
for its columnar structure and environed by ice which had been raised up
by pressure. In a cleft of its precipitous rocky walls we buried a depôt
of provisions and a supply of alcohol for two days, together with some
articles of clothing, covering them up with four feet of snow. We could
not, however, conceal from ourselves the danger of placing a depôt within
sight of a bear’s hole, and greatly deplored that we were not able, like
the fox in the fable, to obliterate the marks of our footsteps. Towards
evening the temperature fell to -10° F., and the tent was frozen as stiff
as a board. On the 30th of March the temperature fell to -22° F., and a
strong north wind was blowing as we came out of the tent, and curling
billows of snow, reddened by the rising sun, rolled round us, hiding from
us at last even the sun himself. A march in the teeth of a wind at so
low a temperature is quite useless and only exposes to the great danger
of frost-bite. This was now clearly seen when, the tent being taken down
as usual immediately after breakfast, the laggards, imperfectly clad,
faced the wild weather. One was binding a stocking round his face with
his braces, because his frozen fingers would not permit him to button on
his nose-band and wind-guard; another had put on reindeer shoes instead
of boots after a vain attempt to thaw them; a third had put on the wrong
boot, and I myself was obliged to wind a long rope round my body, because
I was unable to fasten my coat. Such a state of things is opposed to
order and safety, and may degenerate into serious mischief. There was
nothing for it therefore but to set up the tent again and to get back
into our sleeping-bag. But the damp tent was frozen hard, and we felt
much as if we were lying between two plates of cold metal. It would be
difficult to say whether we suffered more from cold than from vexation.
Zaninovich spread the sail over us, and shovelled down the snow from the
walls of the tent;—who could be so serviceable as this comrade of ours,
who on every occasion displayed such hardihood against cold? Orel and I
made vain attempts to shorten the time by reading a volume of Dessing
which we had brought with us; but we soon renounced the effort, finding
that we could not fix our attention in such a situation. We had some
compensation, however, in the amusement of listening to the Dalmatians
learning to speak German with Klotz, who was far from the weakness of
uttering a single word in Italian. As usual, when the weather was bad,
the dogs gathered close to the wind-sheltered side of our tent. Sumbu
forcing himself in among us had to be driven out, for he growled if he
had the faintest suspicion that we meant to move or to smoke; but failing
to make himself comfortable among the other dogs, he avenged himself by
again rushing in among us, shaking the snow from his coat, and forced us
to admit him.

[Illustration: LIFE IN THE TENT.]

9. On the 31st of March, the weather having cleared, we continued our
journey northwards, halting as usual at noon to refresh ourselves with
soup. We measured the meridian altitude of the sun with a theodolite,
and surveyed and sketched our surroundings. When we came to 80° 16′ N.L.
we found a broad barrier of hummocks piled one upon another. This was
succeeded by older ice, whose undulating surface was broken by numerous
icebergs and high black basaltic cliffs. Here ended the possibility of
determining the route to be taken; for although there was an opening
between Cape Frankfurt and the Wüllersdorf mountains, we could not enter
it, until we ascertained whether it led northwards. In order to settle
this point Haller and I left the sledge and made a forced march to Cape
Frankfurt, whence we hoped to discover the direction of our course.
Meanwhile Orel and the rest of the party dragged the sledge with great
exertions between hummocks and icebergs towards the north-east. Cape
Frankfurt is a promontory of Hall Island, 2,000 feet high and surrounded
with glaciers. The small difference of level in the sea-ice at the base
of its cliffs showed that the tide did not rise high. Its glaciers flowed
towards Markham Sound and Nordenskjöld fiord. When we arrived at the
summit everything lay steeped in the rosy mists of evening. Flocks of
birds flew from its massive basaltic crown, and as it was evident that
they had not come there to breed, we inferred that open water was not far
off.

[Illustration: CAPE FRANKFURT, AUSTRIA SOUND, AND THE WÜLLERSDORF
MOUNTAINS.]

10. Our attention was directed, however, especially to the configuration
of the country, and great was our delight when we beheld beneath us a
broad inlet, which promised to be of considerable extent and to run
towards the north. This inlet was covered with icebergs and could be
traced up to the faint outlines of a distant promontory (Cape Tyrol).
It now appeared certain, that we could reach the eighty-first degree
of latitude on an ice-covered sea, and the measurement of some angles
furnished us with a provisional guidance for penetrating into these
new regions. The coasts of Wilczek Land appeared to run in a northerly
direction, and then to trend gradually to the north-east. At a great
distance below us we saw a dark point moving over the dimly-seen plain
of sea-ice. Its advance was discernible only when for a short time it
disappeared behind an iceberg, and again reappeared. It was Orel with the
large sledge; but neither the snowy mountains bathed in carmine light,
which surrounded our point of view with picturesque effect, nor the
crimson veil spread over them, nor the profound solitude of the wastes
that lay around us, could so rivet our attention as that little point in
which lodged forces apparently so insignificant, but yet made potent by
human will. With pain and toil we descended the mountain in our canvas
boots between steep precipices of ice, and pressed on for six miles in
the rapidly-waning light over hummocky-ice to rejoin our companions,
whose position we had marked by the stars, from the elevation we had
ascended. We reached our friends before midnight and our news excited
great joy.

11. On the 1st of April (the thermometer marking -20°F.) we penetrated
by Cape Hansa into the newly-discovered passage, which was covered
with heavy ice; I called it Austria Sound. The nearer we approached
the coast of Wilczek Land, the more unquestionable did it appear that
the Wüllersdorf mountains extended far into the interior; but it would
have cost more time than the attempt was worth to ascend them. The
latitude taken at noon was 80° 22′. Nothing can be more exciting than the
discovery of new countries. The combining faculty never tires in tracing
their configuration, and the fancy is restlessly busy in filling up the
gaps of what is as yet unseen, and though the next step may destroy its
illusions, it is ever prone to indulge in fresh ones. Herein lies the
great charm of sledge expeditions, as compared with the tiresome monotony
of life on board ship—a charm which is only then diminished when we
have to wander for days over wastes of snow, with the coasts at such a
distance, that they do not change sufficiently rapidly, or leave scope
for indulging in surmises and fancies of what is coming. The discomforts
incident to this mode of travelling are in this case doubly felt. The
sledge is dragged with great difficulty in the hours of the early
morning, for the hard edges of the snow crystals have not yet felt the
smoothing effects of evaporation under the power of the sun. The goal
itself appears as if it were never to be reached, because the limited
horizon of the travellers constantly retreats. Thirst and languor then
set in. The small quantity of water which we were able to prepare during
the march had no more effect than a drop on a plate of hot iron. Klotz
felt unwell to-day, and cured himself by swallowing his ration of rum at
one gulp. Even the dogs seemed languid, and crept along with drooping
heads and their tails between their legs.

12. The land on our right was a monotonous waste of ridges and terraces
of parallel raised beaches, partially covered with snow. Following its
line as we marched onwards, we passed iceberg after iceberg. Towards
evening I ascended one of these, and made the joyful discovery that
Austria Sound stretched in a northerly direction at least as far as a
cape—afterwards called Cape Tyrol. In the midst of my observations Orel
called to me from below that a bear was coming near us. We awaited his
approach with the greed of cannibals, for his flesh would be priceless
while we were making such great exertions and had only the insufficient
nourishment of boiled beef. I promised Haller and Klotz the bear-money
of 30 gulden, usual in Tyrol, if the bear should be bagged. The animal
received three shots at the same moment and at first stood stock still,
but then began to drag himself slowly off. We rushed after him, and to
save our cartridges struck him with the butts of our rifles, and finished
him by thrusting our long knives into his body. We appropriated 50 lbs.
of his flesh to our own use, and gave the rest of his carcase to the
dogs, and deposited 50 lbs. of boiled beef on the iceberg, close by which
we erected our tent.

13. On the 2nd of April (the thermometer marking -11 F.) we again started
with renewed vigour, though in the face of a strong north wind. I myself
left the sledge in order to examine the raised beach for some distance.
It was for the most part bare of snow, and exhibited laminæ of brown-coal
sandstone amid the Dolerite. Close beside the scanty remains of some
drift-wood, I was surprised to find a circle of large stones resembling
those erections which I had seen in East Greenland in deserted Eskimo
villages. As, however, there were no other marked traces of former
settlements, this circle of stones was no doubt something accidental.
The magnitude of Franz-Josef Land seemed to grow before our eyes, as we
saw the broad Markham Sound opening up towards the west, and ranges of
high mountains stretching away towards Cape Tyrol. The coasts abounded in
fiords, and glaciers were everywhere to be seen. Wilczek Land disappeared
under ice-streams, and only reappeared again in the rocky heights of Cape
Heller and Cape Schmarda, opposite Wiener-neustadt Island. In the evening
we reckoned that we had reached latitude 80° 42′.

14. On the 3rd of April (the thermometer standing at -9° F.) we should
have reached Cape Tyrol, had not snow-storms from the south kept us
in the afternoon in our tent: a delay with which Lukinovich was by no
means displeased, for this being Good Friday he had counted on a day of
complete rest,—for our friend Lukinovich was prone to turn his eyes to
heaven, spoke constantly of the saints, could mention their festivals
as they occurred in the calendar; but, alas! was a snow-eater, and
could march not a whit better than Falstaff. On the 4th of April the
temperature, with constant driving storms of snow from the south, rose
from -4° to 23° F.; and the snow accumulated to such an extent even in
the tent, that it had to be shovelled out. It was towards the afternoon
before we could continue our march, the delay made being not so much on
account of the cold, as from dread of the moisture. Our start proved,
however, useless, for the snow began to drive so furiously, that, as
we dragged, those behind could scarcely see the men in front. We again
travelled by the compass and used our sledge-sail; but we constantly
deviated from the right course, though we pressed on, passing Cape
Tyrol without seeing it, and entered an unknown region in which we were
guided by mere chance—expecting every moment to stumble on a fissure in
the ice or open water. This day we sustained a painful loss—the loss of
my dog Sumbu. For two long years he had been almost our only source of
amusement by his cunning and his impudence. He had long been the rival
of the frolicsome Torossy, in dragging the sledge; and it was often
almost touching to see how at evening he would sink down exhausted in the
snow, in the very spot where he was unharnessed. It cannot well detract
from the merit of such services—and after all they were rendered in the
interests of science!—that they were those of an animal and sprang from
attachment.[43] To this vigorous lively animal, what more natural than
that he should be almost beside himself if in one of these vast solitudes
he should get sight of a living creature? So it happened to-day. A gull
flew over his head, and Sumbu burst away from the sledge. In hot pursuit
of the bird he disappeared from our sight and never returned again. All
our shouts were thrown away. Our track was soon covered over by the
drifting snow, and there cannot be a doubt that our faithful companion,
after wandering about for days, either died of hunger or fell a victim to
a bear.

[Illustration: HOW SUMBU WAS LOST.]

15. April 5, after a short rest, we again started about midnight in order
to economize our time (the thermometer being at 19° F.). The weather
had greatly improved. Klotz, who was the first to step out of the tent,
startled us by the information that some high land barred our further
progress. But when we followed him into the open air, we found that Klotz
had looked to the west instead of to the north, and we discovered the
true state of things, that Zichy Land ran on our left in a northerly
direction, while Wilczek Land trended towards the north-east. We pursued,
therefore, our course on the vast icy wastes, over which hung Cape Easter
(81° 1′), and Cape Hellwald shining in the sun, and hoisted the flag on
the sledge to celebrate our passage of the eighty-first degree of north
latitude, and in commemoration of Easter Sunday.

[Illustration: CAPE EASTER AND STERNEK SOUND.]

[Illustration: HOW WE RECEIVED BEARS. CAPE TYROL IN THE BACKGROUND.]

16. During our march, spying us at a great distance, a bear approached us
at a rapid pace, but when he came within forty paces he fell, receiving
three bullets in his head. The accompanying illustration shows how we
received bears when they attacked us on our journey; it represents also
the fine forms of Cape Tyrol in the background. A few hours afterwards,
we observed a she-bear about 400 yards from us, apparently diligent in
burrowing in the snow; but as soon as she got wind of us she suddenly
turned, reared herself on her hind legs, and began to snuff the air.
She then came towards us, but as she advanced she rolled herself over
with evident pleasure on her back several times, then pushed on with
her snout and belly close to the ground, perfectly unconscious of the
three rifles which were levelled at her. At fifty paces distance we
fired, and brought her down. We immediately examined the place where we
had seen her so busy. We did not find poor Sumbu, as we half expected,
but a partially-consumed seal, and close to it a hole in the ice, into
which the creature no doubt would plunge when danger threatened; but
the bear had been sharper and cleverer than the seal, and had probably
seized it when asleep on the ice. Bear-flesh now formed our principal
food, and the sledge was heavily laden with it. We ate it both raw and
cooked, and when the flesh was badly cooked—especially if it were the
flesh of an old bear—it was less palatable than when uncooked. It may
be tolerable food for sea-gulls, but it is a diet hardly fit even for
devils on the fast-days of the infernal regions. Arctic lands certainly
do not furnish delicacies to gratify a refined taste; the best things
they have to offer are coarse and oily, and if ever they are eaten with
relish, it is a relish which comes from hunger alone. The desolate shores
of these lands are truly the very home of hunger, and nowhere else are
the calculations of travellers so much influenced and determined by
the stomach and its needs. Remains or fragments are unknown in Arctic
regions. The dead are consumed by the living, and the living find their
never-ceasing occupation in the toilsome search for food. In my three
Arctic expeditions, I very seldom indeed found the remains of animals,
never the remains of a bear or a fox. The man who visits these wastes
must do homage to the principle of eating everything, and throwing away
nothing. Franklin was unsurpassed in this, but I believe we were little
behind him. Franklin and his people found the flesh of a white fox as
pleasant to the taste as young geese—a proof how entirely they had
forgotten how geese taste. They preferred foxes, too, to lean reindeer;
and they considered the flesh of a grey bear exceedingly palatable,
though even the Eskimos eat it only in dire necessity. Reindeer marrow,
even raw, was to them a great delicacy, and they ate animals in a state
of decomposition. Barentz and his crew were very modest in their tastes;
they compared whale-flesh to beef, and foxes to rabbits, as articles
of diet; bears’ meat they utterly detested. Once only it seems they
partook of the liver of a bear, and three of his men became exceedingly
ill in consequence, their skin peeling off from head to foot. Kane was
prejudiced against bear, notwithstanding the great straits to which he
was reduced, and complains of this food as being absolutely uneatable.
The testimony of Dunér is more favourable. “If,” says he, “a bear has not
been eating walrus or seal in a state of semiputrefaction before he is
killed, his flesh, though somewhat coarse, is yet palatable, and not at
all prejudicial to health.” Parry thought whale-flesh and walrus-flesh
equally distasteful: he makes an exception in favour only of the heart of
the walrus; but he speaks of the tenderness and excellence of the flesh
of young seals. As for ourselves, we disdained nothing that we could get
hold of, after the manner of Sir John Ross, who thought the fox the best
of all food, better than the gull (_Larus tridactylus_).

[Illustration: DINING ON BEARS’ FLESH.]

17. The continued moisture of the last few days had completely saturated
our canvas boots; and those of several of us were besides nearly worn
out, and in the morning when completely frozen, to put the foot into one
was as bad as putting it into an ice-hole, so that we were obliged to
thaw them over a spirit-flame, and to knock their heels with a hammer
continually during the march. Sussich had made himself a pair of new
boots out of a cloth jacket. It would, however, be a mistake to think
that we should have been any better off with leather boots. In fact, we
could not have put them on, and in the increasing cold of the following
weeks our feet would certainly have been frost-bitten. Our clothes were
completely saturated in like manner, and whenever the temperature fell
they became stiff with ice. I suffered the least of any, for my bird-skin
garments were the best preservatives against the penetration of moisture.

18. No kind of snow opposes such hindrances to sledge-dragging as the
snow with the thermometer not much below freezing-point, for at this
temperature it balls. This impediment we now encountered. The air, too,
became oppressively heavy; land and sky were suddenly overspread with
darkness; and, from behind thunderlike clouds, red rays of the sun fell
on the conical mountains of Kane Island. Falls of snow, calms, and
violent gusts of wind rapidly succeeded one another, and just before we
erected our tent it again became clear. Far to the north we saw two white
masses—Becker and Archduke-Rainer Islands, and an extensive inlet—Back
Inlet; but only within Austria Sound could we count on pursuing our
journey northwards without making any détours. On Easter Monday, April
7th (the thermometer varying between 9° and 19° below zero (C.)), we
approached Becker Island; but the atmosphere was on this day so moist and
thick, though without mist in the proper sense, that its existence might
be asserted or disputed according as the light changed; and it was only
when we were not further off than 100 paces that we could be positive
of the existence of land, rising gently at an angle of 1° 7′. Over this
ice-covered island we now dragged, and, full of expectation, mounted its
highest point. To the north lay an indescribable waste, more utterly
desolate than anything I had ever seen, even in the Arctic regions,
interspersed with snow-covered islands, all, big and little, of the same
low, rounded shape. The whole, at a distance, presented the appearance
of a chaos of icehills and icebergs scattered over a frozen sea. One
thing only in this view gave us much satisfaction. Austria Sound still
stretched uninterruptedly towards the north. Could we have forgotten how
the _Tegetthoff_ had drifted towards Franz-Josef Land, that Sound would
have seemed to us the true road to the Pole. Nor could we doubt that in
the immediate north open water would be found, for in no other way could
we interpret the indications we had observed in the course of the last
few days—the great moisture and high temperature, the dark colour of the
northern sky, the frequent flights of Auks, and Divers, grey and white
Gulls, which flew from the north southward, or _vice versâ_.

19. After crossing Becker Island, we went on again on the frozen sea,
which was rough and undulating for some distance. From behind one of
the hummocks a bear suddenly emerged, and came towards us without any
fear or hesitation, his yellow colour forming a strong contrast with
the gleaming hills of ice. When he was thirty paces off we fired; but
though severely wounded he managed to get away. On the 7th of April (the
thermometer varying between 16° and 25° below zero (C.), and with a light
south-west wind), we passed close to Archduke-Rainer Island, a heavy rime
frost seriously impeding our progress. We were able, however, to turn to
good account the clear sunny weather of this day. We dried our clothes
and tent furniture, spreading them out in the sun over the sledge or
suspending them to its mast and yard. We had almost reached Cape Beurmann
at noon, and having taken our observations, we found our latitude to be
81° 23′. We had consequently gone beyond the latitude reached by Morton;
Hayes only having reached a slightly higher latitude than this. About
this time of the day the horizon towards the north became exceedingly
clear, and the steep rocks of Coburg Island were distinctly visible,
and behind them now rose the faint outlines of mountains—Crown-Prince
Rudolf’s Land.

20. At this latitude it seemed as if Wilczek Land suddenly terminated,
but when the sun scattered the driving mist we saw the glittering
ranges of its enormous glaciers—the Dove[44] Glaciers—shining down on
us. Towards the north-east we could trace land trending to a cape lying
in the grey distance—Cape Buda Pesth, as it was afterwards called.
The prospect thus opened to us of a vast glacier land, conflicted
with the general impression we had formed of the resemblance between
the newly-discovered region and Spitzbergen; for glaciers of such
extraordinary magnitude presuppose the existence of a country stretching
far into the interior. As it appeared to us that Crown-Prince Rudolf’s
Land and Karl Alexander’s Land formed a continuous whole, we left Austria
Sound and diverged into Rawlinson Sound, and directed our course towards
Cape Rath. It was my intention, if this headland should be reached, to
leave behind the remainder of the party and push on with the dog-sledge
and two companions. We could count on finding deep snow-wreaths behind
the hummocks, and to dig out a snow-house would have been the labour of
an hour for three men. Previous experience had convinced us that such
a night encampment is warmer than the shelter which a tent can afford.
But though we were filled with zeal to extend our discoveries as much
as possible, we now felt that the excessive exertions we had made had
reduced our strength. We had slept on an average but five hours a day,
and marched the rest of the day, or at any rate had been occupied with
all manner of work. Our appetite too had increased with our labours, and
the partaking of bears’ flesh began to tell on some of us. The restricted
use of bread-stuff was especially felt, and the almost exclusive, use of
flesh produced diarrhœa and general debility. Nothing is more prejudicial
to those engaged in extended sledge journeys than great exertion with
insufficient sleep. The urgent reasons we had for losing no time in order
that we might return as soon as possible to the ship, constrained us
to depart from the rule of a ten hours’ sleep to a seven hours’ march
on sledge journeys. In consequence of our persistent adherence to this
principle during our return to Europe after abandoning the _Tegetthoff_,
the labours incident to it were far more easily performed. We did not
lose but gained strength; and some of us even grew stouter during it.

[Illustration: CUTTING UP THE BEARS.]

21. On the 8th of April we continued our journey, making an early start
as usual. Our track lay between countless hummocks, some of which were
forty feet high, while the depressions between them were filled with
deep layers of snow, and as we advanced into Rawlinson Sound, high
icebergs towered over a monotonous chaos of ice-forms. The ice resembled
that which surrounded the _Tegetthoff_ during our first winter, and
indicated a periodical, perhaps even an annual, breaking up. There
was nothing, however, to entitle us to infer that Rawlinson Sound was
navigable in summer. Like many of the passages of the northern coast
of North America, Austria and Rawlinson Sounds are too narrow for the
purposes of navigation. They are, however, well calculated for sledge
travelling. For some time we made use of our sledge-sail; but when the
wind shifted to E.S.E., it drove the sledge so much from its true course,
that we took it down. Our noses had become so susceptible, that we were
glad to put on our wind-protectors to save them from frost-bite. Then
followed snow-storms, alternating with brilliant sunshine which, however,
illuminated, partially only, some reaches of the hummocky ice, while the
distant land lay in shadow. It cost us excessive labour to get the sledge
on; we had occasionally to dig a lane for it, and we ran some risk of
breaking it. Our advance was one continual zig-zag, due to the confused
character of the ice on which we travelled and the untrustworthiness of
the compass in high latitudes. It seemed too, as if the declination of
the magnetic needle had considerably diminished since we left the ship.
Our labours were diversified by the visit of a bear, who, when we first
observed him, was standing on the top of one of the many ice-hummocks
about 300 paces distant. He then approached us, as was usually the case,
under the wind, and we at once drew up to receive him. He took no notice
of the bread we had laid down to gain his attention, but still pressed
on till he received three bullets in his head. Notwithstanding this he
ran for about seventy yards and then fell. To make sure, another bullet
was fired into his body, and thinking him dead, we forthwith began to
cut him up; but when his belly was being opened, he raised his head in a
fury, seized the butt-end of my rifle with his teeth and tore it from my
hand. My companions soon despatched him. The bear was eight feet long,
and therefore of unusual size. We might have cut off two or three cwt.
of flesh from his carcase, but in consideration of the heavy lading of
the sledge, we contented ourselves with appropriating sixty pounds. Both
Rawlinson and Austria Sounds were equally rich in fresh traces of bears,
which seemed to be those of whole families and not of individual animals.

22. Our latitude from a meridian observation was found to be 81° 38′—and
though the sun shining dimly through the clouds might account for an
error of two or three minutes, we had certainly passed beyond the
latitude 81° 35′ reached by Hayes in Smith’s Sound in 1861.[45] Having no
conception at the time that Hall’s American expedition had penetrated,
the year before we achieved this result, to 82° 9′ on the land and 82°
22′ at sea, we hoisted our sledge-flag to commemorate our success. The
character of the ice now became so wild and confused that we wandered 45°
from one point of the compass to the other. We constantly expected to
come upon open fissures, and could not conceal from ourselves how easily
its loose connection might be broken up by a storm, and our return to
the ship exposed to great risks. The transport of our travelling gear
became increasingly difficult, and great were our fears lest, through the
constant heavy shocks which the sledge encountered, the case of spirit
should be crushed and destroyed. The difficulties too to be overcome amid
the multitude of hummocks were more depressing than the occurrence of
snow-storms, inasmuch as their number almost destroyed the possibility of
progress; and the monotonous uniformity which tired the eye tended also
to depress the spirits.

23. On the 9th of April (the thermometer standing at 10° F., and a light
breeze blowing from the east) we continued our work of dragging between
the hummocks till noon. We then ascended an iceberg, and discovered
that the hummocks of ice in Rawlinson’s Sound appeared to stretch on
without end. We therefore altered our course and took a north-westerly
direction, in order to come under Crown-Prince Rudolf’s Land, whose noble
mountain forms and mighty glaciers shone forth in the light of the sun.
We expected to find smoother ice on its coast-line; but we were deceived
in this expectation, for the character of the ice remained unchanged. We
were compelled therefore to cross this Sound in a westerly direction to
Hohenlohe Island, and to select the rocky pyramid—visible from a great
distance—of Cape Schrötter as the point where our expedition should
divide into two parties; the larger party to remain behind, the smaller
to penetrate further towards the north over the glaciers of Rudolf’s
Land. By noon of this day we reached 81° 37′ N. L. and in the evening
arrived at Cape Schrötter. All the labours and efforts of the last few
days had consequently been without result.



CHAPTER VIII.

IN THE EXTREME NORTH.


1. Immediately after reaching Cape Schrötter, the east end of Hohenlohe
Island, we ascended the summit of this Dolerite rock, which was quite
free from snow, and covered with a sparse vegetation. We were surprised
to find here the excrement of a hare. The prospect which lay before us
convinced us of the necessity of our proposed temporary separation. The
mountains of Crown-Prince Rudolf’s Land, separated from us by an arm of
the sea covered with level ice, were so high (about 3,000 feet) that we
saw at once that we could pass over them only with the small dog-sledge.
The walking powers, moreover, of two of my companions had greatly
deteriorated, and for them rest was not an indulgence, but a necessity.
Austria Sound appeared to stretch still further to the north, but its
western coasts turned sharply to the left in the precipitous cliffs of
Cape Felder and Cape Böhm. The blue jagged line of mountains, towering
above snow-fields lying in the sun, stretched away to the north-west till
they were lost in dark streaks on the horizon, which our experience led
us to interpret as a water-sky above open spaces of the sea.

2. I was greatly delighted by Orel’s readiness, though he was suffering
from inflamed eyes, to take part in the expedition to the extreme north;
and it only remained for us to select the fittest among the party and to
calm the apprehensions of those who were to remain behind. On our return
to the foot of the rocks, where the tent was already pitched, we found
the rest of the party sitting close to each other at the rocky wall on
which the sun was shining, in order to warm themselves,—like crickets on
the wall of a house. The success of an expedition like that we projected
depends chiefly on the mutual good feeling among its members, and he
who commands it, besides participating personally in all the labours to
be endured, must show himself a sympathetic friend even in cases where
strict duty does not enjoin it, so that confidence in him may grow into
a kind of belief in his infallibility. There could not be more devoted
or enduring men than those who were here lying in the sun, and whom we
now joined, in order to decide the question of the hour. I explained to
them the plans I meant to follow,—that I should be absent from five to
eight days, that if I should not return to them within fifteen days they
should march back to the ship with the sledge—sawn through the middle—and
the stock of provisions which should be placed at their disposal would
suffice for this emergency. I then asked each of them whether he could
dismiss fear, and remain behind in this desolation. Sussich answered:
“_Se uno de lori resta indietro, mi non go paura:_” so said the rest. By
the expression, however, “uno de lori” they meant Orel or one of the two
Tyrolese, and specially with an eye to the bears which might be prowling
about. I left it free to Klotz and Haller to decide which of them was the
fittest and most serviceable to accompany me: “You,” answered Haller,
“you, Klotz, are the better man to drag the sledge and endure fatigue.”
Accordingly Sussich and Lukinovich remained under Haller’s command. These
three were ordered not to go more than 300 yards from Cape Schrötter,
to remain on the defensive if attacked by bears, to spend their time in
drying their clothes and repairing their torn boots, and to go about
in wooden shoes to save wear and tear. Haller received as Governor of
Hohenlohe Island a pocket-compass, a watch, an aneroid barometer, and a
thermometer, and to them we left also our little medicine-chest. If Dr.
Kepes had once tried to make a doctor of me in one hour, in now repeating
the experiment on Haller I confined myself to ten minutes.

3. On the morning of the 10th of April (the thermometer standing at 5°
F.) we divided the tent; one half was put on the dog-sledge, the other
was pitched, with its open side close under the rock. Before a caravan
takes the desert, the camels are watered, and we too, though in a
very different kind of desert, exposed to the constant evil of thirst,
would gladly have been treated in like fashion. But we had to content
ourselves with a pint of boiling water, served out to each of us every
morning, reminding us, indeed, of coffee, for 2 lbs. of it were boiled
in 105 gallons of water in the course of thirty days. The provisions
were divided, and enough for eight days was dealt out to the party
starting to the north, Orel, Zaninovitch, Klotz, myself, and two dogs.
The special requirements of our expedition, among which were a rifle and
a revolver, raised the weight of our sledge to about 4 cwt., which it was
the business of the dogs to draw without any assistance from us, and this
they did over the level snow with such zeal, that we had some trouble in
keeping up with them.

4. The merits of our dogs I have hitherto left unnoticed, in order
emphatically to assert that we owed the passing beyond the eighty-second
degree of north latitude not to our own exertions, but to the endurance
and courage of these animals. No kind of life among dogs is comparable
for hardships with the life of a dog in an Arctic sledge. His tent is
scarcely the pretext of a shelter, and his natural coat is generally
covered by a thick rime. The snow when it drifts completely covers him,
though he constantly but vainly seeks to shake it off. He draws his
breath with difficulty, hunger gnaws at his bowels, and his wounded feet
colour the snow with blood. Often, too, these poor animals amid the
great cold must keep still; then they lift up their paws alternately, to
prevent frost-bite. The two dogs, which accompanied us to the extreme
North, were the noblest animals ever employed in a sledge expedition,
and when I recall the great services they rendered us, both now and
afterwards in the return to Europe, their sad end fills me with sincere
sorrow. Jubinal and Torossy were dogs of remarkable size and strength,
and escaped the epidemic diseases[46] which attacked the dogs of Hayes
and Kane; and though it has been thought that the dogs of the Eskimo and
of the Siberian people were alone adapted for Arctic expeditions, our
experience with our own dogs most of them brought from Vienna, proves
that they were not a whit less useful. Our dogs had only one defect:
they had not been trained to sledge-drawing from their youth, but had
been broken to it only during our expedition, and were therefore not
always amenable to discipline. When left to themselves in dragging the
sledge they went on, without turning to the right or left, from cape
to cape, and if they found themselves on a wide plain of ice, and far
from all striking landmarks, they ran either towards the sun or moon, or
some remarkable star. It was against the grain with them to have to drag
in the teeth of the wind, and if they had to push on amid hummocks of
ice, they immediately began to growl. They were fed in the morning, and
more particularly in the evening, and they showed a delicacy of taste
in discriminating between bear’s flesh and the despised seal’s flesh.
While they carefully avoided coming near us before our start, provided
they were not very hungry, in order to escape being harnessed, yet when
harnessed nothing could exceed their vigour and persistence in dragging.

[Illustration: ICEBERGS AT THE BASE OF THE MIDDENDORF GLACIER.]

5. As we approached the promontory on the south of Crown-Prince Rudolf’s
Land, we came upon innumerable icebergs, from one hundred to two hundred
feet high, which made an incessant cracking and snapping sound in the
sunshine. The Middendorf glacier, with an enormous sea-wall, ran towards
the north to a great distance. Deep layers of snow and great rents in
the sea-ice, the consequence of the falling-in of icebergs, filled the
intervening spaces between them. Into these fissures we were continually
falling, drenching our canvas boots and clothes with sea-water. But the
aspect of these colossal fragments of glaciers engrossed us to such an
extent, that we wandered a long time with unflagging interest among
these pyramids, tables, and cliffs. It was only when I sent on Klotz to
mark out by his footsteps a path by which we might ascend the Middendorf
glacier, that we came to a more open region, and, all putting their
strength to the work of dragging, we gained its summit, crossing in our
progress many crevasses bridged over with snow. Three of these yawned
across the lower part of the glacier, needing but a slight movement of
the ice to detach them and transform them into icebergs. Further on, the
glacier appeared smooth and free from crevasses, although its inclination
amounted to several degrees. Towards the north it seemed as if it might
be crossed without excessive exertion, if all took part in the work of
dragging. But before we began this part of the day’s work we rested, and
recruited ourselves with dinner, and setting up our little tent at about
400 paces above the edge of the glacier, we looked down with feelings of
delight on its semi-circular terminal precipice and the gleaming host
of icebergs which filled the indentations of the coast. While we were
sitting in the tent Klotz made the fatal communication to me, that he
was not the man he should be, that for some days his foot had swollen
and ulcerated, so that he could walk only in shoes made of hide. However
vexatious this mishap, there was nothing for it but to send him back to
Hohenlohe Island. Laden with a sack and carrying a revolver, he set off,
and soon disappeared from our eyes in the labyrinth of icebergs beneath
us.

[Illustration: THE SLEDGE FALLS INTO A CREVASSE ON THE MIDDENDORF
GLACIER.]

6. We had meanwhile again packed the sledge, harnessed the dogs, and
fastened the traces round us, when, just as we were setting off, the
snow gave way beneath the sledge, and down fell Zaninovich, the dogs,
and the sledge, and from an unknown depth I heard a man’s voice mingled
with the howling of dogs. All this was the impression of a moment,
while I felt myself dragged backwards by the rope. Staggering back, and
seeing the dark abyss beneath me, I could not doubt that I should be
precipitated into it the next instant. A wonderful providence arrested
the fall of the sledge; at a depth of about thirty feet it stuck fast
between the sides of the crevasse, just as I was being dragged to the
edge of the abyss by its weight. The sledge having jammed itself in,
I lay on my stomach close to the awful brink, the rope which attached
me to the sledge tightly strained, and cutting deep into the snow.
The situation was all the more dreadful as I, the only person present
accustomed to the dangers of glaciers, lay there unable to stir. When
I cried down to Zaninovich that I would cut the rope, he implored me
not to do it, for if I did, the sledge would turn over, and he would be
killed. For a time I lay quiet, considering what was to be done. By and
by it flashed into my memory, how I and my guide had once fallen down
a wall of ice in the Ortler Mountains, 800 feet high, and had escaped.
This inspired me with confidence to venture on a rescue, desperate as
it seemed under the circumstances. Orel had now come up, and although
he had never been on a glacier before, this gallant officer dauntlessly
advanced to the edge of the crevasse, and, laying himself on his stomach,
looked down into the abyss, and cried to me, “Zaninovich is lying on a
ledge of snow in the crevasse, with precipices all round him, and the
dogs are still attached to the traces of the sledge, which has stuck
fast.” I called to him to throw me his knife, which he did with such
dexterity, that I was able to lay hold of it without difficulty; and as
the only means of rescue, I severed the trace which was fastened round
my waist. The sledge made a short turn, and then stuck fast again. I
immediately sprang to my feet, drew off my canvas boots, and sprang over
the crevasse, which was about ten feet broad. I now caught sight of
Zaninovich and the dogs, and shouted to him, that I would run back to
Hohenlohe Island to fetch men and ropes for his rescue, and that rescued
he would be, if he could contrive for four hours to keep himself from
being frozen. I heard his answer: “Fate, Signore, fate pure!” and then
Orel and I disappeared. Heedless of the crevasses which lay in our path,
or of the bears which might attack us, we ran down the glacier back to
Cape Schrötter, six miles off. Only one thought possessed us—the rescue
of Zaninovich, the jewel and pride of our party, and the recovery of our
invaluable store of provisions, and of the book containing our journals,
which, if lost, could never be replaced. But even apart from my personal
feeling for Zaninovich, I keenly felt the reproaches to which I should be
exposed of incautious travelling on glaciers; and it gave me no comfort
to think that my previous experiences in this kind of travelling over
the glaciers of Greenland appeared to justify my proceedings. Stung with
these reflections, I pressed on at the top of my speed, leaving Orel far
behind me. Bathed in perspiration, I threw off my bird-skin garments, my
boots, my gloves, and my shawl, and ran in my stockings through the deep
snow. After passing the labyrinth of icebergs I saw the rocky pyramid
of Cape Schrötter before me in the distance. The success of my venture
depended on the weather. If snow-driving should set in, and footprints
should be obliterated, it would be impossible to find Hohenlohe Island.
All around me it was fearfully lonely. Encompassed by glaciers, I was
absolutely alone. At last I saw Klotz emerge from behind an iceberg
at some distance off, and though I continued to shout his name till
I almost reached him, I failed to rouse him from his usual reverie.
When at last he saw me breathlessly pushing on, scarcely clothed, and
constantly calling, his sack slipped from his back, and he stared at me
as if he had lost his senses. When the hardy son of the mountains came to
understand that Zaninovich with the sledge was buried in the crevasse,
he began to weep, in his simplicity of heart taking the blame of what
had happened on himself. He was so agitated and disturbed, that I made
him promise that he would do himself no mischief, and then, leaving him
to his moody silence, I ran on again towards the island. It seemed as if
I should never reach Cape Schrötter; with head bent down I trudged on,
counting my steps through the deep snow; when I raised it again, after a
little time, it was always the same black spot that I saw on the distant
horizon. At last I came near it, saw the tent, saw some dark spots creep
out of it, saw them gather together, and then run down the snow-slope.
These were the friends we had left behind. A few words of explanation,
with an exhortation to abstain from idle lamentation, were enough. They
at once detached a second rope from the large sledge, and got hold of a
long tent-pole. Meantime I had rushed upon the cooking-machine, quickly
melted a little snow to quench my raging thirst, and then we all set off
again—Haller, Sussich, Lukinovich, and myself—to the Middendorf glacier.
Tent and provisions were left unwatched; we ran back for three hours
and a half; fears for Zaninovich gave such wings to my steps, that my
companions were scarcely able to keep up with me. Ever and anon, I had
to stop to drink some rum. At the outset we met Orel, and rather later
Klotz, both making for Cape Schrötter, Klotz to remain behind there, and
Orel to return with us at once to Middendorf glacier. When we came among
the icebergs under Cape Habermann I picked up, one by one, the clothes I
had thrown away. Reaching the glacier, we tied ourselves together with a
rope. Going before the rest, I approached with beating heart the place,
where the sledge had disappeared four hours and a half ago. A dark abyss
yawned before us; not a sound issued from its depths, not even when I
lay on the ground and shouted. At last I heard the whining of a dog,
and then an unintelligible answer from Zaninovich. Haller was quickly
let down by a rope; he found him still living, but almost frozen, on
a ledge of snow forty feet down the crevasse. Fastening himself and
Zaninovich to the rope, they were drawn up after great exertion. A storm
of greetings saluted Zaninovich, stiff and speechless though he was, when
he appeared on the surface of the glacier. I need not add that we gave
him some rum to stimulate his vital energies. It was a noble proof how
duty and discipline assert themselves, even in such situations, that the
first word of this sailor, saved from being frozen to death, was not a
complaint, but thanks, accompanied with a request that I would pardon him
if he, in order to save himself from being frozen, had ventured to drink
a portion of the rum, which had fallen down in its case with the sledge
to his ledge of snow. Haller again descended, and fastened the dogs to
the rope. The clever animals had freed themselves from their traces in
some inexplicable way, and had sprung to a narrow ledge, where Haller
found them, close to where Zaninovich had lain. It was astonishing how
quickly they discerned the danger of the position, and how great was
their confidence in us. They had slept the whole time, as Zaninovich
afterwards told us, and he had carefully avoided touching them, lest
they should fall down deeper into the abyss. We drew them up with some
difficulty, and they gave expression to their joy, first by rolling
themselves vigorously in the snow, and then by licking our hands. We then
raised Haller by the rope some ten feet higher than the ledge on which
Zaninovich had lain, so that he might be able to cut the ropes which
fastened the loading of the firmly wedged-in sledge. At this moment Orel
arrived, and with his help we raised one by one the articles with which
the sledge was loaded. It was ten o’clock before we were convinced that
we had lost nothing of any importance in the crevasse.

[Illustration: KLOTZ’S AMAZEMENT.]

[Illustration: THE ALARM OF THE HOHENLOHE PARTY.]

7. We now left the glacier and the icebergs, and by midnight had reached
Cape Habermann. Here we slept, and the dogs with us, as uncomfortably as
possible. On the morning of the 11th of April (the thermometer marking 3°
F.), we started at an hour when we would much rather have continued to
sleep. Our thirst was so great that we felt ourselves equal to drinking
up a stream. Haller, Sussich, Lukinovich had during the night returned
to Cape Schrötter. Before they started Haller earnestly besought me to
come back as soon as possible; for the recent event, he said, had not
been without its disquieting effects on the men. On the whole, we might
congratulate ourselves on being able to continue our journey, without
having received any serious damage, though no longer over the treacherous
glacier.

[Illustration: HALT UNDER CROWN-PRINCE RUDOLF’S LAND.]

8. A sharp turn to the left brought us to the west coast of Crown-Prince
Rudolf’s Land, along which we pursued our route northwards. When we
reached Cape Brorock, where by an observation we found our latitude
at noon to be 81° 45′, the weather became wonderfully bright, and the
warm sunlight lay on the broken summits of the Dolerite mountains,
which, though covered with gleaming ice, were free from snow. To the
north-west we saw at first nothing but ice up to the horizon; even with
the telescope of the theodolite I could not decide for the existence
of land, which Orel’s sharp eye discovered in the far distance. In the
Arctic regions, it often happens that banks of fog on the horizon assume
the character of distant ranges, for the small height to which these
banks rise in the cold air causes them to be very sharply defined. It is
very common also to make the same mistake in the case of mists arising
from the waste water of enormous glaciers. We marched on northward close
under the land, and for the first time over smooth undulating ice, in
high spirits at the increasing grandeur of the scenery and at the happy
issue of our adventure of yesterday. Thirst compelled us frequently to
halt in order to liquefy snow;[47] sometimes we melted it as we marched
along, and our sledge with smoke curling up from the cooking-machine then
resembled a small steamer.

9. By and by we came to more snow, and the ice, through which many
fissures ran, became gradually thinner, but when we reached the imposing
headland, which we called Cape Auk, the ice lay in forced-up barriers.
A strange change had come over the aspect of nature. A dark water-sky
appeared in the north, and heavy mists rolled down to the steep
promontories of Karl Alexander Land; the temperature rose to 10° F.,[48]
our track became moist, the snow-drifts collapsed under us with a loud
noise, and if we had previously been surprised with the flight of birds
from the north, we now found all the rocky precipices of Rudolf’s Land
covered with thousands of auks and divers. Enormous flocks of birds flew
up and filled the air, and the whole region seemed alive with their
incessant whirring. We met everywhere with traces of bears and foxes.
Seals lay on the ice, but sprang into the water before we got within
shot of them. But notwithstanding these signs of a richer animal life,
we should not be justified in inferring, from what we saw in a single
locality, that life increases as we move northwards. It was a venial
exaggeration, if amid such impressions we pronounced for the nearness
of an open Polar sea, and without doubt all adherents of this opinion,
had they come with us to this point and no further, would have found in
these signs fresh grounds to support their belief. In enumerating these
observations, I am conscious what attractions they must have for every
one who still leans to the opinion that an open ocean will be found at
the Pole; subsequent experience, however, will show how little is their
value in support of this antiquated hypothesis.

[Illustration: CAPE AUK.]

10. Our track was now very unsafe; it was only the icebergs which
seemed to keep the ice in the bays. A strong east wind would certainly
have broken it up and cut off our return, at least with the sledge.
There were no longer the connected floes of winter, but young ice only,
covered with saline efflorescence, dangerously pliable, and strewn over
with the remains of recent pressures. The ice was broken through in
many places by the holes of seals. It was expedient therefore to tie
ourselves together with a long rope, and each of us, as he took his
turn in leading, constantly sounded the ice. Passing by Cape Auk, which
resembled a gigantic aviary, we followed the line of Teplitz Bay, into
which a stream of glaciers, descending from the high mountains in the
interior, discharged itself. Icebergs lay along the terminal glacier
wall which formed its shore. Ascending one of these masses, we found
granite erratics on its surface and saw the open sea stretching far to
the west. There seemed to be ice only on the extreme horizon. As the
ice-sheet over which our track lay became thinner and more pliable, and
constantly threatened to give way under us, the height and length of its
piled-up barriers increased also, and because the high glacier walls made
it impossible to travel over the land, we had no other resource than to
open up a track through the hummocky ice by pick and shovel. At last
even this expedient failed to help us; our sledge, constantly damaged,
and as constantly repaired, had to be unloaded, the dogs unharnessed,
and everything transported separately. Evening had now arrived; ahead
of us lay the two rock-towers, which we called Cape Säulen, and open
coast-water here began.

[Illustration: CAPE SÄULEN.]

11. Beautiful and sublime was this far-off world. From a height we looked
over a dark “ice-hole,” studded with icebergs like pearls, and over these
lay heavy clouds through which the sunbeams fell on the gleaming water.
Right over the true sun shone a second, though somewhat duller sun; the
icebergs of Crown-Prince Rudolf’s Land, appearing enormously high, sailed
through the still region amid rolling mist and surrounded by vast flocks
of birds. Close under Cape Säulen (the Cape of Columns) we came upon
the steep edge of the glaciers and dragged up our baggage with a long
rope. While Orel got ready our encampment for the night in the fissure
of a glacier, and completed as usual his meteorological observations
and soundings, I ascended a height to reconnoitre our track for the
next day. The sun was setting amid a scene of majestic wildness; its
golden rays shot through dark banks of mist and a gentle wind, playing
over the “ice-hole,” formed ever-widening circles on its mirror-like
surface. Land was no longer visible towards the north, it was covered
with a dense “water-sky.” A bird flew close past me; at first I took it
for a ptarmigan, but it was probably a snipe. It ought to be remarked
that during the two days which we spent near this “ice-hole” we never
once saw a whale. As soon as with half-closed eyes we had eaten our
supper, we fell fast asleep, for our longing to sleep was yet greater
than our exhaustion and our thirst. The dogs availed themselves of this
opportunity to devour several pounds of bear’s flesh and empty a tin
of condensed milk, which, however, did not prevent them from barking
impudently the next morning for more.

12. The 12th of April was the last day of advance in a northerly
direction. Though the weather was not clear, yet it was clearer than it
had been for some time. When we started we buried our baggage in the
fissure of the glacier where we had slept, in order to protect it from
bears, which roamed about on all sides. Our march lay over snowy slopes
to the summits of the coast range—from 1,000 to 3,000 feet high. The
masses of mist lying on the horizon had retreated before the rays of the
morning sun, and all the region with its lines of ice-forms was bathed in
light; and southward, open water stretched to the shores of Cape Felder.
As we followed this lofty coast range, mountains with glaciers sloping
down their sides towards the sea seemed to rise before us. An hour before
noon we reached a rocky promontory 1,200 feet high, afterwards called
Cape Germania. Here we rested, and from a meridian observation we found
our latitude to be 81° 57′. Following the coast as it trended towards the
north-east, we came on a glacier with a steep inclination and frequent
crevasses, which compelled us to leave the sledge behind before we
attempted to cross it. But the increasing insecurity of our track over
fissures, our want of provisions, and the certainty that since noon we
had reached 82° 5′ N. L. by a march of five hours, at last brought our
advance northward to a close. With a boat we might certainly have gone
some miles further.

[Illustration: THE AUSTRIAN FLAG PLANTED AT CAPE FLIGELY.]

13. We now stood on a promontory about 1,000 feet high, which I named
Cape Fligely, as a small mark of respect and gratitude towards a man of
great distinction in geographical science. Rudolf’s Land still stretched
in a north-easterly direction towards a cape—Cape Sherard Osborne—though
it was impossible to determine its further course and connection. The
view we had from this height was of great importance in relation to the
question of an open Polar sea. Open water there was of considerable
extent and in very high latitudes: of this there could be no question.
But what was its character? From the height on which we stood we could
survey its extent. Our expectations had not been sanguine, but moderate
though they were, they proved to be exaggerated. No open sea was there,
but a “Polynia” surrounded by old ice, within which lay masses of younger
ice. This open space of water had arisen from the action of the long
prevalent E.N.E. winds. But of more immediate interest than the question
of an open Polar sea was the aspect of blue mountain-ranges lying in
the distant north, indicating masses of land, which Orel had partially
seen the day before, and which now lay before us with their outlines
more defined. These we called King Oscar Land and Petermann Land; the
mountainous extremity on the west of the latter lay beyond the 83rd
degree of north latitude. This promontory I have called Cape Vienna,
in testimony of the interest which Austria’s capital has ever shown in
geographical science, and in gratitude for the sympathy with which she
followed our wanderings, and finally rewarded our humble merits.

14. Proudly we planted the Austro-Hungarian flag for the first time in
the high North, our conscience telling us that we had carried it as far
as our resources permitted. It was no act asserting a right of possession
in the name of a nation, as when Albuquerque or Van Diemen unfurled the
standards of their country on foreign soil, yet we had won this cold,
stiff, frozen land with no less difficulty than these discoverers had
gained those paradises. It was a sore trial to feel our inability to
visit the lands lying before us, but withal we were impressed with the
conviction that this day was the most important of our lives, and ever
since the memory of it has recurred unbidden to my recollection.

15. The Dolerite of this region was of a very coarse-grained character,
and its rocks rose in terraces from out of the white mantle of snow;
_Umbilicaria arctica_, _Cetaria nivalis_, and _Rhyzocarpon geographicum_
were the sole ornaments of its scanty vegetation. The following document
we inclosed in a bottle and deposited in a cleft of rock:—

“Some members of the Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition have here
reached their highest point in 82·5° N. L., after a march of seventeen
days from the ship, lying inclosed in ice in 79° 51′ N. L. They observed
open water of no great extent along the coast, bordered by ice, reaching
in a north and north-westerly direction to masses of land, whose mean
distance from this highest point might be from sixty to seventy miles,
but whose connection it was impossible to determine. After their return
to the ship, it is the intention of the whole crew to leave this land and
return home. The hopeless condition of the ship and the numerous cases of
sickness constrain them to this step.

“Cape Fligely, _April 12th, 1874_.

“(Signed)

                                          “ANTONIO ZANINOVICH, _Seaman_.
                                          “EDWARD OREL, _Midshipman_,
                                          “JULIUS PAYER, _Commander_.”



CHAPTER IX.

THE RETURN TO THE SHIP.


1. This done, our thoughts now turned to the ship, between which and
ourselves lay 160 miles. But, the _Tegetthoff_—did she lie still where
we had left her, or had she drifted away? Fastened together by a rope,
we began our return by re-crossing the glaciers, and on reaching the
stores we had deposited at Cape Germania, the first thing we did was
to prepare some water, for the beverage we had taken with us in an
india-rubber bottle, made of coffee, rum, and extract of meat, had
only aggravated thirst, without adding to our strength. It was late in
the evening when we reached our night-encampment near Säulen Cap (Cape
Columns), in a state of great exhaustion, cheered and alleviated by the
thought of our success. The utter loneliness of our position could not
suppress the satisfaction we felt. After digging up our still untouched
stores, we went to rest for three hours. Longer we dared not sleep; the
least breeze might break up the ice and drive it out of the bight on the
north of Cape Auk. The insecurity of our position therefore impelled us
to make a very early start on the morning of the 13th of April, with
the thermometer at 12° F. As we started, we awoke also to the extreme
difficulties of the return route, difficulties which the excitement of
our advance had made light of. Orel, suffering from snow-blindness,
marched along with closed eyes, and want of sleep now began to tell on
us all. Even our dogs were all worn out, and whenever a halt was made
they lay down exhausted in the snow. The sledge had constantly to be
unloaded and reloaded, and its fractures repaired. The surface of the
smooth ice, encumbered by the snow-slush which had accumulated on it,
rendered our progress very burdensome. The dull dreary weather, however,
did not prevent the sea-birds from gathering and wheeling around us in
enormous flocks. During our noon-day halt, utterly distraught, I cooked
our dinner with sea-water; not one of us could touch it. Our road through
wastes of snow from Cape Brorock to Cape Schrötter, seemed as if it would
never end. However rapidly we advanced, constantly counting our steps as
we went along, that Cape remained for hours the same dark spot on the
gloomy and snowy horizon. It was evening before we approached it, and as
we came within 300 paces of his frontier, we were received and welcomed
by ambassadors from Haller. It was curious and also characteristic to
observe how a few days without active employment and without discipline
had demoralised our old companions; the party we left behind were
scarcely recognisable. Blackened by the oil used in cooking, wasted
with diarrhœa, these men crept out of their tent listlessly to greet us
on our arrival; a few more days would have sufficed to prostrate them
with sickness. Yet they had strictly followed the directions I had
given them, and had used with moderation their stock of provisions. As
I have already mentioned, I had furnished them, before I started on my
expedition northward, with all the means of ascertaining their position
by observations, and of enabling them to begin their return to the ship,
in the event of my failing to appear at the end of fifteen days; but
when I now asked them what direction they would have taken in order to
reach the _Tegetthoff_, to my horror they pointed, not to Austria, but to
Rawlinson Sound![49]

[Illustration: MELTING SNOW ON CAPE GERMANIA.]

2. The observations of temperature which Haller furnished me with,
scrawled in hieroglyphics on a peas-sausage case, showed a difference of
about 4½° in favour of the extreme north, and this difference was still
more marked, when we came to compare the readings which had been recorded
on board ship. The open water to the north was doubtless the cause of
this. But the same influence extended southward, and as the snow-drifts
over which we walked broke under us with a dull, heavy sound, we began
to fear lest the season when the snow suddenly thaws and the land-ice
breaks up had begun, and that our return would be a matter of extreme
difficulty. If there had been nothing else, this would have sufficed to
quicken our movements, but to this was added the discovery that our stock
of provisions, independent of depôts, would last only ten days more. By
ridding ourselves of all but absolutely necessary baggage, and leaving
behind our common sleeping bag and the tent for the dogs, we lightened
our sledge, so as to enable us to extend our day’s march considerably.

3. On the 14th of April, the thermometer marking 4° F., we left Hohenlohe
Island in very bad weather, and made for the Coburg Islands, which were
scarcely visible. Our route ran between hummocks, which gave the dogs
an opportunity they were not slow to use, of taking it easy after their
recent exertions. It had been our intention that the large sledge should
keep the same line which we had taken in our journey northward, while
I with the dog-sledge should visit places to the right and left. This
plan, however, was found unfeasible; for in addition to the difficulties
and impediments incident to the march, we had an accumulation of evils
to contend with. Klotz’s foot had become much worse, and all those who
had been left behind at Cape Schrötter were more or less snow-blind,
though hitherto our party had suffered little from eye diseases. It was
surprising that our dogs did not suffer from this affection, close as
they were to the glare of the snow and without any protection against
it. Snow-blindness occurs even in Alpine regions. The severity of the
attack depends on the character of the snow; the harder and smoother it
is, the greater is the reflection and the danger of inflammation; the
retina of the eye is at last injured by the dazzling whiteness of the
snow. Various remedies have been employed to mitigate this evil; even
the rough-and-ready one of throwing snuff into the eyes has been tried.
In Europe, snow-blindness is cured in a day or two by wet applications,
but in the low temperatures of the high North such a remedy cannot be
applied; poultices are hardly possible in the tent, and a simple bandage
worn during the march is no preservative against the constant burning
sensations common to this affection. It is clear that the range of
remedies during a sledge expedition must be very limited. The crew of Sir
James Clark Ross suffered in an unusual manner from this cause in their
land expeditions. Richardson and Nordenskjöld dropped a weak tincture
of opium twice a day into the eye, and in about twenty-four hours the
patient recovered, provided he were not compelled to march. Parry on
board ship used a solution of sugar of lead and cold water, applied
constantly for three or four days—a somewhat questionable remedy, as
it is apt to injure the cornea of the eye. Another mode of treatment,
which should take effect in six hours, is unhappily not available in a
North Pole expedition, as it requires white of egg, sugar, and camphor,
beaten up till it becomes frothy, and laid as a compress on the eye. Some
tribes of North America use the steam of hot water, the Creek Indians a
decoction from the resinous buds of the Tacamahac—an application which
causes much suffering. The only real preservative is the constant use of
coloured spectacles, the metal mountings of which should be covered with
wool, on account of the cold. The ordinary network at the side should be
avoided, as this dims the glasses even when the cold is not considerable;
whereas open spectacles are only exposed to this inconvenience at very
low degrees of temperature, and can easily be cleared by the hand.

[Illustration: ENCAMPING ON ONE OF THE COBURG ISLANDS.]

4. But to return to our journey. It was evening when the Coburg Islands
(81° 35′ N. L.) were reached. The Dolerite rock of this small cluster of
islands was of a remarkably coarse-grained crystalline texture. We had
frequently come across the traces of bears and foxes during the march of
this day, though we actually saw neither bear nor fox. On the 15th of
April, after a severe march, we got clear of the region of ice-hummocks,
and continued our southerly course with our sledge-sail before the wind.
We encountered a bear this day, which, being allowed to approach within
the distance of thirty paces, fell dead under our fire. In a few minutes
we loaded the sledge with fresh meat, and again pursued our journey. But
excessive exertion, the want of sleep, and the exclusive use of a meat
diet, were meanwhile telling their tale of reduced strength, though our
appetites were great almost beyond belief. The excessive consumption
of animal food[50] without bread-stuff excited hunger and lowered our
muscular power, while it irritated our nervous system. Our supply of bark
was rapidly decreasing, and Haller, Sussich, and Lukinovich, who could
not endure bear-flesh, were often attacked with giddiness during the
march, and placed on “half-diet.” In the following week our miseries were
intensified by insufficiency of sleep; in fact, we could not spare time
to sleep it out. Hence the afternoon hours of the march were especially
oppressive, and though the sledge with its load was positively lighter,
our strength to drag it had diminished in still greater measure. It would
be a great mistake to imagine that exercise of itself, without necessary
rest, increases the capacity of marching. The loss of strength is almost
suddenly experienced, especially in return journeys, when the excitement
of discovery has passed away, and nothing is left but the animal-like
employment of dragging.

5. Our course lay under Andrée Island; we crossed over the flat ice-dome
of Rainer Island, and on the west saw Back’s Inlet filled with many
icebergs. From this elevation we once more beheld the snowy ranges of
Crown-Prince Rudolf’s Land in the far distance, which soon, however,
disappeared in an ocean of mist, whose white waves rolled over the
intervening ice-levels. As we again descended to the icy surface of the
sea, to our great astonishment we fell into a hole covered over with
snow, and got thoroughly wet, and, after much wandering about, we found,
towards evening, a dry place (81° 20′ N. L.) on which to pitch our tent.
On the 16th of April we found our latitude by an observation taken at
noon to be 81° 12′, and when we reached, in the evening, a point four
miles to the north of Cape Hellwald, those whose appetite had failed them
could not march a step further.

6. On the 17th of April, Orel, with the large sledge, continued the march
southwards, while I went on with the dog-sledge, in order to ascend Cape
Hellwald. The temperature had fallen in the morning to -18° F., and the
outlines of the icebergs vibrated and undulated under the influence
of refraction. Ice-hummocks, on the distant horizon, insignificant
in size, were magnified into gigantic proportions; then again many
of these phantasmagoria seemed to form a long line, which broke up at
the next step forward. Unyoking the dogs on the shore of the island, I
left the sledge behind, and climbed the steep sides of a precipice of
clay-slate, with its laminæ firmly frozen into a mass, and reached the
summit of the lofty promontory—Cape Hellwald—about 2,200 feet above
the level of the sea. On the tops of its basaltic columns great flocks
of divers congregated, which flew round me without fear as I set up my
theodolite, and then settled close to me on the snow. I might have killed
half-a-dozen of them at a single shot. By and by, these birds, scared
by the appearance of the dogs, who soon joined me, took refuge on some
inaccessible rocks, but were not in the least disturbed when I fired
at them. My lofty point of view enabled me to have a general survey of
the mountainous country lying on the north-west, and to ascertain that
I stood on an island separated from lands on the west by Sternek Fiord.
Meantime Orel, far below me, was moving on with the sledge, but so great
is the advantage of dog-sledging, that I descended and arrived at the
same time as he did at Cape Easter. By an observation taken at noon we
found our latitude to be 81°. In the afternoon the dogs in their own
sledge dragged half of our baggage, and notwithstanding got on more
quickly than we did with the large sledge. Henceforward the order of
the day was fasting, more or less absolute; for our stock of provisions
consisted of bread and bear’s flesh for two days and a half, and the dogs
could no longer be favoured as they had been.

7. At a few miles’ distance there rose before us the rocky cones of
Wiener Neustadt Island, with large glaciers descending their sides. As
it was beyond a doubt that the ascent of one of these conical heights
would open up an extensive prospect, I fixed on the imposing Cape Tyrol
as the most promising for an ascent. Accordingly, on the 18th of April
Haller and I started, and after a toilsome march over glaciers, reached
its dark, weather-worn summit, 3,000 feet above the level of the sea.
Even here we perceived the traces of excrements of the fox, from whose
craft the birds were protected by the inaccessibility of the places where
they bred. Though we had cut up some bullets into slugs, we refrained
from shooting at the auks and divers perched on the rocks, as we saw
that our game could not be bagged even if we killed them. Over our heads
was spread the bright sky, below us a very sea of mist, in which, though
invisible to us, Orel was wending his way towards the south. The distant
glacier wastes of Wilczek Land towered aloft on the east; a cloudy shade
separated the heights of the peninsula of La Roncière from the colourless
icy wastes of Lindemann Bay, and beyond the picturesque Collinson Fiord
there seemed to be a maze of inlets and bights, bare rocks and broad
table-lands. We bitterly deplored that the necessity of returning to the
ship prevented us from penetrating into this labyrinth of mountains and
sounds.

[Illustration: THE VIEW FROM CAPE TYROL. COLLINSON FIORD—WIENER NEUSTADT
ISLAND.]

8. In our descent we passed over three basaltic terraces, and came
upon a rocky ledge covered with a thick carpet of _Usnea melaxantha_—a
fresh example of the great capability of lichens to bear extremes of
temperature, the great cold of winter and the burning heat of the rock in
summer. The mists now began to rise, and for the first time a greenish
landscape without snow gleamed out of the depth, on which lay the warm
glow of the sun. The scenery seemed to belong to the Alps, and not the
81st degree of North Latitude. The contrast became the more striking,
when the mists rolled away and unveiled the icebergs and the ice-filled
sound. When we reached these green mountain slopes we found ourselves
among grasses, the lower stalks of which were already beginning to be
green; the few flowering plants (_Saxifraga oppositifolia_, _Silene
acaulis_, _Papaver nudicale_) were clustered together in dense masses.
We were now able to form some conception of what summer might be here.
Countless streams issuing from the snow would force these spots to put
on the livery of summer, and rapid torrents would precipitate themselves
down gorges of snow and rock; but at present all was stiff and stark,
save that stunted green herbage seemed to show that we were in the
fancied paradise of Franz-Josef Land, though when compared even with
other Arctic lands it was but a scene of desolation. Closer to the shore
above the level of the sea, in a belt of yellow sandstone, we found much
lignite firmly frozen in the ground, resembling drift-wood a century old.

9. The search for our companions was for some time fruitless; and a
driving snow might have separated us from them for ever. At last,
however, we found them gathered together in the tent near Forbes’
Glacier, in about 80° 58′ N. L., and as the party had been without
tobacco for a fortnight, they greeted Haller’s collection of lichens as a
welcome substitute.

10. During the last few days the cold had sensibly increased, and we
therefore determined to sleep during the day, and to walk during the
night. Our march in the night of April 18 was a memorable one to us.
We were trudging along in the face of a strong south-wester—which was
extremely distressing to our highly sensitive frozen noses—and striving
to protect the soles of our feet by the rapidity of our movement from
being frost-bitten. After succeeding to a certain extent in this, we
began to find the snow very deep, and so soft that we sank in at every
step. This grew worse and worse; water rose in the deeper layers of snow
and penetrated our boots, and as this could not be explained by the state
of the temperature, we had to step with distrust and hesitation, in
constant fear of unseen depths. At first we believed that the water arose
from streams flowing from underneath the glaciers, or from the movement
of these glaciers breaking up the surface of the ice. Hence we kept at
a distance from their terminal walls. But that the ice-sheet of the sea
itself had broken up, that unseen fissures surrounded us, and that the
water under the snow was nothing but the water of the sea forcing its way
in—of this we had not the least conception, till the sudden immersion
of the leader of the party left no doubt about the matter. Once Haller
would have utterly disappeared unless he had been quickly rescued. As we
picked our way along, even with a long pole we found every now and then
no bottom. Klotz now took the lead with a long “alpenstock,” guiding us
with the greatest dexterity among these fissures, though often himself
falling in. Greatly did we rejoice when we reached unbroken footing. Some
of the party on this occasion were frost-bitten in the feet, but we could
do little more for them than rub their feet with snow and improve as we
could their foot-covering. The sun was now visible at midnight, and the
mountains of Markham Sound were tinged with rosy light.

[Illustration: BREAKING IN.]

11. Ahead of us in the south lay a dark water-sky, while the land on
either side was veiled in mist and fog. We tried to persuade ourselves
that this phenomenon might be explained otherwise than by open water.
Soon, however, we heard the unambiguous sound of ice-pressure and of the
beating of the surf at no great distance, and when we went to rest, in
80° 36′ N. L., it was with the feeling that we needed new strength to
meet the dangers which unquestionably awaited us. We slept soundly for
some hours in spite of all our anxious fears, till we were aroused by
the increasing noise. We now advanced along the old sledge-track upon
which we had fallen. Orel and I went first, and after we had gone a few
hundred paces the truth burst upon us: we saw the sea ahead of us and
no white edge beyond. Walls of forced-up ice surrounded this water,
which, stirred by a heavy wind, threw up crested waves; the spray of its
surf dashed itself for a distance of thirty yards over the icy shore.
Forthwith ascending an iceberg, we looked over the dark waste of water,
in which the icebergs, under which we had passed a month before, were now
floating; the more distant of them stood out against the arch of light
on the horizon, and those nearer to us shone with a dazzling brilliancy
under the dark water-sky. That on which lay our depôt of provisions was
floating in the midst of them; and here we were, without a boat, almost
without provisions, and fifty-five miles distant from the ship! A strong
current was running southwards at the rate of three or four miles an
hour; fragments of ice were driving before the wind, as if they meant to
delight us by their movements, and as if there were no change for the
worse to a handful of men, who stood in reality before an impassable
abyss.

[Illustration: ARRIVAL BEFORE THE OPEN SEA.]

12. But what were we to do; what direction were we to follow? If we
killed and ate our dogs and broke up our sledge to find wood to melt the
snow, we might live for eight days longer. In this case we must ourselves
carry our baggage. But the most important question was, Whither? In
what direction did the ice lie still unbroken? Did the land on the west
afford a connected route to the ship? Did the sea before us communicate
further south with the sea where the _Tegetthoff_ lay? There was but one
alternative—escape by land and over land; and because open water could
be traced to the north-west beyond the bare reefs of the Hayes Islands,
and heavy clouds over Markham Sound seemed to indicate that the ice had
broken up in it also, I decided to try the way over the glaciers of
Wilczek Land. Everything depended on the unbroken state of the ice in the
southern parts of Austria Sound. Dejected as I was, I finished my sketch
of this dreadful scene, while Orel went back to caution the men against
venturing on the young ice and to tell them to keep to the old ice under
the land. While the men were struggling with the great sledge in the
snow, I descended from my higher point of view, and, soaked through by
the surf, went along the ice-strand in a south-easterly direction towards
Wilczek Land. The others followed, and though we came on many fissures
merely covered with snow, we yet reached _terra firma_ in safety, Orel
skilfully guiding the movements of the sledge according to the signs
agreed on.

[Illustration: DRAGGING THE SLEDGE UNDER THE GLACIERS OF WILCZEK LAND.]

13. But soon afterwards everything was veiled in mist; the temperature
rose to 7° F., then came driving snow, which gradually increased to a
snow-storm, and in order not to be cut off we were obliged once more to
keep together. Dreadful as the weather was, we could not venture to put
up the tent; march we must, in order to escape before the wind destroyed
the ice-bridges on the way back. We trudged along under enormous glacier
walls, enveloped in whirling snow. Sounding all round, we escaped the
abysses with difficulty. We could scarcely even breathe and make head a
against the wind. Our clothes were covered with snow, our faces were
crusted with ice, eyes and mouth were firmly closed, and the dark sea
beneath us was hidden from our view. We ceased to hear even its roar,
the might of the storm drowning everything else. Haller, a few paces
ahead, continually sounded, so as to keep us clear of fissures. We could
scarcely follow him or recognise his form. We saw nothing even of the
enormous glacier walls under which we toiled along, except that at times
we caught a glimpse of them towering aloft. At every hundred paces we
halted for a few minutes to remove the ice which formed itself on our
eyes and round our mouths. We stilled our hunger with the hope, that we
should find and dig out the body of the bear which we had shot a month
ago. But we dared not rest, nor await the abatement of the storm, until
we had crossed the glacier and felt the firm ground, free from ice,
beneath our feet. This we compassed after a march of seven hours. Utterly
exhausted, we then put up the tent on a stony slope, got beneath it,
white with snow, wet through and stiffened with ice; notwithstanding our
hunger, we lay down to sleep without eating. Not a morsel of bread could
we venture to serve out from the small stock of provisions that remained.
Our prospects were gloomy in the extreme. If open water, or even a broad
fissure at Cape Frankfort, separated us from the ship, we must inevitably
perish on the shores of Wilczek Land.

[Illustration: THE SLEDGE IN A SNOW-STORM.]

14. The snow-storm still continued to rage; hunger, cold, and moisture
forbade sleep, and the dogs, covered with snow, lay in front of the tent.
On the 20th of April (the thermometer marking 3° F.), after a breakfast
more suited for a patient under typhus fever than for men hungry as
wolves, we left the tent in our still wet clothes, and while standing
on its sheltered side to wait till it was cleared, our clothes froze
into coats of mail. As we went on, the terrible weather blew out of us
almost all that remained of our courage and resolution. It was evening
before the storm abated, but we had the good fortune to find the iceberg
with our last depôt in its former position close to the shore. There
were the 45 lbs. of boiled beef, and there, too, the bear lying two feet
deep in snow. It took us an hour to dig him out and load our sledge with
this frozen mass, which we were glad to call provision. After each of
us had devoured 3 lbs. of boiled beef and bear’s flesh, on we went. To
our inexpressible joy the open water had retreated to the west, and we
were able to get round it by making a considerable bend. The numerous
fissures which crossed our path we succeeded in evading, and by ascending
icebergs were able to pick our way, till at last we arrived safely at
Cape Frankfort (80° 20′ N. L.). At its base we found, to our great
satisfaction, the land-ice running without break towards the ship. This
amounted, in fact, to deliverance, and we celebrated our joy at the event
by a glass of grog. The next thing to be done was to search for the depôt
of provisions on Schönau Island.

[Illustration: DIGGING OUT THE DEPÔT.]

15. On the 21st of April (the thermometer marking -7° F.) Orel led
with the large sledge, while I remained behind with the dog-sledge, in
order, from an elevation at Cape Frankfort, to complete the measurement
of certain angles indispensable for the maps I was constructing. We
joined company again nearly opposite Cape Berghaus, and together crossed
a broad reach covered with ice-hummocks. The weather was clear, and
brilliantly-marked parhelia hung over the dark blue background of the
mountains. We again came on very deep snow, and as we advanced with
much difficulty and great exertion, we got rid of the bear, after we
had cut off from it every portion that could be used for food. The
relief, however, was not great, and we were repeatedly compelled to halt
and rest. Lukinovich and the much-enduring Zaninovich were taken with
fainting-fits, the consequence of their excessive exertions. Indeed we
were all more or less faint and emaciated. During one of these halts,
in order to quicken their failing energies, I held forth to them on the
astonishing example of MacClintock’s sledge journeys. The Dalmatians
freely expressed their admiration of those Englishmen, but the Tyrolese
were rather slow to believe.

[Illustration: THE MIDNIGHT SUN BETWEEN CAPE BERGHAUS AND KOLDEWEY
ISLAND.]

16. Soon after midnight on the 22nd of April (the thermometer standing
at -6° F.) we reached Schönau Island, round which the ice had broken
up, so that we frequently fell into the fissures. As we erected our
tent, the sun was setting behind the violet-coloured edges of the
ice-hummocks, while the lofty pinnacle of Cape Berghaus stood out
sharply marked against the sky. The situation of the island we had
reached being extremely favourable, on the highest point of it, I took
some observations, which completed the surveys which I had made during
this expedition. Close to the eastward of us, the ice had broken up
round Hochstetter Island. Orel had meanwhile put up the tent, and Klotz
had dug out the depôt of provisions, which, to our great joy, we found
had not been disturbed by bears. The danger of starvation was at an
end, and after satisfying the claims of hunger we enjoyed a delicious
sleep of seven hours, and again set forth. We were still twenty-five
miles from the ship. This distance I now determined to compass with the
dog-sledge with all the speed possible, in order to ascertain whether
the _Tegetthoff_ remained where we left her. Orel was to follow close
with the large sledge. The day was of unusual brightness. All the land,
which a month ago had been the home of storms and enveloped in snow, now
shone in the sunlight, and the walls of rock wore their natural brown
colour. My route lay close under Koldewey and Salm Islands. At first
every fragment which had fallen from a glacier on either of these islands
was used as a pretext by the dogs for turning out of the course, and the
trail of a bear seemed quite to distract them. It was to little purpose
that I went on first to show them the way. No sooner was the least
liberty allowed them, than they used it to make now for Cape Tegetthoff,
then for Cape Berghaus, and, in preference to every other point, for the
sun! Ever and anon Torossy dragged Jubinal out of the road, and this
unruliness lasted till we came on the old sledge track, which was almost
obliterated by the snow. Suddenly they seemed to feel as if they had
entered on a familiar region. With their heads raised, and tails in the
air, they now rushed along at the rate of 180 paces in a minute, though
I had now taken my place on the sledge. The south-west corner of Salm
Island was beset by a crowd of apparently stranded icebergs. Under the
sheltered side of one of these colossal masses I made a short halt, and
lighted the cooking-machine to thaw some boiled beef, and enjoy a meal
in common with my canine companions, who regarded all my movements with
fixed attention. Just as I was intently observing a small dark point
on the horizon advancing in my direction—it was Orel and his party—the
iceberg, in whose stability I was placing complete confidence, suddenly
capsized, and, rolling on to the ice, shivered into fragments. In an
instant I was surrounded by fissures, pools of water, and rolling pieces
of ice. Seizing the cooking-machine, which I had lighted, I escaped with
great difficulty. I had often observed, that icebergs were surrounded
by circles of shattered surface-ice, with sea-water standing in their
fissures. The overturning of icebergs, which occurs, I apprehend, more
frequently than is generally imagined, easily accounts for the fact. It
is therefore advisable to shun the immediate neighbourhood of an iceberg
when the tent has to be erected, and to avoid using the iceberg itself as
a place for a depôt of provisions.

[Illustration: THE “TEGETTHOFF” DESCRIED.]

17. When I turned into the narrow passage between Salm and Wilczek
Islands, Orgel Cape, visible at a great distance, was the only dark spot
in the scene. At once the dogs made for it, and about midnight I arrived
there. A few hundred steps further, and I should stand on the top of it,
and see the ship, if ship were there. With an anxious, heavy heart, I
then began the ascent. A stony plateau stretched before me. With every
advancing step, made with increasing difficulty, the land gradually
disappeared, and the horizon of the frozen sea expanded before me—an
immeasurable white waste. No ship was to be seen—no trace of man for
thousands of miles, save a cairn, with the fragments of a flag fluttering
in the breeze, and a grave covered with snow-drifts. Still I climbed on.
Suddenly three slender masts emerged—I had found the ship: there she lay
about three miles off, appearing on the frozen ocean no bigger than a
fly. The snow-drifts and icebergs around her had hitherto concealed her
from my eye. I directed my telescope towards her, and every spar and sail
I saw seemed to promise a happy conclusion to our expedition. I held the
heads of the dogs towards the ship, and pointed with my arm to where she
lay, that they might share in my joy. We soon descended, and took our
way towards her. At about a hundred yards off the watch detected us. All
on board but the men who composed it were asleep, for it was night. At
first they were exceedingly alarmed to see me alone, but having calmed
their apprehensions, I went down at once into the cabin to awaken the
sleepers. Great was the joy caused by the account of the high latitude we
had reached, and of the discoveries we had made, which I endeavoured to
explain by the rough outline of a map which I sketched. In a few hours
the stock of questions was answered and exhausted, and everyone now left
the ship to welcome the approaching party, which was soon descried with
the sledge-flag flying. Hearty and joyful were the mutual greetings; and
the appetite of the emaciated adventurers occupied this night and for a
week afterwards, all the attention of the rest of the crew.[51] We formed
a strange group to look upon, but Klotz carried off the palm from us
all. He had never shown any weakness in counteracting the effects of
weather and exposure on his motley garments. His cap, a wondrous piece
of patchwork, resembled the winged helmet of a knight-errant, and of his
boots nothing remained but the feet, over which hung the legs of them in
shreds and tatters. Carlsen, when he saw him stepping along proudly and
silently, forgot for a moment his walruses, and compared him to Saint
Olaf, who could find only one horse in “Gulbrandsdalen” strong enough to
carry him.

[Illustration: KLOTZ.]

18. During our absence the greatest activity had reigned on board ship.
Weyprecht and Brosch had finished their magnetical observations, and
measured on the ice the base, which I have already mentioned, for the
trigonometrical portion of my surveys. The crew had begun the equipment
of the boats for our return to Europe, and packed up the provisions in
water-tight cases. The number of the sick had diminished; the frost-bites
had yielded to a persevering course of poultices and baths. The only
unpropitious circumstance was the accident which had befallen Stiglich,
who had shattered his right arm by accidentally discharging a rifle.
Sores and wounds in Arctic regions are difficult to heal, and especially
during the winter. Thanks to the care of our physician, Stiglich’s severe
wound healed more quickly than many a slighter injury during the cold
period of the year. The sanitary condition had essentially improved,
owing to the rich supplies of fresh meat afforded by the chase. Even
before our arrival the ship’s company had killed several bears. Scarcely
a day now passed without a bear coming near the ship. On the 25th of
April we shot one in the act of tearing down with his fore-paws a cask
sticking in the ice, and on the following day another fell a victim to
the curious attention with which he was regarding some meat packed in a
tin case. Birds also, especially divers, appeared in greater numbers; the
cliffs of Wilczek Island were no longer desolate as before. Hence it was
that we indulged in dishes of stewed birds and roasted bear’s-flesh. We
had brought with us seven bears’ tongues; each day brought an accession,
and our culinary art exercised itself on the refined preparation of
bears’ tongues, which, together with the brains of this animal, were
esteemed the greatest delicacies. Weyprecht, according to agreement,
had caused a boat and provisions for three months to be put on shore,
intended for the use of the sledge-party in the event of the ship being
driven from her moorings. As these precautionary measures could now be
dispensed with, the boat and all these provisions were removed to the
ship. Later experience proved that the exploring party could not have
escaped in this manner, for the united strength of three-and-twenty men
was required to raise and place such a boat on a sledge.



CHAPTER X.

THE THIRD SLEDGE JOURNEY.


1. The weather during the last days of April was truly delightful; calms
and bright sunshine made work and exercise in the open air exceedingly
pleasant, and the temperature never fell below -2° F. But even this
amount of cold was sufficient to retard the softening of the snow for
some days, and favoured the carrying out of a third sledge expedition.
Its intention was the exploration of the western portions of Franz-Josef
Land; for the question of its extension towards Spitzbergen was scarcely
less interesting than its extension towards the North. I should have
liked to devote weeks to the undertaking, but our impending return left a
few days only at my disposal.

2. On the 29th of April (the thermometer marking -2° F.) Lieutenant
Brosch, Haller, and myself left the ship. Jubinal and Torossy were
selected to drag the small sledge, which was equipped for a week’s
expedition; Pekel accompanied us as a volunteer. The measurement of
the angles necessary to complete my survey detained us so long on the
heights of Wilczek Island, that we could not make our start on the level
ice till the next morning. The power of the sun some days was so great,
that the temperature of the tent at noon, when there was no wind, rose
to 63° F., while in the two preceding months it was from 10° F. to -13°
F. If the temperature during the day did not fall more than 6° below
freezing-point, we required no clothes beyond our woollen underclothing
and stockings. As we started in the morning of April 30, some snow
fell, and the mountains were covered with masses of mist, which lay in
horizontal layers half way up their sides. Cape Brünn, however, which
was our goal, lay before us, clear and distinct, and the long glacier
walls, running to the west of it round the edge of MacClintock Island,
were under the constant play of refraction, and could be traced as far as
Cape Oppolzer, from which point they seemed to trend to the north-west.

3. The snow-track of the Sound was still firm, so that our dogs needed
little help in dragging our baggage, especially after we had buried
provision for the return journey in an iceberg. We had scarcely finished
this labour when we discovered a bear’s hole in the layer of snow at its
base, and immediately afterwards we beheld its occupant coming furiously
towards us. Several hasty shots were fired at him, but the bear escaped,
though evidently wounded. The nearer we approached MacClintock Island,
the more frequently we found fissures in the ice running parallel to
the coast and communicating with a small “ice-hole” in the south about
four miles off. Trusting, however, that during the next few days these
fissures would not open so much as to prevent our re-crossing them, we
went on and pitched our encampment near the terminal front of one of the
glaciers of the island.

4. Our dogs continued now, as before, the implacable enemies of bears.
Matotschkin’s sad end had not frightened them into prudence and caution,
doubtless because they counted on our prowess against the common foe. To
them nothing could be a more joyous spectacle than a wounded bear. If in
his flight he became faint and exhausted they surrounded him, bit at his
legs, and did all they could to prevent his getting away, and courage,
as well as love of mischief, was visible in all their actions. Pekel,
small as he was, was the leader in all attacks, and Torossy grew under
his tuition to be at length a formidable assailant. So things proved
now. While we were busily preparing our supper in the tent a young bear
appeared on the scene; before we could stop them, out rushed the dogs on
our visitor, who at first retreated, while the dogs followed hard on his
heels. As it generally happened that the bear, after a time, turned on
his pursuers and gave them chase, we were somewhat alarmed for the safety
of the dogs, especially of Torossy, who sometimes was so stupid as not
to find his way back to the tent without guidance. Just as we expected,
the bear turned and became the pursuer; Torossy taking the lead in the
retreat. Our small stock of cartridges and superfluity of bears’-flesh
might have induced us to gaze at him while he gazed on us, if he had
only kept at a respectful distance; but he would come too near, and
reluctantly we found ourselves under the necessity of killing him and
depriving him of the dainty morsel of his tongue. Forster says that the
flesh of the Polar bear tastes like bad beef, an opinion which we are
able to endorse and confirm, as we had consumed in this expedition about
four bears apiece.

[Illustration: MARKHAM SOUND, RICHTHOFEN PEAK FROM CAPE BRÜNN.]

5. On the 1st of May (the thermometer standing at 4° F.) we purposed to
cross the Simony glacier and ascend the pyramid-like Cape Brünn, whence
we might hope to see at a glance as much of the surrounding country as
would have required a journey of several days on the level to discover.
Unfavourable weather, however, prevented the execution of this project,
and we were obliged to keep in our tent. Lieutenant Brosch, whose duties
in taking magnetical observations stood in the way of his accompanying me
in the previous expeditions, had now the misfortune to injure his foot;
and in consequence of this accident I had to start next morning (May 2)
accompanied only by Haller, to attempt the ascent. Fastened together with
a rope, we passed over the Simony glacier amid heavy snow-storms from the
W.N.W., and in a zigzag course went up the steep pyramid of Cape Brünn.
Never have I made a more disagreeable ascent. A steep, snowy gorge led
through a crown of rocks to the summit, which we reached after a march
of five hours. By an aneroid observation we found the height to be 2,500
feet.

6. If the ascent of a mountain in the face of wind and penetrating cold
demands all the self-command even of men the most inured to fatigues,
it required the additional stimulus afforded by the view of an unknown
land to give us endurance and energy under such circumstances, to sketch,
to take azimuth measurements, and estimate the distances of important
localities. To add to our difficulties, the theodolite was constantly
shaken by the wind, so that every angle had to be observed repeatedly, in
order that an available mean value might be obtained. It was only after
several hours of the most severe labour that my work was completed. My
attention was directed chiefly to the southern parts of Zichy Land, which
formed a vast mountainous region beyond Markham Sound. Half the horizon
was bounded by cliffs and heights gleaming with snow. The conical shape
of the mountains prevailed here also; the only exception was Richthofen
Spitze, the loftiest summit, perhaps, we had seen in Franz-Josef Land,
which rose like a slender white pyramid to the height of about 5,000
feet. The land was everywhere intersected by fiords and covered with
glaciers. Its boundaries towards Spitzbergen, or Gillis’ Land, could not
be determined, because even at the distance of seventy or ninety German
miles, mountain ranges were distinctly to be traced. It would appear,
therefore, that masses of land stretch in this direction to at least
the fiftieth degree, perhaps even to the forty-eighth degree, of east
longitude. We also discovered, that the lands on the south of Markham
Sound were separated by a fiord—Negri Sound. This was already open, and
since some darker spots indicated fissures in the ice in Markham Sound,
it is probable that sledge-journeys can be only undertaken early in the
spring in Franz-Josef Land without the danger of being cut off. At the
time when we made our observations, it was utterly impossible that such
waters could be navigated by any ship, not even if she could be placed
amid these small unconnected “ice-holes.” Haller, whose rheumatic
tendencies unfitted him to bear wind and cold, had, meanwhile, posted
himself in a cleft of rock sheltered from the wind beneath the summit,
but I was quite satisfied with his running to my help, in order to rub
my frozen hands with snow, when I was forced to drop the book in which I
recorded my labours.

7. But however great our delight at the discovery of these unknown
lands—trophies of our endurance—we were much discouraged by the view
towards the south. An enormous surface of ice extended before us—a sad
outlook, as we thought of our return homeward. Although one single
serpentine thread of water, gleaming in the sun, stretched towards the
south-east, separating the land-ice from the field-ice, yet it was
but too certain that the next breeze from the south would again close
it. All save this was a close sheet of ice. We spent some time in
exploring the lower glacier region of the island, so that it was towards
evening before we reached the tent. Much as we desired to prosecute our
explorations, reflection forced us to limit them. In order to penetrate
in a north-westerly direction several days would have been needed; but
as it had been arranged that we must at once begin our return to Europe,
we were constrained to abandon the thought of such a scheme and return
at once to the ship. On the night of the 2nd of May we began our forced
march of two-and-twenty hours, during which we were often bathed in
perspiration, though the temperature on the 3rd of May varied between 5°
F. and -4° F. The dogs alone drew the sledge with ease, though it carried
a load of 3 cwt., giving us such a striking example of what they could
do, that we felt persuaded that a sledge, with a strong team of dogs,
must be the best form, beyond comparison, of sledge-travelling. In the
evening we reached the _Tegetthoff_ and our sledge expeditions came to a
close, after we had travelled in this fashion about 450 miles.



“TEGETTHOFF” ABANDONED: RETURN TO EUROPE.



CHAPTER I.

LAST DAYS ON THE “TEGETTHOFF.”


1. We could now return with honour. The observations and discoveries we
had made could not be wrested from us, and our many anxieties on this
ground were at an end, henceforth the greatest evil that could befall
us was death on our homeward voyage. The intervening days were given up
to the recruiting of our exhausted powers; Klotz called this time the
“plundering of the ship.” Not very much time, indeed, was left for this,
but the short spell of good living, in which we all shared, transformed
the ship into an abode of Epicureans. But withal we redoubled our
diligence to secure the results of our toils and labours. Lieutenant
Weyprecht deposited our meteorological and magnetical readings, the
log-books and the ship’s papers, in a chest lined with tin, and soldered
it down, and a few days afterwards I made exact duplicates of the
surveys, and of measurements, which I had taken. I took especial care so
to prepare these, that another person might be able to construct from
them a map of Franz-Josef Land, should I myself perish on the return
journey. These sheets also were packed in a chest lined with tin and
soldered, and along with them were placed our zoological drawings and
about 200 sketches of the country, of the Arctic Sea and our adventures,
the flag too of the sledge journeys, and my journals. Of the zoological
collection itself, only a small selection of the specimens most easy of
transport could be taken with us.

2. The time passed away with unexpected rapidity; the days had scarcely
begun before they seemed to have come to an end. Everyone was busy in
getting his clothes ready. In the quarters of the crew, sewing went
on without intermission, and piles of thread disappeared under their
fingers, to appear again in the strangest patterns worked on the old
garments. Avalanches of cast-off clothes hung over the hull of the ship.
The vessel—no longer trim as before—came to wear the look befitting the
catastrophe that awaited her. A great number of bears’ carcases lay on
the ice,[52] for only the brain, the tongue, and the prime portions of
the flesh found their way to the kitchen, the remaining parts lay about
half buried under snow-drifts, given up to the dogs to tear to pieces,
who now for the first time found themselves exempted from rations served
out according to time and circumstances. A month later, and such a field
of carnage would have become a very home of pestilence.

3. Short excursions with the dog-sledge enabled us to finish our
observations on the motion of glaciers, which the great depth of
the snow had hitherto made a matter of much difficulty. The last of
these expeditions took place on May 15th. On the spot on which we had
first set our foot, we took farewell of the grave of our departed
comrade and of the Land to which we had drifted through the happy
caprice of an ice-floe, and the discovery of which rendered a return
without humiliation possible. But with this farewell the business of
the expedition came to an end, all our thoughts were now occupied
with getting back to Europe. Of the issue we dared not form the least
conception; but whether it were deliverance or destruction, our lot must
at any rate be decided within three months, as for this period only we
could drag with us the most indispensable provisions.

4. On our equipment Lieutenant Weyprecht and I bestowed much thought and
care, and our measures were carried out with the greatest exactness.
All these were based on the excellent apparatus for sledging already
described; the additional precautions were confined to the more
convenient stowing away of the provisions, and to the diminishing, as
much as possible, of the baggage. The rapid decrease of the cold and
the consequent rise of the temperature, even above the freezing point,
enabled us to reduce our clothing to a minimum without endangering our
health; and no more comfortable sleeping-place for Arctic explorers can
be conceived than the interior of a dry boat, covered in like a tent and
provided with bed-quilts. There was more danger that we should suffer
from heat than from cold; the apprehension of insufficient provisions was
better founded.

5. Three boats were selected for the return expedition. Two of these were
Norwegian whale-boats, 20 feet long, 5 feet broad, and 2½ feet deep.
Lieutenant Weyprecht, Dr. Kepes, Lusina, Orasch, Latkovich, Palmich,
Vecerina and Klotz, formed the complement of the one; and Zaninovich,
Haller, Lukinovich, Scarpa, Stiglich, Pospischill, Midshipman Orel and I,
the complement of the other. The third and somewhat smaller boat carried
Lieutenant Brosch, Captain Carlsen, Cattarinich, Lettis, Sussich, Marola
and Fallesich. Each of these boats rested on a sledge, and was laden with
the following articles:—

  10 light oars.
  2 long steering oars.
  1 sail and mast.
  1 ice-anchor.
  2 boat-hooks.
  1 harpoon and line.
  1 fishing-line.
  1 small hatchet.
  1 ice-borer.
  1 screw-driver.
  1 caulking-iron.
  1 saw.
  6 reserve sledge screws.
  1 bag of nails.
  2 Lefaucheux rifles.
  1 Werndl rifle.
  1 case with 100 shot cartridges.
  1 case with 50 ditto.
  2 cases of 50 Lefaucheux cartridges.
  25 Werndl cartridges.
  8 sledge traces.
  6 lamps.
  6 weights for measuring provisions.
  2 pairs of reindeer shoes.
  2 oil cans.
  1 bag of nails.
  20 boxes of lucifer matches.
  1 steel and tinder.
  1 compass.
  1 sextant.
  1 bundle of wicks.
  1 telescope.
  1 signal horn.
  1 50-fathom line.
  1 box of lard.
  1 pair of tin-cutters.
  1 grindstone.
  3 bungs.

  _Spare Clothes._

  1 pair of drawers.
  1 shirt.
  1 woollen undershirt.
  1 pair of trousers.

  1 spirit measure.
  1 pair of scales.
  1 spirit can.
  1 lever.
  1 funnel.

To each boat was attached a large sledge thus laden:—

  Pemmican—4 boxes of 50 lbs.                     200
    ”      1 box of 25 lbs.                        25
    ”      4 boxes of 5 lbs.                       20
                                                 ---- 245
  Peasmeal—2 chests of 100 lbs. packed in tin     200
    ”      1 chest of 100 lbs. packed in paper    100
                                                 ---- 300
  Potted Meat—1 chest of 80 lbs.                       80
  Boiled Beef—5 chests of 10 tins of 7½ lbs.      375
    ”      ”                4  ”      7½ lbs.      30
                                                 ---- 405
  Flour—3 boxes of 33 lbs.                             99
  Bread—2 bags of 83 lbs.                             166
  Chocolate—3 boxes of 30 lbs.                         90
  Spirits—3 casks, each weighing 77 lbs.              231
  Salt—1 box of 12 lbs.                                12
  Extract of Meat—2 boxes of 5 lbs.                    10
  Tea—1 box of 3 lbs.                                   3
                                                     ----
                             Total                   1641
                                                     ====

To this must be added 100 lbs. of bread for the dogs, and a shovel and a
complete cooking apparatus for each sledge. Our load therefore amounted
in provisions alone to about 50 cwt., and including everything, to about
90 cwt. Parry, with twenty-eight men, in 1827 had for his journey of
sixty-one days two boats and four sledges, carrying a total weight of
75 cwt.—about 2½ cwt. therefore for each man. Notwithstanding great
obstacles from the ice, his expedition was, perhaps, more favoured than
ours, for he passed over 1½ degrees of latitude in thirty days.

6. Of our dogs, two only, Jubinal and Torossy, were available to drag the
small sledge; 1 cwt. of bread was all we could take for them, and for the
rest they had to depend on the product of the chase. Gillis was shot on
account of his intractability, and Semlja because of her weakness. Only
Pekel was allowed to accompany us; he only of the dogs had the right
of going about at liberty; yet his life too was safe as long as our
provisions lasted.

7. Our stock of clothes consisted of two woollen shirts, one pair of
woollen drawers, three pairs of stockings, leather water-boots, a
cap, and of a fur-coat to sleep in. Clean woollen under-garments were
much in request, and many a manœuvre was practised to get possession
of them. Each of the party carried besides a large knife, a spoon, and
a pair of snow-spectacles. Of luxuries none were permitted to us but a
tobacco-pouch to each man; but filled with such art that it was like a
stone in weight. We were not allowed to line our coats with tobacco.

8. Our plan was simple—to reach the depôt of provisions on the Barentz
Islands, which lay in an almost directly southerly direction. After
replenishing our stores there, we proposed to follow the coast of Novaya
Zemlya with the hope of reaching one of those ships which the salmon
fishery in the rivers of that country detains there to the beginning
of harvest. It was also not impossible that we might be discovered
before this, on the more northern coast of Novaya Zemlya, by a Norwegian
seal-hunter. The boats were to keep together if possible; but in case
they should be separated, the Wilhelm Islands were fixed on as the place
of rendezvous up to the middle of August. At first, night was chosen for
the march, and day was devoted to sleep; the observance, however, of this
regulation was constantly prevented by special circumstances. The success
of the expedition depended on our crossing the ice-covered sea by the
end of August. The greatest difficulties were to be apprehended from the
melting of the snow, for although the thermometer at the beginning of May
fell 14° and even 17° below zero, and sharp north-east winds somewhat
retarded the thaw, the mean temperature during the day approximated to
zero, and on May 16 it actually rose above it. Two of our men, Stiglich
and Vecerina, were unfit for duty, and had often to be dragged in the
sledge. The rest of the men were healthy, and the swelling of the feet,
from which the sledge-party had suffered, had disappeared.



CHAPTER II.

ON THE FROZEN SEA.


1. The momentous day came at last—the 20th of May, the very day in 1855
on which Kane abandoned his ship;[53] and we hailed with joy the advent
of the hour which was to terminate our life of inaction. Yet we could not
see without emotion the flags nailed to the masts of the _Tegetthoff_,
and the final preparations to leave the ship, which had been our home for
two weary years, and in which we had confronted the perils of the frozen
sea, its ice-pressures, its storms, and its cold. These recollections
crowded upon us as the moment came to abandon her. Now too we had to
part with our Zoological, Botanical, and Geological collections, the
result of so much labour; the ample collection of instruments, the
books which had helped us over many a weary hour, and the sixty-seven
bear-skins which we had so carefully prepared—all these had also to be
abandoned. The photographs of friends and acquaintances we hung on the
rocky walls ashore, preferring to leave them there rather than in the
ship, which must some time or other be driven ashore and go to pieces. A
document stating the grounds of our decision was laid on the table of the
mess-room.

[Illustration: THE FIRST ABANDONMENT OF THE “TEGETTHOFF.”

_To face_ p. 348.]

2. We slept during this day, and in the evening sat down to the last
meal we were to enjoy on board the ship. About nine o’clock, P.M., we
assembled round the boats, ready for the start. Dark masses of clouds
obscured the sun, and our route southwards led us into the gloomy
monotonous region of ice-hummocks covered with snow—our world for the
next three months. The first day’s work for twenty-three men, harnessed
to boat or sledge, was the advance of one mile; and even this rate of
progress, small as it was, was not constant. Many days it did not amount
to half a mile; the sledge-sail was of little avail, for the deep snow
retarded our progress; the sledges sank deep into it, those on which the
boats were placed actually sticking fast. We had to pass three times
heavily laden, and twice empty, over every bit of the road, and half our
number were scarcely able to move a sledge or a boat. Such labours and
exertions in deep snow were truly distracting. Almost at every step we
sank knee-deep. Sometimes some unhappy fellows went in deeper still; of
Scarpa, it was asserted that scarcely anything but his head was visible
while he dragged. Constantly we had either to unload the sledge, or,
harnessing ourselves all together for a moment, drag it out of the deep
snow-drift. For one-half of the march we might get on without special
impediment, the other half was spent in vain efforts to push the load on,
amid “Aussingen,”[54] to time the strong pull and the pull all together.
The perspiration often streamed down our faces, for the sky was overcast,
and the air exceedingly sultry. After the exertion of some days, raw
wounds appeared on the shoulders of several. After a bit of our track
had been passed over three times in the way described, it was like a
path in the snow hollowed out by the shovel, so that we had spent our
strength in levelling it, but hardly in satisfactory progress. To add to
our trials, we suffered intensely from thirst, and those among us who
were unaccustomed to the fatigues of sledge-travelling, sank down in the
snow at every halt and greedily ate of it. If such were to be the course
of our journey, would escape be possible? Not a man among us imagined
that we could be saved, except by some extraordinary and happy turn of
fortune, small signs of which were at present to be seen. To escape from
this depressing fear, we deliberately avoided every allusion to the
future.

3. The dogs, under the superintendence of Carlsen, took their part in
the transport of the baggage, but showed themselves very lazy and
intractable under his management, and seemed to take a pleasure in
plunging their loaded sledge deep into the snow, out of which it was
beyond the old man’s power to free them without help. Nor was their own
strength equal to going over the track twice at least, even with only
one cwt. each time. If, therefore, their services were to be turned
to account, they must be led by some one whom they obeyed, who could
help them by shoving or dragging, who could set up the sledge when it
overturned, and was strong enough to keep constantly lifting the heavy
bags, and who could pass over the same piece of road four or five times,
if necessary. This duty was taken in turn by Haller and myself, and
we succeeded in transporting in this way daily all the bread and the
spirits, weighing together from 8 to 10 cwt., and, in some cases, at a
later period, even the entire load of a great sledge divided into parts.
I mention this in order to show the great services which our dogs, though
their number was small, rendered during the march.

4. In the first week after the _Tegetthoff_ was abandoned, whenever
Weyprecht encamped at the end of the day’s march, Haller, Zaninovich and
I returned in the dog-sledge to the ship in order to replenish the stores
we had consumed. The distance, which we had taken a week to pass with
all our baggage, was done by the help of the dogs in an hour or two. In
these different visits we did our utmost to fulfil the commissions of our
companions. We rummaged the hold, though in many of the cases we opened
nothing was to be seen but a dressed bear-skin. In one of these trips we
filled a small cask with a concentrated decoction of all the tea which
was left behind, and the rum we found was used to give it the proper
strength. When we returned to the boat-parties before the morning start,
this still lukewarm decoction of tea and rum met with great approbation,
but the greatest was reserved for the remains of the condensed milk we
brought with us, not merely because it was milk, but because to us it was
the only milk in the world. Round the remains of the bears we had killed
we always found flocks of sea-gulls screaming and quarrelling. Sometimes
too we saw bears prowling round the ship at a distance, waiting till
their time for plunder came. They seemed to wait for the moment when they
should be able to take permanent possession of a fortress which had been
so long hostile to their race.

5. But we had the benefit of their company through the earlier part of
our journey. May 23, a bear was shot by Weyprecht, and forthwith the
gulls, who always turned up whenever there was anything eatable to be
got, consumed the remains with astonishing rapidity, even to the bones.
On the 26th, when I was about two miles from the advanced parties,
fetching something which had been left behind, I suddenly sighted a bear
at about 100 paces distant, lying in the snow and apparently asleep.
The dogs too got sight of him, and I had much trouble in keeping them
in, till I overturned the sledge to act as a breast-work. As the bear
rose and stood on his hind legs I fired, but though severely wounded,
he managed to crawl away. The dogs, rushing off with the sledge behind
them, assailed the wounded animal with a fury which would have been
fatal to them, if the sledge had been checked by any obstacle. Torossy
specially showed a complete ignorance of how matters stood, and was saved
by Jubinal from the paws of his assailant. Whenever the bear came up to
the sledge, Jubinal swung round with it, till I came up so close as to
make sure of killing it with my last cartridge. On the 31st, Klotz shot a
bear which came within ten paces of the boats; but notwithstanding this
addition of fresh meat, the stores we brought in the dog-sledge from the
ship maintained their charm.

[Illustration: IN THE HARBOUR OF AULIS.]

6. A few days after the abandonment of the ship, dark masses of clouds,
indicating open water, were seen in the south-west, which doubtless
proceeded from the fissures we had observed three weeks before from Cape
Brünn. There was good ground, therefore, to hope that we should get
beyond the land-ice in a few days, and reach the network of ever-changing
“leads.” If we succeeded in this, we might then launch the boats in
one of these water-ways, and following the windings of its course
between the fields of ice, escape to the south with greater rapidity.
Our most sanguine expectations were exceeded when, on the 28th, we
reached unexpectedly a small flat island, the very existence of which
was unknown to us—Lamont Island. Ascending the highest point of it, we
saw an “ice-hole” stretching to the south-east, in which was floating
an enormous table-shaped iceberg. This “ice-hole” was not more than a
mile from the southern extremity of the island, which was itself still
surrounded by forced-up blocks of ice. A driving snow-storm detained us
on the 29th on the island, and we contented ourselves with gathering
pieces of drift-wood lying on the shore. On the 30th we delayed no longer
in our attempt to advance to the edge of the floes and launch our boats.
But our calculations were doomed to disappointment; after a toilsome
search of several days to find a suitable spot from which to launch
our boats, we were convinced that this was for the present impossible,
because the edges of the “ice-hole” were surrounded with broad barriers
of broken ice, rendering the passage of the boats and sledges impossible.
Weyprecht and Klotz had meanwhile started to reconnoitre, and their
report on their return showed that sledging, for the present at least,
was at an end. The ice-hole before us extended far eastward, and the
attempt to outflank it would have led us through walls of ice piled up
to the height of fifty feet. We went back, therefore, to the more level
surface of ice we had left, and pitched our camp, which we called the
“Harbour of Aulis;” for, like the Greeks of old, we had here to wait for
more favourable winds. Winds only could open the ice before us and widen
the “leads” into a navigable condition. We had never kept at any great
distance from our boats while engaged in transporting their heavy loads,
but henceforward we were careful to keep close to them, as we had every
reason to look for the speedy breaking up and separation of the ice. We
were now in 79° 46′ N. L., and therefore only five miles from the ship.
Cape Tegetthoff was still distinctly visible on our northern horizon.

7. The space in the boats being insufficient for the crew and all the
baggage we had to take, Weyprecht determined to send back Orel and nine
men to bring away the jolly-boat, which had been left behind, and I went
on in the dog-sledge to help in the work of removing more stores from
the ship. It took me just three hours to do the distance, which it had
cost the advanced parties eight days to accomplish. The activity of the
dogs received a fresh stimulus from their coming on the track of a bear
running in the direction of the ship, and when we came within 1,000 yards
of it, there we saw our enemy, who, however, thought it more prudent not
to await our attack. On the 7th of June the equipment of the jolly-boat
was completed, and we returned to our companions with a load of 3 cwt.
of boiled beef, shot, and other necessaries. The old track, now well
trodden down, proved a great advantage to us. If we had deviated a single
step, we should at once have stuck fast, for the character of the snow
had altered, and where it lay in masses it had become mere sludge. The
temperature, which at the end of May had varied between 25° and 19° F.,
rose, on June 1, to freezing-point, and remained steady at that point
for some time. Even during the weeks of midsummer the temperature rose
only a few degrees above freezing-point. On the 3rd of June it rained for
the first time, and gradually the weather assumed the character of fogs
and driving mists so common to the Arctic Ocean. Clear days were of rare
occurrence, and, occasionally only, the sun shone for a few hours. On our
return to the boats we found their crews were sitting up and looking out,
like young birds in a nest, to see what we had brought from the ship.
Tobacco was regarded as a right royal gift, and Dr. Kepes, to whom I gave
a shirt-sleeve well stuffed out with the precious weed, regarded himself
as a Crœsus.

8. Meantime our longings to launch grew apace; anxiously we looked for
the widening of a fissure to enable us to advance southward. We attempted
again and again to approach the “ice-hole,” but always found insuperable
difficulties to bar the way. The effort to get one of our boats into a
dock we had hewn in the ice nearly ended in its loss, and nothing was
left to us but to repeat the flank march along the fatal “ice-hole”
to the “harbour of Aulis,” there to watch for the breaking-up of the
ice. Throughout the day we sat penned up in the boats, worn-out with a
feeling of indescribable weariness, each morning longing for the end of
the day, and at every meal thinking when the next would be ready. It
seemed as if the time for launching the boats would never come. When the
hoarse melancholy scream of the burgomaster-gull sounded through the
stillness of the night, it seemed like a demon voice from another world,
proclaiming that all our efforts would avail nothing to deliver us from
the icy power which held us in its grasp. A visit from a bear was a
welcome change in the monotony of our life.

9. We were now in the middle of June. Winds from the south still
prevailed, and we were close to the ship at the expiration of some
weeks; the third part of our provisions was consumed, and of the 250
German miles between the ship and coast of Lapland we had accomplished
but one mile and a quarter. If this should continue to be the rate of
our progress, we had the prospect of reaching home in twenty years!
Yet gloomy as things appeared, there were moments when we were tempted
to think that the end of our trials had come at last. Thus, on the
17th of June, an “ice-hole” opened close to us; instantly we prepared
to take advantage of it. The day was perfectly clear, and though the
temperature in the shade stood at freezing-point (F.), it was to us an
African heat. We threw down the walls of ice, levelled a track for the
sledges, and that night we stood, with all our baggage, at the edge of
the open water, and, on the morning of the 18th of June, we at last
succeeded in launching our boats and putting all our baggage on board.
The sledges, fastened to the boats, were towed in their wake. The dogs
were put in the different boats, Jubinal alone taking kindly to his new
abode, seeing doubtless that he would have to sleep no longer on snow.
After drinking some tea with the last remains of our rum, we pushed off,
steering towards the south, and it was a sure sign of the elevation of
our spirits, that three-and-twenty tobacco-pipes were immediately put
into active operation. Our progress, however, was but small, scarcely
more than one mile an hour, which was fully accounted for by the deep
lading of the boats and the towing of the sledges. We might have sailed
about three miles, steering in a southerly direction, when a heavy floe
stopped us and progress for the time being impossible, we drew the boats
up on the ice and went to rest. Soon after snow began to fall and a west
wind set in which gradually veered to the south, and the floes were
again forced together, and we found all the “leads” closed up when we
attempted to move on in the morning. Again we had to wait, but with this
difference, that we were now at the mercy of the wind, which might drive
us with the floe, on which we happened to be, wherever it pleased.

[Illustration: WE LAUNCH AT LAST.]

10. On the 19th of June we had to lie still in our boats, but next day
we were able to push them to the edge of a fissure, into which we let
them down, unlading them and lading them afresh on the opposite side;
our progress during the day thus amounted to a mere change of encampment
from one floe to another floe. The absence of navigable “leads” prevented
our advancing further. Our position remained unaltered for the next two
days, the only event that occurred being the shooting of a seal (_Phoca
Grœnlandica_), which sufficed to make the soup we had for supper somewhat
more palatable. He had fallen to the gun of Weyprecht, who proved to be
the luckiest of us all in seal-hunting, in which only the persevering
succeed. Every seal that was shot was of course a saving of the stock of
our provisions, and hence the killing of these animals was a matter of
extreme importance to us, and the preservation of our lives depended in a
very great measure on our success.

11. Nothing can give a better idea of our life at this period than a few
quotations from my journal:—

“_June 23._—Things have improved a little towards the south; in the
forenoon of this day we passed over two water-holes and two floes, thus
advancing about a quarter of a mile. The intervention of a third floe
hindered us from penetrating into another ‘ice-hole.’ After midnight the
ice again opened, and we sailed several hundred paces further.

“_June 24._—Early in the morning Orel shot a seal of unusual size. We
dragged on for half a mile over a large field of ice to its southern
edge, but found, on our arrival there, that an accumulation of smaller
floes barred our advance.

“_June 25._—We could not sail a bit further; winds from the north-east
prevailed; our latitude was 79° 16′. After leaving the ice under the
land, the depth of the snow considerably diminished, so that the sledges
on which the boats were placed could be dragged on much more easily than
before. There were, however, no pools of thaw-water on the ice, though we
had observed such much earlier in the preceding year.

“_June 26._—Several hours occupied in passing over ice-fields and small
‘ice-holes.’ During the halt at noon a bear came within twenty paces
of us, but seeing so many men in motion, ran off. The ice appeared
to be last year’s ice, and was much crushed. Orel at noon took the
latitude by sextant and artificial horizon, and found it 79° 41′—bitter
disappointment.

“_June 27._—With a fresh north-east wind we-sailed to-day over a larger
‘ice-hole,’ our latitude at noon being 79° 39′. In the afternoon we
dragged our sledges for a quarter of a mile over an ice-field, and our
baggage had so diminished that I had to drag with the dog-sledge not
more than 7 cwt. In the lee of large ice-fields, which act like islands,
we find sometimes somewhat more open water-ways.

“_June 28._—Two ice-fields and two ‘ice-holes’ were crossed to-day.
Progress, though small with the boats, would have been simply impossible
with a ship, which could not, like boats, be dragged over floes. Falls
of snow and gleams of sunshine alternate with each other. While the rest
slept a watch was always posted outside the boat to observe the behaviour
of the ice, and to give us timely notice of the approach of a bear.

[Illustration: MARCHING THROUGH ICE-HUMMOCKS]

“_June 29._—Two or three small ‘ice-holes’ and some ice-fields were
crossed to-day. The last ice-field we dragged over was of considerable
extent. To-day, for the first time, we made the attempt, with great
success, to force the boats through narrow ‘leads’ by means of poles.
Another seal was got. Every one of us had now learnt, by force of habit,
to eat half a pound of seal blubber with our tea at noon, and to eat it
with pleasure. It was some comfort to the more delicate and sensitive
to be assured that it tasted like butter, and many experiments had been
made on the edibility of the tins during the last few days. Kane came
to consider seal fin as a kind of salad. We cooked it in our soup, and
the dogs at last went beyond us in the high estimate they placed on
this article of diet. It is worth remarking, albeit it seems to be a
contradiction, that though we had all an abhorrence of fatty substances
during the sledge-journeys in the coldest period of the year, we now
took to them with great relish when the weather was warm. In fact we
never felt better than after a noon-day meal at which we had consumed
a considerable quantity of blubber. Our digestion was particularly
good, and those who suffered from stomach complaints, produced by the
continuous use of pease-sausage, ceased to be so affected. The real
ground of this abnormal preference of fatty substances was doubtless the
fact that we had now abundance of drinking water, and did not suffer
therefore from thirst.

[Illustration: HALT AT NOON.]

“_June 30._—A small ‘ice-hole,’ and then a large ice-field were crossed,
and as we were in the act of passing over a ‘lead’ filled with broken
ice, it suddenly closed, and we had to draw our boats up again, and to
wait till the ice should part asunder. The snow has become quite soft,
and we find water at the bottom of a hole, and employ it for the first
time for cooking. Cape Tegetthoff and Salm Island are still visible The
dogs to-day drew 12 cwt., and are quite exhausted. I had my hair cut by
Klotz, and, with many apologies for my poverty, offered him some water
in compensation—an offer he declined. In the Arctic Seas, even to the
doctor, a glass of water is a handsome fee.”

So it runs on for weeks together in my journal; and if it be tiresome
for readers to follow such repetitions, how much more wearisome must it
have been to live through and experience them! Yet if it were possible
for our situation to become worse, it did so during the first half of the
following month.

[Illustration: CROSSING A FISSURE.]

12. On the 1st of July the whole of our day’s labour consisted in passing
over a fissure. The observations taken at noon gave 79° 38′ as our
latitude, so that during the last four days we had gained one single
minute only. Next day we lay amid fragments of floes closely packed
together, and there were neither “ice-holes” nor fields of ice over
which we could pass. On the 3rd of July we crossed some fissures with
great difficulty and traversed two small ice-fields, but a wind from the
S.E. set in, and our observations showed 79° 38′ N. latitude; while we
discovered from our longitude that we were only four miles to the east
of the ship. The small amount of drift discernible in the ice, with such
strong winds, was a sad sign of its closely packed condition.

13. With imperturbable patience we continued to drag our heavy loads
over the ice, and on the 4th imagined that we had penetrated a mile in
a southerly direction; but the wind from the S.E. blew so persistently
that when we took our observations on the following day we found our
latitude 79° 40½′, and that we had thus been actually driven back towards
the north-west, and that the toils of the last three weeks had been
fruitless. On the 5th and 6th the ice lay before us in piled-up masses
rendering progress impossible, and we were compelled to rest, consuming
our provisions without getting one step further. Our seal-hunting also
on those days was seldom successful. For hours the hunters lurked round
the edges of ice-holes, sometimes without seeing a single seal come to
the surface; and when at last the animal did make its appearance, it very
often sunk after it was hit, before a boat could be launched. Those we
saw on the edges of ice-holes showed a dexterity in diving out of the
way of mischief which failed, as things were, to excite our admiration.
The bears, even more than the seals, showed a prudence and caution which
their previous behaviour had not led us to expect. On the first of those
days a bear came pretty near us, but the dogs, alas! rushed at him and
drove him away. Henceforward when the dogs were not dragging they were
secured with ropes, but our prudence came too late.

14. On the 7th there was no change. The day passed away in moving from
one floe with rotten edges to another somewhat more firm. We only shoved
our boats a few hundred yards through the lakes of thaw water which had
formed themselves on the ice. Our latitude was 79° 43′.

15. On the 8th we got away in a narrow “lead” a few hundred paces
southward, but after getting so far we were stopped by thickly-packed
ice, and again we had to draw our boats out of the water and recommence
our life of painful expectancy—watching for the ice to open. No one
of the party suffered so much from this depressing state of things as
Carlsen. For more than twenty years the old and tried “ice-master” had
lived amid floes and ice-blinks, manfully and successfully fighting
against the hardships of the Arctic Seas, and now that frailties had
increased on him, he saw himself compelled to such toils and privations
as would have taxed his strength even in his prime. The old polar
navigator bore his burthens without murmur or complaint, though it was
painful to others to see the signs of exhaustion in his appearance. He no
longer spoke of the polar bears and walruses, which he had entranced by a
glance of his eye or bewitched with one of his words of magic. Even the
puritanical zeal with which he once rebuked and lectured the Slavonians
for playing cards on “God’s holy day” had grown somewhat cold, and his
fears lest the conversations of the lively Southerners should end in
blows became even more intense.

[Illustration: CARLSEN.]

16. It was a strange life this abode for weeks of summer in boats covered
over with a low tent roof. Oars by way of furniture, and three pairs of
stockings for each man’s mattress and pillow. My journal describes these
days: “Four boats are lying on the ice, crammed with sleeping men: and
so great is the heat in them, that no one needs his fur coat, and snow
placed in any vessel becomes water in a few hours. If Torossy has not
ushered in the day by barking, the cooks do it when they bring the bowls
of soup to the boats with the cry ‘Quanta!’ Then ensues a short scene
of confusion: spoons and tin-pots have to be searched for and found,
till at length quiet is again restored, after a little ransacking, and
each man has his pot full of hot soup in his hand, consisting of meal,
pemmican, pease-sausage, bread-dust, boiled beef, seal, and bears’ flesh;
when the soup is flavoured with seal-blubber it is called ‘Gulyas.’ The
soup is consumed amid perfect silence—not a word is spoken; what indeed
was there to be said, which was not already known, or which had not been
said a hundred times before? Each one knows the other’s history from his
cradle downwards. A stillness like death reigns over all the surrounding
forms of ice, and the frozen ocean stretches out beneath a vast shroud.
A sunless leaden sky spreads over all, not a breath of air stirs, it is
neither warm nor cold, slowly melts the snow, and this pale realm of ice
forms a world of danger and difficulty, against which are matched the
strength and sagacity of three-and-twenty men!

“Again all have taken their places in the boats to bale out the thaw
water, the great enemy of their health—and of their solitary pair of
boots. He whose turn it is to hunt the seal squats at the edge of a floe
before a fissure, which admits a few square feet of water, in which no
seal will show himself, because he has scarcely room to turn in it.

“To the others, their abode in the boats is a time of manifest weariness
and ennui. Happy the man who has any tobacco, happy he who, after smoking
his pipe, does not fall into a faint; happy too the man who finds a
fragment of a newspaper in some corner or other, even if there should be
nothing contained in it but the money-market intelligence, or perhaps
directions to be followed in the preparation of pease-sausage. Enviable
is he who discovers a hole in his fur coat which he can mend; but
happiest of all are those who can sleep day and night. Of these latter
some have stowed themselves away under the rowing seats, and above them
reposes a second layer of sleepers, but nothing is visible of either
party but the soles of their feet. No paradise of bliss! Noon comes: a
little tea is made over the train-oil fire, each gets one cup of it and
a handful of hard bread-crumbs—a kind of dog’s food which the impartial
‘committee of provisions’ measures out with Argus-eyes. The fourth part
of the skin of a seal is thrown into each of the four boats, and the
blubber on it is eagerly devoured. Some, for the sake of the fins, the
ribs, or the head, become guests of the dogs. Flocks of gulls settle
impudently near us, screaming and fighting for every morsel they can
reach. Some of us try to catch them with nets, but no sooner are the nets
up than the gulls disappear.

“The formality of dinner is over, and we have come to such a pass that
even the tea excites the nerves of the community, and some Troubadour
will then raise his voice with a _bravura_ such as might have been
heard on San Marco. The end of the Franklin expedition, and the history
of the two skeletons which were found in the boat, is told again for
the twentieth time—a story which never fails to produce a harrowing
effect, and to rouse the firm and resolute to yet greater efforts and
self-command.

“The most animated conversation, however, or rather a constant
chattering, is going on meantime in the soot-begrimed tent of the cook. A
difference of opinion arises about the precise time when the kettle was
to be scraped out, or about the curtailing of the allowance in the last
distribution of salt, or as to the delinquent who made a wood-fire on a
cask of spirit, or who, instead of untying, cut the string of the sledge
packing; many flourishes of speech are bandied to and fro, which at any
rate speak well for the oratorical gifts of the disputants.

“There is still, however, one solace left us, the solace of smoking. Some
indeed have already exhausted their whole stock of tobacco. He who has
half a pouch of it at his disposal is the object of general respect, and
the man who can invite his neighbour to a pipe of tobacco and a pot of
water is considered to do an act of profuse liberality. Tobacco becomes
a medium of exchange among us, and provisions are bought and paid for
with it, its value rising every day. There is no difference between day
and night, and Sundays are only distinguished by dressing the boats with
flags.”

17. In this enforced idleness passed away the days between the 9th and
15th inst., save that on the 14th we changed our place by three hundred
yards, in order to select a more convenient spot for seal-hunting and to
keep up the appearance of travelling—but in truth only the appearance,
for in reality our situation had become truly dreadful. There were no
events of sudden occurrence either to excite or alarm us, but time flowed
on, and our constantly diminishing stock of provisions, like the steady
movement of the hands of a clock, spoke with a plainness of speech,
that could not be resisted, of the doom impending over us. Hitherto we
had patiently endured the severe labours of dragging our heavily-laden
boats and sledges from floe to floe, of launching the boats in the small
fissures, and again drawing them on to the floes, when the ice became
closely packed, often too carrying all the provisions and baggage as we
slowly crept along. The least progress was sufficient to fill us with
joy and thankfulness. Meanwhile the ice on all sides lay closely packed,
and many times we had to wait for a week in our boats on a floe, till
the “leads” were pleased to open, while every empty tin case proclaimed,
with fearful distinctness, the diminishing of our provisions and the
gloominess of our prospects; and now a steady wind from the south
destroyed the little progress we had made. _After the lapse of two months
of indescribable efforts, the distance between us and the ship was not
more than nine English miles!_ The heights of Wilczek Island were still
distinctly visible, and its lines of rocks shone with mocking brilliance
in the ever-growing day-light. All things seemed to say that after a
long struggle with the supremacy of the ice there remained for us but a
despairing return to the ship and a third winter there, stript of every
hope, and the Frozen Ocean for our grave!

18. Such reflections and prospects were not calculated to raise our
spirits or promote calm and deliberate thought, and it was happy for us
that the earth was round, and that we were thus prevented from seeing how
much ice lay between us and the open sea. No measures were left untried
which promised to facilitate our progress or prolong our lives. We ceased
to cook with oil, and used spirit instead, in order to lighten the boats.
The rations of bread were diminished; even our faithful companion little
Pekel fell a victim to necessity. Seals played a greater part still in
our _cuisine_, and everything seemed to depend on the successful use of
the four hundred ball-cartridges which still remained in store. On the
15th of July a walrus showed himself close to the boats, but when we
made a rush upon him to finish him he disappeared under the waters, and
heavy rain drove us back again into the boats. Up to this time all signs
of a happy termination of our venture seemed to have disappeared; but the
hour of our liberation and escape was nearer than we thought.

19. On the evening of the 15th of July, after finishing our supper, a
line of small “leads” running to the south-west opened itself, and we
forced our way for about a mile against wind and current coming from the
same direction. Next day, July 16, the wind blew from the north-west,
and after our boats had been nearly crushed by the ice closing in some
smaller “ice-holes,” we ran into a broader and longer “lead.” At noon
of this day our latitude was 79° 39′, and we had gone so far that
the highest points of Cape Tegetthoff and Wilczek Island were barely
discernible—blue shadows surrounded by an edge of yellow vapour, and over
the whole a heavy water sky.

20. Up to this date we had been compelled to cross every fissure, a
procedure as exhausting for us as it was detrimental to the boats. The
least impediment, such as the stoppage of a “lead” by some pieces of ice,
had sufficed to cause us hours of laborious efforts. The ice lay thick
and close, and its floes were firmly frozen together. But now it was not
only somewhat opened, but seldom cemented by frost, and the efforts of
fifteen or twenty men generally sufficed to shove apart any two floes
with long poles, or remove any barrier which closed a “lead.” If the
“leads” closed in so that there was danger lest the boats should be
crushed, the crew jumped out and hauled them up on the ice.

The accompanying sketch exhibits one of the scenes that occurred almost
daily—the pushing the floes asunder with long poles, in order that the
boat might pass between them, while the rotatory motion of the floe
closes the fissure in the foreground, so that another boat has to be
drawn on the ice as quickly as possible. The baggage of the boat is
represented partly as packed on a sledge, or partly lying on the snow,
and the men and dogs stand ready to drag it over the floe to the next
place of launching. Two other boats, which have found the “lead” open,
are on before, and one of them is lying at an ice-field which has to be
crossed, waiting for the others to come up.

[Illustration: SCENE ON THE ICE.]

21. It sometimes happened that we could not push the floes asunder, and
we were then compelled to cross them; and in those cases where the floes
were a mile or more in diameter, our progress took the form of sledging.
The provision was sent on for some distance to the nearest water, and
the boats, which remained behind under the care of the less able-bodied
of our party, were lifted on to the sledge when it returned by the rest
of the crew, and firmly secured. The smallest of our boats was shoved
through the snow while the dogs with their sledge transported the bags of
bread and the spirit.

22. An advance of four miles a day now sufficed to satisfy us, and we had
acquired such precision in our arrangements before starting that three
hours sufficed to accomplish them. If the sledges came on obstacles from
the ice, the pioneers hurried on with picks and shovels to remove them.
Lakes on the ice were made little of; we waded through them with much
equanimity, and any one who fell into a “lead” while the day’s labour was
going on seemed to take the accident very coolly. On the 17th of July
we had passed, in the way I have described, three ice-fields and three
small “ice-holes;” but on the following day we made very little progress,
because a wind, setting in from the west, packed the ice closely. We
were therefore overjoyed to find our latitude to-day 79° 22′, a result
which could only be ascribed to the late north winds; but we could not
quiet our fears, lest a wind from the south should deprive us of our
dearly-bought advance.

23. We now penetrated into a region full of icebergs, many of which
were covered with earth and moraine dirt, which made them look at a
distance, amid the dazzling uniformity of the ice, like rocky cliffs. In
the evening a she-bear was seen close to us, which came full tilt at our
dogs; at thirty paces off she was hit, but not mortally, and fell; but
getting up again, ran off to an ice-hole, and remained long enough on its
surface to be secured by the harpooners. She afforded us as much food as
four small seals, and some of our party, with the voracity of beasts of
prey, scraping the flesh off the bones for their private use, carried it
about with them wrapped in their pocket-handkerchiefs, and ate about a
pound of it raw every day at noon, as long as it lasted, after merely
washing the carrion in sea-water.

24. On the 19th of July we again passed over several small ice-fields,
and on the 20th and 21st one several miles in diameter. We were favoured
with a north-west wind, and on the 20th of July our latitude was 79°
11′, our longitude 61° 3′, and our progress was so brilliant on the 22nd
(79° 1′ L.), that we were compelled to draw the boats twice only out
of the water, and warping through narrow “leads,” came again to larger
“ice-holes,” over which we were able to sail. Our spirits were greatly
raised, and we went on full of hope that we should soon come into longer
water-ways, which would exempt us from the toils of crossing floes with
the sledges. On the 23rd sudden squalls from the E.N.E., accompanied with
heavy showers of rain, detained us in our covered boats, and our whole
business on this day was collecting the rainwater in an empty spirit-cask
and drinking it as grog. On the 24th we again made good progress. The
rain fell in torrents, and we were wet through and through, and at night
we lay down to rest reeking. The rain continued, but good progress was
made almost without interruption during the next three days. We bore
all the discomforts with joy, because the rain powerfully and rapidly
dissolved the ice.[55] Our clothes were constantly wet, but we eagerly
snatched every gleam of sunshine to dry our stockings or our saturated
boots.

25. The cooks, when they called us in the morning, now constantly drew
such pictures of the day’s prospects, that we might have been tempted
to believe that during the night all the ice had disappeared; but this
pleasing illusion was rudely dispelled whenever we stepped out of the
boats into the open air. These good men, having no compass to consult,
always flattered themselves with the notion that where water was to be
seen, there also lay the south. But, alas! there lay the ice-hummocks,
and there, too, lay the boats and sledges to be dragged as before. Klotz
went a little further; it was his opinion that we ought always to take to
the water without fear, even if it stretched to the north, in order, as
he said, to get home round the North Pole.

26. On the 27th we had reached 78° 48′ N. L., but a wind from the
south-west set in, and after two days of constant toil, alternately
launching and drawing up the boats, we found, on the 29th, that we had
been driven back to 78° 50′ N. L. But in many cases the movement of ice
is unaccountable, and on the 30th this was verified; for, notwithstanding
the prevalence of the south-west wind, we had drifted to 78° 32′ N. L.,
61° 3′ E. L. The weather at this time was thicker and duller than usual,
and the horizon from our boats extended but a few hundred paces, so that
we had considerable difficulty in choosing the most navigable “leads.”
The view did not extend above two miles, even when we climbed to the top
of one of the hummocks, and mists generally lay on its outskirts. In
clear weather we had always steered in the direction of a water-sky which
promised open sea, even though we had to make _détours_ to the south-west
or south-east. But now such a foggy obscurity lay over every “ice-hole,”
however small, that the outline of its edges was hardly discernible at
a few paces off, and, under these circumstances, we could only pull the
boats round, till we came to the first opening in the enclosing ice.

27. Winds from the south continued during the following week, and heavy
rains again fell, and we had much laborious dragging through the fog
on the 31st of July and the 1st of August. Our stock of bread, which
had been reduced to powder by the constant lading and unlading, was
meanwhile so thoroughly soaked that on the 2nd of August we stopped for
half a day on a floe (78° 28′ N. L., 61° 49′ E. L.) to dry it in the
sun, which, after a long absence, gladdened us by showing himself. We
took the opportunity also to dry our clothes and our stockings. On such
a day as this the scene around us entirely lost its gloomy sepulchral
character; the heavens were brilliantly blue, the ice lay around us in
dazzling light, and the deep ultramarine of the sea-water peeped forth
from the “leads.” Henceforward we had less occasion to cross large floes.
Our route gradually changed its character; “leads” and “ice-holes”
occurred far more frequently, and the channels between them, winding
through drifting islands of ice, were sometimes three or four miles in
extent. Along these we glided under sail and oars, and when we came
to a temporary halt, Weyprecht, with his compass, mounted one of the
ice-hummocks to examine the water-ways and determine which we should
follow. Our rate of progress was much increased, an acceleration due to
the change in the ice, effected slowly but surely by sunshine and rain.
The enormous masses of snow were wasting away; the thaw-water, gathering
in countless streams, spread as lakes on the hollows of the floes, and
oozed through fissures in the ice into the sea. The edges of the floes,
undermined by the action of the waves, fell in, or were worn away by the
pressure, and a single warm day or shower of rain sufficed to dissolve
what remained of them. Hence, if the difficulty of drawing boats on to
the ice was lessened, the danger of breaking through it in the process
was greater, and we ran the risk of seeing all the cases containing our
provisions sink in the sea before our eyes. As the ice-fields diminished
in size and thickness, the number and breadth of the “leads” increased.
The alternation of heavy south-east winds and calms helped on the
destruction of the ice, and our progress was great in proportion. From
the 3rd to the 7th of August each day we accomplished greater distances.
The ice gradually changed from pack-ice to drift-ice, impenetrable only
where it lay in thicker masses. When fogs came on, we generally decided,
after wandering about for a little, to wait on or near a floe for finer
weather. We no longer restricted our labours to certain times of the day.
In the highest spirits, we toiled incessantly at rowing or dragging the
boats, or shoving the floes asunder with our long poles.

28. On the 7th our progress might be estimated at twelve miles. It was
the first day we had got on without dragging the sledges and crossing
floes, and when we halted at noon amid some loose ice, we saw, to the
south, a fluctuation in the sea level, and the ice alternately rising and
falling. “The swell of the ocean!” exclaimed all with joy: “we are close
to the open sea”—the open sea, being to us at that moment deliverance.
Our amazement at finding it at such a latitude, 78° N. L., was so great
that, notwithstanding that indisputable sign, we could scarcely believe
our eyes, and we were filled with indescribable excitement. For a moment
only that excitement was diverted to other and very different objects—two
bears suddenly appeared on the scene, swimming about 100 paces from
us. Two boats were at once manned, and the chase began. But the bears
swam faster than the boats could be pulled by the four men in each boat;
sometimes they raised themselves high out of the water as they turned to
look at their pursuers. Suddenly one of them disappeared, while the other
made for a floe and climbed on to it. As he stood and impudently stared
at us, a shot was fired at him, and he immediately decamped, swimming
with great rapidity to another distant floe. But as no trace of blood
was to be seen on the ice, and our companions drinking their mid-day tea
were scarcely to be distinguished, we considered it unsafe to pursue him
further. In the evening we stopped again before a dense group of small
floes, which like the rest of the ice had become rotten; the one whereon
we were preparing to encamp for the night broke into several pieces just
as we were raising our boat on to it. We were, however, fortunate enough
to save our provisions.

[Illustration: BEARS IN THE WATER.]

29. Though we had been accustomed so long to oscillate between extremes,
we now felt that the hour had come, when we might count with certainty
on being liberated from the fetters of the ice, and all our hopes gained
new life. Yet once more they seemed doomed to be disappointed. On the
7th, before we turned into sleep, the prevailing north wind had gathered
so much ice around us that we were fairly shut in. Next day (August 8),
after the efforts of many hours to force through the multitude of small
floes by which we were jammed in, we discovered that we should be unable
to move, unless the wind changed to the south-west. Our exertions on the
9th were equally unsuccessful. It was not dense masses of ice, under
whose walls we had so often felt ourselves imprisoned, that now held
us captive, but miserable flat floes. Their diameter was from fifty to
sixty paces, and though they hardly appeared above water, they were not
the less impenetrable hindrances. The movement in the sea, that had so
elevated us, was scarcely perceptible, and our faith in the nearness of
the ocean was consequently much shaken.

30. Again rain fell in abundance, and we remained in the boats waiting
for the breaking-up of the ice. It was scarcely possible to go any
distance from them, for the ice of the surrounding floes was so thin,
that we could not venture to walk on them lest we should break through.
Fissures abounded, but no seals were to be seen in them. This forced
abode in our boats was almost unendurable. We could not always sleep, and
only a frugal few had any tobacco left to smoke. Some of our party had
for a long time smoked dry tea-leaves in the form of cigarettes, or had
filled their pipes with match paper. All the tinder had been long used
up in this way, and a dreadful trial it had been to the olfactory nerves
of those who would not so indulge. Haller went further still, and smoked
paper in the close covered boat! besides many leaves of his note-books,
he still had a quantity of packing-paper, but, in the interest of the
community, I was compelled to interfere against its use in this fashion.
He found some compensation in another occupation, which had the merit at
least of being inoffensive to others—mixing together his rations of tea,
salt, and bread-dust, he converted the mixture into a soup. These days
seemed as though they would never end; there was a continual taking off
and pulling on of boots; some sat in the boats gaping about vacantly in
all directions; some standing on the ice gaped as vacantly; all mental
activity was concentrated in two wishes, that the ice would break up, and
that the time for the next meal would come round. No one had any private
reserve of provision. The days were gone when a stocking filled with
bread might be seen hanging from the belt of one, or the ribs of a bear
in the hand of another. And yet amidst all the hunger, which we felt the
more acutely from our abundant leisure, some among us had actually become
as plump as quails, and if we had been found dead on the floes, it would
have been thought, that we had died in consequence of over-eating, so
stout had most of us become. But dreadful was the solemn lapse of time.
August was well advanced; the knowledge that we had provisions for only
one month more, and the shortness of the season for action that still
remained, failed not to impress upon us all that the crisis of our fate
was at hand. For three weeks past the formation of young ice had begun,
both on the ice and on the sweet-water lakes on the floes. Even during
these summer months, the temperature in the night had frequently fallen
two or three degrees below freezing-point, and the cold now began to join
the fragments of old floes into formidable obstacles. The caprice of a
wind might again carry us off towards the north, as it had done two years
ago, but carry us too, to certain inevitable destruction. On the 9th of
August we found our latitude 78° 9′—a higher degree than we had expected.
But what would a lower degree have availed us, had not the open sea been
near us—the open sea, on which hung all our hopes, ever since the word
had been uttered? The joy of that day’s discovery was fed and sustained
by the low murmur of a distant surf, which either imagination or our
senses, rendered acute by the presence of danger, continued to hear in
the south.

31. Thus passed the days from the 10th to the 13th of August, the calking
of our boats forming our only distraction. Eagerly and earnestly we gazed
on the water-sky in the south and on every change in the ice.[56] On the
10th our latitude was 78° 6′ and our longitude 60° 45′, E.; on the 13th
our latitude was 77° 58′, and our longitude 61° 10′ E. On the 12th the
ice had become somewhat looser. We advanced a mile to the south, but
were then again beset. It rained during the whole day, and in the night,
the temperature fell several degrees below freezing-point. Ice an inch
thick was formed on the 13th over the surface of the fresh-water lakes,
and when we went, either to drink from them or to perform our toilet, we
had to break through a coating of ice. All these were so many signs that
Summer had bid us adieu and that the short Autumn of the north had begun.
This day, too, we had the first impression of the returning cold.

[Illustration: CALKING THE BOATS.]

32. At last during the night of the 14th, the ice somewhat opened and
we could go on our way. Just before we started, in the early morning,
a seal was shot which the dogs had discovered and attacked: it was the
eighteenth and last we shot since we abandoned the ship. With much labour
in shoving we forced a passage through a long succession of “leads” and
halted for a short rest at midnight in front of a larger “ice-hole,” to
refresh our strength with some pieces of blubber, seasoned with alcohol
and thaw-water. Drift ice lay all round us, and we had the presentiment,
that the hour at last had come which was to set us free from the ice. All
things rise in our estimation, when we are about to bid them farewell,
and it was with some pain that we felt all at once, that in a few minutes
we should bid adieu to the realm of ice, which lay behind us in all its
magical grandeur. We now moved on under sail: the “ice-holes” increased
in size, the ice diminished, and the swell of the ocean was perceptibly
greater. Our latitude at noon next day was 77° 49′. A large “ice-hole”
opened before us, and with a sea running high, the boats, making a good
deal of water, we sailed into it—it was the last ice-hole. The last line
of ice lay ahead of us, and beyond it the boundless open sea!

[Illustration: FAREWELL TO THE FROZEN OCEAN.]

33. About six o’clock in the evening we had reached the extreme edge of
the ice-barrier, and once more, but for the last time, drew our boats on
a floe. Again our ears heard the noise of the waves—the voice of life
to us. Again we saw the white foam of the surge, and felt, as if we had
awoke from a death-like slumber of years to a new existence. But if our
joy at deliverance was great, not less great was our astonishment to have
reached the ice-barrier in the high latitude of 77° 40′, and with it the
hope of final escape. We went to rest for some hours, but were roused by
the watch about two o’clock in the morning. The east wind had gathered
some heavy masses of ice around us, which rose and fell with the swell
of the ocean, and we were already several hundred yards from the water’s
edge. Any delay in escaping as quickly as possible would require the
labours of many days to set us free again. After much shoving with the
poles, and lading and unlading, we again got beyond the line of ice. The
frozen ocean lay behind us, and on our last floe we made preparations for
our voyage on the open sea.



CHAPTER III.

ON THE OPEN SEA.


1. There lay the open Ocean before us; never were its sparkling waves
beheld with more sincere joy, than by the small band of men, who,
escaping from the prison house of the ice after fearful struggles, now
raised their arms on high to greet its glad waters. The 15th of August
was the day of our liberation—the festival of the Assumption of the
Virgin—and our boats were dressed with flags in its commemoration. But
it was no time for the rest and recreation of a Holy Day: graver duties
pressed upon us. The boats had to be ballasted, and were with difficulty
made to take on board the baggage, the water-casks, and the crews. Our
four sledges, to which we owed so much of our success so far, were of
course left behind. The dogs too were put on board, not, however, without
much hesitation, when the contingencies of the voyage were considered.

2. With three hurrahs, we pushed off from the ice, and our voyage
commenced. Its happy issue depended on the weather and on incessant
rowing. If a storm should arise, the boats, laden as they were, must
sink. We were soon convinced that the dogs, which suffered greatly from
sea-sickness, would dangerously incommode us in the boats by destroying
their trim. There was, in fact, no room for them in our over-crowded
boats, nor water, nor provisions. We could not bring ourselves to abandon
them, and our only form of gratitude for their services was, alas! the
painful one of putting them to death. A floe, by which we passed, became
the grave of these our true friends, our companions in all situations,
and our helpers in all dangers! It was indeed a painful moment, when
Jubinal was taken out of the boat to meet his death. It was the loss of a
true comrade, who had never departed from my side, and who had patiently
borne all the labours and toils imposed on him. Poor Torossy too, born in
the Arctic regions, amid the ice-pressures, was not a little lamented.

3. With boundless satisfaction, we saw the white edge of the ice
gradually become a line, and at last disappear. Every one felt, that
finding the ice-barrier in so high a latitude, was the crowning blessing
to which we must ascribe our liberation. At the distance of a mile from
the edge of the ice, the temperature of the water had risen to 30° F.,
and that of the air to 39° F. The sunbeams were reflected with such
intensity from the smooth surface of the sea, that we felt the long
unknown sensation of heat, and were obliged to cast off some of our
garments.

4. We shaped our course south-by-west, towards the Barentz Islands,
intending to take in supplies of provisions from the depôt formed by
Count Wilczek, and then to coast along Novaya Zemlya in search of a ship
engaged in the fisheries, which we hoped to find either at Admiralty
Peninsula, or Matoschkin Straits, or in Dunen Bay. Norwegian vessels,
engaged in the capture of the walrus, might be looked for as far south
as Matoschkin Straits, and the Russian salmon-fishers still further to
the south. The nearest land was fifty miles off, and everything depended
on our reaching its friendly shores before the weather changed for the
worse. In the event of stormy weather there would be no other alternative
than to throw our provisions overboard in order to lighten the boats.

5. Putting forth all our strength, we rowed steadily for some days.
Weyprecht took the lead in his boat, and the others followed him as
quickly as possible. The crew of each boat was divided into two watches,
who were relieved every four hours. It frequently happened that one boat
fell behind the others, and was lost sight of in a fog or mist. Trumpets
and horns were then sounded, till the laggard boat, by renewed efforts
of her crew, came up with the others. On the 16th, a breeze from the
north sprang up, and we used our sails with good effect for some hours.
At last Novaya Zemlya was sighted—some silvery points above the level of
the sea, which our people took at first for the reappearance of the ice
in the south; they proved to be the snowy summits near Cape Nassau. At
this headland the mountains running along the coast suddenly cease, and
the land trending to the north-east, assumes the monotonous character of
glaciation almost without mountains, as far as the lonely shores where
three centuries ago Barentz slept his last sleep.

6. Our progress had no longer the paralysing insignificance of former
days. This day at noon our latitude was 76° 46′, and on the 17th, the
picturesque range of mountains south of Cape Nassau, rose through the
morning mists close before us steeped in violet and crimson hues. A fog
arising, we rowed along by compass in the midst of it, the boats seemed
to float in the air amid the fog. During its continuance a current caused
us to deviate so much to the south-west, that when at noon the land was
again visible, we discovered that we had gone beyond the place where the
depôt had been formed, and found by the chart, that we were in 75° 40′
lat. and 58° long. But as the loss of time, in going back a distance of a
hundred miles, was out of all proportion to the amount of provisions we
could have taken in our overladen boats, we determined at all risks to
hold on our course.

7. Before us, in the far distance, now rose above the horizon the higher
parts of Admiralty Peninsula; to these we now steered. As we passed along
we made a vain attempt to land on the north of Gwosdarew Bay. We found
the shores full of cliffs, between which a heavy surf was breaking, and
could thus form some notion of the perils we should have encountered, had
we attempted to land on the Barentz Islands. Two years ago the edge of
this coast had been covered with firm ice, and the depôt had been formed
by the aid of sledges. But now not a fragment of ice was to be seen
on the west coast of Novaya Zemlya, and the rocky shore could only be
approached by boats.

8. The differences between the climate in the years 1872 and 1874, were
also in other respects very remarkable. In 1872 the mountains of the
country were mostly covered with snow, but in 1874, it lay only on the
higher parts of its glaciers, and in latitude 76° N., where we had found
thick ice, the temperature of the sea was 39° F., and of the air 43°
F. The phenomena of the climate of 1871, as we observed them in the
voyage of the _Isbjörn_, were similar to those of 1874; and this peculiar
mildness was experienced on the eastern coasts of Novaya Zemlya by
Captain Wiggins, who when navigating the sea of Cara as far as the mouth
of the Ob, was shut in there by the ice for a few weeks only.

[Illustration: LANDING ON THE COAST OF NOVAYA ZEMLYA.]

9. The inaccessibility of most of the places on the coast had hitherto
obliged us to continue our course without going on shore to rest,
although our arms were stiff and swollen with our exertions in rowing.
No vessels as yet had been seen, and what we thought to be a ship turned
out, when we rowed closer to it, to be only a small iceberg. There
was therefore no other alternative than to coast along in a southerly
direction, cutting across the bays, and keeping as near the shore as
possible. On the night of the 17th we pulled over the broad Gwosdarew
Bay, which was filled with countless fragments of glaciers. Some of
the smallest of these we took on board our boats to replenish our fast
decreasing supplies of water. Ever since our coming under the coast of
Novaya Zemlya, we had entered a region where auks abounded which whizzed
over our heads with small crayfish in their bills in their flight to the
land, or sat so indolently on the water, that they seemed determined
not to get out of the way of the boats. Many were bagged, but we made no
halt to shoot them. Twice only in the day we rested for about ten minutes
to take our food. Onwards we pressed, each boat striving to get before
the others. On August 17 the sun set for the first time about midnight,
and in the afternoon of the 18th we landed at a spot to the south of
black Cape, remarkable for the luxuriance of its vegetation. To our eyes,
accustomed to the monotonous white of snow and ice, it appeared like a
garden. There was nothing to remind us of a polar region either in the
land, or in the temperature, or in the weather. Its broad bay, if it had
been without its circle of glaciers, would have appeared like an Italian
gulf. It was now ebb-tide, and wading in the water we shoved our boats,
using the oars as rollers, over the muddy shore. It was the birthday of
our gracious monarch, which we celebrated in the best manner we could—we
dressed the boats with flags, washed ourselves in a little fresh-water
lake, and flavoured our weak tea with a small quantity of alcohol.

10. This was the first land on which we had set foot for months.
Completely exhausted we lay down on its damp turf and listened to the
pleasant sound of the surf. Flames soon rose from the pile of drift
wood we collected, while some of us ascended the neighbouring ravines,
and even gathered flowers.[57] There were quantities of forget-me-nots,
and of coltsfoot (_Tusselago farfara_), which was dried and smoked, and
pronounced to be excellent tobacco. But our paradisiacal happiness could
not be of long duration. The necessity of finding a ship as quickly as
possible was urgent, and soon roused us from our deep sleep, while the
thunders of the glaciers of Novaya Zemlya proclaimed to us that bad
weather was not far off.

11. On the 19th, we coasted along Admiralty Peninsula; the thermometer
giving 50° F. in the air, and 43° F. in the sea. Its shores rising in
a succession of terraces were indisputable evidence of its gradual
elevation above the sea-level,[58] and the flatness of the shores and
the shallowness of the sea, interspersed with rocks, easily explain why
they have so often been dangerous to ships approaching them in a fog.
As we came further south the charts proved more trustworthy. At noon of
the 20th at Cape Tischernitzky we reached latitude 74° 21′. We passed a
number of picturesque bights on the coast, with mountains, whose tops
were covered with clouds, and whose green banks extended along the
shores. These are the favourite wintering spots of Russian expeditions,
and in some places we saw ruined huts. On the 21st a fresh wind sprung
up from the east. The sea rose, and as we sailed fast before the wind
the boats took in a good deal of water, and we were thoroughly wet; the
boats too got separated. We accordingly ran into the bay under “Suchoi
Nos” (73° 47′ L.) to wait till the wind fell and the other boats should
join us. The boat commanded by Lieutenant Brosch, was exposed to much
danger from the lowness of its gunwale, when the sea was at all high; an
addition made to it by a strip of canvas stretched round the boat proved
ineffectual. We quickly dried our clothes at a fire made of drift-wood
and erratics of brown coal which we found, but were much disappointed
that no reindeer were to be seen, though we were surrounded by excellent
feeding-grounds for these animals. The stew, which we made from the
spoonwort we gathered, and some pemmican, was but a poor substitute for
the venison we had hoped to enjoy. Neither were there any auks to be
seen, and the divers shot under the water like stones whenever we came
within distance. The other boats having joined us we again put to sea,
though the weather was threatening and a high sea running. In latitude
73° 20′ we ran into Matoschkin Bay, hoping and expecting to find a vessel
engaged in the fisheries. But no vessel was to be seen, nothing but the
outlines of an Arctic mountain-land. Carlsen also, whom Weyprecht had
despatched to explore the straits so full of turnings and windings,
returned without the intelligence we hoped for. Before Carlsen rejoined
us we ran into a cove—Altgläubigen Bucht—and erected, on a conspicuous
headland, a cairn, on which we placed a signal post made of drift-wood.
In this cairn we deposited a document, briefly describing the course
of our expedition up to that date, in order to leave some trace of it
in a region which is visited annually by ships. The discovery of this
statement in the course of the next summer would prevent our countrymen
at home from sending out vessels to rescue us in higher latitudes, if we
meanwhile should perish.

12. The prospects of our being saved had, in fact, considerably
diminished, for all our hopes had been centred in finding a vessel in
Matoschkin Straits, and these, as I have just said, were doomed to be
disappointed. Carlsen now returned with the information, that, in the
narrow seas he had visited, he had met with nothing but a whale-boat,
lying keel upwards, round which were footmarks of not very recent date.
There was no doubt, therefore, that the fishing vessels had withdrawn
from our high latitudes. At night a storm from the north-east roared
over the cliffs surrounding the cove, and the surf breaking on the rocks
reached our boats.

13. It was noon on the 23rd before we could continue our voyage. Our
provisions would last for only ten days more, so that our fate must
shortly be decided. Further delay was out of the question; there was but
one hope for us—to press on and find a ship in Dunen-Bai (the Bay of
Dunes). Should this too prove deceptive, we must then make the desperate
venture of crossing the White Sea, direct to Lapland—a distance of 520
miles. To follow the vast circuit of the coast-line would have been
impossible to us with our stock of provisions, and at that season of the
year. The next days too plainly taught us what would have become of our
small boats had we been forced to attempt that passage.

14. We now rowed and sailed alternately down the flat coasts towards
“Gänseland,” amid stormy weather, during which the boats were often
separated, and we almost exhausted our strength in baling out the water.
We lost sight completely of Weyprecht’s boat on the open sea, and of the
others under the coast. That in which Orel and I were, appeared to have
out-sailed them, and we, therefore, on the morning of the 24th drew to
shore in a dark rocky cove to await the approach of our missing friends.
Wet through and through we sprang into the shallow water, and by a great
effort drew the boat to land. We then kindled a fire with the drift-wood
we gathered, and after making and eating a kind of dumpling we sank down
to sleep on the wet stones, amid the smoke from our fire, thoroughly
exhausted. So passed away four hours. When we awoke we ascended a height,
and as there was not a single vestige of a boat to be seen, we determined
to put to sea again. Near Cape Britwin (Lat. 72° 40′), the wind and sea
fell, and the boats again joined company. It was now deemed necessary
to make an equitable division among the crews of the provisions that
remained, and this being done, we took to our oars once more, and pulled
into the boundless waste of waters—into the mystery that hung over our
destiny.

15. But the hour of our deliverance was nearer than we thought. It was
evening as we glided past the black weather-worn rocks of Cape Britwin,
the ledges of which were covered with flocks of birds, revelling in the
spray of the surf. Then about seven o’clock a cry of joy as from one
voice arose from the boats. A fifth small boat with two men in it lay
before us, apparently engaged in bird catching. They pulled towards us,
not less amazed than we ourselves were, and before either party could
explain itself, we turned a corner of the rock—there lay two ships.

16. It is with a certain kind of awe and reverence that a shipwrecked
man approaches a ship, whose slender build is to deliver him from the
capricious power of the elements. To him it is no lifeless machine, but
a friend in need, yea, a higher creation than himself. Such were our
feelings as we neared the two schooners which lay a few hundred yards off
in a rock-encircled bay. To us at that moment these vessels were the sum
total of the whole world! Dressing our boats with flags, we followed the
strangers in their boat, and made fast to the schooner _Nikolai_, whose
deck was in a moment crowded with bearded Russians, who stared at us
with mingled feelings of wonder and sympathy, and whose captain, Feodor
Voronin, stood like a patriarch among them to welcome us. Ten days sooner
and our poor dogs might have gambolled on the deck with us!

[Illustration: THE BAY OF DUNES. THE RUSSIAN SCHOONERS.]

17. No grandees could have been received with more dignity than we
were. At the sight of the two Ukases, which we had received from St.
Petersburg, and which required all inhabitants of the Russian Empire to
furnish us with all the help we needed, these humble seamen bared their
heads and bowed themselves to the earth. We had an example before us to
show how orders are obeyed by the subjects of that Empire a thousand
miles from the place where they were issued. But we were received not
only in this reverential manner, but were welcomed with the greatest
heartiness, and the best of everything on board was spread before
us—salmon, reindeer flesh, Eider-geese eggs, tea, bread, butter, brandy.
The second skipper then came on board, and invited us to visit him: the
first of a series of invitations. Dr. Kepes was very pressingly invited,
for he had a sick man on board his vessel, and our doctor returned with
an _honorarium_ of tobacco in his hand. These simple Russian seamen of
the Arctic seas freely produced their little stock of good things to give
us pleasure, and one of them after observing me for a long time, and
thinking that I did not express myself sufficiently strongly for a happy
man, persuaded himself that something was the matter with me, and that I
wanted something. Forthwith he went to his chest, and brought me all the
white bread he had and the whole remaining stock of his tobacco. Though I
did not understand a word he said, his address was full of unmistakable
heartiness, and so far needed no interpreter.

18. Since we abandoned the _Tegetthoff_ we had passed ninety-six days
in the open air, and, including the sledge journeys which preceded the
abandonment of the ship, about five months. The impressions of a return
to life were felt by us with silent yet deep thankfulness of heart, for
as the poet says:—

    “Das Schweigen ist ihr bester Herold.”

It gave us infinite satisfaction to gaze on things the most
insignificant, and as we thought of our adventures, our discoveries, and
our deliverance, many of us asked his heart in a whisper: What will
be said of this in Austria? Lusina, as the only one among us who spoke
Russian, was constituted our interpreter, and through him we learnt that
great events had happened during our absence: that there was general
peace in Europe; that Napoleon was dead; and we learnt too that the
greatest interest in our destiny had been excited in Austria; that the
Russian government had issued orders to all their vessels employed in
the Arctic fisheries to do their utmost to find us, and contribute to
our rescue; that Count Wilczek had returned in safety—the skipper of our
schooner having met him at the mouth of the Petschora, just as he was
setting out for Obdorsk, and lastly, that a Norwegian fishing vessel had
been beset in the ice in the autumn of 1872 at the Barentz islands—very
near to where we were, and had been crushed; that four of the crew had
escaped in a boat, and after the most dreadful sufferings, had travelled
over land to the country of the Samoyedes in the extreme north of the
Ural Mountains.

19. The ships we found in “Dunen Bai,”—the Bay of Dunes—came from
Archangel, and were engaged in the salmon fishery, at the mouth of the
Puhova River. They had taken very little, and their purpose was to remain
where we found them for fourteen days’ longer, and to spend about the
same number in fishing and hunting at the southern extremity of Novaya
Zemlya. This programme was not exactly to our taste. To spend a month in
a fishing-vessel, just as we awoke to the remembrance of all the comforts
and pleasures there are in the world, to sleep in the hold where cholera
lurked among bear and reindeer hides, amid heaps of salmon and reindeer
flesh, among nets and oil casks—such a prospect was not to be thought of.
Accordingly, we agreed with Captain Voronin, that he should leave off his
fishing and take us without delay to Vardö, in Norway, that we should
give him in return for his services three of our boats, two Lefaucheur
rifles, and guarantee him the further compensation of 1,200 silver
roubles.

20. At last we could go to sleep, the much-needed, much-desired sleep,
undisturbed by the fear lest we should be starved to death at last. On
that evening, when I opened my journal, I found these words: “Shall
we be saved this day? shall we be alive? Fifteenth May on board the
_Tegetthoff_.” I had written these words by the merest chance on the
blank leaf reserved for the 24th of August, and it was singular that we
should be rescued on that very day. For a long time I could not sleep
amid the murmur of Russian words, which I mechanically endeavoured to
imitate and to interpret as I lay amid the dead salmon, till at last
I fell asleep, my last connected thought being, that I had not to row
any more. Next day Voronin and his trusty harpooner, Maximin Iwanoff,
insisted on Weyprecht and myself occupying their own cabin, and as we
could utter no other Russian word than ‘khorosho’ (good), we were obliged
to do as they wished. The ship was now watered, and the nets which had
been stretched out were hauled on board, the crew, as they worked,
singing their wild “Volkslieder” excellently well.

21. On the 26th we left the small quiet bay, the scene of our happy
rescue, and with a favourable wind from the north, the vessel ploughed
her way through the waves of the White Sea. Now began the time of letter
writing; many of us, indeed, had commenced this employment even before
we left the boats. On the 27th and 28th, we had stormy weather from
the north-west, and the high seas we saw told us what our fate would
have been had we tried to cross this sea in our small boats. On the
29th, we sighted Black Cape on the “Murmann coast,” and for two hundred
miles we ran under the low, rocky coast of Lapland. We often fell in
with ships sailing from or to Archangel, and in our own eyes we seemed
the only barbarians amid the commerce and civilization of the world.
We sent deputations to every ship that came within hailing distance to
beg tobacco or sheets of writing paper, without, however, betraying our
incognito. We desired to be the first to give news of ourselves by the
telegraph. Contrary winds compelled our captain to tack often, and the
delay seemed to our impatience purgatory itself.

22. At length on the 3rd of September—the 812th day from the day we
sailed from Bremerhaven—we sighted the little seaport of Vardö. Forthwith
the Austrian flag was displayed at the foretop of the _Nikolai_, while
each of us, clad in his fur-coat, stood with beating hearts on deck ready
to land. Soon she ran into the little harbour, and about three o’clock
in the afternoon of that same day we put our feet on Norwegian soil with
the glad thought that our dangers and our toils were over at last. While
Weyprecht attended to our money affairs, I hastened, amid the wondering
looks of the inhabitants, to the telegraph station to despatch the news
of our happy rescue and safe arrival, and as each message sped on its
way, our hearts glowed with joy as we thought that in a few minutes
friends and countrymen would learn the good tidings and share in our joy.

23. On the 5th the mail steamer from Vardö to Hamburg took us on board,
and stopping at Tromsö, we put ashore, with many adieus, our friend
and companion Captain Carlsen. He had been one of those who believed
that we should return home by Behring Straits; but here he landed, a
touching instance of the vanity of human hopes. Apart from his linguistic
acquirements—for he had learnt to speak several languages on board
the _Tegetthoff_—the hardy old Arctic voyager went ashore with three
things only; his carefully preserved reindeer coat, his wig, and trusty
walrus spear. But all our hearts burned to reach home—home for its own
sake; for no presentiment had any of us of the honours that awaited our
arrival there. The favours shown to us by our monarch, the enthusiasm
which greeted the news of the discoveries we had so marvellously made,
the sympathy so abundantly expressed for our sufferings, made us feel
that we were rewarded far beyond our deserts, and that we had gained
the highest men can gain—the recognition of their services by their
fellow-countrymen.



APPENDIX.



I.

METEOROLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS.


The meteorological observations were always taken by the officers of
the watch, by Lieutenant Brosch, Midshipman Orel, the boatswain Lusina,
and Captain Carlsen. Krisch, our engineer, who shared in this labour
during the first winter was exempted from it in the second year, owing
to his failing health. Readings of the thermometers were taken every
two hours; observations to ascertain the moisture of the air were made
by the psychrometer during the summer months; the direction and force
of the winds, the amount of precipitation, the form and character of
the clouds were carefully noted down. As their labours were zealously
and conscientiously carried out for one year and a half, and chiefly in
regions never before visited, the results are of peculiar importance.[59]
The direction and force of the winds seemed in the first year to be
nearly in equilibrium, save that in the south air-currents from the
south-west generally prevailed, while in the north the prevailing
air-currents were from the north-east.

Thunder-storms never occurred; even on the northern shores of Siberia
they are seldom experienced. The forms of the clouds in Arctic regions
have never the sharply-defined contours of those in more southerly
latitudes. In summer they increase in fulness, and in winter they consist
chiefly of vapours and frosty mists which throw dark inky hues over the
brightness of the nights. The proverbial clearness of the heavens, of
which Koldewey, Kane, Middendorf, and Wrangel speak, is found in the
high north, as also in the tropics only over the greater masses of land.
“The clouds,” says Weyprecht, “have either the uniform dull grey aspect
of elevated fog, or they assume the cirrus form, and the latter is not
as with us the fleecy mass rising high above the horizon, but consists
of masses of mist rising little above it, which very seldom assume the
sharply-defined forms which are seen in more southern regions. Instead
of clouds gloomy fogs prevail, sometimes rising high, sometimes also
close to the ground as if they were nailed to it. Four-and-twenty hours
of clear weather rarely occur in summer; generally after shining for a
few hours the sun disappears behind dense fogs. Dull and gloomy as these
fogs are, they maintain the conditions which we find in the regions of
ice,—they prevent the escape of the sun’s heat and they act more potently
on the ice than its direct rays.” With respect to the winds he adds:
“Until the autumn of the second year, the winds were of a very variable
nature. In the neighbourhood of Novaya Zemlya we had many south-east and
south-west winds; in the spring the winds were more from the north-east.
A prevailing direction of the wind was only discernible when we lay in
our second winter under Franz-Josef Land. Here all snow-storms and about
50 per cent. of the winds come from east-north-east. These winds were
mostly accompanied by clouds, which were dispersed only when the wind
veered more to the north. The force of the wind is mitigated by the ice.
Very frequently fog masses are seen driving rapidly at no very great
height above the ice, while below them there is almost a calm. In the
January of the two years we passed in the north, it was very interesting
to observe the struggle between the cold winds from the north and the
warmer winds of the south. The approach of warm winds from the south and
south-west brought masses of snow, and in a short time produced a rise of
temperature amounting to 67° to 79° F.”

Falls of snow take place at all seasons of the year; but as they
generally occur accompanied with strong winds, it is not very easy
to determine the depth of the layers. Apart from extreme cases of
snow-drifts the mean depth of the snow on the ice during winter was about
three feet, and it is more considerable under the land than at a distance
from it. Rain falls almost exclusively only during the few months of
summer, and generally in fine showers, never in the sudden torrents of
southern latitudes. More rain fell with us in our second than in our
first summer.

I was impossible, owing to our continual change of place, to give the
barometrical means for any particular locality; in the following table,
therefore, the monthly mean only is noted. The thermometers we used were
placed at the distance of five-and-twenty paces from the ship, so that
they were pretty well isolated from any influence due to it, and they
were raised four feet above the surface of the snow.[60]

Readings of the minimum thermometer were taken at noon every day in the
year, and of the black-bulb thermometer at different times of the day
during the summer. The time of the day when the temperature reached its
maximum was irregular during the winter; it occurred about two o’clock
in the afternoon when the spring was well advanced. As I have already
inserted in the course of the narrative the temperatures of each day in
the month, it will be enough for the purposes of a general survey to give
here a summary of the mean monthly temperatures and of the maximum and
minimum extremes:—

  +-------------+--------------+------------+---------+--------+
  |             | Mean of the  |Mean of the |Maximum. |Minimum.|
  |             |Barometrical  |  Monthly   |   R.    |   R.   |
  |             |Measurements. |Temperature.|         |        |
  +-------------+--------------+------------+---------+--------+
  |    1872.    |              |            |         |        |
  |             |              |            |         |        |
  |July         |     —        |    —       |   —     |  -2·4  |
  |August       |   750·99     |  +0·41     |  +6·5   |  -5·6  |
  |September    |   748·92     |  -7·34     |  +0·4   | -18·6  |
  |October      |   751·8      | -13·5      |  +2·0   | -26·5  |
  |November     |   757·27     | -19·52     |  -2·3   | -28·7  |
  |December     |   757·11     | -23·95     | -14·9   | -28·7  |
  |             |              |            |         |        |
  |    1873.    |              |            |         |        |
  |             |              |            |         |        |
  |January      |   753·69     | -18·1      |  -2·1   | -35·1  |
  |February     |   741·62     | -27·95     |  -1·8   | -36·9  |
  |March        |   748·21     | -25·52     | -14·4   | -33·9  |
  |April        |   753·04     | -17·49     |  -6·8   | -30·9  |
  |May          |   756·58     |  -7·12     |  -1·9   | -18·4  |
  |June         |   751·3      |  -0·41     |  +8·1   |  -8·6  |
  |July         |   750·23     |  +1·26     |  +6·4   |  -1·8  |
  |August       |   749·33     |  +0·32     |  +4·4   |  -4·6  |
  |September    |   747·79     |  -3·32     |  +1·3   | -12·4  |
  |October      |   745·64     | -13·93     |  -2·9   | -23·1  |
  |November     |   748·2      | -21·21     |  -6·2   | -31·8  |
  |December     |   744·98     | -23·08     | -10·1   | -34    |
  |             |              |            |         |        |
  |    1874.    |              |            |         |        |
  |             |              |            |         |        |
  |January      |   732·97     | -19·6      |  -1·7   | -36·7  |
  |February     |   744·92     | -22·83     |  -1·7   | -35·5  |
  |March        |   742·25     | -18·46     |  -1·0   | -36·9  |
  |April        |   751·15     | -12·32     |  -2·8   | -22·8  |
  +-------------+--------------+------------+---------+--------+

_Note._—The temperatures are given in Réaumur degrees. By adding
one-fourth, the numbers given in the three last columns will be reduced
to Centigrade degrees.



II.

DIRECTION AND FORCE OF THE WIND, FROM OBSERVATIONS ON BOARD THE
“TEGETTHOFF.”


  +------------+------------------+
  |            |Mean Direction and|
  |            |       Force.     |
  |            +----------+-------+
  |            |Direction.| Force.|
  +------------+----------+-------+
  |            |          |       |
  |1872.       |          |       |
  |            |          |       |
  |July 15     |  N53°E   |  1·36 |
  |August 31   |  S56°W   |  1·15 |
  |September 30|  S45°W   |  0·54 |
  |October 31  |  S23°E   |  0·43 |
  |November 30 |  S71°E   |  0·26 |
  |December 31 |  S44°E   |  0·64 |
  |            |          |       |
  |1873.       |          |       |
  |            |          |       |
  |January 31  |  S64°W   |  1·24 |
  |February 28 |  N32°E   |  0·26 |
  |March 31    |  N37°E   |  0·63 |
  |April 30    |  N61°E   |  0·53 |
  |May 31      |   N5°W   |  0·53 |
  |June 30     |  S79°E   |  0·97 |
  |July 31     |  N74°W   |  0·82 |
  |August 31   |  S48°E   |  0·31 |
  |September 30|  S53°E   |  0·14 |
  |October 31  |  N42°E   |  1·82 |
  |November 30 |  N54°E   |  1·10 |
  |December 31 |  N66°E   |  1·21 |
  |            |          |       |
  |   1874.    |          |       |
  |            |          |       |
  |January 31  |  S70°E   |  0·93 |
  |February 28 |  N47°E   |  1·16 |
  |March 31    |  N59°W   |  0·83 |
  |April 30    |  N80°E   |  0·94 |
  +------------+----------+-------+



FOOTNOTES


[1] _Polynia_, a Russian term for an open water space.—Glossary in Kane’s
_Arctic Explorations_, vol. i., p. 14.

[2] Ice-fields have been seen there equal to the superficial extent of a
German principality, or even to the Duchy of Salzburg.

[3] Geikie’s _Great Ice Age_, pp. 38, 39.

[4] In the North Atlantic Ocean down to 40° N. L.

[5] Parry’s _Journal of a Voyage for the Discovery of a North-West
Passage_, 1819-20, p. 298. 4to. London, 1821.

[6] Sir J. C. Ross’s _Southern Antarctic Voyage_, vol. ii., p. 151.

[7] Sir John Ross—_Second Voyage of Discovery to the Arctic Ocean_, p.
180; 4to. London, 1835.

[8] The nautical mile or “knot,” which is about an ordinary mile and a
sixth, is meant.

[9] _Dock_, an opening in the ice, artificial or natural, offering
protection. Kane’s _Glossary of Arctic Terms_, vol. i., p. 13.

[10] Mercator was not an Englishman; he was a Dutchman, born 1512, died
1594.

[11] Three centuries ago, Plancius, the Dutch geographer, devised this
for the North Pole, while Barros, the Portuguese historiographer, did the
same for the South Pole.

[12] As a corrective to this rather extreme statement, see Clement
Markham’s _Threshold of the Unknown Region_, 4th Edition, pp. 383-393.

[13] A decoction prepared by Dr. Kepes, the physician of the _Tegetthoff_.

[14] Lieutenant Brosch had the entire care of the victualling department,
and deserved our heartiest thanks for the skill and self-sacrifice with
which he performed his duty.

[15] Formerly Captain in the Austrian Merchant Service.

[16] Our position was then in 76° 22′ N. Lat., 63° 3′ E. Long.

[17] A decoction prepared by Kepes.

[18] Parry mentions, as a fact illustrative of the increase of moisture
and its condensation into ice, that about a hundred hundredweights of
ice were once removed from the lower quarters of the _Hecla_, which had
accumulated there from the breath, the steam caused by cooking, and the
moisture brought down by the clothes of the men.

[19] The noise produced by such collisions cannot be more fittingly
expressed.

[20] Hall’s contemporaneous expedition excepted.

[21] See Appendix.

[22] I take this opportunity of stating that the originals of nearly all
the illustrations of this book were drawn on the spot from nature, and
that they have been reproduced as they were drawn.

[23] On the 24th of November the thermometer marked -14° F. in the ship’s
hole. The screw propeller had been fast frozen a month before.

[24] We had brought 1,400 lbs. of it from Bremerhaven.

[25] Parry’s winter night of 1819-20 lasted eighty-four days; Ross’s,
in the Gulf of Boothia, fifty days; Kane’s, in Rennssalaer harbour, 113
days, and Hayes’ 123. In the latter case, however, the mountains on his
southern horizon were the cause why the sun was not earlier visible.

[26] It has often been asserted that sound accompanying the Aurora has
been heard in the Shetland Isles, and in Siberia; but all scientific
travellers protest against this. Franklin, who at first believed in this
alleged phenomenon, afterwards retracted his opinion, and was convinced
that the noise proceeded from terrestrial causes.

[27] Experience acquired both in Greenland and in Franz-Josef Land
convinces me that autumn is to be preferred to spring for sledge-journeys.

[28] This is the reason why the English North Pole Expedition has engaged
the services of two mountaineers accustomed to glacier travelling.

[29] I take this opportunity of fulfilling a duty of gratitude, when I
add that in our equipment we followed, in every respect, the tried and
tested advice of Admiral McClintock, and that to this we owed for the
most part such successes as we achieved.

[30] Broad runners facilitate progress through deep snow. March 7, 1874,
we scarcely could move a sledge of medium size with its load, though we
afterwards transported the same load easily with a sledge with broader
runners; and the former became available when we fastened a pair of Lapp
snow-shoes on its runners.

[31] _Narrative of an Attempt to Reach the North Pole_, pp. 145, 146,
4to. London: 1828.

[32] _Narrative_, &c. Intro. p. xiv.

[33] See description of Parry’s Boats—_Narrative_, &c. Intro. pp. xi.-xii.

[34] This was the maximum of cold I observed during my three Polar
expeditions.

[35] Hayes mentions a storm occurring at -27° F.; but this is probably an
error of the press.

[36] In Greenland I once heard at the distance of 800 paces a
conversation between Börgen and Copeland carried on in the usual tone.

[37] Sir John Ross frequently did this, sending the bullet through a
solid board. The freezing point of quicksilver is -40° F. It varies
however between -40° and -45° F., according to the purity of the metal.

[38] It may easily happen in such weather that travellers on the ice
should have great difficulty in finding the ship, though they should
pass by it at less than 200 paces distant. The direction of the wind
contributes but little towards the ascertaining of their position; amid
hummocks of ice the wind constantly changes. On the 6th of March, Haller
and I wandered about for hours amid drifting snow-storms. Pekel, who came
to us from the ship, guided us rightly.

[39] There are no glaciers on the coast of Siberia, and the glaciers
of Spitzbergen are not, it seems, large enough to detach icebergs. May
not, therefore, the icebergs which gather at Hope Island, as well as
those which are met with on the northern coasts of Siberia, originate in
the glaciers of Franz-Josef Land? Barentz saw, in August, 1596, on the
northern coasts of Novaya Zemlya, as many as 400 icebergs.

[40] This of course does not exclude the possibility of finding
appropriate winter harbours in those Sounds we were unable to visit; most
probably such occur in Markham Sound, which abounds in fiords.

[41] This applies especially to the region lying to the north of 81° 10′.

[42] Schönau, near Teplitz in Bohemia, my birthplace.

[43] Sumbu and Pekel were my own dogs.

[44] Named after Dove, the celebrated German physicist.

[45] Parry reached, on the frozen sea to the north of Spitzbergen, 82°
45′ N.L.

[46] Kane’s dogs died principally in consequence of being fed chiefly on
salt meat, and Hayes’s from a disease among dogs which spreads over all
West Greenland. Epidemics of this kind break out among the dogs of the
Eskimos and of the Siberian tribes. Middendorf mentions, however, that
canine madness never occurs among the dogs of the latter.

[47] Snow-water was for two years the only water we used, and as none of
us became goîtred, we were a living refutation of the opinion shared by
many that its constant use generates this disease in the inhabitants of
the Alps.

[48] On board the ship the temperature at the same time was -20° F.

[49] It might have been expected that seamen would have been acquainted
with the use of the compass, though the instruments they had at their
command were too small to determine the declination with precision.

[50] Franklin, speaking of his experience during his first journey, says
that their diet of animal food had rather weakened than strengthened
their powers. An Eskimo, on the other hand, often consumes 20 lbs. of the
flesh of a seal in a day, and seems to thrive on it—a proof how the mode
of living of a savage is no rule for civilized man.

[51] Our food, which we always took as hot as possible, had made our
tongues and gums as hard as leather, so that we could not discriminate
what we ate. Our great desire was not for flesh, but for white bread,
potatoes, and milk.

[52] On May 5 a bear got away from us through a bad shot, but a second
was killed just as he had attacked Torossy. May 9, again, a bad shot
scared away a bear; on the eleventh one was killed by Herr Orel. This
bear had already received a ball in his shoulder, and a second in his
head an inch and a half under the right eye.

[53] With three boats, two of which were whale-boats, each 26 feet long
and 7 feet broad. His crew wore Eskimo clothing, and, strange to say,
some of them had gutta-percha masks. Parry’s towards the North Pole in
1827, Kane’s in 1855, and our own, have much in common: but the greatest
difficulties were on our side.

[54] “Aussingen” is a sailor’s word for a particular rhythm to which they
pull in time.

[55] It was Parry’s experience also that nothing melts the ice like rain.

[56] The wind maintained its westerly character, and we drifted, as we
had so often before, to the _right_ of its direction.

[57] Baer brought home from Novaya Zemlya ninety species of Phanerogams.
According to an observation of Mojssejew, June 18, 1839, the thermometer
in the sun stood at 93° F., and 59° F. in the shade.

[58] On older charts it is still separated by a sound from the mainland.
The layers of drift-wood, which we found everywhere at a considerable
height above the level of the sea, show beyond a doubt that the coast of
Novaya Zemlya has gradually risen; but as in those latitudes this wood
rots only after centuries, we have no measure to estimate the rate of
this movement.

[59] These have not as yet been published.

[60] Thermometers should always hang freely; when they are enclosed
in cases they give false values, especially if the cases should be
filled with snow. In our first winter we were obliged on account of the
ice-pressures to suspend our thermometers on the ship in such cases,
and there can be no doubt that their readings were too high. Sometimes,
however, they were too low, when the thermometers came in contact with
the snow on the ship. Scoresby, Parry, and we ourselves observed that the
temperature of the snow-covering sometimes sunk in clear winter nights
some degrees below the temperature of the air.



INDEX.


  A

  Actiniæ, 269

  Alcohol, the best fuel, 225

  Amphipoda, 268

  Amygdaloids, 261

  Annelides, 270

  Antlers of reindeer, superstition respecting, 107

  Arctic petrel, 267

  Arctic sea, temperature of, 6, 68, 93

  Ascent of Cape Brünn, 338

  Auk, the, 267, 290, 380;
    Cape, 306, 308

  Aulis, the harbour of, 352

  Auroras, 64, 120, 154, 179;
    described, 202;
    sign of bad weather, 203;
    influence of, on the magnetic needle, 205;
    described by Weyprecht, 206

  Austria Sound, 271, 281, 289, 292


  B

  Balloon, use of, recommended, 36

  Barentz, referred to, 12, 28;
    food of his party, 288;
    islands, described by Prof. Höfer, 86;
    incorrect maps of, 100;
    sighted, 378

  Basaltic formation of Franz-Josef Land, 260

  Bay-ice, 2

  Beaches, raised, 264, 381

  Bear Island, 56

  Bears, 97, 119, 144, 151, 154, 158, 238, 240, 272, 276;
    winter hole, 276, 282, 285, 288, 293, 318, 334, 337, 344, 353, 360,
      367, 370

  Bears’ flesh, 338

  Bessels, Dr., 51

  Birds, 93, 154, 162, 179, 232, 266, 290, 306, 315, 320, 334

  Black Cape, Novaya Zemlya, 381

  Books in _Tegetthoff_, 129, 186

  Boots, sail-cloth, 232

  Bottles, thrown out, 148

  Britwin, Cape, 384

  Bryopogon jubatus, 265

  Buellia stigmatea, 265

  Bunting, snow, 267


  C

  Cairn erected, 383

  Calking the boats, 373

  Cape Look-out, 58;
    Frankfurt, 280;
    Nassau, 64;
    North, 65

  Carlsen, Captain Olaf, 29, 77, 124, 132, 182, 360, 389

  Cartridges, 130

  Catabrosa algida, 265

  Cattarinich, 255

  Cerastium alpinum, 265

  Cetraria nivalis, 265, 313

  Climate of Novaya Zemlya, 379

  Clothes, suitable, 45, 232

  Coal, consumption of, in _Tegetthoff_, 128;
    brown, 61, 260, 282;
    house broken up, 119

  Coast-water, navigating in, 12

  Coffins, the three, 89

  Cold, 246, _et seqq._;
    effect on man, 250, 251

  Colour of ice, 5;
    of sea, 14

  Coltsfoot, gathered in Novaya Zemlya, 381

  Commander, qualities requisite for, 37

  Condensation, 44, 127, 195

  Cooking apparatus for sledging, 224

  Cost of Polar expedition, 45, 46

  Constants, magnetic, 271

  Course of _Tegetthoff_, 147

  Crevasse, fall of sledge into, 300

  Crew of _Tegetthoff_, 76, 135, 136, 137, 195

  Crinoidæ, 270

  Crown Prince Rudolf’s Land, 294

  Crow’s-nest, erected in _Tegetthoff_, 18

  Crustaceæ, 268

  Currents, sea, 18;
    of the Obi and Jenisej, 68;
    air and equatorial, meeting of, 64;
    warm, 67

  Cyperacites, grass of, as foot-coverings, 233


  D

  Darkness, effects of, 133, 149, 190

  Deflection on coast of Greenland, 18

  Depôt of provisions, 327, 330

  Diarrhœa, a consequence of extreme cold, 251

  Divers, 290, 320

  Divine service celebrated in _Tegetthoff_, 131

  Docks in ice, 19

  Dogs, 89, 103, 118, 161, 191, 193, 220, 233, 237, 297, 330, 337, 340,
      346, 359, 360;
    death of, 377

  Dolerite rocks, 181, 261, 276, 282, 305, 312, 318

  Dove, Greenland, 267

  Dove, Prof., on the temperature at the Pole, 27;
    glaciers named after, 290

  Dress of the Arctic sledger, 231

  Driftwood, 61, 63, 66, 265, 383

  Dunen Bay, 383, 387


  E

  Easter Sunday, 285

  Eclipse of the sun, 160

  Eider duck, 267

  Equipment for return journey, 345

  Erratics, 261, 308

  Evaporation from ice, 7

  Expedition, second German, 13;
    cost of various expeditions, 45;
    equipment of, 34


  F

  Fables of old navigators, 23, 26

  Fenzl, Prof., 265

  Finnmark, 52

  Fish described, 266

  Flag, Austro-Hungarian, planted, 82·5° N. L., 312

  Flea crab, 268

  Fligely, Cape, 311

  Floe, or field-ice, 2, 3, 4;
    age of, 4;
    colour of, 5

  Food, allowance, 42, 130, 131

  Forget-me-nots in Novaya Zemlya, 381

  Fossils in Spitzbergen, 60

  Fox, white, as food, 288

  Franklin, diet of his party, 288

  Franz-Josef Land surveyed, 237;
    climate, 260

  Frost-bite, 151, 241, 252;
    remedies for, 252

  Fugloe, 54

  Furs, 231

  _Fury_, the, 42


  G

  Gadus, 266

  Geikie’s _Great Ice Age_, extract from, 8

  _Germania_, 15;
    Cape, 310

  Geological formation, Spitzbergen, 60

  Gillis’ Land, 66

  Glacier, Dove, 263;
    Forbes, 264;
    Middendorf, 263;
    insects, 264

  Glaciers, of Novaya Zemlya, 17;
    of Spitzbergen, 60;
    calving of, 8;
    in Franz-Josef Land, 262;
    height of, _ib._;
    colour of, _ib._;
    motion of, observed, 344

  Gloves, 231

  Grasses, 265

  Greenland, described, 259

  Grog, necessary, 245, 255, 329

  Gulf stream, 28, 50, 51, 67, 68

  Gull, burgomaster, 160, 267, 354;
    robber, 162, 267;
    Ross’s, 179, 267

  Gulyas, soup, 362

  Gyrophora anthracina, 265


  H

  Haller, 255, 304

  _Hansa_, the, 15

  Health in _Tegetthoff_, 134, 151, 154, 173, 201

  Hellwald, Cape, 320

  Hippolyte (Payeri), 267

  Höfer, Prof., his description of Barentz Isles, 86

  Hohenlohe Island, 295

  Holothuriæ, 270

  Hoods, knitted, 231

  Hope Island, 57, 60

  Horizon visible from _Tegetthoff_, 18

  Hornsundstind, 58, 60

  Hyalonema, 268

  Hydrochloric acid as remedy for frost-bite, 252

  Hyperstenite rocks, 261


  I

  Ice, bay, 2;
    barrier, 62, 63;
    blink, 7;
    birds, 160;
    bergs, height of, 9;
    places where they collect, _ib._;
    oversetting of, 10, 331;
    drift southwards like biers, 81;
    forty feet high, 84, 166;
    in Austria Sound, 258;
    detachment of, 264;
    in Rudolf’s Land, 299, 308

  Ice-fields, 2, 4

  Ice-foot, 2

  Ice-holes, 1, 28

  Ice-needles, 5

  Ice-pressures, 102, 103, 111, 139

  Ice (sea), specific gravity of, 6

  Ice-sheet over Arctic regions, 1

  Iceland Knot, 267

  Iceland moss, 88

  Imbricaria stygia, 265

  Instruments required for sledge journey, 221

  _Isbjörn_, description of, 51;
    beset, 55;
    meets _Tegetthoff_, 85, 89

  Isopoda, 268


  J

  Journal, passages from, 106, 356-359

  Jurassic formation in Spitzbergen, 60


  K

  Kaiser Franz-Josef’s Land discovered, 175;
    explored, 213, 253, 258-270

  Kepes, Dr., 267

  Kittiwake, 267

  Klotz, his singular appearance, 334

  Knot (Iceland), 267

  Korethrastes, 270

  Krisch, death of, 215, 255


  L

  Lamp used, 45

  Land, new, discovered, 175;
    visited, 181

  Land-ice, 3

  Languages, four, spoken in _Tegetthoff_, 132

  Leads or waterways, 1

  Leigh Smith, Mr., his photographs, 261

  Lichens, 265, 276;
    used as tobacco, 322

  Lignite, 322

  Liparis gelatinosus, 266

  Littrow, Cape, 244

  Lumme, the, 267

  Lütke, 29


  M

  M’Clintock, on sledge travelling, 24;
    his adventures related to the men, 330

  Magnetic constants observed, 271

  Magnetic readings, 343

  Mallemoke, 267

  Matoschkin Schar, 64

  Meals, usual, 130

  Medusæ (Beroë) found, 63

  Mess-room described, 130

  Meteorological observations, 343

  Middendorf Glacier, 263, 299

  Moss, 265


  N

  Navigation, in coast water, 12;
    only possible in summer, 13;
    best season for, 14

  Nassau, Cape, 64

  Night, the Polar, 190

  _Nikolai_, rescue by the, 384

  Noise made by ice-pressures, 110, 141, 178

  Noon, December 21st 1873, 189

  Nordenskjöld, Prof., 261;
    Fiord, 244

  Normans, the, the first Polar navigators, 21

  North-East Passage, 21-23

  North-West Passage, 21-24

  Novaya Zemlya Sea, 65, 66, 67, 80, 99, 171;
    survey of necessary, 99;
    coast of, 379;
    climate of, _ib._

  Novaya Zemlya, glaciers of, 9


  O

  Orel, 274, 280, 281, 282, 295, 301, 308, 313, 314, 320, 326

  Ostjak dogs, 234

  Owl, snowy, 267


  P

  Pachtussow, 29, 228

  Pack-ice, 2

  Papaver nudicale, 265, 322

  Paper smoked instead of tobacco, 372

  Parhelia, 99, 156, 178, 329

  Parry referred to and quoted, 12, 288, 317

  Pay of different Arctic crews, 39

  Penny, 29

  Petermann, Dr., on the influence of the Gulf Stream, 28

  Petroleum used, 128;
    frozen in lamp, 146

  Plancius, his theory of an open Polar sea, 28

  Plants, collection of, 265;
    tropical, found in Spitzbergen, 28

  Plasticity of glacier ice, 263

  Polar question, 33

  Polar sea (open), its existence questioned, 25, 28;
    Seas, North and South compared, 14

  Pole, North, 20, 27

  Polynia, 312

  Polypes, hydroid, 270

  Provisions fail, 373;
    remnant of, divided, 384

  Prince Charles’s foreland, 58

  Pycnogonida, 268

  Pyrites formed, 167


  R

  Rain, its effect in breaking up the ice, 368, 370

  Return to Europe resolved on, 179, 200

  Reward offered by the English and Dutch for the discovery of the
      North-West Passage, 33

  Rhizocarpon geographicum, 265, 313

  Rocks of Franz-Josef Land, 261

  Rorqual (whale), 63

  Ross, Sir James, 13, 16

  Ross, Sir John, 42, 44, 288

  Rotge, 267

  Russians, kindness of, 386


  S

  Salm Island, 275

  Sandoe, Island of, 54

  Saxifrage on the Barentz Isles, 87;
    in Franz-Josef Land, 265

  School on the _Tegetthoff_, 137

  Scoresby, 29, 32

  Scurvy, causes of, 134;
    signs of, 196;
    in various expeditions compared, 197

  Sea-ice, specific gravity of, 6

  Sea-swallow, 267

  Sea-temperature, 5, 68

  Seals, 173, 266, 356, 364, 374

  Ship, best shape of, 15;
    small preferred, 16;
    tonnage of different Arctic ships, 41

  Shrimps, 267

  Silene acaulis, 265, 322

  Sketches, 343

  Sketching on the ice, 156

  Sledge journey, first, 235;
    second, 271;
    third, 336

  Sledge travelling, 216-221;
    clothing for, 230

  Sledges drawn by men and dogs, 219;
    equipment of, 222-234;
    description of, 223;
    loading of, 226;
    boats for, 229;
    in a snow-storm, 327;
    abandoned, 377

  Sleeping bag described, 225

  Smith’s Sound, route through, 35

  Snow-blindness, 317

  Snow-eaters, 253

  Snow-huts described, 225

  Snow-line, 60, 262

  Snow, fallen, described, 5;
    block, 254;
    constant downfall of, 188;
    in extreme cold, 250

  Snow, red, 60

  Sonklar glacier, 253

  Sound propagated freely in Polar regions, 250

  Sound, crackling at edge of ice, 6

  Soundings, table of, 172

  Speed, rate of, 15

  Spitzbergen, 58, 259

  Sponges, 268

  Sporastatia Morio, 265

  Spring (1873), 153

  Stove used on _Tegetthoff_, 128

  Summer (1873), 162;
    end of second, 174

  Sun-rise (1873), 149;
    (1874), 219

  Sun, power of, 163

  Sweet-water ice, 2

  Swell of the ocean, 13;
    heard, 370


  T

  Tactics of a ship in ice, 15

  Tea recommended, 228;
    comfort of, 355

  _Tegetthoff_, 15, 75;
    leaves Bremerhaven, 74;
    crew of, described, 76;
    at Tromsoe, _ib._;
    beset, 82;
    meets the _Isbjörn_, 85;
    finally beset, 92;
    table of course of, 147;
    shored up, 165;
    abandoned, 348

  Tegetthoff, Cape, 235, 239, 241, 254, 353

  Temperature of sea, 5, 68, 93;
    variations of, in ship, 128;
    low, 188, 316

  Thaw water, 263, 370

  Thirst, Arctic, 253

  Tobacco, valuable, 353, 363

  Tonnage of different Arctic ships, 41

  Torossy, 3, 234, 276

  Trace for each sledge-dog, 233

  Tromsoe, 54, 76, 77

  Tropical plants found in Spitzbergen, 28

  Tusselago farfara, 381

  Tyrol, Cape, 265


  U

  Ukase granted by the Russian government, 77

  Umbellula, 269

  Umbilicaria arctica, 265, 313

  Usnea melaxantha, 265, 321


  V

  Vegetation of Kaiser Franz-Josef Land, 264

  _Victory_, stores of the, in 1829, 42

  Vienna, Cape, 312

  Volcanic formation of Arctic regions, 260

  Voronin, Feodor, Captain of the _Nikolai_, 384, 388


  W

  Walrus, the, 266

  Water-sky, 7

  Weyprecht, Lieut., 65, 68, 259, 271, 334

  Whales, 62, 63;
    white, 266

  White Sea crossed, 388

  Willoughby, 26

  Wilczek, Graf, 49, 69, 85;
    Island, 181, 183, 255, 257, 275

  Wine necessary, 43, 135;
    chemical, 43;
    increased allowance of, 214

  Winter harbour, 19

  Winter night, length of, 200;
    darkness of, 186

  Wintering spots of Russian expeditions, 382

  Wüllersdorf, Urbair, Admiral, his remarks on the course of the
      _Tegetthoff_, 168


  Z

  Zaninovich falls into a crevasse, 300

  Zoological collection, 343


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